|From The Ghost Rider (1967) # 7|
Whatever the reason, The Ghost Rider ended with issue # 7 in November of 1967. The series ended essentially mid-cliffhanger, with poor Natalie Brooks on death's door as the Ghost Rider rides off with her to reach medical assistance. Issue # 8, which had already been plotted and half-drawn, was pulled from the schedule despite the work that had been completed on it AND that it had already been solicited. Wow, THAT is something that will reoccur way too many times for Ghost Rider, a final issue not actually making it to print until many years later.
Fast forward to August, 1970, and the launch of the Western Gunfighters anthology series. The lead feature was given to the Ghost Rider, and surprisingly the same creative team from the 1967 series returned to essentially pick up where they left off. Gary Friedrich and Dick Ayers wrapped up the cliffhanger that closed out the final issue (Natalie made it to the surgery on time, but was still in recovery) and went ahead with business as usual for the first two issues of the anthology. The third issue finally printed a truncated version of what should have been The Ghost Rider # 8. "The Man Called Hurricane" had seen the first 5 pages completed by Ayers and inker Vince Colletta from 1967, and Ayers stepped in to finish the story (pencils and inks) for the Gunfighters series.
It took three years for the "final issue" of The Ghost Rider to see completion and publication. If you think that's a ridiculous amount of time to have to wait to read a nearly-finished issue of Ghost Rider, 1998 is calling to laugh at you.
The Ghost Rider remained the lead feature in Western Gunfighters up through (appropriately enough) issue # 7. That comic was released in January 1972 and featured the death of Carter Slade and the Ghost Rider mantle being taken up by his brother, Lincoln Slade. The name didn't stay out of circulation for very long, though, because August of that same year saw the debut of Johnny Blaze in the pages of Marvel Spotlight. I'll talk about that in the next chapter of this article series...
|That ride to Denver only took three years!|