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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So Jesus Christ Is Pals With Ghost Rider?

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today we look at the short-lived friendship between Ghost Rider and Jesus Christ!

Enjoy!

In Ghost Rider #9, writer Tony Isabella has Ghost Rider in dire straits against Satan now that Roxanne Simpson has pulled her support from Johnny (up until this point, it was her pureness that protected Johnny from Satan)….

Things look bad until…

Yep, Jesus shows up to bail Ghost Rider out of trouble.

Isabella later recalled that he had written himself a bit into a corner once he had Roxanne’s protection go away, as what was going to keep Satan from getting to Johnny? He talked to some other Marvel writers for advice and Steve Gerber suggested, “Why not just have God help him?” Isabella loved the idea. If Satan was so interested in Johnny Blaze’s soul, wouldn’t God also be interested? So Jesus becomes an aide to Johnny as Johnny began a long journey to take on Satan that lasted 10 issues (roughly two years’ worth of issues, as the comic was bi-monthly at the time).

In Ghost Rider #15, Jesus shows up again…

As the story drew to a close in #19, however, Jim Shooter was brought in to re-write the script on the final issue of Isabella’s story, adding dialogue that stated that “Jesus” was actually a trick of Satan and Johnny had not REALLY been saved back in #9…

Since this dramatically changed the arc of the story, the issue was re-written and re-drawn (where necessary) to have it make sense as an ending…

Isabella left the book with this issue.

Interestingly enough, this period in Ghost Rider’s history has another example of Abandoned An’ Forsaked that I’ll address in the future. So if you’re planning on suggesting it, don’t worry, I’m already on it!

73 Comments

Yeah, Tony never quite forgave Jim for this one. It’s easy to see why.

It’s interesting that Steve Gerber would suggest the whole God angle because his character Wundarr later became the Aquarian, a guy who looked and acted like a super powered Christ-like being. This was under Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio’s auspices but still, he was Steve Gerber’s baby so the essence is there.

I also like how Johnny clearly fails to recognize Jesus at a time when most dudes looked liked the Messiah. Jesus simply didn’t stand out amidst a crowd in the 1970’s. Nowadays however, Johnny might have recognized him a lot sooner.

“I also like how Johnny clearly fails to recognize Jesus at a time when most dudes looked liked the Messiah.”

No, he clearly failed to recognize Jesus because Jesus looked like The Yellow Claw.

Here’s a link to an interview I did with Tony Isabella in 2003 about his Ghost Rider work, he talks a lot about what happened with Shooter and “the Friend”.

http://ghostrider.omegacen.com/interview01.html

I had “Spirit in the Sky” playing in my head the whole time I was reading this.

Francis Dawson

April 22, 2012 at 3:18 am

Jesus, “Johnny Blaze’s only sin was despair and that is not enough to condemn him to your domain.”

I’ll defer to Jesus on this one but I’m pretty sure in the Catholic catechism despair is a mortal /deadly sin.

That’s some sweet art from Frank Robbins. But seeing GR kicking karate style is pretty ridiculous. GR – great concept, but always poorly executed in the early days of the character.

@ Francis Dawson

“I’ll defer to Jesus on this one but I’m pretty sure in the Catholic catechism despair is a mortal /deadly sin.”

Yes, but that just proves how flawed the Catholic Church is… ” ’cause their church never made the great leap out of the Middle Ages and the domination of alien Episcopal supremacy. That’s why it’s the Protestant Church for me.”

I joke, I joke… thank you Monty

Yeah, JC has a habit of forgiving those pesky mortal sins when He gets the chance to do so, doesn’t he?

What I wonder is…

Mephisto is often described as Marvel’s version of Satan — yet here we have ol’ Nick himself — and a reference to Damion Hellstrom also — has Satan been given the A&F treatment by Marvel, too, or is there some more complicated version of it?

For Kierkegaard, Despair is the only way to come closer to “God:” trail by fire.

ooops…trial by fire.

Years ago (I think Defenders 100), Satan and other non-Mephisto head devils were all illusions created by Mephisto…the equivalent of a wizard did it. That was 30 years ago so I wouldn’t be surprised if that hasn’t been overturned as well.

“Mephisto is often described as Marvel’s version of Satan — yet here we have ol’ Nick himself — and a reference to Damion Hellstrom also — has Satan been given the A&F treatment by Marvel, too, or is there some more complicated version of it?”

There are numerous conflicting stories about who the “real devil” is in Marvel comics. Some say it’s Mephisto, some say it’s Satannish, some say it’s a guy named Marduk Kardos (sp?). Yet, in the ’70s, Satan was just Satan. The way I see it is that they’re probably all the devil and the devil is all of them. After all, evil takes many forms.

Did Satan fall from grace because he got sick of the other angels mocking his spandex getup?

I won’t diss the art. But I will diss the fashions. Yeesh, just ugly all-around.

To be fair, though, Jesus is everyone’s friend.

The funny thing is that the show South Park has been the only program that isn’t afraid to have a character named “Jesus” as a semi-regular character, even while mocking Christian dogma.

Yeah, Tony never quite forgave Jim for this one. It’s easy to see why.

Cannot say I blame him.

As I have said before, I do not understand why it was perfectly fine for Marvel to have a literal legion of devils and demons prowling about the Marvel universe causing untold havoc and despair, but to even suggest that God might be at work to oppose all of those figures of pure evil was not acceptable.

That’s probably one of the main reasons why I so totally loved the issue of Savage Dragon where Erik Larsen had God show up to give the Devil a major @$$-whupping.

Can you start including artist credits? I recognized the awesome Don Heck and there was Frank Robbins but was that Perlin at the start?

According to the last Official Handbook I read (maybe one edition back) “Satan” as Christian theology defines him does not exist in the MU, but vast numbers of demons (including Mephisto, Satannish and others) will use the image to manipulate people. I’ve always assumed this was a CYA move–no, religious right, we don’t have Satan in our books, so don’t picket us! Or just to avoid getting entangled in any technicalities over how Satan works.
Of course given all the shots of Satan In Hell in 1970s books where even the other devils treat him as Satan that doesn’t make much sense. And Daimon Hellstrom, Son of Some Demon Pretending To Be Satan is never going to fly as a comic title.

The twist on the “friend” didn’t make much sense–what did it gain Satan to introduce the friend when he had Blaze whipped already? I’d love to hear Shooter’s take on why he thought the switch was a good idea.
And no, despair as a mortal sin has to be an active sin–not simply giving up hope but actively turning away and rejecting the possibility of salvation, which Johnny’s “I’ll fight you forever” shows is not the case here.

That’s awesome! Comics need to pull from christian mythology more. Jesus should join the Avengers alongside Thor and Hercules. Actually, maybe the Defenders with Dr. Strange might be better. Also, there should be some sort of rivalry between Odin, Zeus and Yahweh. That’d be cool. And Jesus should have some offensive powers, too, like “holy fire” or the “sword of truth”, and maybe a special incantation like “The Word of GOD!!” that devastates his opponents. Yeah… that’d be cool.

Shooter claims that it was Wolfman’s idea:
http://www.jimshooter.com/2011/06/rooting-out-corruption-at-marvel-part_14.html
Scroll down to the comments section.
Isabella, OTOH, claims it was Shooter’s idea.

“The twist on the “friend” didn’t make much sense–what did it gain Satan to introduce the friend when he had Blaze whipped already?”

Here’s a question, if the “Prince of Lies” is saying the “friend” is a fake, why do we believe him?

Tony Isabella what a terrible idea.

Basing it only on the material at hand and the original first issue of Ghost Rider written by his co-creator Gary Friedrich. It’s clear that Johnny Blaze was a satanist and it was him who reached out and made a deal with a devil in Marvel Spotlight 5.

Johnny Blaze did far more sin then mere “despair”. He was the one reaching to demonic forces for help. This is all clear in the first Ghost Rider issue. The character was clearly mixed into the world of the occult. And he had nothing to do with Jesus.

It’s clear based on that first Ghost Rider which forces Johnny Blaze turns to for help when he’s in need. And it sure as heck is not Jesus.

Seriously read Marvel Spotlight 5 and it’s disturbing how mixed into occult evil this supposed hero is

It’s interesting that Marvel had Jesus show up, yet 15 or so years later, DC wouldn’t let Rick Veitch use him in a Swamp Thing story. Different times I guess.

Way to completely miss the point, rx.

If his head is already on fire, why did he need to light a flare to burn that monster in the face?

“According to the last Official Handbook I read (maybe one edition back) “Satan” as Christian theology defines him does not exist in the MU, but vast numbers of demons (including Mephisto, Satannish and others) will use the image to manipulate people. I’ve always assumed this was a CYA move–no, religious right, we don’t have Satan in our books, so don’t picket us! ”

Instead they just say that he’s not real at all. And that Creationism is kind of correct, but it wasn’t God who did it.

Francis Dawson wrote:
“I’ll defer to Jesus on this one but I’m pretty sure in the
Catholic catechism despair is a mortal /deadly sin.”

I didn’t remember this from Catholic school and looked it up. You’re right, it’s one of the “sins against hope.” But considered one of the less grave mortal sins.

The last-minute rewrite makes no sense, since Johnny is shown as not being aware his friend was Son o’ God, rather than knowing it so his spirit could be crushed by learning it was a hoax.

By the way, on that Jim Shooter page, he mentions this in the main body of the text, before the comments. Sounds like he had an opinion on such plotlines:

“Another writer became born again and decided that his
character should be too. Jesus became a regular guest star.

interesting for knew that tony story where ghost rider got help from jesus with trying to not have lucifer collect his soul got changed. but did not know it was because some out decided that Jesus was actully another trick of satan to break johnnys spirit so he would just finaly give in.

I find Jim Shooter’s theology debatable–“Well, we have Satan but we didn’t say it’s specifically the Christian Satan, so it’s not like we’re suggesting the MU universe is Christian, the way Tony Isabella would have.”
If he’s accurate about what happened, I’d think a simple “rewrite so it’s not so obvious” would have worked better and produced a better story.

The way he went about it isn’t great, but I think Shooter made the right call. There’s no way to reconcile Jesus with the rest of the Marvel cosmology in way that doesn’t piss a bunch of people off. Imagine having Christ appear as one of the dieties duking it out in Hercules a little while ago, and the problems become obvious.

The weird thing (to me) is that there are religions other than Christianity that acknowledge Jesus, they just don’t consider him the actual son of God. If memory serves, Hinduism (or at least some traditions) consider him an avatar of Vishnu, and Islam considers him a prophet (but not as great a prophet as Mohammed). Having Jesus (or a Jesus-like figure) turn up in a story wouldn’t necessarily be like saying “Christianity is the one correct religion in the Marvel U” any more than having Thor turn up says “the Norse pantheon is the only way to go.” If the argument is that no one really worships the Norse gods anymore so it’s okay to use them as fictional characters, then why is it okay to use figures from Shinto tradition when there are still plenty of Shinto worshippers in Japan?

(Admittedly, I’m mixing eras here, as I don’t know how many Shinto figures turned up in Marvel in the 70s, but it’s not like Jesus turned up during the Chaos War, so it’s a valid point in general even if it doesn’t apply that well to the story in question.)

I mean, would anyone really be offended if Buddha or Ganesh showed up to help a superhero? Would we really think Marvel was saying that it proves Buddhism or Hinduism “right” in the Marvel U?

I know there was a lot of controversy when Lord Rama was used as a character in Eric Luke’s Godwar arc in Wonder Woman — Cronos basically wiping out as many other pantheons as he could on the way to storming Heaven itself.

What I don’t remember if the controversy involved the romantic relationship between Rama and Diana — or that she beat him thoroughly when we went deranged at one point during the story.

When he went deranged I meant — sorry. come to think of it, I think Ganesh WAS used in that arc as well; the Hindu pantheon was pretty much the only one still standing by the end of it.

I may be getting a little muddled, but didn’t Ghost Rider’s ‘mysterious friend’ pop up later as a good guy again being crucified by laser halos or something? I think it was an illusion though, I can’t quite remember, it may have even been before the revealation in this issue.

@ZZZ I don’t think there’s any objective ethical reasoning behind it. I think it’s just that Marvel comics are produced for the American market, which is 75%-90% Christian depending on whose numbers you like. So you can either play Jesus as just another deity approximately on the level of Odin or Zeus, which is going to get you letters from Christians, or you can overtly put Jesus above all other deities, which is going to get you letters from everyone else.

I’m not saying it’s particularly brave or consistent, but I absolutely understand why an American media giant would opt for the “neither” choice.

I may be getting a little muddled, but didn’t Ghost Rider’s ‘mysterious friend’ pop up later as a good guy again being crucified by laser halos or something? I think it was an illusion though, I can’t quite remember, it may have even been before the revealation in this issue.

It was the issue before the Shooter re-write. I didn’t feature it for the reason you note, that it was likely an illusion.

Yes, the implication that Jesus is too sacred to use but other current religions are not bothers me–though I think it’s more that polytheistic religion looks just like mythology (i.e., they don’t have one God like the real religions).
I’m curious what the next GR Abandoned is–IIRC, the Native American shaman Snake Dance was implied to be some sort of trickster but they never got around to explaining it. But that was more a “forgotten plot thread” than abandoned and forsaken.

sequentialarse

April 23, 2012 at 4:59 am

Has Marv Wolfman ever spoken publicly about Tony’s run? I’d like to hear his take on the re-write (and Shooter’s ‘only-following-orders’ deflection). This whole matter seems ripe for exploration in your CBLR column too, Brian. Will you consider it please?

I think Jim Shooter gets a bum rap on this one, especially from Isabella. As he points out in his blog linked above, in 1976, Shooter was an assistant editor and didn’t have the authority to just rewrite a script because he didn’t like it. He would have had to have Marv Wolfman’s approval, regardless of who initially decided the rewrite should be done. Isabella should blame Wolfman, not Shooter. I find it strange that no one ever mentions the fact that Marv Wolfman, the editor in charge of the book at the time, was Jewish, and that possibly the idea of Jesus Christ being a hero of the Marvel Universe didn’t appeal to him for that reason. I don’t know that Wolfman has ever spoken publicly about this incident. It is notable that when Isabella introduced Jesus, in Ghost Rider #9, Roy Thomas was the editor of the book. It then passed immediately to Len Wein, who soon handed it off to Wolfman. I just can’t see a Jewish editor letting a born-again Christian make Jesus into an actual character in the Marvel Universe.

A lot depends on just how proselytizing the final script was, as we don’t have anything but he said/he said to go by. Or just what Wolfman’s instructions were–did he give Shooter a specific “make Jesus out to be an illusion” directive (in which case he takes the wrap) or a “fix it” and left the implementation to Shooter (assuming it was indeed Wolfman’s idea–as someone noted upthread, Shooter doesn’t seem fond of the idea either, so he might have raised the issue).
But it’s a fair point that the “friend” might raise a different reaction from someone who isn’t Christian to my “well, no big deal” response.

For the record…I never became a “born-again Christian.” I pretty much got it right the first time. :)

But this is typical of the lies spread by Shooter and other powers that be whenever they want to denigrate a troublesome freelancer. What’s just as sad as how often fans fall for it.

I’ve explained why I added Jesus to my Ghost Rider stories in several interviews. For me, besides being a way out of the corner I’d backed myself into, it was a question of balance and fairness.

Looking back on my body of work, “fairness” and “redemption” are key themes in many of my stories. Though, clearly, those are alien concepts to Shooter and too many other editors and publishers. One good thing about not working in comics at present is that I don’t have to deal with the likes of Shooter and those too many others.

Since you’re here, Mr. Isabella, how was the story going to wrap up originally? I gather the Friend would have intervened, but I’d love more detail.

This seems pretty trivial after the last comment but didn’t Jesus make an appearance in What If #32 (1982), the issue where Korvac destroys the universe? Korvac blocked Zeus from leaving Olympus and Odin from crossing the Rainbow Bridge to stop them from avenging Hercules and Thor. Then he blocked all other gods from reaching Earth, including an individual who looked very much like Ghost Rider’s friend.

Maybe this was meant to be somebody else or maybe just a face in the crowd in one panel wasn’t considered that important.

BeccaBlast: Well, the idea of making Rama into a love interest for Diana was pretty offensive, because his marriage to Sita is so central to his religious significance in Hinduism.

Using figures from living religions is a much trickier thing than using gods whose worship died out a long time ago (even if they’ve been revived in some form by neo-pagans). And if course it’s not like the Greek gods didn’t misbehave all the time anyway…

Fraser…I would have thought I’d mentioned that in one interview or another. However, since I like to keep the good stuff for my own blog, you’ll have to go there for my answer…sometime next week. I’m trying to clear my desk for some new projects this week.

It’s quite possible you have–my following of interviews even regarding writers/series I like is very hit-or-miss. But I’ll definitely check out your blog.

I think I would have to go with Gooz, ie if you include a Judeo-Christian sort of mythology you both irritate Jews and Christians bothered by blasphemy and non-believers like myself. I always preferred the much more abstract and disinterested higher power above Eternity, represented by the Living Tribunal (Or, you know, Jack Kirby from Waid’s ‘Fantastic Four’ to a literal or perhaps ‘literal’ Jesus (looking like the average renaissance painting of a bearded, blue eyed white guy, natch) showing up in Marvel comics.

I mean, it’s bad enough having fans disagree about who is more powerful, Odin or Galactus. ‘Nah, Mohammed could totally take Galactus! Let’s draw a comic about that! I can’t see any problem there!’

As to the depicted mythological Pantheons supposedly being safe by being based on extinct religions, I haven’t read Wonder Woman, but I know Vishnu showed up in ‘Thor #300,’ as one of the older ‘sky fathers,’ but Yahweh, Mohammed and Jesus Christ were noticeably absent.

I’m always interested when someone calls Jim Shooter a liar. They tend to either a) not be specific about what he’s supposedly lying about, b) not have any proof one way or the other, or c) represent a difference of opinion as “lying”. It seems easy to get away with because he’s got so many enemies in comics.

In this case, Shooter seems to have ‘fessed up to misstating “born again” status. That said, he’s stated clearly his concerns about the story were vetted with Marv & Stan and he didn’t just change it unilaterally. So what did he lie about? or is this just another “Mean ol’ Jim Shooter changed my story and I hate him” thing?

It seems like story after story of creators complaining about Shooter are mostly about him fulfilling his role as Editor-in-Chief and looking out for company’s interest in the characters and properties instead of letting the writers/artists do whatever the hell they want…

Thank you, buttler; like most Westerners, including apparently Eric Luke, I know just enough to get me into trouble. I appreciate the information.

Of course, John Ostrander’s Spectre was solidly in the Christian framework (even if Jesus didn’t show up) but I think it worked.

Like I said earlier, I’m not a Christian, but I do like how Tony Isabella wrote that, with a laid back, somewhat familiar figure coming by and helping out with the overt, over the top spirit of all evil. Didn’t need a blaze of trumpets or running around judging the quick and the dead or anything, just helping out.

On the other hand, and again I’m not a Christian, isn’t it pretty much a central tenet of Christianity that Jesus is only coming back once, and once he does, it’s all um….blazing trumpets and winnowing the quick and the dead? Where does wandering around like a hippy in the 1970’s come in?

I mean, sorry if that came out wrong, I understand literary license and all. Never mind, really. Just wondering, wondered if it contributed anything to the conversation. Probably not.

phred, I think you make a good point.

As to whether Tony Isabella was “born again” or not, I think the term “born again” is often used casually to mean “evangelical.” I suspect Shooter was bothered by what he saw as Isabella’s proselytizing. By focusing on whether the term “born again” was used in a technically correct sense, Isabella is dodging the real point of contention, i.e., who is actually responsible for the decision to rewrite his story, and why was that decision made.

Phred, I don’t think it’s contra-Biblical to have Jesus staying fairly low-key until the big reveal (this statement is, of course, debatable depending on individual or sectarian interpretations of the New Testament). For that matter, I’m not sure there’s anything that specifically rules out Jesus popping in from Heaven to help people out.
And of course, comic-book theology often has Christian trappings (Heaven, Hell, and DC has purgatory and Lucifer the fallen angel) but not the underpinnings. You can come back from heaven. You can escape damnation to Hell, often just by leaving it physically. Which region of the afterlife you go to has more to do with being a good person than your personal belief in Jesus.
So Jesus not following a literal Biblical path might violate Christianity here but not in the DCU or the MU.

When I read this arc as part of the essential volumes, I just assumed Satan was lying about the Friend, since, y’know, he LIES for a living.

Then again, the whole arc didn’t make much sense to me as a whole.

Yes, that occurred to me–it obviously fits in with this demon’s power growing the more invincible GR thinks he is.

I’m glad Tony was able to write a spiritually-driven story unhindered in the recent Grim Ghost miniseries published by Atlas Comics…

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-grim-ghost-published-atlas-comics-review-10909531.html?cat=38

If you haven’t gotten it already, it is well worth checking out. I highly recommend it.

Fraser, well, I definitely would like to hear more about what a wider sample of Christians would feel about it, but you are definitely right about one thing; Christianity is definitely weird in the DCU. Of course,I’m waiting for the in -universe creation of a church that believes that the entire of time and space is dictated by a random group of people who write and draw the lives of all human beings, and that a coming judgment day will soon decide who gets to live, who gets to die, and who is erased from all of history.

Hmmm, I just used the word ‘definitely’ a lot there. Probably looking for anything resembling a definitive definition in comics has driven me insane. Or at least that’s where I’m going to place the blame.

Phred, I remember after Dormammu sucks our dimension into his in the Avengers/Defenders crossover in the 1970s, there’s a caption noting that most of the universe will never find out what the hell happened. Rereading that as an adult, I imagined doomsday cults popping up among the Skrull, Kree, Shi’ar etc. trying to make sense of it.

sandwich eater

April 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I think having Jesus in GR was problematic. He basically served as a “deus ex machina.” A comic involving Satan as a villain is much less likely to offend then one with Jesus as a character. Also depicting Jesus in the Marvel Universe puts him on the same level as Odin or Zeus. It’s ok to mine extinct religions for stories in comics, but you risk offending people when you use current religions.

I do remember seeing some letters complaining about Thor being called a “god” in early issues of Avengers, and the editor or whoever wrote the responses said that they meant “god” only in the mythological sense and they didn’t mean for Thor to be a divine being. I kind of like the Marvel Cinematic universe approach to Norse gods being advanced aliens who were worshipped by primitive humans. The Stargate Movie and TV shows did this too, but in Stargate they make almost no references to the origins of modern religions.

The way Isabella handled the “friend” in the first appearance, I think it worked well.

I know that all the “pagan” deities insist they’re gods but not God, but since they’re all capable of gathering the souls of their worshippers, they’re definitely not just aliens either. Which is good–the mythological gods of Thor work better in the MU than the Eternals ever did (I’m pretty sure rereading the original ETERNALS that Kirby had no intention of making them part of the same universe).

Roquefort Raider

April 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

What a crappy retcon… I remember reading the first part way back when, and the appearance of an unnamed Jesus fit perfectly well with the Judeo-Christian mythology that served as Marvel’s supernatural playground (with Ghost Rider, but also with Daimon Hellstrom). Sure, it would have been dangerous to rely too much on this “friend”, but then it’s a given that God moves in mysterious ways… and since our long haired rescuer had not actually been named, it was always possible to explain any contradictions down the line by saying “maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t”.

Agreed. “Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t” is a lot better way of handling it.

[…] We have absolutely no clue where this artwork comes from, but one can only presume that some confused Sunday school class somewhere is learning that the Three Wise Men once battled the Sinister Six and that Lazarus has a mutant healing factor. I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that Ghost Rider is also good pals with messiah figures. […]

Even comics legend (and homophobe ? but that’s another story) Jack T Chick depicts Christ as being able to cancel out contracts with Satan. I don’t think it contradicts with the character’s canon.
Still, crossovers like this are in murky territory anyway, canonwise.

ZZZ: How about Judaism? On Shooter’s homepage, he writes: “Stan and everyone else in the office I spoke to at that time opposed the “Christianization” of the Marvel Universe, that is having Jesus Christ established as a character and Satan clearly characterized as the Christian Satan.”
As much as I love JC, you gotta respect Stan the Man!

(BTW the question mark in my last comment was submitted as a unicode sad face.)

Joseph Schroeder

June 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Interestingly enough, Marv Wolfman later did an extended sequence of stories in Tomb of Dracula where Jesus, or a portait representing him, played a significant role in opposign Dracula.

The thing they left out was, that the Jesus character ended up being an illusion created by Satan to give Johnny false hope.

Actually the pages above point that out quite clearly.

Wow, this is like an earlier version of the JMS/Quesada “One More Day” debacle. A writer’s final story being taken over by the editor-in-chief with theological/canonical arguments over who this devil-like character really is and what he’s up to. And in an issue of The Sensational Spider-Man just prior to OMD (#40), Peter met a very Christ-like figure and almost had a happy ending.

@phred, Since you asked… you’re referring to the Day of Judgement as depicted in The Book of Revelation and prophesied by Jesus himself in the Gospels. Although many Christians interpret this literally as the “second” (and final) coming of Jesus, there is biblical precedence for Jesus making a number of brief, post-resurrection appearances to his people. There is also the teaching of the indwelling Christ, his living Spirit which motivates regular people toward simple acts of kindness. In this particular instance it seems the identity of “the friend” was left ambiguous enough not to offend or defend anyone’s particular religious beliefs.

Personally, I think it’s kinda cool that Jesus showed up a few times to give Johnny Blaze a hand. Until now, I was only aware of more recent stories (by Ennis, Way and Aaron) where Ghost Rider explores Heaven as well as Hell. Call it deus ex machina or divine intervention, I have no problem with it as long as it is used sparingly and interestingly.

pyro – thanks for the info, seems like a reasonable argument.

ma ghost rider banna chati ho

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