Ghost Rider Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

The Fifth Color | The new image of old Marvel

silversurfer_basicIconic comic characters mostly rely on their looks. This isn’t as shallow as it seems, as comics are inherently a visual medium. It’s why Cable’s creation tends to be attributed to Rob Liefeld rather than Louise Simonson. The best characters have timeless looks, the kind of visual appeal that will work no matter when you’re introduced to him. It’s one of the reasons Spider-Man keeps coming back to the classic red-and-blue costume; he can have a bunch of different costumes, but there’s only one real one.

Two characters who are just as iconic in appearance are Silver Surfer and Ghost Rider. Here in California, there’s barely a beach bum out on the waves that doesn’t know the shiny silver visage of the Silver Surfer. Bikers and tough guys near and far love the Ghost Rider’s signature skull. And yet, for all their visual popularity, I’d be hard pressed to find someone who knows exactly who these characters are. Norrin Radd isn’t a household name, after all. Defining Ghost Rider’s powers gets a little tricky for the average Joe once you move past “His skull is on fire.” There’s just a lot of detail missing from the public perception of who these characters are, but they still remain popular.

Trust me, we all know what it looks like when the characters don’t work, so what do what is it that’s essential for them to make it?

WARNING: We talk vaguely about the new Silver Surfer #1 and All-New Ghost Rider #1, but nothing major is spoiled.  Still, grab a copy and read along!

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What all’s All-New this week? ‘Ghost Rider’ and ‘Silver Surfer’

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It’s another week, which means a new batch of Marvel series launched as part of the publisher’s “All-New Marvel NOW!” initiative showed up at my local comics shop: Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore’s All-New Ghost Rider, Ales Kott and Garry Brown’s Iron Patriot, and Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer.

I read two out of the three, as those were the most visually interesting, and seemed to be part of the initiative’s guiding principals: matching striking talents with lower-tier characters for idiosyncratic takes that veer away from the “typical” Marvel comic. Also, those were the two that featured characters who haven’t had a shot at their own book for a longer while. (Sorry, Iron Patriot, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m sure there are plenty of other critics willing to review you).

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Comics A.M. | DC, Marvel shut out of February bookstore chart

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

Graphic novels | Marvel and DC Comics may dominate the direct market but the bookstore channel is another story: As ICv2 points out, neither publisher landed a title on Nielsen BookScan’s list of the 20 top-selling graphic novels in February. Instead, here’s what it looked like: six volumes of The Walking Dead, six volumes of Attack on Titan, two volumes of Saga, and single volumes of some well-established titles Locke & Key, Bleach, Naruto, Adventure Time and Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the adaptation of the novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. That makes Image Comics the winner of the month, followed by Kodansha Comics, and the list is heavy on books with tween and teen appeal. [ICv2]

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Best of 7 | Hooked on a Feeling, rockin’ with Loki and more

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Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out.

This time around Carla lovingly tackles the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, with a shout-out to Rocket Raccoon co-creator Bill Mantlo, while Tim remembers Dwayne McDuffie, who would have celebrated a birthday last week. Plus there’s frozen bromance, rockin’ gods, Daredevil #36 and more. So let’s get to it …

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Marvel & ‘Lowrider Magazine’ gear up for ‘All-New Ghost Rider’

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To help promote its All-New Ghost Rider, which introduces a new Spirit of Vengeance with a new vehicle, Marvel is turning to some folks who know a little bit stylish rides: the editors of Lowrider Magazine.

As part of a new partnership, new Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider (and a scantily clad friend) will grace the cover of the magazine’s special April issue, “Marvelous Mayhem,” with an illustration by series writer Felipe Smith. Inside, readers will find an interview with Smith and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, as well as artwork by Tradd Moore from All-New Ghost Rider #1.

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Report Card | ‘King’s Watch,’ the Riddler and more

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Welcome to “Report Card,” our week-in-review feature. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is typically a look back at the top news stories of the previous week, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read.

So read on to find out what we thought about Brain Boy, King’s Watch and more

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Ghost Rider lawsuit heads to trial in November

marvel spotlight5Marvel will defend its ownership of Ghost Rider before a jury after a federal judge on Thursday set a Nov. 4 trial for writer Gary Friedrich’s lawsuit against the publisher.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest made the order a little more than two weeks after the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned her 2011 decision rejecting Friedrich’s claims that the copyright to the Spirit of Vengeance reverted to him a decade earlier. According to Deadline, Marvel’s lawyers indicated Thursday in a conference meeting that they won’t challenge the appeals court ruling, and will file a motion for a jury trial.

Friedrich, long credited as co-creator of the character with Roy Thomas and Mike Ploog, filed the lawsuit in April 2007, shortly after the release of Columbia Pictures’ Ghost Rider movie, accusing the studio, Marvel, Hasbro and other companies of copyright infringement, false advertising and unfair competition, among other counts. The film grossed $228 million worldwide; the 2012 sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, earned $132.5 million.

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Digital painter Clayton Crain opens up with ‘Evolver’ art book

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Washington-based artist Clayton Crain has carved out a niche for himself in comics over the past 15 years with his distinctive, sinewy digital art on the likes of Ghost Rider, X-Force and Carnage. But that wasn’t always his style, and he wants to pull back the curtain to show his evolution as an artist in a new book called Evolver.

Announced today with a a Kickstarter campaign, Evolver is a 48-page hardcover profiling Crain’s work from the age of 15 all the way to his current output for Valiant. The 8-inch by12-inch book will include sketchwork, high school-era art and excerpts from Crain’s forthcoming creator-owned Into a Rift. His influences are deep in the vein of Todd McFarlane and Henry Stinson, and this book will show you Crain’s dynamic evolution from his high-school days as an early Image fanboy into the 2000s, where he found his own signature style and even did work alongside McFarlane. Crain hopes to raise $10,400 by Aug. 10, and have the finished book available in November.

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‘We conclude that the contract language is ambiguous’

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Art by Mike Ploog

“We conclude that the contract language is ambiguous and that genuine disputes of material fact, as to the parties’ intent and other issues, preclude thee granting of judgment as a matter of law.”

– from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals order vacating a 2011 ruling that writer Gary Friedrich had handed over the rights to Ghost Rider to Marvel in the 1970s, and remanding the case to trial. It represents a rare, if possibly only temporary, victory for creators (or their heirs) in a legal battle to reclaim the copyright to a comic-book property. It also thrusts into the spotlight the oft-discussed standard contacts of the era, which frequently involved relinquishing copyright simply by endorsing checks.

Six characters we’d like to see get their own Marvel MAX series

LOGO Marvel Max

Debuting in 2001, Marvel’s MAX line was an attempt to draw a clear line between its vaguely older-teen comics and distinctly “adult” titles featuring some of the well, edgier, characters from its library. The imprint largely excelled at that, with the flagship Alias, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, and Garth Ennis’ takes on Nick Fury and the Punisher. However, in recent years it’s become a shadow of its former self, existing solely to carry Ennis’ recent return to Fury, and the noble but ill-fitting Wolverine MAX. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have a revival.

In today’s Six by 6, I look at six characters that straddle the fence separating “popular” from “popular enough to carry their own series in the long-term” that would do well to take a trip to the MAX line. Some are no-brainers, while others might surprise you.

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Six by 6 | Six characters M.I.A. in Marvel NOW!

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Marvel’s turning over a new leaf, so to speak, as it enters the Marvel NOW! era. But in that amid the flurry of new titles, new line-ups and new creators, we’re finding some notable absences — notable to us at least. While some missed heroes like Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Mockingbird have popped up in cameos here and there, there are still a significant number of popular players waiting to be brought onto the field. In this installment of “Six by 6,” we suss out six such characters and zero in on their last whereabouts, and where some of them might show up next.

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The comic book LP cover art parodies of Uwe De Witt


German artist Uwe De Witt draws mainstream comics characters in an expressionistic but commercial style. He’s clearly a fan of the comics from the schools of Ben Templesmith, Bill Sienkiewicz and Simon Bisley. As well as publishing new images of Spawn every Monday, he regularly posts pastiches of old album art with comic book characters inserted into them. Some work better than others, when the original cover image and character choice make sense together, or as a visual pun: other times it’s just drawing bloomin’ X-Force for its own sake, really. But when it works, it really works. More examples below. (via Dangerous Minds)

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Marvel tells appeals court Friedrich signed away Ghost Rider rights

Marvel on Monday urged the Second Circuit to deny Gary Friedrich’s attempt to revive his copyright claims to Ghost Rider, reiterating that the writer no only signed away his rights to the character three decades earlier but waited too long to file his lawsuit.

Friedrich sued Marvel, Columbia Pictures and Hasbro, among others, shortly after the 2007 release of the first Ghost Rider movie, insisting he had regained the copyright to the fiery Spirit of Vengeance some six years earlier. He argued he created Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in 1968 and later agreed to publish the character through Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment. Under the agreement, the publisher held the copyright to the character’s origin story in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5, and to subsequent Ghost Rider works. However, Friedrich alleged the company never registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, permitting the rights to revert to him in 2001.

In December 2011, a federal judge rejected Friedrich’s lawsuit, finding the writer gave up ownership to the property when he endorsed checks that contained language relinquishing rights to Marvel’s predecessors. The judge said Friedrich signed over all claims to the character in 1971 and again in 1978 in exchange for the possibility of more freelance work for the publisher. (Two months later, Marvel agreed to abandon its 2010 countersuit accusing Friedrich of trademark infringement if the writer would pay $17,000 in damages and stop selling unauthorized Ghost Rider merchandise.)

The writer appealed in July, arguing the court erred in ruling that the language on the back of Marvel paychecks in the early 1970s and in the 1978 contract were sufficient to constitute transfer of copyright. However, his attorney also reasserts the claim that the agreement was entered into under duress, with Friedrich told “if I wanted to continue to work for Marvel that I would have to sign it.”

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Gary Friedrich appeals Ghost Rider ruling

Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich has appealed a December 2011 court ruling that he gave up all claims to the fiery spirit of vengeance when he endorsed checks from Marvel’s predecessor 40 years ago.

The writer filed a lawsuit in April 2007, shortly after the release of Columbia Pictures’ Ghost Rider movie, accusing the studio, Marvel, Hasbro and other companies of copyright infringement, false advertising and unfair competition, among other counts, contending he had regained the copyright to the character some six years earlier. Friedrich argued he created Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in 1968 and later agreed to publish the character through Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment. Under the agreement, the publisher held the copyright to the character’s origin story in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5, and to subsequent Ghost Rider works. However, Friedrich alleged the company never registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, permitting the rights to revert to him in 2001.

Marvel fired back in 2010, accusing Friedrich of violating its trademark by using the phrase “Ghost Rider” and selling unauthorized posters, cards and T-shirts online and at comic conventions. In December 2011, a federal judge rejected Friedrich’s lawsuit, finding the writer gave up ownership to the property when he endorsed checks that contained language relinquishing rights to Marvel’s predecessors. The judge said Friedrich signed over all claims to the character in 1971 and again in 1978 in exchange for the possibility of more freelance work for the publisher. Two months later, Marvel agreed to abandon its countersuit if Friedrich would pay $17,000 in damages and stop selling unauthorized Ghost Rider merchandise, a move that drew sharp criticism from creators and fans alike.

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Comic Couture | Bissette, Veitch, more create shirt to support Gary Friedrich

Following efforts by Steve Niles, James Stokoe, Brandon Graham and Neal Adams, the T-shirt site World of Strange is offering a T-shirt that supports Gary Friedrich, following his loss in court to Marvel.

According to the site, “Profits from this shirt will go directly to Gary in order to support him with rising medical costs, legal fees and penalties paid to Marvel Comics.” The artwork features skulls drawn by Billy Tackett, Stephen Bissette, Rick Veitch, Bob Burden, Nathan Thomas Milliner, Sam Flegal and Denis St. John. The shirt costs $11.99 and can be purchased on their site.


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