Friday, August 19, 2016

Marvel Spotlight #5

Marvel - Aug. 1972

Key Issue Notes
First appearance and Origin of Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze)
First appearance of Crash Simpson
First appearance of Mona Simpson
First appearance of Roxanne Simpson
First appearance of Zarathos

By now, we've all heard about Ghost Rider appearaning in the next season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but it's not the version that appears in this comic. If you'd like to read more about the version that will be on the show, you can read about him here.

Imagine, if you will, that you're a comic artist in the early 70's, and you've been given the task of creating a new character. Where else are you going to draw your inspiration from besides real life. As you sit down to watch T.V. or read the newspaper, you hear about this daredevil on a motorcycle named Evel Knievel, and you get the beginnings of the character you're going to create. Now, that's probably not how it happened, but it seem plausible enough.

Actually, Ghost Rider is based off of the character Stunt Master that was created by Roy Thomas. The villain know as Stunt Master is a motorcycle stuntman that went up against Daredevil. He made his first appearance in Daredevil #58, which was published in 1969.

Sometime later, Gary Friedrich approached Thomas to talk with him about creating another motorcycle riding villain. So both of the writers, along with artist Mike Ploog, came up with the idea of Ghost Rider.

Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider
There have been many incarnations of Ghost Rider, but the original is known as Johnny Blaze. In this issue of Marvel Spotlight, we learn how Johnny became the iconic character with the flaming skull. His origin would be expanded on in later issues, but let's start out with what happened in this issue.

After the death of his father, Barton Blaze, due a motorcycle stunt gone wrong, Johnny was taken in by Crash and Mona Simpson, and they raised him as their own son. The Simpsons (Crash and Mona, not Homer and Marge) were also a family of motorcycle daredevils.

Many years later, Crash Simpson develops cancer. Now, Johnny is devastated by this news and he will do anything to try and save his foster father. After doing a little research, he turns to the only thing that he can think of that could help him, Satan. So, Johnny makes a deal with the Devil to save Crash from the cancer in exchange for his eternal soul, but when you make a deal with the Prince of Darkness, there's always a catch. 

Roxanne and Crash Simpson
Satan kept his word and cured Simpson's cancer, but Crash crashes and is killed in his next motorcycle stunt show. And there you have it, that's how Johnny Blaze becomes the Ghost Rider. On a side note, Satan is revealed to be Mephisto in disguise in a later comic. Mephisto makes his first appearance is in Silver Surfer #3.

Now let's finish up the key issue notes. We'll start with Roxanne Simpson. She is the daughter of Crash and Nora Simpson and the love interest of Johnny Blaze. You could have probably guessed that she was related to Crash and Nora, since they share the same last name.

Finally, there is the demon Zarathos. He is a servant of Mephisto's and is forced to bond with Johnny Blaze after the deal to save Crash Simpson from cancer was made. He is the reason that Johnny turns into the Ghost Rider at night.
Values for Marvel Spotlight #5 on GoCollect

I was looking to snag a copy of this comic a few years ago but I missed out on it. Sales prices were fairly reasonable about three years ago, but in late 2014 and in early 2015, prices seemed to shoot through the roof. In June 2013, a CGC 9.4 NM copy sold on eBay for $1145. Now fast forward to the latest sale in April of this year for $2050. Other grades have seen similar value rises as well. 7.5 VF- copies have shot from $212.50 in April 2013, all the way up to $585 on Aug. 11th. This latest sale is after the confirmation that Ghost Rider would be appearing on T.V.. The sale previous to that was in May before the announcement and it dropped for $399.

I'm sure now that values for this comic are an the rise, more and more people are sending in copies to be graded. At the time of this writing there are 1762 copies listed on the CGC census, but you can expect that to change fairly quickly. Most of these copies are between 7.0 F/VF to 9.0 VF/NM. There are three copies that are graded a highest 9.8 NM/M. There was a copy at this grade that sold on Heritage Auctions for a staggering $13,145 back in Aug. 2013, just about a year before a lot of other grades started to see significant increases in values.

If you have a copy of Marvel Spotlight #5, you may want to either get it graded, or throw it on the market, or both. We are seeing sales prices continue to rise and you could make a healthy sum of cash if you do. If you're looking to buy, you may want wait and see if prices start to come down after the hype. But it the prices continue to rise, you may be kicking yourself in the ass for not jumping on it when you had the chance, like I am.

Find a copy here
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  1. Wish Agents of SHIELD would've went with the original version. I would've even settled for Danny Ketch, but with Ghost Rider in the mix, maybe Blaze will show up in a future episode. Still would've liked Netflix to have worked on Ghost Rider.

  2. My only hope, is that they use the look of the original ghost rider. I think that would look good on either a bad ass motorcycle, or in a flaming Charger. I'll be very disappointed if they use the new look. You never know, I mean, look what they did with Deathlok.