Monday, October 20, 2014

Arc of Triumph? Daredevil 138 and Ghost Rider 20

Doug: I recall buying these two issues around August of 1976 while staying for a week with my aunt and uncle in the western suburbs of Chicago. They had a 7-11 about a block from their home. Not only was it my haunt for comics, but Slurpee cups as well! This 2-parter contained two of my favorite characters in DD and Ghost Rider (I really only warmed to him due to his appearances in the Champions mag), and the John Byrne art was no small attraction, too! What are your memories of this little tale?


Humanbelly said...

GR's tagline from this period has always (even at the time) caused me to roll my eyes with its sort of low-bar, chasing-the-trend empty hype. Even a 12-year-old can recognize that "Supernatural" isn't an adjective that can be properly attached to a quantifier (as it were). "MOST" Supernatural-? What, so other supernatural characters are then measured against him? Werewolf by Night would be only. . . 85% supernatural?? Tigra at 50%? And. . . he's more supernatural than Dr Strange???

But I quibble (as I often do. . . )

I'm afraid I wasn't buying DD at all during this period, and only a smattering of GR before this, so I can't weigh in on the story at all. That skeletal horse, though--- MAN that must have been a chore for the artists! "He's riding a WHAT, now? Really? Am I gettin' overtime for this-??"


Dr. Oyola said...

So this was a story that started in one titled and ended in another?

I didn't think they started doing that until the 80s.

Humanbelly said...

Oh, no, no-- they'd toyed w/ that kind of thing a number of times over the years-- although maybe the stories were somewhat more self-contained for the appropriate title. The first one that springs to mind is the Avengers/Incredible Hulk crossover that featured Psyklop (and the first appearance of Jarella and her world).

I do feel like even these simple two-issue crossovers of that time, though, were treated as a significant "event". . . that they actually were a special occurrence.


Anonymous said...

The weirdest thing about this story to me was Marv Wolfman's(who scripted these stories) dialogue for Johnny Blaze. All of a sudden, Johnny's talking like a cowpoke--
dropping his "g"s and saying "pardner" every other sentence.

Karen said...

"So this was a story that started in one titled and ended in another?

I didn't think they started doing that until the 80s."

I am steeped in the Avengers-Defenders War right now, and that was 1973. Not sure if it was the absolute first cross-over series, but I know Roy Thomas didn't want to do it because he was afraid one book would get off-schedule and throw the whole thing out of whack.

Anonymous said...

First and foremost, allow me to give Groovy and his website my undying gratitude. He has both of these issues available on his site which is the only way I read these.

B) Marvel having crossovers within their titles was not new. In many of my Essentials, I'll have a copy of Daredevil in my Iron Man volume because that's how the story went. And such as and so forth......

3-ly) That being said, you would think a two parter, actually, I think it's a three parter since the story began in Ghost Rider 19, written by the same guy, Marvelous Marv Wolfman, and drawn by the same guy, Joltin' John Byrne (though inked by different guys) would have some consistency, somewhere.

The story begins with Matt flying to Los Angeles to investigate the kidnapping/disappearance of one erstwhile model/actress Karen Page. The story begins in the middle of the action with DD stumbling into a robbery being committed by Lei-Kung, K'un Lun's The Thunderer. No, wait a minute, Byrne's swiping himself and reusing a character design. It's not The Thunderer, it's The Smasher. The Smasher is working for Death's Head. The Smasher doesn't want Death's Head touching The Smasher so The Smasher does what Death's Head tells The Smasher to do. The Smasher beats DD unconscious, takes The Smasher's booty and departs.

Cut to Ghost Rider visiting Karen Page in the hospital, only he keeps calling her Roxy. She loves him, he loves her, she hears concern in his voice for another........

Anyhoo, Ghost Rider goes to search for Karen, finds some drug smugglers, talks about whipping up a flame cycle but still rides his regular bike, gets accused of hidden flamethrowers, finds a shirtless Stunt Master and they go riding off together.

Daredevil escapes from a dark room, evades machine guns, and finds Karen Page. He knows it's her by her heartbeat. Karen almost calls him "Ma..." but changes it to Daredevil. Death's Head bursts onto the scene. Daredevil recognizes his voice........... end of issue.

The Prowler (heartbeat, I'm looking for a heartbeat, heartbeat, I'm looking for a heartbeat).

Anonymous said...

Now for the rest of the story:

Wolfman backs us up in Ghost Rider, I assume, and yes I know what happens when you assume, for readers who didn't pick up Daredevil 138. We jump back to Ghost Rider and Stunt Master teaming up, yet somehow Stunt Master now has a shirt? Now we cut to Matt and Karen and she clearly, and I do mean CLEAR-LEE, calls him Matt. Then later, starts to call him "Ma..." before changing it to Daredevil. She slyly describes what's going on in the room to Daredevil since she knows there things he can't "see". Enter Death's Head, Ghost Rider and the Stunt-Master, there's a Donny brook and Death's Head escapes. Later, Johnny goes to visit Roxy in the hospital only it's Karen Page. No, really, look, Byrne keeps drawing Karen when it should be Roxy and Roxy when it should be Karen. Matt comes up with the clever ploy to walk Karen through the park to draw out Death's Head and The Thunderer, I mean, The Smasher. You see, walking in the park works to bring out the bad guys, see issues of Iron Fist. There's another big fight, Daredevil tosses The Smasher into Death's Head, who we now know is the Death Stalker (duh duh duuuuh). DS kills TS and now facea Ghost Rider and Daredevil. Death Stalker attempts to kill Ghost Rider but can't get past his Most Supernaturalness. When all appears lost, Death Stalker shifts gears and vanishes. Matt renews his promise to always be there if Karen ever needs him....

You know, there's a whole bunch of soap opera in Marvel comics. I never realized how much sighing, looking away with tear filled eyes and releasing someone to go be with another there was. You can look back at it now and say it's corny, but dagnabbit, there was a lot of story in these stories.

Last point, I don't think I ever saw Ghost Rider on a flame cycle....maybe the cover?

The Prowler (It's close to midnight something evil's lurkin' in the dark under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops your heart you try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it you start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes you're paralyzed).

Anonymous said...

Doug and Karen/Karen and Doug, you sly dogs you. This was a great job setting up today's post.

You started us off with two parters in the same title. First The Avengers and then Iron Fist. Also, Daredevil has a one panel cameo in The Avengers story and Matt Murdock, with his main girl Heather, has a cameo in Iron Fist. So subtle, yet right there for all to see.

Now in this two parter, it's two different titles, yet it features, Daredevil, who Karen keeps calling Matt or "Ma...".

Well played my good sirs, and sirettes, well played. I doth doff my cap to thee. Golly good. Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah!!!!

The Prowler (It's much too late to find when you think you've changed your mind you'd better change it back or we will both be sorry).

Doug said...

Prowler, ol' boy, that is some conspiracy theory.

No chance that happened. None. Miss Karen and I would have had to do some serious editorial board a'meetin' in order to pull off something like that!

You have far too much time on your hands...


david_b said...

No memory of this, but I should pick it up.. I'd like to see Byrne on DD, and as for cross-overs, I recall that DD/Doom mind-transfer which bled into the classic FF 73 adding Spidey and Thor (what a conclusion..), so Marvel's been doing crossovers nearly a decade before this.

Love a good crossover, buy the way. Will have to check this out.

Thanks Prowler for spelling the story out, will have to see the art.

Doug said...

In other news, thanks to Osvaldo for tipping us off yesterday that the Recent Comments widget was broken. I've replaced it, and added a new wrinkle in giving each of you Anonymous users a Spidey Signal avatar. If you don't like it, you'll have to join the modern age and put up a picture of your own ugly kisser, or at least switch it every week like David does!


Anonymous said...

Hey now Doug having a Spidey Signal avatar is way cooler than whatever was there before! DD and GR look like they would make a good teamup although I haven't read this particular tale. GR was always one of the best looking heroes in terms of visual appeal; who doesn't like a guy dressed in black leather with a flaming skull riding a motorcycle made out of fire?

- Mike 'hip to be square' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Humanbelly said...

He really is an innately great-looking character, Mike-- you're right. He's actually kinda cooler-looking than the character himself really. . . is (if that makes any sense at all).

The Ghost Rider 10" ToyBiz action figure from 15 years or so ago (when Marvel/ToyBiz had released a BAJILLION of those things) was one of their best.

And ToyBiz also released a line of plastic model kits-- with Ghost Rider being the most difficult AND by far the best.

Marvel tried so hard so many times over the decades to make some iteration of the character "stick" but he's just never had any long-term staying power. IIRC, in the early 90's he lost having a human host completely, and was sort of a displaced, somewhat angst-y, itinerant Spirit of Vengeance Without a Cause. . .


William said...

I never read these when they originally came out, but hunted them both down a couple of years ago because of the Byrne art.

This was a pretty good story with some great art.

david_b said...

Gawwwd, Doug, THANKS for reminding me. I've been remiss.

Doug said...

Seriously, David -- I was hoping when I came to reply you'd have the Batgirl avatar back.

Great minds...


david_b said...

"Got your back, sir....."

Did it JUST for you.

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