Monday, January 30, 2017


Since I've devoted some posts to the Real Americans of the 1970s GHOST RIDER comic, I may as well sum up those from Marvel's 1960s version.

I won't recount the history of that Ghost Rider, which I've just discussed here, except to say that although the character was patterned after a 1940s hero published by another company, that 1940s character had no Indians involved in his backstory.

The most important character in the short arc of the 1960s Ghost Rider was Flaming Star, medicine man of the Sioux (not, as Michael Fleischer claimed in a later story, a Comanche). He found the special reflective minerals that made possible the Ghost Rider's spectral illusions and gave Carter Slade the motivation to become a masked do-gooder.

Only in one later issue, #6, does this Ghost Rider face a Native American adversary-- and this transpires immediately after Flaming Star, pleased with his pupil's success as a crimefighter, gives Slade an additional weapon: a "spirit-stone" that can increase a man's strength. But an aggrieved Sioux exile, Towering Oak, shoots Slade from hiding and dons the stone himself. The exile is already a strong fellow, as he stands eight feet tall, but the stone makes him supernaturally strong.

Patently, Slade survives being shot, heals up and takes on Towering Oak in a fight. The hero wins when the power of the stone causes the Indian to have a heart attack, whereon Flaming Star reveals that Towering Oak was his rebellious son. A more skilled author might've made something out of the "sibling rivalry" latent in the relationship of Slade and his opponent, but this was just a standard Western tale, no better or worse than a hundred others.

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