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Ghost Rider Blues

February 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm
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So, maybe you’re thinking of going to the movies this weekend, and catching the new GHOST RIDER flick. Hey, why not? Choppers, demons, plenty of action and eye-popping special effects, and Nicholas Cage with his head on fire, this movie has it all.

What it doesn’t have, alas, is a dime for the writer who created the character.

Gary Friedrich is reportedly penniless, sick, and about to lose his house… and he’s just lost the lawsuit he filed, hoping to get back rights to the character, or at least some portion of the millions that Marvel is making off him. In fact, just to salt the wounds, the court ruled he owes Marvel $17,000 for selling unlicensed prints of the Ghost Rider. Here’s the scoop:

So… see the movie, or don’t see the movie, that’s up to you. But whether you do or you don’t, why not donate an amount equal to the cost of admission to the writer without whom there would BE no Ghost Rider:

FWIW, long long ago in a kingdom by the sea, I started as a comics fan… indeed, as a Marvel fanboy, with letters published in FANTASTIC FOUR, AVENGERS, and other Marvel titles. I never much cared for the Ghost Rider in the modern incarnation (motorcycle, head on fire, and all that… the Dread Dormammu from Dr. Strange was always my favorite ‘hey, his head’s on fire’ character), preferring the older western hero who went by the same name). And while I had and have lots of friends in the comics industry, I don’t believe I have met Gary Friedrich.

None of which lessens my sympathy for him. In the summer of 1971, fresh out of Northwestern with a master’s degree in journalism, an Alley Award for my fanzine writing, and my first two short story sales under my belt, I applied for a job as a writer at Marvel Comics. I got as far as a meeting with Roy Thomas at Marvel’s offices in New York, but they did not hire me. If they had, who knows what characters I might have created? If they had, who knows what movies might have been made about those characters forty years later?

So when I read about Gary Friedrich, and others like him, I cannot help but think, “there, but for the grace of the Dread Dormammu, goes me.”

There are lots of talented writers in the world. Not all of them have been as lucky as I have. But with great power comes great responsibility.

Send the guy some bucks, true believers.

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