Ghost Rider #1, Marvel Comics, September 1973
Recently a discussion arose at the shop about the upcoming Doctor Strange movie. We were talking about how a whole new genre of Marvel movies would come out of a successful Doc Strange release.
Will a successful Doc Strange launch a whole new series of supernatural themed Marvel movies? That’s what some are saying so for this week’s Spotlight I thought I’d try and pick out a comic that could potentially benefit from the birth of this new series of films.
This week the Undervalued Spotlight shines on Ghost Rider #1 the comic that features the 1st appearance of Damion Hellstrom a.k.a. the Son of Satan. I’ll note that the Guide lists this issue as a brief appearance giving Ghost Rider #2 credit as the 1st full appearance (pick #2 up as well as it too is most certainly undervalued). Ghost Rider #1 is not Hulk #180 though folks, the character appears in multiple panels over multiple pages in different parts of the story and is an integral part of the story.
The Son of Satan is a part of a rich Marvel stable of macabre/supernatural characters. You have some public domain characters like Dracula and Werewolf mixing it up with Marvel creations like Man-Wolf and Morbius, Brother Voodoo, Man-Thing and more! I’m getting excited already.
We should quickly throw a shout out to Spotlight #197 that featured a comic that helped usher in this spooky era.
Son of Satan was actually a big hit; after Ghost Rider #2 the story continued in Marvel Spotlight #12. Son of Satan ran for 13 issues in Spotlight ending with issue #24. Sales were so good Marvel moved the character over into his own title. Son of Satan #1 launched in Dec 1975.
It’s interesting that the book I’ve chosen has been a Bronze Age staple of years: from 2004 to 2008 this was one hot book trading at levels close to double what the book was commanding last year. But those mid 2000s values were driven by Ghost Rider alone. I’m betting the Son of Satan breathes new life into an old favorite.
Ghost Rider #1 has just started heating up so I hope I haven’t not left this too late. Your best bet may be to hunt this book down at a local comic shop or at a comic con. Ghost Rider #1 is not a hard issue to find but they do tend to get scarce in the 9.2 and above grades, thanks in part to that black cover.
The 45th Overstreet price breaks for this book is $110/$243/$375 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.
Strengths that make this comic a good long-term investment are:
- First appearance Damion Hellstrom the Son of Satan
- Snuggled into an already in demand Marvel Bronze Age #1
Marvel is reprinting this (along with #2) in the TPB “Son of Satan – Classic” in the fall, so they must know there’s a market for the character. Both issues also have great covers. Have you had a lot of Ghost Rider collectors over the years, Walt? I always liked the character since my older brother had the last bunch of issues of the series that ended at #81…until I absorbed them into my collection. Do you remember how huge the “new” GR was in the early ’90s? He is underrated now because of the Nicholas Cage movies.
I think you are right Odinson, I think the whole Cage thing hurt the character and the supporting characters. I see a bounce back as perhaps Marvel starts assimilating these characters into their upcoming films.
Walt, you have me wondering if Disney would ever use Son of Satan in the MCU. Sure, Fantasia and Sleeping Beauty had hell and demonic themes, but that was a more experimental and artistic time under Walt Disney himself. It seems they would be risk averse and avoid upsetting their Captain America fanbase in the bible belt 😉 They won’t even show cigarette smoking in the Disney movies. Ghost Rider and Blade, however, are just too popular to let go to waste. Surprisingly, GR is a character in the now-cancelled Disney Infinity game. I would LOVE to see Disney expand the entire line of Marvel’s Bronze Age monster/horror properties to cinema. Give the Universal Monsters a run for their money.
Netflix could be a home for Son of Satan, linking the mystic side of their movie universe to their TV universe, as Agents of Shield does for their non-mystical superhero mainstream universe. Just a thought.
Yeah, I think they will start rolling out their Bronze Age supernatural stuff in a coordinated push – readcomix may have a point that it might be TV too.
Dr. Strange and Ghost Rider are just so lame. Why would you give them any attention?
They were weak ideas back in the beginning.
I always thought that about Ghost Rider too, but I disagree about Dr. Strange. I DO think he is a high-risk character for their movie franchise in that if they pepper his flick, like the others, with “Easter eggs” designed to set the stage for a whole realms of magic aspect to their cinematic universe and it bombs, they have effectively staked treacherous ground.
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