Here's What Happened To The Ghost Rider's Suzuki Hayabusa
No matter how ballsy Ghost Rider copycats become, could anyone’s YouTube feats ever compare to the ones that the original Ghost Rider performed?
It was the early 2000s, and speed freaks the world over were united by the throb of their hearts, all thumping in unison to an unhealthily accelerated beat in their dizzying excitement over the “Ghost Rider.” The pseudonymous, presumably Swedish motorcyclist started circulating footage of his death-defying stunts , performed at police-humiliating speeds on streets all over Europe, in 2002.
And his choice of weapon was a heavily modified Suzuki motorcycle; the almighty Hayabusa. He immediately attained the mythic status and just as swiftly inspired a bevy of copycats. By the time he released his sixth video in 2012, “Ghost Rider 6.66: What the F**k,” the daredevil hooligan’s identity had pretty much been confirmed: the man behind the mask is now commonly accepted to be the former competitive racer/stunt cyclist and mechanic Patrik von Fürstenhoff .
But the true star of all those death-defying videos in the minds of many viewers was not Ghost Rider at all. It was rather his terrifyingly impressive Suzuki Hayabusa, that record-setting, insta-legend speed demon that had European regulators clutching their pearls in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The tale of the bike, alas, comes to a sadder end as a cash-strapped Fürstenhoff allegedly raffled his indomitable two-wheeler off in an internet competition in 2012.
Updated July 2022: We have updated this article about the myth and truth about probably the most infamous Suzuki Hayabusa in the world, and its rider. We also give you insight into what the daredevil is currently up to.
Here’s what happened to Ghost Rider’s Suzuki Hayabusa, from the halcyon times of its illegal heyday to its devastating demise, to its Phoenix-like rebirth.
Ghost Rider’s Super-Tuned Suzuki Hayabusa
The all-black-clad automotive adventurer maniacally maneuvered the streets on several vehicles throughout his filmography. However, Ghost Rider could most often be seen accelerating the bejesus out of either a Suzuki GSX-R1000 or a Suzuki GSX-1300R , his most beloved Busas of all, of which he could be spotted on various year models, each with their unique modifications, natch. For instance, in Ghost Rider Goes Crazy in Europe , our eponymous hero was filmed astride a fully carbon-fiber GSX-R1000 K4.
In next year’s Ghost Rider Goes Undercover , he favored a GSX-R1000 K5 with 280+ brake horsepower. It’s that latter bike that probably won the most hearts and minds among Ghost Rider fans. This wasn’t just any GSX-R1000 K5—it was a very, very special one, built for Ghost Rider with love by MC Xpress, a Sweden-based company founded by racing bike enthusiast and amateur engineer Erik Marklund back in the 1990s.
Though it has but a small team of about nine people, including Alf Sundstrom, the company is considered the ultimate authority when it comes to turbocharging motorcycles and snowmobiles and sells its DIY turbo kits around the world.
Marklund, described by some as “a total madman,” has a global reputation for building explosive bikes, and Fürstenhoff collaborated with him several times when he was still competing on the track (under his name) in the 1990s, breaking several world records with MC Xpress–modified bikes.
Fürstenhoff was hoping to get Marklund and the MC Xpress team to help him create a turbo Hayabusa that would set a new record at Germany’s hellish Nürburgring race. The team famously selected for the task the 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa GSX-R1000 K5, which, out of the factory, had a tested power output of 147.3 hp and measured top speed of something like 178 mph.
With WP forks, ISR brakes, and many, many other modifications, they created a bike that runs 1.2 bar of boost and made up to 500bhp at the rear wheel (though, admittedly, the bike was prone to overheating at that speed). Its top speed was mysteriously reported to be a shiver-inducing “enough.” Fürstenhoff availed himself of the souped-up power-steed for his more illicit exploits in a few of his Ghost Rider videos and was recorded performing a should-be-impossible 211mph wheelie on the bike. (He would end up setting a record for hitting a wheelstand at 215 mph.)
RELATED: 15 Facts About The Suzuki Hayabusa That Most People Don’t Know
2012: Ghost Rider Inexplicably Gives Away His Suzuki Hayabusa
There have been various uncorroborated reports of sporadic arrests, and whether they’re true, he certainly does seem to be having money troubles: in 2015 he had to resort to a Go Fund Me to raise the money to take him to a stunt competition, while another crowdfunded effort to make a new Ghost Rider movie didn’t even get off the ground.
Perhaps it was a similar need for money or just a desperate bid to reclaim some of his early 2000s fame, that led Fürstenhoff to announce, like Ghost Rider, that he was giving his notorious and glorious turbo Suzuki Hayabusa away through a competition on his (now-defunct) website. It was never reported who won that competition, or if he even really gave the bike away or not, so the exact whereabouts of that GSX-R1000 today remains unknown.
RELATED: These Are The Fastest Motorcycles Ever Produced
The Death-Defying Ghost Rider Is Alive And Kicking
Though from time to time rumors of Fürstenhoff a.k.a the original Ghost Rider's death have circulated on various internet forums, a quick Google search reveals he’s still alive and (mostly) well. Though the erstwhile Ghost Rider has made some efforts to get back on the road, it seems his glory days are probably behind him. He is over 50 years old now, and it is also being said that he’s a loving father of two.
He is speculated to now be living a quiet life working at a Subaru dealership in Stockholm. Fürstenhoff, he’s still chasing his need for speed, but maybe just a little slower these days. He posted on Facebook last week that he recently suffered a serious motorcycle accident that has left him in agonizing pain, and will take some time to recover from.
Source: Dailymotion, YouTube. Hayabusa Owners Group
Ghost Rider (2007)
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Director of Nic Cage's 'Ghost Rider' film recalls 'Wild West' era of Marvel movies before the MCU
"It was a very different kind of environment, you really had to fight a lot for your characters."
Long before Iron Man kicked off a shared cinematic universe the likes of which Hollywood had never seen, movies based on classic Marvel properties were quite disconnected from one another. Shocking, we know. With 2007's Ghost Rider streaming on Peacock this month, SYFY WIRE reached out to the film's writer-director, Mark Steven Johnson, for his recollections of the pre-MCU era.
"It was kind of like the Wild West. It was a very different thing," he tells us over Zoom. "We were more scrappy and trying to find a home for characters that I loved as a kid growing up, reading [the comics]. It was a very different kind of environment, you really had to fight a lot for your characters ... But on the plus side, because there wasn't so much pressure of everything fitting into some grand design, you could do some things that were different, which I kind of pushed to the limit with Ghost Rider ."
By the late 2000s, future MCU architect Kevin Feige was already on the up-and-up as a leading executive of Marvel Studios, having served as a producer on the X-Men , Spider-Man , and Fantastic Four franchises. Feige also produced 2003's Daredevil , another movie that Johnson wrote and directed that starred Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock and a pre- Iron Man Jon Favreau as Foggy Nelson. "He was always incredibly smart, very kind, very supportive," Johnson remembers of Feige. "But now, he is Marvel. It’s really incredible to see what he's done. I'm so happy for him."
The idea of a skeletal motorcyclist punishing the wicked on behalf of Satan doesn't seem too far-fetched in the current comic book movie landscape, but back in 2007 (a year before Robert Downey Jr.'s indelible performance as Tony Stark changed everything), it was a major gamble for Sony/Columbia, which distributed Ghost Rider .
"I’m a big Harley Davidson fan myself, I’ve been a big motorcycle rider my whole life, and I always thought [Ghost Rider] was the coolest, most underused character," Johnson says. "There was no Ghost Rider comic out at that time and so, when you have to explain these characters, it always takes a moment. Like, ‘Wait, so it's a flaming skull and a Harley Davidson?’ I’m like, ‘Yes, that's correct.’ So that was always tough to explain to people, but the graphic is so strong, the visual is always so powerful for Ghost Rider."
He's not wrong. Despite the fact that 15 years have passed since Ghost Rider 's theatrical bow, the CGI for its eponymous hero continues to hold up, more or less. "The fire ended up taking over everything," Johnson reveals. "Now, CG fire is fantastic. When we were doing it, it was very difficult and you realize how tricky fire is. Fire is such an illusion. Even when you look at real fire in a fireplace or a flickering campfire, it doesn't look real. There's something about it that looks almost like a hologram and trying to get that across at 24 frames per second, it was very tough."
Once the studio handed down the green light, Johnson dove headfirst into production, reaching out to "the biggest Ghost Rider fan in the world," Nicolas Cage . "He had the tattoo on his shoulder and then we met and hit it off and both geeked out over it." The filmmaker insists that no one else was considered for the role of Johnny Blaze, a famous stuntman who strikes Faustian bargain with the Devil in his youth. As expected, the actor brought his own unique, shall we say, take on the character.
"Nic always thought, ‘Well, if my character really couldn't die and I keep crashing and walking away all the time, eventually, I’d lose my mind. Eventually, I would start to go a little crazy.’ And so, that would explain some of Nic’s ideas of listening to music that made him feel safe like The Carpenters; or eating jelly beans out of a martini glass; watching monkey karate videos; and all this crazy s***. But somehow, I got it. I thought, ‘That's a really fun way to go.’ Instead of being the big, brooding tough, amazing macho guy, be the guy who's terrified and losing his mind a bit and just trying to hold on."
Johnny struggles to contain the creature within while hoping to rekindle (no pun intended) the romance he left for dead years before. "It kind of became this very expressionistic, Gothic fairy tale in a way," Johnson explains. "This fun, Beauty and the Beast vibe to it. But Nic’s a great partner and as I said, he, he'll try anything. He really will. He will never say, ‘I would never do that.’ [He’ll say] ‘Let's talk about it, let's try it. What could it hurt?’"
The filmmaker also characterizes the movie as "a monster Western," especially once the OG Ghost Rider from the 1800s — Carter Slade (known as the Phantom Rider in the original comics) — becomes a mentor-like figure to Mr. Blaze. "We got to really expand on Carter Slade, because he had a very small story in the comic. So I felt like that was really fun to get to flesh that character out as a sort of caretaker," continues Johnson. His first choice for Slade was Sam Elliott, who graciously accepted, bringing his famous bushy mustache and deeply soothing cowboy voice to the table. "Sam Elliott, he's such a legend and you look smart just having him on screen because everything he does is honest. You believe everything he did."
In another stroke of casting genius, Johnson landed Peter Fonda (an absolute legend in motorcycle circles for his work on 1969's Easy Rider ) in the supporting role of Mephistopheles, who calls in his debt to Johnny by transforming him into the titular Spirit of Vengeance once escaped demons from Hell (led by Wes Bentley's Blackheart) start wreaking havoc on the mortal plane.
"Peter was just fantastic," the director recalls of Fonda, who died in 2019 at the age of 79. "He was such an odd duck, God bless him. He was such a fantastically eccentric person. I remember having the whole cast over to my house once and we watched Easy Rider and Peter narrated the entire thing. So it was like the greatest Director's Cut you can imagine. He would just say, ‘Oh, this is when Jack [Nicholson] came in and he was on acid.' Smoking a joint watching himself in Easy Rider , which is pretty incredible."
Ghost Rider, which was released on March 3, 2007, racked up nearly $230 million worldwide against a sizable production budget of $110 million. A direct sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance , was released five years later in February of 2012 — just three months before the MCU was on the verge of its most ambitious undertaking up to that point: The Avengers .
The follow-up, which saw Cage back as Johnny, brought in a little over $132 million globally against a more modest budget of $57 million. Not a bad showing for a time in which most studios were starting to veer away from the concept of standalone superhero flicks and focusing on how they could replicate the uber-successful Marvel formula. Johnson did not have any involvement with Spirit of Vengeance , which was helmed by the duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor and written by comic book movie veteran David S. Goyer ( The Dark Knight , Man of Steel ) and current Walking Dead brand manager, Scott M. Gimple.
"That was just somebody else getting their take on it. Completely different thing," Johnson admits. "Same with Daredevil when they did the spinoff of Elektra , it was just a completely different thing. They give you a credit because you did the first movie, but that's it. They want to do their own version and that's great. Everybody should."
Ghost Rider returned to the realm of live-action in the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , which introduced the Robbie Reyes iteration of the character (played by Gabriel Luna). While Reyes only appeared in 10 episodes of the ABC show, Luna was slated to reprise the role in a Hulu spinoff series , which received the axe following a spat of creative differences not long after.
This was also around the same time Marvel upped Feige to Chief Creative Officer , effectively bringing all film and television projects under the purview of Marvel Studios. With supernatural heroes and antiheroes like Moon Knight, Blade, Werewolf by Night, and Black Knight arriving on the scene, it's probably safe to assume that Ghost Rider is not far behind (a Midnight Sons project seems more and more likely with the passing of each title in Phase 4).
"I think he's gonna come back in a big way," Johnson says. "I was seeing an interview the other day that Keanu Reeves was saying he'd loved to play Ghost Rider and I was like, ‘Yes!’ He’d be fantastic." Ryan Gosling and Norman Reedus have also expressed interest in tackling the part, though Johnson has his money on the Constantine actor .
"I never know how serious these are, but Keanu would be amazing because he lives it," the filmmaker adds. "He eats and breathes and sleeps motorcycles. He has his own motorcycle company. But yeah, it's it's exciting … you get a chance to steward these characters for a couple years and then you got to step back and let other people do it. And as a fan, you're excited to see different interpretations. There's so many interpretations of Batman. I loved the new one and I can't wait to see where that goes. I would love to see different versions of Ghost Rider come along."
When we ask what he'd like to see out of Ghost Rider's MCU debut, Johnson pitches the idea of "a really fun, scary, almost Halloween episode, or movie version" featuring Marvel's Scarecrow whom he wanted to feature as the main antagonist in the 2007 film. The idea never materialized and understandably so, given that the studio feared confusion with the more well-known member of the Caped Crusader rogues gallery bearing the same monicker.
"Scarecrow was always about fear and I’ve always said that was such an interesting thing to get into Johnny's head, to see what what that would do to him and do the character of Ghost Rider. That was that was just the first one off the top of my head. But I'd also like to see him team up because he's such a rogue. He's such an isolated person. And to see him get this big dysfunctional family, which is what you love about these team-ups, that would be really fun. So I hope that we do get to see him and Midnight Sons or some of these other [teams]. I thought Werewolf by Night great. I thought that was super fun. So I like what they're doing and I'm curious to see where it's all headed."
But even as the Spirit of Vengeance stands on the precipice of a fresh interpretation on the silver screen, moviegoers haven't forgotten the 2007 film that first brought Johnny Blaze to the big screen. Moviegoers like comedian Marc Calderaro, whose one-man show — Ghost Rider: My Favorite Film — has turned the movie into a cult classic for the ages.
"He did it in Austin for years and it was kind of a Rocky Horror Picture Show thing," Johnson explains. "Everybody would come, they all knew the movie, and they'd all watch it together, make it a drinking game and make fun of it and have a laugh with it. But [Marc] really did love it. Even though he was making fun of it and making fun of me, I’m glad he was. I had my Ghost Rider gloves from the movie, and I dropped them off ... with a little note to him and just said, 'I've had these long enough, I want you to have them to complete your outfit. I don't care if you're laughing at me or with me, as long as you're laughing and having a good time with the movie.’ People like him keep it going and it's just fun that people look back and find it and they just have a hoot with it."
Ghost Rider is now streaming on Peacock .
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Ghost rider, common sense media reviewers.
Devilish Nic Cage action flick isn't on fire.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Johnny sells his soul to the devil and regrets it;
Johnny did sell his soul to the devil for a noble
Constant cartoonish violence, mayhem, and stunts.
Roxy's tops always show cleavage; Roxy and Johnny
"S--t" (used once), "son of a bitch," "damn," "hel
Part of a popular comic book franchise. Brief visu
One scene of chaos is set in a saloon (patrons and
Parents need to know that this comic book-based movie is aimed right at kids. (They won't care that the CGI effects aren't the best and the story is uneven.) Expect frequent references to the devil and some grisly Renaissance-style images of torture. There are motorcycle crashes (one ends in a father's death), flaming…
Johnny sells his soul to the devil and regrets it; demons wreak havoc; bad guys die; cops are inept.
Positive Role Models
Johnny did sell his soul to the devil for a noble reason: to save his dad from dying of terminal cancer. But his current murdering vigilante persona is not something to emulate. His TV reporter love interest Roxanne, his childhood sweetheart, is innocent, and they look out for each other. The Carertaker acts as a protective mentor to Johnny.
Violence & Scariness
Constant cartoonish violence, mayhem, and stunts. Johnny's father dies in a motorcycle stunt; Johnny falls off his motorcycle; the devil torments him with a "burning finger" one motorcycle jump results in a brutal crash; Blackheart kills several humans by turning their faces gray and crumbly; fights between Blackheart's gang and Johnny feature violent falls, throws against walls, and slams; as the Ghost Rider, Johnny is frequently on fire (his skull face is creepy); Ghost Rider attacks and kills a mugger, who stabs him with a knife (Caretaker stitches the wound in close-up); policemen shoot repeatedly at Ghost Rider, who absorbs bullets and rides away; Ghost Rider uses a chain to whip, capture, and throw victims (demons); Johnny fights a watery demon underwater; Johnny and Blackheart fight (lots of throwing, grunting, crawling); Blackheart throws Roxy against a wall; characters shoot Blackheart with shotgun (one shot takes off his head, whereupon he's surrounded by swooping bad souls, whom he absorbs); Ghost Rider's Stare of Penance makes bad guys scream and die.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Roxy's tops always show cleavage; Roxy and Johnny kiss several times; Mack makes a joke about "needing a woman's touch."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.
"S--t" (used once), "son of a bitch," "damn," "hell," "ass."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.
Products & Purchases
Part of a popular comic book franchise. Brief visual displays of Marlboro cigarettes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One scene of chaos is set in a saloon (patrons and bartender are killed by demon); in other scenes, characters smoke cigarettes (Johnny's dad smokes and has cancer; Johnny later turns down a cigarette offered by a cop); characters drink beer (though, Johnny won't drink, saying, "Alcohol gives me nightmares"), and a scene dedicated to Roxy's imbibing a full bottle of wine while waiting for Johnny to show up for a date (she appears drunk at the end).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this comic book-based movie is aimed right at kids. (They won't care that the CGI effects aren't the best and the story is uneven.) Expect frequent references to the devil and some grisly Renaissance-style images of torture. There are motorcycle crashes (one ends in a father's death), flaming leaps, falls, and skids, which produce broken-looking bodies. The villain turns victims gray and veiny, and Ghost Rider himself becomes a burning skull. Weapons include knives, shotguns, and chains. Roxy shows cleavage, and she and Johnny kiss several times (once quite passionately). Characters drink and smoke cigarettes; language includes "s--t," "damn," "son of a bitch," and "hell." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .
Where to Watch
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Based on 16 parent reviews
Don’t watch this
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When young motorcycle stunt rider Johnny Blaze sells his soul to the devil (Peter Fonda), he thinks he's doing the right thing -- that is, saving his father, Bart (Brett Cullen), from a horrific death by cancer. But Johnny soon learns that Mephistopheles is not to be trusted, and he eventually has to fulfill his contract and become the devil's bounty hunter. This occurs after Johnny grows up to be a fiercely lean Nicolas Cage . Johnny's still doing motorcycle stunts, drawing big crowds with horrific, Evel Knievel-style crashes, but he never dies. The turning point comes when kohl-eyed son-of-the-devil Blackheart ( Wes Bentley ), ascends to earth in order to track down a contract that will grant him access to a bunch of bad souls. The whys and wherefores are a little confusing (they're narrated mostly by the Caretaker, who's played by Sam Elliott ), but basically this leads to Johnny's transformation into the Ghost Rider, complete with leather jacket, chains, and skull face a-blazing. Around the same time, Johnny's childhood love interest, Roxy ( Eva Mendes ), returns. Now a TV reporter, she arrives at one of Johnny's most outrageous stunts dressed in a white, not-quite-angelic dress. He's re-smitten, as is she, and they spend the rest of the movie trying to get back together but also not get back together, since if they do, the devil or Blackheart (or both) will surely target her.
Is It Any Good?
Like many comic book-derived movies, GHOST RIDER is corny, fiery, and outsized, but unfortunately it's not very entertaining. While the Caretaker makes lots of noise about the Ghost Rider's "legend," the movie's action and plotting are uninspired. Cage does some more Elvis impersonating, Mendes shows cleavage, and Elliott looks leathery, but none of these details helps create a sense of grand mythology. The Rider's gift/curse is his ability to assault his bad-souled victims with a Stare of Penance (he commands them to "Look into my eyes," like Dracula used to) and then make them suffer the pain of the innocents they wronged. But the visual delivery of this trick is feeble, a mostly blurry, vaguely fiery, utterly un-menacing montage of screaming, collapsing faces. This is Ghost Rider's big trick? It's hardly the stuff of legend.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the relationship between Johnny and his dad. How does Johnny's good intention lead to tragedy? Did Johnny have any other alternatives than working for the devil?
How does the movie differentiate between the monstrous Johnny and the monstrous Blackheart? Why is one "good" and one "bad"? Is it that easy to tell the difference between good guys and bad guys in real life?
Why are so many action/superhero movies based on comic books? What's the appeal?
- In theaters : February 16, 2007
- On DVD or streaming : June 12, 2007
- Cast : Eva Mendes , Nicolas Cage , Wes Bentley
- Director : Mark Steven Johnson
- Inclusion Information : Female actors, Latino actors
- Studio : Sony Pictures
- Genre : Action/Adventure
- Topics : Superheroes
- Run time : 114 minutes
- MPAA rating : PG-13
- MPAA explanation : horror violence and disturbing images.
- Last updated : December 9, 2022
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15 Weird Facts About Ghost Rider Only Real Fans Know
Ghost Rider is one of the coolest looking characters in all of comics, but only real fans know these strange facts about him.
Ever since his debut in the pages of Marvel Spotlight #5, Ghost Rider has been one of Marvel's most popular characters. The antihero's popularity eventually allowed him to break out of the comic book world and make his presence felt on a variety of different mediums. Over the past 20 years, Ghost Rider has appeared in numerous animated series and video games, has starred in his very own big screen franchise, and most recently, got the chance to stir up trouble in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a supporting character in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
A big part of what made Ghost Rider such an appealing character is the fact that he isn't your typical superhero. On the contrary. He's actually one of the strangest comic book characters out there, both in terms of backstory and physical appearance. Given his bizarre nature, there's been a long list of surprisingly weird aspects about the character that have been established over his decades-long comic book career. However, most of those curious tidbits have slipped under the radars of even the most dedicated fans thanks to the rider's increasingly-complicated mythology. So, with that in mind, let's take a look at 15 weird things about the Spirit of Vengeance that you may not know about:
15 POWER IS UP TO THE IMAGINATION OF ITS HOST
Thanks to his supernatural abilities, Ghost Rider is considered one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. He's gone toe-to-toe with numerous superheroes, and he even scared the Hulk during the "World War Hulk" storyline. What many fans may not know about the Rider's impressive power, however, is that there's a very peculiar trick to unlocking its full potential. Back in 2011, a woman named Alejandra Jones became the new Ghost Rider.
Jones displayed various different abilities never before seen in other hosts of the Spirit of Vengeance.
As it turns out, this is because the Rider's power levels depend solely on the imagination of the person wielding it. Basically, the Rider is a being of unlimited potential, and all it needs is a creative individual to fully tap into it. Yikes. Here's hoping a really imaginative villain never becomes host of the Spirit of Vengeance.
14 CAN RIDE ACROSS WATER
Ever since its comic book debut, Ghost Rider's motorcycle has proven to be one of the antihero's most powerful tools on his war against the forces of evil. The bike's supernatural abilities have given the Ghost Rider a good advantage over the years, and they've allowed the Fiery Avenger to perform seemingly impossible feats, like outrunning Thor's hammer, traveling at speeds that could put even Marvel's fastest speedsters to shame, but most importantly, riding across water.
As mundane as "Riding on water" may sound to some, the skill has proven to be quite useful in pressing situations. In fact, Johnny Blaze has taken advantage of the ability a number of times throughout his superhero career. Admittedly, riding a flaming motorcycle on water doesn't make the tiniest bit of sense. However, seeing how Ghost Rider's bike functions on an other-worldly power source, we'll give this whole situation a pass.
13 CAN CONTROL HIS CHAIN WITH HIS MIND
During the early '90s, Marvel Comics introduced a new Ghost Rider host: Daniel Ketch. Ketch's version of the Spirit of Vengeance differed a great deal from Johnny Blaze's Ghost Rider. One of the biggest differences between the two antiheroes was their weapon of choice. Unlike Blaze, who preferred to fight with his fists, Ketch relied on a mystical chain with which he was mentally linked.
As weird as it may sound, Ketch used his brain to change the chain's shape and turn it into a variety of different weapons, such as a staff and even shurikens.
The antihero could also get the chain to stretch as much as he desired, making it an invaluable ally in his war against the forces of Hell. As the years passed, even Johnny Blaze adopted the chain, and the peculiar mystical object became an indispensable tool in Ghost Rider's arsenal.
12 PENANCE STARE DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK
Among his large array of powers, the Penance Stare is, without a doubt, one of Ghost Rider's most dangerous assets. The ability allows the antihero to stare into a victim's eyes and make them feel all the pain they've inflicted on others throughout the years. The stare has proven to be quite useful in battle over the years. To Ghost Rider's dismay, however, it's also been shown to be a bit unreliable from time to time.
For starters, the stare won't work on mentally ill people, creatures with more than two eyes, and it's even proved ineffective on certain super-powered individuals. In Thunderbolts #29, for example, Punisher was shown to be completely immune to the stare given his lack of regret over his murderous lifestyle. Furthermore, the attack hasn't worked on Venom, Deadpool and even the Hulk.
11 CAR'S TRUNK IS A PORTAL
Robbie Reyes' Ghost Rider differs a great deal from the numerous other Spirits of Vengeance comic book fans have met over the years. One of the character's biggest departures from his vengeful counterparts is his means of transportation. Instead of using a motorcycle, Reyes drives a '69 Dodge Charger, also known as the "Hell Charger."
The car has quite a few bells and whistles, but one of its most surprising features is a trunk that doubles as a portal.
In Ghost Rider Vol. 1, Robbie Reyes rescued his little brother, Gabe, from a gang conflict. In order to get him out of harm's way, the antihero put the boy inside the trunk of his car. This resulted in Gabe being safely (and instantly) transported to Robbie's workplace, far away from the conflict. That's certainly a great way to get to where you need to be in a timely manner.
10 HIS 2099 COUNTERPART WAS A CYBORG
Back in the '90s, Marvel introduced the 2099 universe, a new line of comics centered around future versions of some of its most popular characters. One of the heroes to receive the futuristic treatment was Ghost Rider. Surprisingly, Marvel ditched Ghost Rider's signature mystical origin and turned him into a technologically-based hero. In the comic, a rash hacker named Kenshiro Cochrane was murdered by a violent gang as he was trying to steal some important information.
Shortly after his death, Cochrane woke up in a digital universe known as the Ghostworlds. There, a group of artificial-intelligence programs convinced Cochrane to return to the real world as their champion to prevent humanity's destruction (they're comics, don't think about it). Kenshiro accepted, and his mind was downloaded into a robot body almost identical to the original Ghost Rider, and thus, the future version of the ruthless avenger was born.
9 FRANK CASTLE BECAME GHOST RIDER IN THE FUTURE
The Ghost Rider curse has been carried by multiple individuals over the years, most notably by Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch and Alejandra Jones. However, not many fans may be aware of another high-profile Marvel character who wielded the Spirit of Vengeance: The Punisher.
Thanos #13 introduced a mysterious (and incredibly sarcastic) Ghost Rider from a future where the Mad Titan ruled the universe.
In issue #15, the new Ghost Rider was revealed to be Frank Castle. As it turned out, Castle died during Thanos' invasion of Earth and was sent to hell. There, he struck a deal with Mephisto and became the new Spirit of Vengeance to get revenge on the Mad Titan. To his dismay, though, Thanos had already wiped out every living soul in the universe. This drove Castle insane, and he eventually opted to become the Mad Titan's servant.
8 THE ORIGINAL GHOST RIDER WAS A COWBOY
It may be easy to forget, but Ghost Rider didn't start out as a vengeance-seeking demon. The superhero identity actually debuted in Ghost Rider #1, in 1967. In the story, a young man named Carter Slade came across a group of individuals disguised as Native Americans beating up people. Slade tried to stop them, but he was shot several times as a result. Thankfully, Carter was found by a real Native American group.
The men took Carter to their tribe's doctor, and he was promptly resurrected. Following his resurrection, Slade was told he was the champion of the Great Spirit, a warrior destined to protect the innocent. Carter embraced his role as the champion, and took on the mantle of the Ghost Rider. Following the debut of Johnny Blaze's Ghost Rider, Slade became known as the Phantom Rider, and he's maintained a relatively small presence in the Marvel Universe ever since.
7 CAN CREATE BIBLICAL CREATURES
In 2011, Johnny Blaze managed to get rid of the Ghost Rider curse and Alejandra Jones, a young woman trained from an early age to be a Ghost Rider, became the new host of the Spirit of Vengeance. Given her unbreakable determination and years of training, Jones had no trouble in adapting to her demonic alter-ego. This allowed her to tap into the Spirit of Vengeance's full potential, granting her a set of interesting new powers.
One of those powers was (as hard as it may to believe) the ability to bring Biblical creatures to life -- locusts, to be specific.
That's right. Jones can open her mouth and let out a swarm of deadly locusts to attack her enemies. As disgusting as that may sound (and look), the ability has proven to be quite useful in a number of occasions, even during a fight against her fellow Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes.
6 WAS A MEMBER OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Ghost Rider may not be much of a team player, but he's been part of a few superhero groups over the years, most notably the Fantastic Four. In Fantastic Four #347, a Skrull named De'Lila arrived on Earth and sought out the Fantastic Four. After some searching, the alien arrived at the heroes' headquarters and took them down one by one. She then shape-shifted into Sue Storm and used Reed Richard's technology to summon Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider.
De'Lila tricked the heroes into thinking the Fantastic Four had been murdered, and begged them to track down their supposed killer. Desperate to avenge their friends, the crime-fighters agreed to work together and became the new Fantastic Four. The eclectic superhero team hasn't had a big presence in the Marvel Universe since its debut, but they've made a few appearances throughout the years, most notably during the "Fear Itself" storyline.
5 THE ENTIRE BACKSTORY OF THE ORIGINAL GHOST RIDER
The Spirit of Vengeance has been around for thousands of years, and one of its most prominent early hosts was Noble Kale. Keeping up with the twisted nature of the Ghost Rider mythology, Kale's origin story is incredibly weird. During the 18th century, Noble (a member of the family that had been entrusted with the power of the Spirit of Vengeance) fell in love with a young woman named Magdalena.
The pair lived a happy life together and they even had a child but unfortunately, their relationship didn't last long.
Magdalena discovered that Noble's father, Pastor Kale, was a worshiper of Mephisto, and the Pastor burned her as a witch as a result. Before passing away, however, Magdalena summoned spirits to kill him. Desperate to stay alive, the Pastor sold Noble Kale's soul to Mephisto, who then turned the young man into the Ghost Rider. Yikes.
4 ONCE BONDED WITH HULK AND VENOM
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the Hulk bonded with the Venom symbiote and Ghost Rider at the same time? Well, believe it or not, it happened, and it was as strange as it sounds. In the "Circle of Four" storyline, Blackheart attempted to turn Earth into a new version of Hell. Venom, Red Hulk, X-23 and Alejandra Jones' version of Ghost Rider teamed up to stop him, but Blackheart proved to be more than they could handle.
In a desperate effort to defeat the demon, Red Hulk bonded with the Venom symbiote and the Spirit of Vengeance at the same time, creating a super-powered hybrid that single-handedly defeated Blackheart. The science behind the monstrous hybrid doesn't make much sense (mainly because the Venom symbiote is vulnerable to fire), but it was nonetheless exciting to see the creature become a reality in the comic book world.
3 CAN EAT SINS
Thanks to her seemingly limitless imagination, Alejandra Jones' Ghost Rider was able to unlock a large array of fascinating powers never before used by other hosts of the Spirit of Vengeance. One of those abilities happened to be complete control over human sin. This allowed the young hero to do a variety of things, such as thoroughly scan a person's sins, and (as weird as it may sound) completely eat away said sins.
That may sound like a good idea on paper -- after all, it's easy to think that removing sin from an individual could make even the worst bad guys turn over a new leaf.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. In reality, whenever Jones rid a person of their sins, they were left in a strange vegetative state, unable to do anything for themselves.
2 RODE NUMEROUS HELLFIRE-IMBUED ANIMALS
Ghost Rider's most famous vehicle may be his motorcycle, but the Spirit of Vengeance has actually found some pretty bizarre ways to get around throughout its centuries of existence. Surprisingly, a large number of past Ghost Riders actually preferred to use animals as their primary means of transportation. As shown in Ghost Rider #31, over the years, the Spirits of Vengeance rode Hellfire-imbued bears, elephants, and even sharks. Furthermore, as revealed in Marvel Legacy's Ghost Rider relaunch, the Ghost Rider from 1,000,000 BC rode around on a Hellfire-imbued Mastodon.
Given how characters like Danny Ketch and Robbie Reyes have been shown to give their vehicles a considerable boost in power, we can only imagine how dangerous the animals serving past Spirits of Vengeance were. Now, even though the idea of superheroes using animals as vehicles is, admittedly, quite strange, it perfectly fits the outlandish nature of the Ghost Rider universe.
1 OUTRAN THOR'S HAMMER
Ghost Rider's motorcycle has performed some remarkable feats over the years, but very few compare to the time it outran Thor's hammer in Avengers #214. The issue showed Johnny Blaze facing off against the X-Man, Angel. Unable to restrain himself, Blaze beat the mutant to a pulp and left him in a coma. The Avengers learned of the attack, and they decided to track down Ghost Rider to stop him from hurting anyone else.
The heroes eventually found Blaze, but they soon realized they were no match for him. In an effort to weaken Ghost Rider, Thor threw Mjölnir at him. To his surprise, Blaze hopped on his bike and quickly outran the hammer. He then grabbed Mjölnir, rode it back to Thor and used its momentum to deliver a devastating blow to the God of Thunder. No wonder Blaze is considered one of the best riders in the Marvel Universe.
Ghost rider: 5 marvel heroes who respect him (& 5 who despise him).
From Spider-Man to Wolverine, here are the Marvel comics heroes who actually like Ghost Rider and the ones who can't stand him.
Ghost Rider has taken many forms over the years, and every single one of them has been impressively powerful and without a shadow of a doubt dangerous. For each individual who completes the bargain with Mephisto, they get the joy of being bonded to a demonic being of some sort.
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Theoretically, the Ghost Rider is then the thrall of Mephisto but that rarely seems to be the case as they all seem to go into business for themselves. The funny thing about being a Spirit of Vengeance with a flaming skull is that you tend to make more enemies than friends. But the allies you do have are only the staunchest.
DESPISE HIM: Spider-Man
As a superhero, Spider-Man operates under a strict code that is frequently summed up as, "With great power comes great responsibility." But part of that code includes never using lethal force.
Ghost Rider rarely has those kinds of compunctions, using any type of corporal punishment at his disposal to dispense vengeance. Keeping mind that Spider-Man and Ghost Rider have worked together, even serving as members of the replacement Fantastic Four, the Wall-Crawler certainly does not approve of the Spirit of Vengeance.
RESPECT HIM: Deadpool
If anyone in Marvel wants to be best friends with Ghost Rider, it's Deadpool. Why wouldn't he? Ghost Rider has so many likable qualities. He can inflict incredible amounts of punishment. He's virtually indestructible. He's made of fire. If there are three things Deadpool loves, it's violence, indestructible friends and fire.
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Deadpool understands better than most the role someone like Ghost Rider plays in the grand scheme of things and is 100% supportive of his mission of dishing out vengeance on those that deserve it.
DESPISE HIM: Daredevil
The Man Without Fear has a long, strange history with demons, specifically Mephisto. Marvel's iteration of the Devil actually has a bit of an issue with Matt Murdock dressing like something evil but always doing good. But that's not why Daredevil dislikes Ghost Rider.
He has spent years trying to atone for his past sins, the type of sins Ghost Rider seeks out and punishes people over. While Daredevil can handle himself, he doesn't take someone else casting judgment on others lightly, let alone someone casting judgment on him.
RESPECT HIM: Blade
From the first moments of his life, Blade has been defined by the vampires he hunts. The Daywalker is about as proficient a fighter as you're going to find in the Marvel Universe. His training and weapons are definitely geared towards hunting and killing vampires though there are few butts Blade can't kick.
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Given their mutual desire to destroy the evil hiding in all the dark places, Ghost Rider and Blade have teamed up on more than a few occasions. They know what's waiting in the shadows and what to do about it. They know how to make what is supposed to be in the grave stay there.
DESPISE HIM: Doctor Strange
As Marvel's Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange is well acquainted with the machinations of Mephisto. He's equally familiar with the Ghost Rider, and the role each version has played over the years. Saying Doctor Strange is not a fan of the Ghost Rider as a general rule is a definitive understatement.
The creature is usually a demonic entity bonded with a human that's loose on Earth and committing acts that are often only marginally heroic at best. Doctor Strange tolerates the Ghost Rider because he plays a role in the larger scheme but Strange sure doesn't like it.
RESPECT HIM: Warpath
Through various mutant teams, the Apache-born Warpath has created a name for himself as a prominent hero. His mutant abilities give him highly enhanced strength, speed, agility, and sense as well as a latent ability to fly, which appeared more recently. But he also has mystical shaman abilities which he learned about thanks to Ghost Rider.
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They were both drawn to fight a mystical creature called the Demon Bear. Ghost Rider unlocked Warpath's shaman abilities to help them in the fight. Their partnership opened Warpath to a part of himself he didn't know was there.
DESPISE HIM: Thor
The bad blood between Thor and Ghost Rider goes back a long time. When Ghost Rider was fighting the X-Men many, many years ago, the Avengers stepped in to help. Ghost Rider quite literally took every last one of them down.
This animosity was rekindled recently when Johnny Blaze, now the King of Hell, faced off against Thor one more time. Naturally, Thor brought Mjolnir to the fight. Blaze responded by morphing his motorcycle into an even bigger hammer and took the Thunder God on. The issues between Blaze and Thor will never become water under the bridge.
RESPECT HIM: Punisher
It's highly likely that no one in the entirety of the Marvel Universe feels a stronger kinship to the Spirit of Vengeance than the Punisher. Their missions are incredibly similar, though their methodologies do differ slightly. They have ridden together a few times but their most infamous battle was alongside Wolverine against Blackheart, the son of Mephisto.
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Blackheart summoned the three of them to carry his banner on Earth. They declined. Violently. The pairing of Punisher and Ghost Rider is an unnaturally natural one.
DESPISE HIM: Captain America
Captain America has gone through a lot of phases in his incredibly long career. He has fought and died and lived again more times than most, giving him a very unique perspective on existence. It's that unique perspective that makes it hard for him to accept Ghost Rider in any way, shape or form.
As a military man and a pragmatist, Captain America might be able to see Ghost Rider as a powerful asset. But as a man of principles and morals, Ghost Rider as a spirit of vengeance is not something Captain America can work with.
RESPECT HIM: Wolverine
The served together as members of the New Fantastic Four. They stood together alongside the Punisher against Blackheart in Hearts of Darkness . They teamed up during Acts of Vengeance to stop a gang of killers. Wolverine and Ghost Rider have been allies for a long time, possibly due to their mutual love of motorcycles and leather jackets. Plus, Ghost Rider's flaming skull is a great way to light a cigar.
More than an ally, Wolverine might be the closest thing Ghost Rider has to a friend. But it seems unlikely that Ghost Rider cares for such things.
NEXT: Iron Man: 5 Marvel Heroes Who Respect Him (& 5 Who Despise Him)
Is Ghost Rider a Hero, Villain, or an Anti-Hero? Explained
Ghost Rider is among the most popular superheroes ever created . His iconic look and incredible powers launched him into stardom as soon as the character was created back in 1972 by Roy Thomas, Gary Friedrich, and Mike Ploog. We’ve analyzed so many aspects and versions of Ghost Rider so far, but one aspect of his character remains relatively unexplored: his moral alignment. This is why we decided to analyze this in more depth. Now let’s find out whether Ghost Rider is a superhero, anti-hero, or a villain.
Ghost Rider is classified as an anti-hero mostly because he doesn’t stray away from killing people and is obsessed with vengeance rather than doing the right things. Ghost Rider never exactly fits in the “Superman” archetype of a superhero. His moral standings, as well as his looks, balance more toward a “morally grey” character. Even though he kills, Ghost Rider is not a villain because Spirits of Vengeance are benevolent entities in themselves.
Now that we’ve covered the main issues, it’s time to analyze them in more detail. If you’re interested in all the reasons why Ghost Rider is considered an anti-hero rather than a villain, stay with us and keep reading!
Spirits of Vegenace are mostly benevolent entities created for a good reason
The key aspect of any Ghost Rider’s personality is the Spirit of Vengeance that possesses him and actually makes him the Ghost Rider. Some Ghost Riders have more control over the entities (like Danny Ketch ), and some are totally unable to control them (like Johny Blaze in the beginning).
But Spirits of Vengeance were never evil or created evil. Their origin story is rather confusing, with some accounts claiming that they are demons and some accounts claiming that they are of divine nature. Most people associated Spirits of Vengeance with Mephisto and hell, but Caretaker offered a different account of what went down at the moment that the first Spirits were created.
Following the great flood, God made a deal with humans that he would never try to exterminate them again, but he was disappointed that humans hadn’t changed their evil and malignant ways, quite on the contrary, they were becoming exponentially worse and constantly thinking of the ways to “up their evil game.” (Probably because of the promise, they have fallen into a false sense of security).
Who Is the 19th Century Ghost Rider? The Frontier Era Explained
Still, even though God promised not to strike them with another mass extinction, that doesn’t necessarily mean that his hands are tied. He created the Spirits of Vegenace, who were supposed to get rid of the worst members of society. The Spirits of Vengeance were like C.I.A. of Heaven, doing God’s dirty work.
Since Spirits had a pretty violent approach to punishing sinners and giving out vengeance, God didn’t want to be exactly connected to them, which is why he put Archangel Zadkiel in charge to manipulate them from shadows and keep their true origin hidden. Zadkiel will eventually rebel against Heaven, but this is a story for another time.
Anyway, as you can see, Spirits of Vengeance aren’t necessarily evil. Quite on the contrary, they are messengers of God’s justice, and sometimes this can be brutal. The important thing to remember is that, in theory, they are supposed to punish the wicked and the sinful and protect the innocent, taking their methods into account. This, at worst, makes them morally grey.
Ghost Rider is far too violent to be a superhero
Now that we’ve given you a quick summary and eliminated the “villain” from the equation, it’s time to explain why Ghost Rider can never be a superhero.
First, his judgment is far too narrow. We know that Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare works on the principle “If you’re feeling guilty about it, you will suffer.” This isn’t such a great rule because an objectively good person can feel subjective guilt because of something that he had far less control over than the person realizes. This can result in innocents getting hurt.
Ghost Rider also doesn’t shy away from killing villains, his abilities are lethal, and when he sets his sights on an evildoer, he will never wait for the law to settle it. He will enact his punishment, no matter the reason behind it. Technically you can argue that Ghost Rider doesn’t kill, that the person committing sins is responsible for the evil things they’ve done and hence passed the judgment on themselves, and Ghost Rider is simply here to deliver it. But still, the act of killing immediately disqualifies Ghost Rider from wearing the superhero title.
Does Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare Work on the Punisher?
Ghost Rider is also not here to save the innocents. He is here mostly to punish the wicked, his motives are, for the most part, one-sided, and he is doing what he is compelled to do. You will rarely see Superman being motivated by pure burning vengeance and getting satisfaction out of it.
Ghost Rider’s personality and overall visual style are far too edgy for him to be a superhero, something from which Batman had also suffered over the years . Ghost Rider has a burning skull and a flaming chain. He rides a bike (most of the versions) and wears leather. He is violent, sometimes uses foul language, and you’re never sure whether he will turn on you or not.
The most popular Ghost Rider of all time, Johnny Blaze, also sold his soul to the devil practically for selfish reasons, and this is how he got stuck with the Spirit of Vengeance in the first place.
Ghost Rider is far too violent to be a superhero. He is mostly an anti-hero due to the fact that he kills, he is motivated by vengeance instead of saving people, and his looks are far too aggressive when compared to other superheroes that are presented in benevolent or patriotic visual styles with light colors and motives.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments!
Valentina Kraljik is a writer and editor at Comic Basics with a passion for all things related to comics and their respective cinematic universes. Armed with a degree in Information Sciences, she brings a unique and informed perspective to her work. Valentina is renowned for her writing on a wide range of comic book heroes and their respective universes. She has a talent for uncovering obscure information related to even the most elusive superheroes. Her love for the genre was first sparked by "X-Men" and "Blade," the latter of which remains her all-time favorite superhero. While her expertise primarily lies within the realm of Marvel, she occasionally ventures into DC territory as well. Valentina's commitment to objectivity and insightful analysis shines through in her writing. She strives to bring fresh perspectives to even the most familiar subjects, and her blend of academic rigor and creative flair sets her apart in the world of media writing.
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