Ghost Rider is one of the most iconic Marvel characters. He is notable for his overpowered abilities and his iconic look, sporting a flaming skull and leather jacket. And even though several different characters have, over the years, hosted the Spirit of Vengeance, one individual stands among the rest, Johnny Blaze. Johnny was so popular he even got his own movies. We’ve decided to revisit the origin story of the most popular Ghost Rider in the comics, and having said that, let’s see how Ghost Rider got his powers, both in the comics and in the movies.
Johnny Blaze, aka Ghost Rider, got his powers in the comics after he sold his soul to Mephisto to cure his stepfather of cancer and prevent him from dying. Even though Crash was cured of cancer, he still died while performing a stunt. Following the incident with Mephisto and his stepfather, Johnny learned that he had the ability to transform into a supernatural entity with the flaming skull due to the spirit that bonded with him. In the movies, Johnny Blaze got his powers in practically the same manner; he sold his soul to Mephisto in order to help his father, only his father died mere hours after learning he was free of cancer.
Ghost Rider has a pretty tragic story and family history, and much of it was never covered in the movies. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!
Johnny’s ancestors in the past had dealings with demons
The story of Ghost Rider begins centuries before Johnny Blaze was even born with his ancestor Noble Kale. Noble Kale was a young Puritan man, the son of a local Pastor who was notorious for his “flammable” personality and the ease through which he passed judgment. Eventually, Noble fell in love with a woman named Magdelena, and the two even had a child together, but Noble was forced to keep the whole affair a secret, fearing what his father’s reaction would be.
Magdelena accidentally discovered that Pastor Kale was, in fact, the servant of the demon Mephisto. Both Mephisto and Zarathos had dealings with several families whose bloodlines were considered mystical in nature due to being given the Medallion of Power, a special piece of jewelry that housed the Spirit of Vengeance.
After Pastor Kale figured out that Magdelena knew his secret, he had her burned at stake a branded a witch. She managed to curse him with her dying breath by invoking Furies. To protect himself from the Furies, Pastor Kale asked Mephisto for help offering the soul of his son, Noble as payment.
One shard of the Medallion of Power was lodged within Noble, and Mephisto recognized it on time. He activated the medallion and turned Noble into a Ghost Rider. Noble eventually started hunting witches, demons, and other supernatural entities. He even slew his father after he sacrificed the son he had with Magdelena. Eventually, Mephisto reappeared to claim Noble’s soul, but an angel, Uriel, intervened.
Since neither the Angel nor Demon could agree on where Noble’s soul belongs, it was decided that it would never pass from this world; instead, it would be summoned by his descendants as the Spirit of Vengeance. Each firstborn of the Kale family carried the “curse.” And how is this lengthy intro connected to Johnny Blaze? Well, his mother was Naomi Kale, the descendant of the aforementioned Noble Kale.
How did Ghost Rider become Ghost Rider?
Johnny Blaze was born to Barton Blaze and Naomi Kale, stunt drivers. Naomi was aware of the family curse and eventually decided to seek the means through which to break it. Johnny had a brother and sister, Daniel and Barbara.
Naomi Kale decided to leave Barton and Johnny. She took Daniel and Barabara with her leaving them in the care of Francis Ketch. Both children eventually took Francis’ name.
Johnny was deeply disturbed by the fact that his mother left him. Due to trauma, he eventually forgot that he ever had siblings. Johnny’s father continued performing as a stunt driver, but the job would eventually claim his life; he died while performing a stunt.
Johnny was adopted into the Simpson family, now Mona and Crash acting as his parents. As the years passed, and with efforts of Simpson to erase Johnny’s past, he eventually forgot about his true mother and his siblings, and he was never aware of his family’s mystical past.
As Johnny grew, he connected with Crash and Mona Simpson; they had a daughter Roxanne who was around the same age as Johnny. The two eventually fell in love. The tragedy struck once again when Johnny’s adoptive mother, Mona, was killed as his biological father in a stunt accident. She made Johnny promise that he would never take part in stunts from that day onward, a promise which he kept for a while.
Since Crash became a father to Johnny in everything but blood, Johnny was afraid to lose him like the rest of his family, and when he learned that Crash was suffering from cancer, he started studying the occult, and the opportunity presented itself in the form of Mephisto. Mephisto recognized Johnny’s bloodline and decided to make a deal with him, his soul, for his father’s survival.
Johnny made the deal, accepted the terms, and miraculously, Crash was rid of cancer. Johnny would soon learn that the demon double-crossed him. Even though Crash was cancer-free, he still died on the same day while performing a stunt. Mephisto manifested to claim Johnny’s soul, but he failed to do so due to Roxanne’s love. The purity of love kept Johnny’s soul from falling into the wrong hands.
Crash’s death triggered Johnny’s transformation into a Ghost Rider for the first time, believing it was a manifestation of his own evil. However, he soon realized that the being he became at night was a different entity bonded to him. Many years will pass before Johnny finds out the truth behind the strange entity that now shared his body.
How did Ghost Rider get his powers in the movies?
The movie adaption of this famous character shares almost the exact origin story. In the movie, Johnny Blaze, a stunt performer, sells his soul to Mephisto to save his father, Barton Blaze, from dying of lung cancer. He has a love interest named Roxanne Simpson and wants to leave the family business in order to pursue a future with her.
Soon after selling his soul, Johnny learns that his father is indeed cured, and the two reconcile their differences in a touching exchange where Barton gives his blessing to Roxanne and Johnny and even gifts him his favorite motorcycle.
Just hours from that exchange, Barton Blaze dies while performing a stunt. Johnny realizes that Mephisto has tricked him, and he decides to leave both Roxanne and his old life behind since he is aware that he now harbors the curse.
However, Mephisto reappears once again with an offer; he will return Johnny’s soul to him if he helps him out in his fight against Blackheart, his own son. Johnny Blaze agrees, and Mephisto turns him into a Ghost Rider.
This is pretty much it. As you can see, both the cinematic and comic versions of Johnny Blaze have pretty similar origin stories, with some details being tweaked to be easier to adapt to the big screen.