Magazine Enterprises' Ghost Rider
Real Name: Rex Fury
Identity/Class: Normal human
Occupation: Federal Marshall
Affiliations: Sing Song (sidekick), Spectre (horse)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Calico Kid, Haunted Horseman
Base of Operations: The Western U.S.A., c.1880s
First Appearance: as Calico Kid Tim Holt #6
(Magazine Enterprizes, May 1949)
as Ghost Rider Tim Holt #11 (Magazine Enterprises, October 1949)
Powers/Abilities: Good gunfighter, expert with whip and lasso. Skilled horseman. Used a variety of tricks to appear like a supernatural being.
History: Rex Hart was a federal marshall, who, for reasons best known to himself, created a masked identity, the Calico Kid, an apparently cowardly gunslinger who wandered from town to town with his Chinese sidekick, Sing Song, doing good deeds (supposedly) in spite of his better judgment.
Abruptly, with no reason given, he decided to drop the act, returning to his true identity. Even though criminals feared the dauntless Marshall, Rex seemed to like having the freedom to fight crime that a dual identity had given him, so he created a new masked persona: The Ghost Rider.
He coated a white outfit in phosphorus so that it glowed in the dark, and then did the same for his guns and horse (Spectre), and for one side of a cape; the other side he painted black as midnight. In low light he could use the cloak to shield his body, so that he appeared to consist of a floating head and eerie, white hands. To this ensemble he added a black lasso and whip - his skill with these was such that in the dark he could make it appear as if he was snatching things from a distance without actually touching them. His act was so convincing that several criminals fully believed that the Ghost Rider was a supernatural being, and would confess and surrender without a fight. Those who didn't were often using a similarly scary schtick themselves, and in some cases, were genuinely not human - among his other opponents were vampires and werewolves.
Comments: Created by Vincent Sullivan, Ray Krank and Dick Ayers.
Originally appearing as the Calico Kid in Tim Holt #6, the character was reimagined in Tim Holt #11 as the Ghost Rider, with no apparent explanation for the change of identity. Presumably Marshall Rex Hart had been under some sort of deep cover when he was acting as the Kid, because he rarely slipped out of character as the somewhat cowardly gunslinger. As the Ghost Rider he remained a guest star in the title (Tim Holt also soon adopted a costumed persona, that of Red Mask, and his comic retitled), gradually growing in popularity and appearing in various titles throughout the company's line of comics. In 1950 Magazine Enterprises gave Ghost Rider the title role in several issues of their A-1 Comics anthology (#27, 29, 31, 34, 37, 44, 51, 57, 69, 71, 75, 80, 84 and 112 correspond to Ghost Rider #1-14, with the covers reflecting the later title and numbering), but with the creation of The Comics Code, the Ghost Rider's horror-filled adventures were numbered. His last title appearance was in 1954 with Ghost Rider #14 (A-1 Comics #112). He returned to back up strips in other comics, eventually making his last appearance in the title that spawned him, in Red Mask #50 (November, 1955).
In 1967, several years after Magazine Enterprises had folded, Dick Ayers was working for Marvel Comics. With the Code now more relaxed, he decided to relaunch the Ghost Rider character. The Marvel version had similar powers, but a different background. With the appearance of a motorbiking Ghost Rider in the 1970's, Marvel's western character was re-dubbed the Phantom Rider and the Night Rider, and even given a modern day descendent complete with genuine spectral abilities. Meanwhile AC Comics tried to revive the original Magazine Enterprises character in the early 1980s, using the name The Haunted Horseman, but as far as I can tell, only a single issue was released.
Although not actually owned by Marvel during the 1940's or 50's, I've included Ghost Rider under the Timely (Marvel Comics of the 1940's) section of the site as well as under Magazine Enterprises, because he later became theirs in the 1960s. However, I haven't listed details of the Marvel versions here (real identities, powers or aliases) as this profile is for the Golden Age character.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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