Monday, January 7, 2013

Monster Monday: Night Rider original art by Gil Kane

This Marvel character isn't a monster really, but his ethereal image inspired another Marvel Monster to rise in his place.

Night Rider 1 1974 cover by Gil Kane and Tom Palmer

Night Rider #1 was published in 1974 with this terrific cover by Gil Kane and Tom Palmer.  I was very surprised when I saw this--I had no idea such a title was ever published!  It was a reprint title that lasted 6 issues.  Who was the Night Rider?  You may not have recalled such a Western hero alongside the Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, or the whatever Kid.

Gil Kane and Tom Palmer Night Rider #1 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1974)

The original art to the Night Rider cover, which recently sold for over $6K on Heritage Comics.

The first issue reprinted "the awesome Origin of the Man Who Rides the Midnight Winds!"  Night Rider was actually the Western Ghost Rider, who has been around at Marvel in one form or another since 1949.  Since Ghost Rider had his own hot-selling title in 1974, Marvel didn't want to confuse readers.  They renamed the character to Night Rider.  But if you read the interior story by Gary Friedrich, Roy Thomas, and Dick Ayers, the character does use his ghostly visage to terrorize the bad dudes.  Since Friedrich and Thomas had both worked on this story in 1967, they also worked on modernizing the new Ghost Rider/Johnny Blaze character five years later in 1972.

I would have bought this comic and declared it a classic if Kane and Palmer had drawn the interiors.  Nuff Said!

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