Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Skywald's Hell-Rider appears to be a non-supernatural forerunner of Marvel’s Ghost Rider, which was also created or co-created by Gary Friedrich. The never published (although completed & advertised) third issue would have featured a cover by Gray Morrow and a Hell-Rider story entitled "The Zodiac Killers".
Gray Morrow's proposed cover to the third issue of Hell-Rider!
Other titles from Skywald!

As with Warren Publications, the first issues of Skywald magazines featured stories created by writers such as Gerry Conway, T. Casey Brennan, Garner Fox, Doug Moench, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman & Robert Kanigher. That also included an assortment of talented artists like Syd Shores, Rich Buckler, Bruce Jones, Bill Everett, Don Heck, Pat Boyette, Ross Andru, Pablo Marcos & Tom Sutton, who drew these early chilling stories, just to name a few. Even the cover artists were stellar, early Boris Vallejo & Ken Kelly work.

Ad for Hell-Rider #3, best shot of the cover I've come across.

Hell-Rider starred avigilante motorcyclist, Vietnam War veteran, lawyer and black belt martial artist named Brick Reese. With his customized, flamethrower-equipped motorcycle and temporary super-strength courtesy of the experimental drug Q-47, the Los Angeles, California-based Hell-Rider battled the Claw, a masked, heroin-smuggling, secret society leader.

Hell Rider #1  Hell-Rider Battles the Heroin-Spawned Terror of...the Claw!
Harry (The Spectacular Spider-Man #1) Rosenbaum painted cover.
"Table of Contents" 
Page includes illustrations from interior stories.
Background on the beginnings of Hell-Rider.
Script by Gary (Sgt. Fury) Friedrich with art by Ross (Spider-Man) Andru; John (Claw the Unconquered) Celardo & Mike (Menthor) Esposito. 
"Introducing...the Hell-Rider" 
Brick Reese, Hell-Rider faces the Claw, leader of the Catmen, a group of green cat-costumed men dealing heroin and using the profits to build a fascist army in the desert. 
Origin of Hell-Rider. Written by creator Gary Friedrich with art by co-creators Ross Andru & Mike Esposito.
Special Effects by Bill (Sub-Mariner) Everett. 
"The Butterfly" 
In her first appearance, cabaret singer Marian Michaels investigates the Claw as the crime-fighting Butterfly
Origin of Butterfly, the first Black female superhero in comics.
Script by creator Gary Friedrich with art by John Celardo, Rich (Deathlok) Buckler & co-creator Mike Esposito. Ross Andru was the third co-creator.)
"Introducing...The Wild Bunch"
The Wild Bunch was a biker gang consisting of: Animal, Deke, Slinker, Curly and Ruby. Brick Reese, Hell-Rider, was briefly a member, until he was drafted to fight in Vietnam.
Created by Gary Friedrich, Dick (Spyman) Ayers, Syd (Captain America) Shores & Mike Esposito 
Script by Gary Friedrich with art by Dick Ayers & Mike Esposito.
"The Final Chapter"
Script by Gary Friedrich with art by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito. 
"Curly's Cycle Corner"
Q & A and motorcycle advice column.  
Script by Gary Friedrich with art by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito. 
Color Covers with black and white interiors.

The Butterfly starred African-American singer/superheroine Marian Michaels, whose costume is equipped with bright lights to blind adversaries, a jet pack for flying, and suction cups for climbing.  

The Wild Bunch starred a rough but basically goodhearted biker gang that Reese had encountered, consisting of leader Animal; Afro-haired Deke; weaselly Slinker; tall, blond Curly; and blond biker-babe Ruby.

I have recently gotten interested in Skywald, since they weren't in my radar when I was a young fan of comic books. I certainly wish I'd picked up on them earlier. This particular title captured my interest, with its unusual premise. I do plan to follow up with issue #2 soon. 

Harry Rosenbaum's amazing painted cover for The Spectacular Spider-Man #1, from a John Romita layout!

Proposed Butterfly splash page, original art by Rich Buckler, to have been used in the unpublished Hell-Rider #3!

Live Large My Friends!

Thank You!

Australian edition of Hell Rider #1. I like their logo!
Infamous line-up of The Wild Bunch from Hell-Rider #1.
Was Hell-Rider a precursor to Marvel Comics infamous Ghost Rider?


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