This is the one-hundredth and sixth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and five. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
This is a special theme week to coincide with Tuesday's DVD release of Ghost Rider. All Ghost Rider Urban Legends!!!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Jesus Christ was a supporting character in Ghost Rider.
STATUS: Basically True
When Gary Friedrich left Ghost Rider, the character that he created, writer Tony Isabella took over the title.
Soon into his run, Isabella decided to have the book break away from Friedrich's style (presumably under the auspices of "he did it so well, let's try something different"), and as such, Isabella made Ghost Rider a bit more of a superhero, and at the same time, also attempted to examine some themes of redemption with the character.
One of the first things Isabella did (using a suggestion by writer Steve Gerber, who Isabella had told his plans for the book) was to introduce, as a supporting character in the title none other than Jesus Christ.
The idea being that, since Ghost Rider had a deal with Satan, wouldn't God want to get involved?
So with that, we saw the introduction of The Friend.
The Friend helped save Johnny Blaze from Satan in issue #9, and proceeded to continue to help aid Blaze in essentially redeeming himself.
The storyline continued for about two years (the book was bi-monthly at the time).
However, when it came down to the conclusion, Marvel editorial took issue with the story and in Ghost Rider #19, Shooter re-wrote (and had some of the art partially re-drawn) the issue.
The new story revealed that The Friend was actually a demonic illusion.
As you may imagine, Tony Isabella took issue with that development, and that was it for him on the title.
It's too bad - the storyline was quite good.