Longtime Marvel Comics writer Gary Friedrich, co-creator of Ghost Rider and Son of Satan, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 75.
Tony Isabella posted the following statement on Facebook from Friedrich's longtime friend and colleague, Roy Thomas:
I won't go into details at this point, but I wanted to mention that one of my oldest and dearest friends, Gary Friedrich, passed away last night, from the effects of Parkison's, which he had had for several years. That and his near-total hearing loss had left him feeling isolated in recent years, and his wife Jean seems content that he is finally at peace. As many of you will know, he did considerable work for Marvel during the late 1960s and 1970s, and for Charlton in the 1960s, including a remembered run on SGT. FURY, stints on CAPTAIN AMERICA, DAREDEVIL, SHIELD, and others, and of course the basic concept/creation of the motorcycle-riding Ghost Rider at Marvel. I'd know Gary since I was in college and he still in high school, when he came to work at the Palace Theatre in Jackson, MO, and some of my happiest memories of our days in the rock band he founded circa 1962 and which existed for a couple of years.
Gary Friedrich was born in Jackson, Missouri in 1943. As a teenager, he was friends with future Marvel writer and Editor-in-Chief, Roy Thomas. In the mid-1960s, Thomas, who had recently gone to work at Marvel Comics, contacted his old friend and suggested that he give comic book writing a chance. Friedrich (who is not related to Mike Friedrich, another comic book contemporary of the era) moved to New York and began writing for Charlton Comics.
After Roy Thomas began working for Marvel, Stan Lee began to pass a number of his regular writing assignments over to Thomas. Eventually, there were too many for Thomas to write himself, as well, and he began to add new writers to Marvel. Thomas got Friedrich a number of assignments, including a regular gig in 1967 on Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, Friedrich's longest running stint at Marvel, as he stayed on the title until 1971.
Friedrich filled in on a number of Marvel's superhero titles before co-creating Ghost Rider in 1973's Marvel Spotlight #5. Friedrich also wrote the Ghost Rider ongoing series that spun out of Marvel Spotlight. During this time, he also co-created Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan.
Friedrich wrote for Skywald's black and white horror magazines in the mid-1970s. After being one of the writers for the rival comic book company, Atlas/Seaboard Comics, that former Marvel owner Martin Goodman launched in 1975, Friedrich left comics entirely in 1978. He returned in the 1990s briefly to write Bombast for Topps Comics, reuniting with his old Sgt. Fury art team of Dick Ayers and John Severin.
In recent years, Friedrich is best known for his lawsuit against Marvel in 2007, claiming that the rights to Ghost Rider defaulted to him in 2001. He lost the lawsuit in 2011 but the ruling was overruled on appeal in 2013. In September of 2013, Friedrich and Marvel agreed to a settlement.