Ghost Rider (Marvel Universe)
Ghost Rider has always had that seventies comic book feel to me. The lone motorcycle riding antihero who finds himself entangled with elements of the supernatural. To be a popular book in the seventies it seemed like you had to have some sort of other worldly weirdness going on.
While not as well known as many of the Marvel Mutants, Ghost Rider managed to secure a place in the Marvel Universe series of figures. I initially passed on getting him when I saw him thinking he would be plentiful. I was wrong. I also figured there would be a deluxe figure at some point with a bike. Wrong again. Anyway the very cool Lemonjuice McGee helped me out securing my first Marvel Universe figure.
Ghost Rider is essentially a motorcycle dude with flaming skull for a head. The style of this figure is obviously more of the comic book tone than of the movie version.
Where the movie version of Ghost Rider had numerous little spikes and so forth, this version of the character is spikeless. The high collar and colors evoke the Johnny Blaze era of GR, as well.
The color choices for this character remind me a little of the Star Wars Comic two packs taken from the original film. Obviously, Ghost Rider is intend to be dressed in black. However the basis for his costume is a dark blue. Black outfits just didn’t work well with the comic printing tech of the seventies. (I have to add, the two tone nature of the figure was not apparent to me until I took the pictures. It’s subtle in person.)
The light blue highlights are probably the thing that make most folks have an issue with on this figure. A powder blue outline around the collar and chest flap of his jacket really stand out. While it might be accurate to some of the comics, on a figure it could have been toned down a bit and still achieved the desired effect.
Overall, the body is the right look for me. He doesn’t have the over muscled look that some comic book characters do. Ghost Rider was never one to fight with a natural strength.
The collar is okay. While not a modern biker look, it does work for the seventies. Oddly, the collar is held in place by a separate neck piece. Looking at the neck from the side, it looks too long. Sometimes I think these folks need to go back to “How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way” and learn about human proportions.
All of this brings us to the main Ghost Rider piece, the head. I have to say this is probably one of the best sculpted skulls I’ve seen at this scale. The skull is molded from a yellowish plastic and has some orange paint highlights. I almost would have rather seen the highlights done in black. I always remember GR having black eye sockets and I think that is missing here.
Now, about those flames. It’s hard to pull fire off as a sculpted element at any scale. In this case the flames are translucent piece glued to his head. It’s a good attempt at the flame look, but falls a bit short. This is one of those cases where I think what you can achieve in comic book can’t be well represented in 3D form. The flames end up looking more like hair than a fiery aura around his head. I think because they don’t go fully around the head plays a big part in this look.
They probably would have been better off to create a one piece flaming skull and cast it in translucent plastic and paint the bone on to it. However, I think either way they needed more color in the flames themselves. Whey you look at fire it’s not one color like it is represented here.
Ghost Rider comes with single accessory, his chain. The chain is molded in an ‘s’ shape in a soft plastic that matches his flames. It gives kind of a neat effect since the individual links are painted there is a little of the orange between them. The weighted end is left unpainted. It’s okay, but really it isn’t very exciting.
I wanted to discuss scale here for a second. The Marvel Universe figures are more in scale with the Iron Man 2 figures than they are Star Wars or GI Joe figures. This disappoints me a bit. Since they are all from the same company wouldn’t it have made sense for all of them to be the same size? Maybe this is only obvious to me.
The articulation is along the lines you would think. I have to say GR here isn’t quite as posable as I expected. I thought there was some limitation in the shoulders that was a little less than normal. The hip joints are a bit odd as well with only a short span until a swivel joint. I popped his right leg off twice trying to put him in a more extreme pose.
In general, Ghost Rider is a good representation of the Johnny Blaze era Rider. While not as high on detail as say a GI Joe figure, the figure accomplishes the comic book look well. If I could improve one thing it would be the head in mainly the flames. Maybe if Hasbro is listening they will make a deluxe version with a bike and a new head.