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Was Ghost Rider Gay?

From racmu ("No one reads Usenet anymore anyway, really, so it doesn't matter.... "):

The other aspect of these early GR stories that's really striking me (and, let's be clear: these meta- and sub-textual things are just about the only things I'm finding at all worthwhile in these stories, though Tony Isabella and Marv Wolfman do okay later in the run with scripts) is just how obviously steeped they are in the homosexual/homsocial biker culture of the time. ( I know, I know: duh on me. Remember--I didn't read these back when, and wouldn't have caught the references if I had.) While the surface level source material is everything from Brando to Evil Knievel and the fad for motorcycle stunts and "cycle jocks" (with the vehicular and demonic sources meeting in the Hell's Angels, of course), there's no getting around some of the more...specifically resonant....aspects of bike culture Friedrich puts into these early stories. Johnny spends a *lot* of time fretting over his "secret" nightlife, after all, and its sinful, likely-to-be-disastrous consequences. He feels he's saved only by the abiding love of his gal-pal/love-interest/foster-sister (no, *that's* not complicated at *all*) Roxanne--whom he calls Rocky--one of the few, early on, to know his secret shame. (Prior to having given up his soul to save Rocky's father, Crash Simpson, from a disease--Johnny had made a deathbed promise to his foster-mother not to be a daredevil rider. Despite knowing this was likely the cause of his refusal to ride with them, Crash and Rocky taunt Johnny for years for being a coward. Implicitly, for being a momma's boy--less manly than Rocky herself. Have I mentioned I love the nickname?)

With loving, devoted Rocky in tow to save him from his night-time
leather self, Johnny, performing at NYC's Madison Square Garden, finds
himself, as GR, falling in with a gang of cycle toughs in...wait for
it...Greenwich Village. He's particularly besotted with one of them, in
fact (the text itself says "attracted!" Go, Gary!). Of course, this
daddy named "Curly," turns out to actually *be* Johnny's "daddy," a
dead Crash Simpson who's given his own soul to Satan in exchange for
new life, provided he can finally deliver Johnny--and his daughter
Rocky along the way. Sigh. It's always the intense, good-looking ones
you need to be careful of, eh, Johnny?

Johnny is usually depicted in his leather uniform or, when he's out of
it (whether in Hell, on the astral plane, or just in Arizona), he, like
many of the other male biker characters (and Hellstrom) is shirtless.
He frequently sleeps all day, after his GR adventures of the previous
night. He lets the public think the GR manifestation is a mask, a
gimmick, since he admits to being enough of an egoist to really get off
on the crowd adulation. At night, he goes all firey and passionate and
mounts his bike looking for trouble. It's every single hilarious
stereotype of a subset of homosexual male culture in the 1970s you can
think off---the book is even full of admiring-but-dangerous cops and
mysterious American Indians in these early stories.

It's all subtext, of course, and I've no idea what, if any,
consciousness Friedrich, Ploog, Mooney, and Thomas may have had of the
homomemes into which they were tapping--but from the perspective of a
read in 2006, this reader, anyway, keeps waiting for poor Johnny to
just settle down and be happy with one of those nice police officer
boys he keeps running from, jumping over chasm after chasm to get
away......This guy didn't need an exorcist, he needed a sympathetic

By fnord12 | August 15, 2006, 4:38 PM | Comics


i don't know about ghost rider, but i'd put my money on David Lee Roth.

Homosexual biker subtext goes back farther than this; you can find bits of it in the biker film "The Born Losers' from 1967(also the first Billy Jack film).

Reference from SuperMegaMonkey : chronocomic

There's a lot of crazy subtext in these stories. See above for that "he bunks with me" panel, check out Johnny considering just giving up and surrendering to Satan..    Read More: Marvel Spotlight #6-11