Over on the Wizards Podcast, Adam and Michael will occasionally extoll the virtues of comics with gimmick covers from the 90’s. I thought I’d dig out one such comic and see what the ads looked like. Ghost Rider #15 features a gimmick cover and a variant cover.
It featured a full flaming skull on the cover and the gimmick was, it’s a glow in the dark cover. Ghost Rider #15 is the first comic to ever feature a glow in the dark cover. It was also offered in two variants, a black cover and a gold cover. I’d like to say I was immune to these gimmicks, but I wasn’t. Quite the opposite, I was all in on them and bought multiple copies.
I bought four copies of Ghost Rider #15, two in black, two in gold. The gold covers were immediately bagged and boarded, along with one of the black covers. The final copy was the one I read.
Ghost Rider #15 was released in July 1991. It’s the third volume of Ghost Rider which ran from May 1990 through February 1998. Volume 3 feature Danny Ketch as the Ghost Rider. My favorite Ghost Rider is the original, Johnny Blaze, but Danny Ketch as the Ghost Rider is the series I read the most.
The story in issue #15 is decent, but not great. With a glow in the dark cover selling the comic the story doesn’t have to be great. With the awesome cover, a great story would make this comic even more collectible. Here’s a brief synopsis of the issue:
Ghost Rider, badly injured by Blaze’s hellfire shotgun, races to Central Park to confront Blackout. Fired upon by police, he eventually crashes into an alleyway and changes back to Danny Ketch, who is almost immediately set upon by thugs. Danny runs away, just as the women of H.E.A.R.T. arrive to beat up the thugs and take his bike. Though injured and exhausted Danny is resolved to make his way to Central Park and hope for the best when Blackout appears.
Deathwatch congratulates H.E.A.R.T. on stealing every bike that may be Ghost Rider’s, but tells them not to interfere with the coming Central Park battle. Blacout kills two more people in the park, and when Tyler Meagher learns that the murderous Blackout is employed by Deathwatch she angrily breaks ties with him. Ghost Rider’s bike suddenly roars to life and races away, toward Danny in the park who has just come upon Blackout. He changes to Ghost Rider to battle Blackout, but gets distracted by another blast from John Blaze. Then he’s fried by Tyler Meagher of H.E.A.R.T. but he knocks her back as well and continues pursuing Blackout.
Blackout threatens to kill a girl unless he’s allowed to go free. A blast from Meagher allows Ghost Rider to get the jump on him, and when Blaze blasts them both, Blackout is hideously scarred. Ghost Rider at first wants to kill him, but at Blaze’s insistence, relents, and rides away, as the police converge on the scene.
You’re not here for the story though, you want the ads! This issue has some great ads. There are some ad themes in the comic, trading cards and Game Boy games. All of which are great to re-visit. Let’s get to it.
Right out of the gate we get probably the best ad in the comic. An ad for the 1991 G.I Joe trading card series! If you haven’t seen these cards check out the Wax Pack Flashback episode where Mickey opens a pack of them. I collected all kinds of trading cards; sports, Marvel, DC, movie trading cards, but I never had the G.I. Joe series.
Just looking at the cards in the picture you can see the high quality and great art work. Seeing this ad again makes me wish I had collected them. I may need to find them on eBay and order a set.
After the great G.I. Joe ad we get the first ad for Game Boy. This one features Tradewest and their flagship game Battletoads. I played the original Battletoads on the Nintendo Entertainment System and wasn’t impressed. It’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ripoff and not a good one. I never owned a Game Boy but if I did I’d buy the Off Road game in the picture, not Battletoads.
The Double Dragon game would be good to own as well. I haven’t seen what the Game Boy port looks like but the original game is awesome.
The next ad is another game for the Game Boy. This one features an all star cast of NBA superstars. NBA All-Star Challenge let’s you play one on one with the biggest names in basketball, Micheal Jordan, Charles Barkley, Isaiah Thomas, there is an all-star from every team in the league. You can compete in five different events against the All-Stars.
The ad is good, using the all-stars as the main draw for the game. It would be nice if they showed more game play screens. I wonder why they didn’t feature Micheal Jordan in the ad?
Here’s another trading card ad. This one is for the 1991 Score Football cards. I loved sports trading cards, baseball, NASCAR, hockey and football were the ones I collected the most. I had a few basketball cards, but not very many. I didn’t stick to one brand of trading card, I’d buy them all, Topps, Donruss or Fleer. I was a big fan of Upper Deck when they debuted in the late 80’s.
In the ad Score claims they are “The Official Card of the 1990’s” I don’t know who makes that determination, but I don’t own a single Score trading card.
On the latest episode of Wax Pack Flashback you can watch Mickey open a 1991 pack of Fleer Ultra NFL trading cards over on The Retro Network YouTube channel.
We finally get a Marvel ad in this comic. The comics from the 1970’s and 80’s we’ve looked at are heavy with ads for the comic publisher. This comic only has one ad for Marvel and it’s for t-shirts. I don’t like the artwork on the Weapon X shirt, which is a shame, Wolverine is one of my all time favorite characters. I wouldn’t wear the Silver Surfer shirt either.
I would however, wear the Ghost Rider shirt! Anything with a skull has my attention and a skull with flames…yes please!
On the inside back cover is an ad for a 3 Musketeers bar. It’s #5 in a series. I don’t know how many there were in the series but it looks like they get their inspiration from adventure movies. In this ad a team led by an Indian Jones type explorer finds the Tomb of the Last Mayan King!! Instead of a gold statue, they discover a giant 3 Musketeers bar.
I loved 3 Musketeers as a kid. I don’t think they are as popular anymore. It’s hard to find them in my kids Halloween candy, but when I do I take it from them…hey it can cause cavities!
The back cover features an interesting game from a leader in strategic gaming, TSR. A Line in the Sand is a strategy game based on Desert Storm, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in January 1991. TSR must have rushed to get this game out, this issue was only seven months after the invasion and it would have gone to print in May or June.
To get this game created, along with the map board and playing pieces in such a short time is incredible. I wonder how many they sold?
TSR is best known as the publishers of Dungeon & Dragons but they had other games too. They published role playing games based on Marvel Super Heroes, Indian Jones and Conan. They also had a line of military strategy war games like this one.
The winner for this issue is the G.I. Joe trading card ad. I’m not sure how I missed them back in 1991, but I’m going to make up for that!
Until next time, keep your comics bagged and boarded…unless you want to thumb through them to check out the great ads!