See how Robbie Reyes became the Spirit of Vengenace as Venom overtakes him in EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #3!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Back in 2014, the Marvel Universe experienced a new flame-headed traveler for vengeance! ALL-NEW GHOST RIDER #1–by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore–introduced the world to Robbie Reyes, a character who would go on to appear in both “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and this week’s EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #3.

All-New Ghost Rider (2014) #1

All-New Ghost Rider (2014) #1

  • Published: March 26, 2014
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 22, 2014
  • Cover Artist: Tradd Moore
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Though symbiote-covered now, Reyes began his comic book career as a high schooler with a mechanic job he used to help raise his wheelchair-assisted brother. One night, he borrowed one of the cars from the shop to do a little fund raising by way of an illegal race and wound up on the wrong end of a mercenary squad.

Riddled with bullets, Robbie fell back expecting to die. Instead, the Spirit of Vengeance–who introduced himself as Eli–saved him as well as the car and returned them both to their homes.

We eventually learned that the car itself belonged to a local gangster named Grumpy whose people stole a bag of pink pills that were created by Calvin Zabo, the alter-ego of one Mr. Hyde! The drugs turn users into rampaging monsters.

After taking care of both Grumpy and Hyde, Reyes’ fiery exploits attracted the attention of Johnny Blaze who wanted to know about this new Ghost Rider.

Eventually Robbie learned the truth, that he wasn’t actually the next Spirit of Vengeance, but that his dead, Satanist uncle Eli Morrow had possessed him. He still exhibited many of the traditional Ghost Rider abilities, but existed as something else entirely.

Robbie appeared in the Secret Wars series GHOST RACERS and most recently in his second solo GHOST RIDER series!

Flash Forward

As mentioned above, in addition to packing the comic page with action, Robbie Reyes also made the jump to the small screen. Debuting on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” in the fourth season, the character played by Gabriel Luna looks very similar to his comic book counterpart. Their origins remain somewhat similar as well, though he and his brother Gabe got gunned down in the TV series, which brought the Ghost Rider into his life. Thinking he sold his soul to a devil, Robbie worked to not only exact revenge on the people who hurt him and his brother, but also do some good in the world. That included making some sacrifices at the end of the season that revolved around the Darkhold, but we don’t want to get into too many spoilers here!

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Symbiote and Spirit of Vengeance mix as Ghost Rider goes Venom!

Simon Spurrier and Tigh Walker just might tip the scales in favor of the symbiotes in the pages of EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #3. The July 26-dropping issue brings a new Venomized character into the fold: Ghost Rider! With the Spirit of Vengeance, otherwise known as Robbie Reyes, on the side of the symbiotes, it may seem impossible for the good guys to pull out a win—but we’ve got faith in them.

While we wait on the big event, we talk with Walker about bringing these two deadly designs together, working towards a monumental story, and working with Spurrier!

Marvel.com: When creating the look of this symbiote-possessed Ghost Rider, what were the key elements of each individual icon that had to come through in the finished product?

Tigh Walker: One thing that I really hoped to carry over from both characters was that slick black oiliness against those clean, crisp white designs. From Venom, the spider, and from Ghost Rider, those bold blocky lines. So I tried to combine those two iconic shapes into something new but familiar for the Host Rider.

More specifically, I really wanted to include Venom’s tangle of teeth, tentacle-y tongue and scraggy eye shape.

Then, I was also looking to borrow Ghost Rider’s skeletal schnoz, cheek bar thing—I don’t know what it is but I dig it!—and that fountain of forehead flames.

I really wanted to make him something you might actually be scared of if you met him in real life. I mean, I’m sure if you met him in real life he’d be totally disarming. His name would be Stu or something, and he’d be a dentist or an accountant and he’d have two corgis, a favorite movie, and a song that made him cry every time he heard it; he’d be a lovely guy. But because it’s not real life and both Venom and Ghost Rider are a tad horrifying on their own, it was important that that quality be mirrored in the Host Rider.

Marvel.com: How was the actual design process for this combined character? Was there a lot of back and forth about getting him to look just right?

Tigh Walker: My first impulse was to go out, grab a Ghost Rider and a Venom costume, put them on at the same time, stand in front of the mirror, take some pics and send them to [editors] Devin [Lewis and] Allison [Stock] for feedback. But the sales clerk thought I was saying denim, not Venom, and basically I got some sweet jean shorts that I didn’t want instead.

I’m just kidding. I totally wanted the jean shorts. They’re amazing and do wonders for my calves.

For the design, Devin/Allison initially sent me a few really nice covers that had been done previously, so I had those as a reference to begin with. Then after reading the script, I had a fairly solid idea of what I thought this [fiery]/goopy/toothy guy should look like.

For the Host Rider himself there wasn’t too much back and forth, but there was a bit for his mount/vehicle, just to get that sweet puppy looking right.

There were a lot of designs for this issue and every one of them was insanely fun to work on. So much so that I’ve started Venomizing random things at home. Toothbrush? Venomized. Grape soda? Venomized. My fish, Fin Diesel? Venomized. It’s pretty fun, you should totally try it. Or don’t, I’m not the boss of you, do what you like.

Marvel.com: With a Venomized Ghost Rider you’ve got two very different kinetic elements at play between the symbiote and the latter’s fire. How was it playing with those two from panel to panel?

Tigh Walker: It was interesting to find a balance for sure. Both of those elements can get pretty busy visually just on their own, so it was fun to marry them and find ways to have them co-exist.

I found that the fire really helped show large sweeping movement because you can have it trailing off of the Host Rider in fun ways. There were also cues from Simon about which element should be favored and when, which really helped.

For his weapons, the Host Rider uses a sort of fiery flail type thingy sometimes, but he can also shoot chains—like webbing—that are covered in that slick, black symbiote goopy stuff. So there are opportunities to showcase it all.

Marvel.com: Both Venom and Ghost Rider are pretty powerful on their own, but combined they sound almost unstoppable. Is it fun playing with that level of ability on the page?

Tigh Walker: Look TJ, by now I feel like we’re friends, so I’m not going to sit here and lie to you: it really is. It’s super fun. It was a challenge to try and convey that amount of energy on the pages, but I tried to fit as much in as possible. Oddly, as I was drawing this issue, every now and again I caught myself smiling giddily for no other reason than the page was just crazy fun to be drawing. And I don’t normally smile, like, ever. Not even for pictures.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Simon and editorial on this important lead up to a big event?

Tigh Walker: Working with Simon/Devin/Allison has been sincerely fantastic.

I can’t really say enough about Simon’s script for this issue. Immediately after reading it for the first time I stood up, screamed “Are you kidding me right now?!?” at some random cat that just happened to be in my living room, ran down three flights of stairs and whipped an egg salad sandwich at a parked car. So basically, Simon owes me an egg salad sandwich. That’s how good his script is. It’s egg salad all over a car good.

Devin and Allison are super great to work with and I’m very honored and excited to be a part of the lead up and to see where the story takes us. I’ll tell you what though, if I ever get a chance to meet them—they’re both getting hugs. And I’m not even a hugger, like at all, so it’s sure to be extra awkward for all of us.

EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #3 by Simon Spurrier and Tigh Walker roars into stores on July 26.

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Celebrate the holidays with the Spirit of Vengeance as Anthony Piper brings us a special tale!

With the holidays just around the corner, Ghost Rider fans can enjoy Robbie Reyes’ very own X-Mas issue. The Spirit of Vengeance meets Santa, plus all kinds of fun holiday shenanigans.

We caught up with co-writer and artist Anthony Piper about his experience working on the GHOST RIDER X-MAS SPECIAL Infinite Comic.

Marvel.com: You got your start through character designs you shared on social media. Can you tell us a little about that?

Anthony Piper: I started re-designing comic book characters and giving them a hip-hop flavor. One of them went viral, and I kept building on that. I’ve built traction as I’ve posted more artwork, put stories behind the characters and such. And later, I got an email from my editor, Chris Robinson. He had found Trill League, the series I created, online and liked it. And he asked me if I’d like to do a variant cover for THUNDERBOLTS #1.

Marvel.com: Can you talk about your experience with doing both the writing and the artwork?

Anthony Piper: I’ve always written stories, but I never thought my career would head in that direction. I always exceled at English and creative writing, as compared to science and math. But I thought my career would focus on the art alone. I think the way I write has gained people’s attention, because I tend to combine a lot of pop culture references and a lot of stuff taking place with current media trends, and I inject them into geek culture.

Marvel.com: You co-wrote a really sweet, fun story with GHOST RIDER X-MAS SPECIAL—perfect for the holidays. What did you enjoy about working on this project?

Anthony Piper: This was my first writing assignment with Marvel. And I definitely wanted to interject some humor into the story. The rapper Method Man came up with the story and I scripted the dialog for it. I hadn’t collaborated with another writer previously, and I had to take the elements of what he had laid down for the story beats and combine that with my ideas on where I thought he wanted to go with it. Taking my writing style and combining it with some of the elements already in the story felt kind of tricky, but also fun.

Marvel.com: Robbie Reyes has had a lot of attention lately, due to his TV role in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Did you enjoy writing a character who suddenly finds himself in the spotlight?

Anthony Piper: I definitely felt hyped to get to write a character who gets more attention now. I’ve always considered myself a fan of the new Ghost Rider. I never actually read Ghost Rider until Felipe Smith and Tradd Moor re-launched the character. It had an insanely different art style and it caught my eye, and it got me into the series. So that felt exciting, the fact that I didn’t initially feel as interested in the character, but then got stoked about Robbie and had the chance to write him. But in terms of my actual writing, I kept it separate, it didn’t really influence what I wrote.

Marvel.com: You’ve worked on a wide range of projects, including books like this one, variant covers, animation illustration, etc. Would you consider any type of project your favorite?

Anthony Piper: I love writing and illustrating, the combination of the two. I tend to have a very, I think, unique and funny way of envisioning stories. I think of different moments and how to perfectly illustrate them in a script. Ideas go through my head when I work on a script about how I, or someone I know who has the same personality traits as the character, would react to the situations in the story. Especially when it comes to humor and a character’s reaction. Ultimately, I love doing everything, but when I get the chance to write and illustrate a story, it’s one of the best feelings.

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention anything else about the book?

Anthony Piper: I want to give a big thanks to Chris. I’m very grateful for the fact that he has given me these opportunities, especially the multitude of projects that he threw my way this year. It has been crazy, and a big surprise for me. I’ve always wanted to work for Marvel, but it was one of those things that you never actually think will happen, that you’d actually get discovered by an editor from Marvel based on a project that you put out online.

Anthony has worked on several hip-hop variant covers for Marvel, as well as writing the weekly GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: AWESOME MIX Infinite Comics, and he wrote and illustrated a backup story in the recent UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL. You can read the GHOST RIDER X-MAS SPECIAL Infinite Comic right now!

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