Writer Victor Gischler details the resurrection of the classic series!

When an angel dies, the Spirits of Vengeance are the first to respond.

Ghost Rider has tried to manage the situation on his own, but it’s time to bring in some reinforcements. As Marvel Legacy dawns, Satana, Hellstorm, and Blade ride with Johnny Blaze once again…on October 4, writer Victor Gischler and artist David Baldeón heat up the cold war between Heaven and Hell with SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE #1!

We gave Victor a grilling to learn more about the return of this supernatural quartet.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about how this story begins?

Victor Gischler: The Marvel Universe is a huge place, but our story takes place in its own macabre little horror corner…The Spirits have entered into this eternal cold war between Heaven and Hell, and Earth stands as the battlefield.

There’s a constant struggle to nudge Earth and humanity toward good—or a little bit toward evil—but it’s an ongoing balance. When something significant comes in to try to tip that balance toward evil, our Spirits arrive to figure out how to stop it.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to reboot a series like SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE?

Victor Gischler: I don’t know! [Laughs] I mean, nobody really put it to me like, “We need you to reboot this series.” They said “Here are some characters that we can bring back and do some cool stuff together.”

I didn’t think of it as a reboot; I thought of it like, “These characters would be great in a certain kind of story.”

Marvel.com: What are the dynamics between these characters like?

Victor Gischler: They work well together because they’re professionals—but a couple of them will raise an eyebrow at one another. You know, Satana and Hellstorm are siblings, so they have a little friction there. But when it comes down to getting the job done, they can set that aside—they’ve got bigger fish to fry!

Marvel.com: Did you draw from the past incarnations of these characters? Or did you approach them with a fresh perspective?

Victor Gischler: A little bit of both! We have some of the past flavoring—you’re not going to see Ghost Rider turn to Blade and say, “Hey, this is just like issue #22! Remember that from the ‘90s!?” They won’t do that. [Laughs] The vibe of the past exists, but we’re refreshing them and updating them.

David Baldeón gave Hellstorm a makeover into the sort of super spy of the Spirits of Vengeance; he’s always dapperly dressed, but he’s also in his civilian clothes a lot. We’re also waiting for him to bust out with that pentagram on his chest, of course, but he covers a lot of mileage. It’s not just about his powers, but also what he knows and how he experiences everything.

Marvel.com: It seems like you’re bringing your own style while honoring what came before.

Victor Gischler: I think that’s the perfect way to put it. Maybe we tip the balance a little here and a little there, but we are trying to walk that line. It would be wasting an opportunity to forget everything that came before. Part of it feels like rediscovering treasure we already had.

We’ve also got a couple of bad guy characters and, in a way, they’re exactly what you’re saying—we’ve created a totally new villain but we’ve also reached back into the archives for one…and gave him a revamp. It’s the best of both worlds. When we were in the process of creating them, I thought about whether we should dig up a villain or invent a bad guy. If you invent a bad guy, you can tailor that person to be exactly what you need for the book—but on the other hand, the revamp gives you a chance to have some history and continuity. It’s so cool to have a callback! You know, some other writer—however many years ago—already put such hard work into making a character that I can reshape and update a little. Again, it’s about walking that line.

Marvel.com: How would you describe the art in the book?

Victor Gischler: I have a pretty poor vocabulary when it comes to art stuff…I tend to say that things look “neat” or “cool”…but basically, David’s pages are kickass.

Marvel.com: And how would you describe your characterizations in the story?

Victor Gischler: The characters have some edge but are still obviously good guys. These guys aren’t Captain America, but in spite of that edge, you know whose side they’re on. We tried to show that from the outset. When we introduced Satana, for instance, I wanted to remind readers of who Satana is—the kind of stuff she does. Yes, she’s one of the “heroes,” but she’s also literally Satan’s daughter.

Marvel.com: This is a Marvel Legacy title, so what does the legacy of Marvel mean to you?

Victor Gischler: Oh, man…where to start

Well, I remember when I started buying comics as a kid. You’d have to walk into a convenience store on the corner and they’d have these racks and there’d just be comics crammed in. Nobody thought these things would be valuable or collectible; we only thought about reading the stories and the characters.

But what a wealth. What a wealth of story and characters and history. I can remember being 8 years old and getting a copy of THE INCREDIBLE HULK at the store. So why wouldn’t we create a series that remembers what we have?

You know, when I first picked up a copy years ago, Johnny Blaze was my Ghost Rider. And now I get to write him. How awesome is that?

Victor Gischler and artist David Baldeón’s SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE #1 drops on October 4!

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Open up artist David Baldeón's dark book of demonic drawings!

What do Satan’s kids, a flame-headed demon, and a vampire hunter all have in common? They intend to keep the balance between heaven and hell as seen in the October 4-launching SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE.

Written by Victor Gischler and drawn by David Baldeón, the five-issue limited series will bring Johnny Blaze’s Ghost Rider together with Blade, Satana, and Daimon Hellstrom to stop a mysterious force from using an incredibly powerful weapon to plunge existence into chaos.

We talked with Baldeón about bringing his unique vision to these denizens of the dark and digging into the horror genre with an expert like Gischler!

Marvel.com: You’ve drawn a lot of different books in a lot of different genres. How has the supernatural/horror corner of the Marvel Universe been treating you?

David Baldeón: So far, so good! Horror is not the first thing that comes up when I think about my work so far—except maybe for ZOMBIES CHRISTMAS CAROL—but it sure feels good to stretch my horror fan legs a bit and see how I adapt to it.

I [grew up on], like any decent 80s kid, on my fair share of gory VHS tales, and quite a few of them come into play for this SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE run. Add to that the fact that I’m working with some of the very best supernatural characters around, which happen to inhabit the Marvel Universe and, well, I’m having much more fun than the guy who did the art for MARVEL TSUM TSUM should be allowed to be having!

Marvel.com: Did you look back to any of these characters’ previous runs to get a better feel for them?

David Baldeón: A little bit, mostly their more recent runs and appearances, just to keep in tune with what they look like nowadays and build on that. Their classic runs were of course present, because they have been part of my comic book diet consistently. I have had a Ghost Rider and a Hellstrom and a Blade version of mine in my head for a long long time. When this book came along, I just had to articulate them into the tale that Victor had come up with. Funny thing is what I had in my head seemed to work perfectly with what was written in the scripts!

Marvel.com: When we first talked about this book, you sounded very excited about the designs for the villains. What can you tell us about that process?

David Baldeón: As usual, it all comes from the script. Victor’s story is wonderfully layered, and the influences and connections it requires are the best ground for some very rich design work. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, it all seemed to work perfectly with the versions of the characters that I have had in my head as a fan for years.

For instance, Daimon Hellstrom, as described for this book by Victor, is very much a James Bond of the supernatural, which allowed me to weave his signature pentagram into the most dapper-looking suit I could design. And just with that the character is both designed and described visually! Our Rider is not too different from his classic look, but my long-time dream of drawing him as a death metal version of Jack Skellington worked perfectly with the look our demons needed.

And of course in my head they all came from more or less the same place, so it made sense that they shared an elongated, unnatural look. The book is filled with these little visual motifs, small clues and connections that I hope will help give it a distinct tone and a visual identity that is up to the story’s standards. And then there are the design candy characters and environments that I get to draw in every single issue, that of course I cannot comment on without going into full spoiler mode. But I’m sure they will be easily identified when the book is released.

Marvel.com: When it comes to figuring out some of the more supernatural-heavy scenes in the series, does the script have a lot of detail or does that come from you?

David Baldeón: Just the right amount of detail to let me run with it. Victor lets me do the groundwork on the visual storytelling, but of course that’s really easy to do when the script is so well crafted and the characters so wonderfully fleshed-out. I have tried to add to that, of course, and have tried to give each scene a different tone and use different visual narration techniques, depending on which character “carries” it. Which, again, is easy when the characters are so well written.

And by the way, I can’t say enough either about Andres Mossa’s gorgeous work on color. Andres’ lighting of all scenes in general—and the most gruesome and terrifying ones in particular—certainly close the deal. Not only do the pages look gorgeous, they’re pitch-perfect. If this was a movie, we could not have a better Director of Photography.

Marvel.com: Victor’s done a lot of work in the horror space. Would you say that came through in the scripts you used to draw the issues from?

David Baldeón: Forgive me the pun, but hell yeah. Victor sure knows his horror, and he is playing the classics and the references to my absolute delight, and most assuredly, the readers’. But he’s not just playing clichés or tropes, he’s using the basic and best rules of the genre to expand that supernatural corner into a wonderful wide playground. And best of all, what he’s doing—and hopefully I’m bringing it through with the art—follows what every good horror author knows: that it all works through and for the characters.

SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE #1 from Victor Gischler and David Baldeón burns its way into your hands on October 4!

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Johnny Blaze, Satana, Blade, and Hellstrom unite!

Writer Victor Gischler and artist David Baldeón have spirit, yes they do. They’ve got spirit. How about you?

More accurately, they have SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE coming at you! On October 4, the Marvel Universe’s most infernal characters join forces in this fiery five issue limited series.

Back in the ‘90s, Marvel gave Ghost Rider and his horror-themed pals their own dark corner of the House of Ideas to play in. In addition to a series focusing on the Rider, the line also included a team-up called SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE that starred Johnny Blaze alongside another Rider, Danny Ketch. While this new series certainly acts as a spiritual successor to the original, readers need no familiarity with the original concept to enjoy the new series.

We caught up with Gischler and Baldeón to speak about working inside the Marvel Legacy initiative, the new team’s origins, and exploring the darker parts of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: 1990s comic book fans will definitely recall the original SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE—how does it feel taking that title and using it to tell a new story as part of Marvel Legacy?

Victor Gischler: It feels just fine. And if hitting those notes brings out readers who were fans in the ‘90s, then that’s awesome. But in no way are we approaching this book in a fashion that leaves out new readers. We’re looking forward. I guess it’s the best of both worlds. We’re taking some great characters who maybe haven’t gotten enough play in recent years and reintroducing them.

Marvel.com: So far we know that the series features Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider, Satana, Blade, and Hellstrom. Victor, how did it feel to nail down this line-up?

Victor Gischler: Not a chore at all really. There was some brief discussion with the editors about different possibilities, but it would have been cumbersome to fit in every character that might be in a book like this. I mean, it’s a five issue limited series. We got to make it a tight little team. The best and most obvious choices are the four you mentioned.

Marvel.com: David, was there much of a redesign process when it came to these characters?

David Baldeón: There’s a little bit of everything. As Victor says, we want to take the very best possible of the original title and its era, and look forward with that. Hopefully that comes through in the designs! With that in mind, in some cases, I have just had fun with the original look of the character, ran with it, and tried to give it a twist. In other cases, we’ve dug deeper to give new versions that still are true to the character’s core. And also following that line of thought of adding and moving forward rather than going just for repetition. There’s a lot of layers there, design-wise. Oh, and the antagonists! I’m so looking forward to everyone seeing them!

Marvel.com: These characters have run into each other over the years—and they’ve even worked together. What brings them together this time around?

Victor Gischler: They come together fairly organically. It’s not like S.H.I.E.L.D. had a meeting and said, “Hey, let’s invent a super hero team to fight bad guys.” Not this time. One of our heroes recognizes a threat and one thing leads to another.

Marvel.com: How deep are you going into the supernatural and horror genres as you dive into these stories?

Victor Gischler: We reach deep into some familiar mythos.

Marvel.com: The classic SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE title and the Midnight Sons umbrella featured plenty of crossovers and guest appearances. Do you have plans to continue that tradition with this new series?

Victor Gischler: Not at the moment, since it’s just five issues. We need to stay focused on our story and the four characters we already have to work with. But if there’s a call for more, there’s a huge potential for crossovers and other familiar faces. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

Marvel.com: How has it been collaborating with each other to bring this group and this book to life?

Victor Gischler: Pretty easy for me. I just sit back and watch David’s excellent art roll in. It’s going to knock your eyes out!

David Baldeón: It’s a delight—pure and simple. I’m having the time of my life with this book and it is in great measure thanks to Victor’s amazing take on the characters. For instance, as fun as it is to “unleash” the Rider, the real joy is drawing Johnny Blaze as Victor writes him.

Victor Gischler and David Baldeón delve into darkness with SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE #1, available October 4!

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