Our local Fred Meyers had a DVD sale, a few months back, where they took a bunch of movies they’d overstocked on and put them all out at $5.00 each.
This is how we came to own Ghost Rider on DVD, which we’d missed on the weekend it was in theaters. We finally got around to watching it Friday, and, well, uh, it had good effects and was well worth the $5.00.
I’d put it a little below “Daredevil” when it comes to Marvel movies.
Anyway, when it was over, it reminded me that, even though I wasn’t really a Marvel fan in my childhood, I’d had at least one comic with Ghost Rider in it, and so I went to see if I could figure out what it was. I knew it’d had him and Iceman and Angel in it.
It turned out that it was an issue of “The Champions”, a Marvel series from the 70s that featured the superheroic exploits of Ghost Rider, Hercules, The Black Widow, and yes, Iceman and Angel.
It also wasn’t too hard to find the series to read. Turns out that I’d had issue 14, which had been the first half of a two-part story, so I got to read issue 15 for the first time and find out how The Champions beat The Swarm. The Swarm being, let me get this straight, a Nazi who’d escaped prosecution at the end of WWII and moved to South America, where he was studying killer bees and wound up melding with a hive of super-intelligent killer bees and becoming a supervillain.
OK, so it wasn’t exactly a Great Work of Literature, but what the heck.
Then I made the mistake of saying to myself, hey, I have the whole series here, let’s read it from the start.
Don’t do this. It hurt me, people, it Hurt Me Bad. The Swarm turned out to be the sole redeeming factor of the entire series, and I honestly don’t know whether that’s because those issues were actually any better than the rest or if the nostalgia factor is just kicking in and helping me ignore the pain.
I’m kind of tempted now to seek out the Defenders, possibly the only super hero group with a weirder line-up (“Silver Surfer! The Hulk! Dr. Strange! The Sub-Mariner!”) and see how it compares.
That’s a kind of masochism there, it is.