Gary Friedrich, 75, Marvel Comics writer (Sgt Fury; Ghost Rider; Son of Satan; CapAmerica; Daredevil)
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That Derek
2018-08-30 22:35:00 UTC

Ghost Rider Co-Creator Gary Friedrich Passes Away

7 hours ago
by Brian Cronin
in Comic News

Longtime Marvel Comics writer Gary Friedrich, co-creator of Ghost Rider and Son of Satan, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 75.

Tony Isabella posted the following statement on Facebook from Friedrich’s longtime friend and colleague, Roy Thomas:

I won’t go into details at this point, but I wanted to mention that one of my oldest and dearest friends, Gary Friedrich, passed away last night, from the effects of Parkison’s, which he had had for several years. That and his near-total hearing loss had left him feeling isolated in recent years, and his wife Jean seems content that he is finally at peace. As many of you will know, he did considerable work for Marvel during the late 1960s and 1970s, and for Charlton in the 1960s, including a remembered run on SGT. FURY, stints on CAPTAIN AMERICA, DAREDEVIL, SHIELD, and others, and of course the basic concept/creation of the motorcycle-riding Ghost Rider at Marvel. I’d know Gary since I was in college and he still in high school, when he came to work at the Palace Theatre in Jackson, MO, and some of my happiest memories of our days in the rock band he founded circa 1962 and which existed for a couple of year

Gary Friedrich was born in Jackson, Missouri in 1943. As a teenager, he was friends with future Marvel writer and Editor-in-Chief, Roy Thomas. In the mid-1960s, Thomas, who had recently gone to work at Marvel Comics, contacted his old friend and suggested that he give comic book writing a chance. Friedrich (who is not related to Mike Friedrich, another comic book contemporary of the era) moved to New York and began writing for Charlton Comics.

After Roy Thomas began working for Marvel, Stan Lee began to pass a number of his regular writing assignments over to Thomas. Eventually, there were too many for Thomas to write himself, as well, and he began to add new writers to Marvel. Thomas got Friedrich a number of assignments, including a regular gig in 1967 on Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, Friedrich’s longest running stint at Marvel, as he stayed on the title until 1971.

Friedrich filled in on a number of Marvel’s superhero titles before co-creating Ghost Rider in 1973’s Marvel Spotlight #5. Friedrich also wrote the Ghost Rider ongoing series that spun out of Marvel Spotlight. During this time, he also co-created Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan.

Friedrich wrote for Skywald’s black and white horror magazines in the mid-1970s. After being one of the writers for the rival comic book company, Atlas/Seaboard Comics, that former Marvel owner Martin Goodman launched in 1975, Friedrich left comics entirely in 1978. He returned in the 1990s briefly to write Bombast for Topps Comics, reuniting with his old Sgt. Fury art team of Dick Ayers and John Severin.

In recent years, Friedrich is best known for his lawsuit against Marvel in 2007, claiming that the rights to Ghost Rider defaulted to him in 2001. He lost the lawsuit in 2011 but the ruling was overruled on appeal in 2013. In September of 2013, Friedrich and Marvel agreed to a settlement.
That Derek
2018-09-01 05:22:11 UTC
August 30, 2018 12:04pm PT by Graeme McMillan

Ghost Rider Co-Creator Gary Friedrich Dies at 75

The writer had also scripted the first appearances of Steve Ditko's Blue Beetle.

Gary Friedrich, the co-creator of Marvel’s Ghost Rider and Son of Satan, has died of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 75.

The writer was a childhood friend of Marvel writer and editor Roy Thomas, who announced the death of Friedrich, shared on Facebook by Friedrich’s Marvel contemporary, Tony Isabella. According to Thomas, “[O]ne of my oldest and dearest friends, Gary Friedrich, passed away last night, from the effects of Parkinson's, which he had had for several years. That and his near-total hearing loss had left him feeling isolated in recent years, and his wife Jean seems content that he is finally at peace.”

Thomas recommended Friedrich as a freelancer to Charlton Comics editor Dick Giordano in the early 1960s. After breaking in with stories for the independent publisher’s romance comics line, he moved on to work with Sam Grainger and Steve Ditko for Charlton’s superhero comics, including dialoging the first appearances of the Blue Beetle.

At the same time, Friedrich had started writing for Marvel, initially providing stories for its western line, including Rawhide Kid and the western incarnation of Ghost Rider. From there, he branched out into the publisher’s war comics, including issues of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos and Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen, as well as occasional contributions to its superhero line throughout the late 1960s.

By far his most well-known contributions to Marvel come in its nascent horror line of the early 1970s; in addition to his work adapting Mary Shelley’s novel into comics as Monster of Frankenstein with artist Mike Ploog, the two collaborated to create Johnny Blaze, the motorcycle-riding demon known as (the second) Ghost Rider in 1973. The first issue of Blaze’s series also introduced Daimon Hellstrom, also known as the Son of Satan, who would go on to become a recurring character throughout the Marvel Universe in subsequent years.

Friedrich’s part in the creation of Ghost Rider would be a point of conflict between himself and Marvel in later years, with the writer filing suit against Marvel, Sony Pictures, Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures, Hasbro and other companies in 2007 alleging that the character had been exploited without his permission, and that both film and merchandizing rights had reverted to him in 2001. The case was ruled in Marvel’s favor in late December 2011, and upon appeal, the two sides settled in 2013.

Outside of his Marvel work in the 1970s — which also included writing multiple issues of the British weekly series Captain Britain — Friedrich also freelanced for Atlas Comics and Skywald Publications. He left comics in 1978, although he returned for one issue of the Topps Comics title Bombast in 1993, which just so happened to be plotted by his childhood friend, Roy Thomas.