This issue of Marvel Age, the monthly "behind the scenes" magazine produced by Marvel, had numerous features on the second Ghost Rider series that was debuting that month. Included in the issue were:

-- a Ghost Rider Trivia Page

-- a 2-page "Li'l Blazer" story by Fred Hembeck that featured the adventures of Johnny Blaze as a child long before he became the Ghost Rider

-- an article focusing on the new Ghost Rider series that featured interview segments with Howard Mackie and Javier Saltares

-- a 5-page preview of Ghost Rider (1990) # 1

-- a segment of "Marvel Reviewers" that focused on advance reviews of Ghost Rider # 1


Much like the current Marvel Spotlight series, Marvel Age was the in-house Marvel magazine that acted as a "behind the scenes" hype machine for their products being released each month. This issue focused much of its attention on the brand-new Ghost Rider series by Howard Mackie, Javier Saltares, and Mark Texeira - and Marvel was obviously going out of their way to make sure people picked the series up.

Of course, hype was certainly necessary for the series. Ghost Rider hadn't been in publication for a good seven years, and many younger readers of the time plausibly had no idea who the character was. So Marvel Age stepped in to fill in the gaps, providing looks at the absolutely smoking artwork - including a new cover by Mark Texeira that soon became an iconic image for the character - and interviews with the creative team. There are some hidden bits of knowledge held in the interviews, one that surprised even me. Did anyone else know that Blackout's original name was Nightwalker? Curiouser and curiouser.

But unlike the current Spotlight series (which admittedly can be rather dry most times), Marvel Age at least attempted to keep a sense of humor and fun in its pages. From the Ghost Rider trivia question to the so-cute-it-hurts "Li'l Blazer" short by Fred Hembeck, there's a deliberate attempt to poke fun at the characters in a way that's lighthearted and not mean-spirited.

I always enjoyed Marvel Age until it became nothing but a hype machine in the mid-90's, just prior to it's cancellation, and it was a definite help when it came to launching books in the 80's and 90's. I'm certain that it was one of the many factors that went into Ghost Rider being such a huge success...I mean honestly, who could look at that 5-page preview and NOT pick up the first issue?

Grade: N/A

Marvel Age # 87
Published: April 1990
Original Price: $1.00
Cover: Mark Texeira

Contributing Writers: Brian Nelson, Fred Hembeck, John A. Wilcox, & Howard Mackie
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Assistant Editor: Barry Dutter
Designer: Steve Alexandrov
Editor In Chief: Tom DeFalco