photo by Paula Cravens

photo also by Paula Cravens

So you remember the movie “Ghost Rider” with Nicolas Cage?  Yeah, sorry ’bout that.  I’m a big comics fan, and I see all the comic-based movies.  Oh, wait… there was that second Ghost Rider movie… Yeah, I see MOST of the comics-related movies.

But what if they had made Ghost Rider out of an average neighborhood kid instead of a stunt rider?  It could have gone that way… Let’s face it.  Hollywood will pretty much run roughshod all over a comic book character that’s crazy popular after being refined for decades of stories and character-building.  The movie guys get a hold on this popular formula, built on the successes and failures of dozens of writers and they’ll say things like, “You know what?  Let’s not make Doctor Doom a tragically angry,  horribly scarred, and armored East European dictator with a fanatic drive to destroy his enemies and rule the world.  Let’s make him an insufferable scientist/genius/businessman who used to date one of the superheroes.  What a great idea.”

So.  Ghost Rider used to be little Billy, and he was on his paper route when the devil stops by and asks him to become an otherworldly bounty hunter.  Billy says, “Sure.” and, Flash Bang, he’s a skeleton riding on a really nice bike, but instead of a newspaper you get little burnt-out divots in your lawn (two if there’s a skip on a low throw) and the neighborhood bully suddenly stops pushing around the bonier kids.

Hollywood.  Here I come.