Tuesday, April 12, 2011

WHAT I MISS ABOUT 90'S COMICS - DAY 2: Spider-Man and Ghost Rider 2099

Believe it or not, 90's comics weren't all about running after the latest foil covered, die-cut, poly-bagged edition of DeathDeathKill #1 - and this week I'm flashing back to seven things from the decade of nine-o that make me feel just a wee bit homesick.

It's a well trodden path in sci-fi, that if you have a cow you can milk to death in the present, shoving it into a futuristic field means you can obtain more moolah from the same group of fans, and maybe even round up a few more in the process.

In the 90's Marvel did just that by chucking some of it's best into the year 2099. While some proved even a futuristic turd still steams, Spider-Man 2099 and Ghost Rider 2099 especially showcased just what prime beef the concept was.

Addicted to the drug Rapture by his employers when he threatens to quit over human trials, Miguel tries to download a saved drug-free version of his DNA profile, only for it to be sabotaged, mixed with that of an arachnid. These abilities turn him into Spider-Man 2099.

Writer Peter David's run on Web of Spider-Man is my top Spidey-stint ever, so following him into the world of 2099 was a no-brainer. Armed with the criminally underrated art of Rick Leonardi and one of the best wall-crawler wardrobes of all, Spider-Man 2099 twisted the Spidey stereotypes just enough to make the book feel like a Spider-Man title, but still fresh and new at the same time.

As an example, classic Spider-Man is shy Peter Parker and mouthy arachnid avenger. In 2099 Spidey is almost an ass-kicking mute, yet Miguel O'Hara's mouth was the 90's best source of spider-humour.

Wicked huh? While Spidey was the flagship of this Blade Runner like world of 2099, the real grit stepped was over in Ghost Rider 2099 - drawn by my man; Chris Bachalo.

Written by Len Kaminski, the series had a Grant Morrison-ish feel to it, with one-liner futuristic concepts scattered all over the page and plenty of attitude and ass-kicking in between.

The title characters origin proves what a head-rush for your imagination the book was; Kenishiro “Zero” Cochrane is a hacker who is shot after downloading corporate information into his brain. Uploading his mind into cyberspace through a payphone, he gets 'picked up' by the Invisibles and agrees to fight corporate power in exchange for being put into a Ghost Rider robot body, with hover-bike and wait for it... chainsaw hands.

Yip, even in the future when you have a dirty job to do, the chainsaw is still a freakin' awesome weapon.

The first handful of issues with the top creative team in play are golden. Thanks to them, Cochrane stood out in a sea of bad attitude comics, with a death-wish, a hate of authority and an axe to grind against 'the system'.

Grab the early issues of both these series' if you can. With video games and movies desperate for comic worlds to exploit, it wouldn't surprise me if they both rear their heads again soon.


  1. Brings me back. I never got into Ghost Rider 2099....I don't even remember that one, but I did like Spidey's 2099 title. Thanks for the step back in time Dan.

  2. I still remember Spidey 2099 fondly, as do my husband and brother-in-law. I know the new Spiderman video game uses him, a testament to the coolness of the costume.

    I never read the Ghost Rider one, but yes, Chain saw's never go out of style. They will always get the job done, no matter the date. :)

    Thank you Dan! I'm really digging this feature.

  3. Glad you guys are digging the flashbacks to the 90's. Once you start looking into them there's a whole host of cool points - at first I thought I might be struggling to see seven!

    I love Spider-Man 2099 and hopefully a book of his can return. Ghost Rider was really good especially for the first handful of issues with the a-list writer/art team. If you like Grant Morrison's work definitely look for them in your bargain bin next time you are passing!

    Thanks guys!

  4. Spidey 2099 is one of my all time favs!! Rick Leonardi ROCK IT!!

  5. Thanks Marcelo! I think he was amazing on the book too - that's why I went with uncoloured art as an example, so his skill was even greater to see.