Marvel’s GHOST RIDER is in Goddamned good hands!! Here is my fiery chat on all things unholy with ED BRISSON…
I read that you became a fan during the Howard Mackie written years, as did I. That guy is a God in my mind. (Interview forthcoming from him too!) First off could we get some backstory of yourself and how you ended up here now with this title? Was it pitched to you or did you come in asking for it?
EB: Originally, I wanted to be a comic artist and was only writing comics because I didn’t know any writers. From 1994-2010, I self-published hundreds of comics. Then, in around 2010, I stopped drawing and focused on writing instead and started teaming up with artist friends. I did an online series called MURDER BOOK and then in 2012, landed an Image book, COMEBACK, with Michael Walsh.
Since then, I’ve been hustling to stay in the industry. I’ve done five creator-owned books at Image, a couple at BOOM and have worked with most publishers, but make my home at Marvel.
I got GHOST RIDER because I’d heard word they were going to do a new series and so hounded the editor of it until he relented and let me take it on. It’s a book I loved growing up and one that I really wanted to write. I had a pitch ready to go on the day I heard they were thinking about it.
As of this interview I’ve just read issue #2 where things are heating up (pardon the pun) between DANNY and JOHNNY so I must ask, is the sibling rivalry going to be a regular occurrence? Why can’t these boys get along?
EB: It will and it won’t. Things certainly seem to start off that way, but really what we have are two brothers who care deeply about one another and are, in their own mine, trying to save the other. Well, eventually anyway. When we start out, Danny wants nothing to do with any of it (which has always been his take on The Spirit of Vengeance), but as the stakes increase and more is revealed, he knows he has to save Johnny, just as Johnny thinks he’s saving Danny by keeping him out of it.
Ghost Rider’s back story has been retcon’ed so many times: whether it be The Blood/Caretaker and Medallion of Power or other such things like Noble Kale – what are your plans for tackling any of the inconsistencies in the past? Making it easier on readers while not alienating the past fans, that can’t be easy..?
EB: This is a tough one. There are so many threads that have been laid down and then trampled over, as you said, and so trying to find a clear delineation between what is and what isn’t can be a bit of a nightmare. For my part, I’ve mostly tried to focus on moving forward, while pulling bits from the past that felt, more-or-less, inarguable. I want to acknowledge past stories, but I think it’s important to continue pushing forward in a way that doesn’t necessarily contradict what’s come before.
Will we see any of the Midnight Sons former allies popping up? I felt pretty damn shortchanged on that dagger brand, lol.. did it ever get used back then? Anyway, I’m curious about Morbius, Blade, the big badass Vengeance, Dr.Strange, Hellstorm, Werewolf By Night, Man-Thing, etc? Creatures that go bump in the Marvel night?
EB: There are a couple folks from your list that will be popping up, but not all. I wanted to keep the focus largely on Danny and Johnny and their battle for their souls and to keep earth safe from Hell. But, with Lilith out there challenging the throne of Hell — and her having been such a big part of the Midnight Sons event in the 90s — it’s only logical that we’ll see some echoes of that. So far, we’ve already see Strange, Lilith and Blackheart. There will be more though.
On the comics front, as a Writer how much of an influence does the MCU have on your storytelling? For example their future plans for GR or even the Helstrom TV show which has Louise Hastings (of the Darkhold Redeemers) as a cast member.. ? What is that relationship like, if at all?
EB: None at all. Marvel recognizes that the comics are the comics and the films are the films. If anything, the belief is that the films should draw from the comics and not the other way around.
As a DIEHARD true Johnny Blaze fan (and I’m talking thru those rough years where he had half a metal face) and a Carnival gang, so I MUST ASK about some things like the fact that he lost a wife and two children – will this ever be a factor, motivation, or acknowledged? It keeps me up nights. OH THE DRAMA!
EB: At present, no. But, that is something I would like to get around to, to be honest. There’s lots of story there and not something that Johnny is about to forget.
A pet peeve of mine with some writers has been watching attributes from Danny Ketch now given to Blaze, things he did not have in his earlier appearances until the Mackie run (cough CHAINS cough*) but I’ve come to accept certain things – lol – can we see more separation on those skills between riders? Penance stare, Fire blasts from hands, Chain shrapnel, chain hardened into a spear, etc?
EB: Well, because it took me so damned long to get these answers in, not sure how applicable it is, now that Danny is the Spirit of Corruption and no longer a Ghost Rider.
My take on giving Johnny’s Ghost Rider powers associated with Danny’s (or Alejandra’s) is that each was using the Spirit of Vengeance differently and discovering what the Spirit was capable and once those powers were unlocked, each Ghost Rider would be able to use said skills/attributes. The thing I like about that is that it also leaves the door open to the potential of seeing still undiscovered powers.
Something I really wanted to do going into this is give Danny something different, give his something that could be uniquely his and not a hand me down from his older brother. And so, he’s now the Spirit of Corruption, which comes with it’s own problems, but is at least something new and something that he can call his own — for better or worse.
Any interest in combining Cosmic GR or GR 2099 in the future of the series? I know, anything can happen… but I gotta ask… PS – I’ve ordered my copy of 2099.
EB: No plans at present!
My buddy, former WWE Wrestling Champion ROB VAN DAM is a huge GR fan, are there others you’ve been made aware of? Some you weren’t expecting? I imagine Nicholas Cage would like to shake your hand these days…
EB: No famous folks have reached out, but I’ve heard for tons of Ghost Rider hands and it’s been such a positive experience. There’s a lot of love for Ghost Rider out here — and that love seems equally divided between Danny and Johnny.
Overall, you’ve got the reigns to a character that means so much to so many fans. I’m digging what you’re doing. Thank you for allowing our hero to continue to burn bright!!!
EB: Thanks for having me.
I encourage everyone to check out Ed’s latest works at your favorite comic shop, if he is the FUTURE of Marvel’s horror comics – then WE ARE IN GOOD HANDS.