Real Name: James Owl

Identity/Class: Human magic user;
Native American  (presumably Hopi)

Occupation: Sorcerer, warrior, gate-keeper

Group Membership: Ghost Dancer lineage

Affiliations: His Ghost Dancer ancestors: Dickerson + Mikey & Patti (classmates);

EnemiesClown demons, Iktomi, the Manitou

Known RelativesEthan Owl (father, deceased), unidentified mother (deceased), Nathaniel Great Owl (Ghost Dancer, paternal grandfather, deceased), unidentified maternal grandfather (deceased); numerous unspecified ancestors (many of whom were Ghost Dancers)

Aliases: Gate-Keeper of the Secret Worlds, "Red" (derogatory nickname)

Place of Birth: Hopi reservation (240 miles northeast of Phoenix), Arizona

Base of Operations: Currently unrevealed;
    formerly Beverly Hills, California

First Appearance: Dances with Demons#1 (September, 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Ghost Dancer serves as a gate-keeper, blocking passage into the world of the spirits. He has a number of unspecified magical abilities, including projecting blasts and opening dimensional portals, though most of his abilities are as yet unseen.

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Eyes: (James) Brown; (Ghost Dancer) solid blue
Hair: (James) Black; (Ghost Dancer) none


(Dances with Demons#2 (fb) - BTS) - Nathaniel Great Owl dedicated James' unborn spirit to the task of becoming the next Ghost Dancer.

(Dances with Demons#1 (fb) - BTS) - James' father never forgave his own father, Nathaniel, for walking out on James' grandmother, and he told James was told Nathaniel had abandoned his family before James was born, before James' father left the reservation to go to college.

(Dances with Demons#1 (fb) - BTS) - James' maternal grandfather died when he was ten.

(Dances with Demons#1 (fb) - BTS) - James father took him off the reservation, fought to get him into a good college, and ended up a major player in entertainment law.

(Dances with Demons#1 (fb) - BTS) - James did well at school; his friends felt he could get straight A's with a little effort, but instead he acted like "a meathead surf bum."

(Dances with Demons#1) - James awoke from a nightmare of his grandfather turning into the Ghost Dancer, but being slain by the Clown demons of the Manitou. James' friends mocked him about his dreams when he shared them, after which he went surfing. Growing tired due to his poor night's rest, he took a nap on the beach, only to be plagued by dreams of the Manitou holding Ghost Dancer's head, questioning why it hadn't received his power and where he was hiding his soul, at which point the soul--in the form of a hawk--burst forth from his chest and teleported away, taking with it the Clown that tried to stop it.

(Dances with Demons#1 (fb) - BTS) - James' parents went out on some industry party before he could have the chance to ask them about his grandfather.

(Dances with Demons#1) - Sharing his dreams again, James was talking on the phone with Patti when the hawk spirit crashed through the window before transforming into a naked woman. She introduced herself as Lori, his grandfather's guardian and now his. She tried to explain about the Clown pursuing her, but James refused to believe her until the Clown appeared before them.

(Dances with Demons#2 (fb)) - As Lori savagely fought and destroyed the Clown, James fled.

(Dances with Demons#2) - James showed up at Mikey's house, telling him what had just happened, only to find that Lori was already there, waiting for him. She told him of his link to the dream world and of other secret worlds. She attempted to prepare him for his role as Ghost Dancer, but he sneaked out the back window of Mike's house and returned to his own home, but the Manitou demon had already slain both his parents and usurped his father's form. James' father's spirit managed to force the body to reveal the deception before Manitou could ambush James. Manitou then revealed himself, catalyzing James transformation into Ghost Dancer. The energy released knocked Manitou back, but Ghost Dancer was left extremely weak.

(Dances with Demons#3) - Manitou easily overpowered Ghost Dancer until Lori arrived and jumped into the fight. She was no match for the Manitou, but James then had a flash of his grandfather's memories, and Nathaniel took over the Ghost Dancer's form and fought for him. Nathaniel cast off the Clowns swarming over him and rescued Lori, who in turn temporarily healed Mike after he had been skewered by one of the Clowns. As James returned to his own form and mind, Lori led he and Mike to escape by motorcycle, and they headed to the Grand Canyon, or Sipapu as the Hopi called it. Lori had to leave James in Mike's care for a time so she could heal herself from her injuries at the Manitou's hands, after which James finally accepted Lori's training. She told him of the Hopi legend of three worlds before the present one and then sent him on a Visionquest to find a totem, a fragment of the secret worlds that would reveal itself to his inner eye. He was immediately confronted by a past incarnation of the Ghost Dancer, which seemed to tear his heart from his chest.
    Meanwhile, Manitou joined forces with Iktomi, leading James' friend Patti into a trap so that she could be forced to lead them to James.

(Dances with Demons#4) - James continued his confrontation with his ancestor Ghost Dancers, including his grandfather, who explained that as each Ghost Dancer died, his spirit was added to the Ghost Dancer's form and passed on to the next descendent. They then proceeded to test him. They cast him into the secret worlds that existed before the present one.
    Meanwhile, Patti, possessed by Iktomi, Manitou, and the Clowns, was forced to follow the psychic trail to James, after which they erupted from her form. Mike and Lori held off the attackers as long as they could, each receiving mortal wounds in the process, though Iktomi was knocked from a ledge to the canyon floor far below. However, as the Manitou entered the cave in which he was meditating, James completed the ritual, tearing the heart from the last standing Ghost Dancer and taking it for himself. Accepting the mantle and power of the Ghost Dancer, he seemed to grow to great size and consume Manitou, who vanished into darkness. Exiting the cave, Ghost Dancer found that Lori had passed her remaining essence into Patti, saving her life, and Patti became James/Ghost Dancer's new companion and guardian. The two then vanished, to parts unknown...

(Civil War: Battle Damage Report) - Tony Stark considered Ghost Dancer as a potential Initiative recruit.

Comments: Created by Simon Jowett and Charlie Adlard.

    I guess James and his family were Hopi, but the names of all the different characters were from different tribes. Manitou is Algonquin, Iktomi is Lakota,

The existence of the Ghost Dancer was somehow related to the three worlds that allegedly existed before the current one:

  1. Tokpela, created out of the void by Taiowa, creator of the finite and infinite, ruled over by Kokyangwuti, spider woman. Newborn into existence, the first humans' skulls had yet to close. Soft fontanels pulsed with new life and marked them as innocents. There was no sickness, no disease, until evil entered the world. The first medicine men stepped away from their fellows and entered into an eternal duel with evil, to fight it, they had to first understand it, grow closer to it, that they might better recognize its many forms. Such understanding wreaked many changes...
  2. Topka was thus born, but innocence, once lost, is never regained. The inhabitants of Topka grew apart in their knowledge. They saw differences in each other, began to speak in a babble of different tongues. Displeased and dismayed, Sotuknang, the first power, destroyed Topka.
  3. Kuskurza. Those who stepped away from humanity saw the survivors emerge from the devastation of Topka into the third world only to repeat their mistakes. Sealing the pure of spirit inside the hollow stems of tall plants, another holocaust was loosed upon the Earth.
  4. with the current world being Tuwaoachi, or Koyaanisqatsi, a world out of balance, on the verge of self-destruction

Ghost Dancer (James) has an entry in Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic.

Profile by Snood.

No KNOWN connections to:






    A generation of Hopi ancestors and descendents who serve as gate-keepers, blocking passage into the world of the spirits. Each picks his successor, and upon his death his spirit is bound to the Ghost Dancer persona, adding its power and wisdom to the next incarnation. They also serve to test the suitability of new Ghost Dancers.


    They have a number of unspecified magical powers


--Ghost Dancer#1 (Marvel Frontier Comics Special#1, Ghost Dancer#1-4







images: (without ads)
Dances with Demons#1 cover (main)
    #2, p1, panel 5 (James face)
    #4, p21, panel 2 (Ghost Dancer face)

Dances with Demons#1-4 (September-December, 1993) - by Simon Jowett (script), Charlie Adlard (art), Garry Russell (editor)
Civil War: Battle Damage Report (2007)

Last updated: 07/08/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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