PHANTOM RIDER

Real Name: Carter Slade

Identity/Class: Human (Old West era)

Occupation: Schoolteacher

Identity: Secret

Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Adano Andriani, El Aguila, Avengers (Hawkeye, Moondragon, Thor), Banshee, Natalie Brooks, Flaming Star, Father Fulton, Gunhawk, Daimon Hellstrom, Immortus, Jamie Jacobs, Khonshu, Kid Colt (Blaine Colt), Manitou, Mockingbird, Enrique Montoya, Moon Knight, Rawhide Kid, Ringo Kid, Tigra, Two-Gun Kid, Robert Wentworth, William

Enemies: Jason Bartholomew, Sheriff Ben Brooks, Sheriff Ben Brown, Cletus Brown, Dike Cable, Demons of Death, Dack Derringer, Hurricane, Kang the Conqueror, Mountain Man, Angus O'Donnel, el Ojo, Phantom Rider (Lincoln Slade), Phillip, Reverend Reaper, Sting-Ray, Tarantula, Towering Oak

Place of Birth: An unrevealed location in Ohio

Place of Death: An abandoned mine somewhere in the American West

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Lincoln Slade (Phantom Rider, brother, deceased), Hamilton Slade (Phantom Rider, great-great-grandnephew)

Aliases: Frontier Phantom, Galloping Ghost, Ghost Rider, Haunted Horseman, He Who Rides the Night Winds, Night Rider, Servant of the Spirits, Son of the Spirits

Base of Operations: Bison Bend in the American West in the 1870s

First Appearance: Ghost Rider I#1 (February, 1967)

Powers/Abilities: The Phantom Rider was a superb hand-to-hand combatant, and former boxing champion in college. He was also an excellent horseman, and a fast and brilliantly accurate marksman with a gun. He used twin colt handguns and a lasso ("Lariat of the Night"). His costumes and weapons were covered with a phosphorescent dust which made them reflect and magnify light. The inside of his cape ("Cloak of Darkness" or "Cloak of Brightest Night") was solid black, enabling him to make it seem as though parts of his body had disappeared by concealing them within the cape. He also used a lantern ("Phantom Projector") which could project an image of himself, creating the illusion that he was a ghost. He also employed ventriloquism to throw his voice, further frightening his opponents. He rode a great white horse named Banshee, who had also been covered with the phosphorescent dust so that he would seem to be a ghostly steed.

The Phantom Rider has also seemingly set his gloves and lariat on fire using "a highly phosphorescent substance."

Height: 6'1" Weight: 200 lbs. Eyes: Blue Hair: Reddish blond

History: (Original Ghost Rider#15/2 (fb) - BTS) - In college, Carter Slade was a classmate of Enrique Montoya.

(Ghost Rider I#1) - Carter Slade was riding out west from Ohio when he came across a band of outlaws garbed as Natives, attacking a homestead on behalf of Jason Bartholomew. Carter attacked the false-Natives, but they overpowered him, shot him, and left him for dead. Young Jamie Jacobs survived the outlaws' attack on his home, and he found that Carter was still alive. Jaime put Carter on his horse and went looking for help, ultimately encountering members of the Sioux. The Sioux brought them back to their camp, and their medicine man Flaming Star treated Carter's injuries, performing rites which seemed to restore him to life. Flaming Star identified Carter as a champion who had been foretold to them, and presented him with a cloak coated with phosphorescent dust, along with more samples of the dust for him to use in the cause of justice. Later, Carter saw the Sioux trying to tame a wild white stallion. Using his polo experience, Carter managed to tame it, and named him Banshee. After leaving the Sioux with Jaime, Carter designed his identity as the Phantom Rider, and demonstrated to Jaime how he could make himself appear to be a ghost.

Carter and Jaime rode to the settlement of Bison Bend, only to find that Bartholomew's men had burned down the schoolhouse, and the townspeople were considering abandoning the place. Carter met Ben Brooks and his sister Natalie, and left Jaime with them while he went after Bartholomew as the Phantom Rider. Using the tricks he had taught himself, the Phantom Rider frightened Bartholomew into turning himself over to the federal marshal. Carter returned to Bison Bend to build a new schoolhouse, and arranged for Jaime to remain with him.

(Ghost Rider I#2) - When the Tarantula came to Bison Bend and began extortioning money from the townspeople, the Phantom Rider came to the town's rescue. The Tarantula tried to take Natalie Brooks hostage, but the Phantom Rider saved her, and the Tarantula fled the town. Ben Brooks was inspired by these actions to become the sheriff, and vowed to rid the town of the Phantom Rider's interference.

(Ghost Rider I#3) - The Phantom Rider helped capture a band of men who just robbed Bison Bend's bank, only to find himself having to elude Ben Brooks, who wasdetermined to halt his vigilante activities. The next day, Carter was teaching his class when Natalie came by and suggested that his students visit a circus which was in town. While visiting, Jaime overheard animal trainer Adano Andriani venting his frustration over the manager, and that he had once been the bank robber called the Cougar. When the circus box office was held up, Andriani was suspected and placed in prison, but Carter visited him as the Phantom Rider, and was convinced of his innocence. Despite the best efforts of Ben Brooks to arrest him, the Phantom Rider exposed the true criminal as Phillip, Adano's brother-in-law.

(Ghost Rider II#50) - The Phantom Rider found a tribe of Natives pursuing Johnny Blaze, who had just been time traveled by the magic of Manitou. Finding Blaze had been wounded by them, the Phantom Rider brought him to his home and treated his wounds. Later, Blaze became the Ghost Rider to aid the Phantom Rider against the Tarantula and his gang of outlaws. The Phantom Rider was injured in an avalanche caused by Tarantula's dynamite, and Blaze brought him to Flaming Star to be healed. The Ghost Rider ultimately brought in the Tarantula and his gang. The Phantom Rider thanked Blaze for saving him, and gave him a mystic amulet as a show of gratitude.

(Ghost Rider II#51/2) - Carter discovered that one of his young pupils, Robert Wentworth, was assisting a band of local graverobbers. After the Phantom Rider confronted the robbers and defeated them, Robert became a model student, turned away from the allure of crime.

(Ghost Rider I#4) - Carter held a dance to raise money for new textbooks at the schoolhouse, but they were raided by the costumed outlaw Sting-Ray, who stunned Ben and Clay Riley as he went to rob their money. Carter slipped away and changed into the Phantom Rider, but by the time he returned Sting-Ray had escaped, and Ben rounded up a posse after the Phantom Rider instead, but the Phantom Rider eluded them. Sting-Ray later went after Natalie to use as a hostage against Ben, but the Phantom Rider came to her rescue and unmasked Sting-Ray. As the Phantom Rider rode away, Ben tried to shoot him in the back, but the Tarantula suddenly appeared, and whipped the gun from Ben's hand.

(Ghost Rider I#5) - When the Tarantula returned to Bison Bend, Sheriff Brooks put up reward posters for both of them. The Phantom Rider confronted Brooks, when Natalie burst in. Ben accidentally shot Natalie while trying to hit the Phantom Rider. Switching back to Carter Slade, he went for Dr. Barnes to help Natalie, then resumed his Phantom Rider guise to confront the Tarantula, who had been setting Bison Bend aflame during all of this. During their fight, the Phantom Rider smacked Tarantula against a rock, giving him amnesia. However, the Tarantula still managed to defeat the Phantom Rider and escape. Returning to Natalie, Carter learned that Ben's bullet had shattered her spine, leaving her unable to walk. Ben irrationally blamed the Phantom Rider for this tragedy.

(Ghost Rider I#6) - Carter visited Flaming Star, who handed him the sacred Spirit Stone, an icon which would grant him superhuman strength for use as the Phantom Rider. However, Flaming Star's son Towering Oak believed that he should possess the item, and took it from the Phantom Rider. The Phantom Rider fought the super-strong Towering Oak, who ultimately perished from the after-effects of the Spirit Stone. Flaming Star buried the Spirit Stone with his son to prevent any further misuse.

(Ghost Rider I#7) - Ben and Clay Riley escorted Natalie to see a doctor in Denver, while Carter followed from a distance. Hiding in the moutains, Carter was attacked by the Mountain Man, who overpowered him and shut him up in his cabin. Switching to the Phantom Rider, he saw the Mountain Man kidnap Natalie, mistakening her for his dead wife. The Phantom Rider tried to recruit Ben's help, but Ben refused, and after roughing Ben up, he gave up on him. The Phantom Rider fought the Mountain Man, who ultimately died shielding Natalie from a falling piece of roof. Clay tried to attack the Phantom Rider from behind, but the Phantom Rider easily brushed him off, and brought Natalie to Denver himself.

(Western Gunfighters II#1/6) - When Carter found the Tarantula lurking around Natalie's home he attacked him, but the Tarantula overpowered him. Changing to the Phantom Rider, he set after the Tarantula and fought and defeated him, but after unmasking him was shocked to find that he was really Clay Riley, Natalie's fiancee.

(Western Gunfighters II#2) - The Phantom Rider tried to turn the Tarantula over to Sheriff Brooks, but he refused to believe that Riley was the Tarantula, thinking it was a frame-up. After being forced to knock Ben out, the Phantom Rider set off with the unconscious Tarantula to find more evidence. However, the Tarantula came to and set himself free mid-ride, and they fought, falling off a cliff. The Tarantula began to lose his memory, and the Phantom Rider used his powers to scare him into confessing his misdeeds, but Ben arrived and shot the Phantom Rider from behind in the shoulder. The Phantom Rider barely escaped, while Ben put out a reward poster for the Phantom Rider -- dead or alive.

(Western Gunfighters II#3) - Carter was bringing Natalie back to Denver for another operation, when the masked outlaw Hurricane attacked him on the road. When Hurricane found Carter's Phantom Rider costume, he realized who he was, and tied him up then threw him off a cliff, wanting the notoriety of having killed the Phantom Rider. However, Carter snagged a rock on the cliff, donned his Phantom Rider garb, and frightened Hurricane, who thought he was truly ghostly, ultimately running off a cliff while trying to escape the Phantom Rider.

(Original Ghost Rider#3/2) - The Phantom Rider confronted Cletus Brown, a graverobber who wanted to know what being dead was like. The Phantom Rider revealed to him that he wasn't a ghost, just a normal man.

(Original Ghost Rider#4/2-5/2) - The Phantom Rider fought Angus O'Donnel when he attempted a train robbery. O'Donnel threatened to kill his young aide William, but the Phantom Rider saved him.

(Original Ghost Rider#7/2-9/2) - O'Donnel escaped from his hanging, and the Phantom Rider pursued him, hanging him from a telephone pole to the frustration of Sheriff Brown. Tormented that he had taken a life, the Phantom Rider went to Father Fulton and confessed his double identity and what he had done to him. He gave up being the Phantom Rider, discarding his costume and returning Banshee to his secret cave.

(Original Ghost Rider#10/2) - Sheriff Brown confronted Carter, convinced that he was the Phantom Rider, but Jaime and William helped throw Brown off the trail by dressing Jaime as the Phantom Rider. When Carter learned that Cletus Brown's life had been changed by his encounter with the Phantom Rider, he decided that he would resume his costumed identity.

(Original Ghost Rider#11/2-12/2) - Carter went to a tribe of Natives and recounted his origins to them around their fire, recalling how Flaming Star had made him the Phantom Rider.

(Original Ghost Rider#15/2-20/2) - Carter went down to Boca Del Dios to assist his friend Enrique Montoya in his search for the temple of Quetzalcoatl. Joining them was el Ojo, who turned out to be a criminal intending to plunder the ruins. As the Phantom Rider, Carter was aided by Enrique's brother Paco, the costumed hero el Aguila, and el Ojo finally committed suicide out of fear of the Phantom Rider.

(Giant-Size Kid Colt, Outlaw#3) - One night, Carter came upon Dack Derringer just after he had shot Kid Colt in a card game. While Derringer escaped, Carter used what he knew of medicine to help save Colt's life, and left him with Jaime at his house while he set after Derringer as the Phantom Rider. He pursued Derringer for three days into another town, but Derringer managed to wing him in the shoulder and escape. Derringer finally rode into a dead end valley, and the Phantom Rider was joined by Kid Colt to face off against him. Using his tricks, the Phantom Rider was able to trick Derringer into wasting much of his ammunition, and frightened him so that Derringer began to beg for mercy. While the Phantom Rider tried to ascertain if he was genuinely repentant, Derringer went for a hidden pistol, when Kid Colt shot him in the back. The Phantom Rider was annoyed that Colt had resorted to murdering Derringer, and told him to leave his territory.

(Avengers Forever#6) <1873> - The Phantom Rider answered a summons from the Two-Gun Kid to assist against the time traveler Kang, joining forces with the Rawhide Kid Colt and Rawhide Kid in Tombstone. The five of them fought townspeople who were under Kang's control, as well as a mutated gila monster. Finding themselves outmatched, the outlaw heroes rode away.

(Avengers I#141 - BTS) <1873> - When Immortus and the Avengers Thor and Moondragon materialized to 1873, the Phantom Rider, Kid Colt, Rawhide Kid, Ringo Kid and Two-Gun Kid confronted them.

(Avengers I#142-143) <1873> - The five gunfighters brought Immortus, Thor and Moondragon to Hawkeye, who had also been brought to 1873, and they shared information on the dilemma facing this era due to Kang's interference. The gunfighters and Avengers managed to halt a team of bandits working for Kang when they attempted to rob a train.

(Western Gunfighters II#4) - The Phantom Rider happened upon the bounty hunter Gunhawk as he was facing an outlaw, and the Phantom Rider used his abilities to frighten the man away. However, Gunhawk was unmoved, and guessed how he used his lantern to project a ghostly image of himself, shooting the lantern. Gunhawk warned the Phantom Rider that he had come to collect the bounty on him.

(Western Gunfighters II#5) - Carter visited the sheriff's office, and saw that Gunhawk had posted a challenge to the Phantom Rider, ordering him to surrender or that he would come after him. When the two men finally met up, Ben also arrived, intending to arrest the Phantom Rider before Gunhawk could kill him. However, a band of outlaws used their fight as a distraction to commit robberies in Bison Bend, and the three men put aside their differences to round up the outlaws. Afterward, Ben tried to shoot the Phantom Rider in the back, but Gunhawk spoiled his aim, having decided that the Phantom Rider was a good man.

(Western Gunfighters II#6) - Carter was attacked by a gang of outlaws, but saved by his brother Lincoln, a marshal. He explained that he had come to Bison Bend to find Zachary Grimm. Carter introduced Lincoln to Natalie, and learned how townspeople had been disappearing. Encountering Reverend Reaper, the brothers suspected he would be the next to vanish, and stalked him individually, with Carter becoming the Phantom Rider. At first, Lincoln thought the Phantom Rider was an enemy, but the two joined forces to raid the abandoned mine base of Reverend Reaper, who proved to be behind all of the disappearances. Lincoln got the hostages to safety, but Reaper brought the mine down upon them. The Phantom Rider knocked Lincoln out of the way of falling debris, only to be crushed himself. As he was dying, he told Lincoln to remove his mask, revealing himself to be Carter. Carter explained to Lincoln that he knew the risks of the life he had chosen, then died.

(Western Gunfighters II#7 (fb)) - Lincoln brought Carter's body out of the mine, and removed the Phantom Rider costume to protect his identity. He brought his brother's body back to Bison Bend for burial.

(Western Gunfighters II#7 - BTS) - Lincoln, Ben, Natalie and Clay Riley attended Carter's funeral. Jaime Jacobs assumed the Phantom Rider guise in Carter's stead, but was quickly killed in action, with Lincoln finally assuming the role.

(Ghost Rider II#56 - BTS) - In modern times, the resting place of Lincoln Slade was discovered by his descendant Hamilton Slade, and the spirits of Carter and Lincoln Slade both possessed him, transforming him into a supernatural Phantom Rider.

(Incredible Hulk II#265, West Coast Avengers II#8-9, 31-32 - BTS) - Carter's spirit continued to possess Hamilton from time to time, and as the Phantom Rider joined the Rangers and fought the Corruptor. However, the spirit of Lincoln Slade began to compete with Carter's, seeking revenge on the Avenger Mockingbird for his death.

(West Coast Avengers II#41) - Mockingbird, Tigra and Moon Knight forced Hamilton Slade to meet with Daimon Hellstrom, who performed an exorcism on him, revealing both Carter and Lincoln had been possessing his body. As the two ghostly Phantom Riders began to clash, Hellstrom released the spirit of Khonshu from Moon Knight to assist. Suddenly, the Demons of Death led by Seth invaded the premises, and the Phantom Riders continued their battle in the chaos. Ultimately, Hellstrom chose to send both spirits into oblivion, but at the last moment Hamilton willed Carter to repossess him. Hamilton vouched for Carter as being the heroic Phantom Rider, and that he would continue the Phantom Rider legacy.

(Marvel Comics Presents I#102/4, Avengers: The Initiative#2 - BTS) - Carter's spirit was in possession of Hamilton Slade as he fought the demon D'Spayre and rejoined the Rangers to fight Hydra.

Comments: Created by Gary Friedrich, Roy Thomas, Dick Ayers and Vince Colletta.
The Carter Slade Ghost Rider was based upon the Ghost Rider western hero created in 1949 by Magazine Enterprises; this hero had the same visual and was also drawn by Dick Ayers.

There's no perfect way to fit the Phantom Rider's adventures from Original Ghost Rider into his continuity -- the presence of a different sheriff in Bison Bend is a bit tricky. I placed them between Western Gunfighters II#3-4 because #4 follow continuously to his death.

This profile uses the Phantom Rider alias for clarity, but in case someone is interested, here are the aliases of Carter Slade as they were printed in the original stories:

by Prime Eternal

CLARIFICATIONS:
Ghost Rider


Images taken from:
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#19 - Phantom Rider entry
Ghost Rider I#1, page 2 (numbered), panel 2
Ghost Rider I#1, page 9 (numbered), panel 2
Ghost Rider I#2, page 3 (numbered), panel 5
Ghost Rider I#5, page 14 (numbered)
Original Ghost Rider#11, page 25 (numbered), panel 1


Ghost Rider I#1 (February, 1967) - Gary Friedrich, Roy Thomas (writers), Dick Ayers (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Ghost Rider I#2 (April, 1967) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (writer/penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Ghost Rider I#3-5 (June-September, 1967) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Ghost Rider I#6 (October, 1967) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (penciler), George Roussos (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Ghost Rider I#7 (November, 1967) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (penciler), Herb Trimpe (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Western Gunfighters II#1-2 (August-October, 1970) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (penciler), Tom Sutton (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Western Gunfighters II#3 (December, 1970) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (penciler/inker), Vince Colletta (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Western Gunfighters II#4 (February, 1971) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Western Gunfighters II#5 (June, 1971) - Len Wein (writer), Dick Ayers (penciler), Frank Giacoia (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Western Gunfighters II#6 (September, 1971) - Len Wein (writer), Dick Ayers (penciler), Syd Shores (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Giant-Size Kid Colt, Outlaw#3 (July, 1975) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Len Wein (editor)
Avengers I#142 (December, 1975) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers I#143 (January, 1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (penciler), Sam Grainger (inker), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Ghost Rider II#50 (November, 1980) - Michael Fleisher (writer), Don Perlin (artist), Dennis O'Neil (editor)
Ghost Rider II#51 (December, 1980) - Michael Fleisher (writer), Carmine Infantino (penciler), Mike Esposito (inker), Dennis O'Neil (editor)
Ghost Rider II#56 (May, 1981) - Michael Fleisher (writer), Don Perlin (penciler), Mike Esposito (inker), Dennis O'Neil (editor)
West Coast Avengers II#41 (February, 1989) - Tom DeFalco, Ralph Maccio (writer), Tom Morgan (artist), Howard Mackie (editor)
Original Ghost Rider#3-5 (September-November, 1992) - Dan Slott (writer), Dick Ayers (artist), Evan Skolnick (editor)
Original Ghost Rider#7-12 (January-June, 1993) - Dan Slott (writer), Dick Ayers (artist), Evan Skolnick (editor)
Original Ghost Rider#15-16 (September-October, 1993) - Dan Slott (writer), Dick Ayers, Rich Ayers (artists), Evan Skolnick (editor)
Original Ghost Rider#17-20 (November, 1993-February, 1994) - Dan Slott, Tom Brevoort, Mike Kanterovich (writers), Dick Ayers, Rich Ayers (artists), Evan Skonick (editor)
Avengers Forever#6 (May, 1999) - Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern (writers), Carlos Pacheco (penciler), Jesus Merino (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)

Last updated: 08/19/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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