Meeting Johnny Blaze for the first time

RICHARD AND WENDY PINI

Real Names: Richard Pini, Wendy Pini

Identity/Class: Normal humans

Occupations: Special effects technician and props arranger (Richard); costume designer (Wendy)

Group Membership: Delazny Studios' staff

Affiliations: Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider), "Coot" Collier, Cosgrove, Katy Milner (Roxanne Simpson), Karen Page, Stunt-Master; formerly Daimon Hellstrom

EnemiesChallenger, Legion, Orb

Known Relatives: Each other (spouses)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Delazny Studios, in Hollywood, Los Angeles

First Appearance: Ghost Rider II#14 (October, 1975)

Powers/Abilities: Richard is skilled in props and special effects design. Wendy is skilled at costume design and at brownie cooking. Both Pinis have an interest (and presumably a degree of skill) in fencing. They are also remarkably friendly and compassionate.

It is possible, yet unrevealed, that the Pinis have the same creative skills of their real world counterparts (see comments).

History:

(Ghost Rider II#14) - At a point in time when Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider) had just begun working as a stuntman for the Stunt-Master at Delazny Studios, the Orb appeared in the premises and mind-controlled a group of visitors to attack Stunt-Master and Johnny Blaze. The combined efforts of Blaze (in his Ghost Rider guise), Karen Page and Katy Milner drove the attackers off and restored their faculties, but only after Stunt-Master went through a beating.

In the aftermath, Katy offered to give Johnny a tour of the studio and some information about Karen Page's past in exchange for a ride to the UCLA Medical Center. When she learned that Johnny had been living at Karen Page's residence, Katy suggested that he rent a spare room from fellow studio workers Richard and Wendy Pini, whom she promptly introduced to Johnny after meeting them practicing fencing. Moments later the Orb mind-controlled a certain Mr. Patten (supposedly a studio worker) to attack Johnny again with a fork lift, causing Wendy some concern. Johnny survived thanks to his Ghost Rider powers, and Richard and Wendy helped Mr. Patten in finding medical assistance.

(Ghost Rider II#15) - Katy Milner had her skull creased by a gunshot from Karen Page, who was at the time mind-controlled by the Orb. Richard and Wendy visited her at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital and learned from her physician that she was not responding to treatment. In short order, her nurse came looking for the doctor warning that something "terrible" was happening to Katy. Her physician and Richard entered Katy's room to check and found Katy somewhat disfigured by Legion (calling itself "The Possessors") and speaking in a disturbing manner, showing signs of demonic possession.

(Ghost Rider II#17) - After a weekend away in adventures alongside the Champions and on Baja, California, Johnny Blaze returned to Delazny Studios to find out that activities there were temporarily suspended due to Katy Milner's injuries and other complications. Phoning Richard and Wendy, Johnny was instructed to lead to Cedars of Lebanon to see Katy, who had been calling for him. Legion-possessed Katy began to fight Ghost Rider. Richard and Dr. Thomas attempted to contain Katy so that her nurse could inject a sedative in her, but failed. When Legion defeated Johnny, Richard and Dr. Thomas helped him back to his feet. Shortly after, Johnny phoned Daimon Hellstrom for help. Surprised by his uncharacteristic accessibility, Johnny began to think freely about his friends, Richard and Wendy among them.

(Ghost Rider II#18) - "Coot" Collier, Richard and Wendy stayed besides Katy's hospital room while Daimon Hellstrom guarded her and Ghost Rider went through the Challenger's probations. Daimon showed them that Katy was surrounded by an invisible force-field and told them that Johnny was fighting to save Katy at that very moment.

(Ghost Rider II#19) - While fighting the Challenger, Ghost Rider once again mentally recalled his friends, Richard and Wendy among them. After defeating the Challenger he returned to Cedars of Lebanon, met Richard, Wendy, "Coot" Collier and Daimon Hellstrom and learned from them that Katy Milner was actually Roxanne Simpson, his beloved, with false memories implanted by Inferno (presumably just after issue #9, when Roxanne left Johnny to find herself).

Comments: Created by Tony Isabella (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Vince Colleta (inks).

Issue #16 had no appearances from Richard or Wendy. In fact, it was a fill-in issue that had no real connections to the current storyline and instead attempted to capitalize on the "Jaws" buzz of the time.

Richard and Wendy Pini are, of course, based on the well-known creators of the same names, of Elfquest fame. You may learn more about them from Wikipedia.

The hospital and Katy's doctor are named as Cedars of Lebanon and Dr. Thomas in #17. The physician in #15 is apparently another person entirely (Thomas has a moustache that the doctor in #15 lacks). #18 confirmed the hospital to be in Los Angeles (which makes sense, since Delazny Studios are supposedly in Hollywood).

It is not altogether clear why the defeat of the Challenger and Legion would dispel the Katy Milner identity; supposedly Inferno put the false memories in Roxanne Simpson, then Mephisto decided to hand the situation over to Legion and Challenger. It is also possible that Roxanne was simply mistaken about exactly who it was that mind-washed her.

The image is from the Essential Ghost Rider, volume 1.

In Fantastic Four I#242, an Elfquest play got staged at a theatre built over the site of the flophouse where the Human Torch found the amnesiac Namor in Fantastic Four I#4.
--Per Degaton

Profile by Luis Dantas.

CLARIFICATIONS :
Richard and Wendy Pini have no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
Reprinting Ghost Rider II#14, p11, pan5


Appearances:
Ghost Rider II#14 (October, 1975) – Tony Isabella (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Vince Colleta (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Ghost Rider II#15 (December, 1975) – Tony Isabella (writer), Bob Brown (pencils), Don Heck (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Ghost Rider II#17 (April, 1976) – Tony Isabella (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Vince Colleta (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Ghost Rider II#18 (June, 1976) – Tony Isabella (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Vince Colleta (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Ghost Rider II#19 (August, 1976) – Tony Isabella (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Vince Colleta (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)


Last updated: 11/07/11

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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