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Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider Co-Creator, Dies at Age 75

Gary Friedrich, the co-creator of the motorcycle-riding Marvel superhero Ghost Rider, has passed away at the age of 75.

Fellow comics creator Tony Isabella posted an announcement of Friedrich's death on his Facebook page, noting that Friedrich had suffered from Parkinson's Disease for several years. Isabella noted the announcement came from Roy Thomas, who stated that "I won't go into details at this point, but I wanted to mention that one of my oldest and dearest friends, Gary Friedrich, passed away last night, from the effects of Parkison's, which he had had for several years. That and his near-total hearing loss had left him feeling isolated in recent years, and his wife Jean seems content that he is finally at peace."

Friedrich's earliest comics work was with Charlton Comics writing romance comics. He eventually transitioned into Westerns and superhero work, including writing dialogue for the early issues of Steve Ditko's Blue Beetle stories (which featured the newly created Ted Kord character).

Friedrich eventually transitioned to working for Marvel on Westerns series with Roy Thomas, and he co-created characters such as the Phantom Rider (originally named Ghost Rider). His breakout work on Marvel was on Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, which explored nuanced themes of war as America experienced the beginning of the Vietnam War. Friedrich also worked on Silver Age Marvel superhero books, where he famously co-created Ghost Rider for the company.

Friedrich eventually left comics in the late 1970s, although he made occasional returns to the medium. In 1993, Friedrich scripted the first issue of the Jack Kirby created Bombast series, teaming up with Thomas and other co-creators on his Sgt. Fury run.

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In his later years, Friedrich sued Marvel and Sony over ownership of the Ghost Rider character. Marvel initially won the lawsuit and settled with Friedrich after countersuing him, which prevented Friedrich from selling self-made Ghost Rider merchandise at conventions. However, an appeals court overturned Marvel's win and sent the case back to trial, where the parties eventually reached an amicable settlement.

Friedrich's comic career was honored with an Inkpot Award back in 2007.