Hey everybody, welcome back to another spotlight in Marvel Snapshot! This week I’d like to lead off with a thank you to Nick for filling in last week while I was away at NYCC. Alright, so as if you didn’t notice, this week’s spotlight will be on one of my favorite ghostly characters, The Flying Dutchman! As we creep closer to Halloween, I’m going to uncontrollably keep talking about Marvel’s horror characters, no matter how low on the food chain they are! He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (presumably), and made his first appearance in Journey into Mystery #56 (1952).
The name Captain Joost van Straaten used to bring terror to the high seas, but one day he made the mistake of being too greedy (as all pirates are), and kept his men out at sea during a violent storm in search of treasure. This caused the entire ship and its crew to be swallowed up by the sea. While in Hell, Mephisto told van Straaten that his soul would not pass on like the others, but would remain in Limbo forever to pilot a ghost ship. That is where he stayed mostly, until Mephisto called upon him to try and tempt the Silver Surfer. Mephisto used a common devil worshipper to be the host for van Straaten in bringing him back to the world of the living. He then imbued him with fantastic powers to combat the Surfer. He could now become intangible, fire blasts from his eye or his hands, and had superhuman strength, as well. Well, in the end, the Surfer wouldn’t give in to The Flying Dutchman or Mephisto, so he was banished back to Limbo.
Later on, Kang the conqueror used one of Immortus’s machines in Limbo to resurrect some villains (Legion of the Unliving) to combat the Avengers. In this story line, “Ghost,” as he’s referred to at times, proves to be quite a formidable foe. He is matched up against The Vision, and although Vision is quite sure he can defeat him, he finds out otherwise. Vision tried to go intangible against Ghost, but he could actually touch and hurt him even in his intangible state! This led to the Ghost defeating Vision and moving on to find another victim. After that, he made some sporadic appearances, but nothing Earth shattering. He really is a great character that was only used to his potential twice.
As usual, check out my recommended reading list and some great covers below where The Flying Dutchman was featured! See you next week!
Journey into Mystery #56 (1960)
Silver Surfer #8-9 (1969)
The Avengers #131-132 (1974)
Giant Size Avengers #3 (1974)
Marvel Comics Presents #46 (1990)
Fantastic Four Annual #25 (1992)