"That's a negative, Ghost Rider. The pattern is full."

It's no secret that my favorite all-time comic book is Ghost Rider. And anyone who follows comic book movies (hopefully you all do so over at the fantastic SuperHeroHype.com) knows that Nic Cage has been talking forever about doing the Ghost Rider film. And now it appears it is official, with a January date set for filming.

So is this good news or bad news? Of course any classic comic getting big-budget treatment on the big screen is exciting, but I can't help but question the fact that Mark Steven Johnson is in the director's chair for this one. He, for those of you who don't know, is the douchebag who directed the exceedingly mediocre "Daredevil," starring his comrade in douchebaggery, Ben Affleck.

If it wasn't for Jennifer Garner being hot as shit and the fact that they played "Top O' the Mornin' to Ya" by House of Pain while Bullseye threw paper clips into a guy's trachea, it might have made me slit my throat in the theater. But there's always the "Elektra" spin-off coming out to accomplish that for me.

From Empire Online:

"Well I won’t be THAT face," said Cage, who revealed that the Rider's face will be largely CG. "But it’s important to the filmmaker that there’s still moments in the CGI of the face where you can still see my own expressions, so I can work that out with them. It’s hard to have a skull make facial expressions."

This, however, is contradicted by Mr. Douchebag himself, Mark Steven Johnson:

MSJ revealed the look of Ghost Rider and its villains. He said on GR's appearance "Don't worry about the look of G.R. He's hard core classic, just like Tex drew him."

What to think of this? Hopefully we won't see too much of Nic Cage. I can just imagine this film getting bastardized really quickly by a bunch of suits. "Why is his head a skull? Does it have to be on fire? But this film is starring Nic Cage! He's an action star! We want to have his face in there!"

They're going with the original Ghost Rider story, which features John Blaze instead of Dan Ketch, another wise decision. How much of the Ghost Rider bloodline backstory involving Noble Kale that will make the cut of the movie (if any) remains to be seen. Perhaps it would be for the best if this portion of the story were excluded.

According to the same article, the villian for the film will be Blackheart, son of Mephisto. This is the appropriate choice, as Blackheart is Ghost Rider's biggest arch-nemesis and has the best storylines throughout the series of the comic.

At this point, it's all up in the air. Cage seems to be a big fan of the Ghost Rider comic. He apparently sports a Johnny Blaze tattoo and has been involved in this project for a long, long time. Sir Douchebag MSJ is a questionable addition to the project, but if the script they're working with is solid, he can't mess it up too much.

Time will tell. Ghost Rider features a deep, complex story with a lot of cool ideas and characters. Hopefully it won't be turned into a Punisher-style mindless shoot-em-up with a flaming dude on a motorcycle killing people. I mean, that would be cool and the 12 year old fanboy inside of me would shout for joy, but with something I love as much as Ghost Rider, I'd prefer something that will stand the test of time.

For every Hellboy there is a Hulk, Cage. You claim to be a true fan of the comic. Just remember that the next time you get a royalty check for "Honeymoon in Vegas," because us nerds will have your head if you screw this up.

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Reverend Hughes