Gary Friedrich's case against Marvel over control of Ghost Rider is still alive, with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturning a previous ruling, and sending the issue back to court.
In December 2011, a federal judge ruled in Marvel's favor against Friedrich, who as a freelancer both worked on the adaptation of the western Ghost Rider in Marvel's Silver Age, and co-created the Johnny Blaze version of the character, who debuted in 1972. According to a court document circulated by The Hollywood Reporter, the higher court has now concluded "that the district court erred in granting summary judgment because the Agreement is ambiguous and there are genuine disputes of material fact regarding the parties' intent to assign renewal rights in that Agreement."
In doing so, the judgement was vacated, and remanded for trial.
In February 2012, Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada told CBR, "We absolutely agree that Gary made a significant contribution to the creation of Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider. That has never been under contention. But Gary didn't do it alone;" citing artist Mike Ploog as a co-creator, along with the work of Roy Thomas and Stan Lee.
Friedrich's legal issue dates back to 2007, the year a live-action movie featuring the Johnny Blaze version of the character debuted. In 2012 a sequel, also starring Nicolas Cage, was released. Last year an ongoing series, starring a new female version of the character, ended, and Ghost Rider has since been mostly absent from recent Marvel releases.