Space Ghost is a character created by Hanna-Barbera Productions and designed by Alex Toth. He started out as a superhero who, with his helpers Jan, Jace and Blip, fought supervillains in outer space. In more recent years, he has been retooled as a fictional talk show host on Cartoon Network and revamped in a DC Comics mini-series.
In the final six episodes of the original series, Space Ghost battled the "Council of Doom" (which consisted of Moltar, Zorak, Spider Woman (also named the Black Widow), Metallus, Brak, and Creature King), and Space Ghost and his sidekicks came across other Hanna-Barbera superheroes who would later have their own shows. Creature King sent a space ape to fight Space Ghost, and Jace used the phantom cruiser's energy force to get rid of it and put both of them in a time warp, sending them to a prehistoric world, where Mightor took care of the space ape, and Space Ghost went back using his power bands. Another time Zorak put Jan, Jayce, and Blip in a capsule and sent them hurtling through space to Earth where they landed in the ocean, and Moby Dick got them to the surface. Another time, Moltar sent Space Ghost and his Molten Men to the planet Quasar where the The Herculoids help Space Ghost out. And lastly, after escaping Brak and Spider Woman, the council uses their trump card, a negative transportation ray which sends him to some magical world where he is attacked by the Sultan of Flame and Shazzan saves him and has the power to send him back.
The show relied heavily on absurd, surreal, or even dadaist humour. SGC2C continued to 2004 as the eldest program on Cartoon Network's late-night comedy/action programming block, Adult Swim. The characters of Jan, Jace, and Blip, Space Ghost's old sidekicks, appeared twice on the show. The first was a brief appearance in the episode "Jerk" where they are trying to call in to the show and Space Ghost hangs up on them. Jan, Jace, and Blip return to sue Space Ghost. They claim that Space Ghost exposed the teenagers to interstellar gases, laser rays, and unearthly atmospheres that stunted their growth. They sue for back wages and damages stemming from emotional distress, mental cruelty, and for preventing them from attending school. The charges are dropped after their lawyer Dr. Nightmare quits the case.
As the seasons progressed, Space Ghost's own personal life became a key plot line. Space Ghost's real name was revealed to be Tad Eustice Ghostal, and he was given an evil twin brother named Chad Ghostal, who is identical aside from his facial hair. Episodes began to center around his apartment and his idiotic dreams. He expressed feelings of both love and hate for Zorak and Moltar, his co-hosts, and slandered Harvey Birdman several times. He ruined his super-hero image by treating Zorak and Moltar as his slaves and by acting on decisions based on personal benefit (i.e. leaving in the middle of an interview to let his cable guy into his apartment) and flirting with female guests. He married Björk (something he truly regretted).
After approximately seven seasons, the show went into hiatus, and the writers Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro used characters they developed in an unaired episode ("Baffler Meal") to create the popular "would-be spin-off" Aqua Teen Hunger Force. After that show proved successful, Baffler Meal was animated and aired in 2003.
Coast to Coast in turn had its own spin-off starring Brak and Zorak, called The Brak Show. As with Coast to Coast, Space Ghost is again voiced by George Lowe, who additionally voiced the character of Dad.
Currently, new episodes of SGC2C appear on the "Animation" channel of the GameTap service. Guests seem to be either gaming celebrities or non-mainstream musicians.
Two actors played Space Ghost in the three Space Ghost series:
In 1967, Gold Key Comics published one issue of Space Ghost in his own comic. The character also appeared in the anthology title, Hanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes (1968-69), which featured other Saturday morning crimefighters such as the Herculoids, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio.
Marvel Comics' Hanna-Barbera TV Stars no. 3 (Dec. 1978 issue) was a superhero special that featured a Space Ghost story, "Pilgreen's Progress." Ironically, it was the only time Alex Toth ever drew the character for comics.
In 1997, Archie Comics published Cartoon Network Presents Space Ghost with art by Scott Rosema, that included a backup story teaming with Dino Boy.
In 2004, DC Comics (Hanna-Barbera's corporate sibling) published a Space Ghost mini-series, which featured a serious, sci-fi/space opera version of the character and showed his origins for the first time. The series was written by Joe Kelly and illustrated by Ariel Olivetti. Thaddeus Bach, a human interplanetary peacekeeper, is betrayed by corrupt fellow officers, who kill his pregnant wife and her unborn child, after which Bach himself is gutted and left for dead on a desolate planet. Bach is rescued by an alien who gives him both a reason to live and the technology contained in his suit and spaceship. His two teenage sidekicks, Jan and Jace (spelled "Jayce" here), are revealed to be orphans of Zorak's assault on their home world, whom Bach adopts as his wards. (Blip is not seen in the mini-series.) It is they who christen him "Space Ghost," after a make-believe character their parents made up to frighten them out of bad behavior. He adopts the identity to avenge his family and bring the corrupt officers who killed them to justice.
The comic contains a series of nods to "Coast to Coast", amongst them Space Ghost's identity (outside the comic, the name "Thaddeus" is commonly shortened to "Thad," which is similar to "Tad", a name casually thrown around as the "Coast to Coast" Space Ghost's real first name) and his wife bears a strong resemblance to, and has the nonsensical Engrish mannerisms of, Björk, who once gave a memorable interview with Space Ghost, including a discussion of how they might live as a married couple. Thad's trademark immature, oafish behavior is also present in elements of the storyline as he loses his temper quickly with the Ghost Planet alien and with Jan and Jayce.
The mini-series has been collected into a trade paperback, ISBN 1401207219. The last issue of the mini-series said another was going to follow, but this never happened.
Space Ghost's Coast to Coast version was released as an action figure by Toycom, complete with a desk and chair, a series of cue cards, and a mug. Also included were several different sets of hands, allowing the figure to be used either as the talk show host or the super hero or both. The shoulders and neck were ball-jointed, with a light plastic yellow cape.
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