Crimefighter, school teacher
Place of Birth
Phantom Rider (Lincoln Slade) (brother, deceased), Jamie Jacobs (foster son, deceased), Phantom Rider (Hamilton Slade) (great-great-grandnephew), Phantom Rider (Jamie Slade) (great-great-great-grandniece)
After dying and truly becoming a spirit, Carter Slade gained the ability to become intangible, to shoot ethereal energy from his spirit guns, and other ghostly powers, which he grants to his descendant Hamilton when he enters his body.
Carter Slade was born and raised in Ohio in the mid-1800s, along with his brother Lincoln Slade. In college, Carter was a boxing champion. After some time, Carter decided to move out West to the new territories, in order to become a schoolteacher at the new settlement of Bison Bend, in Montana. (To learn about Lincoln Slade, click on the the highlighted name above.)
When Slade had nearly arrived, he came upon a group of Indians slaughtering helpless homesteaders. Though he was untrained in using a gun, Carter rode into the fray and discovered that the attackers were not Indians, but rather white men dressed up to appear as Indians. He tried to fight off the attackers; however, he was eventually shot multiple times and was left to for dead. After lying there for a minute, Jamie Jacobs (the teenage son of the settlers who had been murdered) emerged from his hiding place and found Slade. Jamie managed to get Carter onto a horse and set out to find help. However, after traveling many hours in the wrong direction he too collapsed to the ground. Fortunately, a group of friendly Indians had been watching and took Jacobs and Slade to their medicine man, Flaming Star. (Many years earlier, Flaming Star had seen a shooting star fall from the sky, bringing with it a bounty of phosphorescent dust. He took it as a sign from the Great Spirit, and learned that a champion would one day be sent to him, to fight injustice using the glowing dust and a special cape he had prepared.) For three days, Flaming Star prayed, chanted, and prepared potions and herbs. He was about to give up on Carter when suddenly Carter's fever broke and he awoke, seemingly fully restored to health. It was then that Flaming Star realized Carter Slade was the champion sent to him to fight injustice. Therefore, Flaming Star gave Carter the cloak he had fashioned (it was reversible and had a pitch black lining to complement the bright, white outer side). He also gave Carter all of the phosphorescent dust and led him to an untameable white horse that Carter managed to secure, and which he named "Banshee" for its distinctive neigh. (To learn about Flaming Star and/or Jamie Jacobs, just click on his highlighted names above.)
After this, Carter created an entire costume to complement the cloak and horse, and called himself the "Ghost Rider," though later others began calling him other names, such as "Night Rider" and "Phantom Rider."
Slade's first act as the Rider was to bring the men responsible for killing Jamie Jacobs' parents to justice--a group of cattle herders led by a man named Jason Bartholomew. He then set about helping the folk of Bison Bend build a schoolhouse and took Jamie under his wing as his ward/adopted son.
In the years that followed, Carter Slade rode the West fighting evil with Bison Bend as his base of operations, fighting and defeating a number of would-be criminals, including the Sting-Ray. (Click on the highlighted name above to learn about Sting-Ray.)
After some time, Slade began to fall in love with a young woman named of Natalie Brooks, sister of the sheriff, Ben Brooks. However, any relationship between them was complicated by the fact that Ben irrationally believed the Phantom Rider to be evil and was trying take over the territory. Also, Natalie was engaged to be married to a man named Clay Riley (whom Slade would eventually find out was the criminal known as the "Tarantula"). (To learn about Tarantula, click on his highlighted name above.)
Multiple times the Phantom Rider and the Tarantula would clash--eventually leading to a confrontation that would change Carter's life forever. Carter had decided to visit Ben Brooks in the form of the Phantom Rider to try and convince him Ben that he was wrong in believing the Rider to be evil. However, at the same time, the Tarantula set fire to several local buildings, and in the chaos Natalie ran into her brother's home to warn him of what had happened. Ben used the distraction as a chance to shoot and kill the Rider; however, Natalie (whose life had been saved several times by the Phantom Rider) jumped in-between the two men and took the bullet instead--severing her spinal cord. Natalie was not killed, but unless she received emergency surgery in Denver it was determined that she would never walk again. Therefore, Sheriff Brooks and Clay Riley set to Denver, with Natalie in tow--unknowingly, Carter Slade followed.
Along the way, the four ended up being kidnapped by a crazy old man. However, Slade was finally able to get Natalie away and continue his way on to Denver. However, he was stopped again--this time by the Hurricane (an outlaw possessing super-speed granted to him by an Indian's special potion). Hurricane ended up discovering Slade's secret identity and was poised to kill both him and Natalie. Hurricane had bound Carter and thrown off a cliff; however, the rope snagged a cliff ledge on the way down and Carter was able to make his way back up--this time as the Phantom Rider. He then was able to defeat the Hurricane by using his special lantern projector to project an image of himself out in empty air to give the illusion of being a real ghost. Hurricane ended up charging to apparition and fell headlong off the cliff. (To learn about Hurricane, click on the highlighted name above.)
Finally, Slade made it to Denver, and Natalie was able to receive her surgery where was regained her ability to walk. While there; however, Riley again donned the garb of the Tarantula in order to to commit more crimes to help pay for the surgery and the trip when he was stopped by the Phantom Rider. The two fought, eventually tumbling over a cliff side into a body of water below. The Rider had unmasked the Tarantula earlier, and was planning on bringing Riley to justice; however, the fall ended up injuring both men, including amnesia for Riley. Ben Brooks found them both and shot the Rider in the shoulder, but Slade managed to escape when Brooks went to check on Riley.
Some time later, the Phantom Rider helped stop bandits from robbing a train. During this, Slade used his "lariat of the night" (a rope painted black so as to be invisible at night which would give it the illusion of levitation) to suspend the ringleader in mid-air when he attempted to escape his own execution for the crime. However, the sheer fright of the Rider's spook act caused the bandit's heart to fail and he died. Those watching, mistakenly thought the Rider had actually hung him--Slade had thought so too. Therefore, Slade decided to end his career as the Phantom Rider.
Later, Sheriff Ben Brooks had become suspicious of the similarities between Slade's appearances in certain places at the same time the Phantom Rider was known to be around. The Sheriff was on the verge of discovering this when Jamie Jacobs and a boy saved from the train robbery used trickery and lantern projection to make three different Phantom Riders appear in the presence of both Brooks and Slade. Afterward, Jacobs told Carter that it wasn't his fault the criminal had died on the train. So, Slade decided that he would become the Phantom Rider once again.
Around this same time, Slade--who also had archaeological interests--traveled to Mexico to investigate the so-called "Temple of Quetzlcoatl." He was assisted by cousins, Paco Montoya (aka El Aquila) and Enrique Montoya, and a band of mercenaries led by a man named El Cojo. On the trip, the mercenaries turned on Slade and the cousins and attempted to kill them; however, they accidentally set of booby traps within the temple and triggered a volcanic eruption. The Phantom Rider and El Aguila fought together against the mercenaries who met their end when the temple was buried. (To learn about El Aquila, click on the highlighted name above.)
After returning to Montana, Slade discovered a bounty had been placed on the Phantom Rider's head by Sheriff Brooks, and the bounty hunter known as Gunhawk--whom the Rider had previously saved from being killed by a no-name outlaw--had come to town to claim the bounty. Eventually, the two fought against one another; however, Gunhawk and the Rider actually ended up fighting together against a group of would-be bank robbers. In fact, the Rider saved Gunhawk's life again by shooting a robber Gunhawk had dangerously turned his back on. Afterwards, Gunhawk left town telling Sheriff Brooks that the Phantom Rider was clearly being unfairly accused by Brooks. (Click on the highlighted name above to learn about Gunhawk.)
One day, the people in town began disappearing. Carter Slade's brother, U.S. Marshal Lincoln Slade, came to town to investigate. Lincoln ended up discovering that the new preacher, Reverend Reaper, was actually the leader of the gang that had kidnapped to townsfolk. Lincoln ended up following the Reverend his hideout where all the townsfolk were being held. The Phantom Rider had actually followed Lincoln there, and when Lincoln began fighter the Reaper's gang, he joined in the fight. They managed to free Sheriff Brooks and the others and had defeated all of the gang except for the Reverend himself. In a last-ditch attempt to save himself, Reverend Reaper shot out a wooden crossbeam that was holding the cave ceiling up, causing tons of rock and earth to begin sliding towards Lincoln Slade. The Phantom Rider hurled himself at his brother to save him, succeeding in doing so; however, Carter ended up being crushed by the avalanche himself. Lincoln heard a voice coming from the rubble and pulled the Rider free. When the Rider asked him to remove his mask, he saw it was his own brother, Carter. Carter was able to say goodbye before he died. Lincoln took his brother's body (without the Phantom Rider costume) and returned it to Bison Bend, where Carter was buried. (To learn about the Reverend Reaper, just click on the highlighted name above.)
After this, Jamie Jacobs attempted to take over as the Phantom Rider; however, he was killed in his first outing. After that, Lincoln Slade was hesitant, but in the end decided to don the costume as the new Phantom Rider.
Over time, however, Lincoln slowly began going crazy. When the West Coast Avengers time-traveled back to the Old West, he ended up kidnapping the Avenger Mockingbird--wife of Hawkeye. Mockingbird eventually was able to break free and ended up battling Lincoln Slade at the top of a mountain. The battle ended with Mockingbird allowing Lincoln Slade to fall to his death. This series of events eventually wound up affecting Carter Slade, even in death. (Click on the names above to learn about the highlighted characters. Note: Beware of the revealing/form-fitting outfit on Mockingbird's bio page.)
After some time, Lincoln's spirit took over his great-great-grandson Hamilton's body on occasions when evil loomed near. However, his spirit was still crazed and when he became aware of Mockingbird's presence in the present he began using Hamilton to harass her. After nearly being beaten to death, Mockingbird discovered that Hamilton wasn't to blame (Hamilton had no recollection of anything Lincoln did using his body). (To learn about Hamilton Slade, click on the highlighted name above.)
When Carter Slade's spirit became aware of what Lincoln had been doing to Hamilton--who was Carter's great-great-nephew--his spirit also took residence within Hamilton to try and drive off Lincoln's negative influence. Eventually, the demonologist Damian Hellstrom used his powers to drive both spirits from Hamilton's body. Carter's spirit subdued Lincoln's, and Hellstrom was about to banish both to a nether-dimension for eternity when Hamilton interceded on behalf of his great-great-uncle and willed Carter to enter his body just before the moment of banishment. Thus, transforming Hamilton into the Phantom Rider. However, Carter's spirit, being benevolent, did not use or control Hamilton; instead, Carter merely granted Hamilton the powers of the Phantom Rider and guides/assists him in the present-day. (To learn about Hellstrom, click on the highlighted name above.)
In the movie Ghost Rider, actor Sam Elliott plays Carter Slade. However, in the credits he is named as the Caretaker. So basically, for the movie, Marvel merged two characters together--Caretaker and Carter Slade. In the movie, however, Carter Slade doesn't have the traditional Phantom Rider outfit. He looks more like a Western-version of the Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) and has a fire-breathing skeleton horse instead of a white horse.