This weekend, "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" is motorcycling to multiplexes across the country. Along with flaming asphalt, it will no doubt leave great controversy in the geekazoid community. Is it a fun B-picture offering a heavy dose of Crazy Nic Cage and frenzied Neveldine/Taylor camerawork? Or is a mess on wheels that makes the first "Ghost Rider" look like "Iron Man"?
I leave it to you to hammer this argument out, but there's one thing that's absolutely for certain: Nicolas Cage's fanboy cred.
The two-time Johnny Blaze doesn't just own an Academy Award statuette; he's got the heart of an unrepentant comic-book nerd, and he doesn't care who knows it. In case you weren't aware, let us detail the ways in which Nic Cage is Hollywood's A-list dork.
He Has a Secret Identity
Nicolas Cage wasn't born this way. When he appears in "Let's stay up all night drinking Milwaukee's Best and see the 11 a.m. showing" movies like "Season of the Witch" and "Bangkok Dangerous," know that "Nicolas Cage" is just the face he wants you to see. The man's true identity is Nicolas Coppola. Yes, that kind of Coppola.
Francis is his uncle, Sofia is his cousin and Jason Schwartzman is his cousin on Talia "Yo, Adrian" Shire's side. He assumed the different identity to try and play down notions of nepotism, which kinda didn't work considering his first big roles were in Uncle Francis' "Rumble Fish," "The Cotton Club" and "Peggy Sue Got Married."
Where'd he get the idea for the name Cage, you ask? From the house of ideas, of course. He was inspired by Marvel Comics' Luke Cage.
He Has a Fortress of Solitude
All a fanboy really wants in life is a secret lair. Preferably with a giant screen hooked up to a computer where you can monitor your effect on the outside world. (In Cage's case, a Blu-ray of "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" will suffice.)
Our hero Nic Cage has had multiple HQs in his day. The three most badass were the "haunted" LaLaurie House in New Orleans' French Quarter (!), the Schloss Neidstein Castle in Oberpfalz Germany (!!) and an entire freakin' island off the Exumas Archipelago near the Bahamas (!!!).
And what does he keep in these no doubt highly secure and technologically advanced abodes? He keeps comics!
He Collects Comics (and Dinosaurs)
In 2011 Nicolas Cage sold an Action Comics #1 for $2.16 million. (He needed the dough because all of his awesome lairs were getting expensive.) Back in 2002 he had an auction of other prize Golden Age comics like Detective Comics #38 (with the first appearance of Robin) and All-Star Comics #3 (with the first team-up of the Justice Society).
Cage doesn't just have a killer stash of funnybooks, though. He also spent $266,000 on the skull of a Tarbosaurus dinosaur. Why? Because Cosmic Cubes aren't real, that's why.
He's a Kryptonian at Heart
With all this love of nerdery, you begin to understand why Cage is pumped to get back on his hog for "Ghost Rider 2." But his commitment to superheroes doesn't end there.
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Never forget that he was one thin pair of Underoos away from playing the Man of Steel in the mid-1990s. That's right, the ill-fated Tim Burton version of "Superman Lives!" (with the Kevin Smith script) had Nic Cage attached as the Big Blue Boy Scout.
Cage more than made up for it. He played Big Daddy, a badass Batman on speed in Matthew Vaughn's version of Mark Millar's "Kick-Ass" (which has got to be 10 times better than that "Superman" ever would have been) ... and he NAMED HIS SON KAL-EL. Yes, that's right, somewhere in one of those fantastic domiciles is a six-year-old kid named Kal-El Cage. You know that Daddy Nic is prepping teaching crystals for him during breaks on whatever film he's working on.
From an earlier marriage Cage sired another son, Westin, and it looks like he caught the nerd bug, too. Father and son collaborated on a comic in 2007 called "Voodoo Child" for Virgin Comics. (Yeah, I haven't read it either.)
Want more? Hell, the name of his production company is Saturn Films, which means he's a great big science-fiction dork, too! He even married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of the closest thing this country has ever had to a real superhero. They split up a few months later, but Superman didn't stay dead for long, either. He probably considered it a one-shot.
So this is all the proof I need. Maybe "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" stinks, maybe it rules; but I think we can all agree that Nic Cage really means it. Being a fanboy is part of his very essence.
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