Craig Simpson was the owner of one of the country's most popular motorcycle expedition shows, "Crash Simpson's Daredevil Cycle Show". One of his star performers was cyclist Barton Blaze - a man whom Crash considered particularly brave. During a show, Barton lost control of his motorcycle and died on impact, leaving behind a young son, Johnny. Barton's wife, Naomi Kale, was a drunkard who abandoned her husband and son some years prior. Crash and his wife, Mona, decided to take Johnny into their home and raise him alongside their own child, Roxanne. Crash knew that Johnny's mother had no interest in him, but had little knowledge of the truth behind Naomi's absence.
When Johnny was 15, Roxanne and he were practicing a stunt together when their cycle caught on fire. Johnny and Roxanne were thrown clear, but Crash's wife Mona was standing too close to the bike when it collided with a tree. The explosion gravely injured her and she was placed into intensive care. On her deathbed, she made Johnny swear that he would never again ride a motorcycle in Crash's stunt show.
Johnny never told Crash of the vow that he swore and after five years, Crash began to suspect that Blaze was too much of a coward to ever ride a cycle again. Crash and Roxanne continued to headline the cycle show, but a few short years later, Simpson learned that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Johnny was terrified at the notion that he might lose another father figure.
Desperate to save his foster father's life, Johnny turned towards the occult. After studying various tomes, Johnny conducted a ritual that summoned the Demon Lord, Mephisto (Johnny believed that he had actually summoned Lucifer). He agreed to sell his soul if the Devil would spare Crash from the disease that was destroying him. The Devil acquiesced, but there was very little payoff for either Crash or Johnny.
Crash Simpson recovered from his cancer, and resumed riding in the stunt show. Three weeks passed, and their tour brought them all of the way to Madison Square Garden in New York. Simpson's new lease on life also brought about a stronger sense of confidence. Crash attempted to set a new world record by jumping a line of twenty-two limousines. Crash's cycle crashed on the twenty-second vehicle and he was killed instantly. Although Mephisto spared him from the ravages of disease, he found another way to take Simpson's life.