Johnny Blaze, a daredevil stunt cyclist, was the son of Barton Blaze and Naomi Kale, born in Waukegan, Illinois. He spent his early years in the Quentin Carnival where his parents starred in a stunt show with Craig "Crash" Simpson. Johnny's mother walked out on Barton and Johnny and took the family's remaining two children, Barbara and Danny, with her.
Losing his mother caused Johnny to repress many of his memories of her and his siblings. When his father died in a stunt, Johnny was adopted by Crash and Mona Simpson. The Simpsons helped Johnny by fabricating his past with the hope that it would be less painful than the truth. Now believing that his real mother was Clara Blaze, who had died, Johnny became an enthusiastic member of the Simpson clan, growing closer to their daughter, Roxanne. The two soon became inseparable and, as they grew older, their fondness for one another moved beyond familiality.
Blaze would eventually join the Simpsons in their own traveling stunt show, the Crash Simpson Stunt Cycle Extravaganza. Crash had become a real father figure in Blaze's eyes and on learning of Crash's life-threatening cancer, Blaze turned to the occult. His studies led him to a spell which supposedly could summon Satan himself. Johnny was unaware that he had, in fact, summoned Mephisto. Desperate to save Crash, Blaze sold his soul to Mephisto in return for Crash's cancer to be cured.
Crash Simpson's cancer was cured and Johnny believed he would live; however, Crash soon died after a stunt trying to jump over 22 cars. Mephisto, when confronted by Blaze over Crash's death, declared that he had kept his end of the bargain. Johnny's exact words in the bargain had been for Crash to be spared the cancer which was killing him, not for him to live, though this had been Johnny's actual intent. True to his word, Mephisto had ensured that Crash had not died of cancer, but instead had lost his life during the failed jump, which Mephisto quickly pointed out when he came