Sunday, April 18, 2010

1988 - Silver Surfer

Silver Surfer: Judgement Day
64 page graphic novel

Plot: John Buscema and Tom DeFalco
Script: by Stan Lee
Art: John Buscema
Art assist: Vince Mielcarek

The Silver Surfer was the creation of Jack Kirby who had slipped him into the first Galactus epic that ran through Fantastic Four #48- 50. Kirby’s Surfer was a grand cosmic figure who was noble, confident, and unfeeling. It was Stan Lee who infused the Silver Surfer with human character and brought him to life.       

A scientist named Norrin Radd offered up his life in servitude to prevent a world-devouring entity called Galactus from destroying his home planet. Imbued with the power cosmic, Radd became the Silver Surfer, herald of Galactus, and sought out planets that could temporarily satiate his master’s all-consuming hunger.

The Silver Surfer would eventually discover the Earth and lead his master here. However, the Silver Surfer became enamoured with humanity and found it worth fighting for. He betrayed Galactus and helped the Fantastic Four drive him off. However, he paid a devastating price for his actions. Galactus bound him to the Earth and forever denied him the freedom of space.

The Silver Surfer is Stan Lee’s ultimate angst-filled solitary figure. The Surfer chose to give up everything he had to save the Earth and yet mankind, fearing his strangeness and power, drives him into a further exile. Forever denied the pleasures of traveling through the cosmos, the Silver Surfer spends a lot of his time contemplating and lamenting his situation, much like another tragic figure, Hamlet.

The full page panels of this graphic novel allow for grandiose storytelling which is appropriate for this story. The plot is solid and the script, well Stan Lee said it all in his introduction:

“The obvious way to do it would have been to write one explanatory caption at the bottom of each page and let it go at that. ... As for me, my biggest problem wasn’t scripting the yarn; it’s a picnic writing copy for Johnny’s layouts. No, the thing that tied me up was trying to figure out where to place the balloons and captions without damaging any of the Master’s artwork!”

The premise of the story is pretty straight forward. Mephisto, a Satan figure of the Marvel Universe, makes another attempt to get his hands on the Silver Surfer’s soul. This time he uses Galactus’ herald Nova, for whom the Silver Surfer has strong feelings, as bait for the trap. The stakes of this game get higher when Mephisto’s scheme draws the attention of the world devouring Galactus.

While all of Stan's word bubbles and narration might seem over-the-top at a glance, it's not that bad once you get into it! Face front True Believer!

1 comment:

  1. i didn't even know this existed! on that note, has anyone read the lee/kirby SS graphic novel? how is it?



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