Sentinel of the space ways, the Herald of Galactus, Capri Sun commercial extra, Norrin Radd or whatever name you know him as. We are talking about the one and only Silver Surfer. Not that Silver Mosquito, that is for all the 90’s Nickelodeon kids. Arguable by most, but in my opinion easily, the most striking Marvel hero. From one splash page to the next you couldn’t help but be in awe of the cosmic starbursts, moon beams and supernovas. It seems that the Silver Surfer was always given tremendous writers and artists. At his inception, the duo of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee teased the imagination of readers. Silver Surfer unfortunately hasn’t had the attention that is counterparts share. He was in a not so stellar Fantastic Four movie but when it comes to comics, the hero is a B-lister maybe a high C-list hero. When you are competing against powerhouse titles like the million X-titles, the Spider-Man franchise and the Avengers it isn’t going to be easy finding readers. The first series by Kirby and Lee is only 18 issues but for quality copies you will have to pay a premium for them. Luckily if you are looking to break into the character without breaking the bank we have 3 mini-series with impeccable creative teams to get your feet wet.
The latest story, also the only story on this to not have Stan Lee’s involvement in any way is a 4-issue mini-series titled “Silver Surfer: Requiem”. This was released on the now inactive Marvel Knights banner. You can call this a love story, a tragedy and hope inspiring. These comics are beautifully drawn. They look like paintings, the artist is EsadRibic. Ribic is a seasoned Marvel artist, his work is nothing less of stunning, at first glance you want to guess Alex Ross. But then you say no, Alex Ross is tighter than this. The abundance of expression in Esad’s work adds to the compelling nature of this story. J. Michael Straczynski pens a heartfelt piece chronicling the surfer’s final ride. After uncovering a blemish deteriorating the silver protective layer over his body, the surfer must come to terms with his own mortality. Before he dies Norrin Radd the Silver Surfer embarks on a final journey. To travel around the earth for contemplation, then to travel one last time to his home world of Zenn-La. The Silver Surfer has always been a tale of humanity’s triumph and failures. An outsider’s philosophical point of view for humanity to learn.
After Stan Lee and Jack Kirby parted ways neither stopped working. Jack went on to DC to create influential books as well as rejoining Marvel to more praise and acclaim. Stan grabbed ahold of the reigns as Editor and Chief of Marvel for some time. Even though their partnership ended, Stan still sporadically wrote comics. In 1988 Stan and the French Artist Moebius (Jean Giraud) decided to work on a comic together. Moebius was famous for his successful western genre comic “Blueberry” and also through his work with the comic magazine “Heavy Metal”. The duo created a 2-part Silver Surfer story when collected was titled “Silver Surfer: Parable”. To put it plainly, Galactus lands on a planet and the people of that planet view him as a god. The civilization turns to rioting, devolving into squalor. Bluntly commenting on the age-old question of “What would humanity’s response to an alien encountering be?” The Silver Surfer finds this planet and battles Galactus. The people now view the Surfer as their savior.
After Silver Surfer volume 1 was over and before the subsequent volume began, a one-shot was created. This story is titled “Escape to Terror”. It is a one-shot issue written by John Byrne with Stan Lee scripting it and drawn by Byrne. Stan Lee oversaw scripting due to the fact that he worked on the first Silver Surfer volume, and this came directly after that. John Byrne, although he has burned plenty of bridges in his career, has maintained prolific status among artists of his time. His run on “Uncanny X-Men was legendary as well as his work on “Fantastic Four”.Obviously, Stan Lee needs no introduction on this list. This one-shot acts as a complimentary piece to the first volume of the Surfer that came out. During that first series Galactus did not allow the Surfer to leave Earth. With the help of the Fantastic Four that barrier is broken. Norrin Radd returns to his home planet of Zenn-Laa to visit his love Shalla-Bal. To his dismay, Zenn-Laa was left in ruin by the all-powerful Galactus. Payback for the Surfer’s betrayal. His love Shalla-Bal has been kidnapped by the evil Mephisto. The Silver Surfer must do battle to rescue her. After this one shot the Silver Surfer was given a brand-new series.
None of these stories are more than 4 issues long. These were carefully chosen for their creative teams and the length. I did not want to write about stories that spanned entire volumes of comics. All 3 stories are deep because that is what the character warrants. Stan Lee when co-creating him used the Surfer as a muse for his spiritual/philosophical side. These stories are all beautifully rendered. If you wanted to get into the Silver Surfer with these 3 titles you will be met with adventure, deep meaning and fantastic visual storytelling on top of fantastic verbal storytelling.