SILVER SURFER #1
I liked the Dan Slott/Mike Allred collaboration in their previous Surfer series, and since this new book is a direct continuation of the old, it stands to reason that I’d like this book, too. And I did! But this Silver Surfer is substantially different from the golden Silver Age version. For one thing, he’s considerably less grim … and he should be, given he can now roam the cosmos at will, and even “silver down” to become flesh & blood and eat candy corn (which happens in this issue). The original surfer surrendered his humanity to save his own people, and then suffered exile here on earth when he saved the human race — and those things are core to the character — but I was surprised to see that the Surfer could evolve beyond those precepts, and still remain the Surfer. In this I take the opposite of my position on Spider-Man, who I condemned to perpetual adolescence. I suppose the difference is that the Surfer’s circumstances so limited the character, while the core elements of the kvetching Spider-Man seem such an evergreen. Whatever. If you go into this series, be prepared for a Surfer with a young lady companion, Dawn, (echoes of Doctor Who, there), and, yes, art and story that can be a bit twee — but all is forgiven, when Dawn decides the Surfer’s board must be named, “Toomie.” Not your father’s Silver Surfer, to be sure. Anyway, this particular issue is more of the same; I like it plenty, but I can see where it’s not for everybody. Bonus points for this issue including goofy-looking aliens who literally steal earth’s culture.
Approachability For New Readers
Not so great. You really need to have read some recent Silver Surfer to know what is going on. And you still won’t know why the heck Ben Grimm is in outer space at the end of the issue.
To me, issue two!
Read more about the Silver Surfer on Longbox Graveyard
- Silver Surfer Gallery
- The Power And The Prize
- To Me, My Board!
- Marvel Comics — A Space Odyssey
- Silver Age Gold
Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.
I churn through a lot of images in my relentless internet search for art to fill my Pinterest Galleries and Instagram photo stream, but something about this particular pinup (source unknown) made me pause and think about my comic book preferences.
I love Marvel and DC the way I love Betty and Veronica — it is impossible to choose! The differences between the two groups of heroes is a whole ‘nother column (or a whole blog!), but a big part of that difference comes down to the nature of Marvel’s heroes …
… or, more precisely, Marvel’s anti-heroes.
TV Tropes offers as good a definition of anti-heroes as any — “… an antihero is a protagonist who has the opposite of most of the traditional attributes of a hero. (S)he may be bewildered, ineffectual, deluded, or merely apathetic. More often an antihero is just an amoral misfit.” That description certainly applies to the Hulk, the Silver Surfer, and Sub-Mariner above, all of whom are among my favorite Marvel characters.
The notion of the anti-hero seems baked into Marvel’s DNA — not surprising, given that so many of Marvel’s heroes were conceived as reactions to those pre-existing DC icons. Marvel’s heroes are not unique in their shades of gray, but the anti-hero trope is too central to Marvel’s heroes to be an accident: Spider-Man was hunted by the police; the Fantastic Four revolved around Ben Grimm’s troubled soul; characters like Hawkeye, the Black Widow, Quicksilver, the Vision, and the Scarlet Witch all began as villains. Luke Cage was an escaped convict. The Defenders boasted Subby, Hulk, and the Silver Surfer as charter members, and prided themselves on being a collection of misfits. Marvel had a whole stock of supernatural characters that weren’t always good guys — Ghost Rider, Werewolf By Night, Morbius, Tomb of Dracula, Son of Satan. The X-Men made being a shadowy outsider their raison d’être, and Marvel is working hard to introduce us to yet another group of roguish quasi-good guys with the launch of their Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
DC has their anti-heroes too, of course. Batman was an anti-hero well before Frank Miller got ahold of him, and Swamp Thing is the greatest monster comic of all time. Many of Jack Kirby’s DC creations fit the mold — the Demon, and some of the most deeply troubled New Gods. But for the most part, when I think of DC, I think of sunny, Silver Age sentinels like the Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Superman. I love DC’s characters — I just love them differently than Marvel — and didn’t really decode how different they were from Marvel’s core approach until coming across this random pinup …
Tell me about your favorite anti-heroes in the comments section, below!
This week’s F.O.O.M. Friday rockets ahead to F.O.O.M. #9, with a Jim Starlin cover and a subject focus that blew my twelve-year-old mind back in 1974.
I liked Silver Surfer and (especially) Captain Marvel before receiving this issue of Marvel’s in-house fan magazine, but it was the first time I thought of these characters as belonging to a specific genre.
The mag even coined a term for this new comics genre with a clever bit of wordplay:
I loved thinking of these stories as “cosmics,” rather than “comics” — it made the stories seem so much bigger, and more consequential. This clever bit of branding helped bind me to Marvel’s cosmic heroes for decades to come … and it is an obsession that continues to this day, as one look at this list of the many “cosmic” subjects I’ve tackled here at Longbox Graveyard will attest!
- #2 The Micronauts: They came from inner Space!
- #11 Captain Not-So-Marvelous: Go Cosmic with Jim Starlin’s Captain Marvel!
- #21 Warlock: Jim Starlin’s 1970s outer space superhero epic!
- #25 This Female Fights Back!: Ms. Marvel deserved better!
- #27 Silver Age Gold: How the Silver Surfer is like a Broadway musical.
- #46 Avengers — Kree/Skrull War: Remember your superhero history!
- #53 Thanos & The Infinity Gauntlet: Killing half the universe for grins.
- #59 Killraven’s War of the Worlds: 1973 — A Space Oddity!
- #79 Out Of The Holocaust … A Hero!: Mar-Vell deserves your respect.
- #86 Star-Lord: The black & white original, warts and all!
- #93 Guardians of the Galaxy: Superheroes in Spaaaaace!
- #110 The Power And The Prize! The Silver Surfer confronts … Satan?
The articles in this particular issue of F.O.O.M. weren’t especially memorable, but that cover is as fresh today as when I plucked it from my mailbox almost forty years ago. Yeesh! I’m getting as old as The Watcher!
See you back here next week for another F.O.O.M. Friday!
- When Words Collide – One Last “Gødland” Conversation with Joe Casey (comicbookresources.com)
- Cosmic, Baby, Cosmic: Jim Starlin’s Thanos Saga, Part One (dorkforty.wordpress.com)
- Thanos the mad titan and the greaest marvel super villain of all time (groovyawesome.wordpress.com)
- Marvel Now! – To INFINITY!!!! (and beyond!) A timeline leading up to Marvel’s Infinity (whatchareading.com)
- COMICS: Blue Marvel, Skrulls, Inhumans, Silver Surfer And More Teased For Marvel’s INFINITY (comicbookmovie.com)
- Jim Starlin: The Architect of Marvels Infinite (nothingbutcomics.wordpress.com)
- Heavy, Man, Heavy: Jim Starlin’s Thanos Saga, Part Two (dorkforty.wordpress.com)
- Jim Starlin Teases New Thanos Project (comicbooked.com)
- Adam Warlock. Thanos. Magus. 1970s Jim Starlin. Be there. – Warlock #10 (blogintomystery.com)
- Starlin Teases 100-Page Thanos Project for Summer 2014 (comicbookresources.com)