I’ve been rereading Silver Surfer this weekend. I started with the Englehart/Rogers stuff, which was really very pretty, but kind of boring so I skipped up to Jim Starlin & Ron Marz scripting over Ron Lim.
And wow. What an underappreciated bunch of comics these are! I’m not sure if they are actually good or not, but I’m enjoying the crap out of them. I’d read half a dozen of these as a kid, so I figured I’d see if they held up. I’ve taken some notes which I hope you’ll enjoy and possibly be able to answer!
- Silver Surfer is a gigantic whining wimp. Honestly man, he spends entire issues at a time either a) fighting his own psyche or b) moping around space or c) moping around a planet in space.
- Black Panther punking Surfer in Fantastic Four was way more of a big deal than it should have been. Surfer spends half the series getting punked by dudes with no powers, dudes with guns, dudes with sharp teeth, and a girl with big fat angel wings who is upset that he doesn’t love her back. Even people whose powers are “sharp teeth” and “big muscles” rough him up.
- There are ray guns in outer space, but a shocking amount of people still prefer to use good ol’ fashioned axes, spears, and swords. Not even ones made out of lasers or some kind of made-up science word– just straight up hunks of metal with pointy bits on the end.
- Frankie Raye, Nova, is dead. I didn’t remember this coming into the series. I’d kind of noticed her absence in the current Marvel Universe with an unspoken “Wasupwitdat?”, but hadn’t thought much about her. I mean, all I know is that Frankie Raye is an awesome name and fire hair is cool. Anyway, she told Galactus “No,” he told her to get gone, she literally had some kind of nervous breakdown, psychotic break, or amnesiac whatever and became a space stripper.
- Yeah, space stripper, not even joking. She was working at a bar aimed towards aliens with a flame-girl fetish, too.
- Luckily, she didn’t live to wrestle with the indignity of the situation, since she was killed two issues later by Morg, Galactus’s new herald.
- But seriously ladies, space amnesia turns you into a stripper. Be careful out there.
- Rereading the Infinity Gauntlet issues was a long and drawn-out process, to the point where I feel like I’ve read Silver Surfer continuously for the past eighty years. It’s not that they were bad– okay, they were pretty bad.
- Ron Lim is kind of awesome. You could make the case that his facial features are a little too similar, but that’s every artist ever. However, he draws awesome space battles, great aliens, and I think I like his version of the Surfer more than Kirby, Buscema, or Rogers.
- There are a lot of weirdly shaped word bubbles in this series. Terrax, Morg, Tyrant, Adam Warlock, Airmaster, Firelord, Nova, Drax, and Thanos all get custom balloons.
- Tyrant is a terrible name for a villain.
- Galactus talks a lot, but rarely backs up his threats. However, when he does, it’s almost always worth it. “I will have words with you” is an awesome entrance line.
- Surf really doesn’t have a supporting cast to speak of. They’re all either dead or too aloof to be interesting. Impossible Man should show up more often, too.
- The book got a lot less weird when Starlin left, though it was still pretty weird.
- Tyrant effortlessly punks Gladiator, Beta Ray Bill, and three heralds of Galactus in one issue.
- Surfer is guilty because his mother slit her wrists in the bath? And years later, his father put a bullet in his brain? Aw, c’mon. That feels like unneeded depth.
- Galactus should never, ever take his hat off. He looks ridiculous.
- The Spinsterhood is an incredible idea and one that should be relaunched and revamped in a prestige-format 12 issue maxi-series asap. We can draft a few established characters, hook up a new costume, give them a new enemy. It’ll be golden. From the comic: “We took our sacred vows, forsaking the pleasures of the flesh for training in the ways of war. We marked ourselves with the symbol of our ceremonial daggers.”
Happy 500 posts to us.