The second “Essential Silver Surfer” volume from Marvel Comics covers the first time in which the character’s co-creator, Stan Lee, began to step away from the Sentinel of the Spaceways, eventually leading to the character’s greatest success.
The collection starts with stories from “Epic Illustrated” #1 and a one-shot drawn by John Byrne, both written by Lee. But by 1987, it was clear that Lee’s job in Hollywood pitching Marvel properties would preclude his writing the Silver Surfer on a regular basis. Englehart first worked with John Buscema, on an issue that eventually saw print as Marvel Fanfare #51, and is reprinted within. Originally, the Surfer would still be earthbound, as forced by Galactus. Englehart fought to get that restriction removed, and when the series finally launched in 1987, the Silver Surfer was again free to roam the spaceways. The artistic team was Marshall Rogers, who worked with Englehart on his classic “Detective Comics” run, here working with great inker Joe Rubenstein. The Surfer, over the course of his freedom, returns to his home planet to find his former lover now the empress; begins a new relationship with Mantis, the Celestial Madonna, and meets up with a veritable who’s who of Marvel Comics’ cosmic beings.
Rogers drew issues #1-10 and #12. Joe Staton fills in on #11, #13, #14 and the included annual. Ron Lim takes over with issue #15, guest-starring the Fantastic Four. Lim would continue on the book past Englehart, becoming one of the artists most associated with the character.
Fans of the character who want to see where the Silver Surfer first became truly integrated with the Marvel cosmic characters he’s most associated with should check out these issues.
- Matt Price
Comics read in 2011: 489. Still to go: 1522.