Sunday, August 05, 2012

Old School Cool: Silver Surfer: Parable (1988)

"Any man can make a difference," classic Stan Lee from Silver Sufer (1988), page 14.
While reorganizing my comic boxes I came across the Silver Surfer two-issue miniseries written by Stan Lee with art my Jean "Moebius" Girard. Given what I perceive to be a Renaissance of Moebius-esque illustrations, especially as seen in Image Comics recently revitalized Prophet series, in the back of my mind I had hoped to find these book after 20+ years of being aware that though I had it somewhere, I was struggling to put my hands on them. Until this morning.

Cover Price? $1.00!
While more commonly referred to as Silver Surfer, "Parable," the title the combined issue hard cover carried when released later that same year, the story was originally released as a two issue miniseries under Marvel's now defunct "Epic" publishing banner.

In terms of storytelling structure, there is not much new here; Lee employs his now familiar preachy, wonderfully broad dialogue to tell a somewhat standard "Surfer must save the plant from Galactus tale." The selling point with this Surfer story is the beautiful artwork of Moebius, whose style is a perfect fit for the altruistic (and futuristic) Surfer. Comic continuity-wise, the story is seen as being something of an alternate take on the character, though the "Parable" title, I believe, open the possibility for it to be interpreted as a "tall tale" of sorts within Marvel 616 continuity--but that's all geek speak to most.

As summarized on the blog Marvel Comics of the 1980s: "A starving Galactus returns to Earth, but is well aware of his vow not to consume the planet. However, he sets himself up as a God and tries to steer them towards self-destruction. A TV evangelist is more than happy to take up his cause and preaches Galactus’ message in hopes of setting himself up as his prophet." While the fairly standard Lee tropes are present, the televangelist angle is a unique (and--like much of Lee's comic book work--ahead of its time) addition.

Not surprisingly, given the pop-culture star power and quality involved, this miniseries won the Eisner Award for best finite/limited series in 1989. Personally, this Silver Surfer story also has the rare distinction (apart from his original appearances in Fantastic Four and a more recent guesting spot during Planet Hulk) of being an enjoyable Silver Surfer story. It occurs to me that the Surfer (much like Ghost Rider) while being an incredibly designed visual character can be a bit of a bore when it comes to full characterization.

I'm glad to report that is not the case in this book! Silver Surfer Parable is still available in trade paperback, and individual issues (even from wa-a-a-a-y back in 1988!) are still very affordable and likely laying about in your local comic book store.

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