JUST JOSHING: Silver Surfer, The Enslavers
Stan Lee is gone. I only had the chance to meet him once, and it was just barely a hello. There are many creators that knew him better, had a chance to learn from him and were touched by this man. I was reading Mark Waid’s feed and he was telling some amazing stories from his editorial at Boom Studios when Stan was working with Boom! On a superhero line of comics. I really enjoyed the line and thought it was very underrated. That said, I’m not going to focus on that work today, as I feel that really there is only one way I could honor Stan.
There are not enough words to describe Stan Lee’s contributions to comics. Jack Kirby is probably the only person you could argue had a bigger impact on comics in the sixties as without Stan there is simply no marvel. There is no Fantastic Four, no Spiderman, no Hulk, and no other Marvel icons. Stan was a creative, talented genius of a writer, entrepreneur and like many comic fans, I was entertained by many of his creations.
So for this column, I’m not going to focus on his all-time great stories, but rather my personal favorite from Stan Lee himself. And that is this comic.
Written by Stan Lee
Illustrated by Keith Pollard
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Silver Surfer crashes into Reed Richard’s home after finding out that his homeworld had been depopulated by some unknown force. While convalescing on earth, those same Aliens come in contact with the Voyager probe and take it as an invitation to go to earth. Taking advantage of a scientist’s good nature, these aliens, lead by the tyrannical Mrrungo-Mu, conquers earth in very short order.
Unfortunately, Mu underestimates the Silver Surfer himself and the scientist who he uses to invade the earth. Between them and Mu’s lover the lovely lady Tynnea, who has the power to make any man believe that she is their true love. At first, she seduces Surfer, but then helps him when he sees through her ruse. All of this leads to the final battle with Mu and it’s an epic confrontation.
This book is one of my favorites. The story beats are nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s such a fun romp. First off, Mrrungo-Mu is built up to be a monstrous threat, from Galactus’ monologue talking about him right up until he single-handedly defeats every marvel heavy hitter at once, including Namor and the Hulk, the only two able to withstand even a single blow from him. So there is no question that the Surfer is outmatched by him and only has a chance because Mu is unable to absorb his power like he did everyone else.
Big stakes, out there names, fun action, some love scenes, and a happy ending. This book is a quintessential Marvel tale, and Stan is the man that created this story. These seventy-five pages just soar by.
Keith Pollard illustrated a lavish book that feels very much like a pulp epic, which is what I’d rate this book. This is classic Stan, this is a classic Marvel told.
Normally I asked the creator where they got the story from. In this case, I am going into the afterword written by Stan talking about this Graphic Novel and he talks about the fact that the novel was commissioned eight years prior to the publication date by Jim Shooter. By the time Stan got the story, the art had evolved past the original parameters of the story. Stan had to marvel method this particular story. I think it came out well myself, and hopefully do too.
Is this the best Stan Lee story you’ll ever read? Probably not. Is it one of the most entertaining yarns of a Silver Surfer story that you’ll ever read? Yeah. It is. If you can find it, check it out.
Thank you, Stan Lee, for being one of the great mythmakers of our time. Thank you for great power and responsibility. Thank you for giving life to a dude on a surfboard. He’s one of my favorites. Thank you for providing me and millions more with great stories and inspiration. We are less today without you than we were with you.