Hey everybody, welcome back to another week of a great story in Ye Olde School Café! In this week’s installment, we’ll be looking at a fantastic book and an even better character inside the pages of Essential Silver Surfer volume 1! It’s understood that everyday Joe’s just can’t buy Silver Age comics all the time due to budget constraints (myself included)! This reason is why I love when I purchase one of Marvel’s Essentials books, like this one! The writing of Stan Lee, along with the artwork of the super-talented John Buscema (R.I.P., and an issue or two from Jack “King” Kirby) graces these pages. These stories were originally printed in Silver Surfer vol. 1 #1-18 (1967-1969).
In the first couple of issues of this trade, we see the Surfer as he’s trying to assist people, but then getting attacked by the military because they have no idea what he’s all about. He then remembers back to the days of his youth on Zenn-La. He thinks about his home planet and how he was a young man that yearned for greater heights than just living on a world with a very boring lifestyle. While he’s daydreaming, he gets attacked by a pack of Yetis! He gets away from them, and then thinks back to how he’s been feeling lonely and hurt over the fact that he has been left alone by the Hulk, and attacked by Dr. Doom. He also recalls the reason he left Zenn-La, when Galactus appeared in the atmosphere. Norrin Radd had offered himself up to Galactus to be his new herald in exchange for Galactus’s mercy on the planet. Thus was born the cosmically powered Silver Surfer!
The next couple of books are based off of Mephisto trying to use his typical shady tactics to try and gain the soul of the Surfer. He uses Shalla Bal, the Surfer’s old flame from back home, to blackmail him. The following issue showcases Loki, and in it, he pretty much uses the same scheme that Mephisto tried, but with just plain old trickery, and not a woman. This works to a point where the Surfer travels to Asgard and battles Thor himself! In the end, things work out, and Loki, as usual, loses. An adventure with the Fantastic Four where he ends up fighting the cosmic juggernaut the Stranger is next, followed by one featuring Frankenstein (one of my favorites, by the way!). Another really sweet tale over the next two issues is a confrontation with Mephisto, again; well, not directly with Mephisto, but Mephisto reanimates a soul floating around Limbo named Joost van Straaten, A.K.A. the Ghost! Very supernatural feel to these last three issues!
The Abomination, Spider-Man, the Human Torch, another bout with Mephisto and S.H.I.E.L.D. (because of that last fight with Mephisto), an epic encounter with the Inhumans, and finally the grotesque Quasimodo! All these fantastic stories from a creative team that had a character that was on the precipice of turning into Marvel’s number one cosmic character for years to come! Plenty of great writers would handle him after this, most notably Jim Starlin, but these beginnings are definitely the rock solid foundation that made the Silver Surfer what he is and has been for decades!