Archival Site 2004-2006 see See http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/kirby/

Monday, November 15, 2004

Silver Surfer 1978 Graphic Novel

Kirby drew this 100 page graphic novel on his return to Marvel in the 1970s, re-uniting with his long-time FANTASTIC FOUR collaborative team. It's an interesting book, and well worth hunting down a copy for the Kirby/Sinnott art alone. There's something just so elegant and powerful about the way Kirby draws the Surfer, and Sinnott brings it out as good as anyone.

The final panel of this page, of a Surfer monument made by a tribe he passed by one his travels, is one of my favourite images from that entire era of Kirby's career.



The story re-tells the coming of Galactus story, without the Fantastic Four. In this version, the Surfer finds Earth, decides to defy Galactus, who exiles him to Earth. The Surfer explores humanity, and then Galactus attempts to win him back, using a golden female creation of his, Ardina, who both seduces him and tries to convince him of the worthlessness of humanity. Also in the mix is an interesting character, Galactus' Master of Guile (called the "Devil's Advocate" in Kirby's character design printed in THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #22), who represents the evil side of Darkseid.

The biggest problem in this book is probably that the structure of the story seems to require Kirby's original concept of the Surfer, as a creation of Galactus, while the whole Zenn-La, Shalla Bal nonsense is shoe-horned in (in a two page flashback sequence that doesn't make much sense and constantly in the dialogue). It just doesn't work. Taking that out and mentally adjusting, and taking out some of the more flowery excesses of the script, and it works a lot better.

This book also has a non-Kirby cover painting, which isn't too good, based on a far better Kirby image, printed in THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #9. Also in here are bios of the creators, with a great photo of Kirby, oddly with a pipe rather than the cigar he's usually associated with.

The book was reprinted by Marvel in the late 1990s, I think with a different cover based on one of the interior images, but I don't have a copy to verify that.

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