Monday, August 12, 2013

The Silver Surfer.

Forget everything that you've been told about anyone other than Jack Kirby have created the Silver Surfer. Jack Kirby created that character. He did it completely on his own. Yes, he was influenced by religious texts, but by and large the Silver Surfer was a concoction that arose completely from the fertile imagination of Jacob Kurtzberg (Jack Kirby).

I like to remind people, Jack Kirby had no "co-creator" at Marvel Comics because he didn't need one. He did all of that stuff on his own. If you hear anyone saying otherwise, know that you're listening to a liar.

As Kirby was trying to manage his exit from Marvel to places where he could create without having to suffer the indignity of having to see a talentless shill stealing his credit, he was trying (I'm convinced) to lay down some comic book dogma where his creations were concerned.

During this period when he was writing and illustrating the Fantastic Four, he had realized what a truly unique character he had created with the Surfer. And he wanted to establish some further canonical material for the character before he left it in the hands of the men who had so effectively robbed him. There was that much he could try to do as he slowly left the building.

To that end he was using the Silver Surfer off and one during a particular run of the Fantastic Four title. In these stories he was adding to the rich palette he'd already established in earlier stories, crossing his "T"s and dotting the "I"s. These stories are rather quirky, with the Silver Surfer making only fleeting, almost glancing appearances, effecting the flow of the fiction in an almost tangential manner. It was brilliant story-telling that not even an incompetent dialog editor could wreck.

The mid-grade copy of Fantastic Four #74 that I just picked up.


MarkGelbart said...

The Silver Surfer must not have been strong enough to maintain his own title.

Didn't the original Silver Surfer comic book just last about 17 issues?

James Robert Smith said...

When they initially spun him off into his own title, John Buscema was doing the art and stories. Buscema did, I think, have a good feel for the way the Surfer looked, but he just was not up to writing it. The stories had no energy. The fans ended up not supporting it and by the time they brought in Kirby to write and illustrate it, Goodman had already decided to cancel the book.

MarkGelbart said...

I actually liked Buscema's art more than Kirby's and Ditto's.

It was much smoother.

James Robert Smith said...

Buscema was a very talented artist. One of the best that Marvel had working for them. It was often said of John Buscema that he was the closest thing that comics had to the tradition of fine art. That's probably true. And his drawings of the Surfer was wonderful, for sure. But he couldn't write decent stories.