We recently tuned into a podcast at Stash My Comics to hear Paul “Longbox Graveyard” O’Connor review one of our favorite comics: Silver Surfer Vol. 1, #3. Paul extolls the virtues of Silver Surfer in his review. He also points out that the Surfer’s series lost its direction after the first few incredible issues. An interview with John Buscema in Jack Kirby Collector #18 confirms that Stan Lee knew this. John recalled,
Many years later, Stan told me at lunch one day, “John, I just didn’t know what the hell to do with the damn thing. I didn’t know what direction we were going.”
Read the whole Buscema interview at TwoMorrows Publishing. It also includes Buscema’s recollections on copying layouts from Kirby’s panels, and Stan’s furious deconstruction of Buscema’s masterful work on Silver Surfer #4. (Later, Stan would tell John it was the greatest thing they ever did!)
Of course, the answer was right in front of Stan the whole time: Get the “Sentinel of the Spaceways” back into outer space where he belonged! But it wasn’t until 1987, nearly 20 years after this landmark issue, that Steve Englehart worked out the solution to give the Surfer direction once again. In Silver Surfer Vol. 2, #1, Englehart and Marshall Rogers got the Surfer past the barrier of Galactus for good.
Despite losing direction, Stan Lee and John Buscema would unite once more for one of Marvel’s greatest visual accomplishments: The Silver Surfer graphic novel, “Judgment Day.” Judgment Day (also available in paperback) features splash panel after splash panel of glorious Buscema artwork. “Judgment Day” pits the Silver Surfer against Mephisto once again. And, just to top the hellfire-and-brimstone extravaganza of Silver Surfer #3, this time Galactus gets involved! Satan versus the Big G? We’re there! You can read a fun review on Take Back What You Said About Thor.
If you need a copy of Silver Surfer #3 for yourself – and believe us, you do – then here is a list of every time Marvel has printed it. Have fun shopping!
– From Silver Surfer #3; Marvel Comics, September 1968.
Reprinted in Fantasy Masterpieces Vol. 2, #3; 1979. (missing 4 original pages)
Reprinted in the Silver Surfer Omnibus Vol. 1
Reprinted in the HardCover Silver Surfer Masterworks #1, a 2003 Paperback version, and a 2010 Paperback.
Reprinted in black and white in Essential Silver Surfer, Vol. 1, Edition 1 and in Edition 2.