Returning To His Cosmic Ways
Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its ninety-third choice, Silver Surfer: Parable by Stan Lee and Moebius and reviewed by Tripwire’s contributing writer Scott Braden…
Silver Surfer: Parable
Writer: Stan Lee
One cannot approach reviewing Marvel Comics’ handsomely produced Silver Surfer: Parable hardcover collection by late comic book grandmaster Stan Lee and Jean Giraud – the acclaimed artiste better known internationally as Moebius – without considering what has now become an iconic argument from the pop-culture cinematic classic, Crimson Tide, starring Oscar-winner Denzel Washington. Featuring uncredited script doctoring by Quentin Tarantino, the movie delves into that classic four-color query: Is Jack “The King” Kirby’s powerful interpretation of the Silver Surfer better than Moebius’ own. The answer, which most fanboys and girls would agree on, is of course it is – but Moebius’ portrayal of the House of Ideas’ resident “Sentinel of the Spaceways” is pretty darn good.
And what do you get when you team up some of Lee’s best writing in his storied career to Moebius’ truly alien landscapes, along with the superb editing of legendary comics craftsman Archie Goodwin?
It’s a goddamn masterwork.
From the collection’s back cover: “Beaten down by the weakness and wickedness of humanity, [the Silver Surfer] lives as a vagrant. Lying in the gutter, he no longer gazes at the stars. But then Galactus returns to Earth – not to devour it, but to be worshipped. To save the world from this false god, the Surfer will once more take to his board.”
That plot alone makes this timeless classic worth the price of admission. Originally released in the late 1980s as a two-issue limited series, and set in a future where Norrin Radd (and presumably the rest of the Marvel Universe) has become the stuff of legend, Parable is unlike any Silver Surfer story that came before it. Instead of trying to find a way to leave his earthbound punishment or stop his former cosmic master from devouring the planet, he is instead just trying to live out the rest of his days in what little peace and quiet he can muster. Then, when Galactus comes down to our world like the Celestials before him and claims godhood over humanity, the Surfer must once again become the hero and save the day. Only his is the fate of a tragic hero, and Lee – showing inspired scripting – rises to the challenge of portraying his miraculous marvel just as that.
As far as Moebius’ art itself, it danced between the panels when it was released on newsprint back in ’88. But with better quality paper and far improved production values, the internationally renowned illustrator’s brushstrokes sing on the page. We at Tripwire cannot adequately paint a picture with words about this here; Moebius’ work should be experienced for itself. As should this must-have tome.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far