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Stan Lee is a man who needs no introduction. Nevertheless: Having begun his career with wartime Timely Comics and staying the course throughout the Atlas era, Stan the Man made comic-book history with Fantastic Four #1, harbinger of a bold new perspective in story writing that endures to this day. With some of the industry's greatest artists, he introduced hero after hero in Incredible Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men and more -- forming a shared universe for rival publishers to measure themselves against. After an almost literal lifetime of writing and editing, Lee entered new entertainment fields and earned Marvel one opportunity after another. He remains one of Marvel's best-known public representatives.
Marvel's most recent collection of "Silver Surfer: Parable," is a missed opportunity to present this unique collaboration between Stan Lee and Moebius in a format it deserves. Out of print for over twenty years, "Parable" would have benefitted from an oversized hardcover treatment that companies like DC, Fantagraphics, and IDW produce almost monthly. Instead, readers get a classic story plugged into Marvel's standardized graphic novel format. And perplexingly, the unrelated "Enslavers" story by Stan Lee and Keith Pollard is shoehorned in to bump up the page count and price.
On the plus side, original covers, the Marvel Age material, "The Making of..." featurette from the original hardcover, and all of the Moebius Marvel posters (featuring his take on Spider-Man, Electra, Iron Man, etc) are included. However, without any cohesive design or editorial commentary, this material feels a bit random and tacked on. And of course, witnessing Moebius draw, color, and letter a Sliver Surfer story is a one-of-a-kind treat, no matter what the format.
Tellingly, in the "making of" feature, Moebius himself explains that one of his motivations for doing the book was to experiment with the limited color palette of newsprint. It's a shame then that "Parable" was printed on glossy paper in favor of a high-quality, uncoated paper stock that may have been closer to what the late artist originally envisioned. Again, another lost chance to produce a version of this story that really stands out from Marvel's usual collected fair.
If you just want to read a classic story, this may be the most affordable way to do it. If you want something more than that, you'll probably have to wait another twenty years. I can't think of any other Marvel project that deserved a "deluxe" treatment more than "Parable," and it's a terrible disappointment that the company chose not to put in the extra effort to honor a truly original artist that is no longer with us.
With the way the Jack and Stan debate that has raged on for years, it's hard not to be an apologist for liking something Stan has written. I think we have all been polarized since the court ruling against the estate of the King not long ago. So I wanted to try and get a picture of Stan outside of current events. To read his work without seeing Jack's lines to square up to where I would draw the line regarding who is responsible for creating the Silver Age Marvel U.
And let the record show, in those debates, I am pro Kirby getting his fair share all the way... but to be clear I think that share is half.
I also think Stan has been an amazingly charming ambassador for the medium I love. He has been the booster and face for the comics industry, good or ill, for as long as I've been alive, and I think this is the only work of his I can think of where no debate lingers on how the credit should be divided, it's just a powerful mingling of idea and art. As a result, I got meet both of these contributors on the page rather than anything vestigial from the collective voice of the community.
Preamble complete, this is what I came up with:
I think Stan wrote an amazingly heartfelt story. Sure the language has that tinge of purple that I get from all of Stan's writing, but it is not without its charms. The characterization was subtle, pushing everyone into their archetypical roles early on - some not the most flattering.
Man is portrayed pretty openly as a cruel and stupid mob, quick to turn to lawlessness and anarchy at the drop of a hat. Cast among them in the rags of the destitute we find the Surfer, a noble outsider who refuses to let us destroy ourselves no matter the personal cost.Read more ›
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Marvel has a real problem with keeping their best works in print. They've been making progress over the past few years, however, and this is one of them. Written by one of the "founding fathers" of the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee used this book to make a return to one of his most outstanding creations. His Surfer tales of old had a style like none of his others, capturing basic themes in stories of galactic scope, with more than a hint of allegory and religious reference. This story reads like one of his classic tales. The art is provided by Moebius, and the Surfer has never looked better. Moebius' fine-line work, detail, and soft colors beautifully capture the mood of this story. I wish he would turn his attention to more work like this, but with the sorry writing in today's American super-hero comics, I can't blame him for keeping a low profile. Stories don't come along like this very often, so check it out. It's in a softcover printing, so it's affordable. The only problem I have with the story is some of the Surfer's dialogue, which sounds as if it were lifted from fortune cookies or self-help books.
I'm someone who is slowly leaving the superherogenre in comics. Next to that I never was a very big fan of Stan Lee as a writer. My surpirse was big when I started reading this and noticed the actual depth in here. An enormous spaceship enters earth and the world is in fear. It lands and a creature who calls himself Galactus comes out. At first people are in fear and nobody dares to displease him. Earth is entirely without war or terrorism for a moment. A fake disciple steps up and tells how Galactus is the returning incarnation of the Messiah. Because there has been worldpeace since Galactus landed the disciple is believed. People start worshipping the creature from beyond and follow Galactus' every worth. Questioning nothing. The entire world is soon in chaos. The Silver Surfer decides to step up out of the anonymous mass and tries to convince people to stop listening to Galactus. An 'act against God'... Although the dialogue is full of cliches it's never bothering here, it reads away fluently. And what's more important, the story itself is interesting and honestly thought-provoking. Not only is a fight between good vs bad presented here, but it also makes you think on what grounds you decide something is good or bad. It emphasizes the importance of one thinking for oneself instead of blindly following something you believe in. To never stop questioning. A free mind is everything. The art by Moebius, although not his best, is very good as well. His imaging of Silver Surfer is probably the best I'be seen so far. I'd definately recommend this to both superhero fans as non-superhero fans.