After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!
I’ve been sticking to “done-in-one” issues for the most part, but to be honest, doing so limits the Marvel options a bit, as Stan Lee sure loved him his multi-issue stories, and it seems a bit silly to avoid some of the best Silver Age stories just because they were in more than one issues, so I figure if I’m going to start featuring multi-issue Silver Age stories, I have to start with one of the most famous Silver Age arcs period, the Galactus Trilogy from Fantastic Four #48-50, by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott!
Just look at those covers! They are some of the most iconic Fantastic Four covers ever (outside of the cover for #1, IS there a more iconic Jack Kirby Fantastic Four cover than #49? Maybe #10, perhaps #29 – Kirby even homaged #29, maybe #45 or #51? I still pick #49 as my choice).
This storyline works as the epitome of the epic cosmic adventures Stan Lee and Jack Kirby sent the Fantastic Four on often, with wild technology and astonishing stakes (the fate of the entire planet) but at the same time, real human elements, like Reed Richards’ reaction to having to try to save the Earth from doomsday (he doesn’t deal super well with the enormous pressure, grows a beard and even snaps at Sue)…
or the Silver Surfer’s literal fall to Earth….
And one of the most interesting aspects (and also part of what made the Kirby/Lee FF so great) of the story is how #48 contains the ending of the previous arc and #50 has a story AFTER the Galactus story wraps up (and sets up a story for #51!). At the time, Kirby and Lee were coming up with so many ideas that something as cool as the Galactus trilogy, where basically “God” showed up to destroy the Earth, was not even the SOLE story for the three parts of the trilogy!!!
The 50th issue has some stretches of the imagination, but it also has two extremely iconic moments – Reed Richards threatening Galactus with the Ultimate Nullifier…
and Galactus stripping his former herald, the Silver Surfer, of his abilities to roam the galaxy, as punishment for helping to fight for the people of Earth…
And note that these moments were handled as just one of many panels!!
You could argue that this comic had it all – great story, great art, cosmic problems, earthly problems, action – it was the complete package, and it still stands out today, forty-plus years later!