This is the one-hundred and ninety-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and ninety.
COMIC LEGEND: Due to the unwritten rule that only Stan Lee could write Silver Surfer solo stories, there were no solo Surfer stories until Steve Englehart's series in 1987.
A bunch of readers wrote in about this following the installment from two weeks ago about Marvel's unwritten rule that only Stan Lee could write solo Silver Surfer stories, a rule that was finally broken when Marvel decided to give Surfer an ongoing series in the late 80s (something that they either did not want Lee to write or something that Lee had no interest in doing). Xavier Lancel and Antoine Verville are the two readers I have written down here that wrote to me about it, but there could have been (probably are) more who did so.
What's funny is that I knew this, but forgot to mention it.
In any event, back in the 1970s, the Silver Surfer was a popular character in France, and he was licensed for more than one French comic book.
By the late 1970s, however, the title that the comics appeared in (called Nova), was running out of material to reprint.
So they petitioned Marvel to let them do NEW, French-only, Silver material.
Marvel agreed, and in 1980, in Nova #25 and 26, writer Marcel Navarro and artist J.Y. Mitton produced the first two Silver Surfer solo stories NOT written by Stan Lee.
Here is one of the covers and a sample page (courtesy of Alter Ego #1, and a great article written by Jean-Marc Lofficier)...
The problem with the issue was that while it was new material that needed to be paid for, Marvel still requested the same licensing fee, so it was like the publishers were paying twice for the same story, and that just was not cost-efficient enough, so they stopped with the new stories after just two issues.
A few years later, Marvel would have a new ongoing title, and the need for new Silver Surfer stories was sated for years!