COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Steve Englehart’s Silver Surfer book was designed as the Surfer exploring outer space.
From his debut in the classic Galactus trilogy of Fantastic Four #48-50 until the mid-80s, there were two things that were consistent about the Silver Surfer…
1. He was confined to Earth
2. He was written by Stan Lee
However, the 1987 Silver Surfer ongoing series changed both of those things, as it was written by Steve Englehart and in it, the Silver Surfer finally broke free of the barriers placed on him by Galactus, and was able to travel the universe.
As you might imagine, the idea of a cosmic character exploring the Marvel universe sure sounds like a good hook to launch a new series on, right?
Alas, that was not the original intent of the Silver Surfer ongoing series.
Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter was willing to bend on the second consistent aspect of the Silver Surfer, and let Steve Englehart write the book, but he was not willing to bend on the first – the Surfer was to remain Earth-bound.
Englehart argued the point, but ultimately sat down and wrote an opening to the series with the Surfer still stuck on Earth.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Shooter changed his mind – the Surfer could now surf free through the cosmos! The problem was, Englehart already had the first issue written otherwise.
The end result was to junk that issue, and a new opening arc was made, with a similar enough plot. In fact, it worked out in another way, as while Marshall Rogers was to be the ongoing artist of the series, John Buscema drew the first issue. This way, Rogers could draw the book from the beginning.
However, who the heck wants to junk a comic book drawn by John Buscema featuring one of the characters he was most known for (Buscema drew most of the issues of the Silver Surfer’s first series)?
Not Marvel, so a couple of years later, they published the issue (now out of continuity, as it had been contradicted by various plot points in the Surfer comic) in the pages of Marvel Fanfare…
Good to see great art not go to waste!!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!
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