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Silver Surfer: Saving Galactus

In a couple of days time we Australians will be able to park ourselves at the cinema and take in the latest instalment in the Fantastic Four franchise. More importantly, for many it will be their first real introduction to The Silver Surfer and therefore their first look at the greatest superhero ever – bar none – yeap, even that loser you just thought of.

The first Fantastic Four movie wasn’t great. It was fun, albeit a little bit plastic and throw away; but then that’s the way I’ve always seen the Fantastic Four. Admittedly, I own very few titles featuring their exploits, and most of the ones I do own are the issues which introduce The Surfer (yeah, that old). What it comes down to is that I’m simply not that interested in them.

Recently I purchased a 6 part Fantastic Four series titled “The End”. I wont go into too much detail about the series other than to say that it is set in a future that sees the current crop of Marvel superheroes coming together at a time in which the Fantastic Four have never been further removed from one another, and that it’s well worth the read.

However, while I thoroughly enjoyed the series, written and penciled by Alan Davis (JLA, Uncanny X-Men), which features some fantastic panels that include the future version of just about every character imaginable, it left me once again feeling like the Fantastic Four are just thin and emotionally un-engaging characters. They seem to be more appealing as individuals actually.

Fortunately for them, The Silver Surfer has awesome-a-fied their latest film with his presence. And fortunately for me (and you, even if you don’t know it yet) it appears that The Surfer is going to get his own flick after all, sans the FF baggage.

So far one of the biggest gripes that I’ve heard from comic book fans about the latest FF film is the appearance (or rather the non-appearance) of Galactus. His physical details are obscured by cloud or only revealed in the form of a shadow (which is cast across the rings of Saturn… just to give you some idea of his size). Now, a few days have to pass before I can give a qualified opinion on this particular subject, but at this point I’m going with: GOOD!!!

With the box office taking for it’s US opening weekend topping $58.1 Mill it’s looking really good for anther FF movie to get the go ahead… more importantly though, the likelihood of solo Silver Surfer movie gets more certain by the minute. That being the case, I’m really glad that Tim Story saw fit to keep Galactus from view in this film – after all, the first time WE see Galactus should really coincide with the first time that Norrin Radd (aka: The Silver Surfer) lays eyes on him! [source] [source]

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    It’s interesting that you should refer to the ‘Silver Surfer’ as the greatest superhero ever, ranking all others as losers. However, its’ this ‘loser’ attribute that I feel makes a great superhero. Even to the point where the loser status creates an ‘anti-hero’ characteristic. It’s this achilles characteristic and the ability (or in-ability) of the hero to surmount it that makes for an ‘engageable’ character.

    Interestingly, I feel that a superheroes powers have more to do with the generation and the history at the time of the character’s creation that gives them their armour and even their chinks.

    Wasn’t ‘Silver Surfer’ written graphically roughly around the time in the 60’s when the image of an etherial wave-rider would appeal to a wider audience? This was also a period of time of political conflict, (the vietnam war (police action), bay of pigs and the cold war).

    Superman is another character who comes to mind. There is a theory that Superman’s creators brought him into being during a period of religious persecution and economic depression. Whether intentional or not, I can’t help but wonder if a super character’s need to be infallible or ‘perfect’ is directly proportional to the level of conflict around at the time of their inception and the perceived level of need for the people to be ‘saved’…

  • Clearly I don’t really see all other superheroes as losers or else I wouldn’t bother spending so much time writing about them.. except for that Aquaman: Him I really have issues with! Although they could be related to being forced to work in the fish department at Safeway when I was a kid…

    You’re probably right about the social climate playing a part in the creation of comic book characters (Many of them were originally created as propaganda tools… I’m looking at YOU Captain America!) but the same can be said for just about any work of fiction: Be it James Bond or Mary Poppins.

    I think that the broader appeal of a character — the ability to survive outside of the climate which acted as the catalyst for their creation — is what gives them real longevity. The likes of Superman and Batman appeal to people today just as much (maybe more) than the generation who they were created for.

  • Superman is probably a prime example of superhero ‘evolution’. Who’d have thought they’d try killing him off just for ratings? Or was that JR in Dallas?…

  • LOL! Oh man, the nerd in me totally just took that as a really obscure Superman (the movie) reference!