Saturday, 23 February 2013

Sheffield's Most Wanted. Part 15: The Super-Heroes #1.

Marvel UK, Super-Heroes #1, The Silver Surfer, Jack Kirby cover
I think most people are by now familiar with the tragic circumstances that mean I'm currently trapped on Earth and cannot soar through the spaceways as is my birthright.

That being the case, I was always going to be fascinated by the Silver Surfer.

When I say, "fascinated," I of course mean bored senseless. Has there ever been a bigger Moping Minnie than Norrin Radd? Always standing around on that board, grizzling about something or other? If it wasn't the plight of the Yetis he was whining about, it was Mephisto trying to steal his soul, or not being able to get his leg-over with that clingy wet blanket Shalla-Bal.

Fortunately, when I was a child, I wasn't familiar enough with his adventures to be aware of that. Nor was I perhaps a sophisticated enough reader to spot this failing anyway.

All I knew was the Silver Surfer flew around a lot, had turned up in The Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk and he seemed a lively piece of work. And so, when I saw it advertised, I quite fancied getting my hands on Marvel UK's Super-Heroes #1.

Reader, I never did - though I did get my hands on two later issues; the one where the Flying Dutchman shows up and the one where the Surfer meets some descendant or other of Baron Frankenstein. Somehow, when I read these tales as a kid, I was too snow-blinded by John Buscema's impossibly elegant artwork to notice what a pain the Surfer himself actually was, and I loved them.

As for the tale printed in issue #1, I'm assuming that was his origin tale and, fortunately, my suffering didn't turn out to be to prolonged, as I was later exposed to that very adventure in Sons of Origins of Marvel ComicsThanks to its guest appearance by Galactus, I enjoyed it immensely.

As for the X-Men story featured in issue #1, I still to this day have no idea what it was.

Then again, the original X-Men have always grabbed me even less than the Surfer, so perhaps it was for the best that I never had the issue after all.


Kid said...

The Super-Heroes #1 contained the first half of the Silver Surfer's origin from his own U.S. mag, plus the first half of the original X-Men's debut tale from the first issue of their own U.S. mag. Aren't I good to you? (And I've got a full set of TSH and SS.)

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Kid. I suspected those'd be the stories that were included.

cerebus660 said...

You know that old phrase "It's better to have loved and lost than never loved at all..."? Well, I don't think that applies to comics...
I used to have this issue of The Superheroes ( and the Free Poster! ) but it's long since vanished from my collection. I probably sold it in a moment of madness back in the '90s with most of my UK Marvels... including Savage Sword #1 :-(
What was I thinking?

Boston Bill said...

He was one of Stan's most beloved characters - even though Jack had to explain who he was after he drew him into the opening pages of the Galactus Trilogy.

But he worked far better as a supporting character than someone holding down his own book.

btw, Jack was unhappy about the SS's origin. Jack wanted him to be a being of pure energy, hence his lack of understanding of emotions.

Gey Blabby said...

This was my first introduction to the character, and John Buscema's artwork was the big draw for me here, as well. As with Barry Smith on Conan, you can actually see Big John refining his concept of the character; at first his Surfer is quite bulky - more like your typical Buscema hero - but with each issue, you can see him becoming more graceful and slimmed down. The cover he did featuring the Surfer and Thor is a stormer.

Carlos said...

As an English kid situated miles away from any specialist stores, these UK Marvels were my (only)gateway into the world of Silver Surfer, X-Men, Hulk et al.

I've always felt that the Silver Surfer is very much a product of his time, 100% Kirby, and that modern attempts to extend the saga of Norrin Radd feel a little hollow... but these UK editions introduced the character to us nearly a decade after his conception in 1966.

As ever with comics, nostagia plays tricks on you.