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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 239

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

Today we look at the classic face-off between the Mighty Thor and the Silver Surfer in Silver Surfer #4, courtesy of Stan Lee and John Buscema (with inks by John’s brother, Sal)!


This epic story was pretty much LITERALLY double-sized, as it was over 40 pages long!

Titled “The Good, the Bad and the Uncanny,” the tale opens with Loki looking for someone on Earth who he can use to kill his brother Thor…

After a battle against the Surfer to test his mettle, Loki decides to deliver his pitch…

Through sorcery and deception, Loki pits Surfer against Thor…

How freaking amazing is John Buscema in this issue? It’s astonishing how epicly awesome his pages are in this issue!!! Stan Lee does a good job with the story, but good golly, Miss Molly, Buscema’s pencils are just out of this world!

You really have to pick up this story (which has been reprinted in a number of collections over the years) to get the ending of this titanic tale as well as all the outrageous stuff I DIDN’T show you!

Go get this one!! You’ll see why it was one of the early examples of Marvel’s greatest stories!


60’s Buscema always stood out as better art than 60’s Kirby to me.

I’ve loved this story since I read it in the Stan Lee compilation, “Marvel’s Greatest Superhero Battles” back in the 70’s (which also featured Hulk vs. Thing, DD vs. Sub-Mariner, and a great Dr. Strange/Dormammu fight).. Those collected editions back then were great.

I remember a scene in Crimson Tide where Denzel Washington’s character has to settle an argument about who drew the definitive Silver Surfer: Jack Kirby or Moebius. And I thought, “Buscema”, and this story shows why.

I’ve always wanted to read this issue because it has one of the very best covers EVER.

Dhole i never saw Crimson Tide but that line undoubtedly comes from the Tarantino re-write.

dhole: I first read this story in that “Superhero Battles” volume as well (my other personal favorite from that was the Iron Man/Sub-mariner mash-up – that story’s worth it’s own post; in fact, that entire book deserves some love – what a great collection!) And yes, when I first saw that scene in Crimson Tide, I also thought of Buscema…
This is such a great story, thanks for reminding me of it – although now I regret the fact that I no longer have the Greatest Superhero Battles book so I can re-read it.

Incredible stuff, thanks.

A great choice, Brian some comments:

1.Diggity, you are absolutely right about that cover. It is simply stunning, quite possibly the single best cover shot of Thor. Indeed, I would argue that the cover alone is worthy of a COOL COMIC BOOK MOMENT.

2. John Buscema: Big John produced a lot of great art over the years, but this might just be, against stiff competition, his best single issue. Talk about brilliant figure work!

3. Stan Lee: Stan wrote the hell out of this issue. A lesson for Mr Bendis: not everyone has to talk like a 30 year old pseudo-“hipster” who has overdosed on BUFFY DVDs. When Stan’s characters talk mock-Elizabethan, you believe every word of it.

I’ve owned this comic since I bought it 68. I read it so many times it feels like Kleenex today.

I was 10 at the time, and had been raised on a steady diet of Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger, and they had never drawn a superhero slugfest like this. The cover is one of the ten best ever.

I’d love to see this remastered and published in a treasury-sized edition.

This ranks at the top of my favorites in old Marvel classics (and the mentioned DD vs. Namor story). You didn’t include the scene of the Surfer joining Thor for an Asgardian feast (can’t show everything, though). A depiction straight out of Wagner, I thought, so different from Kirby’s techno-fairy-tale realm.

This has some really fantastic art in it. John Buscema really knocked this one out of the park. I don’y know if you take requests, Brian, but would you mind adding the brilliant Thor vs. Surfer cover to the post? It is easily one of the top ten covers of the 1960s.

I read a Buscema art book a while ago where Big John had a good story about this issue. He says that, when he came back to Marvel in the ’60s, Stan had him study Kirby to get the hang of drawing super heroes. But he cites this issue as one where he consciously did not do Kirby-style layouts, but just tried to do his own thing with a fresh approach. And Stan hated it. He ripped him a new one when each page came in. But years later, he mentioned this issue to Buscema as one where his art really looked great. Stan’s memory has always been a source of humour.

Buscema is one of the few true greats.

@Rob III

Yes, I remember hearing that Tarantino punched up that script before seeing the film, and when I saw it I felt that scene did have Tarantino written all over it.

Actually, I remember the argument really came out of nowhere and seemed like a very forced attempt at pop-culture hipness.

Denzel’s character chose Kirby as the definitive artist, by the way. Guess he shipped out to sea before discovering some of that Lee/Buscema greatness…

A great story. Both Stan Lee and John Buscema were at the top of their game when they did this one.

Buscema is a god among illustrators, and this is some of his best work.

Yeah, I also thought Buscema on that Crimson Tide scene.

Lee/Buscema’s Silver Surfer series is a bonafide classic! I don’t know why it’s so underestimated on the US (overseas it’s considered one of the Marvel’s best). Maybe because neither Kirby or Ditko worked on it, so it doesn’t fit with Lee’s “image” as having ripped out all his stories from the two mentioned artists…

(Yeah, I know Kirby drew the last – and worst – issue of the series. I’ve been trying to forget it for some time…)

I’ve just been rereading a bunch of Silver Surfer issues lately. It’s interesting to note the differences in Buscema’s art caused by inkers. Sal was certainly good, and I’ve always liked Sinnot and Adkins, but Chic Stone kicked butt in his two later issues!

I read through Essential Silver Surfer hoping for some great cosmic stories. Instead I got the tedious whinings of a Surfer trapped on Earth. That book was such a slog!

As good a done in one story that you’re can get. A true Marvel CLASSIC.

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