web stats

CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 314

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 “Doctor Doom gains the Power Cosmic” storyline from Fantastic Four #57-60 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.


First off, like all great Fantastic Four arcs of the time, the storyline kicked off while the FF were in the middle of another story. Here, it is a fight with the Frightful Four…

I love how it is “Enter…Doctor Doom” and then, “Oh yeah, Sandman’s here, too!”

So anyhow, the Silver Surfer (who is not a happy camper since he is stuck on Earth) is invited to Latveria by Doctor Doom…

This, of course, leads to the utterly legendary sequence where Doctor Doom steals the power cosmic from Silver Surfer…

Man, the image of Doom flying Surfer’s surfboard on this next page…


Lee and Kirby set the situation beautifully with Fantastic Four #58’s cliffhanger ending…

And this only takes you to HALFWAY through the story! This does not even count the Inhumans’ role in the story!! This is great stuff.


Look at those splash pages, good God. Kirby and Sinnott, amazing.

This is my absolute favourite Lee / Kirby FF story. The opening of #58 – a vision of Doom glimpsed in a lightning storm over the Baxter Building – has stayed with me since I first saw it as a 6 year old when these stories were first published.

I love how the Surfer talks like Christopher Walken.

A great pick, Brian. Some comments:

1. Art: So good that it hurts.Kirby and Sinnott were the perfect team.

2. Script: Stan Lee takes melodrama to the limit, and makes it work!One panel of Lee’s Doom blows everybody else’s away.

3. The classic Lee-Kirby: If I had to pick one storyline from Lee and Kirby’s classic period on the title (roughly FF 45 through 77), this would be it. It epitomises everything that was so special about their tenure on the title: deathless drama, solid characterization, cosmic scope, etc.

If there’s ever a reason to love comics, this is it.

The expressions that Kirby can get out of a guy in an iron mask are amazing.

Reno, thanks for the Christopher Walken observation, I had to reread it as his voice, works perfectly.

I actually read NOT BRAND ECHH #1’s take on this story BEFORE I caught up with this story when it was reprinted in Marvel’s Greatest Comics. I pulled out the NOT BRAND ECHH and laughed so hard I broke all my furniture. By Lee and Kirby, in all it’s glory, “THE SILVER BURPER” from NOT BRAND ECHH #!


It really just doesn’t get much better than this as far as superhero comis go.

Kirby nails Doom’s expression in the 2nd panle on page 5, such seething rage and malevolence.

@ Chuckunit

Thanks for the link. It’s a shame Kirby didn’t get to do too much humor, he had a real knack for it.

The scene where Doom tries to act all nice to his cowering minion for the Surfer’s benefit is an all-time favourite of mine.
“An accident can happen to anyone! I am relieved that you did not injure yourself!”

An incredible high-water mark period for Marvel.

See, no offense to John Buscema who was a majestic artist, but to me he never captured the Silver Surfer the way we see him here (and in #55 and #61, and the subsequent solo story in the following FF Annual.)
This period for me was the definitive Surfer, both in Kirby’s stunning visuals and in the dialogue Lee wrote. As soon as Lee teamed with Buscema and the Norrin Radd story for SS #1 the original promise of this incredible character was lost.


November 12, 2010 at 1:43 am

Either this or the Galactus trilogy is the height of Lee/KIrby FF, and therefore, among the high points in comics history. (OK, those and “This Man, This Monster!” Or FF55. Or…)

This one also stands out for me because, after reading it, all Marvel comics mysteriously vanished from the store I got them at (a discount store called Bellas Hess which had them for 10, instead of 12, cents each ) and I didn’t see the two concluding issues for_SIX_ years, when I bought a bunch of back issues from someone. How often I wondered how the hell Reed could possibly have beaten Doom. (The answer was not only clever, but became a major piece of Surfer lore.)

Doom is reminiscent of TWO iconic characters in the first issue
– when he pinches his brow/tries lulling the Surfer on P13 he reminds me very much of Lost in Space’s Dr Zachary Smith
– when standing over the body of the Surfer on P15 it’s SURELY an image influential on the design and concept of Darth Vader.


November 12, 2010 at 7:52 am

I just read Essential FF 4 which has this and the Galactus and This Man This Monster and and and (you get the picture) But this was by far my favorite story. I love the look of innosence on the Surfers face as Doom and his helpers creep up behind him. That’s awesome!

Doom’s comments at the bottom of page 13 is amazing. He gloats, gives orders to his lackeys, threatens his lackeys, and gloats again. All in a whisper!


That’s funny. I think that the Silver Surfer is the one clear area where Buscema was thousands of times better than Kirby. Oddly, I think my favorite Silver Surfer inker is Chic Stone, and he was…well, not one of my favorite FF inkers.

When I first discovered Marvel in 1972 I scoured the stacks of old comics in the back of the local used book stores, and an battered issue of Silver Surfer was always a delightful find. When the Comicshop first arrived two years later my immediate priorities were to get a complete Surfer run, along with the Kree-Skrull war. The Buscema interpretation brought a very graceful, lithe quality to the Surfer that was quite beautiful and almost poetic if you know what I mean (Moebius took this look another step in his 80s two-parter). Buscema humanized him in memorable ways, but to me that’s central to the problem.

From everything I’ve read it’s clear that the Surfer was a very personal vision of Jack Kirby and it almost radiated off the page. He gave it a uniquely alien dispassion that was apparently inspired somewhat by that new Mr. Spock character everybody was talking about then. Kirby’s SS mixed a sense of unlimited power and celestial detachment with an almost childlike naivety, unlike anything anybody had done at that point.

When Stan Lee assigned the book to Buscema Lee quickly changed the origin (apparently at that point Kirby was drawing an origin story himself to use in FF, and it would have been a completely different story) and changed the whole nature of the character. The Norrin Radd/Shalla Bal soap opera was ultimately just that, soap opera. For all the futuristic buildings on Zenn-la, the characters were essentially closer to Peter Parker and Gwen or MJ than to the original concept of the character.
There’s an alternate reality somewhere where Kirby somehow stayed happy at Marvel, and around ’67 or ’68 was able to do his own Silver Surfer book. It would have been amazing.

I remember I couldn’t wait to get to the next issue in this arc. I am a bit disappointed that Brian didn’t include the full page spread Kirby did of Doom giving the Surfer the grand tour of his laboratory. And to think Stan and Jack were also doing great work on Thor at the same time. If for nothing else, this just shows why Doom in the quintiessential villain for Marvel, if not all of comics. He’s certainly the most enduring, considering his current role in “The Avengers and the Children’s Crusade”.

Chuckunit, thanks for the link to the Not Brand Echh version. I loved that too and Lee and Kirby do a hilarious job at lampooning of themselves. I wish Marvel would collect that series in a trade.

Also worth noting is that we see what happens to Doom in a Lee/Kirby Daredevil arc in DD #36-38 that crosses over into FF #73.

I would love a Not Brand Echh collection,

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives