Originally released in 1988 as two issues of a regular sized American format four colour comic book, this hardback edition of Marvel Universe co-creater Stan Lee and legendary French Bande Dessinee (?) artist, Jean (Moebius) Giraud's Silver Surfer: Parable is excellent value for money.
Included within are a foreword from Stan Lee and several chapters on the artistic process by Moebius including unseen pencilled pages, sketches and layouts as well as some words on Moebius' decision to letter the strip himself which seems to have upset some people quite a lot...
Anyway, this was my first introduction to Moebius's work proper. Back in the mid-1980s, I'd already seen the Marvel/Epic line of Airtight Garage tales and found them to be beautifully drawn but less involving to read due to their hippy dippy/futuristic/spiritual science fiction plots and settings so when Parable was announced, I was more than intrigued and absolutely gasping to see how this amazing artist would handle the Sentinel of the Spaceways.
And I was not disappointed, either! Essentially a non-continuity tale, much like 1978's Stan Lee & Jack Kirby's Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience graphic novel, we see the Surfer where he should be, trapped on Earth by Galactus' cosmic barrier (I refer you to Fantastic Four vol.1, #'s 48 to 50 for background info on this, where the character first appeared, the herald to Galactus, Devourer of Planets), bedecked in rags and living on the streets of what appears to be Los Angeles, amongst humans, seemingly having given up exploring his reluctantly adopted new homeland until Galactus reappears once more and humanity begins to wreak havoc in his name.Read more ›
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Presentation is Everything3 Jun. 2012
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Marvel's most recent collection of "Silver Surfer: Parable," is a missed opportunity to present this unique collaboration between Stan Lee and Moebius in a format it deserves. Out of print for over twenty years, "Parable" would have benefitted from an oversized hardcover treatment that companies like DC, Fantagraphics, and IDW produce almost monthly. Instead, readers get a classic story plugged into Marvel's standardized graphic novel format. And perplexingly, the unrelated "Enslavers" story by Stan Lee and Keith Pollard is shoehorned in to bump up the page count and price.
On the plus side, original covers, the Marvel Age material, "The Making of..." featurette from the original hardcover, and all of the Moebius Marvel posters (featuring his take on Spider-Man, Electra, Iron Man, etc) are included. However, without any cohesive design or editorial commentary, this material feels a bit random and tacked on. And of course, witnessing Moebius draw, color, and letter a Sliver Surfer story is a one-of-a-kind treat, no matter what the format.
Tellingly, in the "making of" feature, Moebius himself explains that one of his motivations for doing the book was to experiment with the limited color palette of newsprint. It's a shame then that "Parable" was printed on glossy paper in favor of a high-quality, uncoated paper stock that may have been closer to what the late artist originally envisioned. Again, another lost chance to produce a version of this story that really stands out from Marvel's usual collected fair.
If you just want to read a classic story, this may be the most affordable way to do it. If you want something more than that, you'll probably have to wait another twenty years. I can't think of any other Marvel project that deserved a "deluxe" treatment more than "Parable," and it's a terrible disappointment that the company chose not to put in the extra effort to honor a truly original artist that is no longer with us.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Stan's Swan Song7 Jun. 2012
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With the way the Jack and Stan debate that has raged on for years, it's hard not to be an apologist for liking something Stan has written. I think we have all been polarized since the court ruling against the estate of the King not long ago. So I wanted to try and get a picture of Stan outside of current events. To read his work without seeing Jack's lines to square up to where I would draw the line regarding who is responsible for creating the Silver Age Marvel U.
And let the record show, in those debates, I am pro Kirby getting his fair share all the way... but to be clear I think that share is half.
I also think Stan has been an amazingly charming ambassador for the medium I love. He has been the booster and face for the comics industry, good or ill, for as long as I've been alive, and I think this is the only work of his I can think of where no debate lingers on how the credit should be divided, it's just a powerful mingling of idea and art. As a result, I got meet both of these contributors on the page rather than anything vestigial from the collective voice of the community.
Preamble complete, this is what I came up with:
I think Stan wrote an amazingly heartfelt story. Sure the language has that tinge of purple that I get from all of Stan's writing, but it is not without its charms. The characterization was subtle, pushing everyone into their archetypical roles early on - some not the most flattering.
Man is portrayed pretty openly as a cruel and stupid mob, quick to turn to lawlessness and anarchy at the drop of a hat. Cast among them in the rags of the destitute we find the Surfer, a noble outsider who refuses to let us destroy ourselves no matter the personal cost. Galactus and his prophet pick up the rear as simple forces of nature that drive the events of the story. One of them avarice, the other blind hunger; both struggling to tip mankind toward what appears to be that inevitable end.
While the brush strokes are pretty heavy conceptually, I think it was a pretty powerful and forward thinking story, touching on themes and concepts that I would not have expected of Marvel at the time or if it had come from the house of M, I would have certainly expected something so initially bleak to come from another writer altogether.
This was clearly Stan's swan song in terms of message, with fears and observations about people that had been swirling in his belly for a long time. It just drips with subtext, and I would say it stands a tier just below Dark Knight, Year One, Watchman, and other touchstones from that decade as a story executed in an adult and un-ironic way unintentionally elevating the medium (hence the Eisner in 89), even if it wasn't as nuanced with characterization as the others. And let's not forget about the art. My exposure to Mobius has been limited to the Airtight Garage and Blueberry. I was as unfamiliar with his artistic stylings as I was with Stan's voice in the singular. Mobius has this thick feathered line which took no time to get used to - it's gorgeous. He renders cities in this stark futuristic but believable way that just drips with life and motion. The colors are blissfully muted which gives it a different feel from the bright primary colors you see in books of the time, casting everything with a painterly form and function I really enjoyed.
If I have one criticism it was that I kept waiting for the preacher to turn out to be Adam Warlock...
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Finally back in print27 Mar. 2000
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Marvel has a real problem with keeping their best works in print. They've been making progress over the past few years, however, and this is one of them. Written by one of the "founding fathers" of the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee used this book to make a return to one of his most outstanding creations. His Surfer tales of old had a style like none of his others, capturing basic themes in stories of galactic scope, with more than a hint of allegory and religious reference. This story reads like one of his classic tales. The art is provided by Moebius, and the Surfer has never looked better. Moebius' fine-line work, detail, and soft colors beautifully capture the mood of this story. I wish he would turn his attention to more work like this, but with the sorry writing in today's American super-hero comics, I can't blame him for keeping a low profile. Stories don't come along like this very often, so check it out. It's in a softcover printing, so it's affordable. The only problem I have with the story is some of the Surfer's dialogue, which sounds as if it were lifted from fortune cookies or self-help books.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
More than I expected17 Oct. 2001
Ron Tothleben (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Published on Amazon.com
I'm someone who is slowly leaving the superherogenre in comics. Next to that I never was a very big fan of Stan Lee as a writer. My surpirse was big when I started reading this and noticed the actual depth in here. An enormous spaceship enters earth and the world is in fear. It lands and a creature who calls himself Galactus comes out. At first people are in fear and nobody dares to displease him. Earth is entirely without war or terrorism for a moment. A fake disciple steps up and tells how Galactus is the returning incarnation of the Messiah. Because there has been worldpeace since Galactus landed the disciple is believed. People start worshipping the creature from beyond and follow Galactus' every worth. Questioning nothing. The entire world is soon in chaos. The Silver Surfer decides to step up out of the anonymous mass and tries to convince people to stop listening to Galactus. An 'act against God'... Although the dialogue is full of cliches it's never bothering here, it reads away fluently. And what's more important, the story itself is interesting and honestly thought-provoking. Not only is a fight between good vs bad presented here, but it also makes you think on what grounds you decide something is good or bad. It emphasizes the importance of one thinking for oneself instead of blindly following something you believe in. To never stop questioning. A free mind is everything. The art by Moebius, although not his best, is very good as well. His imaging of Silver Surfer is probably the best I'be seen so far. I'd definately recommend this to both superhero fans as non-superhero fans.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It stars the Silver Surfer and Galactus but it is a parable about humans20 Feb. 2012
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The mighty Galactus can be considered as a parable for the workings of the universe. Natural laws cause planets, stars and other mass concentrations to act in certain ways and if the explosion of a star into a nova destroys a civilization and billions of living creatures, then that it is the way the universe works. Galactus is unemotional; he is intelligent but still just a creature with a hunger that must be satisfied. In this story, the Silver Surfer is living on Earth as a vagabond, outcast by humanity; his goal is to maintain the invisibility of a creature down on his luck. That changes when Galactus arrives on Earth and very uncharacteristically, assumes the role of a god. He is helped in this by a self-serving evangelist that proclaims the arrival of Galactus is an answer to his prayers and he starts a religion based on being subservient to Galactus. This leads to a breakdown in civil order as humanity adopts the collective attitude of "grab while you can." The Silver Surfer recognizes this situation for what it is and battles Galactus, doing all he can to show humanity what kind of creature Galactus is. Neither one is victorious, although Earth is spared when Galactus departs. At the end, humanity has not really changed; it is remains brutally fickle and quick to judge. This story is about the human propensity to consume its heroes, whether they are in entertainment, sports or on the battlefield. It also contains a parable about the power of self-service in a time of great crisis, how easy it is for the right person to be perceived as a savior when they are in fact a destroyer. The Silver Surfer is a noble creature, he understands humanity better than it does and in the end he forfeits a great deal in order to aid his adopted planet. It is a well written morality play about humans.