Fantastic Four #48 (1966) Retro Review (Silver Surfer and Galactus’ first appearance)

Writer: Stan Lee

Art: Jack Kirby, Artie Simek, and Joe Sinnott

Price: .12 cents

Release Date: March 10th, 1966

While I’m thoroughly enjoying the current Silver Surfer Black mini-series from Donny Cates and Tradd Moore, it inspired me to delve into the origins of the Surfer. As an added bonus I discovered that Fantastic Four #48 is not only the first appearance of the Silver Surfer but Galactus too! Let’s go back in time and see how this all started!

Yes, another alert. There may be some people that have never read this. That would have included me. I read it for the first time before writing this review.

Wow, where do I even start on this? There’s SO much going on in this 21-page comic it’s almost hard to believe. As I mentioned in my Amazing Spider-Man #27 retro review, Stan Lee has really hit his stride in his approach to storytelling by the mid to late 60s.

This issue starts finishing a storyline featuring the Fantastic Four and the Inhumans. Stan does a masterful job of tying up this story and immediately leading it into the next one. As the Fantastic Four return home from their ordeal with the Inhumans, we get our fist appearance of the Silver Surfer as blasts thru space on his board.

We then see a Skrull ship who have noticed the Surfer’s presence. Their captain says they should fear the Surfer because the Surfer’s appearance always comes prior to the arrival of Galactus.

As the FF’s jet returns to New York the Thing seems confused as he sees two suns. This is the start of mass confusion for the team as the sky of NYC is on fire, and people are running thru the streets. The civilians think it’s the Human Torch’s doing and he’s subdued, but rescued by the Thing. Then the sky clears as we get a few more panels of the Surfer traveling thru space.

This page shows the good and bad of Jack Kirby’s art. There’s literally no background in the panels with the FF, but he certainly made up for that with the backgrounds on the Surfer panels. We then see Reed for the first time possibly with a beard as he frantically tries to figure out what caused the two suns and the fire in the sky. At this point, the story really kicks into high gear as The Watcher makes an appearance and has to explain why he’s involved, and just how high the stakes for Earth truly are. The Surfer arrives on Earth followed shortly by Galactus as the issue ends. To be continued…..

I’m not sure where this issue stacks up on any of the “best” comics ever lists, but it has to be near the top. The fact that the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, Galactus, and the Watcher are still integral parts of the Marvel universe is a testament to the creative minds of Lee and Kirby.

Stay tuned as next week we’ll look at Fantastic Four #49 and see where this story goes from here.

Final Thoughts:

If you haven’t read this, do yourself a favor and read it! You won’t be disappointed. It’s easily found on digital services. The effects of this issue are still being felt over half a century after it was published.


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