tale of morality and the nature of man, told by an alien
Artist, Colorist, Letterer: Moebius
Published by Marvel Comics 1998
Reviewed by Paul Hanna
A parable is commonly defined as a fictitious short story that displays
a certain morality or a religious principle. That said, Stan Lee and
Moebius’ SILVER SURFER: PARABLE, is filled with obvious religious
and moral commentary. Furthermore, it uses the characters of the Silver
Surfer and Galactus in a way that was previously unthought of. The
tale is, as a result, rife with allegory. And the conflict between
the Surfer and Galactus becomes more of an idea an less of an illustration
The Lee/Buscema Silver Surfer stories back in the ‘60s had the Surfer
musing philosophically on humans and human emotion. ‘Parable’ evokes
this philosophical Surfer, but adds to it that aforementioned allegory,
drawn out fully by Moebius’ illustrations. ‘Parable’ is, in essence,
about religion and morals, and how they don’t necessarily fit together.
An idea seen before, to be sure, but ‘Parable’ reads much more like
a minimalist fable. As a result, the message becomes more powerful.
The story is straightforward. Galactus returns to Earth, consumed
by "the hunger." Having vowed not to threaten Earth again, he fools
the populace into believing he is a god, and an evangelist assumes
the role of a prophet, apparently for his own personal benefit. The
people, followers of Galactus, now, do as they’re told. Galactus preaches
a code of hedonism, and havoc erupts as the people follow their collective
id, all in the name of religion.
| "[The Silver Surfer] is certainly Christ-like
in his portrayal"
The Surfer’s role here is difficult to define. He is more than just
a hero. He is certainly Christ-like in his portrayal; more than once
Moebius depicts him in a Christ pose (arms out, as if on a crucifix)
while maintaining balance on his airborne surfboard. Yet simultaneously,
the surfer himself does not seek admiration or worship in protecting
the city from Galactus. In a way, he is messianic, yet he probably
would not like a devoted religious following.
| "[Galactus] fits the role of a 'god' wonderfully"
Galactus is monolithic in ‘Parable.’ He does nothing, merely sitting
back and witnessing the man-made mayhem on the streets, provoked to
action only when the Silver Surfer tells him to leave. He fits the
role of a "god" wonderfully in this regard. Galactus also has human
features, likening him to the Judeo-Christian God, who "created man
in His image" and so forth.
Moebius’ art is more influenced by American comics here. Each panel
embraces a Kirbyesque vigor that packs the panels to their borders,
but Moebius manages to maintain that trademark elegance of his that
makes each story he illustrates his own.
The story makes a states its criticism upon religion and morality
in such a way that its impact bluntly lands on the reader’s brain.
The Lee/Moebius team use small the 48-page format to its full potential.
This is definitely a tale to remember.
Paul Hanna is Reviews Editor for PopImage.
Discuss this article at the PopImage