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Exclusive: Mike Allred discusses soaring the spaceways in new Surfer book

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Contributing Editor
created 10/30/2013 - 10:29am, updated 10/30/2013 - 11:12am

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Like Marvel Cosmic or not, everyone will probably concur that the Silver Surfer, who made his debut in the legendary “Galactus Trilogy” arc in Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, is one of the most unique characters in comics.

Thus it comes to pass that yet another attempt at a Surfer solo run is coming in March from the team of writer Dan Slott and artist Mike Allred.

Skipping his usual tactics, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer caught artist Allred as he was about to shoot a curl on a silvery board and filed this exclusive interview.

Cosmic Book News: Mike, I take it from your many blog entries you are "mildly" excited about this assignment from the House if Ideas. Why is the Silver Surfer so special to you?

Mike Allred: First off, "The Galactus Trilogy" where the Surfer was first introduced is hands down my all-time favorite comic book story.  And the Silver Surfer has been my all-time fave since I was a kid.  Even pretending to BE him when my Hawaiian brother-in -law, Manny Cantorna, taught me to surf in Hawaii when I was twelve.  A glorious joyful memory at an otherwise extremely painful time in my life.

CBN: What are the glories and what are the difficulties in depicting a character as unique and yet as rather featureless as the Surfer? Do you have to work differently than you would with other, say more human characters?

Mike Allred: Having the Universe opened up to you with endless storytelling opportunities is the ultimate glory.  And often the simplest character designs are the best.  It's easier to project ourselves onto or into a character.  Especially one with a reflective surface.  Wink wink.

CBN: Does it help in Dan Slott's story that there will be a human on board, the female? Will this help as sort of an art reference point of sorts with all the aliens possibly running around? At this point in time, we do not know a lot about the book but it sounds as though Norrin Radd WILL be surfing the spaceways?

Mike Allred: Fer sure.  Dawn is our ticket.  We'll relate to the adventures through her "normal" relatability.  Plus, and think most importantly, she humanizes Norrin Radd.  Sometimes he can be too celestial to relate to.  Through Dawn he sees the awe of what he is able to do.  A new appreciation for his own potential.

CBN: We have seen a cover and there is obviously jubilation in there, something I associate more with the Steve Englehart version of the Surfer than with other creators. What are your greatest influences, both writers and artists, on the character of the Surfer as you see him in your frame of reference?

Mike Allred: Jack Kirby, obviously.  Love Moebius' brief take on the character.  And John Buscema big time!  I even pasted the cover to Stan Lee and John Buscema's Silver Surfer no.1 onto my school notebook since we weren't allowed to bring comic books into school.  How crazy slash stupid is that?  I've dug everyone's take.  I've always been excited to see the Silver Surfer whenever possible.  But those are the big ones for me initially.  But Dan's take is now my favorite from a writer.  He's capturing the sense of joy that I felt as a kid when I pretended to be the Silver Surfer.  I couldn't be more excited about where  he wants to take us.

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CBN: I know it is early, but how has it been working with Dan Slott so far?

Mike Allred: He's Paul McCartney to my John Lennon!  How is that for a bold statement?  Seriously, I could not be happier with how linked we already are this early on.  We share a great passion and enthusiasm for this project, and that's what I enjoy the most from a collaboration.

CBN: Does this book mean that Mike Allred has "made it" in the mainstream? Or is it a natural progression of the work on X-Statix and then FF?

Mike Allred: That's funny.  I never really think that way.  Or at least not for a long time.  I feel like I made it in January of 1990, when I quit my job as a TV reporter to do comics full-time.  I've been able to make a living at it ever since and have the freedom to always do what keeps me excited about making comic books. I'll admit to getting a big thrill out of having two books in the top twenty at the same time with my the first issue of X-Force I did with Peter Milligan and the Spider-Man/Iron Man I did with Brian Michael Bendis.  I would be over the moon if our Silver Surfer was a commercial smash.  Fingers crossed.

CBN: Will doing Silver Surfer give you even more excuse, as I believe you put it, to release your "inner Kirby"?

Mike Allred: No doubt.  There is a comic book language that Jack Kirby created that has always been in my work.  The "Kirby Krackle Energy Dots," for instance.  It's just second nature to me.  Like words balloons and panel borders.  It just is.  But mostly I would refer to my "Inner Kirby" as striving for a passion you get from reading a terrific comic book. A feeling.  A spirit of adventure, humanity and loyalty.  The struggle between good and evil and where they often overlap and blur.  Just solid energetic engrossing storytelling.

CBN: So is there anything about the storyline of the book at all that you can share with us? We have seen the Surfer in just about every situation, from Earthbound to freedom to trapped in Hell. What do we have here with you and Slott?

Mike Allred: ZOWEE!

CBN: Can you hint at any known Marvel Cosmic denizens we may see in the book in coming months, hero or villain (no no, besides the Silver Surfer)?

Mike Allred: Nope.

CBN: Finally: We hear there WILL be a Galactus story (no fair using him for Question 9). Does that intimidate or delight as an artist?

Mike Allred: Guess.  Heh heh.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Mike Allred for taking time surfing the spaceways to answer MOST of our questions. We would also like to thank Marvel’s Chris D’Lando who helped make this interview possible.

“Silver Surfer” #1 hits stands in March!

 

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