Silver Surfer #14: The One With Spider-Man

silver-surfer-14Marvel Comics had two main tropes in the 1960s. The first was that everything happens in New York City. The other is that any time two super heroes meet for the first time will result in fisticuffs. The latter rings true in Silver Surfer #14.

Stan Lee chose not to have too much back story in this one. The two are flying (well in Spidey’s case web slinging) around the city, which causes the two of them to collide and carnage ensues.

As this is happening we’re introduced to a super hero obsessed kid named Henry who is watching the encounter from a rooftop. Things quickly get out of hand, and the army is called in to stop the mayhem. How they were able to get tanks and missile launchers into downtown Manhattan during rush hour is a special power all of its own.

During the chaos, Silver Surfer stops fighting Spidey to save Henry from certain death. This act of nobility is noticed by everyone; Spider-Man apologizes, as he certainly knows what it’s like to be considered a menace. The army retreats, as they realized that Surfer wasn’t a threat to national security.

The last panel has Surfer ruminating over what happened and he says this great quote:

No longer do  they seek…to slay me! Perhaps there is hope for them! Perhaps one day they will renounce all use of force for only then–at last–will mankind come of age.

In context of the story, Surfer has a rekindled mankind. But in context of the time, you really wonder if in fact it was Lee commenting on not only the Vietnam War but all the social violence that was happening in the United States at the time. The sixties were no fun decade in that respect.

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