The Final Frontier: A Silver Surfer Sketchbook
Artist Mike Allred previews the last issue of an epic run with Norrin Radd!
The duo challenged Norrin Radd in ways never seen before—with the help of Editor Tom Brevoort, colorist Laura Allred, Assistant Editor Alanna Smith (dubbed the “Queen of Can Do” by Mike) and a host of letterers, collectively referred to as Team Surfer by the artist.
As the series stands poised to conclude, we spoke with Allred about saying farewell to a favorite character, working with Dan Slott, and battling Mother Nature as he finished the story.
Marvel.com: You’ve been working with Dan on this unique vision for The Silver Surfer since 2014. How does it feel to know the final issue hits stands soon?
Mike Allred: I have very mixed feelings. Kind of like graduation, where you look back at your accomplishments, but feel sad to say goodbye to dear friends.
SILVER SURFER has easily been one of my all-time favorite characters since childhood, so I’m incredibly thrilled with the ride, but I’m sad to see it end and have the safety bar pop up—if I can throw another analogy at you.
When Tom Brevoort first called me up to ask if I had any interest in working with Dan Slott on a new Surfer series, I thought it might be some kind of cosmic gag, or that maybe I hadn’t woken up from a crazy dream. Tom had already lit up our world working with Matt Fraction and my big brother Lee Allred on the FF series.
Working with Dan has been infinitely rewarding—it’s been a lifelong dream come true.
Marvel.com: Ending a series—especially a beloved one like this—must be tricky. What proved to be the most difficult part of sticking the landing?
Mike Allred: I’ve never had it easier. Dan mapped out a brilliant long game epic peppered with Easter Eggs and callbacks that pull together one of the most satisfying stories I’ve ever experienced. And I got to draw it all and then watch Laura’s magical colors make me look good. I can’t remember ever being confused, uncertain, or bored with the process—no matter where we were or where we were going. Laura and I would work with Dan and Tom again on just about anything. It’s been the smoothest, most exhilarating experience.
Having said that, several events beyond our control have tried to stop us from finishing the last issue. Most recently, our beloved Oregon went from Rivendell to Mordor when forest fire smoke covered huge chunks of the state—resulting in stinging eyes and horrible headaches. That—and other obstacles—made me question if the universe didn’t want to see us tie a bow on our epic conclusion.
Story-wise, it’s all there. My only concern has only ever been doing Dan’s master plan justice.
Marvel.com: The creative team did something amazing with the creation of Dawn Greenwood—a character that became as big of a part of this series as the Surfer himself. How does it feel to have shepherded her along to this point?
Mike Allred: She’s now a member of the family—and a great example of how Dan and I click. I threw out the polka dot design for her dress and Dan came back with the “Ladybug” nickname, as well as the “Bumblebee” nickname for Eve, her twin sister. Every exchange of ideas always seemed to amp everything up and fill out all the corners.
And the best part…giving Norrin Radd the biggest chunk of bliss in his existence.
Marvel.com: Looking back, do you have a favorite moment from either series that stands out to you personally?
Mike Allred: It really has to be “Never After,” where we challenged ourselves to make a comic book do something never done before and then got rewarded with an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue. That also resulted in big hugs from Congressman John Lewis, who presented at the award ceremony. I’ll never forget the tears of joy in Laura’s eyes, or the sound of Dan’s celebratory “Woohoo!”
Good times from issue #1 through to the finale.
Writer Dan Slott and artist Mike Allred’s SULVER SURFER #14 enters the history books on October 18!
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