Writer/Artist Jason Latour on Crafting Silver Surfer: The Best Defense #1
Get all the details behind the issue, which was created front-to-back by Latour!
This issue comes as part four of a new limited series highlighting the best original non-team in Marvel history—the Defenders; what Latour considers four issues of “smart and fun and weird and the kind of Super Hero comics we need more of.”
Unfortunately, things in the Marvel Universe aren’t exactly copacetic—a new threat is crashing through the universe leaving devastation in its wake. According to Latour, Silver Surfer will struggle to “come to terms with what he is incapable of.” Granted that’s a tough ask for anybody, let alone a cosmic being who can single-handedly decide whether or not your world becomes Galactus-fuel.
With the fate of the universe at stake, this is one barrel you don’t want to get caught inside. Luckily for us, we brought in the writer, artist, and long time Silver Surfer connoisseur himself to get us into prime position before the issue breaks.
Marvel.com: Set the scene for us, what's going on in SILVER SURFER: THE BEST DEFENSE #1?
Jason Latour: I keep jokingly calling the genre of this comic: Cormac McCarthy meets Jack Kirby, so “Cormac McKirby”. Which is dramatically overselling my abilities— but the thought was to try and create a landscape as vast and imaginative as possible, but then really get down in the dirt and deal with what it would be like to be there with your boots on the ground. To be wrestling emotionally with the absurd scale of it all.
So the premise is: there’s a force out there that’s bigger and badder and hungrier than Galactus, something that doesn't seem to have morality or a mind with which to reason. And that something is "the Train"—a powerful celestial body that is barreling through the universe seemingly only consuming in order to consume. In this story Galactus becomes aware of the Train and—for reasons revealed within the story—decides to work his way toward the center and destroy it, building the power he needs by feasting off the dead planets in its wake as he goes. But Galactus also recognizes that after their tumultuous history, he wants and needs to better manage his relationship with the Surfer.
So, Galactus tasks his herald with judging and saving what life Surfer deems valuable on these planets. This leaves Surfer stuck in the middle of two burning fuses—racing to slow down this cosmic force of nature in the Train and stay one step ahead of Galactus and his hunger. Wrestling with the seemingly impossible choices of judging the needs of the many vs. those of the few.
Marvel.com: As part four of a string of books, each showcasing an original Defender, how does this issue fit into the mix and what comes next?
Jason Latour: Well, I don’t want to spoil it but this is just the introduction of “the Train”. Surfer is the first to deal with it directly, but that doesn’t mean he’s alone.
Marvel.com: Hulk, Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, and Namor are a pretty odd combo—what strengths and weaknesses do they bring to the table as a team?
Jason Latour: Well again, they’re a non-team. They’re these uniquely powerful and headstrong characters. It makes an odd sort of sense that they’d end up together because they’re almost a check and balance against the powers of the others. Strange is magic. Hulk is science. Surfer is the cosmos. Namor represents, in essence, all of the Earth itself. It extends to their personalities and is kind of this endless challenge and reaffirmation for them all.
Marvel.com: You're not only the writer for this issue, but also the artist. What was it like being a one-man team this go-round?
Jason Latour: It’s a bucket list move, honestly. I’ve never been shy about how much I admire Jack Kirby, and Surfer is one of his largest ideas. But Surfer was also my first introduction to Moebius when I was young. The issues he did with Stan Lee are comics I think I’ve bought a dozen times over.
So I took this all very seriously. I wanted to honor their spirit by doing it my way. To try and weave something unique and new into that grand mythos. And as editor Tom [Brevoort] and I discussed artists to do this—it just became more and more apparent that I saw it the clearest. There was so much world building that needed to be articulated visually to really gel. So I just decided to try and take that challenge myself.
Marvel.com: What did you find to be the most challenging, and most rewarding part of this project?
Jason Latour: It’s definitely a little masochistic to take on writing and drawing and coloring and re-designing the whole world of a comic.
It’s like being one of those maniacs that do triathlons or something. If you’re lucky you get a trophy that says “I’m the best at exercising!”—but mostly you get the thrill of knowing you survived trying it. But I just could not half step into doing something that dares to tinker with Kirby and Lee and Moebius and Slott/Allred and Buscema and on and on and on. I had to go all in—just to see if I was in shape for it. At the end of the day—yeah, I want people to lose their minds with the same excitement I put into it—but even if that doesn’t happen it’s rewarding just to know I get to be a tiny footnote in the history of what they built.
Marvel.com: What's your favorite scene in the issue? Why?
Jason Latour: Oh, I don’t know. That’s like asking a parent to pick between his children. I’m pretty proud of the splash page that sums up Surfer and Galactus’s history.
Marvel.com: If Norrin was a "surfer dude," what would be his life motto?
Jason Latour: Oh man, which Point Break quote do I use? “Vaya Con Dios, Brah”?.
Marvel.com: Last thing: what can you tease about the upcoming issue?
Jason Latour: The ride of the Cosmic Poncho.
Read SILVER SURFER: THE BEST DEFENSE #1, written and illustrated by Jason Latour, on December 12!
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