I'm always looking to learn from what others here have read and enjoyed!
For me, it was the 1978 Silver Surfer Fireside graphic novel. It was the big reunion between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, as well as Kirby's farewell to what I suspect was his favorite creation.
Here was my reaction to reading it 362 days ago:
Originally Posted by shaxper
Silver Surfer (1978 Marvel Fireside Book)
Been wanting to read this for a while now -- Stan and Jack's last word on the Silver Silver together before Stan finally surrendered the character and allowed him to be used by other writers. It was also one of the comic book world's first original graphic novels.
Really though, it was just AWESOME seeing Jack and Stan work in this new format. The fireside books featured a kind of paper that was far smoother and showed more detail than normal comic book pages, but was less glossy and distracting than what's used in tpbs now. Stan's pencils look amazing in this medium, possibly the best they've ever looked, and he and Stan certainly pour their hearts out onto each page.
Essentially, this is a non-continuity re-imagining of the Surfer's origin, very similar in many respects, but highly different in others. It also works to reconcile the two different characterizations of the Surfer prior to this (Galactus' loyal herald who grows a conscience, Galactus' unwilling servant who sacrificed himself to save his world). They do a nice job of this.
Beyond that, the story is 100 pages of the Surfer, Galactus, and (new character) Ardina engaging in philosophical debates with themselves and each other. This sort of thing felt tedious after a while in the pages of the first volume of SS, but it works better here, divorced of the need to impose a 20+ page story and conflict on top of it. The characters just go for it, discussing and discussing, and it works for the most part. It's relatively deep, it espouses some original ways of viewing the human race and life in general, and there are probably only about ten pages where the story seems to drag and become tedious in its moralizing and philosophizing (pp.76-85).
Stan and Jack provide a unique perspective on Galactus this time, portraying the generally detached, aloof demigod as a conflicted character with real feelings, doubts, and character flaws. I couldn't decide whether I thought this was genius or sacrilege (note: I have never read modern day Galactus stories and have no idea how he is depicted in them). Still, it was different, and this book worked hard to provide some VERY different choices with the Surfer and his story this time around.
I had to read the ending too many times to understand what choice the Surfer made. Perhaps Jack's artwork was just too far ahead of Stan's words, as I was immediately captivated by Jack's bookend artwork and, perhaps, slower to follow the words and their subtle meaning. Still not 100% sure I'm clear on what the Surfer decided, but I think I know. Either way, damn powerful. Just wish Stan could have been a tad bit clearer.
Pretty unforgettable story overall. Fans of the Surfer REALLY should read this one.
Why hasn't it ever been reprinted???
EDIT: Wow. I keep thinking about that ending. I mean...that was pretty much an ultimate tragedy. Truly. I think I need to read this again and again and again. It might be about to move into my top ten favorite stories of all time.