Silver Surfer

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This article is about the comic book character. For other uses, see Silver Surfer (disambiguation).
Silver Surfer
The Silver Surfer #1 (Aug. 1968). Cover art by John Buscema and Joe Sinnott.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966)
Created by Jack Kirby
Stan Lee
In-story information
Alter ego Norrin Radd
Team affiliations Heralds of Galactus
United Front
The Defenders
The Order
Star Masters
God Squad
Annihilators
Supporting character of Fantastic Four
Abilities Endowed with the Power Cosmic

The Silver Surfer is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in comic books and other publications by Marvel Comics. Originally a young astronomer named Norrin Radd on the planet Zenn-La, he saved his homeworld from the planet devourer, Galactus, by serving as his herald. Imbued in return with a tiny portion of Galactus's Power Cosmic,[1] Radd acquired vast power, a new body and a surfboard-like craft on which he could travel faster than light. Now known as the Silver Surfer, Radd roamed the cosmos searching for planets for Galactus to consume. When his travels took him to Earth, he met the Fantastic Four, a team of powerful superheroes who helped him rediscover his humanity and nobility of spirit. Betraying Galactus, the Surfer saved Earth but was exiled there as punishment.[2]

In 2011, IGN ranked Silver Surfer 41st in its "Top 100 Comic Heroes" list.[3] He was portrayed by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne in the 2007 film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Publication history[edit]

Created by artist Jack Kirby, the character first appears in The Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966), the first of a three-issue arc that fans call "The Galactus Trilogy".[4][5]

Early appearances[edit]

The Silver Surfer debuted as an unplanned addition to the superhero-team comic Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966). The comic's writer-editor, Stan Lee, and its penciller and co-plotter, Jack Kirby, had by the mid-1960s developed a collaborative technique known as the "Marvel Method": the two would discuss story ideas, Kirby would work from a brief synopsis to draw the individual scenes and plot details, and Lee would finally add the dialog and captions. When Kirby turned in his pencil art for the story, he included a new character he and Lee had not discussed.[6] As Lee recalled in 1995, "There, in the middle of the story we had so carefully worked out, was a nut on some sort of flying surfboard".[7] He later expanded on this, recalling, "I thought, 'Jack, this time you've gone too far'".[8] Kirby explained that the story's agreed-upon antagonist, a god-like cosmic predator of planets named Galactus, should have some sort of herald, and that he created the surfboard "because I'm tired of drawing spaceships!"[9] Taken by the noble features of the new character, who turned on his master to help defend Earth, Lee overcame his initial skepticism and began adding characterization. The Silver Surfer soon became a key part of the unfolding story.[6]

Following the Surfer's debut, Lee and Kirby brought him back as a recurring guest in Fantastic Four #55–61, 72, and 74–77 (ranging Oct. 1966 – Aug. 1968). The character made his solo debut in the backup story of Fantastic Four Annual #5 (Nov. 1967).

The following year, Lee launched the solo title The Silver Surfer. John Buscema was penciller for the first 17 issues of the series, with Kirby returning for the 18th and final issue. The first seven issues, which included anthological "Tales of the Watcher" backup stories, were 72-page (with advertising), 25-cent "giants", as opposed to the typical 36-page, 12-cent comics of the time. The Surfer lead stories were typically 40 pages long, a rarity at the time for a single character.[citation needed] Thematically, the stories dealt with the Surfer's exile on Earth and the inhumanity of man as observed by this noble yet fallen hero. Though short-lived, the series became known as one of Lee's most thoughtful and introspective works.[10]

Following his series' cancellation, the Surfer made sporadic appearances as a guest star or antagonist in such comic books as Thor, The Defenders, and Fantastic Four. Lee remained partial to the Surfer, and with Kirby collaborated on a seminal 1978 graphic novel starring the character, the only original story featured in the Marvel Fireside Books series.[11]

Subsequent series[edit]

After a 1982 one-shot by writer-artist John Byrne (with scripting by Stan Lee), the Surfer appeared in his second solo, ongoing title in 1987.

Initially written by Steve Englehart, the series was to be set on Earth and one issue was completed under this premise before Marvel agreed to let Englehart remove the long-standing restriction regarding Silver Surfer being imprisoned on Earth. This first issue was shelved and a brand new first issue was written, to set up this plot twist; the original first issue would ultimately be reprinted in Marvel Fanfare #51. The series marked the first Silver Surfer stories not written by Stan Lee, a fact which Lee was openly unhappy about. He explained:

After I gave up Spider-Man then someone else did Spider-Man, and someone else did the Fantastic Four and Doctor Strange and The X-Men and all of them. I felt that it was kind of nice for me to have been the only writer of the Silver Surfer, so I felt a little bit disappointed when somebody else did it. I would have liked to have been the only person. Had I known they were absolutely going to have the book done, I would have found the time to do it myself. I didn't really have time but I would have made the time, rather than have anybody else do it. ... this is not at all a criticism of Steve [Englehart] or of Marshall [Rogers, artist on the series], it's just that it's one book that I would have liked to have always done myself. [emphases in original][12]

Englehart introduced many villains for Silver Surfer, as well as featured space politics involving Surfer's homeworld Zenn-La, which was caught in the middle of a renewed Kree-Skrull War. However, issues regarding Englehart wanting to use his Avengers character Mantis as Silver Surfer's companion, as well as editorial refusing to let him use Thanos or other concepts conceived by Jim Starlin, led Englehart to leave the book with issue #31. Jim Starlin took over as writer with issue #34 after several fill-in issues, and incorporated Thanos, Adam Warlock, and Drax the Destroyer into the series.

Under Starlin and later Ron Marz, the series would receive acclaim and sales boost due to Silver Surfer's involvement with Starlin's Infinity Trilogy, with George Pérez and J. M. DeMatteis also having brief writing stints on the series as well. Additional artists included Tom Grindberg, Ron Garney, and Jon J. Muth, as well as periodic guest spots by John Buscema. The title experienced great initial success which allowed Marvel to push the character into other media, including a 1990 video game, 1992 trading card set, and 1998 animated series, as well as spinning off a variety of other comics series including Cosmic Powers, Cosmic Powers Unlimited, Captain Marvel vol. 2, and Star Masters. It ran 146 issues, through 1998. The next year it was followed by the two-issue miniseries, Silver Surfer: Loftier Than Mortals.

A two-issue Silver Surfer miniseries (later collected as Silver Surfer: Parable), scripted by Lee and drawn by Moebius, was published through Marvel's Epic Comics imprint in 1988 and 1989. Because of inconsistencies with other stories, it has been argued that these stories actually feature an alternate Silver Surfer from a parallel Earth.[13] This miniseries won the Eisner Award for best finite/limited series in 1989.

2000s[edit]

A new ongoing Silver Surfer series began in 2003, focusing on the character's alien nature and messianic allegory. It lasted 14 issues. The Surfer later appeared in an issue of Cable & Deadpool and has been reunited three times with the superhero group the Defenders. In 2006–2007, he starred in the four-issue miniseries Annihilation: Silver Surfer and co-starred in the miniseries Heralds of Galactus, both part of the Annihilation fictional crossover.

In 2007, the Silver Surfer starred in a four-issue miniseries Silver Surfer: Requiem by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Esad Ribic. The first issue was released May 30, 2007 to coincide with the character's first movie appearance.[14][15] Published under the Marvel Knights imprint, Silver Surfer: Requiem portrays the character upon learning that he is dying as the silver shell he is encased in is deteriorating.

This was followed by the miniseries Silver Surfer: In Thy Name,[16] by writer Simon Spurrier[17][18] and artist Ten Eng Huat.[19]

After an appearance in the "Planet Hulk" storyline in 2006, the Surfer was featured in its spin-off series starring the Hulk's son Skaar in 2008, both written by Greg Pak.

2010s[edit]

The Silver Surfer received a sixth volume, an eponymous 5-issue mini-series written by Pak, debuting in February 2011.[20] He was also a core cast member in The Thanos Imperative (2010), Annihilators (2011),[21] and Fear Itself: The Deep (2011).[22] Beginning in 2011, the Silver Surfer began appearing regularly in The Mighty Thor[23] and a new volume of Defenders,[24] both written by Matt Fraction.

In March of 2014, a new Silver Surfer ongoing series began as part of All-New Marvel NOW! by writer Dan Slott, artist Mike Allred,[25] and colorist Laura Allred.[26]

Fictional character biography[edit]

The Silver Surfer as depicted by the character's visual creators, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott, on the cover of Fantastic Four #72 (March 1968). This example also highlights the pseudo-fractal light illusion known as Kirby krackle, which Kirby and Sinnott often employed with the Surfer and other cosmic, spacefaring Marvel characters.

Norrin Radd is from the utopian planet Zenn-La, in the Deneb star system of the Milky Way galaxy. He is the son of Jartan and Elmar Radd, and he has a half-brother, Fennan Radd.[27][28][29] Zenn-La's ancient and significantly advanced civilization has lost the will to strive or explore, leaving the young scholar Norrin Radd restless and yearning for adventure. Facing the destruction of his world by planet-consuming Galactus, Radd bargains with the cosmic being. In return for the safety of Zenn-La and his lover, Shalla-Bal, Radd pledges to seek out planets for the world devourer to consume as his herald. Galactus imbues him with a portion of the Power Cosmic, transforming him into the Silver Surfer.[30][31] Radd had intended to lead Galactus to uninhabited planets, but Galactus tampers with his soul to prevent this.[32]

Radd serves Galactus for an unspecified amount of time. Eventually, the Surfer summons his master to Earth. Here the Surfer meets the Fantastic Four and Alicia Masters. Touched by their nobility, he rebels against Galactus, who is eventually driven off. Before he leaves, he confines the Surfer to Earth with an invisible barrier that affects only him.[33][34]

During his exile, the Surfer fights numerous villains, including Doctor Doom, who wants his Power Cosmic, and Mephisto, who wants his soul. The Surfer's only ally during these trials is a physicist by the name of Al B. Harper, who eventually sacrifices himself to save the world from the Stranger.[35]

Banding together with the Hulk and Namor the Sub-Mariner during these wanderings, the Surfer forms the "Titans Three," a group dedicated to battling evil on Earth.[36] Soon, Doctor Strange joins the group and it becomes "The Defenders." Surfer stays with them for a while, but his overwhelming desire to be free of Earth and his frequent collisions with Galactus' energy-draining barrier eventually drives him to leave the group.

The Surfer finally pierces Galactus' barrier with the aid of Reed Richards and temporarily escapes Earth. He discovers, though, that his homeworld has been ravaged by Galactus and Shalla-Bal has been abducted by Mephisto and taken to Earth. Even though it means trapping himself once more, the Surfer returns to Earth to battle and defeat Mephisto. Before being vanquished, Mephisto sends Shalla-Bal back to Zenn-La, but the Surfer manages to endow her with a portion of his Power Cosmic, which she uses to revitalize the plant life of their ravaged homeworld.[37]

After the Surfer aids the Fantastic Four against Galactus' latest herald, Terrax,[38] Surfer finally manages to pierce Galactus' barrier by acting on the Thing's suggestion of trying to pass through on a spaceship instead of via his own power on his surfboard. He also manages to make peace with Galactus by rescuing his current herald, Nova (Frankie Raye), from the Skrulls and encounters the Champion, after which Galactus finally declares the Surfer's long exile ended.[39] He immediately revisits his homeworld, but Shalla-Bal, in his absence, had become empress of the rejuvenated Zenn-La and hence unable to renew their romance.[40]

Embroiled in fresh hostilities between the interstellar Kree and Skrull empires, the Surfer also intervenes in a series of plots by the Elders of the Universe, who plan to become supremely powerful by destroying Galactus and the universe with him. The Surfer thwarts this plot with the aid of his new love interest, Mantis, the Earth-born cosmic heroine also known as the "Celestial Madonna".[41] She seems to die in the process, and although she eventually returns, she never fully renews their romances.[42] After this loss, a grief-stricken Surfer turns to Nova and romantic feelings begin to develop between them.[43] The Surfer's influence gradually leads Nova to question the morality of her role as herald to Galactus.[44] Eventually replaced by the far more ruthless Morg, Nova dies in a conflict between the new herald and the Surfer and the other ex-heralds.[45]

The Surfer repeatedly battles space-born menaces, the chief of whom is Thanos, who attempts to kill half the life in the universe using the omnipotent Infinity Gauntlet.[46] Through Thanos, the Surfer learns how Galactus had altered his soul. He convinces Galactus to restore it,[47] but once Galactus has done so, the Surfer is overcome with grief until he is able to forgive himself.[48] The Surfer finds interstellar allies in Adam Warlock's Infinity Watch and the "Star Masters" team, and he begins attending occasional Defenders reunions.

The Surfer returns home to Zenn-La to find that the planet has vanished, and learns it was actually destroyed in the 1940s (Earth time) by the entity known as the Other. Zenn-La and its people which the Surfer repeatedly encountered since leaving Galactus' service were actually reproductions, created by Galactus so that the Surfer would have a home to return to.[49] Losing his capacity for emotion again, the Surfer returns to Earth. He later regains his personality during a time-travel adventure and sharing a romance with Alicia Masters.[50] The two ultimately part as friends after many adventures together.

Later, the Surfer works with the alien Annunaki race to gather and protect some of Earth's most extraordinarily gifted children.[51] In the end, one of these children, Ellie Waters, saves Earth from the godlike Marduk entity, preventing the apocalypse and reordering reality as if the Marduk crisis had never happened (though Ellie alone apparently retains her memories of these events).[51] The Surfer resumes his interstellar wanderings, but promises to be ready to aid his adopted homeworld should Earth ever need him.

During his travels, the Surfer is captured by a portal of the Planet Sakaar Empire. Left weakened and vulnerable by his trip through the portal, the Surfer is subdued and implanted with an obedience disk to ensure he remains loyal to them. Fighting as a gladiator (and believed to be the fabled 'Sakaarson' due to his appearance), the Surfer is finally forced to face the Hulk along with his Warbound. Through teamwork and distraction, the Hulk is eventually able to destroy the Surfer's obedience disk. The Hulk and several other slaves and gladiators are freed when the Surfer uses the Power Cosmic to remove their own obedience disks and give them a way out of the arena, although the Hulk declines the Surfer's offer to take him back to Earth.[52]

During the Annihilation war, the Silver Surfer again becomes Galactus' herald to help save the universe from the despot Annihilus.[53] Annihilus captures them[54] and gives them to Thanos for experimentation. Drax the Destroyer frees the Surfer, who in turn frees Galactus. An enraged Galactus destroys more than half the Annihilation Wave, and Annihilus is defeated.[55] Later, the Surfer is joined as herald by Stardust, a former herald the Surfer had replaced.[56][57]

The Surfer leads the world devourer to the populated planet Orbucen, which brings him into conflict with Richard Rider. He delays the planetary destruction to give the inhabitants more time to evacuate.[58]

The Silver Surfer returns to Sakaar in a plan to feed Galactus with the unique "Old Power" which he claims would sate his master's hunger for thousands of years, sparing many other inhabited worlds. He is opposed by the Hulk's son Skaar, and is enslaved by an obedience disc. The conflict is ended when Skaar's mother Caiera sacrifices her soul and Old Power as sustenance for Galactus.[59] Unfortunately, Galactus now seems addicted to the Old Power and has begun searching for other planets containing it to sate himself.[60]

After an encounter with the High Evolutionary,[61] the Silver Surfer and Galactus battled Thor and the Asgardians. The battle ended when the Silver Surfer chose to leave his post as herald and guard an Asgardian artifact. Galactus "tethers" him to Asgard's location in Oklahoma, resulting in his powers waning the further he travels from Asgard, and grants him the ability to return to human form.[62]

During the war with the Serpent, Silver Surfer aids Doctor Strange, Namor, Loa, and Lyra in the liberation of New Atlantis from Attuma (in the form of Nerkodd: Breaker of Oceans).[63]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Silver Surfer wields the Power Cosmic, granting him superhuman strength, endurance, and senses and the ability to absorb and manipulate the universe's ambient energy. The Surfer can navigate through interstellar space[64] and hyperspace, which he can enter after exceeding the speed of light.[65] He has proven capable of time travel on several occasions, even able to make others time-travel with him.[66]

The Surfer sustains himself by converting matter into energy; does not require food, water, air, or sleep (although he occasionally enters a sleep-like meditation in order to dream); and can survive within nearly any known natural environment, including deep space, hyperspace, and within black holes[67] and stars.[68] The Surfer can project energy in various forms for offensive and defensive use, including bolts of cosmic force powerful enough to destroy entire planets,[69][70] and create black holes.[69] He can utilize the Power Cosmic to augment his superhuman strength to indeterminate levels.[71] The Surfer can heal living organisms, though he cannot raise the dead,[64] and he has proven capable of revitalizing and evolving organic life on a planet-wide scale.[72] He can cast illusions,[73] create interdimensional portals to other locations including microverses,[73] phase through solid matter,[64] and exercise some level of control over the Astral Plane.[74]

His senses enable him to detect objects and concentrations of energy light years away and to perceive matter and energy in subatomic detail, including life energies of living beings.[75] The Surfer can even see through time, and with concentration he can achieve limited perception of past and future events in his general vicinity.[76] He has demonstrated telepathic ability, including mind-reading on occasion,[77] and has proven to be able to influence human emotion and sensation.[64]

The Surfer's board is composed of a nearly impervious, cosmically powered silvery material that is similar to his own skin. The board is mentally linked to the Surfer and moves in response to his mental commands even when he is not in physical contact with it.[78] The board is nearly indestructible, but on those rare occasions when it has been damaged or destroyed, the Surfer has proven able to repair it, or even recreate it, with little effort.[39] The Surfer can attack opponents remotely by directing the board against them, and the board is capable of absorbing and imprisoning other beings, at least temporarily.[79]

When Galactus exiled the Surfer to Earth, his means of imprisonment was linked to the board. When the Surfer and the Fantastic Four realized this, the Surfer put it to the test by leaving the board planet-side and entering space in the Four's spacecraft. Once he was free of Earth, the Surfer remotely converted the board to energy, recalled it to him, and reformed it in space.[39]

Norrin Radd also possesses some knowledge of the advanced alien technology of the planet Zenn-La.

The Surfer has displayed the ability to shed his silver skin and revert to his original appearance as Norrin Radd, masking the Power Cosmic and allowing him to be more inconspicuous when needed. In this state, he is able to properly eat and sleep.[80]

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Warren Ellis' Ultimate Galactus Trilogy originally suggested that the Ultimates' ally the Vision was the herald of Galactus, a robotic probe that travels through space warning civilizations of the impending arrival of Gah Lak Tus. In the final miniseries of the trilogy, Ultimate Extinction, silvery humanoids began to appear, sent to trigger mass suicides in order to reduce the population's resistance. Suicide cults founded by the creatures began to appear all across the globe as Gah Lak Tus drew near. These silvery beings had the ability to grow wings; morph into an ovoid; form spikes; or take an intermediary form, gliding on an oval surface. They also demonstrated the ability to manipulate large quantities of energy.

In Ultimate Fantastic Four #42, another Ultimate incarnation of the Silver Surfer appears, called the Silver Searcher. He is teleported to Earth after Reed mistakes him for a star that he is trying to harness. His appearance triggers planet-wide chaos and natural calamities. In #43, Reed comments that Gah Lak Tus seems to have modeled its drones on this surfer, and he gives his name as Norin Radd. The Searcher states that he will summon his "master", who will make the population of the Earth happier than they have ever been.[81]

In #44, the Surfer's master is revealed to be Zenn-La's ruler, Revka Temerlune Edifex Scyros III, "the king without enemies", who uses mind-control to make the population of Earth worship him (before it takes effect on the Fantastic Four, the Human Torch calls him "Psycho-Man"). It is revealed that the Surfer has been exiled from Zenn-La for destroying the control that Psycho-Man had over Zenn-La, but because of finding Earth for his master to "save" he may return. After Psycho-Man gains domain over Earth, the Silver Surfer, temporarily imprisoned in his own 'memorial' statue, rescues Mr. Fantastic, tells him his story, and asks him to save Earth. The Surfer then helps the Fantastic Four defeat other Surfer-like assassins of Psycho-Man. With the Surfers beaten and the insane Psycho-Man reprogrammed to experience the unthinking happiness he had imposed on others, Silver Surfer wanders the space ways.

In Ultimate X-Men, Jean Grey as Phoenix travels through space and is stopped by what is named as "A Silver Surfer". He informs Phoenix that the Watchers disapprove of the problems her flight across the universe is causing and briefly battles her before asking what she is looking for.[82]

Exiles[edit]

On Earth 552, Norrin Radd had been a great military scientist who accidentally destroyed his own world with his greatest invention. Determined to bring it back to existence, he approached Galactus, Restorer of Worlds, and became his herald in the hope that Galactus would resurrect his world in exchange for his service. However, Galactus had taken an oath to only revive those worlds destroyed by the Blight. An enraged Silver Surfer then turned against his master, destroying those who worshiped him and attempting to kill Galactus himself in order to steal the knowledge of world restoration. This led to the destruction of Earth, the coming of the Exiles, the deaths of the Shi'ar Imperial Elite Guard, and inevitably the Surfer's own destruction at the claws of a cosmically empowered Sabretooth.[83][84]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

The Silver Surfer remains uninfected in the Marvel Zombies on Earth-2149. Instead of coming to Earth and meeting the Fantastic Four, he is attacked by a horde of zombies. After fighting valiantly, he is killed by the Hulk, and his body is devoured by a few of the zombies (Hulk, Colonel America, Giant-Man, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Wolverine, and Spider-Man). His corpse grants the zombies a portion each of his cosmic powers, which they use to kill all of the other zombie heroes and villains whom they consider "competition" for what's left of the living. Afterwards, Pym creates a machine that concentrates the Cosmic powers they all share to create a massive blast that kills Galactus, at which point they eat him. Now imbued with the power of Galactus himself (and realizing they can now fly and survive in space), they adopt his role, traveling the universe and picking worlds clean of life.[85]

MC2[edit]

During the finale of Last Planet Standing, the Silver Surfer foils Galactus' plan to create a new Big Bang, merging with Galactus himself in the process to become a new being. Gaining control of Galactus' powers, the new entity undoes the damage done by the old Galactus.[86]

The Keeper[edit]

In the alternate timeline of Earth-691, notably the Guardians of the Galaxy issues #24 and #25 story arc, Norrin Radd was featured as The Keeper. This new version of the Silver Surfer, sans his surfboard, had Quantum Bands, which augmented his "Power Cosmic" and designated him as the Protector of the Universe, as with other bearers of the Bands before him. He works with the Guardians in an attempt to kill Galactus once and for all, his first attempt with Firelord and Dargo-Thor having failed. Eventually, the Keeper realizes that, with his augmented power, he can supply Galactus with the energy he needs and end the Planet-Eater's consumption of worlds. Eon, cosmic being and creator of the Quantum Bands, reveals that this was the ultimate purpose of the Keeper becoming the Protector of the Universe, and he enters into a symbiotic partnership with Galactus, who accepts the Keeper as an equal; he is last seen leaving with Galactus, riding a silver surfboard once more.

Earth X[edit]

In issue 11 and 12 of the Earth X series, Black Bolt calls upon Galactus to come destroy the Celestial seed growing within Earth. The Silver Surfer accompanies him along with his love Shalla-Bal, who had now been turned into a silver herald of Galactus as well.

Green Lantern/Silver Surfer[edit]

In Green Lantern/Silver Surfer, the Silver Surfer confronts Cyborg Superman over the destruction of a planet and is met by Parallax. Parallax beats the Cyborg, but the Silver Surfer lets him go and tries to sympathize with Parallax. The two return to Earth to find Kyle Rayner with Thanos, leading them to believe they formed an alliance when in reality Thanos tricked Kyle. Kyle convinces the Surfer to help him stop Parallax and Thanos from destroying the universe and that he was duped into giving Thanos Oa's power. The Surfer similarly gave most of his power to Parallax to reform the destroyed planet, forcing Kyle to use his ring to drain both villains of their enhanced powers before they can destroy everything. Unable to contain the power himself, Kyle channels the power from the two villains into the Silver Surfer, who opens a portal and sucks the two inside.[87]

Carnage Cosmic[edit]

In the main Marvel continuity, the Silver Surfer bonds with the Carnage symbiote in two issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, gaining the name "Carnage Cosmic." He looks like the original Carnage from the Spider-Man comics, but still has the trademark surfboard of the Silver Surfer. In the first issue, the Carnage Symbiote leaves Cletus Kasady, to seek revenge for the destruction of its homeworld the only way it knows how, by using the Surfer as its new host. After the symbiote completes merging to the Surfer, he immediately rampages as a side effect to the two entities conflicting with each other. The Carnage Cosmic then flies off into outer space. Cletus Kasady, "symbiote-less," is taken to the hospital for the immense pain he suffers as a result of the separation (this is revealed to be the result of an advanced case of stomach cancer the symbiote had been guarding him from).[88] As Carnage Cosmic drifts along in space, the symbiote recants memories from Kasady and itself to Norrin Radd (the Surfer's former self). Radd sees how the symbiote remembers the Surfer summoning his master, Galactus, to the planet to consume it. Then the Surfer is shown memories of Kasady's abusive youth. The Surfer breaks free realizing what he must do. He returns to Earth as the Cosmic Carnage. After a brief roof-top battle with Spider-Man, the mismatched pair searches the city finding Kasady in the hospital, still screaming in pain. Upon immediately seeing Kasady, the symbiote re-bonds with Kasady, but to ensure Carnage will never hurt any one else again, The Surfer encases Carnage in an unbreakable shell of ethereal energy.[88]

What If[edit]

Silver Surfer was featured in different issues of What If?

  • An issue of "What If?" revolving around Atlantis Attacks had Silver Surfer and Quasar as the survivors of an attack by Set. With the help of Thor (who is horribly burned and placed in stasis to keep him alive), Silver Surfer and Quasar destroy two of Set's heads before Quasar (empowered by the Uni-Power) sacrifices his freedom to exile himself and Set inside Doctor Strange's Eye of Agamotto. Silver Surfer gives the Eye of Agamotto to Uatu the Watcher for safe keeping as Set's children are born.[89]
  • One issue of "What If?" revolved around the Cosmic Carnage where the Carnage symbiote remained bonded to the Surfer, forcing Spider-Man and the Avengers to battle him until Firestar was able to use her powers to disrupt the symbiote's control over the Surfer. After his powers were used to destroy dozens of New York City blocks and realizing that there was only one way to stop the symbiote, the Silver Surfer flew himself into the sun, seemingly destroying both himself and the creature.[90]
  • In What If #49 (V2), the title is "What If the Silver Surfer Possessed the Infinity Gauntlet?" In the original Infinity Gauntlet story arc, the Silver Surfer plays the role of messenger, having witnessed first hand the resurrection of Thanos and the beginning of his quest to obtain the six infinity gems (as told in The Thanos Quest mini-series). In this issue, the story of the Gauntlet is partially retold and shows Thanos in space with the Gauntlet, ruling over all existence. In the original Infinity Gauntlet story, Nebula intercepts the gauntlet from Thanos; however, in What If #49, the Surfer takes the gauntlet and wears it himself. Initially, the Surfer tries to use the gauntlet for good, but ultimately the supreme power of the gauntlet forces the Surfer to destroy it in order to avoid becoming corrupted by it. Prior to destroying the gauntlet, the Surfer creates a distant planet for himself and Shalla Bal (his wife) to reside on for all time and the Surfer returns to his human form, Norrin Radd. This story is told from the perspective of the Watcher who continually observes the universe and refuses to interfere in the natural unfolding of things.

Ruins[edit]

In Warren Ellis's Ruins, the Silver Surfer is briefly seen when described by Mar-Vell to reporter Phil Sheldon. When the Kree Liberation Force set forth to invade Earth, they found the floating mutilated corpse of the Surfer near Earth's moon. Mar-Vell says that he and his comrades concluded that the Surfer had been driven mad because of his lack of need for oxygen and clawed open his chest in order expose his lungs to the atmosphere, but died of shock.[91][92]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

The Silver Surfer from the animated series Silver Surfer.
  • He also made several appearances in the 1994 version of the animated series (that was part of The Marvel Action Hour), voiced by Robin Sachs in the first season, then Edward Albert in the last episode of the second. This series stayed true to the original comic book story, recounting Surfer and Galactus' coming to Earth in a two-part episode as well as Doctor Doom's theft of the Surfer's powers.[94][95]
  • Silver Surfer appears in The Super Hero Squad Show, voiced by Mikey Kelley.[97] This version of him has a literal "surfer dude" accent, and is initially much more kid friendly, although later episodes place him under the influence of the Infinity Gems and he develops a Dark Surfer persona. This persona takes control of the Surfer and serves as the main villain of the second half of Season 2. As the Dark Surfer, he steals the Infinity Gauntlet from the first half's main villain, Thanos, seals him up in the Soul Gem, and combines it's power with that of the first season's powerful item of focus, the Infinity Sword. Then he uses the power of both items to destroy two-thirds of the universe, seperate the members of the squad across the multiverse, and send Earth farther away from the Sun, so the planet could freeze to death. Once the squad reunites, they make it their goal to stop the Dark Surfer. In the final episode, his Dark Surfer persona is destroyed when his powerful items are shattered into numerous Infinity Fractals and spread across the universe, all while repairing the damage the Dark Surfer caused. Back to normal, the Silver Surfer apologizes for his behavior as the Dark Surfer and he rejoins the squad, after he pays his debt.

Film[edit]

The Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
  • In the 1983 film Breathless, Jesse Lujack (Richard Gere) is a drifter in Las Vegas, obsessed with the Silver Surfer, the rock and roll music of Jerry Lee Lewis and Monica Poiccard (Valérie Kaprisky), a UCLA architecture undergraduate whom he knows only from a weekend fling in Vegas. The Silver Surfer was the primary inspiration for Lujack's strong sense of love, loyalty, identity, free-spirit, and self-determinism at all costs, even to the point of self-destruction.
  • The Silver Surfer made his film debut in 20th Century Fox's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the sequel to the 2005 film Fantastic Four. Doug Jones played the Surfer on set, and a computer simulation enhanced the reflective look of his prosthetics.[100] Laurence Fishburne provided the character's voice.[101] The same year, 20th Century Fox hired J. Michael Straczynski to write the screenplay for a spin-off film. Straczynski said his script is a sequel, but will also delve into the Surfer's origins.[102] In mid-2009, Straczynski expressed doubts that spin-off would be produced.[103] In this continuity, the Surfer's origins and powers are similar to those of his comic-book incarnation, in that he agrees to become Galactus' herald in return for the safety of his home world and the woman he loved. Also, if the Surfer is separated from his board, he becomes weaker; in addition, the board also serves as a beacon for Galactus. 20th Century Fox currently owns the live action film rights to the character.[104]

Video games[edit]

  • The Silver Surfer is a bonus character in the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Chris Cox. He can be unlocked by completing all of the simulation disks. He also appears briefly as a non-player ally during the player's visit to the unnamed Skrull homeworld and helps them fight Galactus.
  • Silver Surfer appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by James Arnold Taylor. When looking for a planet to feed Galactus, Silver Surfer arrives on Earth where he is pursued by Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. until he is knocked out of the sky by Doctor Doom with his surfboard shattering into several "Cosmic Bricks" that fall onto the Earth. Silver Surfer ends up recuperating on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier while S.H.I.E.L.D. and the heroes look for the Cosmic Bricks to put his surfboard back together. With all the Cosmic Bricks collected and reassembled back into his surfboard after Galactus and Loki are teleported to an unknown area, Silver Surfer thanks the heroes for defeating Galactus and departs on his surfboard into deep space promising to lead Galactus away from Earth.


  • The Silver Surfer is a playable character in Gazillion's free-to-play Marvel Heroes.

Books[edit]

In addition to his history of publication in comic books, the Silver Surfer has appeared or starred in several prose fiction books:

  • The Surfer was the subject of an anthology of short prose fiction stories titled The Ultimate Silver Surfer, edited by Stan Lee and published by Berkley (October 1997, softcover, 306 pages, ISBN 978-1-57297-299-5). This book (and others starring Spider-Man and the X-Men, with similar titles) pre-dated Marvel's use of the "Ultimate" brand name in comics.
  • The Surfer appeared again in prose fiction in Fantastic Four: Redemption of the Silver Surfer by Michael Jan Friedman in 1998, also published by Berkley (April 1998, softcover, 260 pages, ISBN 978-0-425-16489-1).
  • The Silver Surfer's first film appearance was adapted into a novel in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer by writer Daniel Joseph, published by Pocket Star (April 2007, softcover, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-4165-4809-6).

Stamps[edit]

The United States Postal Service in November 2007, released a series of $0.41 stamps honoring Marvel comics. One stamp shows the Silver Surfer on his board and another shows the first eponymous issue.[110] Associated paraphernalia (e.g. first day covers) were also available.

Toys[edit]

The Silver Surfer has appeared in several Marvel-based action figure and toy lines, including one celebrating the 30th anniversary of the character's first appearance, and three based on the 1998 animated series.[111] Other notable appearances in action figure lines include:

  • The Silver Surfer is the seventh figurine in the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
  • Hasbro released the Silver Surfer in its Marvel Universe toyline both individually and included with Marvel Masterworks Galactus. A "clear" variant was released with the "dark" variant of Galactus.
  • Silver Surfer was a playable character in the Galactic Guardians set of Marvel Heroclix.[112]

Trading cards[edit]

The Silver Surfer starred in his own "all-prism" trading card series in 1993, released by Comics Images.[113]

He has also appeared in many of Marvel's other trading card sets, notably each of the Marvel Universe Cards, Marvel Masterpieces, and Marvel Flair Cards trading card series as well as the Marvel Overpower trading card game.

Music[edit]

The Silver Surfer appears on the cover of the Joe Satriani album Surfing With The Alien, and provided the inspiration for the title track. Additional songs by Satriani were inspired by the Surfer mythos: "Back to Shalla-Bal", on Flying in a Blue Dream; and "The Power Cosmic 2000", a two-part song on Engines of Creation.

The British metal band Bal-Sagoth named their fourth album "The Power Cosmic", and dedicated one song to the Silver Surfer – "The Scourge of the Fourth Celestial Host".[114]

Reception[edit]

The Silver Surfer was ranked as the 47th greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine.[115] IGN also ranked the Silver Surfer as the 41st greatest comic book hero quoting that "Silver Surfer has the coolest mode of transportation this side of Ghost Rider, but his powers come with a heavy burden."[116]

The 2014 series was given a negative review by Newsarama's Pierce Lydon, who cites Laura Allred's coloring as the issue's biggest flaw.[26] Iann Robinson, writing for CraveOnline, said the issue misses the point of the Silver Surfer character altogether.[117] ComicBooked writer Cal Cleary gave the issue a perfect score, citing deep characterization and intricate design,[118] praise largely echoed by Comics Alliance's Matt D. Wilson.[119]

Collected editions[edit]

The character's various series have been collected into the following trade paperbacks:

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966)
  3. ^ "IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes". Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
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  5. ^ Marvel Spotlight: Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer (2007; no month): "Jack Kirby's The Galactus Trilogy", by Erik Larsen, pp. 10–21 (unnumbered).
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  7. ^ Lee, Stan. "The Ultimate Silver Surfer (Berkeley Trade, 1995)". Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
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  9. ^ Quoted in Lee, The Ultimate Silver Surfer
  10. ^ Marvel Comics writer Steve Englehart, for example, in his back-cover text for The Silver Surfer vol. 3, #2 (Aug. 1987), wrote that Buscema and Lee were "pouring their souls into the series".
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  36. ^ Sub-Mariner #34–35 (Feb.-March 1971)
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  40. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #2 (Aug. 1987)
  41. ^ Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #4 (October 1987)
  42. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #9 (March 1988)
  43. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #14 (Aug 1988)
  44. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #51 (July 1991)
  45. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #75 (Dec. 1992)
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  48. ^ Silver Surfer vol 3 #58 (Nov 1991)
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  50. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #129 (June 1997)
  51. ^ a b Silver Surfer vol. 4, #1 (March 2004)
  52. ^ Greg Pak, The Incredible Hulk #95
  53. ^ Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1–4 (June- Sept. 2006)
  54. ^ Annihilation #1 (Oct 2006)
  55. ^ Annihilation #6 (March 2007)
  56. ^ Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 (Sept 2006)
  57. ^ Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 (Feb 2007)
  58. ^ Nova Vol 4, #13–15
  59. ^ Skaar: Son of Hulk #7–10
  60. ^ Son of Hulk #12–13
  61. ^ Silver Surfer vol 6 #1–5 (Feb–June 2011)
  62. ^ The Mighty Thor #1–6 (May – Sept 2011)
  63. ^ Fear Itself: The Deep #1
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  65. ^ <silversurfer06vol.1; silversurferannual02, vol.2; marvel.com
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  67. ^ Galactus the Devourer #1–6
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  70. ^ Silver Surfer Annual #7 (1994)
  71. ^ Fantastic Four #55 (Oct. 1966)
  72. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3 #104 (May 1995)
  73. ^ a b Silver Surfer vol. 3, #33 (Jan. 1990)
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  75. ^ The Marvel Encyclopedia (Marvel Comics, 2002)
  76. ^ Fantastic Four #260
  77. ^ Tales to Astonish #93 (Jul. 1967)
  78. ^ The Marvel Encyclopedia #1 October 2002, Marvel Comics
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  80. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 7, #3 (Aug. 2014)
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  82. ^ Ultimate X-Men #96 (July 2008)
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  84. ^ marvel.com. "The Marvel catalog for Exiles #88". Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  85. ^ Marvel Zombies #5 (April 2006)
  86. ^ Last Planet Standing #5 (July 2006)
  87. ^ Green Lantern/Silver Surfer one-shot
  88. ^ a b The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 #431
  89. ^ What If? Vol. 2 #25
  90. ^ What If? vol. 2 #108
  91. ^ Ruins #2 (September 1995)
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  94. ^ "Coming of Galactus episode on the 1994 Fantastic animated series". Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  95. ^ "Return of Galactus episode on the 1994 Fantastic Four animated series". Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
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  108. ^ Silver Surfer and Zero – Marvel Vs Capcom 3 Comic Vine
  109. ^ "Fantastic Four Pinball". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  110. ^ Collectible Marvel Postage Stamps, comicbookmovie.com
  111. ^ Silver Surfer Action Figures and Accessories, The Silver Surfer Home Page
  112. ^ More Galactic Guardian Heroclix Spoilers, Heroclixworld.com
  113. ^ Silver Surfer: All-Prism (Base Set), Comic Collector Live
  114. ^ http://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Bal-Sagoth/The_Power_Cosmic/43
  115. ^ "Wizard's top 200 characters. External link consists of a forum site summing up the top 200 characters of Wizard Magazine since the real site that contains the list is broken". Wizard magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2011. 
  116. ^ "Silver Surfer is number 41". IGN. Retrieved May 23, 2011. 
  117. ^ Robinson, Iann (March 25, 2014), "Advance Review: Silver Surfer #1", Crave Online (accessed July 11, 2014)
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  119. ^ Wilson, Matt D. (March 26, 2014), "Silver Surfer #1 Marvel Comics Review" Comics Alliance (accessed July 11, 2014

External links[edit]