Hello and welcome to another edition of Marvel Snapshot! This week, we’ll be taking a look at none other than the Silver Surfer! Back in 1966, when Jack Kirby created the Surfer, he made his first appearance in Fantastic Four #48 (the Galactus Trilogy), but soon after gained his own monthly series. Yes, that space jockey with a chrome dome will be coming your way right now! So get your popcorn ready (T.O. reference)!
Norrin Radd was a peaceful man living on the planet of Zenn-La. He and his woman, Shalla-Bal, were both free spirits that yearned for a more adventurous life. Well, one day when Galactus came to Zenn-La, Norrin got his chance at adventure. He made a bargain with the planet eating behemoth to become his “herald” and seek out planets to satiate Galactus’s hunger. In exchange, Galactus would let Zenn-La and his lover Shalla-Bal live. So, ever since then, Norrin Radd was given the power cosmic by Galactus, and was transformed into the Silver Surfer!
As the herald for Galactus, the Surfer was not always seeking out uninhabited worlds, and he eventually came to Earth. Here, he was opposed by the Fantastic Four, and Marvel’s first family showed him that what he was doing was wrong. Even though Galactus isn’t technically a villain, he’s still killing innocent lives to maintain his place in the universal pantheon. The Surfer then rebelled against his master, and was punished by being confined to Earth, and no longer allowed to roam the galaxy. The Surfer had immediate confrontations with Dr. Doom, Mephisto, and even the Mighty Thor! Eventually, though, Earth’s heroes learned to call him friend. The Surfer also joined a team, the Defenders, and had a multitude of adventures (Squadron Supreme, Dracula) with Namor, the Hulk, and Dr. Strange. The Surfer eventually met the evil and powerful being known as Thanos, and the two became mortal enemies. Thanos in the corner of death, and the Surfer on the side of life.
Perhaps the two best stories of the Silver Surfer are the Infinity Gauntlet (and Quest) and Annihilation. During Annihilation, the Surfer joined a team of former heralds of Galactus to help stop Annihilus from destroying the universe. Let me just say, that if there is anyone out there that hasn’t read Annihilation, you’re really missing out on one of the greatest cosmic stories ever. It really ranks right up there with legendary writer Jim Starlin’s work, in my opinion. The Surfer is currently starring in his own mini-series, so check out your local comic shop and pick it up!
As usual, here is my recommended reading list along with some of the Surfer’s best cover shots. See you next week!
Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four vol. 5 – HC
Essential Silver Surfer vol. 1 & 2 – Tpb
Infinity Gauntlet – Tpb
Essential Defenders vol. 1 & 5 – Tpb
Annihilation vol. 2 & 3 – Tpb