Silver Surfer

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This Marvel Comics character is the Herald of Galactus the Planet Eater, imbued with the "Power Cosmic". He is silver and rides a surfboard through space. Created by Jack Kirby in 1966, the Silver Surfer has a somewhat controversial origin as he first appeared in the Fantastic Four series (during the "Galactus Trilogy") and was thus assumed to have been co-created with series writer Stan Lee. However, Lee later admitted that Kirby added the character to the story on his own. Kirby felt that a being like Galactus should have a special herald to represent him. However, the Surfer's origin was invented by Lee (not Kirby) when the character got his own series.

In the Trilogy, the Surfer finds Earth (despite Uatu The Watcher's attempt to hide it from him) and signals Galactus to come devour the planet. The Surfer is then knocked out by the Fantastic Four, but is nursed to health by their kind ally, Alicia Masters. This causes him to decide to protect Earth and joins the heroes in opposing his master. Galactus is then forced to swear not to try to eat the Earth when his own greatest weapon is pointed at him. However, Galactus punishes the Surfer by sealing him within Earth's atmosphere, unable to return to space. The Surfer then becomes a wandering hero. He also helped to found the superhero group The Defenders.

The character proved popular enough to receive his own series (twice). In the first, it was revealed that he was originally Norrin Radd, a man from the planet Zenn-La. He became Galactus' herald in exchange for his sparing Zenn-La from being eaten. However, Galactus decided to seal away the Surfer's emotions after transforming him, to keep them from interfering with his mission, until Alicia reawakened them. In the second series, the Surfer was freed to return to space, where most of his new adventures took place.

The Surfer is still popular and occasionally shows up in other Marvel series. He's something of a Purity Sue, due to his cosmic level of power and having a soul so pure that Mephisto, Marvel's stand-in for Satan, tried many times to corrupt him. He has become more worldly, Depending on the Writer.

This is lampshaded in the movie Crimson Tide where a fight breaks out in the galley among the men over which is the true Silver Surfer. The submarine's Executive Officer (Denzel Washington) chastises the enlisted man for getting in a fight over the issue, saying "Anyone who reads comic books knows that the Kirby Silver Surfer is the only true Silver Surfer."

The Surfer has appeared in the animated version of the Fantastic Four, the movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which was supposedly an adaptation of the Galactus Trilogy, and a decidedly different take on him is being shown in The Superhero Squad Show. He also starred in his own thirteen-episode cartoon in the late '90s, which was... different. (Fair warning: It ended on a massive cliffhanger.)

Tropes among all versions:
  • A God Am I: When Cable went into this territory it was Surfer who had to beat him out of it.
  • Alliterative Name
  • Amplifier Artifact: The surfboard lets him fly farther and generally be stronger than without it, though (depending on continuity) it isn't the source of his powers.
  • Anti-Hero: While stuck on Earth in the 60s, he had these moments, often fighting with fellow heroes due to generally being pissed off, as opposed to the usual mistaken-identity excuse.
  • Anti-Villain: Started off as this and it could be argued that he has returned to this state now that he is a herald of Galactus again.
  • Arch Enemy: Thanos and Mephisto; at least, they come closest. Galactus is a debatable example too. All three are far, far more powerful than him though, so its not your standard Arch Enemy situation and he rarely fights them directly or on his own, and would quickly lose if he tried.
  • Astral Projection: Usually comes into play when Surfer is facing off against Mephisto.
  • Badass Boast: Rare, but the Surfer has delivered a few over the years.

Silver Surfer: Your ability to manipulate power is formidable. That I will admit. But I AM power.

Silver Surfer: Is that a sound-- here in the vacuum where no sound can carry? It seems impossible!

Silver Surfer: Fools. Eyes that can track a single dust mote across the space ways will certainly have no difficulty tracing the path of a Troyjan battle cruiser.