Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Surfer was originally Norrin Radd of the planet Zenn-La . He agreed to serve as a herald for the alien Galactus to save Zenn-La from the planet-consuming super being. Galactus granted Radd enormous cosmic powers and a silvery appearance. On a surfboard-like vehicle he roamed the cosmos, searching for new planets for Galactus to consume. However, after an encounter with Earth’s Fantastic Four, he betrayed Galactus, who doomed the Surfer to exile on Earth.
In a heavily philosophic late 1960s series, which was popular in the hippie counter culture, the Surfer explored Earth. Another, more cosmically themed series with a freed Surfer, was published in the 1980s and 1990s and Marvel is currently attempting another revival.
Born Norrin Radd on the idyllic planet Zenn-La, to save his homeworld he volunteered to serve the planet-eating entity Galactus, who travels the universe looking for energy-rich planets to consume. Galactus accepted the young mortal's sacrifice and imbued him with a portion of the Power Cosmic transforming him into the Silver Surfer. He served Galactus for an unspecified amount of time until he came to the planet Earth.
On Earth the Surfer encountered a number of individuals whose nobility and honor touched him such as the Fantastic Four and their companion Alicia Masters. The Surfer chose to rebel against Galactus and attempted to prevent his master from consuming the Earth. Galactus was eventually driven off but as punishment for his rebellion the Surfer was confined to Earth thanks to a barrier which affected only him.
The Silver Surfer is a unique product of the Marvel system of comic creation. Unlike the full scripts employed elsewhere creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would discuss general storylines or plots initially but leave the specific story elements to the penciller (this was especially so in the case of Kirby). Reputedly, Kirby created the character of the Silver Surfer reasoning that a cosmic predator of planets should have some sort of herald. Lee was surprised by this creation but, taken by the noble features of the new character that Kirby had pencilled, scripted him, adding to his characterization.
Though Kirby is clearly the primary creator of the Silver Surfer, Lee enjoyed the character and decided to feature him in his own comic magazine. Unfortunately Kirby was unavailable and penciller John Buscema was chosen as the artist for the brief run (18 bi-monthly issues). The Silver Surfer comic and character allowed Lee to script some of his most thoughtful and introspective stories. Thematically the stories dealt with the inhumanity of man as observed by the noble yet fallen Surfer. After his own comic was cancelled the Surfer continued to make sporadic appearances as a guest star or antagonist in other comic books. A personal favorite of Lee's, a number of specials and graphic novels featuring the character have been published over the years.
He was given a chance at a solo title for the second time in the 1980s where he finally managed to escape the confines of Earth and left for the spaceways. This series was originally written by Steve Englehart and illustrated by Marshall Rogers , and later written by Jim Starlin and drawn by Ron Lim . Starlin was later replaced by Ron Marz as writer, and later in the series' publication George Perez and J. M. DeMatteis had brief stints at writing the series as well. The series was ultimately cancelled in the 1990s due to low sales, but was revived most recently in 2003.
The Silver Surfer possesses vast cosmic power granted him by Galactus as a part of the process of physically restructuring the Surfer's former organic body. He has the ability to channel ambient cosmic energy into his body at will, and expel it violently as concussive force or gently as a means to restructure molecules according to his mental design. He can generate beams of energy through his hands with sufficient destructive force to level a large city or generate such subtle amounts of energy to restructure the molecules of the natural dyes within a plant to change its color. The Surfer can rearrange the molecules of matter to create other configurations, and can transmute elements.
The forces binding together the molecules making up the silvery material that comprises the Silver Surfer's "skin" are so great that there are few known forces in the universe great enough to overcome them. The inner portions of his body have also been made highly resistant to injury. Thus the Surfer is invulnerable to most forms of physical harm. He can withstand great extremes of temperature caused by the build-up of friction within atmospheres or the vacuum of space or (within limits) the intense heat within the near vicinity of stars. He can survive without difficulties in the vacuum of outer space and hyperspace, and his body can withstand the stresses of travel at near-light speeds in this universe and of even greater speeds, in hyperspace.
The Silver Surfer has certain cosmic energy enhanced perceptions which enable him through concentration to become aware of the patterns of energy which surround him. Accordingly, he can sense great concentrations or deployment of energy anywhere in the world. He has a special affinity for the life energies of living beings, and can use his cosmic powers to augment them to a certain degree. While he can use his power to revitalize life energies and heal the wounded, he cannot create life or restore life to the dead.
The Silver Surfer does not need to eat or breathe since he absorbs life-maintaining cosmic energy direct through his skin. Although his body does not require sleep, his mind still does in order to give it an opportunity to dream.
By exceeding 99% of the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), the Surfer can shift himself into hyperspace, a dimension in which velocity is not limited by the speed of light. The Surfer can also compress his own bodily matter so as to shift himself into a so-called microverse. He once used his powers to travel through time, but may be unable to engage in time travel under normal circumstances.
Paraphernalia and weapons
In flying the Silver Surfer usually makes use of an object known on Earth as his "surfboard", due to its resemblance of Earth objects of that name. The Surfer's "surfboard" is a construct of unknown materials created by the vast cosmic energies of his former master Galactus. The board is covered with the same silvery glaze that the Surfer's body is covered with, making it impervious to virtually all forms of physical damage. Few forces short of the cosmic power of Galactus could affect it at all.
The surfboard is psionically linked in an unknown way with the Surfer's mind. Apparently only a being possessing the Surfer's cosmic powers can cause the surfboard to fly, and it is controlled mentally by him. The surfboard apparently taps ambient cosmic energy in much the same way that the Surfer himself does. Although the Surfer could conceivably utilize his cosmic power to fly without it, the surfboard enables him to fly without the expenditure of any of his own energy.
The Silver Surfer can utilize the surfboard to attain 99% of the speed of light, but seldom exceeds Mach 10 (ten times the speed of sound) within the outer layers of a planet's atmosphere, and Mach 5 within the inner layers. (The speed of sound is about 770 miles per hour).
Appearances in other media
Silver Surfer briefly had his own cartoon series on the FOX Network in 1998 after appearing in the Fantastic Four cartoon that ran in 1996. Although it was the first to feature computer graphics, the series was too true to the comic and had too much of a serious tone for kids to take lightly, and it was cancelled after only thirteen episodes. Eight more episodes had been written and begun production but were never animated due to the legal battle between companies. At that time, Marvel had also gone bankrupt.
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