Silver Surfer #1, Volume #1, published by Marvel Comics, August 1968. Written by Stan Lee, pencilling by John Buscema

FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER

The Silver Surfer in comics ... a Biography

The Silver Surfer, who symbolizes the highest aspirations of the spirit, represents Marvel's most sincere effort to elevate the super hero genre. This noble, contemplative, unselfish character is an anomaly in the slam-bang world of comic books, and as such he has proven to be something of an acquired taste, a character who appeals primarily to older and comparatively sophisticated readers.

Ironically enough, when this benevolent alien first appeared he was working for one of the most terrifying villains in comics, the godlike being known as Galactus. It was the Surfer's courageous decision to defy his master that made him a hero, but for his pains he was condemned to spend his life on the planet Earth, denied all access to the endless universe he loved to explore. There are parallels here to the Biblical fall of Adam, who lost paradise in the exercise of his free will and thus was doomed to mortal misery. The Silver Surfer, however was not tainted by original sin, and remained a detached, bemused observer of human folly. As a symbol of limitless freedom dragged down to mundane reality, The Surfer was indeed a tragic figure, yet he never lost his essential innocence.
The Ultimate Silver Surfer, Ed. Stan Lee

The character first appeared in 1966, drawn by Jack Kirby as an afterthought for a story that was already plotted; writer Stan Lee immediately fell in love with The Silver Surfer, and for years would allow nobody else to create his inimitably high-minded dialogue. Eventually Lee and artist John Buscema invented a background for "The Sentinel of the Spaceways," and revealed that he was originally Norrin Radd, a restless inhabitant of a utopian planet, Zenn-La. When his race was threatened by the all-consuming Galactus , Norrin Radd saved the day by offering to aid the menace in his endless quest for the worlds to devour. In sacrificing himself twice, once for his own people, and again for humanity, The Silver Surfer took on Christ-like qualities. The selflessness that made him so admired has finally been rewarded, and today he is free to soar among the stars.

MARVEL Five Fabulous Decades Of The World's Greatest Comics, p. 126-128, Silver Surfer Profile. (New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc, 1991) © 1991 Marvel Entertainment Group. All rights reserved.

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