Superhero Origins: The Silver Surfer

Norrin Radd was once a scientist on the peaceful planet Zenn-La. One fateful day Galactus, the devourer of worlds, descended upon the planet to claim its elemental energy. Heroically, Radd made a deal with the demi-god to spare his world. Since Galactus desired nothing but nourishment, Radd offered to become his servant and endlessly search for suitable planets. Given a small portion of Galactus’ “Power Cosmic”, he was transformed into the surfer and discovered countless planets before eventually coming upon Earth and the Fantastic Four. Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origins of The Silver Surfer.
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Superhero Origins: The Silver Surfer

He’s a tragic hero destined never to return home. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be exploring the comic book origins of Norrin Radd, otherwise known as The Silver Surfer.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline that unfolded in 1966’s Fantastic Four #48, which was expanded upon in 1968’s The Silver Surfer #1 and the first episode of 1998’s Silver Surfer: The Animated Series.

Norrin Radd was once a scientist on the peaceful planet Zenn-La, an advanced Oasis free of crime and violence that had become a beacon for other space faring civilizations.

However, Radd harbored a growing sense of discontent and craving for something more than life had to offer on Zenn-La: believing that no goals were left unachieved and that society had lost its passion. This led to conflict with his girlfriend and frequent visits to museums to watch holograms of the far past in order to witness such antiquated concepts as war and space travel.

One fateful day Galactus, the devourer of worlds, descended upon the planet to claim its elemental energy. Gathering his courage, Radd made a plea to the demi-god to spare his world. Since Galactus desired nothing but nourishment, Radd offered to become his servant and free Galactus of the tiring effort of endlessly searching for suitable planets from which to feed.

Weary of his endless quest, Galactus agreed to the terms, while Radd schemed to lead Galactus to uninhabited worlds, and save billions in the process.

To serve as his Herald, Radd was transformed into more than an ordinary man by being given a small portion of Galactus’ “Power Cosmic.” This granted him boundless strength and removed the need for such things as oxygen or food. Radd was also stripped of much of his memories, while retaining his focus, and given the means to travel faster than the fastest starship. Redubbed “The Silver Surfer”, he began roaming the cosmos in an endless search of suitable planets.

After millennia of serving Galactus and losing much of himself along the way, including his recollection of his pledge to spare life, he finally came upon Earth.

There, he summoned his master, before battling the Fantastic Four. However, it was the Thing’s girlfriend, a blind sculptress named Alicia Masters, that managed to remind the Surfer of his morality, while convincing him that the planet and its peoples deserved to be spared. Joining forces with the band of superheroes, the Silver Surfer managed to defy the world eater with a weapon stolen from Galactus’ homeworld of Taa II. As punishment for his betrayal, the Silver Surfer was banished to Earth by means of an impenetrable energy barrier.

Making the strange planet his home, the surfer soon found that humans feared him and would generally attack him on sight. Though ungrateful for his sacrifice, he continued to protect them, while scrutinizing their savage nature.

Eventually, he was accepted, rediscovered his long lost emotions, and fought alongside Earth’s other superheroes.

Finally escaping his exile with the help of the Fantastic Four, he returned home to Zenn-La, only to discover that Galactus had fed upon it, but not before its residents escaped into space. This forced him to endlessly roam the stars, before meeting his mortal enemy Thanos, a super being determined to wipe out all life in the universe.

A popular Marvel mainstay, the Silver Surfer finally marked his live action debut in 2007’s “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”, and continues to appear in other media as well.

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