The Truth About Marvel’s Silver Surfer

The Truth About Marvel’s Silver Surfer


Of all the cosmic heroes roaming around the
spaceways of the Marvel Universe, none have ever been as prominent as the Silver Surfer. Created by Jack Kirby in the pages of Fantastic
Four, he made his first appearance as the herald of the world-devouring Galactus, and
would grow to become one of the biggest cult favorites on Marvel’s roster. From his unlikely origins to his his surprising
prominence in cartoons and even video games, here’s the real truth behind Norrin Radd,
the Silver Surfer. The Coming of Galactus In 1966, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby plotted a
story for Fantastic Four in which an unstoppable cosmic threat showed up to devour the world. When Kirby turned in the pages for Fantastic
Four #48, though, Stan was surprised to find that they featured a chrome-plated spaceman
flying around on a surfboard. Kirby explained that Galactus was such a big
deal that he needed a herald to announce his presence, and since surfing was all over pop
culture in the ‘60s, from the Beach Boys to Batman, his new character wound up on a
cosmic surfboard. “Surfing’s not a sport, it’s a way of life!” Lee was initially wary of adding something
so weird into the middle of a high-stakes superhero drama, but it worked. In a time when most of Marvel’s competitors
were still filling every issue with two or three stories, “The Coming of Galactus”
kicked off a modern, multi-part epic, with its title villain only showing up on the last
page. The rest of the issue was devoted to the Watcher
and the Silver Surfer, assuring readers that if characters this powerful were the opening
act, Galactus must be a truly big deal. The Silver Symbolism The initial fan reaction to the Surfer was
more than a little divisive. As the letters rolled into the Marvel offices
in 1966, some readers commented that “Silver Surfer is a corny name,” while one wrote in
with an angry screed asking “Why? Why don’t you give the Fantastic Four a person,
a single person, to fight, and not a bunch of space bums running around cluttering up
the yarn and making the pages look utterly disgraceful?” Ouch. Others were a little more kind, but the strangest
commentary came from a Houston, Texas reader named Greg Jones “Galactus represented the Viet Cong, the powerful
aggressor, but not realizing fully his error. […] The Silver Surfer, as America, helped
a lesser people in their time of need, even though he himself was not involved. And Alicia characterized Stan, Marvel, the
President, and all other loyal, patriotic Americans.” Needless to say, that’s a pretty wild interpretation
of the a story about a space giant with a big hat trying to eat the planet. Even Stan Lee seemed surprised by this one,
writing “We can’t dot an i without someone reading some deep subliminal message into
it.” ​The Surfer goes solo Despite his initial concerns, Lee clearly
took a liking to the Surfer by the end of that first story, likely because he allowed
Stan to explore the kind of sci-fi storytelling that he’d pursued before getting into comics. Joined by artist John Buscema, Lee launched
a series that would detail the Surfer’s exile on Earth. They revealed that he was Norrin Radd, a would-be
victim of Galactus’s hunger who gave up his humanity to become a herald for the Devourer
of Worlds. It represents some of Stan’s best work of
the era, with more philosophical stories than the other action-packed tales he was scripting
at the time. “I made him a philosophical observer of the
world and the universe.” There were, however, a few problems. For one thing, the book just didn’t sell. Despite Stan’s personal investment in the
series and the Surfer’s status as a cult favorite, that original series ended after
only 18 issues. Even worse, it deepend the rift between Lee
and the Surfer’s creator, Jack Kirby, who had a completely different idea for what kind
of stories to tell. Lee attempted to make amends by bringing Kirby
in to tell the story of a more savage Surfer who would act as cosmic power personified,
but that story never happened, it was announced to come next month in that final issue of
the series. Later that year, Kirby would leave Marvel
for DC and the promise of more creative control, summing up his reasons with the simple statement
“I’m not going to give them another Silver Surfer.” Now you’re playing with the Power Cosmic Given Stan Lee’s affection for the Surfer,
it’s no surprise that Marvel would get behind more than a few attempts to bring him to mass
media. There was a well-received but short-lived
cartoon in 1998, but in 1990, the Surfer made his video game debut on the Nintendo Entertainment
System. To give you an idea of where he ranked, the
only other Marvel games on the NES at the time starred the X-Men and the Punisher, two
of the most popular franchises of the era. He even managed to beat Spider-Man to his
NES debut by two full years. (the only thing worse than comic book-based NES games were their commercials) Unfortunately, being early doesn’t always
mean being great. While it boasted some pretty incredible graphics
and a killer soundtrack, Silver Surfer is mostly remembered for a staggering difficulty
level that kept almost everyone who played it from actually beating the game. If they had, though, they would’ve been treated
to a pretty bizarre plot. Dispatched on a mission of cosmic importance
by Galactus, the Silver Surfer faces foes like Mephisto and Firelord. The final boss, though, is Mr. Sinister, an
X-Men foe with no real connection to the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, who is depicted
as a 15 foot-tall purple hulk with a handgun and a pair of white go-go boots. Maybe it’s for the best that nobody ever got
to see him. “I shall give birth to the future!” Okay, weirdo. The cinematic rise (and fall) of the Silver
Surfer In 1979, after Superman had become a massive
box office success, Hollywood was suddenly very interested in superhero movies. In an attempt to get Marvel a foothold in
the film industry, Stan Lee spent a year in Los Angeles shopping around various projects,
including a Silver Surfer pitch. It was picked up, too, but despite being assigned
a respectable $25,000,000 budget and having Olivia Newton-John attached to star, the Surfer
never managed to escape to the big screen. 28 years later, he’d finally make it, thanks
to 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. As the title implies, there were hints at
plans to spin the skyrider of the spaceways off into his own big-screen adventure. Unfortunately, that film’s failure at the
box office put an end to that, and to plans for a third FF movie that would’ve potentially
involved the Skrulls and the Inhumans showing up. In 2015, Marvel’s first family was rebooted
with another movie that landed with an even more resounding thud, managing to perform
even worse than its predecessors. “It’s clobberin time.” But with 35 years of Marvel trying to bring
the Surfer to the big screen, it’s easy to look at Rise of the Silver Surfer as a mere
setback rather than the final nail in the coffin. The success of cosmic-focused films like Guardians
of the Galaxy and the Surfer’s prominence in stories like the original Infinity Gauntlet
mean that it’s not too unlikely that we’ll see Norrin Radd surfing his way into the MCU…
someday. Dedicated fans are waiting. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
YouTube channel. Plus check out all this cool stuff we know
you’ll love, too!

100 Comments

  1. Anybody else remember the NES game? I had to put in cheat codes I got from this magazine Tips and Tricks just to play it. One hit, boom dead. It was so frustrating. Plus I was a kiddo at the time so it sucked even more. Ugh 😑

  2. Silver Surfer is a very cool Marvel character. In fact, I think the Silver Surfer was the best thing in that Fantastic Four movie.

    TERRANCE OUT

  3. WeLL aestheticaLLy, surfer was pretty good in that one. PeopLe just didnt Like the movie. Im sure im not the onLy one.

  4. I hate this naming style. A more accurate title would be things you probably didn't know about silver surfer or something like that. Untold truth my ass

  5. all I remember about the silver surfer- he was really deep…. they should have done an issue of the silver surfer competing in the Maverick Surf contest…..he'd win for sure.

  6. I'll have to get back to this one via e-mail or notifications, but…. is anyone else suddenly having problems seeing any YouTube comments at all under any and all videos?

  7. I love the comics. The movie left a lot to be desired. I would love a true full move of the character, or ever better one of ROM the SpaceKnight!

  8. People domt know shit about movies. The original 2 FF movies were both pretty good. Could have been better yes but come on. It was pretty fucking good. It should have gotten a trilogy

  9. I hope The Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange are going to be something like Thor and Tony were in the Phase 1-3 of the MCU. The next big villain would be Galactus and the new Avengers will have to team up with either X-men or F4 to protect the world from Galactus.

  10. A silver dude on a surfboard theres gotta be some cooler shit to come up with like i could come up with thousands of characters that would be popular in movies and shit hes jus lame lol

  11. Silver Surfer is a classic case of style over substance . Great look but impossible to write for as evidenced by his failed title . He is a supporting character at best .

  12. As a fan and collector of the old Starlin/Lim Silver Surfer series, it's kind of sad to see him written out of the Infinity Gauntlet films (and seemingly replaced with Captain Marvel).

  13. In the Fantastic Four movie a great job was done with the Silver Surfer but what a total failure and disappointment to me when they showed the Great Galactus as only some clouds .

  14. I think alot of people think that the Silver Surfer is dope, its just he's slept on and easily forgotten about. Maybe its the name, if it was the Cosmic Surfer or the Diamond Surfer more people would be attracted

  15. I need a movie that shows Silver Surfers true power. “We not hiding his powers from the world, we hiding the world from his powers” He could easily be the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe

  16. I'm glad to hear them say the original NES Silver Surfer game was so hard it was unplayable. I thought I was just a putz, but it seems I'm not the only one who gave up trying to play that game.

  17. Rise of the silver surfer was actually good the Galactus cloud which replaced the space giant was the only failing there. If they had stuck to the comic designs it would have been successful. Also the surfer is jne Marvel character that requires a fully fleshed out marvel universe he is a epic graphic novel massive storyline character not a simple task to place on the big screen you'd need a Steven Spielberg interaction to do it justice.

  18. Great character in the poorly reviewed FF4 movies, deserves to be brought back to the "silver" screen! Pun intended….lol

  19. "The Rise of the Silver Surfer" wasn't a terrible film, it simply lacked 3 core elements: originality 2: story & MOST IMPORTANTLY, 3: Galactus.

  20. Silver represents the financial destruction of your World. He is upon whatever he rides the herald of financial annihilation.

  21. The only character in comics that I know of that had incredible depth and philosophical insights. I spiritual character that has intrigued me since I discovered him.

  22. They can’t do a silver surfer movie the guy would destroy everyone and that includes Thor. He already beat him 2 out of 3 times check the comics.

  23. I don't like Marvel movies. For me it is like to try to make a movie where childish dolls involved in the real world. Cringe. Superhero comicbooks are for children only. Not for cinema and the real world. That's supercringy. Transformers also.

  24. Shamar baby silver surfer mar g pistol Pete George Raymond Washington John mackey Willie kabir beamon 103rd watts baby loc 4 ward 6 deep msflyboys sox roc nation gaine green Englewood nj dblocc inmates 21 Hopkins NJ

  25. I've loved him sincr seeing his cameo in Spiderman 2000 on the PlayStation and the parody of him in Dexters Lab, I really want to see this character succeed!

  26. Jack Kirby drew & conceived of the Silver Surfer, Stan Lee simply improvised the story afterwards. Jack Kirby owns Silver Surfer.

  27. What made rise of the silver surfer fail was the part with Galactus being a cloud. The silver surfer was awesome in that film especially with Lawrence fishburne as him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*