Sil­ver Surfer

Comic Heroes - - Feature -

His ori­gin is, rightly, leg­endary. As he worked up those early, cel­e­brated FF is­sues that first fea­tured Galac­tus – the planet-eat­ing space god de­signed to be one of comics’ most un­for­get­table vil­lains – Jack Kirby added a stream­lined sil­ver an­gel as his herald, an emo­tion-free mys­tery man sky-rid­ing on a stylised surf­board. It was a bizarre but un­de­ni­ably amaz­ing vis­ual, and an ini­tially-stunned Stan Lee soon adopted the Sil­ver Surfer as his favourite new char­ac­ter, a trou­bled soul be­yond any­thing Marvel had tried to date – and Marvel had been heavy on the tragedy for quite some time.

With some char­ac­ters it’s all about the vis­ual, and there are few im­ages more po­tent in pop cul­ture than the sight of the brave one-time Nor­rin Radd soar­ing his lonely way through space on his sil­ver board.

Of course, his legacy is just as tragic, in a way. Kirby had orig­i­nally drawn the Surfer as a mus­cu­lar, rather fright­en­ing fig­ure, never in­tend­ing his anti-hero to be some mere trans­formed man. When he and Lee fell out over it, though, the writ­ing was on the wall for Jack at Marvel – and the com­pany’s first pure ex­plo­sion of cre­ativ­ity went with him.

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