> Reprinted in: Silver Surfer Masterworks Volume 1  •  Silver Surfer Omnibus Volume 1

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"At the command of Galactus...you have fallen!! And now...at my command once again...I bid you...RISE!!"

- - Galactus, creating the Silver Surfer, page 33

A Surfer amongst the ruins.


Silver Surfer #1
August 1968 • 38 pages

Publication Date: May 1968

Letters Page: No letters page published in this issue.

Ranked #34 in 100 Greatest Marvel Comics of All Time list

I: Feature Story: "The Origin of the Silver Surfer!"

Pages: 38

Script: Stan Lee
Pencils: John Buscema
Inks: Joe Sinnott
Letters: Sam Rosen

First Appearance: Shalla Bal

Origin: The Silver Surfer/Norrin Radd

Guest Appearance: Shalla Bal, Galactus

Gadgets & Technology: Hypno-Powered Study Cubes, Cyberno-Materializer, the Weapon Supreme, Mental-Constructor

Setting: Zenn-La

Synopsis: A space capsule hurtles through the Earth's atmosphere and crash lands in the ocean. Not escaping the concerned eyes of the Silver Surfer, the astronaut inside is rescued by the cosmic powered super-hero. The Surfer returns the airman to the flight deck of a nearby carrier, but the officers on board assume that he is responsible for this dire event and fire on him from their jetplanes. The Surfer flees across the world, and everywhere he is hounded by military defense, whether in Soviet or Red Chinese airspace. He finally finds refuge floating amongst the peaks of remote mountain ranges, where he reflects on the irrationality of the human condition, as well as his own past.

He flashes back to Zenn-La, his home planet, where technology and science had advanced so far that the culture wanted for nothing. Space exploration had taken their race to the absolute limits of the universe, and then snapped back to a kind of comfortable inertia, where they settled into a world defined by its lack of need. Wars, crime and disease had been eliminated, and the people of Zenn-La were content to merely bide their time in life without needing to take any risks. Norrin Radd took the time one day to visit a museum of history, where he saw images of his race from the past when they made great advances in all fields, especially space exploration, achievements which he took to heart very deeply.

His reverie is interrupted by the charge of yetis, fierce snow creatures which attempt to ravage him limb from limb. The Surfer easily makes his way out of their grip and flies away, continuing to reflect on his first attempts to make friends with Earthlings: the Hulk, who took his offer of friendship as an opportunity to mindlessly strike in violence (see TTA #93), and Dr. Doom, who bent the Surfer's good will to his advantage and stole his powers in his pursuit to destroy the Fantastic Four (see FF #57). These events soured the Surfer on friendship with mankind.

Floating into a long-dilapidated city in the mountains, he reflects back on his once proud home planet of Zenn-La, and his lost love Shalla Bal. He remembers how frustrated he was with the forced lifestyle of docility found there, and how his yearning for risk taking and searching the outer limits of the universe was bridled on Zenn-La. He recalls when a bulletin was issued worldwide, announcing the coming of a gigantic alien space-craft, signalling a potential invasion! The people of Zenn-La had long since forgotten how to defend themselves, and nobody on the planet seemed able or willing to ensure their planet's survival against this incredible threat. The computers into which they feed data for the directives on how to live their lives inform them that there is no hope against this invader. And in such a hopeless situation, the powers that be decide there is only one option: to deploy the Weapon Supreme. The cobalt energy of the Weapon Supreme would surely destroy much of the planet of Zenn-La, but it would be the only thing that could possibly destroy the invader. Sure enough, the weapon decimates much of the planet's surface, but unfortunately does nothing to stop the alien space craft, which reenters the atmosphere after ducking into another dimension.

Worldwide panic sets in as the people left alive after the use of the Weapon Supreme begin to realize that all hope is lost. Norrin Radd refuses to accept this, and despite the pleas of Shalla Bal, decides to try to do something about it. He races to the Council of Scientists and persuades one of the Council to help build a space craft which he will use to pilot and confront the enemy. Quickly, the craft is assembled, and within minutes Norrin Radd is pulled into the strange alien craft where he meets for the first time - GALACTUS!

The amazing super-being explains to Norrin Radd who he is and why he has come: he is a travelling god of the cosmos who sustains himself by consuming the energy of living planets. Though destroying life may be regrettable, he cares not that innocents may fall in the process. In an offhand comment, Galactus mentions that if he had a herald to seek out planets devoid of life, he might spare planets like Zenn-La. It is this comment that gives Norrin Radd hope, and he makes Galactus the offer to represent him forevermore as his herald, that he might spare Zenn-La. Galactus sees this as a grand opportunity, and makes Norrin Radd swear his total and lifelong allegiance to him before he uses his godlike powers to transform him into the cosmic being, the Silver Surfer!

He then creates an indestructible board that enables the Surfer to ride through the cosmos faster than light, so that he can seek out the planets that Galactus must devour for sustenance. The Surfer makes his final goodbyes to his beloved, Shalla Bal, who is shocked to see her lover's new form. She begs him to take her with him, but the Surfer can only refuse, saying that where he must now soar, he must go alone.

The Surfer recalls the day he turned his back on his home planet and began his search for a suitable planet for Galactus, and the time that pursuit brought him to Earth and into interaction with the Fantastic Four, a time when Galactus' hunger was at its most voracious. His interest in the human race led him to defy his master for the very first time, and together with the FF, he attempted to stave off Galactus' consumption Earth, ending with a stalemate when Reed Richards produced the Ultimate Nullifier (see FF #50). Galactus, feeling pain from the betrayal of his herald, stripped the Surfer of his abilities to ride the cosmos, and imprisoned him within the Earth's atmosphere.

It is at this point that the Surfer's reminiscences of his past end with the declaration, "My destiny still lies before me! And where it beckons - there shall soar the Silver Surfer!"

--synopsis by Gormuu

Issues Reprinted
Silver Surfer #1-6, FF Annual #5 backup story

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.


SS #1

SS #2

SS #3

SS #4

SS #5

SS #6

FF Ann #5


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