The Silver Surfer has been one of the coolest characters to grace Marvel comics since he was introduced to us way back in the ’60s. Over time he’s had quite the roller-coaster ride of storylines. Although he’s yet to have his own live-action film, he has created quite the buzz in the Marvel universe in everything from comics to animated series, and of course, his appearance in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Despite his broad range of appearances, a lot about the Silver Surfer hasn’t yet made it to common knowledge among superhero fans. Let’s face it, while he may be a great character, his fame has yet to reach the heights of the likes of Spiderman or Batman yet. But fear not, comic fans, for we are here to help you. For your Silver Surfer education we have compiled a list of fifteen of the most interesting facts that we could find about him.
Jump on board (or should that be surfboard?) and enjoy the ride, because here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Silver Surfer.
15. His Board Was Created Because Kirby Was “Tired of Drawing Spaceships”
One of the most interesting pieces of trivia about the Silver Surfer is how he was created by Jack Kirby, and how he started as an unplanned addition to the issue of Fantastic Four #48. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had discussed what the issue’s story would be, but when Kirby came back with the drawings for the comic he had thrown in another, new character. Kirby explained that he felt the agreed villain Galactus needed some kind of herald, and created the Silver Surfer for that role.
He added that he had made the surfboard as he was “tired of drawing spaceships.” And just like that, the iconic silver board was born. We can’t say we blame Kirby for being bored of spaceships; the poor guy was probably up to his ears in them! This boredom definitely paid off, and allowed Kirby to come up with something much more original and iconic.
15. His parents have both committed suicide
The first rule of making a good superhero is to give them a tragic back story, and Norrin Radd, aka the Silver Surfer, is certainly no exception. It’s safe to say that the Silver Surfer hasn’t had the easiest life as, unlike most other super heroes, he has not one, but two tragic back stories. He had a run of bad luck early in his life as both of his parents killed themselves on separate occasions.
The death of his mother, Elmar Radd, came when Norrin was at a young age, and she killed herself because she felt unsuited to life on their home planet, Zenn-La. Apparently life there was too perfect, and its occupants were overly passive and complacent. Norrin Rad was then brought up largely by his dad, Jartan, who encouraged him to focus on his intellect. His father however, also went on to commit suicide, after he was accused of being a thief. The Silver Surfer’s definitely had more than his fair share of difficulties in his life.
13. He can read minds
The Silver Surfer is certainly not short of superpowers and special abilities, but one seems to stand out among the others. Let’s just say that you ought to be careful what you think around the Silver Surfer, because as it turns out he has the ability to read people’s minds. While it may not be an ability he employs frequently, on the odd special occasion he’s put his telepathy to use it has certainly proven powerful and effective.
If it wasn’t already cool enough that the Surfer Silver could read minds, wait until you hear about one of the more… interesting mind’s he’s read. Of the course of his many adventures, he’s peered into the mind of none other than the Jade Giant himself. Yes, in the comic Tales to Astonish Vol 1 93, the Silver Surfer resorted to using his cosmic powers to probe the Hulk’s mind. That must’ve been a tough nut to crack.
12. He can survive in black holes
There’s seemingly no end to the awesome things Silver Surfer is capable of. His Power Cosmic allows him to have a whole range of abilities that we could only dream of having at our disposal.
And if you’ve ever thought adaptability was impressive, than just wait until you hear about this. The Silver Surfer is capable of adapting to and surviving in pretty much any possible environment. Whatever a planet’s atmosphere is, he can survive in it. It’s an ability he puts to good use, since he has travelled all around the universe in his many adventures.
Perhaps the most impressive part is that he can even survive in black holes. We’re not quite sure what the world of science would have to say about this, but we’re sure that they’d know better than to question the Silver Surfer. After all, who would want to get on the wrong side of the Silver Surfer?
11. He was ranked the 47th greatest comic book character
The Silver Surfer has gained somewhat of a cult following in the comic book world, and his fan base has not gone unnoticed. His popularity’s even had some small influences on pop culture here and there. Examples of this include a poster of him appearing in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and parodies of him appearing in kids shows like Fairly Odd Parents and Dexter’s Laboratory.
With all this Silver Surfer buzz bordering on the edge of mainstream, it’s no surprise that he made it into a countdown of the greatest comic book character of all time but, shockingly, he only managed to make it to the 47th spot. While he may have been robbed of a higher ranking given his powers, the ranking was, after all, in comparison with every comic book character of all time. The competition is obviously pretty tough, but he still seems like top 30 material to us.
This countdown appeared in Wizard magazine in 2011. but in countdowns in other publications, the famous surfer has managed to claw his was up to 42nd place. It looks like he could be listed as one of the most underrated heroes. Don’t worry Silver Surfer, we appreciate you.
10. He has citizenship for over 190 countries
It seems the Silver Surfer is somewhat of an international man of mystery, as he has more citizenships on Earth than any real person (or probably even fictional, for that matter) character we can think of. Given that the Earth isn’t even his native planet, this is a pretty impressive feat to have accomplished. And of course in true Silver Surfer style, he earned himself these citizenships by doing what he does best – saving the day.
The story goes that he managed to successfully save the Earth from having all its culture removed and replaced by his native race of Zenn-La. It’s certainly safe to say that his gesture didn’t go unnoticed by those in charge on Earth. In order to thank him, several UN representatives decided to give him citizenship to their countries, including China, France, and Russia – just to name a few! Eventually he was given citizenship to the remaining countries. How many passports does one guy need?
9. His board is made from the same material as him
The Silver Surfer’s board is one of Marvel comics most iconic items – it’s up there with the likes of Thor‘s hammer and Captain America‘s shield. That – and his unique silver chrome appearance – is what manages to make the Silver Surfer so memorable and distinctive. Let’s be honest, it really is much more noticeable than the standard superhero cape or face mask. Not only does it make him stand out from the other comic book characters, but his board is also what allows him to travel the universe freely.
What makes the board all the more interesting, and all the more well-suited to him, is that the it is made from the same material that the Silver Surfer’s body is coated in. This means the board, just like him, is capable of all kinds of crazy powers and is fairly close to being indestructible. The board is also linked to the Silver Surfer telepathically, making it work as an extension to himself.
10. The Silver Surfer doesn’t need to eat or breathe
It would seem that his silver coating and Power Cosmic have ways of making the Silver Surfer’s life much easier. All the menial, everyday tasks we have to do are no longer necessary for the shiny hero. It must allow him a lot more time for saving the world and other superhero antics. For instance, the Silver Surfer doesn’t need to worry about eating or even if he’s getting enough nutrition, since his silver coating means that he absorbs life-maintaining cosmic energy directly through his skin to keep him functioning. This cosmic energy also means that he doesn’t have to worry about breathing either, which is part of the reason he can survive in almost any environment.
In addition to that, he doesn’t ever need to worry about getting some shut-eye, as the cosmic energy means he doesn’t need to sleep. He is awake 24 hours of the day, allowing him more free time than any of us could ever dream of.
With all these needs (eating, sleeping, breathing) no longer necessary, it also gives him a whole range of other advantages. He never has to worry about feeling hungry or being malnourished, he never gets tired or feels exhausted, and in exercise he never has to worry about getting out of breath. If anyone knows where we can get ourselves a silver skin that does this, please let us know!
9. He can trap living matter in his board and destroy it
The Silver Surfer’s legendary board is hardly just for show. And it isn’t just for flying around either, although even that would be enough to impress us. The board itself is actually far more powerful than it may appear, allowing the Silver Surfer to be even epic than he already is as a silver alien surfing through the sky. In fact, even without the man himself, the board’s powers are enough to scare us. One thing is certain: you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of the Silver Surfer – or his board, for that matter – in a fight.
You especially wouldn’t want him to use his one particular power his board has on you. And that’s because his board has the ability to trap living matter inside of itself. The Surfer’s even capable of using the board to destroy any living matter trapped inside. We sure bet your surfboard can’t do that trick.
8. His home planet was too perfect
Norrin Rad originally came from the distant planet of Zenn-La, that was home to an extremely advanced race of humanoid beings who had created an idyllic society free of crime, poverty, and even disease. They had managed to successfully create a utopian world, and Norrin Rad grew up as part of it. However, just because the society was utopian doesn’t mean Norrin Rad’s life was completely perfect – in fact, it was far from it.
As mentioned above, the nature of the utopian society led his mother to suicide, as she felt out of place. It also left him feeling restless, as the society was at somewhat of a standstill– it hadn’t any room for improvement or advancement of any kind. The frustrated protagonist began to dream of exploring the universe as a result of this stagnation, and that eventually lead Norrin to become the Silver Surfer we know him as today.
7. He was trapped on earth by Galactus
There are few beings in the universe powerful enough to potentially take control of the Silver Surfer, but one of the few who are capable is Galactus. In fact, the reason that the Silver Surfer is so powerful himself is all thanks to Galactus in the first place. Galactus gave the Silver Surfer his awesome powers, under the condition that he played the part of herald for Galactus. And for a long time, the Silver Surfer held up his end of the bargain.
But eventually,he had decided that enough was enough, and that he wanted to be free this arrangement. And boy, did Galactus take it personally. When this all went down, Galactus’ response was to trap the Silver Surfer on Earth with an impenetrable field for what he assumed would be forever. But of course, the Silver Surfer did eventually manage to free himself from being imprisoned on Earth.
4. He nearly made it onto real currency
One of the oddest pieces of trivia about the Silver Surfer came from the promotion of the live-action film he starred appeared, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. It seems that 20h Century Fox were keen to do some big promoting for the film, and were willing to try some unorthodox methods to promote it. Forget trailers, billboards, and red carpet interviews– they had something completely different in mind.
As a way to promote the film, 20th Century Fox tried to strike up a deal with the Franklin Mint (you know, the guys who literally make the money) and wanted to arrange to have them produce 40,000 US quarters with an image of the Silver Surfer on the coin’s reverse. Imagine a world in which your favourite superheroes appeared on all the money in your pocket. How awesome would that be? Unfortunately though, the Silver Surfer never quite made it onto the coins though, as the US Mint made the decision to veto this promotion.
3. He fell in love with Nova
Throughout his years in Marvel comics, the Silver Surfer has had his fair share of love affairs with women. But that’s not anything surprising: chicks dig superheroes. One of his love affairs that stands out among the rest is the liaison he had with Frankie Raye, who is better known as Nova. At the time that Silver Surfer fell in love with her, Nova was a herald to Galactus, just as he once. However, their relationship was something of a rocky road.
The first thing that got in their way was when Starfox used his powers to make Nova have feelings for someone else. Even though it was temporary, it threw their love off course for a while. They did eventually reconcile, though, and when they did, he taught her that she didn’t need to live a life of servitude. When she was dismissed by Galactus, Novs was unsure of what to do. The Silver Surfer invited her to join him in space, but before she could she sadly was killed by Morg.
2. His emotions aren’t as strong as humans
There are so many things that separate us mere human beings from a being like the Silver Surfer. And one of those things is emotions. Though most characteristics of the Silver Surfer greatly overpower human characteristics, one exception to that rule is emotions. The Silver Surfer’s emotions aren’t as strong as human emotions.
Whether this is a strength or weakness could probably be argued, but it has proved to be a disadvantage in the past. In certain circumstances, including at points in his love life, the Silver Surfer’s lack of strong emotions has led him to behave immaturely. This is probably because he doesn’t have enough experience to be emotionally mature, as he hasn’t experience as many strong emotions as humans typically do.
At the same time, in the tough world of being a superhero, experiencing weaker emotions could be a positive. Superheroes are usually surrounded by destruction, death, and devastation and it would be much easier to deal with that if you saw things objectively rather than emotionally. So strength or weakness, we’ll let you decide on that one.
1. He can regenerate
Comic books are notoriously for bending the rules a bit when it comes to mortality. Characters who have died often find ways of creeping back onto the pages, or cheating death somehow. So it only makes sense for a comic book writer to occasionally take some pre-emptive action and let themselves of the hook. A convenient quick-fix is granting characters the ability to regenerate, so that they can be written into any kind of adventure or misadventure and without the writing having to worry about the greater consequences of it. And it would seem that’s exactly what was done with Silver Surfer.
The Silver Surfer has the ability to regenerate both parts of himself and parts of his legendary silver board. What makes it even cooler is that he is able to completely regenerate these parts at his own will, so he is in complete control of it himself. He’s able to do all this using his Power Cosmic. Honestly, we’re starting to wonder what the Silver Surfer isn’t capable of doing.
Did we miss any Silver Surfer trivia? Let us know in the comments!