The Surfer was originally Norrin Radd, a young astronomer of the planet Zenn-La. He agreed to serve as herald to the god-like entity, Galactus, in order to save Zenn-La from the world devourer's insatiable hunger. Granted enormous powers (he wields a small portion of Galactus' Power Cosmic), a silvery appearance and a surfboard-like vehicle — all of which were modeled after a childhood fantasy of Radd — the Silver Surfer roamed the cosmos, searching for new planets for Galactus to consume.
In the story arc fans and historians call the "Galactus Trilogy", in Fantastic Four #48-50 (March-May 1966), the Silver Surfer encountered the Earth superhero team the Fantastic Four and betrayed Galactus, who doomed him to exile on Earth. Influenced by the counterculture of the 1960s, Lee scripted a philosophical spin-off series wherein the Surfer explored his new home planet. Another, more cosmically themed series with a freed Surfer was published from 1987 until 1998. A third series followed in 2003, lasting only a year.
The character was featured in adaptations of “The Coming of Galactus” in both the 1967 and 1994 TV adaptations of Fantastic Four. He starred in a short-lived solo animated series in 1998, which blended cel and computer animation.
A sequel to the 2005 Fantastic Four film, scheduled for 2007, will be called Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Early promotional materials indicate it will be a loose adaptation of "The Coming of Galactus" with the Surfer more of a central villain. He will be physically portrayed by Doug Jones, with Laurence Fishburne providing his voice.
A Silver Surfer mini-series entitled Requiem is slated for release on May 30, 2007 written by J. Michael Straczynski.
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