Remake & Reboot: The Silver Surfer Comic Series

Space. As NASA will tell you, it’s a hard place to get rid of, but also a hard place to stop thinking about once it’s on your mind. In super-hero comics, space-based adventures have largely been a hard-sell compared to more earth-bound stories, but it’s not without its potential. From long-running series like Legion of Super-Heroes to corollary titles like Star Wars, space can be done right — but as longboxes will tell you, they can be done wrong far easier.

For Marvel’s flagship space-bound character the Silver Surfer, he’s ridden high but also made some major wipe-outs on occasions. Although he’s had three seperate ongoing series (the longest lasting ten years), he’s primarily been a supporting actor in other characters’ titles and occasionally in some stand-alone miniseries. But be that as it may, the man once known as Norrin Radd has some feature potential with the right concept and the right creators. Sit back and think of who you think could make Silver Surfer work, and we’ll do the same.

The Concept:

In the past, the Silver Surfer has been portrayed as the ultimate outsider, but one that appreciates humanity and has copious amounts of his own. He’s a super-hero as if created by Star Trek‘s Gene Roddenberry, but as far as character development goes he’s largely been calcified after he turned on Galactus to save Earth back in the 60s. What Silver Surfer needs is an added element, akin to the way Captain America went from merely a government super-soldier in 40s and 50s comics to a “man out of time” carrying some rustic values when he thawed out in the pages of the Avengers.

Super-heroes of the power level of Silver Surfer are hard to find sizeable and believable opponents for, much in the way that magic-based characters have been hard to manage in the super-hero world. With that in mind, what if there was a bitter pocket of survivors from various homeworlds destroyed by Galactus — and discovered by Silver Surfer. Some races might view Galactus’ coming as a natural disaster, but Silver Surfer was in-effect the guy behind the wheel that steered the world-devourer in their general direction. Another idea might be the heart of Silver Surfer’s origin: if Galactus is as all-powerful and in control with the Power Cosmic as they say he is, why would he need — or even allow — someone like Silver Surfer to guide him to planets. What if there’s an ulterior motive in Galactus’ tapping of heralds from Silver Surfer to Firelord and on down the line? And speaking of the Power Cosmic, I’ve always felt there needed to be some broader explanation of the Power Cosmic in the same way that Flash’s Speed Force was explained years after its inception.

On the sales side, most of the naysayers for a Silver Surfer series prop it up on the inability for an ongoing, or even a miniseries, to gain significant traction in the comic marketplace. I’d argue that with very few exceptions, none of the recent attempts at a Silver Surfer series have been gifted with the top-level of creator that’s been necessary to reach the heights that would make the title float. In today’s market, a successful comic book launch is predicated on a number of things: creators that comic retailers trust to deliver, a storyline that rides upon a groundswell from a general universe-wide event, and (most importantly) a great comic book. I think the creators below could do just that.

The Creators:

While we could always go outside the realm of possibilities and cherry-pick a creative team like Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely to do a Silver Surfer book (sidenote: they did pitch a SS series to Marvel once), for this Remake & Reboot exercise let’s keep it realistic and pick from the creators available to work — even if it means excluding Alan Moore.

Writer – Jonathan Hickman: Hickman’s already proven himself an A-List writer with his work on Fantastic Four and being tapped as a Marvel Architect and one of the new trio of writers for the Ultimate line, so giving him the silver surfboard might be a no-brainer considering that character’s connection to the Richards family. But when you factor in that alongside his star-spanning work on S.H.I.E.L.D. and his big-picture concept books like Red Mass For Mars, and you have what could be a redefining run on the Silver Surfer. This wouldn’t be a space opera.. it’d be a space epic.

Rotating Interior Artist / Cover Artist- Adi Granov: Granov has already made dalliances with Norrin Radd as cover artist for the last attempt at an ongoing series, but Granov could contribute to so much more to the character if given the chance. Granov’s noted in the past his liking of space concepts like Silver Surfer, so what if they installed the European artist as the point man for the art of the book: covers, character designs and an issue or arc here or there. Granov was a big part of the re-invention of the Iron Man character with the “Extremis” arc, so imagine what he could do on this.

Rotating Artist – Neil Googe: Following up from Adi Granov is no cake walk, but Neil Googe could be a big get if the publisher and the creator are up for it. After finishing up his run on Wildcats a few years back, Googe has been off the radar as far as comics goes. He’s bounced around DC, Wildstorm and 2000AD for years but has never stepped foot in the House of Ideas –but that’s never stopped artists before.


  1. I loved the art by Tag Eng Huat in the “In Thy Name” mini a couple years back. Requiem by JMS and Ribic essentially condensed the story of those four issues into the third issue of Requiem. Art was still great on both minis.

  2. Requiem i’s one of my top 5 all-time stories. I’m fine with there not being a SS ongoing so long as the character can be explored in miniseries of such quality–and DnA are utilizing him pretty well in their Annihilators series (though I feel that he doesn’t seem appropriately all powerful in that work, even though that was sort of explained it still felt off somehow)

  3. I’ve always loved the Silver Surfer. Something about the simplicity of the character design and his inherent dignity. He never seems to get much love from the comic book fanbase at large, which I think is a shame.

    As for an artist, I really liked his look from the Thor comic that Coipiel worked on. He had a certain something that most people seem to lack. Either that or the amazing fluidity of Eric Canete’s work would do the Surfer justice in my mind, with writing by Abnet and Lanning, of course.

  4. wow, this looks like it could be good. thanks

  5. waitaminute… Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely pitched Marvel a Silver Surfer book?
    Details please?

    • From “The Unpublished Grant Morrison – Marvel Comics” (deep space transmissions)

      SURFER: YEAR ZERO (2001)

      A Morrison / Quitely Silver Surfer collaboration, focusing on the early days of Kirby’s avenging angel of the spaceways, rather than Stan Lee’s cosmic hippy interpretation of the character. The book was proposed during their highly successful New X-Men run, but Quitely couldn’t keep up the schedule on the monthly book and this proposed mini fell by the wayside.

  6. I think straczynski would do great on a surfer book. His mini silver surfer requiem was fantastic

  7. I think characters like Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange, and Nick Fury would be great to launch a Marvel Comics Presents type of series. Each represent such fascinating sections of the Marvel Universe yet really don’t have the depth of character or supporting cast to maintain their own successful (mini)series. A high quality, deluxe format anthology series would easily attract the Marvel Zombies. But pairing these characters (in particular) with some renown creators from different mediums would attract a wider audience.

  8. For me I don’t think Hickman wouldn’t be a good fit for Silver Surfer.

    Already as a character he’s so remote, mixed with Hickman’s Kinetic King storytelling I think would dovetail into a bit of a cold fish comic. Mixed with the equally distant Grannov and you would certainly have a distant book.

    It would be like reading a comic through a telescope.

  9. My problem is that no one touches on his humanity anymore, and he’s never on earth. The old Stan Lee Buscema issues he was running around NY, like a lonely lost alien. Now he’s too powerful, and thus loses the human touch. Hickman wouldn’t bring the character what he needs… in my humble opinion.

  10. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, Silver Surfer was one of my favorite characters. I usually like heroes who are more street based or have much lower power levels, but something about the Surfer always appealed to me. I just love the character design, the concept behind him, and I’m a sucker for a good Galactus story, so his most famous Herald was right up my alley. I would love to see a great Silver Surfer comic become a reality.

    I might be remembering it wrong, but I think the idea of a group of survivor’s from worlds that ahve been destroyed by Galactus banding together has been done before, in the Beta Ray Bill mini series.

    I think a huge part of the Surfer creative team would be the colorist. it’s usually something that is overlooked, but with the cosmic aspect of the book, plus the nature of the appearance of the Surfer himself, the colorist on the book would be just as important as the penciller.

  11. Also, why is that Stan Lee and Mobius Surfer 2 issue mini not available in some kind of collected edition? I would buy the Hell out of that.

  12. The perfect writers for Silver Surfer would be Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. They get space drama and comedy.