Silver Surfer: Where Do I Start?

You know, for a guy that looks like a hood ornament, the Silver Surfer is pretty awesome.

Created back in 1966 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee during their epic run on Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer has gone from a mere errand boy for Galactus into being his own man and, as Lee puts it, “sentinel of the spaceways.”

Before the Silver Surfer ever set foot into space he was a moon-eyed astronomer named  Norrin Radd born on the idyllic world of Zenn-La. It was only when his planet and his people were threatened by the planet-devouring Galactus that he found his destiny, exchanging the safety of Zenn-La for his eternal servitude to Galactus as his food-seeking herald. In this role Radd received a portion of his own immortal power, the Power Cosmic, transforming him into the sleek alien visage we know of now as the Silver Surfer.

In this week’s Where Do I Start?, we turn out attention to this space-faring (and soul-searching) hero and find his most identifiable stories the same way he used to find juicy planets for Galactus.

Essential Silver Surfer, Volume 1: Although Silver Surfer first debuted in comics as a servant to Galactus, when he broke out on his own he really stepped it up to a new level. This collection contains the first eighteen issues of the Surfer’s first series, featuring the epic origin story in issue one by Stan Lee and John Buscema. Lee and Buscema do a series of standalone issues here, including the debut of Mephisto in #3 in a confrontation with the Surfer and an epic face-off with Thor (thanks to Loki) in #4.

Silver Surfer: Requiem: The most recent tale in my rundown today, this four-parter by J. Michael Straczynski and Esad Ribic is a haunting story of Silver Surfer preparing for his imminent death via an infection. Over four issues, Silver Surfer commiserates with others and on his own about everything he’s seen, done and been a part of. Compared by some to All-Star Superman, this a decidedly more morose story that reaches a unique life-affirming quality.

Essential Fantastic Four, Volume. 3: This extra-sized addition to your bookshelf is the best place to witness the Silver Surfer’s debut in the three part “The Coming of Galactus” story from Fantastic Four #48 – 50. Lee and Kirby really give the Surfer a sense of majesty and nobility, all the while being somewhat reluctant in his picking of planets to serve as Galactus’ next meal. Although it appeared in Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer really becomes the central protagonist in this story-arc and really makes you feel his struggles.

Silver Surfer: The Rebirth Of Thanos: If I were to name Silver Surfer’s chief nemesis, it’d be a tie between Galactus and Thanos.This hardcover collects the return of Thanos in the lead-up to the Infinity Gauntlet series, and Silver Surfer’s role as the first to bear witness to Thanos’ return shows just how much he struggles with the awesome powers he has to face. \

Silver Surfer: Parable: Although the story might not live up to the other picks I have this week, the artwork by Moebius puts this way over the top. In this, writer Stan Lee pushes Silver Surfer straight into a religious argument as Earth’s people worship Galactus as a god and prepare to readily serve themselves up to him as his next meal.

Essential Silver Surfer, Volume 2: Not all of the “Essential” volumes live up to their name, but the two Essentials for the Surfer do just that. Following up from the previous one, this collection brings together the first ten issues of Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers run on the hero’s ‘title. In it, Surfer comes to the aid of his former boss Galactus when the Elders of the Universe (the people who possessed the Infinity Gems before Thanos) organize an assassination attempt on the world devourer. Also of interest in this collection is the double-sized Silver Surfer one-shot by John Byrne,which shows Byrne at his artistic height taking on the cosmic and the supernatural with the Surfer.


  1. Some good suggestions. I haven’t read Silver Surfer in a while but might be spurred to pick some of these up.

    I had some good luck diving in the quarter bins for some back issues a while back, I think I grabbed a thirty issue run for about $7.50.

    • 30 issues for $7.50? Sweet find!
      My favorite would have to be Rebirth of Thanos. Ron Lim’s run on Silver Surfer was filled with great images and great arcs(Jim Starlin I believe)

  2. Silver Surfer Requiem is an amazing story. Highly recommended.