At Home On Zenn-La
One of the noblest and most tormented cosmic entities in the universe, the Silver Surfer treasures freedom above all else, but has often sacrificed his liberty for the greater good. He was born Norrin Radd on the planet Zenn-La, part of an extremely long-lived and technologically advanced humanoid race which had created a worldwide utopia devoid of crime, disease, hunger, poverty, and want of any kind. Norrin's mother Elmar, ill-suited to this stifling environment, eventually killed herself. Urged on by his atypically ambitious father Jartran, Norrin was raised as a grimly intellectual youth, encouraged to seek knowledge, advancement, and achievement rather than the aimless hedonism which had come to dominate Zenn-Lavian society. However, a disgraced Jartran would later commit suicide himself after he was accused of idea theft (though not before he had taken a new lover and fathered another son, Fennan, unknown to Norrin). Despite his lifelong love, Shalla-Bal, Norrin grew into a restless soul who longed for challenge and struggle, immersing himself in histories of Zenn-La's adventurous ancient past.
To Save A World
Norrin's life changed forever when a menacing alien spacecraft pierced Zenn-La's long-neglected defense systems. Convincing a Council of Scientists member to provide him with a spaceship, Radd soon confronted the invader, Galactus, who intended to consume Zenn-La. Radd offered to become his herald and seek out new worlds for him in exchange for Galactus sparing Zenn-La. Galactus agreed, transforming Radd into a silver-skinned, cosmic-powered super-being patterned after an adolescent fantasy plucked from Norrin's memories. Known thereafter as the Silver Surfer because of the silvery flying board he rode, Radd departed Zenn-La with Galactus.
The Alien and the Girl
The Surfer served Galactus well for many years, enjoying exploring the wonders of the universe; however, it became increasingly difficult for Radd to find energy-rich worlds devoid of sentient life. Over time, Galactus subtly altered the Surfer's mind, submerging Radd's emotions and repressing past memories. As a result, the Surfer became much more willing to lead Galactus to inhabited worlds, such as Earth. Locating Earth despite Uatu The Watcher's covert attempts to ward him off, the Surfer caused widespread panic and fought the Fantastic Four. During this conflict, the Surfer met blind sculptress Alicia Masters, who sensed his inner nobility and pleaded with him to spare humanity. His long-dormant emotions stirred by what Alicia taught him of beauty and spirit, the Surfer turned on Galactus and helped fight him off long enough for Uatu and the Fantastic Four to secure the Ultimate Nullifier: a cosmic doomsday weapon which forced Galactus to withdraw. However, Galactus punished the Surfer by trapping him on Earth, erecting an energy barrier around the planet that was uniquely attuned to the Surfer.
The Surfer became a melancholy global wanderer, trying to adjust to his new home and understand its people. After a pointless skirmish with Alicia's jealous boyfriend, the Thing, the Surfer was befriended and betrayed by Latverian tyrant Doctor Doom, who imprisoned Radd and stole the Surfer's power for himself; but Doom lost his new might when he collided with Galactus' barrier, and the Surfer's powers were restored. Increasingly pessimistic about humanity, the Surfer tried to befriend fellow outcast the Hulk, but the man-monster's violent temper drove him away. Next, the Surfer took pity on the Mad Thinker's abandoned sentient computer Quasimodo and gave it humanoid form, but he was forced to petrify his new creation after it proved to be criminally insane. Convinced by now that humanity was a savage race that could only survive and evolve if the planet were united against a common foe, the Surfer decided to become that foe. He terrorized the world with his cosmic powers until the U.S. military struck him down with an experimental power-draining "Sonic Shark" missile, based on technology developed by the FF's Reed Richards. Humbled by the incident and shown the error of his ways by the FF, the Surfer resumed his peaceful wanderings. His powers were diminished, though they gradually returned to their original levels.
New Friends, New Foes, and Past Mistakes
Aided by the Fantastic Four, the Surfer resisted attempts by Galactus to regain his services. He also faced foes such as the alien Badoon, the demonic Mephisto (who became obsessed with breaking the Surfer's spirit), Asgardian trickster god Loki (who manipulated the Surfer into battling his brother Thor), the alternate-future Overlord, mad scientist Ludwig von Frankenstein, the ghostly Flying Dutchman, rogue Zenn-Lavian scientist Yarro Gort (who coveted Shalla-Bal for himself and died trying to destroy the Surfer), the occultist Warlock Prime, the monstrous Abomination, and the robotic Doomsday Man. One of the Surfer's few true friends during these early adventures was physicist Al B. Harper, who sacrificed his life to help the Surfer save the world from the enigmatic Stranger; the Surfer lit an eternal flame at Harper's grave in memory of his heroism. Several times during this period, the Surfer was briefly reunited with Shalla-Bal, who was used as an unwilling pawn against the Surfer by foes such as Mephisto and Gort; but circumstances always forced the lovers apart, sending Shalla Bal home each time. Increasingly frustrated by his situation and disgusted by man's inhumanity to man, the Surfer, secretly influenced by Psycho-Man, became more hostile, battling Spider-Man, Human Torch, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans in a series of misunderstandings and misadventures. But when Doctor Doom temporarily usurped the power of Galactus, the Surfer helped defeat the villain.
Defending His New Home
The Surfer formed a temporary alliance with the Hulk and Namor the Sub-Mariner to oppose a new weather technology that threatened to destroy the world; these "Titans Three" completed their mission despite the misguided interference of the Avengers, and even toppled a minor hostile dictator along the way. Namor, Hulk and Doctor Strange soon formed a more enduring heroic alliance as the Defenders - saving the world from Yandroth. They tried to recruit the Surfer for their first mission, but he was recovering from a collision with Galactus' barrier at the time. After aiding Thor against Loki‘s minion Durok the Demolisher, the Surfer helped the Fantastic Four defeat Galactus' latest herald, the Air-Walker android, and the Fantastic Four in turn protected the Surfer by trapping Galactus in the Negative Zone. The Surfer soon fell under the mental sway of Calizuma and his Warrior Wizards, agents of the demonic Undying Ones. Freed from their influence by the Defenders, the Surfer helped defeat the wizards and became one of the Defenders' earliest recruits, aiding the team against foes such as the Nameless One, Attuma and the Red Ghost. At one point, a quest to restore the petrified Black Knight led the Defenders into a conflict with the Avengers, orchestrated by Loki and Dormammu. In the end, the villains were defeated and the two super-teams parted as friends, though the restless Surfer soon left the active Defenders ranks.
Return to Zenn-La
Tricked into helping Doctor Doom create the deadly Doomsman android, the Surfer helped the Fantastic Four neutralize this menace, and then clashed with the vampire lord Dracula. Later, the Surfer was present at an Avengers-Defenders gathering ineffectually attacked by mind-controlled heroine Jewel. After another clash with the Hulk, the Surfer aided the Defenders against the demonic Six-Fingered Hand and their hellish masters, including Mephisto. After aiding the Avengers against the Molecule Man, declining an offer of Avengers membership, attending the funeral of seemingly deceased Defenders teammates Nighthawk and Valkyrie, and participating in another Avengers-Defenders clash orchestrated by alien menaces Nebulon and Supernalia, the Surfer finally pierced Galactus' barrier with the aid of Reed Richards and escaped Earth. But he discovered Zenn-La had been devastated by a vengeful Galactus, barely capable of supporting life. Worse yet, Shalla-Bal had been abducted back to Earth by Mephisto. Though it meant trapping himself on Earth again (since Reed's escape method would work only once), the Surfer returned to Earth and defeated Mephisto, who sent Shalla-Bal back to Zenn-La, though not before the Surfer endowed her with a portion of his cosmic power which she used to revitalize their ravaged homeworld.
Defenders No More
The Surfer helped the Defenders liberate the Squadron Supreme’s alternate Earth (Earth-S, Earth-712) from the control of the demonic Null The Living Darkness, then celebrated the Hulk's brief public acceptance after gaining Bruce Banner's intellect. But the Surfer and his fellow senior Defenders - Hulk, Namor and Strange - were tricked into disbanding after the alien Tribunal convinced them their continued teamwork was fated to cause Earth's doom. The Surfer, meanwhile, helped the Fantastic Four defeat the cosmic-powered Tyros (formerly Galactus' herald Terrax) and locate a missing Reed Richards, helped Earth's heroes neutralize the threat of the near-omnipotent Beyonder, and teamed with the Molecule Man to undo much of the damage done to Earth by the Beyonder.
The Spaceways Reopened
Piercing Galactus' barrier again (this time by using the Thing's simple suggestion of trying to pass through it without his surfboard), the Surfer made peace with Galactus by rescuing his current herald Nova (Frankie Raye) from the Skrulls, after which Galactus finally ended the Surfer's long exile. Radd revisited his homeworld, but Shalla-Bal had become empress of the rejuvenated Zenn-La and was not free to renew their romance. The Surfer became embroiled in fresh hostilities between the interstellar Kree and Skrull empires, and intervened in a series of plots by the Elders of the Universe, who planned to destroy Galactus, and the universe with him-in order to become the supreme powers of a new universe. The Surfer thwarted the Elders with the aid of his new love interest Mantis, the Earth-born cosmic heroine also known as the Celestial Madonna, but she seemingly died in the process; though she would later return, she never fully renewed her romance with the Surfer. Romantic sparks developed between Nova and the Surfer, whose influence gradually led Nova to question the morality of her role as a herald. Galactus finally replaced her with the far more ruthless Morg, who killed Nova during a conflict with the Surfer and most of the other ex-heralds.
Cosmic Adventures and Mysteries Galore
The Surfer has repeatedly battled space-born menaces such as Reptyl, Ego the Living Planet, Super-Skrull, Midnight Sun, Nebula, Galactus' dark counterpart Tyrant-and, perhaps most notably, Thanos, a death-worshipping rogue Eternal who wiped out half the life in the universe using the omnipotent Infinity Gauntlet before the Surfer teamed with a reborn Adam Warlock and many other heroes to seize and dismantle the gauntlet after undoing its effects. Later the Surfer foiled the mission of the galactic mercenary White Raven, to obtain an unknown power source for Thanos. The Surfer has been allied with cosmic adventurers such as Jack of Hearts, Ganymede, Genis-Vell and Warlock’s Infinity Watch, who helped the Surfer restore Shalla-Bal to life after she sacrificed herself to save Zenn-La from the supremely powerful Great One. The Surfer also partnered with Quasar, Beta Ray Bill, Morfex, and Xenith to form the short-lived Star Masters team, and began participating in occasional Defenders reunions - the Tribunal's hoax having since been exposed. During his travels, the Surfer also met his long-lost brother Fennan. However, Zenn-La and its people later seemingly vanished, and the Surfer was led to believe that his homeworld had been destroyed long ago by the mysterious Other, and that the Zenn-Lavian world and people he had encountered since becoming the Surfer were mere illusions. While this seems highly unlikely, Zenn-La's bizarre disappearance remains unexplained.
Death of Galactus/Rebirth of the Defenders
Losing his capacity for emotion again, the Surfer returned to Earth, eventually regaining his personality during a time travel adventure and sharing a romance with Alicia Masters. They ultimately parted as friends after many adventures together, one of which pitted them against Galactus' new herald Red Shift and led to the temporary destruction of Galactus himself. When a Gaea-powered curse from a dying Yandroth mystically forced Surfer, Namor, Hulk and Strange to assemble in response to any and all threats to the Earth, the ongoing stress of this situation coupled with the subtle emotional influence of the curse itself gradually drove the four senior Defenders mad, and they attempted to rule the world as the Order in the belief that this was the most efficient way to protect the planet. Their fellow Defenders - Hellcat, Nighthawk, Valkyrie, and Clea - teamed with other heroes-including Ardina, a cosmic-powered woman whom they mystically created from a portion of the Surfer's own energy-to oppose the Order and return them to their senses, just in time to prevent the curse from rendering a resurrected Yandroth all-powerful.
More recently, fearing a prophesied apocalypse, the Surfer worked with the alien Annunaki race to gather and protect some of Earth's most extraordinarily gifted children. In the end, one of those children, Ellie Waters, saved Earth from the godlike Marduk entity, preventing the apocalypse and reordering reality as if the Marduk crisis had never happened; though Ellie apparently retains her memories of these events. The Surfer has resumed his interstellar wanderings, but remains ready to aid his adopted homeworld should Earth ever need him.
Gladiators, Slugs, and Old Friends
During his travels, Surfer was captured by the Planet Sakaar Empire and planted with an obedience disk to ensure he remained loyal to them. Fighting as a gladiator, the Surfer was finally forced to face the Hulk. The Hulk had viewed Surfer as a friend, and was enraged when the Surfer mercilessly attacked. Destroying the obedience disk, the Hulk nearly killed the Surfer before being forced to stop. The Hulk and several other slaves and gladiators were freed when the Surfer used the Power Cosmic to remove their own obedience slugs and give them a way out of the arena.
The Silver Surfer had next joined other former heralds of Galactus to save their former master when the Annihilation Wave lead by Annihilus brought reigning catastrophe to the Kree Empire. Galactus had been imprisoned by Thanos and the Surfer along with former other heralds Red Shift; Firelord, and current herald Stardust attempt to free their master. The plan is a success, but in the process Stardust and Red Shift are presumably killed. Then when Stardust is revealed to be alive, it and the Silver Surfer both agree to become Galactus' heralds together. Later the Surfer tracks down Proemial Gods, Aegis and Tenebrous, which led him to almost being killed when he is thrown into the energy form that is known as the Crunch. Though he then channels that energy into his own being and uses this new-found power to kill the two powerful god like beings.
The Silver Surfer is next seen bringing Galactus to a planet known as Orbucen so he may consume the planets energy. During this attack they encounter Nova (Richard Rider). Nova tries to convince the Surfer to stop the attack, but the Surfer seems devoid of all emotion he once had for living things, informing Nova that it must be this way for Galactus to survive. Nova tries to subdue Galactus but is stopped every time by the Surfer. He convinces the Surfer to at least give the inhabitants enough time to get their ships off the planet. The Silver Surfer allows it, channeling the power cosmic with a blink to allow them immediate take-off. While on Orbucen, the two also encounter a psi-creature known as Harrow, who has taken hidden refuge on Galactus' ship. When Nova awakes Harrow from hibernation the Surfer breaks the creature’s psilink that has kept him hidden all this time, and Galactus proceeds to incinerate the creature. Galactus then transported Nova five light years away from him, and the Silver Surfer warned the Centurion that he dare not let their paths cross again, telling him that "Galactus never spares anything twice" before flying off.
Return to Sakaar/Return of the Silver Savage
The Planet of Sakaar ravaged by famine and brutality, many inhabitants looked to the story of t he Sakaarson for hope, and protection. The Silver Surfer arrived and was mistaken for the Saakarson by an old statue which was to represent their great hero. In reality the Surfer only appeared so that his master Galactus could feed. He meets and warns Skaar son of the Hulk of what is to come, but Skaar doesn't believe him and the two begin to fight. The Silver Surfer tells him that Sakaar has the energy in it from the old power, and that it is enough to sate Galactus for a hundred thousand years. When the Surfer tries to call Galactus to the planet Skaar traps the Surfer with an obedience disk. The Surfer then shows Skaar what it means to be a herald of the mighty Galactus as Galalctus feeds on Sakaar. It is revealed that what the Surfer shown Skaar was a vision of what would happen thanks to Skaar's misguidance towards his people. Skaar fought the Surfer once again, and was banished to Earth. Galactus after being awakened from his slumber caused by the sated energy of the old power, he hungered for more. The Silver Surfer tried to stop him, but was sent away across the universe by Galactus, who was no longer in need of the Surfer as a herald. The Surfer told his tale to others who wield the old power and warned them that someday soon, Galactus would come for them too.