Thanks to Marvel’s awesome TPB Essential series, I recently read the original 18-issue run of Silver Surfer, written by Stan Lee and illustrated by John Buscema with Jack Kirby filling in for the last issue. It tells the story of Norrin Radd, a young astronomer on the planet Zenn-La, who prevents Galactus from destroying his world by allowing the towering planet devourer to transform him into the Silver Surfer and serve as his herald. Of course after interfering with Galactus’ plans to devourer Earth, his master exiles him there as punishment. Not only is be preyed upon by the likes of Loki and Mephisto, but the people of Earth react to him with hatred and scorn, much to the Surfer’s dismay. Seriously, why does the Surfer care so much about whether or not he is accepted by such lowly, inferior beings? Anyway, the first seven issues are each 64-page epics which undoubtedly mark the strongest material in the series, after which the stories get somewhat repetitive. People tend to scoff at Lee’s dialogue, but he does a wonderful job here, especially on those tortured monologues by the Surfer himself.
Speaking of which, if you hadn’t already noticed, the Silver Surfer whines … a lot. You’d think an entity possessing god-like cosmic powers would show a little more decorum, but his exile on Earth and unwelcome treatment by its people must’ve really hit a chord, because boy does he ever let the drama flow to Morrisseyeque heights. If the Marvel Universe has an equivalent to the Book of Job, then it must be the plight of the Silver Surfer. I love the idea of the Surfer soaring through space while flailing over his board, shouting out into oblivion all the travesties which have been inflicted upon him. It's all so over-dramatic, but it works to effectively convey his torment to a young audience. Here are some excellent examples of the Surfer at his most emo: