This Marvel Comics character is the Herald of Galactus the Planet Eater, imbued with the "Power Cosmic". He is silver and rides a surfboard through space. Created by Jack Kirby in 1966, the Silver Surfer has a somewhat controversial origin as he first appeared in the Fantastic Four series (during the "Galactus Trilogy") and was thus assumed to have been co-created with series writer Stan Lee. However, Lee later admitted that Kirby added the character to the story on his own. Kirby felt that a being like Galactus should have a special herald to represent him. However, the Surfer's origin was invented by Lee (not Kirby) when the character got his own series.In the Trilogy, the Surfer finds Earth (despite Uatu The Watcher's attempt to hide it from him) and signals Galactus to come devour the planet. The Surfer is then knocked out by the Fantastic Four, but is nursed to health by their kind ally, Alicia Masters. This causes him to decide to protect Earth and joins the heroes in opposing his master. Galactus is then forced to swear not to try to eat the Earth when his own greatest weapon is pointed at him. However, Galactus punishes the Surfer by sealing him within Earth's atmosphere, unable to return to space. The Surfer then becomes a wandering hero. He also helped to found the superhero group The Defenders.The character proved popular enough to receive his own series (twice). In the first, it was revealed that he was originally Norrin Radd, a man from the planet Zenn-La. He became Galactus' herald in exchange for his sparing Zenn-La from being eaten. However, Galactus decided to seal away the Surfer's emotions after transforming him, to keep them from interfering with his mission, until Alicia reawakened them. In the second series, the Surfer was freed to return to space, where most of his new adventures took place.The Surfer is still popular and occasionally shows up in other Marvel series. He's something of a Purity Sue, due to his cosmic level of power and having a soul so pure that Mephisto, Marvel's stand-in for Satan, tried many times to corrupt him. He has become more worldly, Depending on the Writer.The Kirby/Lee conflict is lampshaded in the movie Crimson Tide where a fight breaks out in the galley among the men over which is the true Silver Surfer. The submarine's Executive Officer (Denzel Washington) chastises the enlisted man for getting in a fight over the issue, saying "Anyone who reads comic books knows that the Kirby Silver Surfer is the only true Silver Surfer." (the script was written by Quentin Tarantino, so this Shout-Out is hardly surprising)A new comic series by Dan Slott will start next year.
Besides Fantastic Four and his own comicbook line, the Surfer has appeared in:Film
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which was supposedly an adaptation of the Galactus Trilogy.
Anti-Villain: Started off as this and it could be argued that he has returned to this state now that he is a herald of Galactus again.
Arch-Enemy: Thanos and Mephisto; at least, they come closest. Galactus is a debatable example too. All three are far, far more powerful than him though, so its not your standard Arch-Enemy situation and he rarely fights them directly or on his own, and would quickly lose if he tried.
Astral Projection: Usually comes into play when Surfer is facing off against Mephisto.
Badass Boast: Rare, but the Surfer has delivered a few over the years.
Silver Surfer: Your ability to manipulate power is formidable. That I will admit. But I AM power.
Recently Surfer has become fond of more deadpan trash talk to remind people that he's one of the strongest heroes in the universe.
Nova: Surfer! The Revengers are the enemies' big guns.
Silver Surfer: Interesting.
Surfer takes down the Revengers versions of Thor and Iron Man with one attack each.
Silver Surfer: When we next have a quiet moment, Richard Rider, we can discuss the definition of the term.
In the 1990s animated series, Galactus wiped his memory after turning Norrin Radd into his herald. The Surfer's first act was to offer Zenn-La, Norrin Radd's home planet, as Galactus's first meal. Only Galactus's earlier promise to Radd spared Zenn-La.
Bullying a Dragon: Because he looks inhuman (and possibly because he nearly let Galactus eat Earth), in the early days people kept trying to attack him, and generally insulting him. Apparently, the fact that he's a borderline Reality Warper (and EXTREMELY dangerous when angered) never occurred to them.
Cutting the Knot: This trope was responsible for finally freeing the Surfer from Earth permanently; Ben Grimm suggesting that the Surfer try leaving Earth without using his board. To the Surfer, the very thought of travelling without his board is so unthinkable that both he and Reed Richards were stunned that there was a simple solution to the exile all this time and neither of them ever realized it. To put it to the test, the Four transported the Surfer in their spacecraft off the planet with his board left back on the ground and they discovered that was indeed all they needed to do. As for the board, The Surfer simply remotely converted it to a mass of energy unaffected by the barrier and called it to him to be reassembled as the board back in space.
Deflector Shields: The Surfer can create energy shields to defend himself and his allies.
Lampshade Hanging: The Surfer's ability to hear sounds in space gets the spotlight in Marvel Comics Presents #69.
Silver Surfer: Is that a sound— here in the vacuum where no sound can carry? It seems impossible!
Monster Modesty: Norrin ran around in silver underwear in his earlier appearances. He has now been reduced to Nonhumans Lack Attributes although the occasional artist might slap a pair of undies on every now and then.
My Significance Sense Is Tingling: With his Cosmic Awareness, the Surfer can sense major events throughout the galaxy just before they happen. On a smaller scale, the power has been used to find hidden doors, detect weaknesses in beings like Gladiator, and assist in guiding the Surfer though the galaxy.
The Needless: He doesn't require any sort of sustenance (such as air or food) in order to live.
Reality Warping: He doesn't use them that often, though, at least compared to his other powers.
Redemption Demotion: Averted. When he went from a villain to a hero, he continued to be quite powerful.
Scarily Competent Tracker: The Surfer's Cosmic Awareness allows him to detect powerful energy concentrations "anywhere in the cosmos." Combined with his Super Senses and ability to teleport to any dimension he has previously visited, it is almost impossible to hide from the Surfer.
Silver Surfer: Fools. Eyes that can track a single dust mote across the space ways will certainly have no difficulty tracing the path of a Troyjan battle cruiser.
Super Reflexes: In Marvel Comics Presents #1, the Surfer broke free from energy shackles in less than a nano-second before they could sap away his powers.
Super Senses: In Incredible Hulk #415, the Surfer could "detect the whistling of a meteorite a thousand light years away." Using his "far ranging vision", the Surfer could see Thanos from "more than a light year away" in Infinity Gauntlet #3.
Super Speed: The Surfer searched the entire surface of the Earth in seconds in Silver Surfer Annual #5. In space he regular travels many times faster than the speed of light, too.
Super Strength: The Surfer's strength is at least Class 100 and can be boosted by the Power Cosmic.
What Could Have Been: Before making a name for himself with Pulp Fiction and Killing Zoe, Roger Avary penned a script on spec in the late 80s. Based on Fantastic Four numbers 48-50, but with all references to the super hero team removed. In Avary's words: "Instead of Johnny Storm traveling to the Negative Zone, it's the Surfer. Instead of the Punisher guarding the Ultimate Nullifier in the Negative Zone I had a gold-skinned surfer-like guardian. Alecia Masters has no relationship with Ben Grimm, but is still a blind sculptress — through her I have the Surfer rediscovering the humanity he lost when he transformed from Norrin Radd to the herald of Galactus. Lastly, my first draft supposed that Galactus wasn't necessarily a sentient entity, but a massive and complex planet eating robot-ship that's operated by millions of creatures — Borg-like (before there were Borg)."