The Silver Surfer has flown across some amazing covers over the years and has appeared in more than 1600 different comics. With such a long history, we decided it was time to honor some of the amazing artists who contributed their talents to bringing this amazing character to life. The Surfer has had numerous one-shots, miniseries and ongoing titles over the years, all titled “Silver Surfer” so we broke them down based on the volume year of release.
Many of the issues we have chosen for this list involve both important stories and beautiful artwork, but there are hundreds more we could have thrown up on this list of our favorite Silver Surfer comic book covers. Post in the comments some of your favorites! We might have missed a few in this list of the 15 greatest Silver Surfer covers of all time.
15. FANTASTIC FOUR #72
The Surfer returns to grace the cover of “Fantastic Four” #72, written by Stan Lee and penciled by Jack Kirby, only he isn’t out to save all of mankind. This time, the Surfer has seen enough of humanity to learn that there is no redemption for the warlike species, so he runs amok! Before he has a chance to attack the planet, the Watcher arrives to inform Reed Richards and Susan Storm of the impending attack, once again breaking his oath of non-interference. It’s a good thing he did because Reed, after forbidding Sue from getting involved in some kind of misogynistic appeal, goes off to take care of the Surfer.
The military sets out to take care of the threat and fires a “Sonic Shark” weapon at the Surfer, but Reed successfully detonates it before it makes contact. Still, the Surfer is knocked down and nearly taken out. He realizes there is more to mankind than he originally thought and everything goes back to handshakes and apologies. The cover art is stunningly beautiful for this issue. We see the Surfer flying towards us and blasting a cosmic beam from his left hand as the Watcher… well, watches.
14. SILVER SURFER #1 (1987)
When “Silver Surfer” #1, written by Steve Englehart and penciled by Marshall Rogers, hit the stands in 1987, it was the second time the Surfer got an ongoing series since his first ended in 1970. Since he became entrapped within the confines of the atmosphere of Earth, the Surfer has made many attempts to escape, often with the aid of the Fantastic Four. In another attempt, he meets the FF and is attacked by the Champion, who he quickly defeats. He learns that the Skrulls have kidnapped Nova, Galactus’ herald, and decides he must escape, so he follows the Thing’s advice and leaves his board behind. He finds that he is able to enter space, atomizes his board and reforms it making his escape a reality!
The Surfer then confronts Galactus and offers to save Nova for his ultimate freedom. He frees her from the Skrulls easily and is granted his freedom, thus returning the Silver Surfer to space as an independent hero for all. The cover was beautifully illustrated by Joe Rubinstein and depicts the Surfer cradling Nova as Galactus looks on.
13. SILVER SURFER #34
In “Silver Surfer” #34, written by Jim Starlin and penciled by Ron Lim, the Surfer finds a lifeless planet where he can just stop and rest for a moment. He hasn’t slept in years and decides to take a quick nap and check out the dreamworld for a change. He dreams of two demons carrying a chest, which they present to Death herself. Once the chest is opened, a soul emerges and Death talks (through her minions) of the in-balance she senses in the Universe due to the events involving Galactus, the In-Betweener and Eternity.
Once the demons spot the Surfer, they attack and he leaves the structure to find the world covered with aliens. He continues to be attacked until he finally awakens upon the barren world he fell asleep on. He considers the dream and finds that the soul Death ultimately brought back to life belonged to Thanos. The cover art depicts the Surfer flying in front of a giant and imposing Thanos, who has returned and will soon embark on a quest to find the Infinity Gems.
12. SILVER SURFER #53
There’s an aspect of the story in “Silver Surfer” #53, written by Ron Marz and penciled by Ron Lim, that makes it stand out and that’s because the Silver Surfer isn’t in it. Ael-Dan and Dar-Benn hatched a plot to assassinate Clumsy Foulup, the Emperor of the Kree Empire. They come into contact with the Surfer who seeks atonement for the second Kree-Skrull War and agrees to kill the Emperor (doesn’t really sound like our reflective hero, does it?). The Surfer vaporizes the Emperor and is then destroyed by the Kree, fulfilling the assassination plot. The two co-conspirators plan to take over the Empire and declare martial law… and it works!
It is later revealed that the Surfer was a robot created by a scientist who was employed by Ael-Dan and Dar-Benn, who kills him off so there are no witnesses to their plot. It’s an interesting story, especially since the Surfer isn’t actually in it. The cover, also drawn by Lim and inked by Tom Christopher, depicting the Surfer about to kill the fallen emperor of the Kree Empire is so out of character, we had to add it to this list.
11. SILVER SURFER #92
There are a lot of covers featuring the Silver Surfer flying in on his board and blasting some unseen enemy, so we decided to choose one with a great story and some particularly beautiful cover art by Ron Lim. “Silver Surfer” #92, written by Ron Marz with pencils by Lim, features the Sky-Rider of the Spaceways hooked-up to a dream machine so that he can join his beloved Shalla Bal in a battle with the evil Warlord. While the Surfer is attached to the machine, his mortal body remains undefended and unbeknownst to him, he faces a foe from his past who has returned for him.
Avatar has located the Surfer in a dream machine and wants him to be hers (she’s something of a super-stalker when it comes to the Surfer, who she judges to be perfect in every way). The Surfer doesn’t take kindly to being ripped from his dreams and memories so he gets physical with Avatar, but not in the way she might have liked. He lets her know it isn’t going to happen and plugs her into a machine so she can dream of them being together as he leaves her behind in reality.
10. SILVER SURFER #102
You might think that a person who is granted the immeasurable power wielded by the Silver Surfer would like to hold onto it, but this story is all about him wanting to give it up. “Silver Surfer” #102, written by Mike Lackey, Ron Marz and Michael Jan Friedman with pencils by Tom Grindberg, tells the tale of the Surfer traveling to meet with Galactus to request a removal of his powers. He has grown tired of his life, and the actions he performed over the years in defense and service to Galactus have taken their toll. When he arrives at Galactus’ vessel, he is confronted by his new herald, Morg and the two get to fighting before Galactus breaks them up.
The Surfer requests to have his powers taken from him, but Galactus refuses and insists that he has a place in the Universe. He doesn’t take this very well and declares that he will find a way to have his powers stripped from him. The cover, penciled by Grindberg, shows the Surfer taking on a rather devastating blast from the mighty Galactus. We liked this particular cover due to the anguish depicted on the Surfer’s face and the rage on Galactus’.
9. SILVER SURFER #11
The astonishing cover art penciled by Alex Maleev for “Silver Surfer” #11, written by Dan Chariton and Stacy Weiss with pencils by Len Medina, is a beautiful depiction of the Silver Surfer standing on his board flying through space. When it comes to Surfer cover art, there was no way we could leave this issue off the list. It was difficult to choose only one from this volume, which is the fifth to bear the name Silver Surfer. All of the cover art for this series is spectacular.
The story within tells the fifth part of the “Revelation” story arc, which kicked off in issue #7. The Earth is threatened by Marduk, which was created for the sole purpose of destroying humanity due to its imperfection. The Surfer travels to the paradise planet Sof and attempts to use the Great Ark to house and restore life on Earth, but it crashes into the Pacific Ocean and the Surfer must fuse his Power Cosmic with the planet and become one with it in order to save humanity. This all subsequently plays out through between issues #7 and #14.
8. SILVER SURFER #1 (2011)
The Silver Surfer returned for a new miniseries in 2011 with “Silver Surfer” #1, written by Greg Pak and penciled by Carlo Pagulayan, who also illustrated the cover. The five-issue miniseries is titled “Devolution” and tells the story of the Surfer as he once again returns to Earth. Only the High Evolutionary truly understands the potential of the Sentinel of the Spaceways and he has designed a plan to discover the true nature of the Surfer. The character-defining tale pits the Surfer against the judgment of none other than… Norrin Radd.
The cover art for the series was done beautifully by Pagulayan (save for issue #4), but the best of the five is easily the first. We see a determined Silver Surfer atop his board like we do on so many covers, but he is flanked by an image of his former master Galactus on the left and the High Evolutionary to his right as he flies above the Earth.
7. SILVER SURFER #1 (1982)
“Silver Surfer” #1, written by John Byrne and Stan Lee with art by Byrne, was a one-shot that was published in 1982. The story featured the Surfer as he remembers happier times with his friends, the Fantastic Four. His identity as Norrin Radd is long becoming a distant memory as he retreats further into himself as the Surfer. His humanity is explored (even though he was never human) and he finds a way to return to his homeworld of Zenn-La to find it in shambles. Realizing that his beloved Shalla Bal may not be doing as well as he had hoped, the Surfer embarks on a quest to find his lost love and determine what has happened to his home.
He learns that Galactus ravaged the planet after his betrayal and Mephisto had kidnapped Shalla Bal. He returns to Earth, once more becoming trapped, and confronts him in his realm. In their battle, Mephisto turns her into energy and shoots her home, but the Surfer is unable to follow. The cover art, penciled by Byrne and inked by Tom Palmer, is a beautiful rendition of the Surfer in space, which has a truly cosmic look and feel to it.
6. SILVER SURFER #1 (2014)
The fifth volume of Silver Surfer comics has been published with a ton of variant covers, all of which deserve mention, but we have to limit ourselves so we chose our favorite. “Silver Surfer” #1, written by Dan Slott with pencils by Francesco Fancavilla, featured a beautiful cover designed by Mike and Laura Allred. Depicted on the cover is the Surfer, front and center, holding a young woman with his right arm as they appear to be pursued by a giant flock of alien ladybug monsters above what could be a moon or asteroid. The artwork is somewhat reminiscent of the look the Surfer had in the 1960s and Mike Allred’s unique style that helped to launch “Madman” to success is clearly evident.
Dawn Greenwood (the woman pictured with the Surfer) is his new traveling companion, who he rescued from the Motivator, who had kidnapped her so he would battle the all-powerful Never Queen. After he rescued her, she became his traveling companion in a way similar to many of the young ladies who have accompanied a certain Doctor on his adventures through space and time. The two share something of an attraction, which plays through the books in fun fashion.
5. TALES TO ASTONISH #93
Over the course of his publication history, the Silver Surfer has battled just about anyone and everyone he comes across. When he first came to Earth, he took on some of the mightiest heroes and in his early days, when the folks weren’t entirely certain on whether or not he could be trusted, fists would often fly before any words could be said. There are some amazing covers depicting the Surfer battling heroes and villains, including the Fantastic Four, Mephisto, Thanos and many more, but the time he faced the Hulk was a particularly intense cover.
“Tales to Astonish” #93, written by Stan Lee and Roy Thomas with pencils by Marie Severin and Dan Adkins, features the Surfer dragging an angry Hulk who has grasped his right wrist while the two soar over flames. The story is somewhat heartfelt as the Hulk requests transport off the planet to be alone once and for all. Since the Surfer cannot leave, the Hulk gets pissed and attacks. The Surfer learns of Banner’s curse and is about to heal him of it, but the Hulk awakens and attacks again so the Surfer takes off without ending the curse of the Incredible Hulk.
4. THE SILVER SURFER #11
“The Silver Surfer” #11, written by Stan Lee and penciled by John Buscema, who also illustrated the cover, depicts the Surfer holding the body of Shalla Bal, his beloved of Zenn-La. The story, “O, Bitter Victory” involves the Surfer taking part in a South American rebellion. In the previous issue, he attempted to dress as a human and walk about the world to experience humanity but is attacked on the streets of a war-torn country. He is aided by a local named Donna Perez, but she is taken prisoner and he must rescue her from the leader of the militia.
After he rescues Perez from the militia, he destroys the General’s headquarters, but the fight endures. They shoot down the vessel containing Shalla Bal and take her and Yarro Gort captive. Shalla Bal is shot by a soldier when Yarro and the General attempt to kill the Surfer. Once wounded, the Surfer must return his beloved to her ship so she can be taken back to Zenn-La for medical treatment, once again losing his love without being able to follow her.
3. THE SILVER SURFER #4
“The Silver Surfer” #4, written by Stan Lee and penciled by John Buscema, is oftentimes more collectible and harder to get a hold of than the first book in the series. A lot of that has to do with the amazing cover art drawn by Buscema featuring the Silver Surfer attacking a ready Thor as he stands on the Bifrost with Asgard shown in the background. The story within, “The Good, The Bad, And The Uncanny,” has Loki once again up to no good. He has hatched a plan to kill Thor and take over Asgard, and approaches the Surfer on Earth. Loki offers to free the Surfer from his terrestrial captivity if he agrees to kill Thor, convincing him that Thor was the one trying to take over.
The Surfer is transported to Asgard where he confronts Thor, but the God of Thunder wants to finish his meal so they agree to gladiatorial combat following dinner. The two engage, but the Surfer finds that his power is somehow augmented while Thor is not fighting with his full potential. Loki’s plot is revealed and everybody goes back to being friendly, but the Surfer is again returned to Earth where he is unable to leave.
2. FANTASTIC FOUR #50
“Fantastic Four” #50, written by Stan Lee and penciled by Jack Kirby, serves as the conclusion of “The Startling Saga of the Silver Surfer,” which began in issue #48. With the world in peril and on the brink of destruction at the hands of the almighty Galactus, the Silver Surfer rebels against his master and aids the humans in their fight against the cosmic being. Galactus abandons his task of devouring the energies of the Earth and leaves the planet. He doesn’t forgive his formal herald and confines him within the atmosphere of the Earth, incapable of reentering space.
At a time when comics were spending more time on local problems and supervillains than anything too crazy, the introduction of both Galactus and the Silver Surfer introduced Earth (and readers alike) to a greater cosmic reality. The covers for issues #48 and #49 were also great, but Kirby’s art for the cover of #50 wins out as the better Surfer issue. He is standing on his board in full force, revealed as a new hero and even though the book belongs to the FF, it’s all about the Surfer on this one.
1. THE SILVER SURFER #1 (1968)
It may not be the first appearance of the Silver Surfer, nor is it the first time he graced a cover, but “The Silver Surfer” #1, written by Stan Lee and penciled by John Buscema and Gene Colan, is probably the most iconic depiction of the cosmic hero. Buscema penciled the iconic image of the Surfer on his board soaring away from the Earth on this cover featuring a story of his origin. This inaugural issue in the Surfer’s first ongoing series tells the tale of the Surfer, now trapped on an Earth he doesn’t fully understand. Everywhere he goes, he meets with hatred, fear and prejudice, forcing him to see shelter in the Himalayas where he is attacked by Yetis.
This reminds him of the time he tried to help the Hulk (“Tales to Astonish” #93) and other events where he doesn’t understand the nature of humans. He recalls his life as Norrin Radd before he became the surfer and we are treated with a wonderfully illustrated rendition of the origin of the Silver Surfer.
Which was your favorite cover featuring the Silver Surfer? Let us know in the comments!