A comic book cover featuring Silver Surfer/Norrin Radd, illustrated by Adi Granov

Fantastic Four: How Many Silver Surfers Are There in Marvel Canon?

Marvel Studios made waves recently by casting Julia Garner as the Shalla-Bal incarnation of Silver Surfer in the Fantastic Four reboot. Many casual fans had no idea a female Silver Surfer even existed – so just how many Silver Surfers are there in Marvel’s comic book canon?

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Related: Is There a Female Silver Surfer, Answered

How Many Silver Surfers Are There in Marvel Canon?

Silver Surfer and Shalla-Bal holding onto each other.

This is one of those questions without a straightforward answer, but here goes. Technically, there’s only one Silver Surfer – at least, in mainstream Marvel continuity. His name is Norrin Radd, and he was once an astronomer from the planet Zenn-La. He’s the guy that shows up in the seminal Fantastic Four storyline the “Galactus Trilogy,” as the herald of planet-chomping antagonist Galactus. Following the conclusion of this epic tale, the Norrin Radd Silver Surfer severed ties with his boss and quickly became a mainstay of the Marvel Universe’s cosmic corner. So, whenever someone mentions the Silver Surfer, they’re almost certainly talking about him.

Where things get complicated (as always) is the multiverse of it all. A sizeable number of variant Silver Surfers from alternate universes exist in Marvel canon – although most of them are still Norrin Radd (just not “our” Norrin Radd). There are, however, some notable exceptions. A Surfer-ized spin on the Fantastic Four’s leader, Reed Richards, appears in the 2009 Fantastic Four arc “Solve Everything.” Male and female Silver Surfers named Kawan and Juno star in the 2010 Hercules: Twilight of a God miniseries. A cat – yes, a cat – Silver Surfer is in 1998’s Unlimited Access #4.

There’s also an unnamed evil Silver Surfer from 2009’s Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #48, and the Silver Men and Silver Searcher from the Ultimate Marvel line. Finally, there’s Shalla-Bal: a supercharged version of Radd’s girlfriend from Zenn-La, who briefly appears in the Earth X limited series. In Earth X, the Shalla-Bal Silver Surfer operates in tandem with her other half, however, there’s currently no indication that Marvel Studios’ Fantastic Four flick will recreate this aspect of the comic. So all told, at least nine distinct versions of Silver Surfer are zipping around out there.

Related: Who Is Fantastic Four’s Galactus in the Marvel Universe?

How Many Heralds Has Galactus Had?

At this point, anyone not suffering from Marvel overload may be wondering: has Galactus ever had any other heralds besides Silver Surfer (and his various variants)? Yep, he sure has. If we stick to just mainstream Marvel canon, the following 10 characters have served as Galactus’ herald in a formal, long-term capacity (you’ll find the expanded list here):

  1. The Fallen One
  2. Unnamed herald
  3. Silver Surfer
  4. Air-Walker
  5. Firelord
  6. Terrax the Tamer
  7. Nova II
  8. Morg the Executioner
  9. Red Shift
  10. Stardust

The Silver Surfer’s adventures (including Earth X) are available to read on Marvel Unlimited.


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Leon Miller
Leon is a freelance contributor at The Escapist, covering movies, TV, video games, and comics. Active in the industry since 2016, Leon's previous by-lines include articles for Polygon, Popverse, Screen Rant, CBR, Dexerto, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more.