Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Somber Surfer

A backup story reprinted in Giant-Size Defenders #1 helped explain the brooding disposition of one of the team's strongest affiliates.

"The Peerless Power of the Silver Surfer" opened with the cosmic champion waxing philosophical as he rode across the skyline. Speaking to himself, in his customary style, the hero in exile projected his own frustrations onto the inhabitants of Earth. Adding to the Surfer's own despondence was this seldom-discussed hypersensitivity to the feelings of others.

Silver Surfer: Thru how many ages shall they be condemned to dwell--like insects in a hive--never knowing the glories of the endless universe? … I cannot endure being near them for more than a few of their minutes--the waves of human emotion which I sense are overwhelming! Fear--envy--greed--and hatred engulf me in ever-increasing torrents!!

Sensing a specifically inhuman torment, the Surfer discovered Quasimodo, the living computer with human-like emotions who longed for his abandoned master, the Mad Thinker.

Wielding cosmic energy, the Surfer forged a robotic body to liberate Quasimodo. But with powerful arms and legs, Quasimodo returned to his original programming and set forth on a destructive rampage. The Surfer felt responsible for the outcome.

As the robot tried to escape, the Surfer again enveloped Quasimodo in cosmic energy, this time transforming him into a motionless statue, resting on a clock tower. Because his best intentions had backfired, the Surfer questioned his own ability to understand or act in the defense of others. No wonder he felt most comfortable alone.
This story originally appeared in Fantastic Four Annual #5 (1967). Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack Kirby (King) Kirby, F. Giacoia (inking), Artie Simek (lettering). The illustration of Quasimodo appeared in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

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