The Silver Hero: Epic or Just Super? Essay

2154 Words 9 Pages
The Silver Surfer narrative, while distinctly unique in its structure, depicts the Silver Surfer as an epic hero and, in doing so, also fits the more specific format of the literary epic. At times, the comic book series has the characteristics of both an allegorical tale and a morally edifying plot progression. The origin-story of the Silver Surfer expresses a distinct hierarchy of ethical values (Gabilliet 207), and lays the framework for the Surfer’s existence, placing him in a position to give direct social commentary on the human race. This social commentary not only encompasses the personal opinions of the series' creator, but also the greater moral compass of American culture as a whole.

The Silver Surfer, once known as 'Norrin
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Eventually, the Silver Surfer escapes the barrier which prevents him from escaping Earth, but chooses to remain on Earth for an extensive period of time, because of a sense of moral obligation to protect the planet’s inhabitants (Gabilliet 207). Eventually, as more heroes arise across the planet, the Surfer determines he is again free to subdue evil forces throughout the universe, a duty which he feels more compelling than his own urges to return to his home-world (Comtois).

While most comic book superheroes generate an 'alter-ego' or 'secret identity' to help blend in with the rest of human society, the Silver Surfer does not, thus separating him from humanity as a whole. This one-faced personality gives him an outside perspective on human interactions, as he remains outside the scope of normal human activity.

Additionally, the Surfer's outside perspective places him a unique position in the role of the archetypal literary hero. Normally isolation represents an opportunity to prove oneself, as in Beowulf (Wang 2), but in the Silver Surfer’s case, the isolation only decreases the likelihood of the Surfer ever developing into a hero at all, because he has no opportunity to return to his home and receive any reward for his far-off triumphs.

As a hero, the Silver Surfer fits the mold

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