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Quote1 I didn't realize what I'd be getting myself into...but I can't let him down now! He's treated like an outcast wherever he goes...just because of the way he looks! Just because he's...different! Maybe it takes a guy like me to really understand! Quote2
Al Harper[src]

Al Harper was a scientist who befriended the Silver Surfer and valiantly sacrificed himself to save the Earth from the Stranger.[4] However, the Stranger captured his life force for experimentation and enhanced him with nanobots, which he now uses as the cosmically and technologically powered Ghost Light.[2]


Early Life[]

Alvin Harper (Earth-616) from Silver Surfer Vol 1 5 0001

Al Harper

Al Harper was a brilliant man who graduated from M.I.T. with multiple PhDs, including in physics, engineering, and material science. However, he lost his chance at a tenure as a physics professor when one of his mentors stole and published his work, resulting in Al Harper punching him in a fit of rage. Out of employment and desperate for money for his wife and son, he joined the Scarlet Sector of Advanced Idea Mechanics, where he studied to control cosmic energy and designed weapons for them. He was ashamed of this so he isolated himself in a small town called Sweetwater, New York. Eventually, his wife stopped taking the money he sent to her and left him with their son.[5] Al Harper remained in Sweetwater and kept a secret lab beneath his house.[3]

Meeting the Silver Surfer & Death[]

Alvin Harper (Earth-616) and Norrin Radd (Earth-616) from Silver Surfer Vol 1 5 0001

With the Silver Surfer

When Al Harper was out collecting rocks in the woods one day, an unconscious Silver Surfer fell out of the sky and landed at his feet. Al carried him to his cabin, and laid him in a bed until the Surfer came to. When Al learned of the barrier around the planet preventing the Surfer from escaping, he offered to help. He designed a device to simultaneously mask the Surfer's molecular structure, and confuse the barrier. Before the device could be fully tested, however, the Stranger appeared and declared his intention to destroy all life on the planet with a Null-Life Bomb.[4]

Al and the Surfer quickly switched tasks. Luckily, Al had modified a Geiger scope to react to unearthly substances. While the Surfer fought with the Stranger, Al found the bomb. As he tried to disarm the bomb, he discovered that any tampering caused it to release a smoky, acidic vapor. He continued disarming the bomb, despite the risk to his own life and Al saved humanity at the cost of his own life. Once he was buried by his fellow humans, the Surfer lit a fire over the grave, which he proclaimed would burn as long as the Earth endured.[4]

Ghost Light[]

Unbeknownst to all, Al Harper survived when the Stranger's device snatched his life force and materialized it in the Stranger's Labworld. The circumstances of his "death" and secret kidnapping were erased from the minds of Earth's denizens by the Stranger in a phenomenon called the "Sweetwater Gap."[2][6] For over a decade, he endured the cruel experiments of the mad cosmic scientist.[2] However, the Stranger, a composite being of countless Gigantians, was growing unstable and his mind was beginning to unsync. A small fraction of his minds that remained stable called the Inner Faction scanned Al Harper's mind and discovered he could fix him. The Inner Faction then hid himself in Al, sent him back to Earth to his original body, and altered the nanobots he had placed inside Al to use the Surfer's flame on his grave as a power source.[7]

Alvin Harper (Earth-616) from Silver Surfer Ghost Light Vol 1 1 cover 001

Al Harper manifested on Earth with new cosmic and technological abilities.[2] He was found by his sister's family, who had moved to his home in Sweetwater, and the Silver Surfer, who noticed his technology that was accidentally fired by Harper's niece and nephew.[3] However, A.I.M.'s Scarlet Sector also took notice of the energy signature and came to Sweetwater to retrieve their former employee, but they were no match for Harper's nanobots. Soon after, the Stranger's Inner Faction emerged out of Al's body to explain the situation and Harper reluctantly agreed to help.[7] The deranged main Stranger tried to recapture Harper,[2] and he later used the A.I.M. scientist Dr. Sombra Solomon as his avatar.[6] Harper and the Surfer stalled the Stranger while his niece and nephew activated Harper's device to resync the Stranger's mind. After the battle, the Stranger returned things back to normal, apologized profusely, and left Harper with a gift that he dare not open. Harper helped his niece and nephew adjust to the abilities they had gained from this ordeal. He then went to visit his ex-wife, who had remarried, and his son.[8]



Nanobots: Al Harper has nanobots implanted in him by the Stranger which he can control as if they are a part of him.[2] When the Stranger's Inner Faction sent Al to his grave on Earth, the nanobots became powered by the Power Cosmic that the Silver Surfer left by his grave, as per the Stranger's intent.[7] With this, Al emits and can absorb Power Cosmic.[2] Since the flame the Silver Surfer made was connected to the life on Earth, so is Al.[6]


Harper is highly intelligent as he is able to make devices for the Silver Surfer, A.I.M., and the Stranger.[4][7]



See Also

Links and References