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In the two-issue series of Marvel's The Silver Surfer, Galactus leaves earth when people stop believing in him.

The Silver Surfer reminds him about his pledge to never come and destroy earth, but still he came.

Why did he come to earth in the first place, and what made him spare the Silver Surfer's life and leave all of a sudden?

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Eh, for the curious he's talking about Parable. I have this somewhere but it's been ages and I forget most of the story.

Discussion between Glactus and Silver Surfer

This page, however, makes it clear that Galactus is doing Galactus. He came to Earth to feast but—owing to some code or cosmic enforcement mechanism—is keeping his earlier pledge not to harm the planet by his own power. The humans are worshipping him and mucking around in his name and he's banking on them destroying their own planet, mooting his earlier agreement, and leaving it available for consumption. Presumably, at some point after this, Surfer got the humans to ease up on their belief and self-destruction and Galactus left because the cafeteria closed.

It's a gorgeous comic thanks to Moebius but the writing was by Stan Lee and seems to just be religious allegory along his normal organized-religion-bad, noble-self-sacrifice-good lines.

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    To be fair to Stan he's not wrong on the organised religion front – Doctor Two Apr 5 '17 at 15:08

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