Al Harper is a physicist and rock collector. He met the Silver Surfer when the Surfer fell from the sky. In an act of human kindness he took the Surfer to his home and let him recuperate. He learned of Galactus' barrier and offered to assist the Surfer in escaping Earth.
He created a suit that was powered by the Surfer himself. It was designed to disguise the Surfer's molecular structure and confuse the barrier. When the Surfer went to use it, he discovered the plot of the Stranger to destroy all life on Earth with a Null-Life Bomb. Al used a portable geiger scope to try to locate and defuse the bomb.
Little did Al know, the bomb had a defense mechanism. When he tampered with it it released a deadly gas. He was able to defuse it but not before it took his life.
The Surfer lit a flame as a tribute to Al at the cemetery that will burn as long as the Earth remains.