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365 Reasons to Love Comics #16

A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. W.E.E.K. D.A.Y. T.H.R.E.E.!

Today we talk about the best Marvel concept without an Essential! Well, besides ROM. And maybe a few others. Today’s entry, though, is *surprisingly* missing an Essential volume in its honor.


16. Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD

SHIELD (originally Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law Enforcement Division, now Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate) is the helicarrierrific super-spy government agency to end all helicarrierrific super-spy government agencies. It’s the daddy of comics acronyms.

Of course, SHIELD hasn’t been used to as great an effect lately. They’re constantly getting invaded, having the helicarrier blow up on them, being used as patsies for some greater force… C’mon, what’s with that? Why can’t SHIELD become the cool espionage agency it used to be? There’s your problem– go back to the original meaning for the acronym. Be the cool sci-fi spy headquarters again, rather than a shadowy bureaucracy with guns.

Back in the day, SHIELD was the “shiznit,” as I’m told you youngsters say. It was hip, it was kooky– it was the precursor to constant other acronymed agencies that’ve popped up since (that’s right. Forget U.N.C.L.E. As much as we may love Robert Vaughan. He was no Nick Fury. And forget SPECTRE, too. I mean, they’re baddies and stuff. Besides, this column is about comics. And SHIELD is totally comics.)

Yesterday we talked about Kirby– today, let’s talk about Steranko. Jim Steranko. The guy turned SHIELD comics into a gorgeous pop art masterpiece. He brought in surrealism, new senses of graphic design, and loads of outside influences to give comics art a new spin. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Yes, I’m going to barrage you with images. After all, the original Nick Fury/SHIELD series had some of the best comic covers of all time.






So c’mon, Marvel! Where’s my Essential Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD? (Hell, for that matter, where’s my Essential Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos?) Let’s make SHIELD cool again! Let’s make it what it should be– An over-the-top flying fortress of James Bonds in a super-sci-fi world, led by the baddest mofo of them all (after all, he’s been played by David Hasselhoff! You can’t go wrong! And there’s the matter of Samuel L. Jackson Fury in Ultimates. Fury is the epitome of badassery.)

nickfury_hoff.jpg nickfury_saml.jpg

See you tomorrow.


Okay, is the Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury picture backwards, or does the Ultimate version have the wrong eye missing?

The picture’s flipped, yes. Ultimate Fury has the same eye missing.

Fury wears the patch over his right eye on Tuesdays. Just to mess with people.

I’d presume that the Steranko art is the reason an Essential has not been released, in the same way that we’re not getting New Mutants Esssentials because of the Bill Sienkiewicz art – the theory being that it’ll lose too much in black and white.

Then maybe it’s time for a Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.E.I.L.D Omnibus. That would definetly be one worth owning.

But we are getting “New Mutants Classic” trades, so hopefully there might be something similar for Nick Fury…

"O" the Humanatee!

January 17, 2007 at 9:35 am

The Fury/SHIELD stories from Strange Tales #150-168 were reprinted, in color, in a relatively recent TPB, as were the Steranko stories from Nick Fury: Agent of Shield #1-3 and #5 (including “Who Is Scorpio?”), in a separate TPB. Both are available new and used from Amazon:



I’d note that a couple of Amazon reviewers of the second volume are scathing about its printing and coloring (while the reviewer at http://thenostalgialeague.com/cr/plugs/cr_plugs07.shtml says, “The coloring on this volume is much better than the previous Nick Fury volume”!)

Theres a few trades out of there of Sterankos work. Theres his Visonaries trade but im not sure if it has any of SHIELD work but thats what the Nick Fury Agent of Shield trade is for.

Theres a few trades out of there of Sterankos work. Theres his Visonaries trade but im not sure if it has any of SHIELD work but thats what the Nick Fury Agent of Shield trade is for.

One of my favorite jokes ever in a Marvel comic was in Damage Control, where new intern Robbie Baldwin (aka Speedball) was trying to guess what the SHIELD acronym stood for.

“Super-Heroes In Espionage-Like Drag?”

“Nope. Hand over the five bucks.”

Wasn’t there some sort of royalties stink about the last NICK FURY: AGENT OF SHIELD reprint volume? That could be what’s holding things up.

The royalties stink had to do with Marvel printing the thing via a French company and thereby cutting Steranko out of the royalties. Steranko refuses to sgn the trades at cons, and has expressed anger about both the payment situation and about being cut out of the reprint coloring and production process. There’s no legal issue that would prevent Marvel reprinting the stuff, however since Steranko can’t claim to have created either Fury or S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 9:33 am

I didn’t know about the Steranko vs Marvel stink.
That is pretty low, even for Marvel (which was never a paragon of artist rights and recognition)!
Steranko, Kirby, Ditko and other artists are the reasons that company is still making millions of dollars in publishing and movie rights, while these guys got scraps, some living in near poverty.
Shame on you Marvel!

hmmm the shadowy one, and the black and white one look the best out of the covers. The black and white one especially remind me of Metal Gear solid 3. That old man kinda looks like The End. Too bad they didn’t stylised Fury too. He looks out of place in that B&W one. It makes the cover less cool.

Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

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