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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #357

I’m unleashing the full fury of another comics legend in the column today! Click if you dare! (Aaaarchive!)

12/23/07

357. Jim Steranko

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Despite a relatively small comics career, Jim Steranko made a massive impact on the medium, resulting in a slew of homages and imitators, and yet, no one’s managed to truly recapture the spirit and experimentation present in his work. There ain’t nobody else like Steranko.

Before he exploded onto the comics scene, Jim Steranko had led the life of a magician, carnival performer, musician, and, most notably, an escape artist (inspiring Jack Kirby’s Mister Miracle). Eventually, he made the leap into comics, first through Harvey, and later Marvel, in the 60s. There, he ended up on Strange Tales, and quickly took over the Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD segment of the book, where he really got noticed.

He turned the superspy serial into a means with which to experiment with the comics form, and it’s here that be became a true artist. From his layouts and use of shadow to his incorporation of collages and optical illusions into the art, he really made it his own. No one had ever seen anything like it, and I still don’t think anyone has. Steranko’s Fury was truly unique and utterly gorgeous, from the covers through the interiors. His art was hip, surreal, and sexy– the book became a psychedelic masterpiece.

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Look at those layouts! Look at those effects! Look at that love scene (albeit toned down from Steranko’s original version because it was too, too sexy for kids)! Look at that Dali-esque cover! Amazing work.

Steranko’s run on Nick Fury was fairly short-lived, though it was the longest run of sequential art comics he’d produce in his career. He also drew small stints on X-Men, Captain America, and short stories in a few other titles, continually playing with style or layout to improve the aesthetics of the form.

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Groovy.

Jim Steranko still does the occasional comics project, but he’s mostly settled into a role of historian and occasional publisher. Still, one has to appreciate his powerful contributions to the industry and to comics as an art form. Steranko’s gone in directions no one else has, even decades later, and for that, he’ll always be one of the greats.

For more, hit up the Wiki; loads of info and lots of links for your browsing pleasure.

14 Comments

The nice thing about 365 reasons to love comics is that you’ll be continuing it for another month or so, to fill-in those missing days. ;-)

And no, you are NOT absolved from that responsibility!!!

Have a merry X-mas and Happy New Year!

I would love to read a comic about Jim Steranko.

Where is that last page from?

I believe it’s from a 7-pager in “Our Love Story” #5 from 1970, reprinted in Marvel Visionaries: Jim Steranko.

The only Steranko work I’ve read are his X-Men issues. His work was a quantum leap forward from the Don Heck and Werner Roth art that the book was usually sporting. Aside from the fact that he designed the classic X-Men logo, the thing I remember most is that he wasn’t credited by name. He was credited “Art: Do we have to tell you?”

@ Matt D:

Steranko isn’t the lead feature, but he appears in the Flaming Carrot Photo Special #1 as himself working his immense charms on the ladies…

I believe it’s from a 7-pager in “Our Love Story” #5 from 1970, reprinted in Marvel Visionaries: Jim Steranko.

Was it recolored and -lettered?

It looks very modern.

Hell yeah Steranko’s bomb.

I love the page of Fury making out with his girlfriend. Somehow, in censoring the image, they made it much funnier and more suggestive with the gun-in-holster image at the end.

Another Steranko’s masterpiece is the Outland movie adaptation.

I’m so happy we can buy the Essential Ms. Marvel and the Essential Dazzler instead of the Essential Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Sterankovision.

Come on Marvel, throw me a bone here.

Come on Marvel, throw me a bone here.

There are actualy two trade paperbacks collecting the Steranko Fury. Now, why Marvel let them go out of print is anyone’s guess — but they’re less than a decade old, you ought to be able to find them. One collects all the Strange Tales strips, the other the full issue stories.

Steranko’s Captain America happened to be the first Cap story arc I ever read. For now and forever, that is my definitive Captain America story.

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