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Top Five Most Iconic Nick Fury Covers

Here are my picks for the top five most iconic covers featuring Nick Fury (with iconic being determined by what covers are most established and most recognized when it comes to Nick Fury, with a preference towards covers that are homaged a lot). This is not a BEST cover list and due to the very nature of icons, very few (if any) recent covers will be on the list. A notable exception to the rules is that I don’t count covers from a character’s first appearance (which isn’t applicable to all characters, of course, just those who appeared on the cover of the comic they debuted in), as those tend to be automatically iconic so they’re boring. Here‘s a list of all characters featured so far.


Before the list begins, here is the first cover appearance of Nick Fury, from his debut issue..

Artists: Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers

Now on to the list…

5. Artists: Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia

I would have gone with a cover of Ultimate Nick Fury, but he really did not have a notable cover appearance for way too long for it to be actually iconic. So instead, we have the debut of Fury as the co-lead in Strange Tales, now as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

4. Artists: Herb Trimpe and Sam Grainger

This snazzy “Day in the Life” cover is not nearly as striking as Steranko’s early covers for Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but has somehow been homaged a lot more than most of Steranko’s other covers, most recently, I believe, on a Wolverine cover.

3. Artist: Jim Steranko

This patriotic delight is a tough call for #3, as it is a more striking cover than the cover below it, but the cover below it has been homaged plenty of times…

2. Artist: Jim Steranko

The first issue of Fury’s ongoing title has been homaged often.

And it’s not like it isn’t a great cover on its own right, just noting that I like the Strange Tales cover above it more, but again, if we were going by “best looking Fury covers,” they’d ALL be Steranko covers (Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. covers #5 and 7 are the ones who would likely be on the list if I just was doing best Fury covers).

1. Artist: Jim Steranko

It’s issue #4, though, that perfectly captures Steranko’s Nick Fury era, and this one has also been homaged constantly (most recently, I believe, ALSO on a Wolverine cover!).


Shouldn’t this be included: http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=22405&zoom=4 ?

I know it’s actually a homage to an earlier iconic image but then so, at some level, was the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths 7.

I came here for the crazy pop awesomeness of Agent of Shield #7 ^_^

I leave disapointed ;_;

Again, I’d pick covers #1-3 but not necessarily #4-5. I think I would’ve gone with NICK FURY #7 also.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 5, 2009 at 5:31 am

I dunno, SHIELD #5 is certainly my favorite (tied with Shield #7) of the Steranko-era covers; it so perfectly captures a particular 1960s iconography that it could stand in for an entire element of “acid pop.”

Well, this selection is definitely an improvement over Iron Man. And the thing is, while I can criticize both sets, I think overall you’re still going to end up with more really iconic Fury covers.

In one sense, that can be assigned to Steranko. But in another sense, it’s still telling that a single artist during a relatively brief run could tip the scales so much. Yes, that’s why Steranko is revered. But Iron Man has been serialized constantly since the early 1960s. Fury has been on-again, mostly off-again. (Since you threw in Strange Tales, this time, I’m assuming any/all Fury series were considered.)

It’s really amazing how poorly Iron Man seems to fare in the iconic cover department. Tell Quesada that when he’s finished swimming in his new money bin, he should make it a goal to get Shellhead some covers that will stand the test of time.

I was very surprised that NFAoS #6 http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=22334&zoom=4 wasn’t in there. One of the best, and most iconic, covers ever. Homaged on issues of Ka-Zar and Superman, among other places.

Also, shouldn’t at least one Sgt. Fury cover be included? Maybe this one http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=18758&zoom=4

Best homage of ST #167 was the back cover of an issue of The Simpsons, featuring “Krusty, Agent of K.L.O.W.N.”

Even though I’m in the camp that derides Steranko’s apparent (& unfortunately trend-setting) lack of work ethic/commitment to meet deadlines/whatever, he’s undeniably a helluva artist, & you couldn’t go wrong with *any* of his SHIELD covers … even though, counterintuitively enough, my personal favorite cover from the first series just may be #11, drawn by Steranko’s successor on the series, Frank Springer. (Part of that is no doubt attributable to the fact that for some reason or other, I didn’t start plucking SHIELDs out of the spinner rack back in the days of yore till Springer’s tenure was under way.)

Still & all, being on record as regarding SGT. Fury as his all-time favorite comics character & SGT. FURY & THE HOWLING COMMANDOS as his favorite series ever, I feel morally impelled to send forth the anguished cry — has the world forgotten that ol’ Nick had a career before SHIELD?

I know it’s actually a homage to an earlier iconic image but then so, at some level, was the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths 7.

What cover would Crisis #7 be homagaing? Please don’t say that X-Men cover with Cyclops holding Phoenix. There are enough differences to say that they’re thematically the same, but not a direct homage.

And Brian, have you actually defined what “homage” means in terms of this series? Or has there been a post that discusses the differences between thematic similarities (two different subjets presented in similar ways), homaging (referencing a past work in a present one), and swiping (stealing exact linework without attribution or payment)?

Excellent choices, the only one I haven’t really seen homage is number 4. The rest are all great picks.
Were this my list though, I probably would have moved #5 up to #3, and switch #1 and #2.

I can’t really argue with the top three at all as Steranko pretty much defines the SHIELD era of the character. I’d echo the idea that some of SGT Fury’s cover may have merited includsion.

But mostly the little 80’s fanboy in me would point to this as being worth a mention:

But then, Nick Fury versus SHIELD is for me a watershed series.

Funny how those swirly black and white images are so much a part of that particular era. This is sort of the time where comics — at least these specific ones — are mirroring the current pop culture of adults, not just being part of the less mature childhood world like it was in the 50s and early 60s, but that’s pretty much Marvel at the time.

Issue 7 was the first one that came to my mind also.

As far as the homages go, not all of them reference past comic books. Some of them reference fine art. The SHIELD #7 is a nod to Dali’s painting “Persistence of Memory” with all of the famous melting clocks. And CRISIS #7 references any number of images of the Pieta in which Mary cradles the body of Jesus. Michelangelo’s sculpture of the scene is probably the most famous depiction.

Yeah, those were my picks for spots 1 and 2.

All great choices.

Never read the older stuff, but the cover I always think of is from the max Fury series


“The older stuff?” “THE OLDER STUFF??”

Aaaagh, consarned kids, no respect, grumble grumble ;-)

I think Marvel should bring back “split books” like Strange Tales, with top-flight artists and writers working on them each month. This way we could get monthly work from great artists who can’t hit monthly deadlines. I would give anything in the world to see a Fraction/Aja Nick Fury and a Morrison/Williams III Dr. Strange every month…but I doubt that the latter could ever happen.

Roman –

That’s not the worst idea I’ve heard, actually. I mean, with the advent of $4 comics, and DC basically already responding by way of “split books” (e.g. Detective Comics with Batwoman plus The Question back-ups), it wouldn’t even be much of a leap.

Rather than bringing back, say, Black Panther and Moon Knight for the fourth/fifth/time whatever in solo ongoings, might it not be worth combining such B-list characters into split books?

Of course, there would probably be no guarantee of top-flight talent, because they require top-rate paychecks. I think this would in some ways be an argument in favor of the split book, because unlike an anthology, it’s still selling specific characters month in and month out, but simply doubling up. If planned properly, it could be a way to combine two marginal audiences into profitability.

The big trick, IMO, would be unlearning decompressed storytelling, because I don’t think that would work at all well with stories of 12-16 pages.

I’ve never seen that Trimpe one before; would’ve gone with the Dali landscape, myself.

No Sgt. Fury covers worth mentioning? And no “What if World War II was fought in space?” Heh.

The big trick, IMO, would be unlearning decompressed storytelling, because I don’t think that would work at all well with stories of 12-16 pages.

For a Bendis, this might be difficult; but look at Fraction’s Casanova and Morrison’s, well, anything, and you’ll see super-compression! The wave of the future.

Well, certainly not my favourite, but if we’re talking about iconic covers how about Nick Fury #6?

Strange Tales #167 cover is awesome…

The others are gold, but #4 is kind of a dud. Over that I’d pick St. Fury & His Howling Commandoes #12 .. or 9 .. or 5 … or 3.

I’d probably have made the all Steranko covers :-) I would have added 5 and 6 too. Gotta love Nick Fury in a Space Suit.

“Top Five” is too small of a number for this list.

#3 is pretty bad. Fury’s pose looks terribly silly, as though he were stumbling over some unseen stone in his path or perhaps kicking his feet together like a leprechaun.

>What cover would Crisis #7 be homagaing? Please don’t say that X-Men cover with Cyclops holding Phoenix. There are enough differences to say that they’re thematically the same, but not a direct homage.

This is the one: http://comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=17693&zoom=4

Both Crisis #7 AND the X-Men cover are references to this old Batman comic… wich itself, is inspired by a slightly older Strange Adventures cover. But the Batman version is way more well-known.

Crisis #7 isn’t a homage to Robin Dies at Dawn. What he meant was Pieta, the Virgin Mary holding Christ, just as the Steranko clocks cover homages Salvador Dali.


What cover would Crisis #7 be homagaing? Please don’t say that X-Men cover with Cyclops holding Phoenix. There are enough differences to say that they’re thematically the same, but not a direct homage.

This comes up whenever we talk about homages. There seems to be this perception that you have to literally trace over the source in order for it to be an homage, and that if it’s from a different angle, the pose changes a little, or there are fewer people in the background, it doesn’t count. I’m not of that opinion.

nice picks though nick fury seems to be in the almost ujnder rated catagory of characters and covers.though the stenko covers to me always look like they were trying to make the reader think they were on something.

Pretty good list, but I think you were reaching with #4. My pick for that slot? Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #12.

Great choice on #1. That really is the “Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” cover.

I love the Kirby cover. There is so much going on there with the multiple monitors, Fury in suit and the H.Y.D.R.A. guy. It is a more purely Spy-Fi cover than the others, which all have a touch of the superhero in them.

Yes, subtract STRANGE TALES #135 and NICK FURY #14 and add NICK FURY #6-7.

“The big trick, IMO, would be unlearning decompressed storytelling, because I don’t think that would work at all well with stories of 12-16 pages.”

The big trick for saving the comic-book industry would be unlearning decompressed storytelling. This kind of storytelling is a huge reason why consumers aren’t willing to plunk down $4.00 for a five-minute read. On some level, even unconsciously, people realize they’re buying a lot of pretty postcards…wasted space…hot air.

Comics reviewers constantly say things such as “not much happens in this issue” or “this issue is all setup.” That’s a direct result of the decompressed style. You’re basically getting half a story, or $2 worth, for your four bucks.

Is there anybody who thinks DC’s and Marvel’s superhero comics are as good as they were 25 years ago? When creators routinely used six panels per page and often 8-9? I’m guessing not.

It doesn’t seem right that there are no Sgt Fury covers here.

I agree with Mary. Unless this was a “most iconic Nick Fury agent of shield covers”. BTW, are we ever gonna find out about Two-Face’s crime pattern?

Another option would be Sgt. Fury #50, which was made into a poster back in the day:


I thought this list was good. Personally I think of SHIELD #6, and I’m not familiar with #14, but that’s just me. I can’t really quibble with the choices here. It’s interesting that Nick Fury has had significantly more iconic covers than either Iron Man or Supergirl despite both of those characters being better known and generally more popular. I guess having really fantastic artists like Steranko helps.

No Howling Commandos cover? For shame.

I would have gone with issue #6 over “A Day in the Life”, but that’s just em.

The Trimpe one is weird, that back leg is painful to look at. Trimpe always struck me as an artist who never had his own unique vision and just kinda cobbled his drawings together. He was able to meet his deadlines, so that’s a major plus.

As much as I enjoy Steranko, I wish he could have produced his work in a more timely fashion and that certainly makes me think less of his art.
All the more reason to admire Kirby I guess.

I miss Clay and his orange jumpsuit from his days in the Hulk comic.

Can’t argue with your #1 pick or anything Steranko, but I also like that first Kirby cover from Strange Tales. It’s pretty much iconic by now.

Yeah — the more that I think about it, your apparent blindness to Howlers-era Fury (the cover of #1 notwithstanding … was that there yesterday a.m., when I typed my first objection?) earns this one a big ol’ FAIL, as the young people say these days.

What you’ll be able to do to get back in my good graces, I have no idea.

If, in fact, it’s even possible.

Which I know will cause you untold nights of sleeplessness.

(Well, maybe if you give us a separate “Five Most Iconic SGT. Fury Covers.” Yeah, that’d do it.)

My favorite cover is from What If Sgt Fury fought WWII in outer space?

Isn’t the cover to SHIELD #6 a homage to an old Wally Wood EC cover or panel? someone help me out with this.

whoever decided to make fury an agent of shield should get co-creator credit

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 8, 2009 at 12:01 pm

whoever decided to make fury an agent of shield should get co-creator credit

Luckily, it was the same two people who’d co-created Fury in the first place.

I hate to be yet another vote to the same, but most of these covers are not iconic

For Nick, I think the following would be one. (I know many folks can’t get past Sienkiewicz’s style – but this image represents what Fury is all about – a relentless warrior – and even the oversized gun is symbolic)


the punisher or nick fury…? nick of course, hes been in wwll plus hes got cool covers.

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