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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – Agents of SHIELD, Part 2

In this feature we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

This is the second in a three-part look at the debuts of notable SHIELD agents. Click here for the first part, which spotlighted SHIELD directors. Today we look at notable members from the first twenty years of SHIELD’s existence.

Jimmy Woo first showed up in the short-lived 1950s Marvel series, The Yellow Claw (he was present from the first issue as the FBI agent assigned to take down the Yellow Claw).

Jim Steranko later brought him back in Strange Tales #160 in a new Yellow Claw tale…

At the end of it, Woo believes that Fury killed his one true love (the Yellow Claw’s niece). He vows vengeance. Fury explains to him that the woman killed was not really a woman, but an automaton. So Woo joins SHIELD in Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #2…

Jasper Sitwell was the first major addition to SHIELD in the pages of Strange Tales, joining the team in Strange Tales #144…

Steranko added two extremely notable characters when he took over the book, beginning with La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine in Strange Tales #159…

and then Clay Quartermain in Strange Tales #163…

(Later in the issue, Nick realizes that Clay can hold his own)

Along with Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan (and Sharon Carter, to a certain extent) these would be the backbone of SHIELD for the next forty-plus years.

Next installment will be for more recent additions to the world of SHIELD!


Wow, I thought I kinda knew SHIELD, but I realize that I must have read a few key Nick Fury adventures and never really read the rest.

I say that because I certainly know all of these agents, but if you’d asked me out of the blue where they debuted, I would have guessed that Clay Quatermain popped up in The Incredible Hulk. Sitwell’s even more embarrassing, because I know him from Iron Man comics, but I have to confess that I always got him mixed up with Henry Peter Gyrich, so I probably would have guessed that he first showed up in Avengers. But I would have been wrong. So very wrong.

I’d love to see Woo appear in the SHIELD show.

Gail Rucinter and Laura Brown could be good additions to this feature. Gail is kind of odd, because DeMatteis seems to have been the only one using her.

Come to think of it, the Black Widow fits nicely as well. Her early exploits aren’t that much well-known, and there are a couple of interesting moments of her connecting or reconnecting with SHIELD that are if anything even less well-known.

“Lend lease him to Uncle?”. As in The Man From Uncle?

Oh yeah, almost certainly that UNCLE.


Spies and secret agents that are original to comic books are a lot harder to find. Probably the most successful is Marvel’s Nick Fury, but even Nick’s success has been limited at best. I looked it up, thinking that the numbers would be a lot bigger, but if you discount Strange Tales (where Nick had to share top billing with Dr. Strange) then what you are left with is the solo title that Steranko spun out of that book that ran 18 issues, a couple of mini-series and one-shots, and — this surprised me — the 90?s run that went a whopping 47 issues.

As SHIELD derives from the Man from Uncle, I wonder how the upcoming TV show of SHIELD will do.


While the National Association for Better Broadcasting’s efforts to prevent the renewal of the licenses of television stations whose programming they considered objectionable failed, it would have an impact on one of the spy series of the Sixties. Listed alongside such fare as The Untouchables on the National Association for Better Broadcasting’s blacklist, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. became a show that was controversial for its alleged violence. While the series did very well in syndication during its first several years since NBC had cancelled it, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was suddenly shown in much fewer markets than it once had. By the late Seventies, it was difficult to find the show on any local station’s schedules. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was not the only series affected by the blacklisting of watchdog groups. The classic Western Have Gun-Will Travel was also so affected.

Strangely enough, other spy series of the Sixties were not so adversely affected by the blacklists of watchdog groups. For all that it may have been the prime target of watchdog groups for years, The Wild Wild West continued unabated in syndication. The Avengers would also continue to air on local stations across the United States. In fact, it would even be part of the lineup of The CBS Late Movie in the late Seventies and early Eighties. This leaves the question as to why The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was so adversely affected by being blacklisted by watchdog groups for alleged violence when The Wild Wild West and The Avengers were not. After all, all three series were spy shows that delved heavily into science fiction and fantasy. The reason could simply be due to the nature of the action in the three series. Set in the modern day United States, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. sometimes featured gunplay, not as much as The Untouchables and other crime dramas, although it did occur. On The Wild Wild West and The Avengers, most of the action came in the form of hand to hand combat. In fact, it must be pointed out that James West and Emma Peel were among the first characters in the United Kingdom and the United States to use kung fu on the small screen. For a Western gunplay did not occur that often on The Wild Wild West. As to The Avengers, set in the United Kingdom, there were whole episodes in which guns did not appear. It is possible that when looking at shows which were alleged by watchdog groups to have violence, station managers around the United States also paid attention to the nature of that violence, whether it was gunplay or fisticuffs. And given that very few fist fights are fatal, they may not have taken the violence in shows featuring hand to hand combat that seriously. It is notable that other series which were seriously hurt by the blacklists of watchdog groups such as Have Gun-Will Travel and The Untouchables, were also ones in which gunplay played a role.

Even as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. saw its syndication profits dry up due to unfair accusations of violence

The scene with Jasper Sitwell reminds me of something Max Allan Collins noted about Stan Lee:

He really found a way to really have fun with it, people forget how tongue-in-cheek Stan Lee was.

In an early issue of Fantastic Four [#9], they get evicted because being a superhero doesn’t pay very well. That’s hilarious.


Jimmy Woo would be a great addition to the SHIELD show, with him you could introduce Yellow Claw, maybe some cold war stuff, and even the Atlas Foundation, not the dragon or the siren (too weird?), but the concept of an underground criminal empire would be great.


I have a feeling that the name Yellow Claw would not survive a modern translation, much like the extremely horrible coloring of Jimmy Woo did not.

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