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Comic Book Legends Revealed #418

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Welcome to the four hundred and eighteenth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and seventeen. This week, did Marvel get Samuel L. Jackson to be Nick Fury BEFORE they used him as the basis for Ultimate Nick Fury? Plus, how did a typo (that was later edited out) give a clue to a future Spider-Man storyline? And speaking of Spider-Man and edits, how did Marvel “fix” a classic Spider-Man story in a reprint?

Let’s begin!

NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).

COMIC LEGEND: Marvel had permission from Samuel L. Jackson before using his likeness for Ultimate Nick Fury.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

Samuel L. Jackson famously plays Nick Fury in Marvel Studios’ hit Avengers films…


He’s been so popular that Marvel has even introduced a black son of the “real” Nick Fury so that there is a matching Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe for new readers from the films…


However, what came first, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch basing Ultimate Nick Fury on Samuel L. Jackson…


(something they even joked about in the comic)…


or Marvel making an arrangement with Samuel L. Jackson to portray Nick Fury in any possible films (and as a tie-in, then, based Ultimate Nick Fury on him)?

Reader Daniel K. heard the latter and wrote in about it awhile back…

A friend of mine told me that when Marvel started their Ultimate line of titles, they modeled the Ultimate Nick Fury after Samuel L. Jackson with the knowledge that he would be playing Fury in the newest Marvel movies. I looked this up on Wikipedia, and it’s apparently true, but it has no citations and of course you know how dubious Wikipedia can sometimes be. I was wondering if you may be able to shed some light on this myth.

As it turns out, it is close, Daniel, but no cigar. Reader Jesse ALSO wrote in about it, and Jesse’s version of events is basically the truth…

I remember reading somewhere that Marvel’s Ultimate Nick Fury looks and acts like Samuel L. Jackson, because Marvel was hoping to get Sam to play Fury in a Marvel film. Am I remembering this correctly?

That appears to be the case, Jesse, that Marvel was interested in the idea of Jackson playing Nick Fury (or rather, he was on their wish list for the role), so they went ahead with Bryan Hitch making Ultimate Nick Fury look like Jackson and when Jackson contacted them upon seeing the likeness, they THEN asked him if he was interested in the role (which he naturally was).

Jackson described the situation in an interview with Noelene Clark at Hero Complex last year

It was kind of weird. I just happened to be in a comic store, and I picked up the comic because I saw my face. And I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not sure I remember giving somebody permission to use my image.’

So he contacted Marvel…

They were kind of like, ‘Yeah, we are planning on making movies, and we do hope you’ll be a part of them.’

Obviously, the plan paid off (if there actually WAS a plan, which I am not necessarily saying that there was – I could easily see it being a case of Marvel just telling Jackson so when he inquired. Either way seems believable to me), because he WAS a part of them! A BIG part of them!

Thanks to Daniel and Jesse for the suggestions and thanks to Noelene Clark and Samuel L. Jackson for the info!

Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Was the Sequel to the Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Re-Worked Into Big Trouble in Little China?

How Did Optimus Prime Save the Live of Duke from G.I. Joe?

Did Marvin Gaye Try Out for the Detroit Lions?

Did the Scarecrow Accidentally Light Himself on Fire During the Filming of Wizard of Oz?

What Kind of Strange Race Against Time Did Frank Sinatra Do When Recording “Strangers in the Night?”

On the next page, see how Marvel dropped an accidental hint towards their future plans for Spider-Man 2099!

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One of the earliest issues of Ultimates, the one that really sent Banner spiraling and unleashing the Hulk, had a scene where the team was discussing who would play one another in a movie and Millar had Nick say something like, “Sam L. Jackson, of course.” That scene always makes me laugh. :-)

So regardless of the decade, Aunt May had to honor the request of, “Y’all come on back now, ya’ hear?”

You know, if they were going to go out of their way to insert The Dukes of Hazzard into the dialogue, they could at least have spelled it right.

One of the earliest issues of Ultimates, the one that really sent Banner spiraling and unleashing the Hulk, had a scene where the team was discussing who would play one another in a movie and Millar had Nick say something like, “Sam L. Jackson, of course.” That scene always makes me laugh.

Good point, Charles, I should toss that scene in there. And now I just did! :)

Did Marvel have to clear the use of Josh Holloway’s image for Tony Stark? That kinda bugged me, because, why not use Robert Downey Jr, unless there’s a legal reason. And if you can’t use RDJ for that reason, what makes Holloway fair game. Or was it simply up to the artist?

When did the Kingpin turn into an iceberg with a head?

Alexandre Julião

May 10, 2013 at 10:39 am

Was it ever confirmed that the Tiberius Stone from Amazing Spider-Man is the same guy from Iron Man?
The Tiberius Stone from the Iron Man series is a super rich media mogul and doesn’t look nothing like the guy from Amazing Spider-Man. Did he went bankrupt and went through a plastic surgery or something? And I remember that Frank Tieri once denied that his Ty Stone and the 2099 Universe Ty Stone are related in any way.

Oh yeah, it is fair to note that Tieri did not intend any connection. I’ll edit that in there. As for Tiberius Stone being the same guy or not, I dunno, I guess it could be a different guy, but TWO villainous scientists named Tiberius Stone? Seems pretty unlikely.

There’s even another change in the reprint of ASM Annual #1 — in the original version, Spider-Man taunts Kraven for refusing to know when he’s beaten, saying “I bet you’re still wearing a vote for Dewey button!” In the reprint, O’Neil changes this to “a vote for Ford button.”

Drew Melbourne

May 10, 2013 at 10:52 am

@jeremy That’s just down to Salvador Larocca. He was basing a different character off of Holloway for his and Warren Ellis’ NEW UNIVERSAL series. Like Hitch, he likes doing a lot of photo reference.

Marvel had a habit of changing pop culture references and current events in those mid-eighties reprints in Marvel Tales. I also recall a reference to (I think) Russian leader Nikita Kruschov (?) being changed to Yasser Arafat or Idi Amin. I recall some grumbling s in the LOC pages at the time about the changes. They also frequently changed the panel in AF #15 where Steve Ditko had given Spider-Man’s mask pupils as he discovered the identity of the burglar. Sometimes it’s printed as it originally appeared, other time they’re whited-out.

I can just see it now…

“I’m tired of these motherf’n Hydra on my motherf’n Helicarrier!”

And it would totally work…

That is some fugly art from the second legend. Yeesh.

I don’t think SLJ was drawn in with the intent of casting the real one in a movie – the point of the Ultimates, according to Millar, was to present in comic book form the Avengers movie that, for studio licensing reasons, could never be made.

(And we can in retrospect laugh at the irony of that, but as it turned out that comic was instrumental in getting the ball rolling for last year’s film, which is absolutely covered in its fingerprints.)

When Ultimate Nick Fury first appeared in Ultimate Team-Up 5 he bore little resemblance to Sam Jackson besides race until his 6th appearance in Ultimates issue 2. Would that suggest the Sam in a movie idea didn’t come until almost a year latter?

Yeah, lots of those Marvel Tales update the references. I think Magnum PI gets a shout-out in one of them too

I remember reading in Bullpen Bulletins at the time that they were going to update references in reprints. I believe the example they used was changing the Huntley/Brinkley report to World News Tonight. Silly, but there it is.

Millar’s previously said Ultimate Fury is black because ‘Nick Fury’ sounds like a blaxploitation character’s name and who’s the coolest black guy? Samuel L Jackson of course!

It looks like the Samule L. Jackson/Fury Thing is one of Mark Millar usual tactics.
Remember he did the same with Wanted characters (looking like Eminem and Halle Berry) and then created a fake gossip about both actors interested in playing the part if there was any films.
In reality, none of them where interested but this helped Millar to sell Wanted as a Film.

It’s a bit futile to update pop cultural references in dialogue when the characters’ clothes and many other elements are still very much early 1960s.

Then again I am a believer that Marvel should have allowed their characters to age.

I think there was an Ultimate X-men before the Ultimates started where Nick Fury was pretty much just a black version of 616 Fury. Then was changed by Hitch just for fun

Out of curiosity, have there been many other modern-MU hints of 2099-to-come? I know that post-Onslaught, Stark Enterprises was bought by the Fujikawa corporation (Stark-Fujikawa was a major company in the 2099 books) and Alchemax (Miguel’s company) was created during the Doom 2099/Fantastic Four crossover. I didn’t know about Ty Stone, but it’s nice to see the nod. Any others?

They did update the clothes for Marvel Tales! In one of the letter columns, they redrew a couple panels as a joke and, IIRC, gave Peter a mohawk!

I think there was also an issue of Marvel Tales where Flash was wearing a political button, and it was changed from “I Like Ike” in the original story to “Whip Inflation Now”.

Rene, it’s a problem outside comics. The SF novel “The Power” got updated when it was reprinted in the early 21st century (references to Desert Storm and Vietnam instead of Korea and WW II) but we still have people smoking pipes in the workplace and leather-jacketed hoods with vaseline on their hair. A 1970s update of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (the novel, not the movie) refers to Vietnam but the narrator’s medical career apparently goes back to when you had to ring all phone calls through an operator, which would make him much older than he’s supposed to be.

To answer your question about the last page of the last page of IM, I think Ty and Rumiko are doing it somewhere very uncomfortable.

Tiberius Stone is basically Hush before Hush.

Pretty much, yeah. Right down to the “shared” death of their parents (in both cases, it turns out that the bad guy killed his own parents).

@joshschr: The back seat of a Volkswagen?

I know there was a reference to Chevy Chase in Marvel Tales around that time. (I know I’ve read it in Essentials, but I don’t remember who the original reference was.)

They changed other things in Marvel Tales back then, too, and sometimes it’s hard to understand why. I’ve got the reprint of Spider-Man #1 with the first Chameleon story. I can understand why they changed ‘Peter Palmer’ to Peter Parker (one of the most infamous errors from the time), but when I read the story in Essentials I noticed that they had also changed a caption describing a ‘Red’ submarine, and removed a bit where Spidey called Chameleon a Commie. But they still had Chameleon saying that he was going to sell his information to the ‘Iron Curtain countries’, and the submarine still had a Hammer and Sickle design on it. So deleting those bits made no sense at all.

jason carpenter

May 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Fury first appeared in an issue of Ultimate X-Men and looked nothing like Sam Jackson. He actually looked more Hispanic. It was the first issue of the Weapon X story arc. I think in team-up he was standard Fury.

I don’t know of the Tieri quote, but I find it really strange that in a storyline that revolves around Stark’s relationship with the person that renamed the company Stark-Fujikawa (tying the company into its 2099 name) that Tiberius and Tyler aren’t related in anyway. That’s an incredibly odd coincidence if it’s true.

I recall in an interview [in Wizard, I think], Millar and Hitch talked about the origin of Ultimate Fury. The original Nick Fury was based on Dean Martin as the rat pack exemplified what was cool in the 60’s. When it came time to design Ultimate Nick Fury, Millar asked Hitch what defines cool now? Hitch’s answer was Samuel L Jackson and they went with it. At least that’s how they said it went down in that interview. Ultimate Nick Fury actually first appeared in Ultimate X Men (to my knowledge; maybe he had prior appearance in Ultimate Spidey that I don’t remember). Anyways, in that appearance, he was just an African American male with an eye patch.

Actually, Nick A., it might explain the coincidence as an instance of cryptomnesia. Tieri remembered the 2099 connection, and may have seen the name Tyler Stone. So when he was trying to name his new villain, a scuzzy corporate type, his brain was primed to kick out a similar name.

Maybe I’m just too sleepy at the moment… but I’m not sure I get what’s wrong with the supposed plot hole in Spiderman annual.

Pete Woodhouse

May 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

The Spider-Man vs Electro sequence including the ‘grounded’ leccy cord around Spidey’s ankle was still being reprinted as of around 1979/1980 in the UK because I bought a Spidey Summer Special during that time.
It reprinted Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 and retained the previously-mentioned sequence as well as the Beverley Hillbillies comment – despite it meaning zilch to a young British kid at the turn of the 80s!.
The entire Sinister Six story was included (viewing Ditko’s art in glorious B&W as was usual: in UK comics colour was relegated to covers and centre spreads).
Although as I no longer own the comic I can’t remember if it reproduced any of the other stories, if there were any, or pin-ups/bonus stuff.

“I think there was an Ultimate X-men before the Ultimates started where Nick Fury was pretty much just a black version of 616 Fury. Then was changed by Hitch just for fun”

This is correct.

@Omar: “Tiberius Stone is basically Hush before Hush.” – my thoughts exactly.


I really love your blog, but what’s bothering me a bit is that most of the time there are no issue numbers and dates when you post a picture or give a story reference, e.g. Tiberius Stone was introduced in ‘Iron Man’.
I really appreciate your hard work, but sometimes I’d like to know the ‘where’ & ‘when’.

I’m extremely sceptical that the Nick Fury Ultimate character was Marvel’s attempt at courting Sam Jackson to star in a Marvel Studios production of anything. My understanding at the time (from the behind the scenes Marvel Books released at the time) is that Millar and Hitch based Fury on Jackson because they wanted the character to be the biggest badass of all time, and that to them, it could only be Jackson (especially when you consider that the actor was certainly prominent in 2002.)
The Ultimates was created in 2001, released in 2002 at least 6 years before Iron Man came out. Marvel Studios didn’t even consider self-financing films until 2004 when Nick Fury was considered as one of ten films they would potentially make. Someone, somewhere on the Iron Man production team obviously became aware of the Sam Jackson/ Nick Fury Ultimates depiction and were willing to snap him up whe he came calling. But to think this was some long term plan to grab Jackson back in 2001 is laughable. To me this is a perfect case of serendipity, nothing else.

I believe Roger Stern and his wife Carmela Merlo had a lot to do with the correction of that scientific blunder in the Spider-Man reprint. Carmela is a scientist herself, which is why the comic book science in Roger Stern’s scripts often has a solid foundation in real-world science.

I met Roger & Carmela through a mutual friend when I went on a trip to the Ithaca Comic Con, and they are absolutely two of the nicest human beings you’d ever care to meet. :)

It might also be worth noting that because they jumped ahead in continuity a bit to reprint SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 in MARVEL TALES #150, Marvel published the return appearances of Mysterio and Kraven the Hunter BEFORE they got to their first appearances! :)

Travis Pelkie

May 10, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Seconding John’s comment on how nice Roger Stern and Carmela Merlo are. I’ve been going to the Ithaca Comic Cons for years now (really, says self? Really, says calendar. YEARS. It doesn’t seem it.), and they are nearly always there and it’s always good to see them. Even if I don’t, y’know, talk to them at all….

I never got into tge Ultimate line too much but was always amazed that their attempt to create a new line free of confusing continuity..created piles of confusing continuity. They started retconning (so to speak) a lot of the team up stuff right away, right? And then you just have piles of stories after all the years building on top of that

Obviously, the plan paid off (if there actually WAS a plan, which I am not necessarily saying that there was – I could easily see it being a case of Marvel just telling Jackson so when he inquired.


I think that this is the most likely explanation.


May 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I hated Ultimate for recasting Nick Fury as Samuel L Jackson, he is the weakest part of the MArvel franchise right now.

The biggest problem with the “updates” in Marvel Tales #150 (apart from the clothes, of course): Aunt May would *never* want to watch The Dukes of Hazzard! That’s a show that older ladies would frown at their kids and grandchildren (and nephews) watching. Surely, if the story was set in 1983, she would rather be watching Alice or The Love Boat?

Actually, the first appearances of Nick Fury are in Ultimate X-men. And he doesn’t look like that. He’s not black but has a more middle Eastern look to him.

> The biggest problem with the “updates” in Marvel Tales #150 (apart from the clothes, of course): Aunt May
> would *never* want to watch The Dukes of Hazzard!

True, but I just took that to be a joke. She’s the least probable person to watch Dukes of Hazzard.


Given Aunt May’s taste in men, she was no doubt watching “Dukes of Hazzard” to lust after Boss Hogg.

Travis Pelkie

May 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I totally buy Aunt May watching dem Duke boys. She might have a heart condition, but she deliberately worsens it by watching shows like that to get all hepped up.


May 11, 2013 at 1:07 am

I’m ambivalent about the plotholes but the updates are pointless, imho.


May 11, 2013 at 1:36 am

@kevin: Yeah, it’s probably a joke but it’s a dumb, pointless joke that makes the unnecessary change more obvious.

Chris McFeely

May 11, 2013 at 4:32 am

Now, see, I was so COMPLETELY baffled by the appearance of “Tiberius” Stone in that issue of Amazing, bearing ZERO relation to the Iron Man character, that I assumed THAT was the mistake, and the change to Tyler was the CORRECTION. Perhaps Slott can comment here.

Chris McFeely

May 11, 2013 at 4:36 am

Addendum – I see to remember that Tiberius Stone was included as a possible relative of Miguel O’Hara’s in an OHTOMU profile, despite Tieri’s comment on his intentions. Did Slott perhaps see that and work backwards, not realising that the character actually existed as a swanky evil mogul from Iron Man, and thinking he was creating a character go with this name, resulting in the weedy, tattooed nerd of ASM?

Marvel updated references in Marvel Tales a few times. I seem to remember Spider-Man making a reference to Khomeni being more popular than he. Pretty sure that wasn’t the original, 1960s reference.

And, for the record, I think it’s just as ludicrous that Aunt May would watch The Beverly Hillbillies as it is that she would watch The Dukes of Hazzard!

I’ve never heard of Nick Fury being based on Dean Martin (though I understood Dino Mannary was supposed to be) and I don’t see him a s particularly Dean-like–even physically.

I always heard it was Richard Chamberlain, not Dean Martin that the original Nick Fury was based on.

@beane2099 is correct. Millar spoke to Kiel Phegley at Wizard World Chicago 2007 and explained the origin. Being from the now defunct Wizard it’s been essentially erased from the internet but someone transcribed it when the issue came out:
“I insisted we make him black because I always thought Nick Fury was like a brilliant 1970s blaxploitation name. You would go and see that in the movies, wouldn’t you? You can just see him walking down the street: Nick Fury. I also felt that 1960s Steranko brilliantly taps into that whole Rat Pack cool of the period. It was the suits and the thin ties and the hair and everything. It was cool in 1966 or ’67, but the big mistake is that people were trying to do 1967 in 2000, 2001. So I really felt that he had to be a cool black guy, but I’m 100% sure it was Hitchy’s idea to make him Sam Jackson.”

It’s also worth noting that a lot of time passed between Ultimate Nick Fury being redesigned into Sam Jackson in Ultimates #2 (cover date April 2002) and when Jon Favreau joined production on Iron Man in April 2006. That’s plenty of time for people to come up with retcons to real life.

Travis Stephens

May 11, 2013 at 11:07 am

The truth is- a la Star War and Empire Strikes back- they realized that they had no black people. SLJ was pretty popular after his Mace Windu role and Millar and co just glommed on to him and that role.

Timothy Markin

May 12, 2013 at 9:18 am

In the Marvel Tales that came out during Assistant Editor’s Month (you youngsters can google it), they actually did a bit on the letters page where they took a few Ditko panels and updated the art as well. Peter still looked the same (with his 1960s sweater vest) but Flash Thompson became a black leather clad skinhead and other 1984 fashions showed up as well. Kinda funny, but at least they were addressing complaints about changing the 1960s references. (A lot of pretty oddball stuff came out during Assistant Editor’s month, including Aunt May and Galactus starring in Marvel Team-Up!)

^ That’s true. The assistant editor that month did the updating as a goof in the letters page, but said he left the main story alone, as he felt that even the minor updating they did to the 1960s references were disruptive to the stories. I agree with him.

Ultimate Nick Fury’s first appearance is Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #5, not Ultimate X-Men.

Timothy Markin

May 13, 2013 at 11:32 am

On the subject of Marvel Tales Spidey reprints: I was just looking at Marvel Tales 1 (1964) and being the first ever reprinting of Amazing Fantasy 15, it retained the non-hyphenated “Spiderman”, the pupils in his eyes on page 11 and the original coloring with the blue spider on his back, whereas it is now red. And you can see that his original color scheme was really red and black with blue highlights. Kinda interesting for those of us who like trivia.

In answer to Getol’s question “Maybe I’m just too sleepy at the moment… but I’m not sure I get what’s wrong with the supposed plot hole in Spiderman annual.”

It’s not as such as plot hole, just very, very bad science!

Electricity works by flowing through things that are good conductors of electricity, which inccudes human beings (we’re mostly made of water), but also the ground, and especially electric wiring. So if Spider-man is connected to the ground with an electric wire, it means Electro’s electricity is definitely going to flow through him which would likely kill him, or at least burn him very badly. Which is to say, Stan Lee/Steve Ditko’s version of the plan is very silly.

Air is not a very good condutcor of electricity, so if Spider-Man is in mid-air when Electro fires his bolt, and not touching the ground, a) the bolt has a good chance of not hitting him, because it’ll be more attracted to the metal objects around him, and b) if it does hit him, he will feel the brunt less badly (actually it’d still likely kill a person, hence the line about his super powers saving his life). I think!

(And let’s not get into the question of how Electro aims his bolts of luightning at specific people/opbjects)

This is all better explained in the movie Tango & Cash.

Sexy. Muscles. Nude. How is it I have the willpower to resist clicking on that link with such irresistible advertising?

@Jamie – I concur. Ultimates in 2002, Iron Man in 2008, Marvel Studios in 2005. To think that they planned on actors for a yet to be created studio for movies not to be created for a long time is a stretch. (Was Fury even black for sure in his first appearance? It’s like how the Hulk was green, then gray in Ultimates).

[…] Cronin, Brian. “Comic Book Legends Revealed #418.” Comic Book Resources. n.p., 10 May 2013. Web. 9 July 2016. <http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2013/05/10/comic-book-legends-revealed-418/3/&gt;. […]

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