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CSBG Archive

The Past Was Close Behind: “Say, I Didn’t Know Nick Fury Was Black?!”

This feature spotlights moments, exchanges, etc. from older comics that take on a brand new light when read in concert with later comic books. Here is the archive of previous installments.

Today, based on a suggestion by reader Peter Silvestro, who manages the Captain America Library (one of Julio Molina-Muscara’s array of Marvel character libraries), we take a look at an amusing comment by Quasar in a late 1970s issue of Captain America, twenty-five years before we got an actual black Nick Fury…

As I pointed out in yesterday’s Abandoned an’ Forsaked, one of the things that Roy Thomas did when he took over the writing duties on Captain America (before he had to give it up due to being forced to write way too many comics for Marvel at the time) was to write Falcon out of the title. Thomas wrote Falcon out in a real nice fashion.

In Captain America #217 (by Thomas, scripter Don Glut and artists John Buscema and Pablo Marcos), we meet SHIELD’s Super Agents…

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So Cap then proceeds to kick their collective ass for the next few pages until Cap stops the fight and makes an announcement…

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Falcon only had a short-lived tenure as the leader of the Super Agents (as the concept itself sort of floundered once Thomas left the book), but his tenure was long enough for us to get the following comment by Marvel Boy (now known as Quasar) towards the end of the issue…

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Of course, 25 years later, we got an actual black Nick Fury in The Ultimates…

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And more recently, the Marvel Universe gained a black Nick Fury, as well (the son of the Marvel Universe’s Nick Fury)…

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So Quasar’s offhand comment was quite prescient!

Thanks again to Peter for the suggestion! If you have a suggestion for some other hilarious in hindsight comic book related item, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

28 Comments

Hm, a world-spanning spy organization starting a team of super-powered operatives.

Seems eerily familiar.

Hmm, let’s see.

Marvel Boy comes from Uranus.

Nick Fury feels like a Queen.

Dr. Banner is from Pittsburgh?

Enlightening as always ! :-)

They’re all good, but this was a really good one. Always wondered about Vamp too as I remember reading her entry in the Marvel Universe handbook.

“Of course, 25 years later, we got an actual black Nick Fury in The Ultimates…”

I think you mean
“Of course, 25 years later, we got an actual black Nick Fury in Ultimate X-Men…”
though he didn’t become a Samuel L. Jackson lookalike until Ultimates.

Does anyone know why Roy Thomas wrote Falcon out of Captain America?

IT’S SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!

Mark Millar doesn’t get enough credit for diversifying modern Marvel.

David Serchay

July 6, 2014 at 10:07 am

If memory serves, both the Vamp and Blue Streak became bad guys, later killed by the Scourge in the pages of Captain America

Alaric Shapli

July 6, 2014 at 10:14 am

Actually, it turned out that the Vamp and the Blue Streak had always been bad guys. They were double agents planted in SHIELD by two different branches of a criminal organization called the Corporation. I doubt that that was what Roy Thomas intended, though.

What?!? Blue Streak’s dead?!?!? …. aw man….. :'(

“Super Agents of SHIELD” does have a ring to it…. (some place for the new Deathlok to end up when his new series bites the dust?)

Ultimate Nick Fury first appeared in “Ultimate Team-up” prior to his “Ultimate X-men” and “Ultimates” appearances, but as “Loki” noted, he wasn’t a Samuel L. Jackson lookalike until Millar and Hitch got ahold of him

The time when Superior Spiderman asked Nick fury Jr. if he was Samuel L Jackson. lol

What?!? Blue Streak’s dead?!?!? …. aw man….. :’(

He has an almost identical successor, also a villain, who was most recently seen in Mighty Avengers (2013 series) #1.

Was the Bluestreak from A Next related to the original one? I can’t remember her origin ever being revealed.

Ahh, Mark Millar’s signature bolding of important words. It’s even more obvious when the letter uses a mixed-case font.

Travis Pelkie

July 6, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Yep, cuz no one ever did that before Millar did.

Don’t scroll up and look at the ’70s issues where they also did it! Dammit!

It wasn’t just Vamp and Blue Streak who went bad. The Texas (Titty) Twister was a villain for a long time, late Bronze Age. They all seem arrogant don’t they?

As for the answer to why Roy made Falcon Caps’ partner…Bucky was long dead and their were no African American heroes. Cap lived in N.Y. He lived in Harlem. Voila. Falcons’ one small power (before he had a glidding, then flying, then jet-packed suit) was the ability to see through Redwings’ eyes. And later, talk to and see through the eyes of other birds. This is extremely helpful for following the escape paths of leg-bound and car-traveling villains, muggers and rapists, thieves etc. He cleaned up the streets of Harlem. A complaint of comic book black folks….who saves them from regular criminals? The Red Skull seemed not in their world of concern, at the time. Falcon was a a cop at one time too. He was a natural for this.

This is before (not these story pages above….but, the Falcon origin) Luke Cage, Hero For Hire and Brother Voodoo in Strange Tales. So Caps’ book, which was needing a little spice up, became Captain America and The Falcon. Falcon was usually not used enough. The writers of the time,found it difficult to place him in stories.

Rollo Tomassi

July 7, 2014 at 7:18 am

‘Super Agents of SHIELD’ has been tried numerous times, and it falls flat just as often. I think Nicieza had a group in Thunderbolts for an issue or two, and I think Joe Casey kinda had one in the M-Tech Deathlok series. I could be misremembering. I read too many comics and it all becomes jumbled.

That might be an idea for a Crazy Patterns article, Brian. SHIELD super-squads that stalled and went nowhere.

That might be an idea for a Crazy Patterns article, Brian. SHIELD super-squads that stalled and went nowhere.

Of how about all the times SHIELD was infiltrated by double agents? That would be a looooooooooooong list. That organization has worse security than Arkham Asylum.

Can you elaborate Ben? I just took a small custodial position at Arkham. I didn’t hear much about them before I saw the ad in the paper. The money is surprisingly good!

Love that Denise Wohl lettering!

Of how about all the times SHIELD was infiltrated by double agents? That would be a looooooooooooong list. That organization has worse security than Arkham Asylum.

I actually have a SHIELD related Patterns in the works (by “in the works,” I mean I have the idea and some of the examples – when and whether I actually get around to putting it all together is a whole other story).

Was Fury actually black in Ultimate Team Up? I thought they just ignored those stories, like how the Hulk went from dumb green to cannibal gray in Ultimates.

On the TV show 24, the US government’s counter-terrorism agencies are routinely riddled by traitors.

@M-Wolverine, he was black, although it’s kinda hard to tell because of the colouring.

There was another Blue Streak in Ellis’ Thunderbolts, but he didn’t have anything to do with original. Except that all members of his group, except maybe one, used the codenames of villains killed by Scourge.

@ M-Wolverine, the explanation for the Hulk being green in “Ultimate Team-Up” is because he changed the Hulk formula and mixed it with Captain America’s blood in “The Ultimates”. Amusingly, the “Ultimate Team-Up” with Spider-Man is actually referenced in the scene that is posted above, although Brian cut it out of the post.

There was another Blue Streak in Ellis’ Thunderbolts, but he didn’t have anything to do with original. Except that all members of his group, except maybe one, used the codenames of villains killed by Scourge.

The exception was Caprice, who used the codename of a former Scourge rather than a Scourge victim. The Thunderbolts characters were a mysterious group of psychics who deliberately got arrested by Norman Osborn’s T-Bolts so they could psychically dismantle the team from within by dredging up the members’ barely repressed psychoses, leading to an especially memorable breakdown on Norman Osborn’s part:

I always have to be the man. Good old Norman Osborn, he’ll bail us out. He’ll save the day. He’ll be the hero. Norman will make the hard choices. Norman has no feelings. Norman will make the girl pregnang and then break her neck in public. Norman won’t mind. Norman will do what it takes. […]

“Mister President Osborn sir, I don’t have the strength to take out my garbage. Could you do it for me?” That’s what it’ll be like. “President Osborn, I’d love to be able to do anything competently by my famly tree looks like two sticks jutting out of a dead raccoon.” Hitler never had this kind of trouble. People just did as he told them.

After setting up a war between Osborn and his rebellious underling Andreas Strucker, though, the psychics were surprised by Bullseye, freshly recovered and rebuilt after sustaining crippling injuries during a previous Osborn T-Bolts’ mission. Unfortunately, Bullseye’s lack of any repressed mental issues — he prefers to let it all hang out — left the psychics nothing to use against him, and he quickly slew all six of them. The true identities, origins, and broader goals of the Scourge-themed psychics, Blue Streak included, were never explained or revisited.

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