Introduced in the last moments of Iron Man, Nick Fury has become the linchpin of the Marvel Comics movie franchise. While this may confuse readers of the classic Marvel Comics that depict Fury as a grizzled white guy, the character has been shown as an African American looking almost identical to actor Sam Jackson.
Created as a WWII hero, Nick Fury led his Howling mad Commandos through the war-torn cities of Europe. Readers clamored over the eye-patch wearing cigar-chomping hard-as-nails soldier but after a letter arrived asking what happened to old Nick after the war… wheels began to turn in Stan Lee’s head.
Modeling the modern Nick Fury after James Bond with a dash of Stan’s typical Brooklyn tough guy, this new character was perpetually young thanks to the Infinity formula which slowed down the aging process. Fury now headed S.H.I.E.L.D., a kind of worldwide espionage organization and fought power-mad conspirators with all sorts of science-fiction level tech.
Much of these early adventures drawn by Jack Kirby were very successful, but it took the arrival of Jim Steranko to really get things going. An artist who treated his life as an adventure, Steranko was also an escape artist. These later adventures featured mind-blowing double-page spreads, luscious ladies and more explosions than you’d see in the cinema.
In short, Steranko out-did the Bond films at their own game.
When the Ultimate Marvel line was introduced, it was decided to alter the character of Nick Fury by making him African American. After receiving actor Sam Jackson’s consent, the design was further tweaked.
A cult actor, he is sure to bring increased attention to what is being called the Avengers franchise. Having a linking character tie the films together is an inspired idea.
Jackson’s deal is a long-term commitment to play Fury, the leader of the espionage unit the Shield. His deal contains an option to play the character in nine future Marvel superhero films, efforts that are expected to include “Captain America,” “Thor,” “The Avengers” and “The Shield” as well as potential sequels.
The Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Avengers films we all knew about, but what exactly is “The Shield”? My best guess is that is the working title of a stand-alone Nick Fury film should the franchise prove successful enough.
More as it comes in.