Kirby and Lee may have created him, but it was the dynamic and stylish art of Jim Steranko that made Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. a cult hit.
While he is mostly known as the eyepatched man of mystery and intrigue, Nick Fury began his comic book existence as the leader of the ‘Howling Mad Commandos,’ fighting the Axis powers throughout the second world war. He was a popular character, so much so that he was given a new lease on life outside of the war comics genre. In answer to a fan letter asking ‘what happened to Nick Fury after WWII,’ Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division) was born. The series was a blend of James Bond and Peter Max in the mighty Marvel manner. Sharing a title with Dr. Strange, Fury’s adventures ran in 12 page installments of Strange Tales magazine.
The series became so popular that Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. graduated to its own monthly book. Utilizing the pop art feel of the 60’s and some of the most innovative page layouts, the series was hip, explosive and full of vitality. Without Steranko’s influence, Fury’s espionage team were never much of a hit though it remained a staple of the Marvel Universe, even in the motion pictures and later on TV in its own spinoff series.
This Summer, readers will get the chance to read a forgotten classic S.H.I.E.L.D. story, just in time for the organization’s 50th anniversary!
In August, Mark Waid and Lee Ferguson explore the origins of the agency in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” #9, with a never-before-printed story by Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko. Writer Al Ewing scripts a special back-up tale featuring the return of Dum Dum Dugan and the Howling Commandos to the Marvel U.
September sees five weekly one-shots flesh out various agents — Nick Fury, Agent Melinda May, Mockingbird, Quake and Agent Peggy Carter — written by David Walker, Jody Houser, Chelsea Cain, Kathryn Immonen, Matt Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon.