Friday, June 19, 2015

Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

Comic books have become a mainstream pop phenomenon.  Or rather, the comic book characters themselves have entered the collective consciousness of the public's minds.  

Superheroes especially.  Many movie goers have never picked up a comic book.

People still buy comic books, but in dwindling numbers.  Which probably partially accords for the increase in costs.  Now that I'm retired I can no longer afford to buy new comics in any quantity.

The majority of today's collectors know very little of the history of comic books and how they have evolved over the decades.

Like any other medium comic books changed with the times.  Comic books have always been on the cutting edge of societal evolution.

Marvel Comics' Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 is a perfect example.

Back in the mid to late 1960s artist/writer Jim Steranko virtually recreated comic book story-telling on his own.

After a brief stint at Harvey Comics Jim brought his portfolio to Stan Lee at Marvel Comics.
Stan was so impressed by Jim's work that he assigned him to take over the creative chores of Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. seen in Marvel's Strange Tales.

With a little layout guidance from veteran comic book artist Jack Kirby Jim totally transformed the title into comic books' version of James Bond.

Steranko introduced Op Art, Pop Art, visual effects, striking perspective and point of view panels, experimental color schemes and much more.

His stint on Fury became so popular and profitable that Stan and Marvel graduated Nick Fury up to a full issue series of its own.

With issue #1 Steranko let loose his creative muse.  The story stats out with several pages with no dialogue and proceeds at breakneck speed to introduce a new villain (Scorpio) and pits Nick against his own organization.

It presents a stunning visual cinematic story.

The series would continue to revolutionize comic book graphics and writing for several issues until Steranko couldn't keep up with the monthly schedule.

Steranko would then go on to revitalize Captain America, the X-Men and the occasional single issue.

Steranko's body of comic book work was relatively small but highly influential.