The Design Evolution of Nick Fury | Yellow Spandex #30 | NowThis Nerd

Hi everyone, I’m Moose, and on this extremely classified edition of ‘Yellow Spandex,’ we’re shining a light on the leader on the world’s most clandestine covert organization, SHIELD Colonel Nick Fury has worn a lot of hats over the years– soldier, superspy, Samuel L

Jackson… and throughout his journey from the battlefield to the box office, he’s redefined the way we think about comic book covert ops So, get off the grid, hang on to your helicarrier, and keep your eye on the prize, because this is The Design Evolution of Nick Fury Let’s start, as always, with the Comics Like so many of his Marvel brethren, Nick Fury was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby But unlike his colorful counterparts, Fury didn’t start out as a superhero He debuted as the headline star of ‘Sergeant Fury and His Howling Commandos,’ a hard-boiled World War II comic in the vein of DC’s popular ‘Sgt Rock’ that lasted for 120 issues of a seemingly eternal war

As a rough and tumble NCO, Fury wore a US Army olive drab uniform in varying states of disrepair, as he battled the Third Reich along with future Marvel stars like Reed Richards, Cap and Bucky A few months after his debut, Fury joined the superhero set in ‘Fantastic Four’ #21, as a stogie-chomping, slightly disheveled CIA agent, with both eyes seemingly intact Two years later, Colonel Fury earned his own feature in the anthology ‘Strange Tales,’ as the new director of a secret organization known as SHIELD

Inspired by ‘The Man From UNCLE,’ Lee and Kirby retooled Fury into a sophisticated, cyclopean superspy in the vein of James Bond, complete with custom suits, cool gadgets, and a mysterious new eyepatch Unlike the MCU, there was never much of mystery as to what caused his injury, it was simply shrapnel from a Nazi potato-masher grenade, that slowly caused him to lose his sight over time, which explains why his first post-war appearance was patchless As the months went on, Fury traded in his tie for a sleek, navy blue bodysuit, later complemented by bright white holsters and straps an ensemble that would eventually become the standard-issue SHIELD uniform, because nothing says “stealth and subtlety” like skintight spandex and shiny white accents What is this? It's the SHIELD logo! Does announcing your identity on clothing help with the covert part of your job? Said the space soldier who was wearing a rubber suit

Hey, it worked for the Punisher for 30 years Oh yeah, that's very subtle They'll never see you coming

Fury was a Kirby creation, but he really came into his own thanks to artist, writer, historian, and magician Jim Steranko, who transformed what was a cool spy comic into a psychedelic freakout with collages, cutouts, and storytelling techniques we’d never seen before Under Steranko’s pen, the SHIELD uniform became iconic, and throughout the next few decades, Fury would wear further iterations of the design updated to fit the times, from the shoulderpads and superfluous pouches of the ‘90s, to the hi-tech hardware of the 2000’s and beyond, before taking a drastically different path for his final (for now) fate We’ll get back to that, because the OG Fury is only part of the equation when it comes to this extremely long-lived character, so let’s explore his Ultimate Legacy In 2000, the world was introduced to Ultimate Marvel, a streamlined interpretation of their classic characters without the burden of decades-long continuity, that allowed them to take established stars in bold new directions

The new Nick Fury debuted in the pages of ‘Ultimate X-Men,’ as an African-American man in a stylish suit stuffed with gadgets, with close-cropped hair and a suave, debonair demeanor This version, while cool, was pretty short-lived, because in 2002, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch redesigned Fury for their blockbuster Avengers revamp called ‘The Ultimates’ Most of the team was still pretty recognizable as their classic selves, at least visually, but Ultimate Fury was familiar for a very different reason: He was based part and parcel on Samuel L Jackson, more specifically, Samuel L Jackson in ‘Shaft,’ complete with turtleneck and trenchcoat

Now, when you’re blatantly lifting a real person’s appearance for a comic character, it’s common courtesy to at least ask permission, unless your name is Greg Land So when Marvel showed Samuel L what they had, he gave them his blessing, with one condition: If they ever made a movie, he’d get first dibs at playing Fury, and, well, we all know how that went

Fury, you son of a gun Ooh, you kiss your mother with that mouth? The MCU’s runaway success presented Marvel with a problem: Millions of people were seeing their movies with a Black Nick Fury, but if they wanted to jump into the comics, the Fury they’d find would be a grizzled old white guy, one who wasn’t even director of SHIELD anymore, after waging a Secret War against Latveria and becoming an international fugitive in 2005 Marvel eventually revealed that the Infinity Formula, the secret sauce that had been keeping Nick young since the ‘40s, had lost its effect, and that most of his modern appearances were actually robotic Life Model Decoys, But I just killed you! No, you just killed my Life Model Decoy Useful little toy, isn't it? while the real deal was an old dude locked away on a space station, the Man on the Wall protecting Earth from extraterrestrial threats After murdering the Watcher, stealing his eye, and generally being a real jerk to his former friends, the mortal Fury was killed and reborn as a cloaked, chained, nigh-omnipotent entity known as The Unseen, which is a lot to explain to someone who had just seen ‘Winter Soldier’ and wanted to read more about that cool dude with the eyepatch

Luckily, Marvel had a backup Now! Now there were a lot of ways the company could have handled this They could have revealed he was a Black man all along, had Dr Strange or Mephisto muck up history, or any other countless ways to mess with continuity and tick off fans who, let’s face it, were going to be ticked regardless Instead, they went with the relatively harmless route of revealing that Fury had fathered a long-lost biracial son, one who happens to look a great deal like Samuel L

Jackson, and was named Nick Fury, Jr I’m not gonna lie, it’s all very convenient, especially when he gets the same eye sliced out as dear old dad, and trades in his SHIELD stealth uniform for his cinematic counterpart’s coat It’s clumsy, but in comics, the ends sometimes justify the means, and today, Marvel’s main Nick Fury matches the wildly popular interpretation we saw On screen Fury’s first appearance outside of comics was in ‘The Punisher,’ a 1993 beat-em-up that added Nick as a playable character because, let’s face it, Frank Castle doesn’t have too many friends Where'd you get that? Did you make me one? No? Though I do like those things The next year, Fury began making the rounds of Marvel’s early ‘90s animated series, showing up in ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘X-Men,’ resplendent in his traditional SHIELD suit

As for live-action, Paramount was interested in making a live-action SHIELD movie as early as 1986, and director Tim Story tried to include Fury in ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,’ but he was replaced by Andre Braugher’s character after the rights fell through Fury’s first real foray into live-action came in 1998, with the made-for-TV movie ‘Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD’ Written by future ‘Batman Begins’ scribe David S Goyer, the film featured a who’s-who of Marvel’s espionage alum, from Dum Dum Dugan, To Viper, Arnim Zola, and Baron Strucker himself Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, last of the great global boogeymen

For Fury himself, Fox cast none other than future MCU icon David Hasselhoff, fresh off the steamy set of ‘Baywatch Nights’ With his black-leather biker outfit and copious cigars, the Hoff certainly looked the part, and his brash, borderline campy performance did justice to the bold bravado of the Steranko run, I'm aware of that But I'll be darned if I give the President something else to chew on! but in a year that saw ‘Blade’ breathe new life into comic book movies, from the same writer, by the way, this kind of cheese just wasn’t going to cut it Appreciate the vote of confidence, people Expect a little something extra in your Christmas stockings this year

As the superhero movie revolution entered full swing, Fury would continue to appear in series like ‘X-Men Evolution,’ his final caucasian animation, and ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,’ which began with a cool hybrid of his Ultimate and classic look, before switching to Samuel L Jackson style for season 2 Both flavors of Fury have become commonplace in games, from ‘Ultimate Alliance’ to ‘Marvel Heroes,’ the first and shockingly only time he was voiced by the legendary Keith David, perhaps the only actor in the world as badass as Samuel L Jackson Heads up, people! This is Nick Fury, director of SHIELD

I've called you here because we have a bit a of a situation It began with an idea, an easter egg that wasn’t even in the original script for 2008’s ‘Iron Man,’ Huh and soon blossomed into a cinematic universe that changed the way movies were made

Jackson’s Fury is the lynchpin that ties every Marvel movie together, the mastermind pulling the strings and doing whatever it takes to protect our world, and while he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, he has yet to step into the skin-tight suits worn by some of his SHIELD subordinates Maybe he lost his taste for it after his ‘90s adventures with Captain Marvel Our newest glimpse of Nick Fury is a blast from the past, featuring a digitally de-aged Jackson as a plain-clothed peon who gets his first glimpse at a much larger universe Later this year, ‘Endgame’ will mark the conclusion of the nine-movie deal that made Jackson the biggest box office draw in history, but even if we never see his Fury again, Mother– the impact he’s made is undeniable From his origins in over-the-top war comics, to his new life as the lynchpin of a billion-dollar movie empire, Nick Fury has endured as one of comics’ most complex and compelling creations

He’s a ghost, a shadow, a legend, and while he’s never been the flashiest character, or the most famous, I think Fury would be just fine with that If you want to stay ahead of me, Mr Secretary You need to keep both eyes open

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