Everyone loves comic book trivia, but with over 75 years of superhero comics behind us right now, there’s always some new obscure fact to learn. That’s why ComicsAlliance is going deep into the minutiae of your favorite names in comics in our continuing video series. You think you know comics? Well, here’s a few things you might not know!
This week, we're taking a look at the Marvel Universe's top cop, Nick Fury, and the agency he is most associated with, SHIELD! Since Marvel's earliest days, Nick Fury and SHIELD has been working both behind the scenes and at the front lines, battling Hydra, enacting shadow wars, or fighting Godzilla. In this video, learn about the history of Fury and his law enforcement directorate, from their arcane foundation in ancient times to their various notable members and directors to Nick Fury's exile on the moon.
Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a federal holiday to commemorate the memory of the men and women who died serving in the Armed Forces.
It's also the end of an interesting month for fans of Captain America. In his 75th year of existence, the Sentinel of Liberty has starred in one of the most critically acclaimed superhero films of all time, and he's been the subject of a controversial new storyline in the pages of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. Yet whatever his status in the comics, he remains an icon to the public at large, standing for the platonic ideals of the American nation at its very best. One of the best examples of what he represents comes from a series of one-shot comics telling of Cap's exploits in World War II and Iraq, with a shared focus on the ordinary soldiers fighting beside him.
We've barely made it to the quarter-post of 2016, and already Hasbro's released three separate Marvel Legends waves into the wild. Captain America has been the focal point of two of those three, with Captain America: Civil War providing the inspiration for this latest collection. Not only do you get Civil War versions of Cap and Iron Man (yes, again), but you also get the first Marvel Cinematic Universe Black Panther. Some comic book faces like Nick Fury, Red Guardian and Nuke round out the line which is based around a spoilerish build-a-figure (don't worry, those images are all at very end if you want to keep it a secret).
The huge, sprawling tapestry that is the Marvel Universe has been built by hundreds upon hundreds of talented creators over the years, so it's sometimes hard to remember that the entire affair was begun by just a small handful of people trying to turn out a line of comics under tight restrictions from the Comics Code and even tighter deadlines. And in those formative days, the vast majority of the fledgeling company's visuals were provided by a core four consisting of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, and Dick Ayers.
Dick Ayers was born in Ossining, New York on April 28, 1924. His interest in art was encouraged by his parents from an early age. He began contributing comic strips to military newspapers while serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II, and upon leaving the service, studied with Burne Hogarth at New York's Cartoonists And Illustrators School, and launched his professional career working for Superman co-creator Joe Shuster in the late 1940s. He found employment at a number of publishers over the next decade, working at Magazine Enterprises (for whom he co-created the supernatural western hero Ghost Rider), Charlton, Prize, and Atlas (soon to be renamed Marvel).
Civil War II is just around the corner, and the news is starting to trickle in about what exactly it’s going to be, and what comics will be included in Marvel’s massive summer event. This past weekend at C2E2, Marvel unveiled a host of Civil War II news, including several brand-new miniseries, as well as announcing some of the details for crossovers that take place in regular books.
War hero. Secret agent. Government stooge. Machiavellian mastermind. Washed-up antique. Ageless warrior. Man out of time. Roughneck brawler. Unyielding patriot. Intergalactic assassin.
Nick Fury has been all these things, and many more, since his first appearance on March 5th 1963. He's a universal plot device, a character that can be adjusted and adapted to fit whatever a given story needs. He's been young, he's been old, he's been dead, he's been everywhere at once, he's been in hiding, he's been blindsided by corruption, he's been dead again, and he's been secretly behind the scenes the whole time. He's even been replaced by robot duplicates more times than anyone can remember.
Peter Parker, the elder of Marvel's two equally important Spider-Men, teams up with Nick Fury to take on Scorpio in Amazing Spider-Man #9 by Dan Slott and Guiseppe Camuncoli, the first chapter of "Scorpio Rising."
Scorpio is of course an old enemy of the original Nick Fury, and leader of the Zodiac criminal organization (not to be confused with Zodiac Starforce). The original Scorpio was Nick Fury Sr's brother, and later the name was used by Fury's son. So whichever Scorpio this is must be related to Nick Fury Jr somehow, mostly like as an uncle or half-brother. Either way there's sure to be some drama when Nick and Peter catch up to him.
Of all the artists who've made a permanent impact on comics, Jim Steranko did so the quickest, solving the puzzle in the fewest moves. Born on this day in 1938, he's had many occupations --- artist, writer, magician, escapologist, musician, designer, publisher, scholar, innovator, raconteur, living legend, and Twitter celebrity. His life and art are so singular that only one word seems to describe him: Steranko.
There are a few indisputable truths in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the ultimate lesson is that Nick Fury ain't nothing to f--- with. The dude is practically invincible, and he doesn't have a suit of armor or special secret sauce giving him powers either. He's also Samuel L. Jackson, which in and of itself brings a sort unbreakable spirit to the character. Though Jackson himself owes more than a tiny bit of his success as the leader of SHIELD to Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, the real deal himself has been impressive in his own right.
About the only thing that's been lacking has been an equal distribution of Nick Fury action figures. While there have been a few in smaller scales based on his appearances in the recent films, Hot Toys has only released one Nick Fury sixth-scale figure to date based on his role in The Avengers. It was a decent figure, but lacked a truly special likeness. Where nearly every other Avenger has seen more than a few different figures since the start of the MCU with Iron Man, Nick's only just getting his second figure now. The good thing is, it's a beauty.
This week's Ani-Com and Games Hong Kong event is barely underway, but Hot Toys has already announced a handful of new and eagerly awaited figures in its sixth-scale Marvel line. The company's had an incredibly busy year with both the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe making up the bulk of Hot Toys' new figures. While the majority of the Avengers: Age of Ultron cast has already been shown numerous times, the ACGHK marked the debut of Quicksilver, and for the first time, an all-new Nick Fury based on his appearance in Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Neither of those reveals was as important however as the update to Guardians of the Galaxy's Drax the Destroyer. Drax has been MIA from any official release schedules, unlike the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy. As the last member of the crew to be formally announced, fans had been plastering Hot Toys' social media pages with pictures of an earlier prototype, hoping against hope that eventually Hot Toys would actually have news on the character's figure instead of another new Iron Man armor to hype. Today, those dreams came true.
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