Thursday, March 11, 2004
Growing up, my favorite comic book was Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD. SHIELD stood for Special Headquarters for Intelligence, Espionage, Law Enforcement and Defense. Perhaps I made that up. I've long since forgotten what it stood for. But I do remember the artwork. Johnny Severin, I believe, was the unbelievably great master behind the first few issues. He was so good, reading the comic was almost like watching a movie. Severin was just that talented.
Fury was a former WWII non-com, the leader of the Howling Commandos (subject of another great Marvel comic book). The Commandos fought mostly in the European Theater and Fury's crew came within a whisker of kidnapping and/or killing Hitler on several occasions.
In the late sixties, of course, the James Bond phenomenon was sweeping the country. Fury was modernized as a secret agent, actually the head of SHIELD, with an expanse of gadgets and weaponry that would leave "Q" green with envy. HYDRA (don't ask me what that stood for) was SHIELD's arch-enemy, the SMERSH to Bond's British Intelligence.
The reason Fury was so compelling is best described in this single paragraph:
Nick Fury has trained as a paratrooper, Ranger, demolitions expert and vehicle specialist. He holds an unlimited-tonnage, all-seas license as a commander of ocean-going vessels. Fury has completed Green and Black Beret special-forces training, is a seasoned unarmed- and armed-combat expert, was a heavyweight boxer in the Army, and holds a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and a brown belt in Jiu Jitsu. He has honed his fighting skills sparring with the star-spangled Super-Soldier called Captain America, perhaps the world's finest unarmed-combat expert. The experimental Infinity Formula that Fury first ingested during World War II retarded his aging, granting him the physique of a much younger man. Nick Fury, the oldest of three children born to an American pilot who died in battle during the final year of World War I, grew up in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. At the start of American involvement in World War II, Fury enlisted in the Army. He underwent basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey under the command of Sgt. Charles Bass, a stern taskmaster who singled him out as the company scapegoat. In short order, Fury proved himself to be an excellent soldier and capable leader, and rose quickly to the rank of sergeant.
You want a piece of Nick Fury? Well, do ya?
Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD
at 10:08 PM