Joe Simon and Jack Kirby introduced Cap in his own CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS in 1941, the cover of which famously depicts Cap socking Hitler in the jaw. This was before the US was actually in the war, mind you. The result of an unreproducible science-fiction procedure, 4-F Steve Rogers, a stout-hearted weakling from Brooklyn, was transformed into the pinnacle of physical perfection, Captain America. Outfitted with an unbreakable shield, Cap fought his way though WW2. When the war ended and interest in superhero comics waned, Cap was suspended in the arctic ice, thawed by the superheroic Avengers to fight for justice again.
Captain America was also the favorite superhero of my friend James, who died almost a year ago. Like the Captain himself, James was often disillusioned by it by his country, but continued to believe in it. This piece is dedicated to James. RIP, buddy.
Hope you’ll make the circuit back here tomorrow for the next superstar of MIGHTY MARVEL MAY.
It seems appropriate that Marvel’s resident spymaster should have a biography that’s constantly under revision. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for the lead in SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS, Fury was initially a two-eyed tough guy from New York who led a rag-tag group of soldiers in World War II’s European combat. He and the HCs seem heavily inspired by DC’s SGT. ROCK comics featuring the tough-talking New Yorker Rock and the ragtag Easy Company.
Although World War II had been over almost twenty years when SGT. FURY premiered, the character was still alive and ornery- and now missing an eye- in a 1965 issue of STRANGE TALES which introduced Fury and the reader to SHIELD (The Supreme Headquarters of International Espionage Law-enforcement Division). It turned the brave-but-ordinary war veteran into comic equivalent of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. or an American James Bond. Outfitted with Jack Kirby gadgets he fought a not-so cold war against the evil organization HYDRA.
As years went on, Fury’s adventures skewed more toward superheroics, with SHIELD agents donning black tights (which carried over to the recent AVENGERS movie) and more and more outlandish gear. The great Jim Steranko drew some amazing Fury tales in the 60s with an eye on Pop Art and design. Other than the introduction of the age-defying “Infinity Formula” to account for his relative youth, Fury himself remained a mortal tough guy able to go toe-to-toe with superhumans.
Fury has been portrayed in live-action not only by Samuel L. Jackson (playing the “Ultimate” version of Fury who was, himself, based on Jackson) most recently in THE AVENGERS , but also in an unlikely 1998 TV movie by David Hasselhoff. Having survived WWII and the Cold War, Fury seemed just as able to brush that one off.
Please join me for tomorrow’s MIGHTY MARVEL MAY for a big star!