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1965-03-01 00:11:30
Strange Tales #130-144 (Dr. Strange)
1965/Box 2/Silver Age
Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #4

Strange Tales #135 (Nick Fury)

Issue(s): Strange Tales #135 (Nick Fury story only)
Published Date: Aug 65
Title: "Nick Fury, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. / The man for the job"
Stan Lee - Writer
Jack Kirby - Penciler
Dick Ayers - Inker

Fantastic Four #21 established that Nick Fury was working for the CIA in the modern Silver Age. About a year and a half later, he replaces the Human Torch in the Strange Tales split book, and is recruited to lead the organization known as SHIELD.

It's clear from the name (e.g., Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and the gadgetry shown here that this series was hoping to capitalize on the spy craze resulting from the James Bond movies.

The story not only introduces SHIELD, but also many of its familiar elements, including LMDs...

...the Helicarrier...

...and flying cars.

As an aside, i'm not a huge James Bond buff, but that scene with the car shooting missiles up at a helicopter reminds me of a similar scene from 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me. Granted the Bond films were based on novels, but it really does show the strength of comic books as a medium at the time that Marvel could have a scene like that a good decade before the movies.

The story also introduces SHIELD's main threat, the world conquering organization known as Hydra. Hydra is shown to be devoted with such fanatics that they seem to be able to recruit a massive horde of loyal troops despite a rule that says if you screw up once you have to fight your successor to the death.

The victor in that struggle is Agent H, the first female to rise so high in the ranks. She'll turn out to be Laura Brown, a recurring character and also the daughter of this iteration of Hydra's leader.

Tony Stark is also involved with SHIELD.

Nick Fury is originally not comfortable with the idea of leading such a group...

...but after handling a bombing attempt with ease and falling into the natural role of barking out orders, Stark is able to convince Fury that he needs to take the job.

This issue is mostly set-up, but it's a great vehicle for Kirby's imagination and establishes a fun super-spy premise.

There's plenty of wackiness, too, like this opening scene where Fury is being measured for his LMD and told "Don't even breath", but go ahead and smoke that cigar.

The name that SHIELD is an acronym isn't spelled out in this story, but as Chris Durnell once pointed out, the name SHIELD is based on NATO prototype SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) and NATO's command center SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe). The derived name and the fact that Nick Fury recognizes "some of the most famous Joes from every nation in the world" establishes that SHIELD is an international organization.

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos was still running strong at this point, so Marvel was publishing two separate Nick Fury series from two different time periods at the same time.

Quality Rating: C+

Historical Significance Rating: 10 - first SHIELD, first (published) Hydra. First Laura Brown. First Helicarier, LMDs, SHIELD's flying cars.

Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places Tony Stark's appearance here between Tales of Suspense #64-65 and before Avenger #15. The way i have things laid out actually has this issue taking place before some earlier Human Torch issues of Strange Tales, but there's no reason that things couldn't have happened in this order, and in any event the continuous run of stories on the Dr. Strange side makes any kind of direct correlation to publication date impossible.

References: N/A

Cross-over: N/A

Continuity Implant? N

Reprinted In: Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos annual #2

Inbound References (4): show

Characters Appearing: Imperial Hydra Arnold Brown, Iron Man, Laura Brown, Nick Fury

Strange Tales #130-144 (Dr. Strange)
1965/Box 2/Silver Age
Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #4


The "Spy Who Loved Me" film shares only the name with the Ian Fleming novel; everything else was cooked up for the film. As for what's in the novel...uh...don't ask.

Not to be confused with the novel based on the film. A same phenomena occurred with Moonraker, which aslo received a novel based on the film despite there already being a novel before the film... Strange isn't it?

Okay, if I'm getting sidetracked from Marvel then how about this... The character Clive Reston of Shang-Chi fame was supposed to be James Bond's son! Also grandson of Sherlock Holmes. Guess him and Shang-Chi being together is kinda funny, with him being son of Fu Manchu and all...

Characters from Conan are also pretty intergrated into the marvel universe. You probably know some of this already, I know you already know about Micronauts, ROM and Godzilla being involved...

And Death's Head... Jeez, you haven't even gotten to the insane outsource history that is Death's Head yet. Came from the Transformers universe and was dumped into the marvel universe after an encounter with the Doctor (of Doctor Who fame).

But I guess you'd just use the same policy you'd use for any character originating from Exiles or Age of Apocalypse, like you've already come accross Dark Beast, when it comes to that. So... I guess there was no real point in me even bringing this up, yes?

I'll just slink off now...

It seems like it was the default state to include licensed materials in the Marvel Universe. For dud licenses (ROM, Team America, Shogun Warriors?) it probably helped with sales. It seems like Marvel was even toying with the Transformers being included in the MU in their early issues.

Cross-commented with you. ;-) But yeah, a character like Death's Head (and also Circuit Breaker) will be treated the same way as Dark Beast.

Marvel was lucky DC wasn't paying attention to their comics too much; in 1964 Batman fought an evil spy organizaton called Hydra in his own book.

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