365 Reasons to Love Comics #16

A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. W.E.E.K. D.A.Y. T.H.R.E.E.!

Today we talk about the best Marvel concept without an Essential! Well, besides ROM. And maybe a few others. Today's entry, though, is *surprisingly* missing an Essential volume in its honor.


16. Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD

SHIELD (originally Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law Enforcement Division, now Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate) is the helicarrierrific super-spy government agency to end all helicarrierrific super-spy government agencies. It's the daddy of comics acronyms.

Of course, SHIELD hasn't been used to as great an effect lately. They're constantly getting invaded, having the helicarrier blow up on them, being used as patsies for some greater force... C'mon, what's with that? Why can't SHIELD become the cool espionage agency it used to be? There's your problem-- go back to the original meaning for the acronym. Be the cool sci-fi spy headquarters again, rather than a shadowy bureaucracy with guns.

Back in the day, SHIELD was the "shiznit," as I'm told you youngsters say. It was hip, it was kooky-- it was the precursor to constant other acronymed agencies that've popped up since (that's right. Forget U.N.C.L.E. As much as we may love Robert Vaughan. He was no Nick Fury. And forget SPECTRE, too. I mean, they're baddies and stuff. Besides, this column is about comics. And SHIELD is totally comics.)

Yesterday we talked about Kirby-- today, let's talk about Steranko. Jim Steranko. The guy turned SHIELD comics into a gorgeous pop art masterpiece. He brought in surrealism, new senses of graphic design, and loads of outside influences to give comics art a new spin. Don't believe me? See for yourself. Yes, I'm going to barrage you with images. After all, the original Nick Fury/SHIELD series had some of the best comic covers of all time.

So c'mon, Marvel! Where's my Essential Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD? (Hell, for that matter, where's my Essential Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos?) Let's make SHIELD cool again! Let's make it what it should be-- An over-the-top flying fortress of James Bonds in a super-sci-fi world, led by the baddest mofo of them all (after all, he's been played by David Hasselhoff! You can't go wrong! And there's the matter of Samuel L. Jackson Fury in Ultimates. Fury is the epitome of badassery.)

See you tomorrow.

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