Colonel Nicholas Joseph "Nick" Fury is a fictional World War II army hero and present-day super-spy in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by artist Jack Kirby and writer Stan Lee, Fury first appeared in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 (May 1963), a World War II combat series that portrayed the cigar-chomping Fury as leader of an elite U.S. Army unit.
The modern-day Fury, initially a CIA agent, debuted a few months later in Fantastic Four #21 (Dec. 1963). In Strange Tales #135 (Aug. 1965) the character was transformed into a James Bond-like spy and leading agent of the fictional espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. The character makes frequent appearances in Marvel comic books as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and as an intermediary between the U.S. government or the United Nations and various superheroes. It is eventually revealed that Fury takes a special medication called the Infinity Formula that halted his aging and allows him to be active despite being nearly a century old.
The Nick Fury character appears in several Marvel comic series set in alternate universes, as well as multiple animated films, television shows, and video games based on the comics. The character is portrayed by David Hasselhoff in the 1998 television movie Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and by Samuel L. Jackson in the 2008 film Iron Man. Jackson's appearance and personality is also the basis of the Ultimate Marvel version of the character.
The Howling Commandos encountered Office of Strategic Services agent Reed Richards (later Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four) in #3 (Sept. 1963), and fought alongside Captain America and Bucky in #13 (Dec. 1964).
The 12-page feature was initially by Lee and Kirby, with the latter supplying such inventive and enduring gadgets and hardware as the Helicarrier — an airborne aircraft carrier — as well as human-replicant LMDs (Life Model Decoys), and even automobile airbags. Writer-penciller-colorist Jim Steranko began on the feature in Strange Tales #151 (initially over Kirby layouts), and quickly became one of comic books' most acclaimed and influential artists. In some of the creative zeniths of the Silver Age, Steranko established the feature as one of comic books' most groundbreaking, innovative and acclaimed. He introduced or popularized in comic books such art movements of the day as psychedelia and op art; built on Kirby's longstanding work in photomontage; and created comic books' first four-page spread — again inspired by Kirby, who in the 1930s-1940s period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comic books had pioneered the first full-page and double-page spreads. All the while, he spun plots of intense intrigue, barely hidden sensuality, and hi-fi hipness — and supplied his own version of Bond girls, pushing what was allowable under the Comics Code at the time.
The 12-page feature ran through Strange Tales #168 (sharing that "split book" with the occult feature "Doctor Strange" each issue), after which it was spun off onto its own series of the same title, running 15 issues (June 1968 - Nov. 1969), followed by three all-reprint issues beginning a year later (Nov. 1970 - March 1971). Steranko wrote and drew issues #1-3 and #5, and drew the covers of #1-7.
Fury continued to make appearances in the other Marvel books, from Fantastic Four to The Avengers. In 1972, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos celebrated its 100th issue with a present-day reunion of the squad, sponsored by Stan Lee and the creative team behind the title. (Lee, like other comic books professionals, has made occasional cameos in his own books, in a tradition going back to the 1940s Golden Age of comic books).
New S.H.I.E.L.D. stories did not appear for nearly two decades after the first solo title. A six-issue miniseries, Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. (June-Nov. 1988) was followed by Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. vol. 2. This second series lasted 47 issues (Sept. 1989 - May 1993); its pivotal story arc was "the Deltite Affair", in which many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were replaced with Life Model Decoys in a takeover attempt.
A year after that series ended, the one-shot Fury (May 1994) retconned the events of those previous two series, recasting them as a series of staged events designed to distract Fury from the resurrection plans of HYDRA head Baron von Strucker. The following year, writer Howard Chaykin and penciller Corky Lehmkuhl produced the four-issue miniseries Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. (April-July 1995). Various publications have additionally focused on Nick Fury's solo adventures, such as the graphic novels and one-shots Wolverine - Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection (1989), Wolverine/Nick Fury: Scorpio Rising (Oct. 1994), Fury/Black Widow: Death Duty and Captain America/Nick Fury: Blood Truce (both Feb. 1995), and Captain America/Nick Fury: The Otherworld War (Oct. 2001). He also starred in the 2004-2005 Secret War mini-series.
Discharged after the War, Jack returns home, marries an unnamed woman, and becomes the father of three children. Nick, probably born in the late 1910s or early 1920s, is followed by Jacob "Jake" Fury (later the supervillain Scorpio who co-founded the Zodiac cartel), and their sister, Dawn.
All three children grow up in the neighborhood known as Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City, New York. Nick is an amateur boxer through the Police Athletic League where he also learns marksmanship. With his friend Red Hargrove, he eventually leaves the neighborhood to pursue his dreams of adventure, eventually settling on a daring wing-walking and parachuting act. Their death-defying stunts while training British Commandos in 1940 catch the attention of Lieutenant Samuel "Happy Sam" Sawyer, then serving with the British Commandos, who enlists them for a special mission in the Netherlands. Nick and Red later join the U.S. Army, with Fury undergoing Basic Training under a Sergeant Bass. Nick and Red are stationed together at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii when the Imperial Japanese Navy ambushes the base on December 7, 1941. Red is among the many killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, with Fury swearing vengeance against both the Japanese and the Nazis.
Sawyer, now a captain, assigns Fury command of the First Attack Squad, a unit of U.S. Army Rangers, who are awarded the honorary title of Commandos by Winston Churchill after their first missions. They are nicknamed the "Howling Commandos" and stationed at a military base in England to fight specialized missions, primarily but not exclusively in the European Theatre of World War II. During this period, Fury falls in love with an English nurse, Lady Pamela Hawley, who dies in a bombing raid on London before he can propose to her.
Fury segues into the CIA as an espionage agent, gathering information in Korea, where he earns a battlefield promotion to colonel. During this time, he recommends the recruitment of married agents Richard and Mary Parker, who will go on to become the parents of Fury's occasional super-hero ally Spider-Man. Much later, the CIA uses him as a liaison to various super-powered groups that have begun appearing, including the Fantastic Four, whom CIA agent Fury first encounters in Fantastic Four #21 (Dec. 1963). Despite Marvel's "elastic chronology", which puts the early-'60s stories as roughly only 10 years before modern-day stories, Marvel has never retconned an explanation for that chronological discrepancy, as the company has for many others.
During his time with the CIA, Fury begins wearing his trademark eyepatch. (An issue of Sgt. Fury had revealed that he had taken shrapnel to one eye during the war, which caused him to slowly lose sight in it over the course of years.)
After years at the helm, Fury discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA have both fallen under the control of a group of sentient Life Model Decoy androids known as Deltites. Betrayed, Fury goes to ground, hunted by his fellow agents, many of whom are later revealed to have already been replaced with Deltites. Although Fury ultimately exposes and overcomes the Deltite threat, the conflict is so destructive to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s personnel and infrastructure, and leaves Fury so disillusioned, that he chooses to disband the agency to prevent it from again being subverted from within.
Fury rebuilds S.H.I.E.L.D. from the ground up, initially as a more streamlined agency small enough for him to personally oversee and protect from being corrupted. This new incarnation changed the acronym to stand for "Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate".
Sometime later, Frank Castle, the vigilante known as the Punisher, is captured and sent to a maximum-security facility with a S.H.I.E.L.D. escort. During a hypnosis session with Doc Samson, a character named Spook interrupts and has the Punisher conditioned to believe Fury is responsible for the murder of the Punisher's family. An escaped Punisher eventually kills Fury, who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. However, the Fury that the Punisher has "killed" is later revealed to have been a highly advanced Life Model Decoy android.
Returned to his post as S.H.I.E.L.D. director, Fury independently enlists the superheroes Captain America, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Wolverine, Daredevil, and the Black Widow to launch a covert assault on the leadership of Latveria, which is plotting a massive attack on the U.S. One year afterward, Latveria launches a counterattack that results in Fury's removal as S.H.I.E.L.D. commander, forcing him again into hiding with numerous international warrants out for his arrest. His successors as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. are first Maria Hill and then Tony Stark. Hill, keeping Fury's disappearance from the S.H.I.E.L.D. rank and file, uses Life Model Decoys to impersonate Fury on occasion.
Fury is the only "33rd-degree" S.H.I.E.L.D officer, meaning he is the only member of S.H.I.E.L.D., present or past, to know the full existence of 28 emergency, covert bases scattered across the globe.
Soon after the attack on Earth, Fury and his team are seen counter-attacking the Skrull attack in Times Square, Manhattan, with the new team. They manage to repel and kill the invaders in the area significantly, whilst saving the downed Initiative cadets and the Young Avengers. He, along with his team and the rescued heroes, are next seen working and planning their next move in one of the scattered 28 covert S.H.I.E.L.D. bases. He has also been seen talking to Deadpool, while Deadpool was on a Skrull ship after pretending to join them.
Fury leads the survivors of the Young Avengers and Initiative back to the fight in New York, where they are joined by Thor, the new Captain America, the New Avengers and Mighty Avengers, the Hood's gang, and the Thunderbolts, to take on Veranke's army of Super Skrulls.
Fury is a seasoned unarmed and armed combat expert, was a heavyweight boxer in the army (during World War II), and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a brown belt in Jiu Jitsu. He has honed his unarmed combat skills sparring with Captain America.
Fury is a combat veteran of three wars (World War II, Korea, Vietnam), plus numerous "military advisor" missions and clandestine operations. He is trained as a paratrooper, a Ranger (commando), a demolitions expert, and a vehicle specialist (including aircraft and seagoing vessels). He has received Green and Black Beret Special Forces training.
Fury has access to a wide variety of equipment and weaponry designed by S.H.I.E.L.D. technicians. He wears a S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform made of 9-ply Kevlar (able to withstand ballistic impact up to .45 caliber bullets) and a Beta Cloth (type C), a fire-resistant material whose kindling temperature is 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fury uses various types of handguns, including a .15 caliber needle gun, a government issue .45 caliber automatic, a captured German Luger in 9mm Parabellum, a modified semi-automatic Walther PPK in 9mm Parabellum, and the Ingram MAC-10 machine pistol in .45 caliber.
As the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury has access to the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. highly advanced arsenal of weaponry, and various air, land, and sea craft provided by S.H.I.E.L.D., and numerous S.H.I.E.L.D. paraphernalia including a radio-link tie, and a bulletproof suit.
In April 2005, Marvel Studios partnered with Paramount Pictures for 10 film adaptations of Marvel characters, including Nick Fury, with Marvel funding the films' production budgets and Paramount providing marketing and distribution. Marvel received the majority of the film's production budget from Merrill Lynch and Wall Street investors. Avi Arad, then head of Marvel Studios, said in February 2006 that Captain America and Nick Fury movie could debut by summer 2008. By April 2006, Andrew W. Marlowe, a Nick Fury fan, was writing a script, with Arad and Kevin Feige producing. In August of that year the film was still in early development.