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Nick Fury is an immortal superspy. He has been an agent (and later) director of SHIELD, an international security organization. He first appeared in "Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos" #1 (May, 1963), created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Howling Commandos series ran for 120 issues (May, 1963-July, 1974), featuring the World War II adventures of an army unit. In "Fantastic Four" vol. 1 #21 (December, 1963), an older Nick Fury appeared alive and well in the 1960s. He was no longer with the military, instead serving as an agent of the CIA. This version of Fury next appeared in "Strange Tales" #135 (August, 1965), where Fury became the leading agent of SHIELD and the lead of a new series. He has since served as the lead character of several series and magazines. However, the most famous version was the period with Jim Steranko at the helm, that showed arty Surrealism and abstractionism had a place in comics.
The life story of Nicholas Joseph "Nick" Fury is relatively simple. A World War II vet from New York's Hell's Kitchen, Fury started fighting the Nazis with his Band of Brothers the Howling Commandos first before moving onto more esoteric foes of humanity. It was sometime between moving to work for the CIA and fighting a hate-ray powered clone of Adolf Hitler alongside a walking pile of rocks that Fury realized that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. A flying base filled with Life Model Decoys and psychic spies was obviously in order.
- He has a Flying Car.
- He's fought radioactive robots in space.
- He's chased a warlord to another dimension to fight psychic duels with his literal Eyepatch of Power.
- He's hunted Godzilla.
- He once willingly turned himself into an Eldritch Abomination to save reality.
- He's beaten up Adolf Hitler on more than one occasion.
- He is cooler than you will ever be.
- He was played by David Hasselhoff in a 1998 Made for TV movie/failed pilot.
Just to top that, they decided that his Ultimate Marvel version should be played by Samuel L. Jackson. Literally. They have an official deal and everything, which has now been expanded to a nine movie contract. He's appeared in five of them so far.
These tropes feature in his life:
- Actor Allusion - Marvel asked Samuel L. Jackson to use his likeness in the Ultimate Marvel Universe comics. It's even lampshaded when members of the Ultimates are discussing what actors should play them.
- The deal went like this: Marvel asked if they could base their Ultimate Nick Fury on Sam Jackson, Jackson's answer was "Just so long as I get to play him!" Jackson is a lifelong comic book fan with Nick Fury being one of his personal favorites.
- Actually a Doombot - His Life Model Decoys have been used for this.
- The Ageless: He is physically in his 40s, 50s tops, and will not age another day.
- Affirmative Action Legacy/Canon Immigrant: Battle Scars (a Fear Itself epilogue) introduces Marcus Johnson, a black marine sucked into the world of superheroes when it was discovered he's Fury's son. By the end of the event - coincidentally just as the Avengers movie premiered - he'd lost his eye, shaved his head, and all in all become Ultimate Nick Fury in the non-Ultimate verse (it's even found that his birth name is really "Nick Fury, Jr.").
- Art Evolution - Just look at the first reprint book of Jim Steranko's period with this character to see the artwork gradually changes from an imitation of Jack Kirby's style to an inspired surrealist visual magic like nothing ever attempted in mainstream comics before!
- Badass: Nick Fury is that page's image for a very good reason.
- Badass Abnormal - Nick is just your average combat-hardened joe from the Big Apple... who doesn't age. Because of drugs. Awesome drugs.
- Given all the other superheroes, he's as close to a normal hero as you'll get.
- Bald Black Leader Guy - In the Ultimate Universe, which became the go-to version whenever they want to depict Nick Fury outside of comics lately (though he isn't bald in Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes; funnily enough, that version of Nick Fury ends up looking like Jules Winfield with an eyepatch!)
- Captain Ersatz: Dirk Anger of HATE from Nextwave was created specifically because Warren Ellis couldn't use the real deal.
- The Chessmaster: In The Avengers film, he plays several cards close to his chest. Word of God says he even faked Coulson's death to motivate the team.
- Darker and Edgier: The MAX version, which was created by Garth Ennis for a six-issue miniseries and later appeared in Ennis's Punisher MAX series. In all of his appearances he drinks, smokes, swears, has sex with hookers, disobeys orders and beats people up while complaining about how little combat he sees and how pathetic modern society is. While certainly badass and fitting of the MAX label, this portrayal drew notable criticism from Stan Lee, who was openly disgusted by it.
- Evil Twin - Sort of. He has an LMD that developed an individual consciousness and thought it was the real thing. It took a while for it to go evil. At first, he just went rogue and spent years dismantling terrorist cells.
- Eyepatch After Time Skip
- Eyepatch of Power
- Five-Man Band: As an agent of SHIELD, he often was in one.
- Insert Grenade Here - During his Howling Commando days.
- Jerkass - He takes this trope and makes it a freaking artform.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold - It's because of this that people like Captain America and Wolverine value him as a friend.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Mole in Charge - Happens depressingly often to S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Opening a Can of Clones - The LMDs (Life Model Decoys) make his deaths less than believable.
- Race Lift - his Earth-616 incarnation (i.e. the Marvel Universe that's been around since Captain America #1 in the '40s) is a white guy with an eyepatch. In Ultimate Marvel, he's Samuel L. Jackson with an eyepatch. This was continued into his cameo appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (in C. Viper's ending), which is set in a third continuity. (Marvel Ultimate Alliance gives you one skin of each, and another one of each can be unlocked by beating people up).
- Rated "M" for Manly
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior! - With a slowed-down aging process, but yeah.
- Seen It All: He's moving towards the century mark, has been in three wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam), worked for the CIA before moving on to S.H.I.E.L.D. and has been through paratrooper, demolition, Army Ranger and Special Forces training. All this before he started taking on super villains as the boss of SHIELD.
- Sergeant Rock - Fury is basically the Alternate Company Equivalent of the guy who named the trope. He then moved on to become a Colonel Badass.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran - His Max series and appearences in The Punisher portray him as this, disillusioned with Iraq, looking after a young boy who he wants to mercy kill, drinking heavily, sleeping with multiple hookers, and beating the crap out of US generals when they resort to terrorism.
- Smoking Is Cool - It was even a Running Gag that his connections could get him Cuban Cigars.
- But subverted during Joe Quesada's reign in Marvel. He banned smoking by iconic characters, including Fury.
- The Spymaster
- TOP Secret Origin - a badly wounded young soldier called Nick Fury stumbled into the laboratory of a French biochemist. The only treatment to hand was an experimental longevity drug...
- Walking Shirtless Scene: In his days with the Howling Commandos, Nick hardly ever finished a battle with his uniform shirt intact. S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms, however, are apparently made of more durable materials.