Pop focus: Jim Steranko - Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This week saw the TV debut of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and I thought it was not so bad. Nice to hear some zippy Joss Whedon dialogue on the small screen again, and -- at least so far, the show seems much better-realized than Whedon's what-the-hell-were-you-thinking "Dollhouse." Hopefully, S.H.I.E.L.D. will last for a bit.

But we're not here to talk about Joss Whedon, but the man who made his mark on the original Marvel Comics Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. strip: cartoonist, writer, escape artist, raconteur and blower-of-minds, Mr. Jim Steranko.

Steranko took over art chores on the Nick Fury strip in 1966, initially penciling over Jack Kirby's layouts, but he was soon adding his own touches to the strip -- innovative stuff in comics for the days, with lots of op-art experimentation that really added to the title's 1960 spy movie feel. The images below will give you a feel for what an impact this comic had back in its day. Even now, it's a lot more imaginative and fun-to-look-at most new comics.

Along with S.H.I.E.L.D., Steranko is noted for his excellent two-part, tabloid-size "Steranko's History of Comics" books, which were great early examples of American comic book history, documenting the medium's most influential creators and characters. A real-life escape artist and magician in his younger years, Steranko was also the model for Kirby's "super escape artist" Mister Miracle, who, in turn, inspired the Escapist character in Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay."

Steranko also has a very engaging Twitter feed and is reviewing episodes of the new S.H.I.E.L.D. series (he didn't like the first ep).

Let's celebrate his impact and art, below.


  1. Although I missed some of original Shield characters and hope some of them show later on,I feel this show has potential.If Josh Whedon dosen't mess it up like Angel,it'll go well

  2. Gorgeous stuff. I am sad he never got back to comics but he did enough for a lifetime of influence. That escape artist stuff is just too much. He must have told a hell of a story to Jack Kirby one night.


Post a Comment