Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why Nick Fury?

“’I am Iron Man’. You think you’re the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.”
“Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD. I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative.

And the crowds went wild.

When Marvel put together the first Iron Man movie, it was kind of a big deal. Even more so when they did such a great job with it. But what few suspected prior to its actual release that it was just the first building block of a much bigger picture. There were rumors Fury would show up, of course, but it was only after we got to see the movie itself and sat around through the end credits that we knew the truth.

Unholy $#*^! They’re doing an Avengers movie!

So here we are, four years later. And with the summer of 2012 will come the debut of a film most of us no doubt thought would never see the light of day – The Avengers, on the big screen.

Naturally, there was certainly the expectation that Thoughtballoons Would do a week for The Avengers, following the tradition Ryan unwittingly started when he picked Iron Man for the very first week of ThoughtBalloons on at least partial account of the second movie having been released recently.

However, thinking about this brought an idea to my head – as a film, The Avengers ranks somewhere between the biggest movie of the summer and the biggest superhero movie of all time. So why not do something extra special for it? My answer: Instead of a single week dedicated to The Avengers, why not several weeks dedicated to The Avengers - one for each major character from the movie?

Since everyone else thought it was a great idea, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Starting today with Nick Fury, Thoughtballoons is launching it’s multiple-week ‘Avengersthon’ extravaganza, with each week dedicated to a different major character from the film, all leading up to the final The Avengers week when the movie actually comes out. Because a comic book movie this big deserves it.

Which brings us to Nick Fury himself. It seemed appropriate to start with him, since in a way he’s the man who kicked off the four-year road to the Avengers movie with Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo in the first Iron Man movie.

Why Nick Fury? Because whether he’s from the classic 616 universe we’re more familiar with or the Ultimate Universe, Nick Fury is the flip side of the same heroic coin that is shared by Captain America – Both have been around since World War II, both have some kind of serum running through their veins, both are fighting for freedom against the would-be tyrannical forces such as HYDRA and AIM. They’re both artifacts from an earlier age, though artifacts in the best sense of the word.

But where as Captain America was frozen at the end of WWII and woke up to a culture shock in the modern era, Nick Fury’s been there all along to see the world as it’s changed. Where as Steve Rodgers is as much as a symbol as a one-man fighting force, fighting out in the light for everyone to see and be inspired by, Nick Fury does his job from the shadows – he does his job better when people don’t know what he’s up to. Where Cap is prohibited from doing things like killing supervillains in order to be the better man because that’s who he has to be, Nick Fury isn’t as concerned about what people think about him – he’s just concerned about keeping the world safe.

To borrow a comparison from DC, Nick Fury is the Batman to Captain America’s Harvey Dent. Harvey Dent specifically, mind you, taking Two-Face out of the equation. Where as Captain America is the White Knight that stands as a shining beacon of good against a backdrop of scum and villainy, Nick Fury is Dark Knight doing the dirty work people don’t like to talk about.
Nick Fury gets the job done. Does he make mistakes? Yeah, but who doesn’t? He’s still human. He’s just a human that does what has to be done to keep the world safe. Because he’s Nick Fury.


Director of SHIELD.



    Full Splash. Fury and Captain America stand in the middle of an arena, left hands chained together, right hands clasping knives. This is not the Captain America we know, but a Nazi-engineered Cap from an alternate reality, which should be evident from his costume.
    Between them, you can see The Beyonder on a viewing platform of the type Roman emperors watched coliseum fights from. However, the design of this building is not Roman, but a sort of bastardized Greek combined with a sort of Kirbytech style. Beyonder lounges in his throne, hoisting a goblet into the air.

    Beyonder: LET THE GAMES...
    Beyonder: [i]BEGIN![/i]


    (this should be in the form of a logo reminiscent of the first and second Secret Wars series)

    1. A big and bold splash page. It would look awesome on the page.

    2. Good visuals which dovetail nicely with that brash and bold caption (very old school).

    3. Love the old school vibe, particularly the three rhetorical questions that are immediately answered by our omniscient narrator. Classic.

    4. I sense a very old-school take with this script, and something about it makes me giddy. :-)

    5. Yeah, I was going for that format Kirby used in the early seventies, where he'd open up with a splash followed by a double splash, and that image seemed a good visual to hook with. Also, I wanted to take it away from the whole espionage thing, as A: I suspected it would be the tack most other contributors took and B: I like seeing relatively serious, grounded characters be caught up in something not in their usual milieu. Fury would obviously rankle at being at the mercy of Beyonder, as he doesn't strike me as all that much of a guy who follows orders gladly. Good to know I got the tone right with the caption.

      Also, I am having problems with the commenting system, or else I would have responded sooner.

  2. Nick Fury vs. The World!

    (In the preceding pages, Captain America has assembled the Avengers, the New Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Thunderbolts, and every other team ever. He is giving them all a speech.)

    1): Close-up of Nick Fury's hands (we shouldn't see his face just yet). He is sliding a clip into his pistol.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): Ladies and gentlemen, as of 0800 hours this morning, SHIELD Director Nick Fury single-handedly seized control of the agency's largest helicarrier off the coast of New York City.

    2) Fury pulls back on the gun's slide.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): Before you even think it; our best intelligence indicates that this is not a Skrull, LMD, clone or anything other than THE Nick Fury.

    3) Fury puts the gun down next to an assortment of other weapons on a conference table in the helicarrier. There are also files marked "TOP SECRET", "CONFIDENTIAL", etc.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): By 0815, this country's government and military had lost control of their most important functions.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): Classified databases, launch codes, comm frequencies -- all gone.

    4) Fury from behind, lit by the screens in front of him, displaying Cap, Iron Man and Thor (plus anyone else you care to fit in, but those three should be prominent). There are readouts (dummy text) of their weaknesses.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): It is unclear what Fury's goal is here. But this is not something he woke up one morning and just decided to do.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): This took him years.

    5) Fury walking towards the main deck of the helicarrier, with its big windows looking out at the sky. There should be no-one else around.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): This man has spent years accumulating information and skills that most of us cannot even comprehend.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): Furthermore, he knows us. And I don't just mean the black-and-white that's in our files -- powersets, weaknesses, et cetera.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): I mean, he KNOWS us. Better than you know yourself.

    6) Close-up of Fury's face for the first time. He is smiling like a bastard.

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): I have no shame in telling you...

    CPT. AMERICA (CAP): I am afraid to fight this man.


    1. Solid page with a good hook that leaves the reader wanting more at the end.

      The only thing I would say is that Panel 5 is a tad text heavy. If it was a wide/large panel though I wouldn't see it being a problem.

    2. Now that you mention it, panel 5 would look a lot better as a wide panel, to emphasise the emptiness of the helicarrier. I didn't think of that when I was writing, I just like to have a big build-up before a simple statement. :)

    3. Have to agree with Dan on this one. Great page, solid and intriguing premise, with a nice hook at the end.

      Making that 5 panel a page wide one would have made the page flow just a little nicer. It's the only thing I can see to adjust. Great stuff.

    4. The edit to panel 5 sounds like a fine idea, but either way, it doesn't take away from how good this page is. The premise is exciting and the execution gives you everything you could want and more. Nice stuff, J.D.

      (extra points for the Scott Pilgrim reference)

    5. Haha, I've gotta hold up my hands here and confess, I've never read Scott Pilgrim and have no idea to what you refer.

    6. A) Read Scott Pilgrim, it really is a great book.
      B) Your title, Nick Fury VS The World is very much like the Scott Pilgrim movie title Scott Pilgrim VS the World. :)

    7. Right under my nose all along.

    8. I like how you immediately wipe away all the questions about 'is this the real Nick Fury?' so we can stop debating whether there's a cop-out in place and instead focus on what the real driving motive is for Nick's actions.

      One nit-pick though (and this is a minor thing) is a question of whether Cap would be admitting that he's scared, or wondering if the next page might be Cap turning the admission that he's scared into some kind of rousing inspirational speech/statement of some kind.

    9. I'm sure readers would ALWAYS be convinced it wasn't the real Nick Fury somehow, but I thought it best to get it out the way. I also find it weird that they never assume these things in comics anyway.

      I was actually gonna have Cap turn it around up there, but, as pointed out, I was kinda running low on space and I like punchy statements. Even if they get undone on the next page. :P

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    PANEL 1: Over Nick Fury's shoulder, we see Baron Von Strucker standing at a control panel on a raised metal platform, his hand gripping a lever.

    STRUCKER: You're just in time, Fury. Or, to see it from your perspective--

    PANEL 2: Close-up on Strucker's hand as he throws the lever down.


    PANEL 3: Extreme close-up on Strucker's sinister smile.

    STRUCKER: --you're too late.

    PANEL 4: Big panel, the two characters in long shot, fully revealing our setting for the first time: the Helicarrier's bomb bay, from which a massive bomb is about to drop. On the walls, alarm lights flash red. At the entrance, several HYDRA agents lie in a crumpled heap – Fury's handiwork. Through the now half-open bomb bay doors, we can discern the outline of a major American cityscape below. A desperate Fury is in mid-jump, his arms outstretched in seeming futility towards the bomb.

    FURY: NO!

    PANEL 5: Close on Fury as he throws his arms around the bomb – his hair whips wildly about in the wind, but his eyes are determined and a cigar juts out defiantly from between his gritted teeth. In the background, we see that the bomb has just passed the threshold of the bomb bay doors: there's no going back now.

    1. Marc cool page. It shows Fury at his most selfless and heroic. Plus you leave things on a real cliff hanger for the page turn or next issue. Nice work.

    2. I like the supervillain dialogue and the supervillain plot here, Marc. Would definitely be eager to know how Fury gets out of this one in one piece.

    3. Thanks for the feedback, guys. I actually started writing this fully intending to resolve the cliffhanger at the end, but realized the story worked much better as a single page without it!

  5. …But The Past Ain't Through With Nick Fury
    by: zu

    Nick Fury's human. He'll bleed if you cut him. The problem is finding where.

    Here's the set up: Nick Fury is in a decommissioned S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. If you have a love for a particular period of spy fiction, deck the joint out in that period's design. Go nuts. All I ask is for there to be a bunch of screens for Nick Fury to look at while Mephisto talks to him.

    Right! Mephisto! Look to Kieron Gillen's Mephisto. He should be big, red, ripped and fucking shirtless. He's Mephisto. His virtue is in his loins, and aside from the cape, that loincloth is all he wears. How did he get in? Doesn't matter. He's Mephisto. He does that. He's on the other side of the room.

    Fury is hunched over a computer of some kind, staring intently at a screen or the keyboard. Mephisto is behind him.

    It goes:


    *MEPHISTO looking at FURY's back in a wide angle. Show off period tech!*
    MEPHISTO: All business, Nicolas? I thought you retired.

    *MEPHISTO waits for FURY, arched over the keyboard to acknowledge him.*
    NO TEXT.

    *FURY goes back to what he was doing, which, incidentally, is recording the conversation. Incline FURY's spine slightly more or less to show this. Or! Do it differently and better!*
    NO TEXT.

    *Extremely slim panel: MEPHISTO coughs politely.*
    NO TEXT.

    *The old trick of having one half of FURY's face reflected in a screen and the other half obscured.*
    FURY: I figure you didn't come here to congratulate me on killing fascist terrorists, so get to talkin' or get to leavin'.

    *MEPHISTO produces, via brimstone smoke, a World's Best Dad mug.*
    MEPHISTO: Very well. You thought your past would catch up with you? It doesn't. It catches up with your dead son, in Hell. Hourly.

  6. Neil - that was such a Kirby page, I can't imagine anyone else drawing it.

    JD - I want to read that story. Great Jack Bauer vibe to it too.

    Marc - cool action page and I liked seeing the cigar in Fury's gritted teeth.

    zu - I love the attitude here, the whole page is dripping with it, from both Fury and Mephisto.

  7. Sorry for this being a little late.

    I'm seeing this as a page from an Avengers vs. Doctor Doom story--presumably Doom's taken down a few of them before he gets to Fury.

    “The World In the Palm of Your Hand”
    Page 12 -- 5 Panels

    12.1: Waist-up shot of Nick Fury, crouched behind an ornate pillar, assault rifle in hand. He appears rather cool and serene for a man who has Doctor Doom following him. Fury can see Doom from far off, walking into the room.

    DOOM: Fury, why do you hide from Doom?

    DOOM: Surely you can see we are on the same side?

    12.2: Profile shot of Fury, mostly in shadow, he’s listening to what Fury is saying about him, with the mildest hint of conflict.

    DOOM (off-panel): You use your will and your resources, government agencies and super-humans to create the world as you see it.

    DOOM (off-panel): To create order out of chaos.

    DOOM (off-panel): Doom could use a man of your ambition, and a man like you could use what I could give.

    12.3: Waist up shot of Doom, now more in the center of the room. Fist clenched near his face--perfect pose for a super-villain rant.

    DOOM: What do you say, Fury?

    DOOM: Why don’t you stop “playing” God and start being?

    DOOM: Become one with Doom.

    12.4: Over-the-shoulder shot of Doom looking out to the room around him. Everything outside of the spotlight Doom is under is nearly cloaked in shadow.

    FURY (off-panel): You know, you may have a point. I’d to blind to deny it.

    FURY (off-panel): There’s just one thing...

    12.5: Big action shot of Fury stepping out from the pillar and shooting at Doom with the assault rifle.

    FURY: I don’t make deals with guys who refer themselves in the third person.


    1. It IS hard to take Doom completely seriously when he speaks in third person all the time, isn't it? :-P


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