Will Nick Fury Come back as a Black Guy after Secret Invasion?
By Hervé St-Louis
May 21, 2008 - 22:30
Nick Fury is the former Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage Logistics Directorate), a Marvel comic book spy and surveillance organization, under the United Nations whose goal is to fight terrorism. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appearing in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #1, Nick Fury was modelled after James Bond-type of secret agents.
When Marvel Comics introduced Nick Fury in its alternate comic book line known as the ultimate universe in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #5, he was introduced as a black man, although he looked very different from his current look which is modelled after black American actor Samuel L. Jackson. Marvel Comics subsequently asked the actor the right to model Nick Fury after him.
Marvel Comics, like DC Comics, having introduced mostly caucasian characters in their history appear ethno-centric when their properties are taken outside of the comic book where a diverse a coloured North America is the norm. For example, when Cartoon Network introduced the Justice League cartoon series, it picked Green Lantern John Stewart, who is black, instead of Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner, who are Caucasians. Within the comic books themselves, a lot of efforts are done to introduce characters from different backgrounds.
Because comic books exist as part of larger entertainment offer, their marketing and images must be consistent from one medium to another. If not, the effort to promote characters as viable properties with cross market appeal are wasted. For example, when DC Comics reintroduced the Green Lantern comic book series, it found that it could no longer hide Green Lantern John Stewart. For a while, he even starred in the Justice League comic book series.
Following the release of the Iron Man film, Marvel Entertainment, now producer of its own films has to manage the proper cross marketability of all its properties. As one of those promising properties, continuing to portray Nick Fury as a white man makes no business sense, even in the main Marvel universe. If a series of films on Marvel properties will involve Nick Fury playing in the sidelines and culminating in an Avenger’s film featuring Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, casting Samuel L. Jackson makes more sense than casting David Hasselhoff.
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