Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, from Strange Tales 158, July 1967. Art by Jim Steranko.
This omnibus has a ton of extras:
Introductions by John Morrow, Jim Steranko (10 pages), and Roy Thomas, Stan Lee “Against the Hordes of Hydra” essay from Sons of Origins, intros from A.M. Viturtia ad Larry Hama.
Also, all the Strange Tales and Agent of SHIELD letters pages, covers from Agent of SHIELD 16, 17, 18 (reprints Strange Tales), cover for Not Brand Ecch #2, Knock Furious full story from Not Brand Ecch (NBE) #2, cover from NBE #8, Knock Furious full story from NBE #8, cover and full Knock Furious story from NBE #11, house ads showing two new features: Nick Fury and Sub-mariner, solo titles ad for Doctor Strange and Nick Fury, two page proposal for “The Man Called DEATH” penciled by Jack Kirby and tryout inks by Jim Steranko. This proposal became Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD.
Original art from Strange Tales #135 by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers, unused Kirby pencils inked by unknown inker (great work, BTW) from #135, production photostat from #155, page 7 showing original art with Nick Fury having ropes around his neck before Comics Code pressure resulted in their removal, production photostat with Steranko coloring notes from #156, page 6, production proof #157, page 7 with Steranko notes, #159 cover original art by Steranko and unedited Captain America, production proof on 168 Contessa’s posterior before Comics Code alterations, famous Agent of SHIELD #2 romantic interlude between Nick and Val which was significantly altered and possibly made even more scandalous, original cover art for iconic Agent of SHIELD #4 by Steranko, original color design for cover #5 which was proposed as #1 cover (Who is Scorpio cover), awesome unused Herb Trimpe cover with Hydra in Nick’s mind, quarter-sized thumbnails for Agents of SHIELD reprints 1-5, and 1-2 (1 shown front and back). Kirby Complete Collection and Steranko Complete Collection covers (colors by Dean White) and Alex Ross reimaged cover from Kirby’s scope cover.
Cover for Strange Tales 143, April 1966. Art by Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby and John Severin
The series started off with a bang. From the letters pages, it’s clear that most fans immediately took to the title. There were a few complaints about Nick’s crude manners and appearance. The character was the exact same as he was in Sgt. Fury but now leads a spy agency. I really enjoyed John Severin’s finishes over Kirby’s layouts. These issues are different from Steranko’s later work, of course, but they have their own charm and Kirby’s signature wild sci-fi imagination. I loved having Dugan and Gabe join the roster from the Howlers.
After Severin left Marvel, the series floundered a bit and became even more hyperbolic.
Jim Steranko’s Style
From Strange Tales #159, August 1967. Art by Jim Steranko.