Welcome back to Absolute-ly, a feature that focuses on what comic should receive the “absolute” treatment: any story from any publisher. A call to arms of hardcover comic book fans.
Unfortunately Jim Steranko is a name fading from the collective comic book memory, to its detriment. Exploding onto the comics scene in the late 1960s and then quickly leaving the medium, he stands out as a master of page layout, design and motion. He takes Marvels classic Kirby action sequences and slims the characters down, elongating their lithe movements.
Story elements become part of the page, going beyond basic boxes and immersing the reader. Nick Fury is navigating the hazards of an enemy fortress so segments of a paper maze adorn the page. Next up is another of his signature moves, a full-page figure amongst the panels.
As he migrates from Strange Tales to full on Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. we’re treated to jaw dropping intro pages, blending text and imagery as masterful as Eisner.
Rapid colour changes and elements to divide the page are used beautifully. The telephone cord tying the explosion of the first panel throughout the page.
Heavy text pages with full illustration to further the story, later to be used in full effect in those new fangled “graphic novels”. And we can’t ignore the psychedelic colours of the era pulsing out at the reader.
Marvel has treated the reader a few times in the last decade to Steranko’s Nick Fury, recoloured and heavy cleaned up for modern print. Check out Nick Fury Agent Of SHIELD, Marvel Visionaries Jim Steranko, Marvel Masterworks Captain America and Marvel Masterworks Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD. Those pages should be readily available for Marvel to get off the benches and produce an Absolute format hardcover on this master of the comic medium.