Review | Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition

Stunning, jaw-dropping gorgeous work presented in its original size, Steranko Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition is without peer.

Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist's Edition coverIn the mid-1960s, Jim Steranko burst into the Marvel Age of comics in a BIG way, and the innovative, cinematic techniques he introduced in his brief tenure at The House of Ideas stand to this day as a high-water mark in the history of graphic storytelling. More than any other series, Steranko is most associated with Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. This Artist’s Edition collects the first 12 stories of Steranko’s run, from Strange Tales #151 — #162, as well as all his covers from these issues. Additionally, there will be a select number of extras presented. And, as usual, nearly all the pages have been scanned from the original art, from Steranko’s private archives.

  • Writers: Jim Steranko, Stan Lee & Roy Thomas (additional script)
  • Artists: Jim Steranko, Jack Kirby (additional layouts)
  • IDW Publishing, July 2014
  • Black & White Hardcover, 184 Pages, 15” x 22”
  • $150 USD Suggested

As with all original artist’s gallery editions this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index.

Not only are readers treated to watching Steranko’s style develop over a dozen issues, the first three feature layouts by Jack Kirby. Interestingly Kirby’s layouts seem to hinder Steranko’s style more than assist it, and good things start appearing on paper once it’s all Jim.

IDW continues to produce a top quality item at a top quality price. Very thick paper stock and smythe sewn binding provide a well produced volume that lays flat and allows for non-restrictive reading. Or at least as humanly possible, since this book is 15×22 inches and can only be read on a flat surface.

Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist's Edition interior 1

This volume has a few firsts for the Artist’s Edition line, the first being designed by the artist. Instead of using the very talented Randy Dahlk Steranko himself designed the endpapers, credits, index and chapter dividers and cover. They are intensely red and scream late Steranko, but this book is about early Steranko and as such almost clash with the material.

Original page size changes with the last issue included: with page two of Strange Tales issue 162 it shifts to the modern art size. It’s a dramatic difference as you turn the page.

Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist's Edition interior 2

Almost all pages are from Steranko’s personal files and are very clean with slight to heavy yellowing. As well there are quite a few pages of original art that look like photostats, in fact most of issue 160, labeled “Page not scanned from original art”. There is only one page recreated from the published comic with colour removed. The scanned file pages are clear and crisp, the photostats slightly blurry.

Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist's Edition interior 3

Let’s address that title: no typo there, throughout this volume Jim or James Steranko is only addressed as “Steranko”, so it seems he’s taken the celebrity singular name and follows in the footsteps of Cher and Madonna. Title, credits page, even biography all indicate Steranko only. At least the text of the biography refers to Jim Steranko.

Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist's Edition interior 4

Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition is this artist’s first works at Marvel. IDW is preparing a second volume completing the Strange Tales stories and including Nick Fury and Captain America, arguably Steranko at the height of his talent. I can’t wait.

Scott VanderPloeg Written by:

Editor-In-Chief. Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans. Joe Shuster Awards Harry Kremer coordinator.

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5 Comments

  1. July 23, 2014
    Reply

    Dang… another big book I want for my collection!

  2. I’m stoked for both of them. Sterenko took over a title from the great Jack Kirby and made it his own and IMO made it better. I don’t think you could give him a bigger compliment than that.

  3. Dennis De Pues
    July 31, 2014
    Reply

    I just picked this up as well and it is as georgeous as it is huge!I actually loved the Kirby/Steranko collaboration as much as the solo Steranko.You really can see Kirbys influence right alongside Sterankos inventiveness.Can’t wait to see the issues that Joe Sinnott inked.That will indeed be a treat!

  4. Tom Berry
    August 6, 2014
    Reply

    I’ve got most of the original prints; all the Nick Furys’. They are some of my favorite books and very undervalued. Wouldn’t mind having this book, but since I have most of it already, the price is too high. Good book for any Steranko fan.

  5. Nicholas Post
    January 22, 2015
    Reply

    Second volume of Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition will be more awesome than the first volume, remember 4 pages that needed to be put together as an ‘horizontal poster” in the later issue of Strange Tales, I’m very curious how these would be shown in Artist’s Edition, probably double-folded double page spreads.

    As for famous three issues of Steranko’s Captain American, oh man!

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