1 March 2017

The Complete Steranko SHIELD Collection

I have written before about the comics legend that is Jim Steranko but that was mostly in relation to his Captain America work whereas it is Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. that he is rightly most famous for.

I had read and bought various collections of his later episodes, and I may even have the occasional single issue in a comic box somewhere, but there was much of the run that I had not seen before, or even knew much about.

The ComiXology made me an offer that I could not refuse.


I am not sure what the occasion was but they had the completion collection in one of their sales and I did not hesitate to take the bait. The prize was almost 500 pages of comics for around £5.

Unexpectedly, and welcomely, the complete collection included complete copies of Strange Tales where Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD first appeared and which it shared with Dr Strange.

Both artists seem to have been told to try and emulate the styles of those that preceded them with Jim Steranko looking very like Jack Kirby (who did some of the layouts) and Dan Adkins like Steve Ditko. One of the joys of the comic is to see how the artists' styles evolved as they developed their own styles.


Elements of the Steranko style were there from the beginning, especially in the high-tech equipments, but it was a while before he was able to throw of the constraint of the six panel page to create stunning compositions.



The detailed line work with heavy contrasts that had been used sparingly became the signature of Steranko's work and why he is a legend.

The storytelling developed nicely too and I love the way that the panel above has no words, something that Warren Ellis also does very well. This is a marked contrast to Stan Lee who filled panels with lengthy speech balloons and explanatory texts. Comics were growing up then and Steranko was one of the people helping them to do it.

It is many years since I first came across Steranko's work and it still gives me a thrill. 

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