Marvel Tried Censoring A Nick Fury Comic (But Failed. Hard.)
Marvel Studios fans are abuzz with the reveal of the first footage from 2022's Secret Invasion: a one-second shot of Nick Fury turning around and looking at the camera.
Why is Nick not wearing his eyepatch in this shot? What does his beard represent? What information can we glean from the sweater he's wearing? We don't know; who cares. Let's talk about the old Nick Fury comic that was too sexy for its own good instead.
In the late '60s, the Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. series by writer/artist Jim Steranko was one of Marvel's hottest titles -- so hot that they were constantly like, "Whoa, whoa, tone it down before someone sees this." One character who regularly scandalized Marvel's editors was S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (played in the MCU by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who took the role solely because she realized she'd have the longest end credits row ever). For instance, one time, they blanked out the Contessa's butt to make her cheeks less pronounced. Or, well, not pronounced at all.
More than once, they removed lines from the Contessa's cleavage, making it look like she likes to wear outfits with big skin-colored patches on the chest.
But one time, Marvel's attempts to de-eroticize Steranko's work backfired pretty spectacularly and ended up achieving the opposite. In Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 from 1968, Steranko drew a silent sequence of Fury and the Contessa hanging out together, ending with a shot of the two kissing. No butt (or void) grabbing or anything like that; they're just putting their arms around each other while making out.
See that panel of the phone off the hook? In the days of old, that was the way primitive people put their phone on "Do Not Disturb" mode if they wanted some alone time. Marvel felt that implying Nick Fury didn't want to be called so he could smooch with his ladyfriend was going too far for an all-ages comic, so they had another artist redraw that shot but with the phone properly hooked as in any decent, non-depraved household. According to Steranko, "Now, every time I pass a phone that's off the hook, I get horny!" (exclamation mark very much in the original). But the most bizarre change was the final panel:
Yes, they replaced the kiss with a shot of a gun tightly inserted in a holster (which is actually a zoomed-in copy of an earlier panel), thus accidentally taking Nick and Val from first to third base. Even Steranko conceded that this was "a sexual metaphor much more potent than my figures." In fact, we can perfectly imagine this exact cut happening in an Austin Powers movie, the most erotically charged film franchise in history.
Anyway, if you see any random shots of holstered guns or vintage phones during the inevitable JL-D/SLJ scene on Secret Invasion, now you know what happened there.
Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment on every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com.
Top image: Marvel Studios