Who is Jim Steranko? Born during the Depression and raised as a street tough during the War, he's a former escape artist and magician that was one of the influences behind Michael Chabon's Kavalier and Clay. He played in rock bands in the 1950s, may have invented the Go-Go Girl, and inspired several Jack Kirby creations. An inveterate raconteur that puts Mark Millar and Kanye West to shame, if you believe any of his elaborate stories told on twitter, he is in the running for actual Most Interesting Man in the World whose accomplishments wildly outstrip the fictional construction.
He swooped into Marvel in 1966 and was assigned the superspy series Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., at the time published as a split-book with Dr. Strange in the long-running Strange Tales. Like many new Marvel artists at the time, he began working over Jack Kirby pencils and Stan Lee and Roy Thomas scripts, but very quickly became the first at Marvel (and one of the first in the Silver Age) to write, illustrate, ink, and even color his own stories. One of mainstream comics' first true auteurs, he quickly developed his own voice, the first truly fresh voice at the House of Ideas at a time that Lee, Kirby and Ditko were already changing the face of pop culture.
|The Four Page Spread. It looks way better in the new S.H.I.E.L.D. trade.|
|From Strange Tales 168|
Steranko simply is Steranko, and the stories, as alternately ridiculous and divine as they are, mark a cultural and artistic turning point for the genre and the medium. Lets just hope Marvel manages to keep it in print.
Buy S.H.E.L.D. By Steranko: The Complete Collection on Amazon.