SGT Fury: Let’s Talk Marvel War Comics!

by Daniel Hatch

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I want to thank everyone that read my DC war comic posts. I received a number of comments asking for a review of Marvel war comics as well. So let’s take a look!

We all know Nick Fury as the eye-patch sporting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. But did you know he was a war hero first? Fury makes his debut in SGT Fury and His Howling Commandos #1 back in May of 1963. This series ran for 167 issues, though the last half of the run was pretty heavy on reprints. Let’s take a look at some keys!

First Appearance of Nick Fury!

The first issue is right up there with anything DC created in the war genre. Overstreet has SGT Fury #1 as the number two Silver Age war issue. You can see why. Only five years later, Marvel released Nick Fury, Agent of Shield #1 (an expensive collector’s item in its own right). According to GoCollect, the first appearance of Nick Fury sold in a CGC 5.5 in March of this year for $2100. A 4.0 has a GoCollect FMV of $1200. Like most war books, prices escalate quickly with grade.

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Enter Captain Savage

The early issues are all collectible as early Nick Fury appearances and they also introduce some of the more important “Howlers” as his team is called. Moving on to SGT Fury #10, we have the first appearance of another Marvel war hero, Captain Savage. A Marine Corps officer, he’ll go on to get his own series, Captain Savage and Leatherneck Raiders. That series would only last 19 issues, but Captain Savage would cross paths with Nick Fury a number of times. GoCollect has an FMV of $130 for a 7.0 and one sold last August for under $100.

SGT Fury #13

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I’m sure you all recognize SGT Fury #13, it is the first meetup of Nick Fury and Captain America and is also Cap’s 2nd Silver Age appearance after Avengers #4. A 5.0 sold for $250 in March, seems like a great price, though I’d appreciate it if you didn’t bid it up before I pick up a copy for myself. Love that cover!

Origin of the Eye-Patch

The last issue I’ll mention here seems like a nice spec to me, or at least something nice to have for the PC. SGT Fury #27 gives us the origin of Nick Fury’s eye patch. Since it is so iconic, I like it as an issue to pick up. It’s pretty reasonable for a Silver Age book, a 9.2 sold for about $150 in March of this year.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I think it is a good starting place for Marvel war comics. There are some other titles, like Combat Kelly and The Deadly Dozen and The Nam, which I may be taking a look at down the road. For what it’s worth, I think the war genre is one place that DC really takes the crown. From my research, the main reason for that was a lack of resources on Marvel’s part. The demand for these titles was there but I don’t think Marvel had enough writers and artists to keep up with it. Good luck out there!

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Michael Skidmore April 19, 2021 - 6:52 pm

What is the first most valuable silver age war issue if not Sgt Fury #1? Drawing a blank

Michael Skidmore April 19, 2021 - 6:54 pm

You can ignore my previous comment! I read it as Marvel silver age not silver age, obviously it is probably the first true Sgt Rock app

Daniel Hatch April 20, 2021 - 6:41 pm

You are correct sir. Our Army at War #83

CyberDigger April 19, 2021 - 9:12 pm

The ‘Nam is epic. Larry Hama created something amazing with that series. It deserves more acclaim than it gets.

Daniel Hatch April 20, 2021 - 6:40 pm

I’ve heard nothing but praise for it. I hope to get to it soon.

Matt Ames April 20, 2021 - 1:40 pm

Enough writers and artists? Apparently all you needed was to clone Joe Kubert.

Daniel Hatch April 20, 2021 - 6:39 pm

Ha, yes, maybe that would have done it. I mentioned that point because I saw a quote by Stan Lee that claimed as much, that the demand was there but he didn’t have the peeps to create them. Obviously, Stan and company did all right with their prodigious output with other properties. I just thought it was interesting that it wasn’t a case of not selling enough war comics.


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