FURY FORCE

Membership: Brujo, Sgt. Nick Fury Jr, Jelly, Louie Louie, Shadow (Lilah Gaul), Spook, Steeler

Purpose: To combat terrorism

Aliases: None

Affiliations: S.H.I.E.L.D. (Nick Fury, others)

Enemies: Baron Strucker (Wolfgang von Strucker), Hydra

Base of Operations: Underground base beneath the Chaplain's Assistants motor pool, Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island 

First Appearance: (proposed) Fury Force (circa 1981)
  (actual) Back Issue#16 (June 2006) (see comments)

History:
(Fury Force) - Fury Force was a secret elite counter terrorism unit working for SHIELD, reporting directly Nick Fury and headed by his son, Nick Fury Jr.

Comments: Created by Larry Hama.

   Circa 1979, Larry Hama pitched a new series called Fury Force to Marvel, about a secret elite military team akin to Delta Force that worked for SHIELD to combat terrorist threats such as Hydra. With Nick Fury then not starring in his own series, editor-in-chief Jim Shooter remembered the pitch on his blog as being a proposed "reactivation" of that characters, though Hama soon decided to have Nick be the commander issuing the missions, while the team itself would actually be led by Nick's previously unmentioned son Nick Fury Jr. The remaining characters were all based on people Hama knew, some old Army buddies, others on other people he knew. He planned to have them fighting "generic terrorists or some vaguely fascist paramilitary organizations such as Hydra." Hama recalls that he pitched the series to Shooter, who rejected it; Shooter for his part recalls it with a slightly different perspective - he didn't feel it was ready to go yet, and so hadn't yet committed to it.

   Then Shooter was asked to attend a meeting with Hasbro, who were looking to find a way to relaunch and revitalize sales of their G.I.Joe action figures, originally launched in 1964 as a 12" doll, but it had been discontinued in the late 1970s. The market for figures had been revitalized by Star Wars toys and Hasbro wanted to cash in on that by releasing new Joe figures at the smaller 3 and 3/4 inch size used by Star Wars toys. They wanted to have a strong advertising push for the new line with animated commercials, but toy commercials were short and had to stay within strict guidelines. Then Hasbro's Bob Prupis realized that commercials for comics had far fewer limitations imposed on them, as they were protected by the first amendment, so if the new toys had a comic book, they could do fully animated commercials for that, and advertise the toys by default. However, a comic required the characters to have a background and stories, so Hasbro turned to Marvel. At the meeting Hasbro executives wondered how they could create a line of toys, not just one, prompting someone present to wonder if they should be doing a G.I.Joe, then a G.I.George, a G.I. Fred, etc. Shooter solved this by suggesting that G.I.Joe could be the name of a unit, and since war toys were out of favor at the time, they would instead be anti-terrorist. Liking this angle, Hasbro accepted the proposal, and Shooter returned to the Marvel offices and went straight to Larry Hama, whose military background made him the obvious choice to develop the idea. Hama suggested that he adapt the Fury Force concept into the new G.I. Joe series and Shooter agreed.

   Hasbro had design sketches for about ten figures at this juncture and asked Marvel (Hama) to come up with their personalities and backstories. As Hama notes, he didn't simply rebrand the Fury Force concept to turn it into G.I.Joe, but he did take elements from his previous pitch. Most of the planned Fury Force characters mapped across easily to one of the toys, in many cases without even needing much visual modification from what Hama had come up with. Initially the new Joes were still going to be integrated into the regular Marvel universe (Earth-616), much like other licensed titles such as Rom, Godzilla or the Micronauts; the Joes would report to Nick Fury and SHIELD, and battle Hydra (since Hasbro hadn't given any thought to who their soldier toys might be fighting). However Marvel became concerned about the legal ramifications of trying to split the resultant profits when they owned some of the characters and not others, so Hama reworked the concept to excise any characters that were Marvel owned. Thus Hydra became COBRA, and Baron Strucker transformed into Cobra Commander.

   To the best of my knowledge, while Larry Hama probably did mention Fury Force at places like conventions, the first place sketches and firm information was publicly shared was in TwoMorrows' Back Issue#16 in an article discussing the origins of the GI Joe comic, with further details subsequently revealed in an expanded article focused specifically on Fury Force in Back Issue#118. However, if anyone reading this knows of an earlier published discussion of the group, please do let us know.

   In 2009 Joe Customs took the original design sketches and basic biographic information that was known to produce custom G.I.Joe figures. They made up some of the bio information to flesh the characters out, but Hama did provide feedback and autographed the results for sale at a charity auction, so I'm willing to treat them as at least semi-official and use it in this profile. However, since I'm a touch less certain about it's veracity, biographical information and codenames below that come from the Joe Customs information are in italics.

   So, barring the obvious problems that would arise from Hasbro owning copyrights, could Fury Force still fit into the regular Marvel Universe? I don't see why not. After all, the idea that the long-lived Nick Fury might have a son isn't far fetched; in the years since Hama suggested the idea we've been introduced to two of them, one of whom is called Nick Fury Jr. With the two mothers being unaware of one another and their respective children it's not even hard to swallow the idea that two of Nick Sr.'s kids are both named for their father. And though not one of the Joes who maps to a member of Fury Force, we did see an Earth-616 version of G.I.Joe member Conrad "Duke" Hauser in Web of Spider-Man#6 and Amazing Spider-Man I#268, leading a team of soldiers handling an unusual situation for the government. So maybe out there somewhere on Earth-616 Fury Force are fighting the good fight, and we've just never seen them; after all, they are a covert operations team. Alternatively, if they were kept disconnected from the sliding timescale, they could have been operating in the 1970s and 80s and now be dead or retired.

   This profile was completed 09/12/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event. 

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Fury Force has no known connections to:


Brujo

  

Fury Force's Mexican-American communications wizard, Ernesto Aguilar comes from Blair, a small Nebraskan farm town. Growing up as the only Mexican kid in school left him with a tendency to play things close to the vest and keep others at a distance. 

  

Unlike the rest of the team I'm not aware of any G.I.Joe character he easily maps on to.

 

--Back Issue#16



Nick Fury Jr.

  

The son of soldier Nick Fury and a French resistance fighter, Nick Fury Jr. was born in Marseilles, France. After distinguishing himself as a soldier in various South-East Asian conflicts, numerous "military advisor" missions and clandestine operations throughout the late 1970s, he was hand-picked to lead Fury Force.

 

Nick Fury Jr. maps most closely to G.I.Joe officer Hawk.

 

--Back Issue#16



Jelly

  

Lonzo Wilson was born and raised in one of Detroit's roughest neighborhoods. He enlisted after realizing that being in the gangs would inevitably end badly, and discovered that his natural affinity for geometry, previously used to hustle pool, was useful with mortars too. During a joint SHIELD-regular army mission into Latveria's rural regions he impressed Nick Fury Sr., who recruited him for Fury Force.

 

Elements of Jelly were recycled into G.I.Joe members Stalker (appearance and backstory) and Short-Fuze (military specialism).

 

--Back Issue#16



Louie Louie

  

Ordinance and logistics specialist, Louis Lee was born in Oahu, Hawaii, and is an expert at Japanese archery and martial arts swordsmanship.

 

It's unclear is Louie Louie maps to any specific Joe, though I've seen some speculation that he may be the precursor to Tunnel Rat.

 

--Back Issue#16



Shadow

  

Born in Tel Aviv, Lilah Galil immigrated to the United States from Israel as a young child, and joined the army after the Iranian hostage crisis, soon moving into Intelligence. She met Nick Fury Jr. on a mission tracking a cloning facility being constructed by ex-Nazis in the sewers of Brisbane, and after several subsequent missions accepted both his offer to join Fury Force and to marry him.

 

Shadow's attributes were largely used to create G.I.Joe's Scarlett.

 

--Back Issue#16



Spook

 

While serving in Vietnam "John Q. Doe" was recruited from Army Intelligence by the CIA, and spent the next ten years on covert missions for them including assassinations for the CIA Project Phoenix, infiltrating the Hand ninja clan, black ops for SHIELD, a mission involving a failed Gamma bomb experiment and more. After leaving their service he spent a few years as a hermit in Thailand but when Fury Force was being formed he suddenly reappeared in the Army bureaucracy with paperwork that anyone with a discerning eye could tell had been doctored to hide his true service details. He uses a combat shotgun and boot knife, and never speaks.

 

Spook was inspired by the Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah (Wolf-Who-Stands-in-Water) character from the 1950s TV show Yancy Derringer. His counterpart in G.I.Joe is Snake-Eyes.

 

--Back Issue#16



Steeler

  

Pittsburgh native Walter McConnel spent much of his childhood traveling with his roadie father following a variety of bands round the country, and remains heavily into music to this day. After enlisting he drew attention to himself during an unacknowledged incident at Cape Citadel Missile Base in Florida and was recruited into Fury Force. A large man, he is the team's strongest member.

 

Elements of Steeler's backstory went on to become the backstories for Joe members Rock'n'Rolls (the musical aspect) and Steeler (the name and the place of origin).

 

--Back Issue#16



images: (without ads)
Back Issue#16, p17, pan1 (team image, Brujo, Jelly, Louie Louie, Spook, Steeler)
Design sketches (Nick Fury Jr, Shadow)


Appearances:
None.


First Posted: 09/13/2021
Last updated: 09/12/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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