Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Sterankophile: The Narrow Margin

Some Steranko lore gleaned from the web:
When questioned about his influences, Jim Steranko immediately acknowledged Jack Kirby. He cited the action dynamics and pacing of Kirby's Captain America, and even performed an impersonation of Kirby. He waxed lovingly of his visits to the Kirby home and kitchen, where if Jack's wife, Roz, didn't make sandwiches, Jack would. 
Steranko also spoke of his respect and admiration for Stan Lee, Martin Goodman, and John Buscema.
When asked why he left Marvel Comics, Steranko spoke specifically of the silent scene that opened Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #1. The scene was sans words, captions, balloons -- totally silent. 
Marvel fought him on it. Stan Lee worried that retailers would return the book, thinking it was a misprint. Production Manger Sol Brodsky threatened not to pay Steranko for the writing of those three pages -- because they lacked words. 
Steranko eventually won this crucial creative argument -- but there was a hassle like this nearly every time he handed in an assignment. Finally, he decided it wasn't worth the grief for his innovative work and low pay, so he bailed.
On the inspiration for his Nick Fury, Steranko cited character actor Charles McGraw, from 1952's Narrow Margin. If you've ever seen McGraw in action, you can see and feel the Nick Fury in him --a perfect film noir model.
Steranko talked of transforming Nick Fury from the crumpled-suit 007 wannabe that Stan Lee established, to the super-spy in the black leather zipsuit. He added sex appeal to the Cold Warrior. 
Steranko loved it when the Marvel powers-that-be would censor any of his "hot scenes," because their edits would end up chockfull of even more suggestive symbolism -- like the erotic symbolism in the snug holstering a gun. 
Sigmund Freud would have been proud of the boys.

The Narrow Margin trailer from 1952

No comments:

Post a Comment