Growing up and watching Marvel cartoons, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury we're given a mixed portrayal. While generally, the villains hated them, they also ended up fighting heroes like Spider-man and even the Hulk. This portrayal has gotten more nuanced with the militaristic S.H.I.E.L.D. being viewed with distrust in the wider Marvel Continuity.
However, it wasn't always so. In the 1960s, with James Bond and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. a phenomena, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby launched Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a regular half-issue feature in Strange Tales. This book collects the 12-page stories from Issues 135-153 of Strange Tales plus a crossover with Captain America in Tales of Suspense #78 and Fury's first post-World War II story which appeared in Fantastic Four #21 and had Fury as a CIA Agent.
The stories are great, the villains are superb classic 1960s bad guys on an epic scale. The supporting cast is strong as well with Fury supported by fellow World War II Commandos Dum Dum and Gabriel Jones, as well as conscientious rookie Jasper Sitwell, who also brings a bit of comic relief.
However, the star is the big feature and it's Nick Fury. The silver age incarnation of this tough as nails World War II commando turned super spy could only have been effectively played by John Wayne. Fury is wise-cracking, ornery, and courageous with a firm and steady admiration between him and his men. Fury is the type of hero they just don't make any more. Truly, a great character in all of his quirks such as his cigars and his tendency to appear shirtless (some times without any explanation.) This was a blast and I can't wait to read Volume 2.