By now, though - and certainly once The Avengers is finally released in the US - the general public will immediately think of Samuel L. Jackson when it hears the name "Nick Fury" ... which creates a small problem for selling comics (hey, who's this frakking white guy?).
In fact, Marvel used the likeness of Jackson for the alternative Ultimate Universe version of the character some years ago, before any of these movies were made. But that doesn't help make the main "616" universe accessible to new readers who might wander into a comics shop after watching some of the movies.
Enter a new character, Marcus Johnson, who turns out to be the orginal Nick Fury's illegitimate son. Johnson was, in fact, named by his (obviously black) mother "Nicholas Fury, Jr.", and the "Marcus Johnson" name was to protect his true identity. He's now reverted to his real name, shaved his head, grown a beard, and ended up looking like ... well, Samuel L. Jackson. So, Marvel now has a new Nick Fury character, with Nick Fury, Sr., being shunted gracefully into semi-retirement (like many of Marvel's characters, he's incredibly old anyway, though until now he's been kept fit and relatively young by a special life-extending chemical formula).
This is the first I've heard about this. By any chance, have you ever read Warren Ellis's silly NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E? The Nick Fury character's named "Dirk Anger." Hehehe.
No, sorry, I haven't. Gotcha on the "Dirk Anger".
It's an interesting move, eh? I guess we'll see a lot of things like this happen as Marvel adjusts itself to the movie universes and tries to cash in/avoid confusion. We've already seen Hawkeye have a change of costume to match movie-Hawkeye, and I'm betting that we'll be seeing a lot more of certain characters (including the new villain foreshadowed in the credits sequence of The Avengers ... whose identity I won't spoil).
Wow, Nick Fury 2.0. Wearing the super-soldier uniform, no less.
You mention that Marvel seems to be doing something similar with the appearance of Hawkeye. As I recall, Marvel did something similar with Cerebro/Cerebra in response to the X-Men film franchise.
And Marvel has certainly been eager to cash in on the recognition its movies have afforded certain characters: War Machine even got his own (albeit short-lived) series. It will be interesting to see, if Marvel does indeed decide to highlight the probable villain of The Avengers 2, how he gets inserted into the Avengers comics line, given that lately he has tended to feature more in...well, in a different franchise.
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