19. Ultimate Nick Fury (Marvel Entertainment)
First Appearance: Ultimate Marvel Team-Up (2001)
Creators: Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Allred
Nick Fury is the most unique member of the black comic book character pantheon, because when the character was first introduced in the ‘60s he was white. Then, in 2002, Marvel launched The Ultimates, a modern retelling of the Avengers’ origin. In this new universe, every Marvel character was given a makeover.
Modeled after Samuel L. Jackson, this Nick Fury is far more world-weary than his pasty counterpart. And because he’s become a movie star, an entire generation of fans have grown up knowing only this version of the character. That's a step in the right direction.
Less ‘60s superspy, today's Fury is more of a government figure, with an entire army of S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers ready to follow his every order. It makes for a far more compelling and proactive character. Not content to sit back and pull the strings, Nick Fury is always in the middle of the fight, guns blazing.