Unused cover for Nick Fury Vs SHIELD #1

An interview with Paul Neary

In early 2005, I contacted Nick Fury Vs SHIELD penciler Paul Neary. What follows is short interview via email about his work on the series. Humberto M. Ferre'


How did you get your start in comics?

I took some pencil drawings to Jim Warren, who published Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella in the summer vacation of my first year at University. That was in 1969.

Who are your artistic influences and were you a SHIELD fan before?

I grew up enjoying Julius Schwartz' Silver Age books...Carmine Infantino was a big favourite, especially when he inked himself. I also liked Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. In the late 60's I discovered EC comics and enjoyed seeing the new work that Wally Wood and the rest of the EC crew were doing at Tower Comics and Warren. I read the Kirby stuff in the mid-sixties Strange Tales comics, and I loved the Steranko stuff too!

How did you come to join the art team for Nick Fury Vs SHIELD miniseries? Do you of know of how the project got started; how long it had been in the pipeline?

I was drawing Captain America at the time and the editorial team of Gruenwald and Wright were to handle a 12-issue limited-series and asked if I was interested. Due to other work committments, the pages were outside of the normal schedule and were slowly amassing. Then DC went to release Killing Joke in a new "Bookshelf" format and the race was on. We were some way into the first issue when Marvel suddenly changed the format to six Bookshelf Editions. It meant getting painted covers done and re-jigging the pages I had already drawn. The early spaceship sequence was added and some pencil-work was added to the Central Statiion sequence by Bullpen people, I suppose. Also a deadline was announced that got increasingly difficult.

How did you feel about making your mark on Nick Fury and the SHIELD characters?

I wanted the thing to be large-scale...it wasn't written that way though...I got some fun out of changing the locations from rooming-houses to gigantic bases inside mountains.

Any particular issue or issues of the six that stands out in your memory; for better or worse?

The last one was a nightmare, there were 2 weeks left to do the book...I drew 3 pages a day for 15 days straight.

What was it like to work with the rest of the art team, Kim DeMulder (who went on to ink the regular series), colorist Bernie Jaye, and letterer Janice Chiang and writer Bob Harras?

They were a good team...Kim was extremely capable and friendly. Bernie had colored for me at Marvel UK, where we met in the late 70's and was at home with hand-colouring, which was new to the Americans. Janice was unique amongst letterers because she lettered with a sort of serif-effect, which looked very classy. Bob was not picky about details and wrote with a broad brush, so to speak...he was easy to work with also. I liked the whole crowd.

How did the decision to go with different artists for each book come about and why was there never an opportunity for you to do at least one?

The first cover must have been drawn when the book was scheduled as a regular sized book. When it went to card covers, they wanted paintings. They looked good.

Were there many pages edited or altered before publication?

All the re-arranging took place in the first book, for pacing reasons, following the format change.There were probably seven or eight new pages...the originals would tell, because the new format went 'to bleed' and the already pencilled pages needed to be drawn up, around the outside.

Unused page for Nick Fury Vs SHIELD #1. Note the wreck of the helicarrier in the background

The events of the mini seemed to put an end to SHIELD pretty permanently, but of course a new SHIELD took off a year later. Was the miniseries always intended to be a lead-in to a new SHIELD series? Were there plans to include you as penciller for the new series?

After trashing the whole thing I was looking forward to a new scenario. I wanted us all to think about how the new S.H.I.E.L.D operation would take shape. I was expecting new costumes, new concepts, new scenarios. I bailed out when I saw that they were set to roll on without thinking about it as a radical re-boot.

What are your current projects?

I'm currently inking 'The Ultimates' over Bryan Hitch for Marvel. A big surprise was to find myself working on a new version of Nick in the Ultimates...I guess I got my wish at last...Nick had very definitely been re-thought.


A big thanks to Paul Neary for taking time to do this interview!

Check out The Art of Comics run by Rich DeDominicis, representing the exclusive sale of artwork for Paul Neary