Punisher/Nick Fury: Rules of the Game
Perhaps the most infamous lost tale of Nick Fury is the never released graphic novel advertised for sale in late 1991; featuring Frank Castle, aka The Punisher and Fury.

Written by future S.H.I.E.L.D. scribe Gregory Wright and penciled by Jim Lee, the oft delayed project has remained high on S.H.I.E.L.D. fans' wish lists due to its creative team, the promising pairing of two of Marvel's #1 tough guys, and the tantalizing bits of art that have surfaced here and there.

The solicitation blurbs promised a story featuring a drug lord named Walter Maddox dealing in hi-tech weapons stolen from S.H.I.E.L.D. who runs afoul of both the Punisher and Fury.

Both characters would continue to cross paths; Fury featuring in the Punisher video game, Castle shooting Fury dead in the Over The Edge storyline, and both even sharing Garth Ennis as a writer. However the promise of the unreleased Rules of the Game makes it the holy grail for S.H.I.E.L.D. fans as far as lost adventures go.

Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. #5-7 (June-August 1995)

The four issue mini series that premiered in early 1994 was meant to be an ongoing series working its way to the 30th anniversary of Nick Fury. In an article featured in Captain America Collector's Preview #1, Howard Chaykin gave some hints about the second story arc of the series one that would, "center on international espionage and culminate In the American Southwest."

Appearances by the Black Widow, and Shang Chi were scheduled for this story, as well as Wolverine who was to appear in the first story arc, but replaced by Iron Man due to the Age of Apocalypse storyline.


Wolverine Winter Special #1(December 1998?)

Black and white oneshot with a creator line-up that was to have included Max Frezzato, Mark Waid, Lovern Kinderski, Marc Andreyko, Claudio Castellini, and Doug Wheatly. The special was announced for the end of 1998 and went so far as being solicited and even went into some price guides of the time, however it was cancelled December 2nd of the same year.

The blurb read as follows: "Take a lush look at Wolverine in this upscale, black and white one-shot! First, Logan and his buds (Captain America, Nick Fury, the Thing and She-Hulk) are having a good of' poker game, until they run out of suds. Wolverine volunteers to replenish supplies, but thanks to his "luck," a simple beer run soon turns into confrontations with the Hand, a dragon and a certain pesky flying car! Next up is a tale from Logan's days as Patch. And our trio of tales is completed by a World War II adventures starring Wolverine's pals Captain America and Nick Fury, by Mark Waid and Claudio Castellini! "
(thanks to Sergio Ferre)



Unfinished Business

Not strictly qualifying as missing stories, various Nick Fury storylines have been abandoned over the years that seemed to point to alternate adventures that went unwritten.

Jim Steranko's departure from the original S.H.I.E.L.D. series left the resolution of the intriguing Scorpio storyline all but abandoned until Roy Thomas finished it in "Did You Hear The One About Scorpio?" in The Avengers (1) #72, however his revelation of the man behind the Scorpio mask may not necessarily have been what Steranko had in mind. In particular the nature of elder locksmith Pickman's relationship to both Fury and Scorpio as seen in "What Ever Happened to Scorpio?" in Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1)#5 is left unclear, although both Pickman and Fury share the same suspicion and know Scorpio of old. Judging by Steranko's track record of using villains with ties to the Second World War (Von Strucker, Yellow Claw, Sir Gavin Ravenlock), its quite possible that the same would have been true of Steranko's Scorpio, who sought some form of revenge against Fury. Also seemingly sidelined were Steranko's plans for James Woo, resurrected from the 1950's Yellow Claw comics and featured as a major player in Steranko's supporting cast for Fury. Woo's joining the agency featured in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s swan song from Strange Tales and later featured heavily in Steranko's second issue of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Fury's second title series had its own share of lost story threads, the most controversial being the resurrection of Dum Dum Dugan. Bob Harras' final story arc featured a startling revelation in "Pyrrhic Victory" where the Yellow Claw reveals he staged Dum Dum's death with Werner Von Strucker. Whatever gambit was being played with Dum Dum being returned to S.H.I.E.L.D. went completely unresolved as the Yellow Claw's attempts to revive Hydra were superseded by those of Baron Von Strucker in later issues. Never again was the plan referred to again, and in fact the only other character to have had a chance of explaining things, Werner Von Strucker was killed off, leaving the Yellow Claw's role in the Death's Head Commandos unclear. Had Bob Harras stayed on, would a new Hydra have been formed under the Claw? And what of the origins of Red and Lump? The departure of writer Bob Harras left these questions unanswered.


Other Loose Ends

Marvel's Heroes Reborn/Return drama forced some radical changes and promised more that eventually never came to pass. Quoted in Wizard, Jim Lee made mention of Nick Fury and the Punisher returning to battle alien menaces. The extant of how much was actually planned is unknown. An 80's storyline centering around the mutant Rogue and a murder warrant out for her supposed killing of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent was apparently nearly finished but never released. More recently, Brian Michael Bendis' original synopsis for Secret War (presented in the hardcover reprint) presents a different more epic ending involving war between the US and Latveria and the introduction of a new heroes, including one from the ranks of the Marvel villains; however its unclear how different Fury's role would have been in the series.

The Razorline of comics created by Clive Barker for Marvel was to have seen a substantial expansion into the Marvel Universe proper with planned stories featuring S.H.I.E.L.D. The never published series Wraitheart was to have featured Nick Fury, Jimmy Woo and S.H.I.E.L.D. in its fifth issue. The fourth issue featured a cover paying homage to Steranko and his cover for Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6. The Razorline character of Ectokid sported an eye patch like Nick Fury.

Nick Fury leaves looses ends beyond the comic world as well. His first novel was to have been followed by a second featuring Wolverine, written by science-fiction author Stan Timmons and once again featuring Steranko illustrations, but its April 2001 due date came and went. Had ratings proved high enough, the Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. television movie on FOX would have been followed by up to five more films according to interviews with David Hasselhoff, with others describing the movie as a "backdoor" pilot for an ongoing television series. Writer David Goyer recently mentioned talks of remounting a now abandoned S.H.I.E.L.D. movie with Avi Arad just prior to jumping into the Batman Begins film, but with Marvel signed to an exclusive development deal with Paramount and Goyer's dance card filling up with Flash and more Batman, whatever Goyer's ideas for Nick Fury never happened.

In the cyberspace, the alternate first adventure shared by Nick Fury and Captain America in Marvel Comics' early animated comic with voice stars, The Secret Adventures of Captain America series never made it to its planned eight episodes, going live with only five.