• Wrahastika Runtia P.

Myth of Self-Efficacy as Reflected in Marvel’s Superhero Nick Fury

Superheroes have become the phenomenon for the pop culture, especially for western culture. Superheroes are the example of pop culture phenomenon who influenced by Greek Mythology. Superhero is the heroic character who possesses supernatural or superhuman powers and who dedicated to fighting the villains for justice. Superheroes also have become the famous culture from America. Two of the most famous Comic companies is DC Comics and Marvel Comics, both are originally from America. Through the years both companies have produced many superheroes characters in comic or others media such movie or audio book. Superheroes movie is successfully dominating the box office. Many of those also earned a title as blockbuster movies. In comic universe, a superhero is idolized by the people. Superhero has many appeals to modern society, especially in America. As a result, superheroes can influence the audience. Superheroes story wrapped in moral values such heroism, dream, and overcome adversity. This aspect can really influence their audience.

There are many aspects of the superheroes universe that interesting to discuss, the writer wanted to analyze one of the character in Marvel comics in a different perspective. The writer wanted to analyze a superhero character in myth narrative perspective. According to Nachbar and Lause in the book Popular Culture: an Introductory Text (1992 ) popular beliefs and value are the meaning which lies behind the artifacts and events which are their visible expression; they are the truth which explains the facts and thus weave existence into a pattern which we can all recognize and share.

The myth narrative has there different perspective, they are elite, folk, and pop culture. The writer chose to used pop culture perspective to analyze According to Nachbar and Lause in the book Popular Culture: an Introductory Text (1992 ) myth is the belief or values that are significant and long lasting, vital to the mindset of the culture which holds it and that is widely accepted as being true. Nick Fury is one of the characters of Marvel Comics the writers used as object materials. The writer argues that Nick Fury character has a connection with the myth of self-efficacy. Self -efficacy is defined as people's belief about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. Self-efficacy belief determines how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave (Bandura, 1994). The writer will compare the Nick Fury characteristics such name, power, ability, weapon, fan s, media, alter-ego, and icon. Eventually, these similarities will lead us to produce a myth that depicted on Nick Fury’s characters.

Nick Fury is fictional character appearing in the American comic book published by Marvel. The creator of Nick Fury is Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Nicholas Joseph “Nick” Fury made his first appearance in comic book Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. It was published by Marvel comic from 1963 to 1981. Nick Fury served in World War II as Leader of Howling Commandos. He later becomes an agent, eventually become director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick fury’s left eye injured when he was served during WWII. His eye was hit by Shrapnel and it caused damage that slowly deteriorates his left eye. He has many roles in the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D mission. The characters of Nick Fury has a connection with the self-efficacy that will surface when we see him in the traits of Nick Fury.


A name always has meaning behind it. The real name of Nick Fury is Nicholas Joseph Fury. The origin of the name Nicholas is from Greek. It was the Greek name “Nikolaos”. It has two words on it, first is “Nike” which means victory and “Laos” which mean people. The meaning of the name is a victory of the people. Joseph is the name which came from Hebrew. “Yosef” meaning is he will add. Fury is Nick Fury Surname. It was derived from Latin “Furia” which means rage. It was derived from medieval given name “Fleuri” and Middle English flour, flower. Fury is an uncommon surname for men because the name is usually for a girl’s name. According to Dictionary.com, the meaning of Fury is unrestraint anger, passion, and fierceness. The meaning of the name of Nick Fury really suited his character. Nicholas meaning the victory of people, it was connected that Nick Fury is a World War II hero. He already won a war. Nick Fury is the epitome of victory. He is people’s hero who brings victory to people who worshiped him. His meaning also gives a trait of self-efficacy on his characters. the writers argue that the confidence that Nick Fury has comes from his meaning of the name . Victory is a positive word. Victory bring happiness to people. Nick Fury might learn about the meaning of his name then it shaped his personality to protect people who deserve protection. He brings happiness to people. The creator of Nick Fury gave him uncommon named “Fury”. It added the uniqueness of his character. It's connected with his personality. Nick Fury is fierceness man and passionate about his works.


Nick Fury superpower is the immortality. Nick Fury has a specialty formula that made him that served as anti-aging formula, in other word make him immortal. The formula is called the infinity formula Nick Fury has drunk the Infinity Formula. It was a serum that makes him aging slowly. The Infinity Formula also called as the Forever Compound. It is an alchemical serum produced by the Brotherhood of the S.H.I.E.L.D. The serum makes the drinker slowly aging but in doest not prevent the body and the mind of the drinker from decaying. In World War II Nick Fury is injured badly and his left eye damaged by a grenade. He was saved by Professor Sternbern by giving him the Infinity Serum. The serum has one important rule. Nick Fury must drink the Infinity Serum annually or the effect could be reversed and he will be aged dramatically. Another super power of Nick Fury is that he has the ability of energy projection. It was an ability to discharge energy on contact. Nick Fury used his superpower to help other and do good things. It is connected with self-efficacy because self-efficacy encourage prosocial behavior and help to prevent social disengagement. Prosocial behavior is social behavior that benefits other people or society as a whole. The way Nick Fury used his superpower led to self-efficacy.


Nick Fury has great physical strength and fighting technique. He has great skill in armed and unarmed combat Nick Fury also have great physical power. He was a heavyweight boxer in the army. He also holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. Nick Fury had served in WWII and he was a skilled and experienced soldier. He has physical strength, speed, and agility. He also very intelligent and genius strategist. He has been widely considered as the greatest tacticians when he is on the battlefield or not. Nick Fury able to create battle strategies and change it when the situation is different from what he expected it. Nick Fury also advance military operator, he has trained as paratroopers, demolitions expert, and vehicle specialist. He also has been an agent of Office of Strategist Services and a liaison of the British Service intelligence, MI5.

Nick Fury also has a great skill on sharpshooting and knife throwing. He also skilled on marksman on every type of firearms. Nick Fury also has skilled that does not revolve around physicality which is language. He is multi-language, he is fluent in English, German, Russian, Japanese. Nick Fury is also able to drive a car, motorcycles, truck, tanker, helicopter, motorboat, and submarines.

Nick Fury ability match with the characteristic of self-efficacy which is a cognitive process. He thinks of a process that involves the accusation and organization and use of information. People with self-efficacy have high regard for their capabilities to resolve difficult task as a challenge to be mastered than just a threat. Nik Fury has high regard and believes of his capabilities. It was not narcissism or over confidence but he knows what he capable of. He will use his capability to resolve his tasks. The advanced skill that Nick Fury had reflected on his experiences that Nick Fury has.


According to Merriam-Webster catchphrase is a word of expression that is used repeatedly and conveniently to represents or characterize a person, group, idea, or point of view. Many superheroes have their own catchphrase. Nick Fury does not have any specific catchphrase but he has some good quotes. The quote is “I still believe in heroes”. This quote was taken from the trailer of The Avengers movie. The quote emphasizes the good character of Nick Fury. He is someone who trusted and respect his team. On Nick Fury’s line, we can assume that he has self-efficacy in his character. He is the person who confident and believed in the superhero ability to protect the world. He believes that the Avengers will able to protect the world from their enemies. People who have self-efficacy set themselves a challenging goal and maintain a strong commitment to them. They heighten and sustain their effort in the face of failure. They quickly recover their sense of self-efficacy after failures. It was connected with Nick Fury personality. The way Nick Fury believe the power of himself and his team is linear with self-efficacy because self-efficacy is what a person believes that they can accomplish using their skill to achieve something using their own skill. Nick Fury belief on the power of his Avengers and it show the connection between his catchphrase and self-efficacy.


Nick Fury has a distinctive trait, Nick Fury wearing eyed patch in his left. His eye also is result of his weakness. Nick Fury’s left eyes are blind so his vision is not perfect. His eye patch also becomes Nick Fury’s icon. Nick Fury is the superheroes with his eye-patch and it became his distinctive trait. In World War II, Nick Fury left eyed was injured by a grenade. This injured deteriorated his vision. The writer argues that Nick Fury has self-efficacy in his character and it helps him to cope with his problem. Albert Badura explains that self-efficacy influenced how opportunities and obstacle are interpreted. Nick Fury saw this obstacle which was left eye injury as something to overcome. He will not let his eye injury to be his source of failure and insecurity. Therefore, the writer argues that Nick Fury’s eye-patch is symbolized the weakness. But he used his self-efficacy to overcome his weakness. Nick Fury also interpret it as a task that he must pass to reached his goal

Nick Fury famous costume was S.H.I.E.L.D agents uniform. It was a black zipper jumpsuit with S.H.I.E.L.D agents logo. It was standard S.H.I.E.L.D agents uniform. This uniform is made of Kevlar, a synthetic fiber, and Beta cloth. Kevlar fiber was able to withstand ballistic impact up to 45 caliber bullets. The beta cloth is fire resistant material. He wears white boots and white gauntlet to protect his legs and hands. He wears an eye-patch on his left eye socket. He wears a white utility belt, some harnesses, and leg straps. This tool is intended for carrying his weapons such as ammunition and firearms. Nick Fury is exceptionally skillful on a weapon. He also has access to a wide variety of equipment and weaponry made by S.H.I.E.L.D. His weapons include 15 caliber needle gun, plasma beam handgun, Automatic Machine His costume function as protection and tool for carrying his weapon. He also has 45 caliber automatics pistol and modified semi-automatics weather PPK in 9 mm Parabellum. Nick Fury has the S.H.I.E.L.D costume that made from synthetic fiber and Beta cloth. This material protects him from bullets and fire. All the statement above show that Nick Fury has a great skill on a weapon and to reach this level of skill Nick Fury need to be experienced to use it. The source of self-efficacy is through Therefore we can assume that Nick Fury has successfully overcome his weakness. In order to have a strong sense of self-efficacy, Nick Fury required experienced in overcome obstacle with effort and determination. The icon that Nick Fury has which is his eye-patch and his skilled on weaponry has a connection with self-efficacy.

Arch Enemy

Heroes are nothing without their enemies. They must have someone who opposite their ideas to claimed the title as heroes. Nick Fury’s arch enemies are Baron von Strucker. He was former Nazi officer and one of the leaders of HYDRA, the terrorist organization led by him. HYDRA is a fictional terrorist organization that is a reference to Lernaean Hydra. It was serpentine water monster in Greek and Roman mythology. Baron Van Strucker goal is world domination.

The Baron real name is Wolfgang von Strucker. He shared many similarities with Nick Fury. Baron is a veteran of World War II like Nick Fury, but he is on the Axis side while Nick Fury is on the Allies side. Many of Baron von Strucker’s ability has many similarities with Nick Fury’s. Baron is a skilled military strategist, exceptional in martial arts and marksman like Nick Fury. The Baron von Strucker is also immortal like Nick Fury. He has the serum that developed by HYDRA. The serum helps him to maintain his physical strength at its peak and slow his aging process. So his body remains the same despite his old age. The similarity between Baron von Strucker and Nick Fury almost lead a conclusion that they were mirroring each other. The writer argues that Baron von Strucker also has the self-efficacy that Nick Fury possess. Baron von Strucker confident and know his power and his ability then he used that power to reach his goals. Baron von Strucker and Nick Fury shared many similarities but their fate and their ways of life are different. Baron von Strucker used his power to create destruction. He even killed Japanese Supreme HYDRA to become the new leader of the organization. The baron plan to reach his goal and become a supreme reader through “dirty works” is very different from Nick Fury way to becoming Director and leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury used his power to help people and to reached his goals in a good way.


Nick Fury is a popular superhero and it proved with his appearances in many other media other than comic books such as an audio book, television show, and movie. As hero lived in 21st-century era Nick Fury does not have any sacred ritual to worship him. Nick Fury hardcore fans will undoubtedly buy any kind of books, games, merchandisers and action figures of him. They will also watch any Nick Fury’s movies. They will also talk and discuss him in the internet forum.

Generally, the target audiences of Nick Fury comics is for teenagers and adult. It is also possible that an adult enjoys Nick Fury Comic On teenagers their age are likely 13-18 years old. The teenager took an interest in Nick Fury because of his personality and his heroism. As for adult then can use Nick Fury character as their role model. The audiences saw that Nick Fury had finished his mission successfully in each Issue of his comic. This can increase the audiences' self-efficacy.

According to Badura in his book Self-efficacy Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change (1977) the Theory of self-efficacy lies at the center of social cognitive theory. It includes the role of observational learning and social experience in development personality. The writer argues that the teenagers and adult audiences of nick fury observed some of the good characters on Nick Fury. Nick Fury story had shown some of a good value such as bravery and hard work, When they read or watch of Nick Fury, they can observe his values of characters and how he reached his goal. It provides them with great motivation. In the 20th and 21st century technology had grown more advanced by days. Therefore, people will not necessarily to chose their role model in their social circle. They can choose their role model in media such us comic or movie characters with good values on their traits.


Marvel comic used different ideas to spread their superheroes. Nick Fury also has appeared in another medium such movie, novel, video game, television show, and comic. Marvel Comics has many different alternative universes in Nick Fury characters. Originally Nick Fury appeared in Sgt. Fury and Hos Howling Commandos #1. It was published in 1963. The main character in this comic is Nick Fury, later become the leader of Marvel’s super-spy agency, S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury also made appearances in novel Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Emprye. It was written by Will Murray and published in 2000. He also made appearances in a television show called Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Nick Fury first appeared in medium printed comic in 1963. In those years the technology was not as advanced as now. The comics published in May 1963 until December 1981. It runs 167 issues. This showed that the original Nick Fury Comic did not stand long enough until now but Nick Fury has appeared in another superheroes arcs in Marvels universe. In Iron Man, animated series Nick Fury appeared as guest characters. He also made an appearance some episodes in The Spiderman-Man animated series. He fights the terrorist named Chameleon in the episode “Days of the Chameleon”, The Cat, “The Black Cat”. He also made an appearance in X-Men: The Animated Series. It was in season two episode Time Fugitives Part I. In this episode Nick Fury met Graydon Creed. The nemesis of the X-Men who gave a speech about his accusation toward mutant, he blaming the mutant as a virus carries inside the S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury also made an appearance in Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, The Avengers Series, Iron Man Series, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In Iron Man 2, Nick Fury helped Tony Stark deal with Ivan Vanko. Nick Fury also hired him as the consultant for the Avengers Initiative. In Captain America: Winter Soldier, Hydra has a plan to killed Nick Fury to take over S.H.I.E.L.D. The plan is failed because Nick Fury faked his death then hunt down the HYDRA. All statements above is an evidence that Nick Fury has important role In Marvel universe. He was the leaders of the S.H.I.E.L.D, an organization which its goal is to maintain global security. He also has the important role in Avengers initiative and project inside. Nick Fury’s role in the universe reflected that he is needed by the people around him. His skill bring him to a high position in S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury connection and appearances in another media has a connection with self-efficacy. According to Alber Badura in his book Self-efficacy, The Exercise of Control (1997) the source of self-efficacy is through mastery experiences. Nick Fury has led much mission in his works as former agent and leader of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Many of his mission added his experiences. These experiences increase his self-efficacy.

Alter ego

Unlike another superhero such as Batman, Superman, or Spiderman, Nick Fury does not have an alter-ego. He openly uses his real name, Nicholas Fury. As a superhero, Nick Fury can be described as citizen hero. Citizen hero is superhero show respect, discipline, and obey the orders and rules above all others. As a leader of the Avengers and the Ultimate, he has show discipline and respect for rules. According to Badura. self-efficacy refers to an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments. This definition of from Badura matched with Nick Fury personality. His personality was shaped by his experience and he was able to use it to produce a performance to reach his goal. His self-efficacy also help him so maintain his self-management.

In conclusion, the superhero which represented by Nick Fury traits is connected with myth narrative. The myth narrative will produce a value of his characters. According to Nachbar and Lause in the book Popular Culture: an Introductory Text (1992 ) popular beliefs and value are the meaning which lies behind the artifacts and events which are their visible expression; they are the truth which explains the facts and thus weave existence into a pattern which we can all recognize and share. The myth of efficacy can clearly connect with Nick Fury as reflected on his name, power, ability, weapon, fans, media, alter-ego, and icon. In the blink of eyes superheroes seem only have heroism as a moral value but if we look closely Nick Fury has a belief of self-efficacy. The writer concludes that the superiority is not defined by who they are but what they can do to themselves The psychologist Albert Bandura also stated that one’s sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches the goal, task, and challenges. People who have self-efficacy increase the personal accomplishment and personal well-being in many ways. Nick Fury was a black but he able to gain respect from his Ultimate Team. The Ultimate is a group of superhero that appeared in American comic book Marvel Comic. They respect Nick Fury because of what he was done. They allowed Nick Fury become their leader because they know that Nick has skill in leadership. He made himself a leader to them. Nick Fury is also a genius level strategist and it helps him to defeat his opponent. Therefore, the writer argues that even if Nick Fury was black but it does not matter to him. He made himself useful and respected by people. Nick Fury can use his weapon at a full function because he is an intelligent person. He also had access to S.H.I.E.L.D weapons which added to his advantage. Nick Fury’s self-efficacy comes from his hard work on his mission. He earned a respect and position through his hard work. Therefore self-efficacy played a major role on how Nick Fury approached their goals and challenges


Nachbar, J. G. , & Lause K, (1992). Popular Culture : an Introductory text. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press

Badura, Albert. (1997). Self-efficacy, The Exercise of Control. NewYork: W. H. Freman

Badura, Albert. (1977). Self-efficacy Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change. Psychological Review


















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