Asked about the similarities between Ultimate Nick Fury and Nick Fury Jr. (Marcus Johnson, AKA Blurry), Marvel lectured fans on their prejudice.
Marvel held a panel at New York Comic Con today to remind people that the Ultimate Universe still exists. The panel started with questions and answers from the attending fans, as Marvel's PR mogul Arune Singh accidentally had his watch set to BPT and was running late. When one fan remarked on Ultimate Nick Fury being duplicated in the Marvel Universe by way of Marcus Johnson, otherwise known as Blurry, Singh was indignant.
"I'll be blunt: Just because they're black characters who kind of look the same doesn't mean they act the same," said Singh, with a straight face.
Johnson debuted in the Fear Itself epilogue miniseries, Battle Scars. An African American Army Ranger, Johnson is later revealed to be the illegitimate son of white S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury. In a shamelessly contrived series of events, Johnson loses one of his eyes, just like his father, at which point he loses his hair, dons an eye patch, joins S.H.I.E.L.D., and looks exactly fucking like Ultimate Nick Fury, who, of course, looks exactly fucking like Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Nick Fury in the Marvel Movieverse.
The whole purpose of Johnson's existence is to create a version of Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe that matches the one in the Marvel Movieverse. Both the original Marvel Universe Fury and Jackson's Movieverse Fury are badass superspies who make morally ambiguous decisions for the good of the world as leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D. Their defining difference is skin color.
It makes sense to create a Marvel Universe version of Fury who looks like the Movie version. It eases the transition for the (nonexistent) movie fans who might be interested in checking out comic books. But let's not be obtuse. The entire purpose of Marcus Johnson is to create a black Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe.
But if you ask about it, Marvel will imply you're a racist. "What? Marcus Johnson is black? Oh, we didn't notice." Well played, Marvel. Well played.