Johnny Nemo shoots you and it’s lights out

Cover to The Complete Johnny Nemo, Titan, 2014
One of my favorite comics from the 1980s was Johnny Nemo by the British duo Peter Milligan and Brett Ewins. Unfortunately, Johnny only appeared in a handful of issues. I picked up the ones published in the United States by Eclipse Comics, (short episodes in Strange Days and the solo three-issue series, Johnny Nemo Magazine). The stories were republished in black & white with some new material a few years later in the British anthology mag, Deadline. All of it was compiled in The Complete Johnny Nemo by Titan in 2014.

Johnny Nemo shooting cops

So, here’s the story. It’s 2921, New London is a futuristic canker of a hellhole where religious nuts clash with debaucherous denizens of this fabulously stylish but filthy dystopian future. Enter Johnny Nemo, a hitman for hire who lives the hard life because he can easily replace damaged organs anytime he likes and because #@%! you.  Johnny moves along with an air of Dirty Harry but along the way, he discovers that his assignments aren’t quite what they seem. And the violent mystery-solving is afoot.

Sure, there are other detectives-of-the-future, violent-but-funny books out there (one of my favorites being the sadly very short-lived Kelvin Mace), but Milligan and Ewins have a certain panache that makes Johnny Nemo particularly enjoyable.

Johnny Nemo Magazine #1 Johnny Nemo Magazine #2 Johnny Nemo Magazine #3
Johnny Nemo interior art #1    Johnny Nemo interior art #2
Johnny Nemo black & white story #2  Johnny Nemo black & white story #1
And here’s your bonus: A Johnny Nemo gif.
Animated gif of Johhny Nemo shooting

Black Widow Sketches and Art

Silhouette of Black Widow

Click for a flashing gif

It seems this is fast becoming a website that is an homage to Black Widow. I actually just had a lot of pictures I’ve collected over the years and some drafts for posts I never finished were collecting dust, so I might as well get them all out here.  If you’ve gotten to this post directly rather than through the front page, either go there or pick your poison for the other Black Widow posts.

As I mentioned elsewhere, Black Widow is one of my favorite characters. She’s been around since her introduction to the Marvel Universe way back in 1964. That was less than three years after the Marvel Comics began publishing its modern-era comics. That was also the same year the Avengers were formed and Daredevil was introduced. Even Spider-man had only been around for about two years.

Black Widow, AKA Natalia Romanova AKA Natasha Romanoff, is probably one of the characters women most commonly cosplay. Makes sense. Her costume is pretty easy to make and she’s sexy as hell. But if you haven’t actually read any of the comics she’s in, you’re missing out.  She’s an Avenger, a soloist, an assassin, a secret agent, a partner, a beautiful socialite, a mysteriously old woman (born in the 20’s) with a veiled background, a backup and a main character, and a lover. She’s very smart, very skilled, and very dangerous. Why there isn’t a solo movie about her is mind-boggling. There are so many stories that could be told.

Anyway, Black Widow isn’t just a favorite character to cosplay, she’s also a popular character for artists to sketch and paint. Here’s a random sampling of sketches, commissions, and general artwork.

 Black and White Sketches and Art

Art by Phil Noto (artist on the Black Widow series starting in 2014)

Black Widow Wallpapers and Headers

I put these Black Widow graphics together for various pages on the website and some made it and others didn’t. As crudely done as they are with my limited tools and talents, some of them turned out pretty nicely, I thought. So, I’m making them available to you if you want to use them for wallpapers, your own websites, whatever. I would love it if you pointed your links back to my site.
Regardless, enjoy!

Click on the images for larger versions.

Title with outline of Black Widow in her original costume

Black Widow comic book character in psychedelic art

First appearance of Black Widow, small oval of her

Black Widow graphic with gravity well in black

Black Widow graphic with gravity well

Black Widow graphic, with rays

Black Widow psychedelic art in black and white

Black Widow art with gunmetal background

Black Widow stressed photographic art

Black Widow photographic art in city at night

Black Widow’s Costume – the Early Years

Title with outline of Black Widow in her original costume The Black Widow, Natalia “Natasha” Romanova (also known as Romanoff), started out as a villain without a costume. Her attire was that of a sexy, wealthy modern woman — sleek, form-fitting dresses, trendy hats, gloves, and high heels. She wore that air of feminine sophistication for her first several outings after she first appeared in 1964 in Tales of Suspense #52. However, it wasn’t long before the storytellers began to showcase additional technical skills and weaponry that made Natasha more than just a dangerous honey trap.

Cover for Tales of Suspense 64, first appearance of Black Widow in costumeMost of her enemies and companions were costumed heroes. So, in issue #64 of Tales of Suspense, she appeared for the first time in her own costume. Her attire was a black bodysuit with blue mesh that emulated webbing, and a short cape. She wore a mask but didn’t cover her black hair. Her gloves and boots gave her the ability to cling to walls and from her bracelets she was able to shoot a nylon cord which she used to swing through the air.

This version of her costume would last until 1970 when she decided to update it to reflect a more trendy, sexy period evolving in comics. Her sleek black bodysuit was first introduced in Amazing Spider-man #86. More on that costume in the previous post.

Panel art, first appearance of Black Widow in original costume

This the first time Black Widow appears in a costume. Panels from Tales of Suspense #64.

Black Widow returns to Hawkeye

Next page. Black Widow reveals herself to Hawkeye. She and Hawkeye had established a relationship in previous issues when she had manipulated him into attacking Iron Man.

Panels from Tales of Suspense 64: Iron Man attacks Black Widow

In the same issue, Black Widow works with Hawkeye to take down Iron Man. Notice that her costume doesn’t have the widow’s mark (the red hourglass found on black widow spiders) that she would incorporate later into newer costumes.

Here are some images from another early appearance of the Black Widow in costume. Her costume has more of a gray appearance in this issue. The pages come from issue #30 of Avengers, Volume 1 (1965). In this issue, she starts as an enemy of the Avengers, but eventually begins her transformation to an ally.

Panel art from Avengers 30, Black Widow in original costume

Black Widow and a pair of jealous oafs preparing their villainy against the Avengers. Black Widow was brainwashed for her mission, but as you can see, her affection for Hawkeye is starting to make the brainwashing crack.

Black Widow reveals brainwashing to Hawkeye

Black Widow reveals to Hawkeye that she has been brainwashed. She is no longer under the enemy’s control and expresses her love for him. Never one to take himself too seriously, Stan Lee (who wrote the story), makes a joke about the melodrama. That’s the Wasp in the last panel, by the way.

Cover of Avengers Volume 1, #30 with Black Widow

Black Widow appeared at the bottom on the villain’s side of the cover for The Avengers #30.


Black Widow’s Costume – The Classic Bodysuit

Black Widow comic book character in psychedelic art

Black Widow (real name Natalia Romanov or also known as Natasha Romanoff), is one of Marvel Comics’ earliest heroes. She actually didn’t start as a hero, though. In her first appearance way back in 1964, she was presented as a Soviet spy assigned to assassinate a defector that was working with Iron Man (Tony Stark) to develop new armor. Through the course of the next couple of years, though, Natasha fell in love with Hawkeye, fought and then made friends with the Avengers, and had several adventures in various comics. For the first five years or so, she wore a grey-ish/black costume with an eye mask. The outfit included a small cape. By 1970, though, Marvel had ditched a lot of their characters’ older costumes to reflect more modern fashion sensibilities.

Miss Fury, Golden Age Comic Book Character

The costume worn by Miss Fury, a golden age heroine, had an influence on John Romita Sr. when he designed the new Black Widow costume in 1970.

Marvel artist John Romita, Sr. was asked to re-imagine Black Widow in a new costume. She was going to feature prominently with solo stories in a new title called Amazing Adventures, and Marvel wanted to give you some additional publicity. Romita designed a costume based on a Golden Age character named Miss Fury. She also looked quite a bit like Catwoman in a sleek black bodysuit with a full head mask. Romita opted to drop the mask entirely to expose her face and showcase her long red hair for which she is distinctly known, and provided a low-slung decorative belt with gadgetry. So, in 1970, a fabulous and famous look was born.

In order to introduce her new costume and give her additional visibility, she was re-introduced through the powerhouse Amazing Spider-man title. In issue #86, Black Widow spots Spider-man after a battle and determines that she needs to find out what makes him tick. She’s looking to get back into the hero game after dealing with some personal issues and in order to make the break, she decides to ditch the old costume, create a simplified new one that’s also “more in keeping with the swingy seventies,” and add some powerful new fighting features.

Here’s the story from Amazing Spider-man #86. Notice something interesting? The shadow of Black Widow on the cover appears to have a jacket. Perhaps it was done before the final decision was made on the costume she ended up wearing inside the comic.

0 for Amazing Spider-man #86 by

Splash page for Amazing Spider-man #86, Black Widow shown

Black Widow follows Spider-man

Black Widow reflects on her history

Black Widow continues to reflect on her history

Natasha Romanoff designs a new Black Widow costume

Black Widow tries on her new costume

Black Widow works out in her sleek catsuit

Black Widow continues to test her new costume

Black Widow goes hunting for Spider-man

Black Widow attacks Spider-man

Spider-man fights back, knocks Black Widow off a ledge

Black Widow and Spider-man continue to fight

Spider-man shows his strength to Black Widow

Black Widow considers her future career

There’s a really good post with some more details that I recommend. Take a look at Agent of S.T.Y.L.E. – Black Widow Keeps It Classy