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 – The First Appearance of Natalia Romanova

First appearance of Black Widow, small oval of her
Natalia Romanov (also known as Natasha Romanoff) is a Russian femme fatale who served the USSR as a spy, assassin, and saboteur. She first appeared in 1964 in Marvel Comics’ Tales of Suspense Vol. 1, #52. Natasha, introduced with the code name Black Widow, is a highly prized asset in the Russian spy network.

Cover of Tales of Suspense 52, first appearance of Black WidowIn Natasha’s first appearance (we’ll use her more commonly known name), she is dressed in the regalia of high society. Her poise and sophistication complimented her beauty and men easily fell for her.  Her modus operandi was to romance her quary then perform her assigned task while she had their confidence. Such was the case in an operation to infiltrate Tony Stark’s organization to kill him and a Russian scientist who had defected.

In her first appearance, Black Widow woos Tony Stark and gets him to show her around his munitions plant. While there, her accomplice steals a sophisticated experimental armor suit and begins destroying the plant. Tony intervenes as Iron Man but in the ensuing battle, both Natasha’s accomplice and the scientist are killed. Black Widow disappears, fearing for her life. Her superiors will not be pleased with the mission’s failures.  But, the Black Widow had only just begun. Over the next year, she would be reassigned to kill Stark, fall in love with the American named Hawkeye, a rogue costumed hero, and start to unravel brainwashing that will question her core identity. More in future posts.

The first appearance of Black Widow on a comic book page of Tales of Suspense 52

The first appearance of Natasha Romanova AKA the Black Widow.

Natasha Romanova romancing Tony Stark

The Black Widow uses her astonishing beauty and skills of seduction on Tony Stark.

Black Widow hiding from her Russian superiors

Failing her mission, Natasha Romanova fears for her life and goes on the lam.


Marvel Fanfare Pinup Issue #45

Marvel Fanfare comic book seriesMarvel Fanfare is one of those titles that you see in every quarter box in comic book stores or on eBay with a hopeful but inevitably doomed listing. I’m not sure exactly why it fell on such hard times after its publication ceased. During Marvel Fanfare’s run between 1982-1991 it obviously sold well enough to justify 60 issues. Given that it featured no ads, it relied exclusively on its own revenue, so that leads me to believe that also earned enough money to keep it going for several years.

The comic book series was intended to be a showcase for mostly standalone stories featuring writing and art by some of the industry’s best. Format-wise, Marel Fanfare was printed on high quality paper and carried a very high price tag relative to other comics during the same period.

The 45th issue of Marvel Fanfare (released in 1989) contained no stories. It was exclusively a pin-up gallery of many Marvel characters by some of the industry’s leading talent of the day. I scanned the pinups for your viewing pleasure. My favorites are Captain America by Michael Golden, Hera by Bret Blevins, Spider-man by Klaus Janson, Storm by Barry Windsor-Smith, Submariner by Mike Mignola, Wolverine by Howard Chaykin, and Punisher by Mike Zeck.

Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Black Panther and Klaw by Steve Rude Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Captain Maerica by Michael Golden Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Captain America, Thor, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic by Jackson Guice
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Colossus by Rick Leonardi and Dan Green Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Daredevil and Typhoid Mary by John Romita Jr. Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Dracula by Bill Reinhold
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Fantastic Four by Art Adams Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Galactus and Silver Surfer by Jim Lee Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Green Goblin by Paul Smith
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Hela by Bret Blevins Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Hulk by Norm Breyfogle Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Iron Man by Bob Layton
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Iron Man by Ken Steacy Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Kazar by Brent Anderson Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Killraven by P. Craig Russell
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Lok by John Buscema and Brett Breeding Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Mgick by Bill Sienkiewicz Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Medusa and Black Bolt by Charles Vess
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Original X-Men by Marshall Rogers Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Rawhide Kid by Alan Weiss Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Scarlet Witch by Sandy Plunkett
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Shadowcat by Michael Kaluta Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Spiderman by Klaus Janson Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Storm by Barry Windsor Smith
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Submariner by Mike Mignola Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Thor by Walt Simonson Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Wovlerine by Howard Chaykin
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Clea by Steve Leialoha Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Dr. Strange by Kevin Nowlan Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Punisher by Mike Zeck
Marvel Fanfare Pinup: New Mutants by Terry Shoemaker Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Marvel Fanfare Group cover by John Byrne Marvel Fanfare Pinup: Volstagg and family by Bogdanove and Milgram


Black Panther and Klaw By Steve Rude
Captain America By Michael Golden
Captain America Thor Invisible Woman Mr Fantastic By Jackson Guice
Clea By Steve Leialoha
Colossus By Rick Leonardi and Dan Green
Daredevil and Typhoid Mary By John Romita Jr
Dr Strange By Kevin Nowlan
Dracula By Bill Reinhold
Fantastic Four By Art Adams
Galactus Silver Surfer By Jim Lee
Green Goblin By Paul Smith
Hela By Bret Blevins
Hulk By Norm Breyfogle
Iron Man By Bob Layton
Iron Man By Ken Steacy
Kazar By Brent anderson
Killraven By P Craig Russell
Loki By John Buscema and Brett Breeding
Magik By Bill Sienkiewicz
Marvel Fanfare 45 Cover By John Byrne
Medusa and Black Bolt By Charles Vess
New Mutants By Terry Shoemaker
Original X Men By Marshall Rogers
Punisher By Mike Zeck
Rawhide Kid By Alan Weiss
Scarlet Witch By Sandy Plunkett
Shadowcat Kitty Pryde By Michael Kaluta
Spider Man By Klaus Janson
Storm By Barry Windsor Smith
Submariner By Mike Mignola
Thor By Walt Simonson
Volstagg and His Family By Bogdanove and Milgrom
Wolverine By Howard Chaykin

Iron Man 3 Armor Suit

Marvel movie character

Marvel went all out for Iron Man this year. The booth focused exclusively on showcasing the armor for the upcoming Iron Man 3 movie as well as suits from the previous films. They had some gimmick running where questions of trivia were shouted from the stage and whomever in the audience answered them correctly got a t-shirt or something was thrown out to them. The area was crowded and noisy, so we only stopped by to shoot some shots.

Marvel Comics

Here’s a video of the suit from various angles.

Iran Man

Yeah, it’s corny enough that it’s probably been done before. So what. Here’s our take.

Iran Man! The Persian Juggernaut. The Mighty Man of the Mullahs. The Terror from Tehran. The hero Rostam reincarnated. Ladies, we hear you sighing beneath your burqas. Let’s get ready to ruuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmbbbbbbbbbaaaaaalllllllaaaaahhhh!!!!!

Iron Man Parody

Scaring infidels with my piercing stare!

“Israel! I am putting you on warning. Return the Holy Land or I will continue to bother and threaten you and stuff!”

“And, you! American dogs! Lest you think you have a chance with your stupid, puny little drones and special forces and blah, blah, you should know that … لا شه کشتي , کشتي , بدنه کشتي , تنه کشتي , کشتي سنگين وکندرو , باسنگيني ورخوت حرکت کردن , بزرگ بنظر رسيدن. a evah eW. Don’t make him angry! You think your foolish American Hulk is angry? We’re already angry when we’re happy. You don’t want to make us angry, angry. Really bad things might happen in a year or so when we have a nuke or two.”

“As for you, Sunni pigs. I cannot even begin to hate you enough! I will incinerate you with the Sword of Lazer that emanates from my righteous hand!”

Next up? Amazon Basin Hawkeye (captured on film below while he prepares to shoot out Nick’s other eye).


Hey, hey! Lookit my xáapahai! I’ma getcha! Cody can keep all his fancy gear, his guns, his ATV, and his Ram 3500. He ain’t got my skills. ‘Nuf sed!

Time for one more …

All the way from Linsneria, it’s the megalithic Thorbian!

Comic Book Character Parodies

I’m from an alternaverse where a bastard with hairy palms spawned me. Yay nipple protectors!