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Comic Book Legends Revealed #425

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COMIC LEGEND: John Romita based his Black Widow re-design on Emma Peel from the Avengers TV series.


In 1970’s Amazing Spider-Man #86, John Romita did a major re-design on the Black Widow before she graduated to her own ongoing feature in Amazing Adventures…





For years, I always assumed that the re-design was an homage, of sorts, to Emma Peel in the Avengers.

My pal, commenter Omar Karindu, said as much in a discussion a few months back.

However, amazingly enough, the re-design was NOT based on Emma Peel! Romita explained the REAL influence in an interview with Jon B. Cooke in Comic Book Artist #6…

I did the costume on the Black Widow. One of my favorite strips from when I was a kid was Miss Fury. They had done a Miss Fury book at Marvel, and when I found out they had the rights to her, I said I’d love to do a Miss Fury book sometime. I had done an updated drawing of Miss Fury, and Stan said, “Why don’t we redesign the Black Widow costume based on Miss Fury?” So I took the mask off her face, and made the Black Widow the one in the patent leather jumpsuit. That was why the Black Widow changed.

Miss Fury was a comic strip by Tarpe Mills. Timely Comics (later Marvel) reprinted her Sunday strips, as well, in the 1940s…



Huh. I can definitely see it. And I don’t see any reason for Romita to lie about this, so I’m willing to believe him.

Thanks to Jon B. Cooke and John Romita for the information and thanks to Omar Karindu for giving me the head’s up about it!

Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did TV’s Catwoman, Julie Newmar, get a U.S. patent on a special type of pantyhose that would accentuate a woman’s derriere?

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

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Jorge Martinez

June 28, 2013 at 9:59 am

I always thought they were mixed in the Squadrom Supreme tpb. Love that series!

Also Claudio Castellini?! What ever happened to him? He was great. I love that Silver Surfer book he did years ago.

@Jorge – I believe the ashes were mixed in with both.

Yep, they were mixed in with both.

To answer your question: Yes, I have that poster in color.

Pecos Asbestos McGuiliguty

June 28, 2013 at 10:58 am

Re The Black Widow thing. I still don’t totally buy it.

I don’t mean to say that he’s lying – just that whether conscience of the fact or not, I can’t see that Emma Peel didn’t influence that costume. BW looks way more like Emma than Miss Fury – the ‘rope shooters’ sure, but if anything the original BW costume looks influenced by Miss Fury not the new one.

Thanks, Phantom-Longbox!

Natasha’s rationale for going to fight Spider-Man is even more ridiculous than the average hero vs. hero story.

Fraser, I believe at the time Black Widow was a villain. People tend to forget that she was a Russian Spy during the cold war.

I believe at the time Black Widow was a villain. People tend to forget that she was a Russian Spy during the cold war.

You’re right that she started as a Cold War spy, but by that time (1970), she had been rehabilitated. She was a frequent guest star in the Avengers, in her role as Hawkeye’s girlfriend, and starred in at least one major plotline (the Red Guardian). She was only an active villain in Iron Man’s run of Tales of Suspense, around 1964-65.

Maybe it’s the reproduction or seeing it at a fraction of its intended size, but that Castellini poster is a mess.

I actually think Natasha’s rational for going after Spider-Man makes pretty good character sense.

She was trained to be the best in everything she did and, where and how she was trained, the consequences of being second best were to be strongly avoided. She may have ostensibly switched to the side of the good guys but she was still the same ruthless, arrogant, unyielding person she’d always been (and remains to this day). In fact–if memory serves–this story marks the beginning of her embracing a role as an actual crime fighter (thus her reference to starting a new career). Prior to that, even though she’d left the USSR, she was still operating on the shady side of the law in the U.S. (which is why, despite Hawkeye’s urging, the Avengers wouldn’t accept her as a member). Her approach to dealing with Spider-man was pretty much in keeping with her established character . . . Spider-Man had something she thought she needed and the the only way it occurred to her to get it was to take it.

Obviously the dialogue is overwrought and uber-dramatic, but that’s just a byproduct of the times for comics in the 70s. Her actual behavior is pretty much in keeping with who the Widow always has been and still is.

Didn’t Miss Fury come back in Dynamite’s “Masks” series?

Did Natasha ever have powers?

Doug: Yes. And now she has a Dynamite series of her own.

For some reason, the third page won’t load.

The server had an overall hiccup. It should be fine now.

Something less obvious; what about her hair color? Previous depictions showed her with black hair.

Wait, can the black widow stick to walls? Is that still in her poweset or has that been lost in the retcons?

@Fredll, if it has been retconned, it would have been fairly recently. I remember her sticking to walls in her 90s appearance in Daredevil.

Slightly morbid thought on the Greunwald story – what are the chances of actually getting a copy of the book or poster impregnated with his remains?

Chris McCullough also did some comics work on The Tick: Karma Tornado and his own short-lived series Cement Shooz, both available pretty cheap. They’re probably most interesting as curios of what he was up to twenty years ago.

@Kamino Neko –

The first printing has the ashes in it. It has a round sticker on the cover that says something to the effect “Celebrating the Genius of Mark Gruenwald”, and the forward says his ashes were added to the ink… I don’t know if subsequent editions have the same claim in the forward.

That’s not what I’m getting at, though.

If you got a first printing copy, what are the odds that you’ll get one that had some of Greunwald’s remains in the ink?

It’s almost certainly not 100%, unless the first printing was a very small run.

The volume of cremains used, the volume of ink used, how thoroughly the ink was mixed once the cremains were added, and the number of issues printed using the cremains-impregnated ink would all influence that.

tone – I have a non-first printing. I don’t remember the wording, exactly, but the foreword is unchanged, there’s just a note added specifying that it was only the first printing.

I think Emma Peel needs a much smaller gun. Looks like she can barely carry that thing it is so huge.

So, why was she called “Miss Furry”? Did she not shave?

Notice that the new Black Widow costume doesn’t have heels, just like Miss Fury’s, and unlike Emma Peel’s And Miss Fury’s costume in no way, shape, or form looks more like the original costume than the new one. It’s like Romita says: he ditched the mask. Sure, maybe he was subconsciously (that’s conscious, not conscience) influenced by Emma Peel. Makes sense, even. Just refuting the rest of the needless contrarianism in the 5th comment.

So Busterchops, you’re saying Emma believed size doesn’t matter?

My mom worked at northeast graphics and brought home that poster for me. Hope it’s still on my closet back home. they use to do a ton of marvel prints.

This IS the poster with Mark’s ashes, I can say with certainty.

Mark was my uncle, so I was one of the 20 who received one.
It was only now that I found (through a comic book friend of mind who saw the poster in my place and did some digging) who the artist was. It’s been a mystery since then, as it’s not signed. Thanks CBR!

On a side note, I’m hang out with his widow, Catherine, and when we went to see the Avengers together, I can actually say I saw it with the widow of the creator of the Hawkeye character- Cool bragging rights. (full disclosure: I wasn’t aware of this fact until she pointed it out.)

I have a first printing of Squadron Supreme. That poster is pretty nice, too. Much better for it to be one with all the characters than one with just Spider-Man.
@Ed; that IS incredibly cool!

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