Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Tales: The Black Widow "...And to All a Good Night"

Before Birds of Prey. Before Buffy. Before the "bad girl" craze. Before Charlie's Angels...there was Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. 'Tash (as her friends called her) first appeared as an Iron Man villain way back in Tales of Suspense #52 (January, 1964). Later she became a love interest for Hawkeye and an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., often appearing in the Avengers. By 1970, though, Women's Lib was going strong, and the Widow became Marvel's best shot at having a successful female character carrying her own series. The series ran from Amazing Adventures #1 (May, 1970) through issue 8 (June, 1971). After the series ended, Natasha partnered with Daredevil for a while (DD issues 81-117), then helped form, then led, the Champions (which ran for 17 issues from July, 1975-October, 1977). The Black Widow has been a Marvel Comics mainstay, usually appearing as a member of the Avengers.

This story, originally published in Amazing Adventures #5 (December, 1970), was also reprinted in the first Marvel Giant Super-Hero Holiday Grab Bag Treasury Special (December, 1974) where it became a sentimental favorite of Young Groove's. Written by Roy Thomas with art to die for from Gene Colan and Bill Everett, I think you're really gonna dig "...And to All a Good Night"!

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting! This is my favourite Black Widow story. I also first encountered it in the Treasury Edition and later tracked down the Amazing Adventures original. Doesn't Gene Colan draw a gorgeous Natasha?

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  2. One thing you could count on with those Black Widow stories in AA was that there would always be a scene with some nudity in it; strictly integral to the plot, mind you!

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  3. beautiful, Groove. I've been toying with the idea of posting the Widow's Spider-man appearance, meself, drawn by the awesome John Romita. nobody drew the chicks like Jazzy John drew the chicks, man. . .

    another terrific post, my man.

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  4. Always loved this. Short and sweet and with a rare and incredible art combo from Colan and Everett! Wish they'd done LOTS more together!

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  5. Okay, "sweet" perhaps a poor choice of words but you know what I mean. Reminds me of a good Eisner SPIRIT story. Self-contained in a handful of pages!

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  6. Colan was inked by Everett in an issue (maybe 2?) of Captain America back in '70/'71, Booksteve. Still, that wasn't enough. Mighty Joe, run that Spidey story! It's a good one, it introduces the Widow's "scuba" costume, and you're right, Romita draws purty gurls! Pat, seeing that particular Black Widow story in those giant tabloid-sized pages...well, let's just say it prepared many of us for Charlie's Angels!

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  7. I have an unhealthy preoccupation with finding orginal art pages from the three Colan/Everett Black Widow stories from Amazing Adventures (#'s 3, 4 and 5)... especially #5, "And To All A Good Night." I had this comic as a six or seven year old kid, and it completely warped me into favoring redheads!

    Check it out, the originals are gorgeous:
    http://comicartfans.com/GalleryPiece.asp?Piece=336484&GSub=15536

    Page 9 ("There's nothing so only about being female, fellas") is currently hanging in a Gene Colan museum retrospective in San Francisco.

    Sell me your pages, I'll pay STOOPID money, including finder's fees! Let it be so!

    It's great having the story available to look at online, thanks for posting it!
    Pax,
    Sean

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  8. I like the idea of the Black Widow as sort of a pulp magazine style heroine, contacting people who need help via her trusted - and tough as nails - assistant.

    And yes ... Natasha looks very, very gorgeous. (But did Pepper Potts ever catch Tony Stark in the shower?)

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  9. YUMMY!! God I feel old I was only 8 or 9 years old when I bought this off the rack. I loved Gene's woman & I was & always will be a Bill Everett nut! Not only could he draw a excellent Sub-Mariner, Sun Fire, etc! He was a awesome inker on Colan in CA,AA & Kirby's on Thor. I was very depressed as a kid when i read Bill everett had passed away a few years later. He died way too young, I wish I could've met him. Who knows maybe in the next great beyond. The old Marvel bullpen will be there drawing comics. Just for us, when we get there? Thanks for posting all these excellent comics & posts! I am SO happy I found your website!

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  10. Groove - first off thanks for a great site! I've been following it for about 6 months now and it has been my browser homepage for as long. It's the next best thing to having access to my collection which currently resides in two separate attics across England. If ever there was a match made in comic book heaven Gene Colan and Bill Everett was it. And Roy Thomas was no slouch either - fantastic! Cheers again.

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