Girls, you need to be reading Marvel’s current run of Black Widow. It might be ending soon because of the new Secret Wars (which I have yet to read), but even if it is, you need to go back and read the existing seventeen issues. It’s a fantastic series.
Obviously the Black Widow character has gained a lot of steam in recent years, thanks to Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of her in various Marvel movies, all the way up to the most recent Avengers movie. I honestly was not a fan of the movie version of Natasha Romanoff at first (I’m not a fan of how comic book females are portrayed on-screen in general, but that’s a different subject), but as the movie franchise has progressed, it seems as though they’ve taken the character from someone who seemed to be there more for sex appeal, to someone who is actually there to kick some ass (maybe they realized that people are going to like the character no matter what). Age of Ultron really cemented that for me.
But I’m not here to talk about Scarlett Johansson. I want to get everyone to read this series.
The book is fantastic; Nathan Edmondson, the writer, and Phil Noto, the artist, have created the perfect Black Widow. The stories are great, and the art is to die for (which, really, is a good enough reason to read any book, female lead or otherwise). There’s nothing about her that’s over-sexualized, and there’s never a moment where you’re wondering about um… physics, like you might with some other female comic book characters. She doesn’t want to have to rely on anyone else – she’s super independent, which is an awesome quality for any female character to have. It’ll be a huge loss to my to-read list if this series ends, but it’s been a great run, and it’s something I would definitely go back and read again (and you should too).
Now, back to the comic-to-screen portrayal of women in general. Comic women in general have taken leaps and bounds in recent years. They’ve gone from sex objects, damsels in distress, on-the-side characters to ass-kicking, lead characters, and it’s a really wonderful transition. The on-screen versions seem to be a little bit behind. They can still kick some serious ass, but they still seem to be there mostly for sex appeal – which is silly, because people are going to watch these movies and shows even without the sex appeal. And no, I’m not about to be one-sided with this – I don’t think that the guys need to be super sexed up either. Superheroes are awesome and worth watching anyway, right? Now, I’m not talking about every comic book female here (or the on-screen version of them), this is just a generalization. Some female characters have never been there for sex appeal, and on the other side of the coin, some comic book characters (and publishers) are still far behind in making this transition.
Now that that’s out of my system… seriously, read Black Widow. Even if you’re new to comics and you’re kind of intimidated, and not really sure where to start. It took me ages to actually get my hands on a comic book, despite being interested for years – it can be intimidating to walk into a comic shop and know what to pick up, especially so (in my opinion) if you’re a girl. I’m lucky enough to have had someone to show me the way! Lots of women still seem to be under the assumption, too, that comic book women are just there for sex appeal. Which was the case for a long time, when men had most of the creative control and men were really the main buyers of comics (and such is still the case for – ahem – certain publishers that shall not be named), but it’s 2015 now and there are so many options out there! Much more realistic options! Whether it’s the creative minds behind the comics, or the comic characters themselves, girls are taking over, and it’s kind of awesome.