Tales Of Suspense #52 (Iron Man)
Issue(s): Tales Of Suspense #52 (Iron Man story only)
The Black Widow doesn't display any fighting abilities; she's simply a beautiful distraction. The Dynamo is defeated when Vanko sacrifices his life to destroy them both with an experimental weaponized laser (an editor's note explains what a laser is). Stark lets the Widow get away, since she will now be in trouble with the Communists for failing.
Don Rico uses the pseudonym of N. Korok on this issue and the next, and is actually credited with "story" while Stan is credited with "plot". Not sure what the difference is, but i'm assuming story means script.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Collector's Item Classics #12
Inbound References (3): showBlack Widow, Crimson Dynamo I, Crimson Dynamo II, Happy Hogan, Iron Man, Pepper Potts
Don Rico previously worked at Timely/Atlas as writer/artist/editor. His art most often showed up on the wartime "Secret Stamp" feature and post-WW2 Captain America stories. Scriptwise, he mostly wrote jungle girls Lorna & Jann during the 1950s.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 31, 2011 9:29 PM
So Natasha was a redhead in her first appearance! Strange...who the heck made her black-haired for the rest of the 60s? (my guess is whoever put her in the crazy costume she ends up in around that time)
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 10, 2013 3:19 PM
Are these scans from a reprint? As far as I know, in Natasha's first several appearances, in ToS and then the Avengers comic, her hair was consistently "black"--that is, lots of black shading over a gray or blue base color. Not brown or "red" as shown here.
The first time she was seen as a redhead was in Spider-Man issue #86 in which she donned that Emma Peel/Miss Fury-like costume.
Posted by: Shar | September 10, 2013 4:16 PM
Yeah I thought that it was when she became cat-suit Natasha that she became a redhead. I do wonder if this was a reprint that tried to color in the shading or if the coloring in the original comic was like this.
And yeah, Boris and Natasha...luckily with all the other fictional countries, Marvel decided to not invest in Pottsylvania.
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 10, 2013 4:24 PM
The scans here are from the now out-of-print GIT Corp PDFs which were scans of the original comics. See here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Invincible-Iron-Man-Collection/dp/B000VW2RZ8/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1378844755&sr=8-14&keywords=git+pdf
The scan contains all the original ads, etc., and you occasionally (not often) see minor tears and stains. I don't believe they were touched up except to add a Marvel copyright watermark at the bottom.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 10, 2013 4:30 PM
So the original did have Natasha as a redhead after all. Thanks for clearing that up.
So then it brings up another question: did they realize that when they switched her to the catsuit or just did it to make her look better?
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 10, 2013 4:36 PM
@fnord: interesting...and thanks for the info. I had this ToS issue once upon a time, but maybe I am remembering Marvel Collectors' Item Classics #12, which reprinted this story. In the MCIC reprint, she definitely had gray/black hair (perhaps to match her then-current appearance of black hair in the Avengers comic).
Posted by: Shar | September 10, 2013 5:00 PM
@Ataru320: fwiw, I have never come across any indication taht her change to a redhead in ASM #86 was based on her first appearance here. But in light of fnord's information here, it sure makes sense! Kudos to you, a great question/observation on your part.
In a similar vein, when Wanda's haircolor was changed back to red/brown (after several years of black), Roy Thomas mentioned the specific reasons in a lettercol, IIRC in Avengers #81. But I have never read anything similar about Natasha (only that at some point Marvel said she dyed her hair black and that her natural color was indeed brown/red/auburn). I will be on the lookout for any additional details and if I find anything pertinent I will post it here.
Posted by: Shar | September 11, 2013 11:34 AM
Quick survey (using the character appearance tags):
JiM 52: Natasha is a redhead
I'm starting to wonder if someone did research on Natasha's back-story when she was ready to do such a radical change in Spider-Man and was suddenly reminded that she wasn't black-hair in her first appearance, thus making the lasting and permanent change to redhead.
And as a side: keeping track of hair colors of female comic characters is tough business. So many go through such sudden changes in their colors (and styles) you need a score card to keep track. Really very few seem to at least have some consistancy at least from this period (Mary-Jane Watson/Pepper Potts/Jean Grey - redhead; Gwen Stacey/Carol Danvers - blonde) and it just gets weirder when you get "brunette Bobbi Morse" or "Jessie Drew's most permanent hair dye ever". (and let's not get into alternate media where they think Jennifer Walters is a blonde one time when she's a brunette like Bruce...well when she's not green)
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 11, 2013 1:45 PM
Meanwile, the Crimson Dynamo's early armor has the distinct look of a circus clown.
Posted by: Mike | August 10, 2014 10:54 PM
Bill (see comment on Uncanny X-Men #3) is right. Don Heck does a better job drawing females than most of the early Marvel artists. Natasha looks good right from the start.
I would think that this first appearance of Natasha probably rates a 9 in importance. But who would have guessed 50 years ago that she would be such a great character and would turn out so well on the big screen.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 16, 2014 7:27 PM
The black hair later on was a wig. I placed this issue along with #53 in the gap in Avengers#5.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 28, 2016 8:14 PM
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