Here's a list of stuff I've been asked more than once and stuff I've seen covered on messageboards ad nauseam, collected here for some semblence of easy access. If you don't see your question answered here you can check out the questions tag, where I stash my ongoing Q&A feature. If you don't see your question answered there, my askbox is always open, if subject to random delay.
It's Наталья, usually rendered in English as Natalia. Natasha is a diminuative or nickname of Natalia, the same way Bob is a nickname for Robert— so both are correct. Likewise, Romanoff and Romanova are different translations of the same Russian name. There's a wiki entry on Russian names that might be helpful, or a blow by blow write-up I did on naming conventions and Natasha’s history.
Natalia Romanova was born c. 1928, orphaned by political turmoil and then rescued by a Red Army soldier, Ivan Bezukhov. Ivan became a surrogate father figure and they spent many years wandering Europe together. In the mid-fifties Ivan was mortally wounded, and Natasha agreed to become an agent in return for the KGB’s miracle cure. She spent many decades as a ruthless and devoted agent, the blackness of her world slowly creeping into her. One day, she decided to stop.
For a more in-depth examination of retcons and all that, I wrote up this series of essays.
The easiest starting place is the Name of the Rose trade, which is some nice character study pitched to new readers circa Iron Man 2, and a good introduction to her more or less current comic book status quo. After that, I would read the Itsy Bitsy Spider trade, which is a bit older but still a meaningful read.
For most intents-slash-purposes there are three. Claire Voyant is a Golden Age Timely character who mostly lives apart from mainline Marvel continuity. She’s a mystic character who kills evildoers in order to drag their souls to Satan, metal. Not much mentioned in modern Marvel continuity, but recently seen in the Twelve maxiseries. There’s no connection between Claire and Natasha, except for the name.
Natasha Romanov is the most famous Black Widow, introduced in Tales of Suspense #52 in 1964. Mostly, this blog is about Natasha.
Yelena Belova was introduced in a late-nineties Inhumans miniseries, as a post-Soviet inheritor of the codename. She’s been an antagonist and an ally to Natasha, and was last seen frozen in one of Norman Osborn’s tubes.
Yelena and Natasha both have connections to the Red Room, a Russian intelligence agency that trains young women to become spies. The Red Room trained quite a few other operatives as part of their Black Widow project, but they are as yet vague, nameless, and probably dead.
The Ultimate Universe Natasha Romanov was killed in the finale of Grand Theft America. Since then, Monica Chang, a totally new Black Widow has started appearing in that universe.
In the immortal thoughtwords of Harry Potter: NOT SLYTHERIN NOT SLYTHERIN NOT SLYTHERIN. The basic conceit of Black Widow is that Natasha never wanted to be the Black Widow. It was a hell she was steered into, a scar she has to bare. Slytherin's defining house trait is ambition, and Natasha lack of ambition is a major character component.
There are good arguments for sorting her into all the other houses, I don't think she's an easy or definite sort.
Yes? Probably? Eventually? I'm fine with people sending me suggestions and it's helpful to know what people are interested in reading!! But I run this blog in my spare time and at my own erratic schedule. It's also something I do for fun!! And those things determine the shape of the content here more than anything.
I have a lot of things I want to write about that sit on the backburner for months.
I don't usually do the free plug because this is such a narrowly focused blog. You can always submit posts if they are Black Widowish in nature, and hey, I'll probably link it if I like it. There's no hard and fast rule, but jI'm not going to plug your site just because you sent the link to me, especially if it's got nothing to do with Marvel at all.
I do have a links section in the sidebar and am happy to do exchanges with similar sorts of sites, i.e. superhero tumblrs & feminist comic book blog.
I am not sure what tumblr affiliation is. If you are and you want it from me please contact me to explain.
My email is email@example.com. Happy hunting.