So, remember when I said I would be first in line with disgruntled internet grumbling if Hawkeye was suddenly everywhere during the ramp-up to the Avengers film and Black Widow was nowhere to be found?
January 2012 solicits, roll ‘em.
Here we have the titles that Natasha will likely appear in:
- SECRET AVENGERS #21
Here are the titles Clint’s gonna be rocking purple sunglasses for:
- SECRET AVENGERS #21.1
- AVENGERS: SOLO #4 (OF 5)
- AVENGERS ACADEMY #24
- AVENGERS #21
- AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #9 (OF 9)
- GHOST RIDER #8
I know, none of these but Avengers Solo is a solo Hawkeye title, and even that is cunningly disguised by Avengers branding. But Clint joined the cast of Avengers Academy with issue #21, he’s been on the main Avengers squad since the Heroic Age relaunch, and Children’s Crusade did not shy away from having him retroactively sex up a Doombot. Clint’s also taking lead in Secret Avengers with issue #21.1, as that book shifts from the leadership of one not particularly secretive blond dude to another. Meanwhile, the Avengers resident actual superspy with credible leadership experience? Well, she’s not confirmed to be on the team post-shakeup, but she probably will be.
Marvel’s been pretty upfront in positioning Hawkeye as one to watch in 2012. He’s got a place on the cover of this week’s Point One special, the handbook to the next year or so of 616 happenings. And no wonder, I mean: big blockbuster movie appearance. If he can’t carry a solo book, shove him into every Avengers book. Give his costume a makeover. Make it work.
The thing is— Natasha’s also in that movie. Unlike the rest of the movievengers, but like Hawkeye, Black Widow is a perpetual B-lister who only occasionally stars in her own series. But unlike Hawkeye, Natasha is actually featuring in less books from now until January than she has since, oh, about Civil War. That’s right, as she gears up for a big screen appearance in the superhero flick of the summer, Marvel is putting her in less comics than they have the last five years.
When I point this out, the usual cry is— ah, but Hawkeye is more popular! You can’t expect the characters to be promoted equally! Let’s hit the sales charts.
55 Black Widow 1 32,807 73 Hawkeye & Mockingbird 1 27,552
64 Black Widow Deadly Origin 1 29,338 127 Hawkeye: Blind Spot 1 14,235
You see, just recently Hawkeye and Black Widow both had swiftly cancelled ongoings. Just recently, Marvel put out pre-film appearance origin minis. In both cases, the Black Widow stuff charted higher. These Diamond figures are notoriously inaccurate, but they’re all I have to go on, and staring at them, it’s hard to see how Clint is the better-selling character. Don’t get me wrong, now: I love me some Hawkeye and am preparing to roll around in all this increased exposure even as I make fun of his hip new look. But I want to see Natasha get more than a minuscule fraction of the movieglow.
With their wacky reboot shennanigans DC has come under great internet scrutiny re: it’s handling of female characters. But when it comes to the quantity contest, the Distinguished Competition is blowing Marvel out of the water. Marvel boasts a ton of top-tier female talent, but how many ladies headline their own ongoing? And the one (1) superheroine slated for their hype-fest of a summer film? Is the Avenger getting the least comic book representation.