Can you recognize the pudgy, scowling figure entering a strange laboratory just outside Moscow?
Leader: Guards! Follow me!
If you don’t, then you know nothing about the Cold War! For this stocky fellow is the “Mr. Big” of the Iron Curtain!
Guard: Here we are, excellency! The laboratory of the Crimson Dynamo!
Leader: How I hate this Professor Vanko… and fear him! But Vanko is the world’s greatest expert on electricity! So I must regretfully use him, and not liquidate him.
Vanko: Ah! Comrade Leader! I am honored by your presence!
Leader: Stop lying, Vanko! I am aware of your arrogance! You think you’re the cleverest man in the nation— even more ingenious and important than I!
Vanko: I, more important than our glorious leader? Surely you jest!
So, I’m starting a new blogging serial, All Commies are Chronically Suspicious. I’m hoping to examine the shifting stereotypes of Russia through the lens of Black Widow’s appearances. It’s not so much about Russia as it was, but Russia how American comic book imagined it.
To begin I’m actually trekking back to Tales of Suspense #46, a land where at least 50% of Russians are large men with larger mustaches, with the introduction of the Crimson Dynamo. Nikita Khrushchev is in this comic! He is pudgey, paranoid, and generally incompetent. Vanko puts together a standard “look what awesome things my robot armor can do” montage, and Khruschev is terrified and basically starts plotting to kill Vanko right there.
He also sends Vanko to destroy Iron Man.
Note that in strange laboratories just outside of Moscow, signs are apparently hung in English.
From Tales of Suspense #46, by Stan Lee, R. Burns, and Don Heck.