Max: This oughta— Hey! Somebody’s waitin’ for us, Willie— out on the terrace!
Natasha: Nobody down here but us defenseless women and children, boys.
Willie: Don’t sweat it Max… it’s only a female.
Natasha: There’s nothing so only about being female, fellas. You ought to try it some time.
I’m planning at some vague future blogging point to talk about Natasha’s past as a ballerina— that was introduced along with a background as an Olympic gymnast, back when she was trying to be a fashion designer or a college professor or, well, the Bronze Age was a hell of a place to seek employment. The ballerina bit was revived a decade later, though, and then stuck in ways none of her other 1970s ??? career paths have since.
My guess, though, is that the ballerina thing really goes back to panels like these ones, to the way Gene Colan drew her moving. Colan drew some of these Amazing Adventures issues and a fair chunk of the Daredevil and the Black Widow issues— he’s, without question for me, the Natasha artist supreme. (He’s also who Butch Guice was referencing in his Captain America run.) Colan’s style is distinct in his fluid figures and fluent use of shadow. You can see the kinetnicsm he gives Natasha, the grace of her arms, the way she twirls, the sweep of her hair. It’s an almost joyful way of moving, so at odds with her grim business. You can look at these panels and that movement and see why she had to be a ballerina, and why that story would stick.
From Amazing Adventures #5, by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan.