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Fuck Yeah, Black Widow

Fallaces sunt rerum species

Здравствуйте from FYBW, your one-stop tumblr shop for Black Widow news, no-prizing, and oversaturated .gifs. Some MCU, mostly comics. Often overwritten. Always overthinking.

Black Widow created by Lee, Rico and Heck & is © Marvel Entertainment.

We readily excuse our favourite male characters of murder, but if a woman politely turns down a date with someone she has no interest in, she’s a timewasting user bimbo and god, what does he even see in her? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some great online meta about, for instance, the soulfulness and moral ambiguity of Black Widow, but I’ve also seen a metric fucktonne more about what that particular jaw-spasm means in that one GIF of Cumberbatch/Ackles/Hiddleston/Smith alone, and that’s before you get into the pages-long piece about why Rumplestiltskin or Hook or Spike or Bucky Barnes or whoever is really just a tortured woobie who needs a hug. Hell, I’m guilty of writing some of that stuff myself, because see above: plus, it’s meaty and fun and exactly the kind of analysis I like to write.

And yet, we tend overwhelmingly not to write it about ladies. It’s not just our cultural obsession with pushing increasingly specific variants of the Madonna/Whore complex onto women, such that audiences are disinclined to extend to female characters the same moral/emotional licenses they extend to men; it’s also a failure to create narratives where the women aren’t just flawed, but where the audience is still encouraged to like them when they are.


I remember attending Toronto Comicon shortly after the release of “Captain Marvel” and seeing a five-year-old girl who’d come in a handmade Captain Marvel outfit with her hair moussed up – and I totally got the need for this book, for this hero. Someone who looks like her, and acts like her. So, in a way, “Captain Marvel” helped pave the road to the expanded role of female leads. “Ms. Marvel,” “Black Widow,” “Elektra,” “She-Hulk,” the all-female “X-Men” book — female heroes anchoring their own series have never been as prevalent in the Marvel Universe, and there’s more to come. There’s a thirst out there for strong female characters, and it’s not just female readers who crave them. Marvel readers want a good story, that’s all.
— Axel Alonso, Axel-In-Charge 3/14/14


I believe when one female character gets a chance at wider visibility in the industry, the argument should never be that another female character “deserves” the spotlight more (I’m looking at you, Captain Marvel “fans” who were tearing down Black Widow after the most recent rumors of her solo film). The best response is “good, now also [this other character].” To quote the Tumblr refrain: “Why not both?” It’s even meaner to pit Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown against each other because, when they both existed in the same universe, they were close friends.
Quite frankly, I don’t think female characters are a hard sell; any new launch requires utmost execution to stick, whether it features a female character, a male character or team of characters. The challenge in launching a series featuring a female lead is that very few of them have the built-in Q-rating of a perennial character — like Spider-Man, Captain America or Hulk — and the market is, of course, largely dominated by perennial characters. In that sense, it’s the same challenge whether you’re launching “Elektra” or “Moon Knight,” “She-Hulk” or “Red Hulk.” There’re lots of vocal fans for all those characters, but you have to appeal to a larger audience. That said, “Black Widow” #1, #2 and #3 have all gone to second prints, so if you build a quality book that gets some buzz, you might be building a perennial.
— Axel Alonso, Axel-in-Charge