Last week saw the release of Marvel's new Black Widow ongoing, by the Daredevil superteam of Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Matt Wilson. So this seems like the perfect time to check out some Black Widow fan art from around the web.

Created by Stan Lee, Don Rico and Don Heck, Natasha Romanoff is long-lived Russian super-spy who became an American superhero. She's a prominent Avenger and frequently an agent of SHIELD (although she's had a falling out with them as of the beginning of her new series), and in the Marvel movies she's played by Scarlett Johansson, though the cinematic version lacks her unnatural longevity and enhanced abilities. She also lacks her own movies, permanently relegated, it seems, to a supporting role.

Gathering the art for this gallery emphasized exactly what the visual markers of the Black Widow are. Her appearance actually varies a lot, but a few things are always true: She is, conventionally speaking, very attractive. She has red hair. She wears a tight black outfit, often with a gold belt and gauntlets. Unlike most modern superheroes, she carries guns. She almost always has the red hourglass-shaped mark of the black widow spider somewhere on her outfit, usually a belt buckle. Some artists like to draw her with Scarlett Johansson's face, but many don't.

Many artists also like to draw her with the front of her outfit unzipped to show cleavage. I'm not a big fan of this look, but I didn't completely avoid it (sadly, that would have limited my options significantly). I did manage to stay away from the most ridiculous takes on the concept, in which the art becomes entirely about her breasts. Black Widow art should be about how much ass she can kick --- or at least how good she looks holding a gun.



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