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Black Widow

Action Girl Cover Image
Black Widow #1 © 1999 Marvel Comics. COVER ART BY J. G. JONES.

 From her introduction as a superheroine in Tales of Suspense #52 in 1964, the Black Widow (created by the writer/artist team of Stan Lee and Don Heck) has been an almost constant presence across a dizzying array of Marvel Comics titles, equal parts superhero and superspy. The first communist heroine to appear in comics, the Black Widow is Marvel's longest lived solo heroine. In her first appearance, battling Iron Man, she was simply Natasha Romanoff, a Soviet spy sent on an industrial espionage mission to Stark Industries—wearing an inconspicuous veil and figure-hugging cocktail dress combination. A few issues later she was back with an embittered young circus performer, the archer Hawkeye, whom she persuaded to battle Iron Man, but he soon saw the error of his ways and joined the Avengers. Inspired by his example, she denounced her cold war masters and defected to the West, donning a black and grey fishnet costume and signing up as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division), Marvel's all-purpose secret intelligence agency.

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