Black Widow… there’s stuff coming up. I don’t think you’ll hear about it at this convention, but we have a lot coming up.
Yo, this issue man. Man, this damn issue. When I tell you I feel like Natasha Romanova is riding round with the top down playing the instrumental to Kendrick Lamar’s back seat freestyle while shouting, “All my life I wanted a solo series up to measure, respect my fandom or get red in your ledger.” This series feels like the movie we should have gotten with Black Widow after Captain America II: The Winter Soldier. Samnee and Waid have really done all the right measures to make this feel like you are watching Mission Impossible meets Jason Bourne meets Luther. This is peak espionage at its muhfucking finest right here.
There were a few other options given to us once we’d finally decided that we were going to start winding things down on Daredevil but I was really pushing for Black Widow as soon as it was on the table. There were a couple others in there as well but, as luck would have it, the timing worked out in our favor as the Edmondson and Noto run was coming to a close right around the same time. I was so dead set on doing it in fact that I pitched the broad strokes of what will be the first arc to Mark while we were still early into the final arc on Daredevil.
I think Mark [Waid] and I are crafting a really fun, exciting spy story, unlike anything that’s ever been in comics. And honestly, I think the entire team is giving their absolute all here. I’m pushing myself harder than ever to make these pages my best yet and I think Matt Wilson is doing the best work of his career here. I can’t wait for folks to get a look at this stuff.
My style for this is maybe leaning a little more “real world” than some of the stuff I’ve done over the past few years where I’ve done a bit more cartooning, but that’s really just a matter of trying to create a mood specific to this title. Matt [Wilson] and I have been hammering out a specific look for the colors on this book as well. Matt and I have worked together on and off for years, and I always love what he brings to the table, but this is easily the best looking work we’ve ever done together. I think it’s really going to turn some heads.
Beyond that, I’m doing a lot of the writing in the layouts, so that makes for some exciting opportunities to play with pacing and layout that I wouldn’t normally have gotten to do working from a full script.
And even when we talk about how this year progresses, it’s, how do we draw in an occasional guest star or two, but into Widow’s world? And vice versa. Kind of the same way we drew Silver Surfer into Daredevil’s world, but it was still a Daredevil story. And the contrast was interesting. That’s an interesting challenge that we might want to play around with.
We had been planning our exit on Daredevil for awhile. But part of the dance we were doing was, “Okay, where do we go next?” We want to stay together, we want to do something together, but neither of us are big fans of strong-arming people off books. That said, it was a weird combination of, “There’s only so many books open at this exact moment, but that changes with Secret Wars, do you guys want to stay on Daredevil a little bit longer? Or leave a little bit sooner?” And that’s the dance we waffled around for about six months or so — not so much us pitching them what we want to do next, but sort of taking a lead from them as, “What’s available?” And we turned down a couple of things that weren’t in Chris’ wheelhouse or mine, but once Widow became available, I think we knew instantly that was the one.
And on a personal level, my daughter is six years old now. She just lost her two front teeth, just like Scott Lang’s daughter Cassie in Ant-Man, and is beginning to learn what Daddy does and about the different types of heroes. She has red hair and is constantly pointing at Black Widow and wanting to learn more about that.
To be honest, I can’t think of another Avenger whose story Natasha could have swapped with who wouldn’t, in some way, raise questions of whether the story was influenced by gender stereotypes. If she had Tony’s story, she’d be the one who messed up and wouldn’t listen, who created the need for a rescue. If she had Cap’s story, she’d be the one who tries to keep everyone from being vulgar – the behavior cop. If she had the Hulk’s story, she’d be the one whose superpower is being carried away by her uncontrollable emotions. If she had Thor’s story, she’d be the one who doesn’t have very much to do and is omitted from a large stretch of the movie. If she had Hawkeye’s story, she’d be the one who just wanted to go home and be with the kids.
Any of these things could look like a stereotype. This is a very, very hard piece of ground to walk without tripping over something: Whedon fans tend to be disappointed because they had their expectations set by Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but it is the rankest of cultural amnesia to forget how frequently people took issue with elements of that show’s treatment of issues around sexual violence and sexuality.
There’s no answer to what to do about a specific portrait of the lone female Avenger that isn’t more satisfying, more meaningful, more helpful alongside an argument for slowly, surely, gradually insisting upon having more female Avengers. More of everybody doing everything. A season with more games in it.
I think it’s very important that little girls have representation. That’s why I love Scarlett Johansson so much. That’s why I’m so excited they’re introducing all these female characters into the universe. That’s important. It’s to give everybody a little bit… It is important to look at the screen and see you.