Black Widow is the name of several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Most of these versions exist in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.
Claire Voyant is the first costumed, superpowered female protagonist in comic books. Created by writer George Kapitan and artist Harry Sahle, she first appeared in Mystic Comics #4 (Aug. 1940). She kills evildoers to deliver their souls to Satan, her master. The character is unrelated to the later Marvel Comics superheroines who took on the codename.
Natasha Romanoff is the first character to take on the Black Widow codename in the modern mainstream Marvel Comics. She was created by editor and plotter Stan Lee, scripter Don Rico and artist Don Heck, and first appeared in Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964). The character has been associated with several superhero teams in the Marvel Universe, including the Avengers, the Defenders, the Champions, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Thunderbolts. She has appeared in many other forms of media, including the major motion pictures Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Black Widow, wherein she is portrayed by Scarlett Johansson.
Yelena Belova is the second character to take on the Black Widow codename in the modern mainstream comics who debuted briefly in Inhumans #5 (March 1999) and was fully introduced in the 1999 Marvel Knights mini-series Black Widow. A second miniseries, also titled Black Widow and featuring Natasha Romanoff and Daredevil, followed in 2001. The next year, she did a solo turn in her own three-issue miniseries titled Black Widow: Pale Little Spider under the mature-audience Marvel MAX imprint. This June to August 2002 story arc, by writer Greg Rucka and artist Igor Kordey, was a flashback to the story of her being the second modern Black Widow, in events preceding her Inhumans appearance. Florence Pugh portrays Yelena in the MCU film Black Widow and the Disney+ miniseries Hawkeye.
Alternative universe versions
Black Widow 2099
The futuristic 2099 version of Black Widow is an African-American woman named Tania. She operates as part of the Avengers 2099 at the Alchemax corporation's behest. Like black widow spiders, she literally eats her mates after having sex with them.
In other media
- Agent Carter features Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan), a 1946 precursor to Black Widow and an operative of Leviathan.
- A character loosely inspired by Black Widow 2099 named Layla appears in the Avengers Assemble episode "Into the Future", voiced by Jennifer Hale. This version is a guerrilla warfare-styled resistance fighter from a future ruled by Kang the Conqueror.
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