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Black Widow Marvel Comics Price Guide

Value of Black Widow Marvel Comics
by Christopher Tanis and Ashley Cotter-Cairns

Alright, alright. Yes, Scarlett Johannson played The Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers movie, and is slated to do so again in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

And yes, the Widow has consistently been, since the early '70s, a Marvel Comics cheesecake go-to.

She also got around. She was Hawkeye's on-and-off girlfriend in the '60s. She loved and cohabited with Daredevil in the early '70s. She competed with the Scarlet Witch and Mantis for the title of 'Hottest Female Avenger' in the mid-'70s.

Even Ben Grimm has his mind boggled by Natasha Romanoff (now known as Natalia Romanova) in Marvel Two-In-One #10 (July 1975), when she partially disrobes in order to get at a weapon that was concealed under a fake layer of skin on her back.

The Thing, in all his brute strength, is completely unnerved by a little Black Widow action. "Uhhh, Widder-lady? What are you DOIN'?"

She started off as a Soviet spy femme fatale with a black bouffant hairdo and a dowdy dress that didn't hide her curves, but which didn't do her any favors, either.

She battled Iron Man, seduced Hawkeye (poor Clint Barton), defected to the US, got brainwashed, got un-brainwashed, got a slinky new outfit and dyed her now-straightened hair red, and then settled down to become the ingenue who beguiled half of the Marvel superheroes at one time or another that we all know and love.

Your girlfriend can look THIS good in a Black Widow costume!

With no real superpowers (although technically, neither does Scarlett Johansson, but who cares?), the Widow is armed with an array of high-tech gadgets, primarily her "Widow's Bite," a pair of bracelets that emit an energy beam of some sort that is never very well-defined.

She is also, of course, trained as a spy and a sniper, and is an expert in several martial arts.

Ultimately, she functions as something like Ensign Chekov on Star Trek: a slice of the USSR who provides eye candy as a supporting character, while adding international intrigue.

Any storyline connected to the Cold War would eventually lead to Natasha Romanoff. And that was just how we liked it.

Of course, now she's been retconned into all sorts of powers and shenanigans, just like every other familiar character. Our scope today, luckily, will stop short of all that.  

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Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964): Origin and First Appearance of Black Widow

Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964): Origin and First Appearance of Black Widow. Click for values

In Tales of Suspense #52, Natasha Romanoff makes her auspicious first appearance, in the Iron Man cover story.

The story is convoluted, but in essence, the Widow and another Soviet agent named (what else?) Boris are sent to kill Anton Vanko, better known as the Crimson Dynamo, Iron Man's foil from the USSR, as well as Iron Man and Tony Stark, if necessary.

Vanko had been working with Stark Industries on an experimental laser, of course concealing from Stark that he was really the Crimson Dynamo. 

The Widow of course charms Tony Stark, and gets a tour of his factory, and then things get ugly. In the ensuing battles with Iron Man, both Boris and Vanko are killed (distracted by the Widow at a crucial moment), and the Widow, as she always would, escapes.

She would go on to appear in Tales of Suspense a number of times, but this first Black Widow Marvel comic has extra collector appeal. A very nice Jack Kirby cover is wrapped around very pedestrian Don Heck pencils, but the script is by Stan Lee, so all is not lost. 

Record sale: $7,700

Minimum value (poor but complete): $25

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Tales of Suspense #53 (May 1964): The Widow Bites Tony Stark Again

Tales of Suspense #53 (May 1964): The Widow Bites Tony Stark Again. Click for values

Tales of Suspense #53 is the second Black Widow Marvel Comics appearance.

Natasha is up to it again, only an issue later, as she decides, all on her lonesome, to steal a new anti-gravity device that Tony Stark and his technical boffins have just finished with.

She charms him again, knocks him out with sleep gas, and steals the darn thing. Shenanigans ensue, and the Widow uses the device to begin sabotaging US missile bases.

Tony Stark panics, tries to duplicate the anti-gravity thingamajig, and can't. So, he throws on his armor, and as Iron Man, takes the US Army with him to stop the Widow. 

Well, as luck would have it, things go all kooky, as they often did in Marvel Comics in 1964. The Widow's plan is foiled, but she escapes while Iron Man is busy rescuing some of her Soviet minions from a mountain that the Natasha had just dropped on them. Go figure.

Once again, a Stan Lee script. Once again, a lovely Jack Kirby cover conceals incredibly disappointing Don Heck Artwork. Words can't explain how crestfallen any Marvel fan was to open up his fave Mighty Marvel title and see Don Heck's work inside. Still, ToS #53 is valued by collectors as the second Black Widow Marvel comic.

Record sale: $3,300

Minimum value (poor but complete): $10

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Tales of Suspense #57 (September 1964): Black Widow Seduces Hawkeye (first appearance of Hawkeye)

Tales of Suspense #57 (September 1964): Black Widow Seduces Hawkeye (first appearance of Hawkeye). Click for values

In Tales of Suspense #57, the Black Widow lives up to her femme fatale image by seducing Clint Barton, up until then a hapless trick archer performing at a state fair.

Barton decides to become a superhero after seeing Iron Man save the nice folks on a malfunctioning ride at the fair, makes a costume, adopts the name Hawkeye, and tries to stop a jewel thief. The fuzz, true to form, think Hawkeye is the villain, and he splits the scene. 

The Widow picks him up, whispers some sweet nothings in his ear, and the next thing you know, he's in her lab making some nifty new arrows to use in a fight against Iron Man. The Widow's charms are that powerful.

Well, as you may imagine, Hawkeye and the Widow break into Stark Industries, a battle ensues, and the Widow is injured when one of Hawkeye's arrows bounces off of Iron Man's armor and stuns her.

Inconveniently for Hawkeye, since he was winning the battle, he slinks off with the swooned Widow in his arms. But this Black Widow Marvel comic is more significant because it's the first appearance of Hawkeye.

Stan Lee scripted well, Don Heck penciled badly, and also did the cover.

Record sale: $13,000

Minimum value (poor but complete): $30

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Other early Black Widow Marvel comics include Tales of Suspense #55, #60, and #64 (First Appearance of the Widow's Bite).

Tales of Suspense #55. Record sale: $7,100. Check values here

Tales of Suspense #55

Record sale: $7,100
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Tales of Suspense #60. Record sale: $2,600, Check values here

Tales of Suspense #60

Record sale: $2,600
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Tales of Suspense #64. First appearance of the Widow's Bite (Black Widow). Record sale: $2,100. Check values here

Tales of Suspense #64
First appearance of the Widow's Bite

Record sale: $2,100
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The Avengers #29: The Black Widow Battles the Avengers

The Avengers #29: The Black Widow Battles the Avengers. Click for values

In Avengers #29, the Black Widow is kidnapped and brainwashed by her former Soviet bosses, having defected to the US.

They send her to destroy the Avengers, a task for which she recruits Power Man and the Swordsman. They subdue all the Avengers except Goliath and the Wasp, who free the captives and send the Widow and her two henchmen packing.

From this point, the Widow would turn up very frequently in the pages of The Avengers, appearing in #30, #32, #35, #36, #37, #38, #40, #41, #42, #43, #44, #46, #57, #58, #59, #60, #63, #64, #76, #83, and #90, becoming an ally of theirs, until finally becoming an Avenger for a short stint in #111, of which more later.

Avengers #29 is A Stan Lee/Don Heck Great Writing/Lousy Pencils production, with a Heck cover. This Black Widow Marvel issue is valued by collectors in spite of Don Heck, as are most of the other '60s Avengers issues the Widow appears in.

Record sale: $1,600

Minimum value (poor but complete): $5

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Amazing Spider-Man #86 (July 1970): Black Widow Gets Her New Costume

Amazing Spider-Man #86 (July 1970): Black Widow Gets Her New Costume. Click for values

Although the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #86 shows Spidey declaiming that battling the Black Widow is like fighting a "female version of myself," luckily, the story within carries no such oddly Freudian psychosexual complications.

In fact, the Widow does not even try to charm Peter Parker in Amazing Spider Man #86, but she does decide, inspired by the wall-crawler, to design a sleek new costume for herself, designed and penciled by John Romita, Sr., no slouch when it came to depicting lovely ladies. 

Anyway, the Widow, full of vim and vigor and wanting to learn the secret of his powers for herself, decides to challenge Spidey, and fights him to a draw before fleeing.

Admittedly, he is ill at the time, but still, the Widow gets real superhero status at last, as well as sex-symbol status.

Scripted by Stan Lee, and as good as any late-Silver Age Spider Man comic could be (which is to say, excellent - the top of Marvel's game). An important Black Widow Marvel comic because there are so many Spider-Man collectors.

Record sale: $2,600

Minimum value (poor but complete): $5

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Amazing Adventures #1 (August 1970): The Widow Gets Her Own Series

Amazing Adventures #1 (August 1970): The Widow Gets Her Own Series. Click for values

Gary Friedrich and the incomparable John Buscema (who may have been born to draw the Black Widow) bring to life the Widow's first outing in her own (almost) title.

Amazing Adventures #1 is split, as would the series until #8, between the Widow's adventures and a new Inhumans series that represents some of the best late-period Jack Kirby work at Marvel.

The Widow story is nothing much, really, with Natasha not doing much beyond changing her costume again and fighting some small-time criminals while looking beautiful.

Still, the art is fantastic all-around: prime, late-Silver Age Jack Kirby and John Buscema. How can you go wrong?

Record sale: $300

Minimum value (poor but complete): $1

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Daredevil and Black Widow Marvel Comics

The dream team of Daredevil and Black Widow Marvel comics started with their first meeting in DD#81, and they teamed up in DD#92.

Daredevil #81: Black Widow Meets Daredevil

Daredevil #81 (November 1971) Black Widow Meets Daredevil. Click for values

Daredevil and the Black Widow #92: Co-Star Status

Click to read our full article on values of Daredevil Marvel Comics.

The Avengers #111 (May 1973): The Widow Finally Becomes an Avenger

The Avengers #111 (May 1973): The Widow Finally Becomes an Avenger. Click for values

Avengers #111 is an important Black Widow Marvel issue.

An elaborate plot in this Black Widow Marvel issue sees Magneto, who has learned to control minds and has kidnapped and enthralled three of the five X-Men (the Beast having become hairy and blue by this time, and the Angel off on other intrigue) and most of the Avengers, prompts a contingent of free-minded Avengers to travel to San Francisco.

There they seek the help of the Black Widow, her lover Daredevil, and her old bf and former Avenger Hawkeye.

Hawkeye, feeling like a fifth wheel after battling DD over the Widow, declines. DD and the Widow join the fray, however, and over the course of this issue and the next (which crossed over with Daredevil #99), they rout Magneto and free the X-Men and the other Avengers.

Phew! Long story short, the Avengers finally ask the Widow to join officially in Avengers #111, after only 22 previous appearances in the pages of that comic. Ironically, it would only last until #113, when Natasha goes back to Matt Murdock in Frisco. Oh, well.

A lovely John Romita, Sr., cover, wrapped around Don (drat it all to) Heck artwork. Steve Englehart provided the convoluted script. Stan Lee he wasn't.

Record sale: $335

Minimum value (poor but complete): $1

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The Champions #1: Black Widow Joins a Team of Misfits...

Champions #1 was conceived by Tony Isabella as a vehicle for the suddenly irrelevant Iceman and Angel, The Champions were a super-team that was treated like a red-headed stepchild by Marvel Comics, the buying public, and by other heroes in the Marvel Universe. 

As luck would have it, Bobby Drake and Warren Worthington are bored UCLA students in 1975, just as Natasha Romanoff is applying for a UCLA teaching job (as a professor of Russian, of course).

Meanwhile, Hercules prepares to give a guest lecture on mythology on (you guessed it) the UCLA campus. Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider) just happens to be riding by when all hell breaks loose and a bunch of Harpies come through a hole in the fabric of existence with Cerberus, the three-headed dog guardian of Hades.

It's a whole megilla of Greek Pantheon mayhem that ensues, forcing the five heroes to fight together. 

They decided after this issue to stay together, with Warren using his father's money to establish them by buying their own building and equipping them with the latest gear. It would only last 17 issues, with the team folding because of bankruptcy. Warren spent too much of his dad's money, you see. 

Tony Isabella wrote Champions #1, and inside a lovely cover by journeyman Gil Kane, we find -- not again! -- yes, again, the pencils of Don Heck, who we just cannot seem to avoid when looking at Black Widow Marvel career. Argh.

Record sale: $300

Minimum value (poor but complete): $1

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