Posted Tuesday, October 10th, 2023 by Barry

Black Widow (2020) 2

Joshua Swaby provided the tribute cover for Black Widow’s second offering in her eighth volume for Marvel Comics.

Continuing with the 2020 variant covers celebrating Halloween and the horror titles of the Bronze Age, Black Widow issue two lauds Marvel’s longest running horror book, Tomb of Dracula.

The serialized spooky soap ran 70 issues from 1972 to 1979. Giant-Size Dracula accompanied the main title running five issues.

Black Widow (2020) 2 Joshua Swaby

So popular was the title, Marvel moved it from full color to monochrome for 13 issues of Dacula Lives! to run concurrently. The magazine ran from 1973 to 1975 accompanied by a Super Annual filled with reprinted material. The title would live on following retirement of the comic book in magazine form for a year, lasting six issues.

Marvel incorporated its horror line into its mainstream titles with appearances of Dracula in Giant-Size Spider-Man one, Dr. Strange and the X-Men during the Bronze Age.

During the resurgence of comic books in the 1990s, Dracula arose yet again in a four-issue mini series in 1991. He would see further ink in the Nightstalkers and Blade series of the same decade.

The Dark Lord would appear in two more mini series before returning to his casket, one an adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel that spawned him and one more battle with Blade.

Black Widow looks good considering how long she’s been working in comic books.

Claire Voyant was the first Black Widow, appearing in Mystic Comics cover dated August 1940. Her mission was to kill evil doers and deliver their souls to the devil. Her character had nothing in common with Marvel’s later incarnation beyond code name.

Marvel’s first Black Widow was Natasha Romanoff debuting in Tales of Suspense (1959) issue 52. She was originally a Russian spy who defected to America. She has worked solo and with the Avengers, Defenders, Champions, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Thunderbolts.

Her successor was Yelena Belova first appearing in Inhumans (1998) issue five. Later she took center stage in the 1999 Marvel Knights mini-series Black Widow.

Different incarnations have appeared in alternative Marvel universes.

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