Most comic book fans have a pretty good idea what they’re going to buy every week when they visit their local comic shop. With that said, there’s still a lot of fun to be had just glancing at the week’s new releases and taking a chance on a book that looks promising. That’s where covers come in-a fantastic image can make the difference between trying something new or saying, “Nah, not this week.”
In anticipation of Avengers: Infinity War, we’re publishing special editions of Judging by the Cover. We’re focusing on various characters who have left their mark on the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far, and who will be featured in the crossover film event this summer. This time, we asked our contributors Max Sisco, Alyssa Jackson, and Eric Cline to share their favorite Black Widow covers of all time.
Black Widow: Deadly Origin #3
Art by Adi Granov
I’m a massive fan of Matt and Natasha’s relationship. From adding her to his title in the 70’s to save it from cancellation, to all the times Natasha has swooshed in and saved Matt’s sorry ass, I think their rapport is great and the fact that they stayed close even after they broke up is important to me. Adi Granov is one of my favorite cover artists hands down, and this cover is beautifully rendered. From the stained glass window, to the chair, to Natasha’s super Russian features, I love everything about this cover. Matt’s always gone for the deadly chicks in red.
Winter Soldier #2
Art by Lee Bermejo
Like Adi Granov, Lee Bermejo is a cover artist I really enjoy. I loved his Daredevil covers for Brubaker’s run, and I’m also a huge fan of Bucky and Natasha’s relationship (it’s becoming clear that I’m a big fan of anyone Natasha has dated,) so it seemed like a no brainer to pick this one. I love the rendering of the folds of their clothing, and not to be “thirsty on main” but both of them are mega hotties in this cover.
Marvel Fanfare #10
Art by George Perez
For my final pick, it only seemed right to choose my favorite out of the hundreds of Black Widow centric covers that have used the spiderweb motif. George Perez can draw a sexy yet strong woman like no one else, and the white spiderweb against the stark black background is as striking as it gets. I enjoyed this arc in Marvel Fanfare, because George Perez also wrote it. This was in ’83 and five years later he would be starting his epic run on Wonder Woman. Like I said there’s been a lot Black Widow covers over the years to try their hand at the spiderweb background, but none of them nail it like this one.
Black Widow (2014) #1
Art by Phil Noto
Phil Noto is probably my all time favorite comic book artist. He hooked me with his Marvel photo scrapbook, which showcased his ability to meld comic art sensibility to his realistic, slightly sketch-like quality. The first cover of the new series set the tone – a beautiful bold, graphic style with Natasha’s close-up framed by a Russian skyline. I love the red wash, and the Black Widow symbol over the pupil of her eye, almost like a sniper sight. Very striking and eye-catching.
I also have to shout out his Black Widow Hip-Hop variant cover, paying homage to Missy Elliot’s “Supa Dupa Fly” album cover. I know these variants have been controversial, but I think Noto emulates Missy’s swagger and attitude in his cover. Have I mentioned I love Phil Noto?
Black Widow (2010) #4
Art by Daniel Acuna
So many Black Widow covers are classic T&A jobs, so I love that Acuna draws her with a realistic body and in a powerful action pose. She looks beautiful but fierce. It’s also a well-designed cover, with the splash of red and target drawing your eye to her face. I like how the target is also playing with the spiderweb look, and the little black widow spider hanging down is a nice touch.
Black Widow (2016) #10
Art by Chris Samnee
Max stole my ’80s pick, so I went back to more modern times for my last pick. Chris Samnee plays with the relationship between Natasha and Bucky, and I love the tattoo shop theme with Natasha changing the metal arm star to a heart. Playful and well-drawn, right in my wheelhouse.
Black Widow (1999) #1
Art by J.G. Jones
When I think of Black Widow, this is the first image that comes to mind. I dig the widescreen vibe created by the black horizontal bars. The skull and smoke add to the coolness, and I love the shimmer of light off her cuff as well.
Black Widow (2010) #6
Art by Travel Foreman
I love the sense of motion captured in this still-shot. The blue and red shadows are awesome and add a pop-art feel against the white of the background and the black of Natasha’s suit. The flow of her hair is also great, as is the intensity of her expression. My favorite thing about this image is the clarity with which it conveys that a fight is going down.
Black Widow (2014) #15
Art by Phil Noto
Phil Noto delivered a lot of strong covers during his Black Widow run, but this is my favorite. The metal shine of the gauntlets pops against the flat black, tan, and red of the background. I also dig the map aspect in the middle, but my favorite detail is the gun in place of Natasha’s eyebrow. That’s just next-level.
Do you agree with these picks? Let us know in the comment space below!