Did Captain America Nearly Have a Black Widow-Style Tactical Suit in the 1970s? - CBR - Comic Book Resources

2 months ago 28

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, see how close Captain America came to gaining a Black Widow-style tactical suit in the 1970s

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and seventy-seventh installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends.This time around, all of the legends will involve Namor's creator, Bill Everett! Click here for the first legend of this installment. Click here for the second legend of this installment.

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Bill Everett' pitched a Black Widow-style tactical outfit for Captain America when he worked on the series in the early 1970s



As much as any other field of pop culture, and perhaps even MORE so than some, comic books live in a "monkey see, monkey do" type of environment, where a success by one comic book publisher will often be aped by others. I literally JUST discussed something like this in the previous Comic Book Legends Revealed, about how Superman's success led to every publisher trying to create their own Superman.

A similar thing nearly happened with Captain America's costume in the 1970s.


In 1970's Amazing Spider-Man #86, John Romita did a major re-design on the Black Widow before she graduated to her own ongoing feature in Amazing Adventures...

she was now wearing a sleek, black tactical suit (that was also basically a catsuit)...

and it looked really cool, a major upgrade, costume-wise...


For years, I had always assumed that the re-design was an homage, of sorts, to Emma Peel in the Avengers.

However, amazingly enough, as I noted in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed, the re-design was NOT based on Emma Peel! Romita explained the REAL influence in an interview with Jon B. Cooke in TwoMorrows' Comic Book Artist #6...

I did the costume on the Black Widow. One of my favorite strips from when I was a kid was Miss Fury. They had done a Miss Fury book at Marvel, and when I found out they had the rights to her, I said I’d love to do a Miss Fury book sometime. I had done an updated drawing of Miss Fury, and Stan said, “Why don’t we redesign the Black Widow costume based on Miss Fury?” So I took the mask off her face, and made the Black Widow the one in the patent leather jumpsuit. That was why the Black Widow changed.

Miss Fury was a comic strip by Tarpe Mills. Timely Comics (later Marvel) reprinted her Sunday strips, as well, in the 1940s...

I tend to think that, say, Roy Thomas was probably still thinking about the Emma Peel influence, even if Romita was not, but whatever, the main thing is that Black Widow got a sleek, new black suit as part of her getting her own feature in 1970.


Well, after the Black Widow feature launched with John Buscema art, Gene Colan took over the feature, and Bill Everett inked him...


The same creative art team was working on Captain America at the time...


In TwoMorrows' Alter Ego #22, collector Mort Todd noted that he was helping Gene Colan sort out some original art of Colan's when he discovered that Everett had designed a new costume for Captain America on the back of one of the pages, in the style of the Black Widow design!


That's a really cool design, right?

But sadly, Everett was off of Cap soon after that, so it never came to fruition, but boy, that'd have been interesting. As it were, Cap really didn't get a tactical suit like that until his Secret Avengers days decades later...


Thanks to Mort Todd and Roy Thomas for the great information! And thanks to Rebecca Radillo for the term "tactical suit." I didn't know what word to use to describe it.

In the latest TV Legends Revealed - Was Paul Lynde contractually guaranteed to be the center square on Hollywood Squares?

OK, that's it for this installment!

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Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well! Also, if you have a correction or a comment, feel free to also e-mail me. CBR sometimes e-mails me with e-mails they get about CBLR and that's fair enough, but the quickest way to get a correction through is to just e-mail me directly, honest. I don't mind corrections. Always best to get things accurate!

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