It's the Rise and Fall of the Black Costume as Siskoid and Shag start their coverage of Marvel Team-Up with issue 140 (April 1984), featuring Spider-Man and the Black Widow. Things are about to get weird for your Friendly Neighborhood Web-Slinger and the Fire and Water Podcast Network is there for it!
Listen to the Team-Up below, or subscribe to FW Team-Up on iTunes!
Relevant images and further credits at: FW Team-Up Supplemental
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15 responses to “FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and the Black Widow”
Fun show guys! Great to have the NEW FW Team-Up finally here! I bought this issue off the stands, and while I knew of Black Widow, this was probably one of the first comics I ever bought that spotlighted her. I can’t say I cared much for her gray bodysuit back in the day, preferring the black leather catsuit look (still do). I’ve always been a sucker for the Spider-Signal, so while I sometimes cherry-picked MTU based on the guest star, I had to get this one.
If memory serves Spidey continued to use the Spider-Signal with his black costume (both the symbiote and the cloth version), despite it now being “off brand”. And Ron Frenz pencilled ASM #251, so he was just redrawing the same scenes in less panels! Amazing to think many artists were still cranking out two books a month back then.
Speaking of Frenz, I LOVED his work when he started pencilling some Spidey stories here and at ASM at the time. Marvel Tales had been reprinting the Lee/Ditko run in order for the past several years, so Frenz’s VERY-Ditkoesque take was very welcome by me. He helped cement that the original Ditko look as my preferred vision of Spider-Man, despite also loving me some Romita, Andru, etc.
Nice to hear FWTU 2.0 is off to a great start, and things are only going to get better next month! 😉
Excellent show, Siskoid and Shag! Glad you’re back to the team-up books as they were a staple of my youthful comic book purchases. More bang for your buck.
I didn’t have this issue, although I definitely bought several issues in the Claremont run.
I like the Spider-Signal, and that cover is gorgeous.
If Shag likes Queen & Country, he should definitely take advantage of his Britbox subscription and check out “The Sandbaggers”. It’s the British TV series that inspired much of Rucka’s comic book series (as he freely admits). I started by Q&C after I read how it was inspired by The Sandbaggers.
I missed The Sandbaggers when I was a kid… it’s beyond annoying that this British TV show isn’t actually on the British end of BritBox.
Great first new FW Team-up, Team Team-Up! (To be followed by Team Brave and the Bold, Team Two-in-One, and Team DC Presents, of course) Siskoid now has as many ongoing partnerships as Captain America and about half as many as that lone creature of the night, Batman. I didn’t have this story, but enjoyed your recap and discussion of it. And I always liked it when Marvel heroes bucked the trend and collaborated like colleagues without any preliminary pugilism.
BTW, with nothing to go on but coincidence and supposition, I maintain that the other Black Widow MTU arc you mentioned (#82-85) was the inspiration for the Geena Davis vehicle The Long Kiss Goodnight. Casting Samuel L. Jackson in the Spider-Man role was a bold but effective choice, in my opinion.
Sorry. THE Batman. Don’t know what I was thinking.
How about: A Batman?
You mean like in the British Army?
It’s great to have FW Team-Up back and this was a great way to begin your Bold New Direction. I sometimes forget how young some of the folk around here are, but Shagg coming in less than a year from the end of the series didn’t half make me feel old.
This wasn’t a favourite issue, I’ve never been a fan of street-level characters (OK, that doesn’t quite work with three people who zoom around the city on ropes and cables) teaming with street-level characters. Not enough contrast. This issue also could have done with a supervillain. Still, good creative team, and there was some fun business, as you mentioned. I’m also a fan of the Spider-Signal, in my memory it was rarely seen after the Silver Age.
It was so disappointing that Marvel replaced Marvel Team-Up with Web of Spider-Man, and Marvel Two-in-One with The Thing… who needs more solo books, where are we going to see Woodgod, Scarecrow and, er, Wundaar?
Your comments on Black Widow’s costume were interesting, it was definitely meant to be more grey, if you look at it when it was introduced in Frank Miller’s Daredevil, drawn and coloured by Klaus Janson, it seems to have a Letratone matrix, but soon it was often coloured as if blue. Disappointing.
So, thanks to Martin, today I learned what aletta tone is (https://downthetubes.net/who-remembers-letratone/). The page I Googled up also mentions Chartpak, a fine maker of military map graphics and many other old school art supplies. Thanks, Mart!
You’re welcome! 99p…
Ooh, sorry! I only have euros…
Great show gentlemen. I’m also a fan that first met the Marvel Universe with the bomber jacket Avengers. As a result, I’ve always seen Natasha as an Avenger first and a spy second. The idea of her as a spy, for me, was always tied to her being a villain who didn’t fight and wore a dress and veil instead of an actual costume. I think the MCU won me over to loving her spy roots with the interrogation scene, from the first Avengers film, you mentioned. I’ve read most of the Black Widow miniseries over the past couple of years and the Soska Sisters is one of my favorites.
I had never read this issue, before now, and I’m glad to see more of the character I would come to love than I would have thought for the time. The cover is now rocketing up to the top of my “Don’t need it but would now buy it” list. I love the Spidey signal.
Great episode. I’m looking forward to more. I’m very happy there’s now a regular MTU feature at the F&W Network. This was a very important title for me. When I began reading comics in the late 70s Spider-Man was by far my favorite character and MTU introduced me to a whole slew of Marvel Superheroes. As the book moved into the early 1980s, it was my favorite Spider-Man book, because it wasn’t bogged down in the continuity of Amazing Spider-Man or Peter Parker. Unfortunately, it was my favorite aspect of the book that lead to its cancellation.
This is a great spot to start off this “new format” installment.
I love hearing each of you talk about Daredevil, even if it’s in the guise of a Spider-Man and Black Widow team-up. Looking forward to more episodes in this series!
Also, I covered THE AMAZlNG SPlDER-MAN #86 where Natasha traded in her old costume for the standard black Diana Rigg-inspired jumpsuit. It was on an episode of Power of Fishnets that came out five years ago today. Weird coincidence that I listened to this episode this morning before Facebook reminded me when that PoF show originally dropped.
It’s been way too long since I last reread this issue of MTU, so thank you for the excuse to revisit it. I was sorry that Black Widow didn’t get much focus in this story, but her moments like knocking out 3 guys in one panel were excellent! It was very much a stealth 3-way team-up with DD, and that being the direction to continue in the next issue, this was fine, just not very Widowy.
And I’m sure it’ll surprise no one that I’m a fan of Brown Jacket Avengers and loved Widow being team leader. Nuff said.
Oh right, Spider-Man was in this comic too. In addition to the repeated scene from ASM #251, Ron Frenz was also the artist in both of these comics, and both stories prominently feature Spidey having to dive underwater to search vehicles, here the car for that gun, in ASM trying to find Hobgoblin’s body after their climatic battle. I don’t think the cops gave Spidey a blanket and cocoa in ASM though. (Ok sure, Spidey probably drinks coffee too, but he’s gotta prefer hot chocolate. I mean, surely!) Anyhoo, the similar denouement diving is a wild coincidence.
And yes, Spidey was using his signal heavily in this era and continued to do so, even when wearing the symbiote or when it was just a black costume. It’s a fun idiosyncrasy (thank you, autocorrect) of this era.
I knew I’d enjoy the new FW Team-Up. Thanks, guys!