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  1. #6016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digifiend View Post
    Domino is relaunching as a team book called Hotshots... and Nat's on the team.
    http://www.adventuresinpoortaste.com...no-hotshots-1/
    Black Widow and Diamondback together on the same team! Yay!

  2. #6017
    Extraordinary Member Winterboy's Avatar
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    Nat and Carol by Jay Anacleto.

    DuVIFJlU8AAeUkQ.jpg
    "Who wouldn't go out with the Black Widow? I'd strangle a litter of kittens for one dinner with her!"
    Adrian Toomes aka the Vulture


    "Natasha Romanoff, A.K.A. Black Widow - ex-KGB, formerly with S.H.I.E.L.D...Probably the brains of this operation.I have followed her career, and she has been consistently UNDERRATED."

  3. #6018
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    By the way, I created a separate Black Widow (2019 series) discussion thread for anybody interested. Also posted variant covers shown on Previewsworld there.

  4. #6019
    Amazing Member nadler's Avatar
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    One of the most frequently asked questions in relation to Black Widow is how Natasha’s name works. Is it Natasha or Natalia? Romanoff or Romanova? What is her real name?

    The tricky bit is this: Natalia and Natasha are both forms of the Russian name Наталья. The Natalia/Natasha equivalency doesn’t exist in English, leading to tail-chasing confusion about which is real and which is fake. Natasha is a diminutive form of Natalia, the same way Bill is a nickname for William. “Natalia” is not more authentic or more Russian, it’s just more formal. “Natasha Romanoff” is not an alias the way “Nadine Roman” or “Nancy Rushman” are.

    The Romanoff/Romanova issue is just a question of transliteration. The Russian surname is Рома́нов, which has been written Romanoff or Romanov depending on the decade. In Russian, women’s last names take feminine endings to match their grammatical gender – Ivan Belov becomes Yelena Belova, Aleksandr Belinsky becomes Aleksandra Belinskaya. But the feminine endings often get dropped in English translation, e.g. Nastia Liukin, and not Nastia Liukina.

    There isn’t really a standard, “correct” way to translate a Russian name into English. Sometimes the patronymic is dropped, sometimes it isn’t. Immigrant women use the feminine form, or they don’t. It’s a matter of preference, and can also be generational.

    I also want to emphasise that comics have never been able to make up their mind.

    Natasha’s name has been Natasha since her very first appearance, where she and her partner Boris Turgenev were the butt of the obvious joke. Her last name wasn’t revealed until the early 1970s. She went through a whole solo series without getting a last name. Weird, but back in those days it took dozens of issues for Hawkeye to get a first name.

    Romanoff, a name no one knows – or knew! At the time, Natasha was being written as an aristocratic jet-setter, a glamorous countess. Since Romanov is the most famous Russian surname, and superhero stuff isn’t codenamed subtlety, I figure Gerry Conway just went with the one Russian name he did know or knew.

    And so Natasha Romanoff was her name through the 1970s. Instead of “Miss” or the Danvers-ian “Ms.”, Natasha used “Madame”, invoking an Old World mystique and reminding us of her literal widowhood.

    By 1983 someone on staff realised that Romanova might be more technically correct (might being operative, here, the best way of translating the feminine endings is still debated). Anyway, her Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe page listed her as Natasha (Romanoff) Romanova.

    The next big change would occur when Chris Claremont realised she was missing a patronymics. A full Russian name has three parts: the given (first) name, the patronymic, and the family (last) name. Patronymics are another way of expressing ancestry and are typically based on the given name of one’s father. In Russia, they are used in place of middle names. For example, Grand Duchess Anastasia was Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, or Anastasia “Daughter of Nicholas” Romanoff. Her brother, the Tsarevich Alexei, was Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, or Alexei “Son of Nicholas” Romanoff.

    It was Claremont who realised Nat’s was missing, and so first introduced her patronym in Daredevil and the Black Widow #102 (which he wrote).

    The odd thing about Alianovna is that it would mean her father’s name was Alian, something unusual and not particularly Slavic, so as a patronymic has similarly gone on to confound us fans for a few decades. What does it mean? What are we supposed to do with it? Why couldn’t Claremont pick out a real Russian name? Well, fear not, I have used the magical powers of Russian google to discover that Alian (or Al'yan, or Aliyan) is indeed a real name that originates from the Republic of Bashkortostan, or, as it is more commonly known to us Russian imperialists, Bashkiriya. The name appears to be relatively rare among the Bashkirs as well, but there it is, pointing to possible Bashkir ancestry, which is a rich possibility, storywise (trust Claremont). It is worth noting, however, that Claremont was also the primary source of the “Natasha is a secret member of the Romanov dynasty” idea that comics trot out now and again.

    Kurt Busiek later pretends it was something else in his Heroes Return Iron Man run.

    Ivanovna, or daughter of Ivan, is a much more common patronym and also meshes with her backstory – whoever her parents were, she was raised by a man named Ivan. But it didn’t stick. Everyone and the guidebook uses Alianovna.

    Notice that Natasha uses her full name here – she is declaring who she is, the full, formal weight of a name. This is one of the first times comics used the name Natalia. It had shown up in a few other comics before this one, including the 1992 graphic novel the Coldest War.

    Comrade Zamatev is a government agent trying to cultivate a professional and respectful relationship with Natasha, a legend in her field, so maybe this is why he uses her name and her patronymic. He’s also Russian, and the way Russian speakers address each other is coloured by their relationship. Superhero comics, being superhero comics, do not always get this right. From the late nineties forward Natalia started popping up with some frequency, usually in formal or impersonal contexts or in the mouths of Russian speakers. Yelena speaks of “Natalia Romanova” as the Red Room’s greatest legend, Natasha demands that the he-was-evil-all-along Ivan Petrovich address her without the diminutive.

    But Natasha’s superhero friends mostly call her Natasha, the name her first appearance gave her.

    With the above retcons, it’s hard to figure out a grand unified theory of what Natasha’s name actually is. At some point, it was conceivable that Natasha Alianovna Romanova was her real name, and she was born to a father of Bashkir ancestry in Stalingrad (or Tsaritsyn, depending on which birth year you go by). It’s plausible, Bashkirs do live near the Volga region. The last name could be explained by being from a mixed family.

    Now, an argument could be made that no part of her name is actually her real name, and in that case, one may wonder why Natasha would choose a patronymic and a last name that make her navigation through the Soviet society distinctly difficult. Who was she honouring? Was she simply being a contrarian? Am I putting way too much thought into contextualising a random writing decision by Marvel? Perhaps. But it delights me to imagine how Natasha would relate to the Bashkir [non-Slavic, traditionally Muslim] culture and to pitch this particular ethnicity as a suggestion for your future racebends instead of ones further removed from the Russian/ Soviet region.

  5. #6020
    Extraordinary Member Bl00dwerK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    By the way, I created a separate Black Widow (2019 series) discussion thread for anybody interested. Also posted variant covers shown on Previewsworld there.
    Sweet. Probably won't be getting the book, though.

  6. #6021
    trente-et-un/treize responsarbre's Avatar
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    Great write-up on the name situation. I read something before about the possibility of the name Alianovna indicating Bashkir ancestry and I thought it was super interesting. I think the idea of Natasha choosing her patronymic (and maybe even her last name) to honor someone specific or for a certain motive would also be interesting.

    I think the bigger continuity mystery is the way she comes off in Amazing Adventures (and some of the early Daredevil issues). She was some kind of former Russian aristocrat with a fortune that materialized out of thin air. I guess it's easy to explain that away as her using the money she accumulated over decades of spying to create a cover story for her superhero career, but it is a little odd if you take it at face value.

  7. #6022
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    We and Marvel should all call Nat Natalia because it's offensive how much cooler Natalia is.
    Our main character, a socially awkward outcast, gains newfound confidence and arrogance before committing a string of horrid acts. He then wears a fancy suit and proceeds to dance like a maniac to music that isn't actually there playing around him.

  8. #6023
    Astonishing Member Phoenixx9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nadler View Post
    One of the most frequently asked questions in relation to Black Widow is how Natasha’s name works. Is it Natasha or Natalia? Romanoff or Romanova? What is her real name?

    The tricky bit is this: Natalia and Natasha are both forms of the Russian name Наталья. The Natalia/Natasha equivalency doesn’t exist in English, leading to tail-chasing confusion about which is real and which is fake. Natasha is a diminutive form of Natalia, the same way Bill is a nickname for William. “Natalia” is not more authentic or more Russian, it’s just more formal. “Natasha Romanoff” is not an alias the way “Nadine Roman” or “Nancy Rushman” are.

    The Romanoff/Romanova issue is just a question of transliteration. The Russian surname is Рома́нов, which has been written Romanoff or Romanov depending on the decade. In Russian, women’s last names take feminine endings to match their grammatical gender – Ivan Belov becomes Yelena Belova, Aleksandr Belinsky becomes Aleksandra Belinskaya. But the feminine endings often get dropped in English translation, e.g. Nastia Liukin, and not Nastia Liukina.

    There isn’t really a standard, “correct” way to translate a Russian name into English. Sometimes the patronymic is dropped, sometimes it isn’t. Immigrant women use the feminine form, or they don’t. It’s a matter of preference, and can also be generational.

    I also want to emphasise that comics have never been able to make up their mind.

    Natasha’s name has been Natasha since her very first appearance, where she and her partner Boris Turgenev were the butt of the obvious joke. Her last name wasn’t revealed until the early 1970s. She went through a whole solo series without getting a last name. Weird, but back in those days it took dozens of issues for Hawkeye to get a first name.

    Romanoff, a name no one knows – or knew! At the time, Natasha was being written as an aristocratic jet-setter, a glamorous countess. Since Romanov is the most famous Russian surname, and superhero stuff isn’t codenamed subtlety, I figure Gerry Conway just went with the one Russian name he did know or knew.

    And so Natasha Romanoff was her name through the 1970s. Instead of “Miss” or the Danvers-ian “Ms.”, Natasha used “Madame”, invoking an Old World mystique and reminding us of her literal widowhood.

    By 1983 someone on staff realised that Romanova might be more technically correct (might being operative, here, the best way of translating the feminine endings is still debated). Anyway, her Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe page listed her as Natasha (Romanoff) Romanova.

    The next big change would occur when Chris Claremont realised she was missing a patronymics. A full Russian name has three parts: the given (first) name, the patronymic, and the family (last) name. Patronymics are another way of expressing ancestry and are typically based on the given name of one’s father. In Russia, they are used in place of middle names. For example, Grand Duchess Anastasia was Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, or Anastasia “Daughter of Nicholas” Romanoff. Her brother, the Tsarevich Alexei, was Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, or Alexei “Son of Nicholas” Romanoff.

    It was Claremont who realised Nat’s was missing, and so first introduced her patronym in Daredevil and the Black Widow #102 (which he wrote).

    The odd thing about Alianovna is that it would mean her father’s name was Alian, something unusual and not particularly Slavic, so as a patronymic has similarly gone on to confound us fans for a few decades. What does it mean? What are we supposed to do with it? Why couldn’t Claremont pick out a real Russian name? Well, fear not, I have used the magical powers of Russian google to discover that Alian (or Al'yan, or Aliyan) is indeed a real name that originates from the Republic of Bashkortostan, or, as it is more commonly known to us Russian imperialists, Bashkiriya. The name appears to be relatively rare among the Bashkirs as well, but there it is, pointing to possible Bashkir ancestry, which is a rich possibility, storywise (trust Claremont). It is worth noting, however, that Claremont was also the primary source of the “Natasha is a secret member of the Romanov dynasty” idea that comics trot out now and again.

    Kurt Busiek later pretends it was something else in his Heroes Return Iron Man run.

    Ivanovna, or daughter of Ivan, is a much more common patronym and also meshes with her backstory – whoever her parents were, she was raised by a man named Ivan. But it didn’t stick. Everyone and the guidebook uses Alianovna.

    Notice that Natasha uses her full name here – she is declaring who she is, the full, formal weight of a name. This is one of the first times comics used the name Natalia. It had shown up in a few other comics before this one, including the 1992 graphic novel the Coldest War.

    Comrade Zamatev is a government agent trying to cultivate a professional and respectful relationship with Natasha, a legend in her field, so maybe this is why he uses her name and her patronymic. He’s also Russian, and the way Russian speakers address each other is coloured by their relationship. Superhero comics, being superhero comics, do not always get this right. From the late nineties forward Natalia started popping up with some frequency, usually in formal or impersonal contexts or in the mouths of Russian speakers. Yelena speaks of “Natalia Romanova” as the Red Room’s greatest legend, Natasha demands that the he-was-evil-all-along Ivan Petrovich address her without the diminutive.

    But Natasha’s superhero friends mostly call her Natasha, the name her first appearance gave her.

    With the above retcons, it’s hard to figure out a grand unified theory of what Natasha’s name actually is. At some point, it was conceivable that Natasha Alianovna Romanova was her real name, and she was born to a father of Bashkir ancestry in Stalingrad (or Tsaritsyn, depending on which birth year you go by). It’s plausible, Bashkirs do live near the Volga region. The last name could be explained by being from a mixed family.

    Now, an argument could be made that no part of her name is actually her real name, and in that case, one may wonder why Natasha would choose a patronymic and a last name that make her navigation through the Soviet society distinctly difficult. Who was she honouring? Was she simply being a contrarian? Am I putting way too much thought into contextualising a random writing decision by Marvel? Perhaps. But it delights me to imagine how Natasha would relate to the Bashkir [non-Slavic, traditionally Muslim] culture and to pitch this particular ethnicity as a suggestion for your future racebends instead of ones further removed from the Russian/ Soviet region.
    That was a nice complete synopsis.

    I just call her Natasha. Or 'Tasha. 'Tasha is a shortened form of Natasha, but still means the same thing.

  9. #6024
    Extraordinary Member Winterboy's Avatar
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    Natalia by Phil Noto and Jae Lee.

    noto.jpg
    lee.jpg
    "Who wouldn't go out with the Black Widow? I'd strangle a litter of kittens for one dinner with her!"
    Adrian Toomes aka the Vulture


    "Natasha Romanoff, A.K.A. Black Widow - ex-KGB, formerly with S.H.I.E.L.D...Probably the brains of this operation.I have followed her career, and she has been consistently UNDERRATED."

  10. #6025
    Amazing Member nadler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by responsarbre View Post
    Great write-up on the name situation. I read something before about the possibility of the name Alianovna indicating Bashkir ancestry and I thought it was super interesting. I think the idea of Natasha choosing her patronymic (and maybe even her last name) to honor someone specific or for a certain motive would also be interesting.
    I kind of suspect Claremont intentionally created that patronymic to hint at Natalia being of Bashkir ancestry, as he did seem fond of weaving in rich historical tapestries for characters he worked on. A shame he never got to follow up on it further. I likewise enjoyed the arc he wrote for Viper during his run on Spider-Woman which was sadly later retconned by Mark Gruenwald.

  11. #6026
    Extraordinary Member Bl00dwerK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winterboy View Post
    Natalia by Phil Noto and Jae Lee.

    noto.jpg
    lee.jpg
    Shit. Jae Lee is amazing. Imagine a Widow series with his art...

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