Black Widow and The Sidelining of Female Fans

Where’s my Black Widow movie?!

In an interview with Deadline, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige revealed some interesting information regarding the Avengers’ resident Russian super-spy.

DEADLINE: You’ve got a bunch of characters in this movie from Falcon and War Machine and Black Widow and Hawkeye, who have so far guest starred in movies with another characters title above the fold. Is there one destined to get a solo movie down the line?

FEIGE: We’ve announced the next nine movies, 10 counting Civil War, through the end of 2019. Where we go beyond that are ongoing discussions that we’ll focus on in the next few years because we have a lot to do before then. Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.

DEADLINE: Why?

FEIGE: We think she’s an amazing character. We think Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of her is amazing. She’s a lead Avenger and has amazing stories in her own right to tell that we think would be fun to turn into a stand-alone franchise.

If Marvel were to release a Black Widow movie, or create a franchise focused on her, it would be huge for the industry.  This is not only something that the fans have been requesting, but it’s something the female readership needs.  According to Graphic Policy, woman make up 43.59% of comic readers in the United States as of May 1st, 2016.  That’s only accounting for those of us on Facebook that take part in their data collecting.  The number could be higher.

In an attempt to locate a compiled list of female comic book characters I only found lists that included top 100, 50, or 25 female characters.  Some lists were simply based on who the author thought were the sexiest female characters.  I could not find a list to compare the number of female comic leads to male comic leads.  A search for the number of female comic characters turned up nothing.  The fact that I couldn’t find definitive answers spoke volumes about how women are viewed in the industry.  While we make up almost half of the readership, our representation is lacking, nor is it being taken seriously.

Across the board the only female characters slated to have solo movies are Wonder Woman in June of 2017 and Captain Marvel in March of 2019.  One female character from DC Comics and one from Marvel in a timeline that has definite and tentative plans through the end of 2020.  If Feige and the rest of Marvel Studios find Black Widow to be such an amazing character, why do we have to wait more than 4 years before we potentially see a standalone?  Why is it that she is under represented in Avengers merchandise?  Why are female fans having to fight so hard to see Black Widow in a movie of her own?  Deadpool appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine for a few minutes and after the overwhelming demand of fans he was given a solo movie and a sequel is already in the works.  Black Widow has appeared in five different Marvel titles so far, and we’re just now getting a glimmer of hope.

When it comes to the comic industry it is clear that it’s still viewed as a boys club.  Worldwide there are close to 500 woman that have been granted the title of comic creator.  This includes writers and artists.  It’s a number that continues to grow.  If we’re seeing the number of female creators and readers grow, why is that not reflected in our representation?  We need more strong female characters from comics being represented in film and television.  They have given us Catwoman, Supergirl, Agent Carter (which has been cancelled), and Jessica Jones over the years.  We’re getting Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, but I want more.  I want to see Black Widow, Squirrel Girl, Rat Queens, Huntress, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Lumberjanes…the list goes on and on.  I want to see these amazing female characters in the spotlight.  I want woman of all ages to see strong characters that they can relate too.  There are so many options, it’s a shame to see the same stories retold over and over again because studios won’t take a chance on something new.

Lindsey Bass

It has been said that Fraction and Zdarsky's Sex Criminals: Just the Tips was based on my personal life. Harley Quinn is my spirit animal. I'm not sure what all of this actually says about me as a person.

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