Why We Don’t Need a Black Widow Movie (Right Now)

Black Widow has been a strong female presence within the Marvel movies for quite some time, and I always see fans campaign for her solo movie. The movement also appears to be fueled with angst every time Black Widow ends up being left out of Avengers merchandising plans, and I totally get the frustration, but I think she isn’t necessarily the best option for solo female movie.

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Image from Marvel.com

My pick for a female lead in a superhero movie?

Ororo Munroe.

And the question I often get when I say that?

“Who’s that?”

*Insert facepalm here*

Oh-em-gee. It’s Storm from the X-men. Sadly, many who watch the comic book movies don’t even really know her name or where she comes from. Ororo Munroe is the descendant of a long line of African priestesses who all donned white hair, blue eyes, and harnessed the power of magic.

Many people might not know Storm spent part of her childhood in Cairo, Egypt where her parents were tragically killed. Or that she was trained in the art of thievery. Or how she came to join Charles Xavier and the X-men.

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Marvel’s Astonishing X-men #29 cover by Simone Bianchi

In a step towards diversity, I think it’s fantastic that a Black Panther movie is in the works and a Luke Cage show is prepped for Netflix. I also think the diversity needs to continue with LBGTQ characters and more people of color—females included. To give the spotlight to another straight, white hero would be a missed opportunity to showcase that comics do have marginalized characters with great stories to tell.

WARNING: Mild spoilery alert ** Agent Carter is doing a great job of showcasing a different Black Widow character within the miniseries. Everyone knows Natasha Romanova wasn’t the only Black Widow, right? Agent Carter’s character, Dotty, allows us to dive deeper into the origins of the Black Widow program. So we have one Black Widow going mainstream in Marvel movies and one lesser known Black Widow on television. I think we can cover another area of interest. **

So again, we have Peggy Carter and Jessica Jones repping the ladies with their recent lead roles. So why not go further and add Ororo? Yes, I know the whole Marvel and Fox movie rights over mutants creates an issue, and at this point in time a Storm origin movie would most likely be made by Fox, but I think it’s a movie well deserved to join the ranks with Deadpool and Captain America no matter which juggernaut creates the film.

I think Storm is a strong and well recognized character, but she’s someone who has an interesting backstory still unknown to many people outside of comic reading group. I mean, we’ve seen Peter Parker’s origin story so many times that poor Uncle Ben could use a break. Who better to fill the origin shoes than a female, POC badass? So I don’t think we need a Black Widow/Natasha Romanova movie right now. We need an Ororo Munroe movie more.

 

The Lack of Diversity in Comics and Who Gets It Right?

I grew up reading comics littered with straight, white characters—predominantly male heroes. The biggest diversity I can remember was seeing Storm and Bishop in X-men comics. The lack of diversity in literature definitely hasn’t helped the world’s struggle for equality. People need to see and read about the lives of all people and cultures and not succumb to one majority. I think by now many of us have learned that fear is created by what we do not understand, and how do we understand the marginalized groups if no one will give them a voice?

In fact, I personally struggled with this as a young adult because I lived in southern state crammed with religion and homophobia—a typical haven for “White America.” So I fought myself for years before I accepted my sexuality. The 90s weren’t nearly as diverse as 2016, and yet we still have so far left to go on the road to equality. So reading books and comics with those straight, white, male protagonists didn’t help my struggle because there was so much hate towards the LGBTQIA community and our voices weren’t recognized.

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the first show I saw properly recognize LGBTQ characters, but we were still nowhere to be found in any literature I was reading.

So as I discovered Brian K. Vaughan’s comics as an adult, I was quite pleased to find much more authentic diversity. He wrote strong female characters, provided racial diversity, and gave me the LGBTQ characters no one else seemed to be writing. Hell, BKV was writing sundry characters before everyone else realized it was the right thing to do.

My heart melted when I discovered Karolina Dean’s sexuality in Runaways and followed her journeys through romance. She was the character I needed in comics when I was younger. She’s the character many LGBTQ readers needed. The entire Runaways series offered a diverse team with characters such as Alex Wilder as an African-American, Nico Minoru who is a Japanese-American, and Xavin who served as a gender fluid shapeshifter.

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Marvel comic series created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona.

Just like Runaways, Y: The Last Man stands as one of my all-time favorite comic series. The series might revolve around Yorick Brown, who is dubbed the “Last Man on Earth,” but my favorite characters were Agent 355, who was an African-American badass and Dr. Allison Mann, who was of Chinese-Japanese decent and also an awesome LGBTQ character. Honestly, Y: The Last Man had several same sex relationships, and I felt the entire series authentically depicted the craziness and diversity of society thrown into chaos when almost the entire male population dies off.

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Vertigo Comics series created by Brian K Vaughan & Pia Guerra. Cover by J.G. Jones.

 

Combine diversity with BKV’s witty dialogue—best compared to Joss Whedon’s writing style—and it’s easy to see why two of my all-time favorite comic book series are Brian K. Vaughan creations. BVK has earned several awards for his creations, including Saga and Ex Machina.

I look forward to reading the next BKV creation because I believe he will continue to create the authentic and diverse worlds more in tune with reality than many other stories offer. We must further diversify our stories if we wish to do break down the barriers which still prevent equality.