Before Black Widow was humanized on screen in the MCU Gulacy did it here with this portfolio. She's not a superhero in these images. She's a spy. She's not leaping from building tops, she's holding a flashlight standing next to a tree. She's not firing off wrist blasters. She's wearing a trenchcoat holding a .38 revolver. While there's not a deliberate visual cue in any of the pieces, these images feel very much of the Cold War era. Natasha looks like she could be the lead character of a series of knockoff Le Carré novels. Possibly she could be a James Bond-type character, but even these images feel more pedestrian than the sometimes cartoonish Bond. The black-and-white, mostly graphite (maybe charcoal) give this series a Noirish feel as well. I'd guess Gulacy was working from some pretty specific photo reference as well. These are quiet images as opposed to the usual generic, bombastic panels found on superhero pages. All of this puts the character in more in our reality than her comic book world. It's an interesting decision for Gulacy to choose this approach.

All artwork by Paul Gulacy

Benjamin Marra is the creator, writer, and artist of the comics NIGHT BUSINESS, AMERICAN BLOOD, and TERROR ASSAULTER: O.M.W.O.T. (One Man War On Terror), all published by Fantagraphics. Acclaimed writer Grant Morrison chose Marra as a collaborator on the first issue of the relaunched HEAVY METAL Magazine. Marra had two serialized webcomic series appear on adultswim.com. His most recent book is JESUSFREAK, written by Joe Casey and published by Image Comics. In 2016, he was named one of the Art Directors Club's Young Guns. He illustrated the cover of American Illustration 35. In 2017, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for his album art of Wayfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmare, a collection of obscure 1970s post-Age-of-Aquarius Heavy Metal.