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When Did Black Widow's Hair Become Red?

In "When We First Met," we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.

Reader Ross wrote in to ask, "Your reviews of early Avengers issues made me wonder when (and why) did Black Widow’s hair first change from black to red?"

This is a fascinating question because surprisingly enough, the answer is "it might have been red right from the start!"

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Black Widow debuted in Tales of Suspense #52 (by Don Heck, Stan Lee and Don Rico). The interesting thing about the covers at Marvel back in those days (and even up until the late 1970s) was that the covers were colored differently than the interiors. So they weren't necessarily consistent. In any event, the Black Widow's hair color is black on the cover...

However, inside the comic book, she either has red hair or, I guess you could call it reddish-brown...

The only reason that I'm saying that it is not DEFINITELY red is that when you put it next to Pepper Potts' CLEARLY red hair, it doesn't look quite as obviously red...

Anyhow, on the next issue's cover, she now has reddish hair...

But inside, the hair is black now...

She continued to rock the black hair when she convinced Hawkeye to become a supervillain...

A few years later, she became a recurring character in the Avengers. She still had the black hair...

When she left the series, she was still rocking the black hair...

However, when John Romita revamped her outfit ahead of her getting her own feature in Amazing Adventures, she first shows up with red hair in her old outfit...

and then debuted her new costume...

And she's been red haired ever since!

Thanks to Ross for the question!

If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable comic book first that they'd like to see spotlighted, just drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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