Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Black Widow from Bizarre Adventures 1981

The Black Widow in 'I Got the Yo Yo, You Got the String'
by Ralph Macchio and Paul Gulacy
from Bizarre Adventures (Marvel / Curtis) No. 25, March, 1981

The March 1981, 25th issue of the Marvel / Curtis black and white comic magazine Bizarre Adventures (previously titled Marvel Preview) featured an all –female cast of 'Lethal Ladies', which included The Black Widow, 'Lady Daemon', and 'The Daughters of the Dragon'.

The Black Widow adventure, titled ‘I Got the Yo, You Got the String’, was written by Ralph Macchio. The plot, which has something to do with a double-double cross, is incoherent, but the comic features some really good artwork by Paul Gulacy, who models the Widow on Victoria Principal, who at that time in 1981 was a superstar due to her recurring role on the drama Dallas.

Gulacy also models some of the supporting characters in 'Yo Yo' on other famous actors…..and if you look carefully, he  pays homage to the op-art effects that Jim Steranko used in his 'Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD' comics from the mid-60s. 

It's all part of Gulacy's approach to illustration that makes it worth showcasing more than 30 years after it first appeared.


Edo Bosnar said...

Ah, Bizarre Adventures - used to love that mag. As for this issue, I think some of the other stories were much better than this Black Widow feature.
Otherwise, I never knew "Dallas" was a sitcom. I was totally watching it the wrong way...

tarbandu said...

You are correct - Dallas was not really a sitcom. I've changed it to a 'highly rated drama'

Ben Herman said...

I never knew that Paul Gulacy had modeled his rendition of the Black Widow on Victorian Principal, but I'm not surprised to find it out. Gulcay has based a number of characters on various actors over the years, especially in Master of Kung Fu.

In any case, Gulacy's artwork on this one is incredibly beautiful. As you say, it is the writing by Ralph Macchio that is something of a letdown. Ending the story with a four page infodump / exposition monologue by Humphry Bogart really kills the momentum. I get that Macchio wanted to highlight the moral ambiguity, paranoia and double-crosses inherent in the world of epsionage. But this just hits the reader over the head like a brick.