So I’ve decided fandom will forever be confused about Natasha’s name. Not, uh, coincidentally, comics writers have been confused about it for even longer. The tricky bit is this: Natalia and Natasha are both forms of the Russian name Наталья. The Natalia/Natasha equivalency doesn’t exist in English, leading to all kinds of tail-chasing confusion re: which is real and which is fake. Natasha is a diminutive form of Natalia the same way Bill is for William. “Natalia” is not more authentic or more Russian, it’s just a bit more formal. And “Natasha Romanoff” is not an alias the way “Nadine Roman” or “Nancy Rushman” are. The Romanoff/Romanova issue is just a question of transliteration. The Russian surname is Рома́нов, which is written as Romanoff or Romanov depending on your history book. Traditionally, Russian ladies take feminine endings to match their grammatical gender— Ivan Belov becomes Yelena Belova, Aleksandr Belinsky becomes Aleksandra Belinskaya. But the feminine endings often get dropped in English translation, e.g. Nastia Liukin, not Nastia Liukina. It’s a matter of preference. If that’s too confusing, don’t worry, until about 1998 the comics had no idea what they were doing either. Natasha’s name has been Natasha since her very first appearance, where she and her partner Boris Turgenev were the butt of the obvious joke. Her last name wasn’t revealed until the early 1970s. Yeah, she went through a whole solo series without getting a last name. Weird, but it took dozens of issues for Hawkeye to get a first name. Romanoff: a name no one knows or knew. At the time, Natasha was being written as an aristocratic jet-setter, a glamorous countess. Since Romanov is the most famous Russian surname, and superhero stuff isn’t codenamed subtlety, I figure Gerry Conway just went with what he knew. And so Natasha Romanoff was her name through the 1970s. Instead of “Miss” or the Danvers-ian “Ms.”, Natasha used “Madame”, contributing to that Old World mystique and invoking feelings of a boudoir. By 1983 someone on staff realized that Romanova might be more technically correct. (Might being operative, here, the best way of translating the feminine endings is still debated.) Anyway, her Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe page listed her as Natasha “Romanoff” Romanova. The next big change would occur when someone, and I’m thinking it was Chris Claremont, realized she was missing a patronym. A full Russian name has three parts: the given (first) name, the patronym, and the family (last) name. For example, Grand Duchess Anastasia, the one who had that Bluth film, would be formally called Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, or Anastasia “Daughter of Nicholas” Romanoff. Her brother, the Tsarevich Alexei, was Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, or Alexei “Son of Nicholas” Romanoff. Basically: everyone in Russia has a middle name, and it is their father’s. I think it was Claremont who realized Nat’s was lacking because he is a phonetic accent wizard and an expert on Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin da tovarisch. Also, because the first time I could find a patronym for Natasha was in a 1992 issue of X-men that he wrote. The weird thing about Alianovna is that it would mean her father’s name was Alia or Alian or something else not really common. Maybe that’s why Kurt Busiek, continuity repair man, pretended it was something else in his Heroes Return Iron Man run. Ivanovna, or daughter of Ivan, is a much more common patronym and also meshes with her backstory. But it didn’t stick. Everyone and the guidebook uses Alianovna. What did stick was Natalia. Yeah, this is the first comic I could find that uses Natalia, and you can tell by context that Busiek’s using it to emphasize formality. When talking to Tony, she calls herself Natasha, when declaring her total identity before an epic beatdown, she takes the “my name is Inigo Montoya” route. From the late nineties forward Natalia started popping up with some frequency, usually in formal or impersonal contexts. Yelena speaks of “Natalia Romanova” as the Red Room’s greatest legend, Natasha demands that the he-was-evil-all-along Ivan Petrovich address her without the diminutive. There are exceptions. I figure some writers check wikipedia, see her name listed as “Natalia” and decide they’ve done their homework. Daniel Way has Logan refer to Natalia, his surrogate daughter, completely bizarre for the quasi-familial relationship and for the nickname-happy Wolverine. Brubaker had Bucky refer to her as Natalia, at first— an odd distancing from a previously intimate relationship. Since they’ve gotten back together, though, he uses Natasha, or Nat, or ‘Tasha, or in any case, he’s dropped the formality.

Fuck Yeah, Black Widow: The Name Game  (via eppypeninc)

— What Happened at SDCC: My Penny Dreadful Experience

Leading up to comic con, I always worry. It’s everything from waking up from a dead sleep to remember unfinished costuming details, to being unable to get to sleep due to fretting about time management. I had 5 sleepless nights to start off the convention with. 

And then Thursday came. 

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Look at that adorable fucker creating an abomination out of corpses. It’s so cute.


Look at that adorable fucker creating an abomination out of corpses. It’s so cute.

 ”It’s like this: you wake and watch TV, get in your car and listen to the radio you go to your little jobs or little school, but you don’t hear about that on the 6 o’clock news, why? ‘Cause nothing is really happening, and you go home and watch some more TV and maybe it’s a fun night and you go out and watch a movie. I mean it’s got so bad that half the people on TV, inside the TV, they’re watching TV. What are these people watching, people like me?”

(Source: carolinechanning)

The Creature Cosplay- the Process

So I’ve had a few people asking me how I made the costume, and I figured the easiest way to handle it would be to make just one post. 

So the top is, obviously, the finished project. The second row shows the process of making the prosthetic— what you’re seeing in that first photo is a styrofoam wig head that I covered with a plastic shopping bag, then stretched all the wrinkles out of it in the area I needed to cover, and taped it in place to keep it that way. I rubbed a thin layer of vaseline onto the plastic so that I would be able to remove it when it was dry. Then, I used those little triangular foamy sponges that you can pick up at the 99 cent store and some liquid latex left over from last halloween, and one thin layer at a time, I built up the shape I wanted. The final layers were just for the scar bits. Once it was dry, I powdered the surface well, and began pulling it up gently, using a paintbrush to powder the underside so that the raw latex wouldn’t stick to itself.

Row 2 photo 2 is what it looked like without any color on it— nothing but latex and baby powder. 

The third picture there is with the ben nye cake applied and the scar areas painted on with a thin acrylic paint, and then several layers of sealer. 

The way I got around having hair on my head and being unable to glue on the back of the latex was to poke holes in it and feed in some strands of black hair that matched my own pretty closely. For this I used a weft from Arda, but really any hair would work. 

To apply it, I parted my hair and braided the stuff that would go under it, pinning it as flat as possible. I glued the front of the prosthetic to my face using wig glue and spirit gum. The loose hair on the back of the prosthetic got braided into my hair, and then bobby pinned across the back of my head, to hold it. 

Then, I painted some spirit gum onto my skin and blended the edges and added the scarring across my forehead with scar wax over the spirit gum, also from Ben Nye. I sealed it with another thin layer of latex, and then colored it using the Ben Nye color cakes (I used white and Dead Straw, and layered them until the color was right).

The third row shows the overalls when I first started painting the lines on (by hand, with no guides like an idiot— every line was freehanded) Not pictured: Once the lines of lighter brown were in place, I bought a cheap plastic broom and cut off half of the bristles, then dipped just the tips in black paint and dragged it down the overalls to make them look worn and darker. The shirt was just one I had in my closet, and the handkerchief around my neck is a piece of scrap fabric bought at Joann’s.

And there you have it: A how it’s done of my Creature Cosplay. 

Thank you to everyone who was interested, and I hope that means I’ll get to see other people giving it a go soon! If you do, I’d love you to show me! 

Rock on, Dreadfuls!