Appearing in five movies, the Black Widow is Marvel’s most recognizable female hero. But her ubiquitous presence on the silver screen has historically not translated to an abundance of choices in the toy aisle. There are likely multiple reasons for this. She is always a supporting character in the movies and traditional toy marketing discourages boys from buying toys featuring women, and girls from entering the action-figure aisle to find merchandise designed for them.
Marvel’s deliberate strategy of carefully proving a market for female action figures, toys and clothing has frustrated many fans, leading to multiple social media hashtag campaigns to pressure them into speeding up the release of merchandise aimed at women and girls. With Captain America: Civil War, the dam holding back merchandise featuring — and for — women appears to have broken.
One industry insider confided, “Marvel has licensed hundreds of products featuring Black Widow for this movie — if not thousands.” And the Widow is just the first. Scarlet Witch is already traveling down her established path in the movies, and Marvel has announced that they will be expanding products featuring female heroes like Spider-Gwen, Ms Marvel, Spider-Woman and Squirrel Girl through specialty retailers like Hot Topic.
But it all starts with Black Widow. From the toy aisle to apparel to home furnishings, everyone’s favorite Russian assassin is popping up everywhere.And we’ve put together a cheat sheet to show some of our favorite merch — and this is just a fraction of what is out there.
Toys & Collectibles
While not as widely available as some of the more core characters like Iron Man or Captain America, the Black Widow has an extraordinary amount of action figures available at a variety of price points. Most of these can be found at Target, Toys ‘r’ Us or other retailers; while a few items are Disney Store exclusives.
There are some great desk chotskies here from adorable (and inexpensive) Tsum-Tsums and FUNKO Pops to hyper-detailed (and pricey) action figures for adults from Hot Toys, Square Enix and Marvel Select.
A lot of people felt that you couldn’t market Black Widow to little kids. It just took one look at that Playskool Hero to prove the naysayers wrong. I think I kind of need one of those.
LEGO Building Set
LEGO righted one of the most egregious slights of Avengers: Age of Ultron by giving us a Black Widow playset and finally letting Natasha rock the motorcycle she uses in the films.
Finally, a costume for girls who want to kick butt — not look cute.
Clothing and Apparel
Retailers from Target, to Walmart, to JC Penney’s to Macy’s all have Black Widow and Avengers apparel for women on the shelves. No more sneaking over to the boys department for an ill-fitting shirt. Girls today have lots of mass market options to show their fandom.
Marvel has been expanding their line of purses, wallets and handbags over the past few years and that trend continues for Civil War. An the Disney Store has an entire line or lamps, bags and tablet sleeves featuring the world’s greatest spy.