Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Scarlet Witch's Hair Color Part 2

As we saw last time, Wanda and Pietro left the X-Men comic (X-Men #11) and immediately showed up that same month's Avengers comic. Her hair was still brown on the cover of Avengers #16...
Scarlet Witch on the cover of Avengers #16 (1965)
...however in the story itself, we come across a Stan Lee caption describing a certain "graceful black-haired beauty."  Yep, instead of a brown base color Wanda's wavy windswept hair now has a grey base, again with a lot of black inking.
Avengers 16-LeeKirby-OldOrderChangeth
Wanda and Pietro in Avengers #16 (1965)
The million dollar question: why the change in Wanda's hair color? Was Stan Lee merely being poetic when he called her black-haired--after all many describe dark brown hair as "black"-- and did the colorist mistakenly take him literally? Or if the change to black hair was an editorial decision, did showman Stan hope to invoke an association with a certain ebon hair'd, headline-grabbing movie queen?
Cleopatra Elizabeth Taylor

Maybe Stan felt that since Wanda was now a newly-minted heroine she needed to have her own unique hair color. At that time Marvel's lead super-heroines--so few in number you could count 'em on one hand with fingers to spare--all had different hair colors: Sue Storm was the blonde, Jean Grey was the redhead, and Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp, had brown hair. Perhaps Stan thought two Marvel "brownettes" would confuse the kiddies (never mind that Jan and Hank's feature in Tales to Astonish would only last a couple of months after they departed the Avengers).  
XMen Jean Grey
Sue Storm, Jean Grey and Janet Van Dyne
But guess what, the new Sub-Mariner series that replaced Jan and Hank's in Astonish included the return of a character, Lady Dorma, who--though non-powered--had always had an exotic look similar to Wanda's...including wavy, tousled brown hair with black shading!
Tales to Astonish 70-Lady Dorma
Dorma in Tales to Astonish #70 (1965)
In any event, here's the black-haired Wanda with her Kooky Quartet cohorts: 
Avengers Captain America ScarletWitch
Scarlet Witch in 1965-6
By Avengers #36 the team had grown beyond the Kooky Quartet and Wanda traded in her big ol' headgear for a much sleeker model (though a reader wrote in and complained that the new design looked like it would puncture Wanda's cheeks every time she spoke). A couple of issues later, Marvel expanded its color palette and began to use blue as her hair's base color, instead of the grey.
Avengers 38
1967: shades of grey in Avengers #36...and dark blue in Avengers #38 
Here's Wanda by John Buscema, Don Heck, George Tuska and Werner Roth. 
Scarlet Witch Hair John Buscema Don Heck
Scarlet Witch in 1967-8
Wanda and Pietro left the team in Avengers #53 (1968) and didn't rejoin until nearly two years later in Avengers #75 (1970). During her time away she was shown in Avengers Annual #2, Avengers # 58, Spider-Man #71 and X-Men #59-60, always with black hair. The black hair was even present in Silver Surfer #5, in a Buscema recreation of a Kirby X-Men #11 panel from her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants days.  
Scarlet Witch-Neal Adams-John Buscema
On hiatus from the Avengers: Scarlet Witch in 1968-9
As mentioned above, Wanda and Pietro returned to the team in Avengers #75. On the cover she has blue-black hair...
Avengers 75-QuicksilverScarletWitch
On the cover of  Avengers #75 (1970)
...but as with #16, inside it's a different story! Next:The Scarlet Witch returns to her roots. 

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