May. 20th, 2014

transemacabre: (Rose Red)
I'm so tired of seeing comments like "Marvel couldn't be bothered to get Russian names right! Black Widow's name makes no sense! LOOOOL".

1. Black Widow was created in 1964. This is before the internet, before Google; there was no Skyping some Russians to do some Russopicking. The Iron Curtain was in full effect. Very little was known about life in the Soviet Union, VERY few Americans could visit the USSR for any reason, and VERY VERY VERY few people from the USSR ever set foot on American soil. Are we so short-sighted and spoiled by the overwhelming access to information at our fingertips today that we can't comprehend that when Stan Lee wrote Tales of Suspense #52 (along with the 35 other comics he wrote that month) that the extent of his knowledge about Russian names, culture, or the KGB was limited to whatever could be found in an encyclopedia? Have any of y'all ever cracked open a fucking encyclopedia in your lives? Never mind, don't answer that.

2. Actual Russians keep pointing that that Natasha going by 'Romanoff' in the MCU is likely a personal choice she made, due to her spending the majority of her professional life in an Anglophone environment. Hell, Zola even calls her "Romanova, Natalia Alianovna" when he addresses her in CA2: TWS, suggesting that is indeed her official name and that Romanoff is just how she chooses to anglicize it. (In the comics she is variously called Romanoff, Romanov, Romanova, etc.)

3. DUH of course most of the Marvel Russian/Soviet characters are going to have surnames from famous individuals -- who else were Americans going to hear about in that time period? Artists, royalty, and cosmonauts, that's about it. Frankly, I'm grateful that Stan Lee didn't just slap some random syllables together into some godawful 'foreign-sounding' mishmash and call it a day (ie the Japanese manga-ka method).

4. 'Alianovna' isn't a Russian patronymic, true. Alian is probably Bashkir, Tatar, or even a Caucasian (ie Georgian, Circassian, etc.) name. Big surprise, Natasha may not be a full-blooded ethnic Russian! Another possibility is that Alian is actually an unusually transliterated version of the name Ulyan (Julian), which is a Russian male name.


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