The last gift exchange I signed up for in 2015 was the Castiel/Dean Secret Santa, for which I chose the prompt of Cas reacting to Dean having grown wings. I had planned to do moe than one piece of art, featuring both Cas and Dean, but a) I couldn’t decide on poses and angles for them, b) time really got away from me, I blame the holidays, and lastly c) this was my first time drawing Castiel, and I didn’t get him quite right – from what I’d heard in the nether-sphere, Dean is even harder to capture on paper. So I thought I’d leave that challenge for another day :)
I have no idea how to name things, is the conclusion from this year’s Cap/Iron Mand holiday Exchange.
Also, I should not put things off to the last miute or do too much research for a fic that I won’t be writing – art does not require the following backstory, it can stand alone.
But here is my entry for this year, a Pirate AU of Steve and Tony!
I chose the pirate AU prompt that ssyn3 so kindly gave me, since I thought it could be really fun to draw, and also because it worked as an artwork rather than a fic-prompt. Firstly, I thought of doing something cyber-punk or space pirates, but in the end I decided against it since I was pretty sure that traditional pirates were requested.
Then I started googling the Golden Age of piracy and the origins of electromagnetism! I wanted to be historically accurate where possible, but also to keep to the basic outlines of Cap and Iron Man’s origin stories…
Which I found a little difficult!
At first, I thought it might be really awesome to give Tony an advanced type of peg-leg, taking my inspiration from Treasure Planet (I imagined Clint jokingly calling it Tony’s baby and asking Tony if he sings it to sleep, and so when Tony makes Mark IV, he calls it the Ankle Biter and adds an electric current and a small cannon, just for laughs. [And so what if occasionally Tony will croon to it as he makes repairs down in his workshop?] ) It would make sense in that he would be updating it constantly, especially as saltwater is a known corrosive, and also in terms of the capture, he could have been shot in the leg, or stabbed by a filthy cutlass, and Yinsen would’ve had to amputate in order to save Tony from gangrene-related death… However, this would have nothing to do with Tony’s heart, which has always been the traditional injury. Additionally, if I was going to draw Bucky (I was not going to draw Bucky), it would undermine the uniqueness of his arm. Thus the interest in electromagnetism – I had to figure out how much scientists had advanced before 1716, the beginning of the last outburst of piracy during the Golden Age era.
I chose this period because it was induced by the Spanish Succession War, meaning that there had been a lot of fighting and divided loyalties in Europe and its colonies (the Spanish Succession War is considered by historians to be the first ‘World’ War), and unemployed soldiers turned to piracy after the war all over the world – the Caribbean Sea, the Indian Ocean, the North American Eastern Seaboard and West Africa. The last hurrah of widespread piracy, it created the perfect backdrop for Obadiah’s betrayal – why not have him supporting the French in the battle for succession, which would give him motive of wanting to be rid of Tony, a staunch Charles supporter?
That’s right – I also realised that at the time, America was still very much a British colony, thus complicating things further. Steve certainly couldn’t take the mantle of Captain America! In the end, I decided that Steve would’ve been an Irishman who’d fought during Tyrone’s Nine Year War (which ended in 1603), whereupon he’d been somehow left in statis only to be found by the Royal British Navy and resuscitated (hence the uniform, but also the uncharacteristic shield) almost 100 years later. His tactical genius remembered by the British, they kept him as their own and gave him a ship.
Unfortunately, the eras didn’t quite match, as the electromagnet was only invented in 1825 by Sturgeon – in 1660 Otto von Guericke invented an early electrostatic generator, and that was it until the mid-18th century, while it was only in 1729 that conductors and insulators (resistors and non-resistors) were starting to be classified. Pacemakers, on the other hand, began developing in the early 20th century. In the end, I didn’t draw in anything like an arc reactor, and figured that I could use Tony’s weapon-making side to explain things away.
In the end, I concluded that the Starks made weapons, and Tony had revolutionised the musket by making it lighter, with more stable and accurate firing capacity, through the introduction of helical grooves in the barrel. The smoothbore musket had a flintlock, with an accuracy distance of 30 paces, and a more gyroscopically stabilised projectile motion. It was with this that Tony himself was shot with in the chest, as Obadiah bought off pirates to kill him. As we know, Yinsen helped out with making sure Tony didn’t die, only in this case he’d be a captured field-medic. Tony escaped by dint of explosions and mutiny, and sails forth in a sinking ship back towards home… halfway there, with only the crow’s nest and a pirate’s flag still visible, he’s picked up by Lieutenant Rhodes, an old friend who’s been searching the ocean for him. Tony, utterly enraged, builds The Iron Lady, and sets forth to destroy the pirates and the leftover Philip supporters with his loyal manservant-turned-first mate Jarvis. Shenanigans ensue, they pick up a disillusioned Steve, and somehow this all culminates in a sea battle.
That was my working theory. For the one drawing. (I went a little overboard, as you can see).
1) As Scarlett Johansson rightly stated, Black Widow’s history is rich, and steeped with great stories to tell. As a spy, she has been involved in so many organisations, and this has been touched on by the MCU, which uses her as a bridge to connect HYDRA and the Red Programme, The Winter Soldier and SHIELD. Exploring her past in a more comprehensive manner would have the advantage of revealing her associations to each, as well as weaving a complex web of relations.
2) Natasha Romanoff is a Russian woman. To have her star as a protagonist would be a huge leap for Marvel, as characters of non-American ethnicity, when featured, are generally played as villains or thugs, rather than with heroic story arcs. This is superbly illustrated by the fact that the woman that Marvel has picked up to title the first solo superheroine film is Carol Danvers, a white American woman with a military background, despite Natasha’s pre-existence as a popular MCU character.
3) The Black Widow is very popular (and the lone Marvel superheroine). She has an avid and dedicated following, who would be more than willing to watch and applaud a solo film, as seen from demonstrations, tweets and general comments made since Natasha Romanoff first appeared on the big screen. Furthermore, there is no disagreement from higher levels such as Kevin Feige. It would be a very easy sell.
4) There are already fanmade title sequences and trailers of the film! Beautifully made, one has tricked many an unsuspecting Marvel fan that a Black Widow film was on the table. In fact, given the quality of the trailer, if the film was made, it might outstrip the rest of Marvel’s creations so far. Additionally, there’s no shortage of actor, writer and director enthusiasm – a treatment of the film was written back in 2010, and many celebrities have been quoted as saying that they’d be on board with the enterprise.
5) If a movie were to be made, it would give audiences the added pleasure of potentially delving into Hawkeye and Bucky Barnes’ histories as well, uncovering more backstory and spy shenanigans.
Reasons 6-500) Natasha Romanoff is one badass lady, and on top of that, she is a chameleon. She evolves, constantly. Wouldn’t it be awesome to watch those metamorphoses on screen? (the answer is a resounding YES).