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Topic: Why is it so hard to get Hawkman right Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 3:40pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Since the character is appearing on television now, DC and those licensing the characters apparently see some value in Hawkman. "Letting him go" makes no sense when there is still interest in creating new stories with him and money to be made.

It would also be impossible to enforce. The minute DC announces publicly or even in-house that the character is no longer to be used, parody versions and sideways references will begin to appear as everyone rushes to tease the bear and show their love for this classic character now-hated-by-his-cruel-corporate-masters.

"Why is DC keeping Hawkman from us?" would become a rallying cry across fandom to be answered in multiple forms, just as DC's kicking Donna Troy and Wally West to the curb during the New 52 resulted in a weird sort of uprising in favor of them. 

Nothing is ever left behind. Hey, give me half a chance and I'll bring back Opticus* and Microwave Man, and believe me, no one is calling for their return. I'll find a way to put Peg-Leg Portia and her Space-Hounds back into current continuity as well. 

There is no way the torpor and ennui associated with constantly rebooting and reinterpreting Hawkman would result in his simply being left behind in favor of "cooler" new characters. There's a trademark to protect, if nothing else. 

If DC Editorial were to issue a ban on Katar/Carter, within a few years you'd still be seeing some new take on the name with a ice-cold assassin taking the title or some kid with an interest in ornithology being summoned to the tomb of Horus to receive great powers... Three years after that, the new character would be established as having ties to Thanagar and 'round and 'round the wheel would continue to spin.

* Yes, I know Opticus was an established character in disguise. I have a way around that... :-)


Edited by Brian Hague on 16 April 2019 at 3:43pm
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 5:01pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Question is, WHY "put the character back together"? Why not let the character just fade away?
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At his core, "Hawkman" is a good name and that helmet is a good design.  If he were created now, he might be seen as the next Batman or Wolverine.  It's all his continuity baggage that's weighing him down.  Reimagined (not rebooted in comics!) in another medium like TV or movies might be all he needs to "take flight."

I think he's a little bit better than Aquaman, and Aquaman's movie just made a billion dollars.  (Who would have thought THAT possible ten years ago?) 


Edited by Eric Jansen on 16 April 2019 at 11:23pm
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Andrew Cate
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 5:17pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Wings donít sell. Marvel has had a heck of a time with Angel/Archangel. Unless they are beautiful like Snowbird...but is that a cape or wings?
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 17 April 2019 at 2:29am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Wings apparently do sell, at least well enough that DC keeps trying, as opposed to, say, what they've done with the Legion. Even the Legion, however, has a current presence on TV, like the Hawks themselves, so it remains a worthwhile investment of DC's time and effort. 

What they need to do is focus on letting the tortured, mangled continuity go, rather than the character, and focusing on a simple, direct premise for Hawkman that doesn't feel it has to repair the shoddy fixes that preceded it. Having an actual story would be a good start, preferably one that doesn't involve taking elements from the past eight versions, dropping them in a blender, and hitting "puree." 

Pick either Ancient Egypt or Thanagar and simply go from there. Don't kill yourself or the story trying to do both. There is no reason to nod at every previous iteration. That's fanboy logic. We need less of that and more actual substantive content. Create the story that fanboys ten, twenty years from now will want to constantly look back at and slyly reference. 

The character of Hawkman has always incorporated a strange frisson between the modern and the ancient, whether it be a modern-day man reliving a previous incarnation or a space-travelling policeman who arms himself with the weapons of Earth's past. That's fine. That's thematically potent. But make the past the character interacts with actual history and not his clusterf***'ed continuity. 

The next writer needs to think like an author and not a one-stop comics historian, fix-it-man. This character is capable of terrific grace, leadership, mood, and mystery. 

Someone out there has to be able to make that work for modern audiences in a way that doesn't simply tick off boxes that address A.) The Jurgens Conundrum: How to zero out Zero Hour? B.) The Nth Decree: Thanagarian Science or Egyptian Miracle Metal? C.) Dead Again: How do Nighthawk, Cinnamon, Blackhawk, and Patch fit in now? and so on and so on and so on...

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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 17 April 2019 at 4:55am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

What they need to do is focus on letting the tortured, mangled continuity go, rather than the character, and focusing on a simple, direct premise for Hawkman that doesn't feel it has to repair the shoddy fixes that preceded it. Having an actual story would be a good start, preferably one that doesn't involve taking elements from the past eight versions, dropping them in a blender, and hitting "puree."

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One of the things I thought Geoff Johns did well was that after he cleared up the Hawkman SNAFU in his JSA run and started the new solo series, he just kept it as reincarnated Ancient Egyptian and kept the past convolutions out of the series.
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 17 April 2019 at 1:55pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply


Truman originally planned for Hawkworld to be set in the past like Year One or MOS. DC editorial wanted it to be contemporary, and that's where the problems began. 

***

Exactly. You really can blame everything that f*cked up Hawkman on Mike Gold. Not at all the fault of Truman (or John Ostrander). 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 17 April 2019 at 2:12pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Greg, by and large I agree that Johns' fix-it-job worked well and laid most of the continuity issues to rest. Which makes it doubly strange that DC junked his version in favor of the New52 Rob Liefeld "Savage" iteration which just brought it all back again. 

I assume that because Hawkman's history was "up in the air" (ha!) for so long, DC Editorial just assumed that was its permanent state and certainly one more nonsensical reimagining couldn't make things any worse. 

Something I find interesting about the Johns' reboot: it posits Hawkman and Hawkwoman as unfortunates caught up in a perpetual cycle of death, rebirth, confrontation with the evil architect of their misfortune, leading inevitably to their next death and rebirth... This is very similar in nature to JB's "fix" for the history of Donna Troy, another luckless character cast adrift by DC in a rising floodtide of nonsensical, contradictory re-imaginings and reboots. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 17 April 2019 at 2:13pm
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Mike Norris
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Posted: 17 April 2019 at 8:17pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I just love the visual of Hawkman. Especially when drawn  by Kubert or Anderson. 
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Jeffrey Rice
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Posted: 18 April 2019 at 8:00am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

There was an exhibit about comics impact on culture several years ago. When it was being shown at the Montclair Art Museum in NJ, they added tons of Kubert work, father and sons. The exhibit included a video loop of Joe Kubert sketching the Golden Age Hawkman. It was beautiful, riveting, a learning experience all artists should watch, fun, and well, pretty damn cool.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 18 April 2019 at 3:26pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

JB draws my favorite Hawkman since Joe Kubert. Would've loved to have seen his take. 
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 19 April 2019 at 3:20pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Speaking of that Geoff Johns Hawkman run, which I quite liked (and the Hitch art on the current run looks amazing as usual). I had no idea that John Byrne had drawn the first issue after the Johns run ended until about a month ago when I purchased it off Ebay. Was the Josh Siegal who wrote that issue the TV writer and producer of things like 30 Rock? Also the issue that followed that Josh Siegal and John Byrne issue by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips is a great stand-alone issue of Hawkman as well.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 20 April 2019 at 11:14am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I recall Mr. Byrne's treatment of Hawkman in the past in the issue of Wonder Woman set during the JSA era. I was also amused no end that the Flash had been defeated - but now the villain was in REAL trouble, because Hawkman was there!

IMO, the Flash was probably the third most powerful regular JSA'er* in that era, after Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. But damn, Hawkman has so... much... PRESENCE! The story and the art were both beautiful!

I agree with Shane M. - I would have loved Mr. Byrne's "Hawkman" stories and art.

*Yes, Superman, Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt, Dr. Fate, and the Spectre were more powerful than the Flash. But Superman was never a regular member of the JSA, and Dr. Fate and the Spectre were long gone by then. Thunderbolt? I don't think of him as a member... I think of Johnny Thunder as the member (who was also gone at the end of the JSA's run.) YMMV.
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