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Topic: Why is it so hard to get Hawkman right Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Andrew Cate
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Love this character, probably one of my favorites. It’s just frustrating the Hero only gets to shine only once in a blue moon when an artist and a writer come together and give the character his due. He’s had some great runs for sure but due to conflicting origins and restarts it’s difficult for the general public or even creators to bond with the character.

JB have you ever thought about doing a Hawkman solo title?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 7:46pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Almost did! But DC dropped the ball.
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Andrew Cate
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 8:11pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

JB what version would you have gone with? Would you have started with an origin? 
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 8:20pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

JB gets the headpiece right.
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Andrew Cate
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 8:26pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Shelly Moldoff was in his element with the character. Fantastic wings! Loved his art, or “Bobs”, on Batman as well. 



Edited by Andrew Cate on 16 April 2019 at 7:47am
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 8:40pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The current HAWKMAN title is quite good. Check it out if you haven't.
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Andy Mokler
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 8:41pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Something I always thought was that Hawkman and Hawkgirl were an item.  But the Justice League cartoon and Legends of Tomorrow have both made it to where she's sort of begrudgingly with him or not at all.

Is that a modern retcon or have they always been that way?
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 10:25pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Very modern. Hawkwoman w/o Hawkman came about with the debut of the Animated Justice League series and was quickly followed up in the comics. 

There is a precedent in Timothy Truman's Hawkworld, wherein Shayera is a super-competent police professional and Katar is a fairly pathetic drug-addicted rich kid in need of a good kick in the ass whose Daddy bought him a place on the force.

Back in the day, they were fated lovers and later, an imaginative, determined couple who happily worked on the police force together. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 15 April 2019 at 10:27pm
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Andy Mokler
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 10:30pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Thanks for the info.  Hawkman and Hawkgirl just seem like they should be made for each other so I guess I like the classic version even though I haven't read much of them.

Seems typical of so many modern writers to break them up or make one of them flawed.  I never understood why they put John Stewart and Hawkgirl together.  Not only that, they turned Hawkman into a real creep and stalker.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 10:42pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Modern stuff has to be edgy. If it's not edgy, there's just no point to doing it at all, apparently. And of course, heroes these days are just not heroic. That would make them unrealistic, and we don't want that, right?

I strongly recommend the early Fox/Kubert Silver Age stories as good, clean super-hero fiction, even if the story logic gets a bit strained at times. (Schwartz books will do that occasionally. There's a reason they call them Strange Schwartz Stories... :-) The patter and tone of the married couple is always enjoyable and downright charming at times.

And mix in a few Golden Age tales here and there where you can. They're pleasantly adventuresome and romantic with a certain mysticism to them. I could easily have seen some very stylish 40's era films made on their premise.


Edited by Brian Hague on 15 April 2019 at 10:44pm
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Andy Mokler
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Posted: 15 April 2019 at 11:40pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I guess it is uncommon for a couple to be happy and committed but this is fiction.  You'd think of anywhere a couple might find those things it would at least happen in fantasyland.  But, the fans that are left seem to be happier when Superman's getting killed, Batman's breaking his back, Batgirl's getting shot and crippled, etc.

A man and a woman loving each other and being partners is just too far-fetched.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 12:28am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Almost did! But DC dropped the ball.
____________________

Argh!  Another "Almost-Was"!  Walt Simonson and Jim Starlin have also done some great mini-takes on Hawkman--what might have been!

Byrne, Simonson, Starlin--If each of these could have done a year or two with the character, Hawkman would definitely be a major hitter now!
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 5:08am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Simonson wrote HAWKGIRL with Chaykin on art for a little while about 10 or so years ago. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 6:11am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Starlin did a memorable issue of DC Comics Presents (#37) featuring Hawkwoman and Superman in which she rescues him from a red sun in a heavy-gravity dimension. 

Brian, I remember seeing those and marveling at the art. I should seek those out.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 6:13am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

There's something about Hawkman that seems to inspire some writers to get silly. Often to lose the core of the character.

Consider: a while back I inked a short story illustrated by Sergio Aragones. It was a parody of Wonder Woman, whose book I was drawing at the time, and it featured a one-panel appearance by the current Hawkman on the last page. Sergio drew the character in his own style, of course, but, being Sergio, he drew him accurately. As I inked the figure I was struck by all the pouches and flanges and flaps that had been added to the costume--the very antithesis of the sleek, smooth lines of a flying character.

And, of course, there was that time when Fred Hembeck used one of his strips to joke that the only way Hawkman would ever sell is if his wife wore his costume. Didn't take long for DC to do just that--tho, of course, the straps were "adjusted" to cover the breasts of the female Hawk, and she apparently had titanium implants to keep them from being squashed flat by the weight of the wings.

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Andrew Cate
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 7:27am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I did enjoy the more recently Death of Hawkman mini series by Marc Andreyko and Aaron Lopresti. When he teams up with Adam Strange it makes for a good read. Six issues, worth picking up the trade. 
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 8:18am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

ITEM: Hawkman was once one of the biggest hitters at All-American Comics. He pretty much split time with the Flash on the cover of Flash Comics. He has the signal honor of being the only hero to appear in every JSA issue of All-Star Comics (although I'm sure it wasn't intentional.) His story was easy; reincarnated Egyptian prince Khufu, dating* his reincarnated Egyptian princess - Carter Hall and Shiera Sanders. She became Hawkgirl, and they were another male/female team - it worked fine in the Golden Age.

*Eventually they married, but I don't recall that it was ever shown "on screen" as it were.

ITEM: The Silver Age Hawkman, Katar Hol, was a police officer on Thanagar, with his wife Shayera. They followed the Thanagarian criminal Byth to Earth, where they became interested in Terran police procedures. They decided to stay and learn - but not using most of their Thanagarian advanced equipment*. They were curators of the Midway City Museum.

*They used their Thanagarian hawk-police wings and uniforms, and on their space craft, they used the Absorbascon intermittently - including to learn about Terran history so that they could become curators, general Terran customs so they wouldn't stick out, and the language of birds - and they didn't have to kill a dragon either.

Confused yet? No? You're about to be.

Hawkman and Hawkwoman were two rather prominent victims of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Golden Age Earth-2 version was easy enough to understand. The Silver/Bronze Age Earth-1 version was easy enough to understand.

But when COIE merged them... it all went to hell. That's likely the biggest problem about Hawkman. As previously noted... Katar Hol was a drug addicted rich boy. His father came to Earth and was the JSA's Hawkman and was long lived enough to be a viable hero with the JLA too. Oh, no; Prince Khufu was reincarnated into the Hawkman on Thanagar. Whoops, wait; he was incarnated a LOT of times.

It seemed that every writer had his own, "I'll show you how to fix Hawkman!" story - which fixed nothing.

I haven't read Hawkman since he became a savage, which matches neither Carter Hall nor Katar Hol - but hey, he's Wolverine with wings, so that must work okay, yeah? Maybe the current Hawkman is somewhat recognizable, or at least close to the original character.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 8:22am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Factor in how DC mucked up Thanagar—and Rann while they were at it.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 9:47am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I prefer the Golden Age Hawkman, with the Egyprian reincarnation motif. 

Katar Hol, Silver Age or otherwise, is boring in comparison, and merging both versions made no sense.


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Ed Love
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

The problem with Hawkman started with Truman's Hawkworld. Until then, the golden-age and silver-age Hawks were different people and the similarities of their names and professions was just ignored as the JSA Hawks were sent off to fight Ragnarok with the rest of the JSA and the space cops were involved in their own "Shadow War" that was repositioning the characters.

Truman's mini-series and series came out well after Crisis and in-between there were appearances of the silver-age Hawks in various books. However, Hawkworld was a complete reboot of the characters and incompatible with stories published just months prior. This lead to various retcon patches such as establishing that the Hawks that had appeared in the JLA were actually the golden-age characters (never mind that they don't have the spaceship or technology to help build the satellite & teleporters). This also didn't explain who the Hawks were in the more recent appearances while the GA Hawks were off in limbo... so the patch needed another patch. Somewhere along the way, someone decided to also explain the underlying similarities between the Hawk versions, so an ancestor of Katar worked with Khufu in ancient Egypt to develop the nth metal. Later it got more complicated after the JSA were rescued. It was revealed that various bird-themed characters through the ages (Silent Knight, Nighthawk) were avatars of a Hawk-god and were being killed by Vandal Savage. Johns tweaked that by dumping the Hawk-god aspect and making them all actual reincarnations of the golden-age Hawkman and Hawkgirl, fated to die at the hands of the reincarnating Hath-set. The current series decided to expand that further to the point that he is also reincarnating across time and space and so the Thanagarian Hawkman is actually a reincarnate of the golden-age one and presumably the Thanagarian that actually founded the hawk based police force is also an incarnation.
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 11:53am | IP Logged | 21 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. 
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Andrew Cate
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 11:54am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I will also add that Nth metal confuses the heck out of me. 
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 12:14pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I'll say this, DC left John Ostrander and Geoff Johns with a real mess with Hawkman. Both of them struggled to pull the character back together.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 12:18pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Question is, WHY "put the character back together"? Why not let the character just fade away?

Hawkman is a rather quaint character, as is demonstrated every time they make another false start to make him tougher, meaner, darker and more "relevant". He belongs to an age when a big bird swooping down on a bank robber was COOL.

Let him go.

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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 1:05pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Question is, WHY "put the character back together"? Why not let the character just fade away?

========================================================

Is part of the issue that fans cannot let go of continuity and need everything to fit, so a writer ties themselves up in knots trying to do that?

I like the idea of the Golden Age and Silver Age Hawkman, but the character has been so bent out of shape and ruined, that more effort is spent trying to reconcile. And for what?

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