Friday, June 13, 2014

Discuss: Hawkman (and Hawkgirl)

Doug: It's all things Thanagarian today, kids -- iterations, creators, and how about those medieval weapons?


Abe Lucas said...

I've only read one appearance of the Earth-2 Hawkman (aka Katar Hol) but his rendering by George Perez in JLA #195 piqued my interest. If my fellow BABers can point me to some of his better stories, I'm all wings, or all ears.

Not that there'll be much comic reading this month, since I am completely fixated on the World Cup...

Anonymous said...

For me it'll be the exact opposite - I intend to read as much as possible (or do anything) to escape the World Cup.

Edo Bosnar said...

Ah, the World Cup, not off to a good start from my corner of the planet...

Anyway, C.K., Katar Hol is the Earth-1 Hawkman (the one from Thanagar). While on Earth, he used the alias Carter Hall, like his Earth-2 counterpart. I think some of that was changed post-Crisis, though.

For me, Hawkman was never a favorite character. I liked him well enough when he appeared in JLA, but he never impressed me much in the rather small number of solo stories I've read. He suffers from the same problem as Angel: while winged characters are visually attractive, there's always the problem of finding some kind of useful role for them besides flying (and looking good). I also thought the medieval weaponry he often used was kind of silly - c'mon, he's a cop from another (technologically more advanced) planet! Give him a friggin' laser gun at least! (And pretty much all of this applies to Hawkgirl/woman as well.)

Doug said...

Edo, your guys got royally screwed on the PK. I am so sick of flopping and the lack of sportsmanship exhibited in professional sports these days (the Miami Heat being egregious offenders). Gamesmanship is one thing, but poor sportsmanship and relying on gimmickry is quite another.

Back to the Winged Wonder...


William said...

I always thought Hawkman looked cool, but I was never much into him as a character.

I am actually much more familiar with Hawkgirl due to her inclusion as a member of the animated Justice League. I thought that was a strange choice when the show was first announced, but I think they handled her extremely well, and really had her character evolve into a major player on the team. She was definitely a more well defined and interesting character on the show then she ever was in the comics.

In fact, they did such a good job of making her a fleshed out character, that when it was revealed that she was actually a traitor, and Thanagarian spy, you really felt the impact of her betrayal. And the continuing story of her eventual redemption and return to the team was unusually complex and compelling storytelling for an animated show.

I didn't think the Justice League animated series handled Hawkman quite as well as it did his female counterpart. On the show, the first version of Hawkman was a Thanagarian military strongman bent on destroying the Earth. (Not exactly comic accurate).

The second animated version of Mr. Hawk was more true to his original origins. And by original I mean his Golden Age incarnation. This version also looked just like the classic silver and bronze age Hawkman. Although he was an improvement from the first guy, I still felt that they didn't really do him justice the second time around either. As he came off more like a creepy Hawkgirl stalker, than he did a selfless hero.

Doug said...

How many people read Tim Truman's Hawkworld? I really liked it at the time. Of course, now I'd say it was part of the grim-n-gritty rebooting that was so fashionable in the late 80s-early 90s. It's worth a re-read, and I need to do that to see how I'd see it now with a distant lens to the time in which it was crafted. But overall, I recall enjoying the depth of characters (even if in that era the feet tended to be overtly made of clay), and Truman's art was very nice.


Anonymous said...

As with all things coming from the Distinguished Competition, I get my kicks from Diversions of a Groovy Kind. And I'm not saying I don't like Hawkman, because, really I don't. Or that I don't know much about him, because, really, I don't. But I will say this about the Groove-meister, he has quite the collection of Hawkman scans. You'll learn fascinating things, and it's not that I'm saying Hawkman is fascinating, because, really I'm not, like how he used Thanagarian technology to learn all the languages of our world, including the LANGUAGE OF THE BIRDS!!!! I wonder if that included Esperanto? And why he eschews Thanagarian tech for medieval weaponary. Hint: it may surprise you!!! And why you can't see a bulge from the wings under his clothes!!! I mean, honestly, how happy to see ME can one man be!?!

Anyhoo, before I go on to long about Hawkman, because, really I can't. I think it's more than fitting in a post about Hawkman/Hawkgirl, they've become a backup to a World Cup discussion!!!

To quote the Groove: Bring On The Backups!!!

The Prowler (a genuine example of a social disease).

Abe Lucas said...

Edo: Thanks for the correction. I just dug out my copy of JLA #195 and am reminded once again how much I liked the brief glimpse of the Earth-2 Hawkman (and the helmet he wears--without the feathery-looking stuff on it).

Here's a quote from JLA #195 that I've always loved:

" Like his namesake on Earth-1, this Hawkman is an archaeologist...but unlike our Hawkman, he was born on this world, and calls it home. When he looks at the city below him, it is not with a stranger's cold, critical eye...he takes joy in familiar scents, and is completely at ease."

Plus there's the badassery of this Hawkman ("Twee Kaw-Kaw") siccing the birds on the Monocle.

Beautiful George Perez-John Beatty art.

Funny how those of a comics/sci-fi/fantasy stripe tend not to like sports, which I've always seen as being "characters" in their own right, as well as the drama that a great match contains. I love both with equal passion, though to be honest, football ("soccer') is the only game I care about.

J.A. Morris said...

Early in my collecting days, my best friend had a bunch of old Hawkman & Brave and the Bold back issues. I became a big fan of the Gardner Fox/Joe Kubert Hawkman stories. I thought they were pretty good, especially Kubert's art. Shadow Thief is still one of my favorite DC villains.

Years later, I picked up this tpb:

I found that the Kubert's art was still great, the stories were typical Silver Age DC.

Doug said...

Prowler --

We said all along we wanted this site to be like friends standing in the aisle of a comic shop or around the water cooler at work. I think the past two days' conversations bear that out nicely.


Murray said...

Similar to William, above, my only appreciation of the Hawks is from the JLU cartoon. I can't add much to his fine summation other than a personal note: the cartoon made Hawkgirl a viable character, but it did not make her, for me, a likeable character.

The only other Hawk that caught my eye was in Kingdom Come. The "Man-Hawk" (in the spirit of the "Man-Bat" formula) was a magnificent visual that I'd like to see again.

Doug said...

C.K. --

I love sports. Always have.

I'm weird in those stereotypical circles of geekery (I don't like that term anyway).


Anonymous said...

I always liked Hawkman, although it's hard to articulate why. Maybe just that the costumes and weapons looked cool.

DC reprinted a lot of Silver and Bronze Age Hawkman stuff in two volumes of their B&W "Showcase Presents" series. If you can only get one or the other, I would recommend volume #1, with the earlier Brave & Bold try-outs (with Kubert art) and about the first half of his self-titled comic's run. IMHO, the best stories were in the early-to-mid 1960's, and the later Bronze Age appearances were pretty weak.

I also liked that Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman, like Wonder Woman, was usually treated as an equal partner, not just a stooge or a foil. As I've said before, Sue Storm and Scarlet Witch often seemed more like helpless damsels (constantly getting taken hostage and having to be rescued) than helpful teammates, and quaint old DC actually seemed to be ahead of Marvel in their portrayal of female characters.

Katar and Shiera sometimes did use high-tech weapons, including ray guns, as well as the medieval and ancient weapons. But the maces and battle axes looked cool. And from the very beginning (Golden Age/Earth 2), Hawkman was influenced by the Flash Gordon/John Carter school of space fantasy, where the hero runs around with a laser pistol in one hand and a sword in the other.

Edo Bosnar said...

C.K., I forgot to mention: I love those issues of JLA you're talking about. I always liked the JLA/JSA cross-overs, but the lovely art by Perez made those extra-special.
And yes, that helmet the Earth-2 Hawkman was wearing at the time was really cool. I think it was designed by Joe Staton.

Murray said...

On Today's Tangent Topic, The Big-Pro-Mega League efforts slap me into a bored coma. A group of highly paid experts recruited from potentially anywhere on the planet, who might be swapped totally around with other teams a month from now. Oh, yes, cheer for the "hometown team". It's like cheering for Xerox or Disney.

The only action for me are the local lads and lasses! People having fun in their spare time away from their day job/studies.

Abe Lucas said...

"It's like cheering for Xerox or Disney."

I could be just as cynical about all the recent CGI-laden, blue-orange-and-teal-tinted super-hero epics, but anything approaching wisdom that I may have acquired through experience or sudden realizations lies somewhere between "I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now" and "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant."

In other words: A) I just want to see an exciting match and B) Watch an entertaining movie based on comics I have grown to love. :)

Doug said...

RE: the World Cup

That being said, and I understand both the cynicism and the excitement, I'll go back to my posit in my first comment and restate that it would be a wonderful world -- for any sport -- if these individuals with this God-given talent would simply display that talent to the very best of their abilities and stop all the shenanigans. I don't tune into the Cup or to the NBA Finals to watch people act. I want to see them play ball.

And don't get me going on the officials who abide these behaviors and influence the outcome of the game.

Rant over, back to the Hols.


Dr. Oyola said...

I hate soccer.

I am also not a big fan of Hawkman. I like the idea of Hawkman, but have never come across a very good execution. I would be happy to be wrong - also, from what I can tell he has one of the most convoluted backstory/continuities of all-time.

Some of you might get kick out of this video that just came out day before yesterday!

Here's The Thing: Hawkman Sucks Real Bad

david_b said...

Not much to weigh in on, like others here. I certainly not adverse to him, and DC started a nice adversarial/abrasive spark between him and Ollie back around JLA ish 100, but that (and the latter 'equalizing disease' arc later around ish 117) are the two time I've ever seen DC trying to stretch Katar, but again I haven't read as much DC as Marvel.

STILL LOVE the razzing Hawkman got at the bar in this video I'm sure you ALL have seen..:

Hey, it takes the heat off ol' Arthur's limited effectiveness after all these years.

Karen said...

So many topics today....

Love the look of the Hawks. Winged characters are great visually. I like the bare chest, ancient weapons, barbarian vibe, even if it makes no sense. But I haven't read a whole lot of books with him in them.I did pick up Truman's Hawkworld that Doug mentioned and I recall enjoying that although I don't recall much about it now. it seems like whenever there's been an attempt to do a live-action Hawkman, it's looked goofy.

Like Osvaldo, I don't care for Soccer. i can't say why really. It just doesn't grab me. Part of the problem is the low scoring. Also, any game that can end in a tie is a problem for me. I like decisive victories! I am deep in baseball season right now and that's my major sports obsession, although I do love football, but not nearly as much as baseball.

I'm tired of the NBA long has it been now? Three months???

Anonymous said...

A visually striking character, but usually written as being a real tool.
And the backstory...sheesh. They didn't know what to do with him after Crisis on Infinite Earths.
I read that Grant Morrison wanted to use him in JLA, but DC didn't want to stir up that hornet's nest.
Or should I say...hawk's nest?
Har har.

Edo Bosnar said...

Ah, don't worry about not liking soccer guys - there's plenty of us out there who don't like (American) football and, especially, baseball. And I can't tell you how many times, as an American now living Europe, I've been asked to explain the appeal of those two sports, and found myself unable to do so...

As for Hawkman, thanks for the link to the video Osvaldo, but I only watched about 5 minutes of it. The thing is, the video David linked pretty much makes the same point, but in a much more concise and humorous manner.

Edo Bosnar said...

And Doug, all I have to say about your off-topic rant is: hear, hear!

Graham said...

Most of my experience with Hawkman came from his time in the JLA. I eventually backtracked to read the Fox/Kubert stories and really enjoyed them. I like the Golden Age Hawkman stores that Sheldon Mayer drew, and the Kubert ones as well, of course. I never understood the fascination with medieval weapons either.

Speaking of flopping in sports, I know as much about soccer as I do about flying the space shuttle, but it's been rampant in the NBA for decades.....Bill Laimbeer used to just drive me nuts, which was his intent, of course. :)

I remember a story that Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe told one time about Dave Cowens. Cowens was whistled for an O-Foul after some guy hit the floor from a feather-light nudge from Cowens. Cowens was so incensed that he ran down to the other end of the court, hammered the flopper to the floor with one of his massive forearms and screamed, "NOW THAT'S A BLEEPING FOUL!!!" Only he didn't say "BLEEPING," not at all.

Dan Toland said...

Is it Hawkman Week on the Internet? This is the third article I've seen about him this week (after Chris Sims and Scott Tipton).

I like Hawkman a lot. I love his design, and his early Flash Comics stories are a ton of fun. However, since the shared universe became a thing, he's suffered in comparison to a lot of other characters. His powers are "flight" and "a willingness to hit you in the face with a mace really really hard", and in a solo story that's awesome, but stand him next to Green Lantern and Superman and you'd be forgiven for wondering what he brings to the table.

There have been good stories (I liked Hawkworld a ton at the time it came out, though I suspect I'd be less charitable toward it now as an adult) but he always struck me as a Golden Age character who was never really able to adapt.

Anonymous said...

Edo, I feel your pain ol' buddy!

Down here in T & T people have caught the World Cup fever like millions of others around the world too. Funnily enough, most Trinis call it football whereas most Americans call it soccer. I'm with Doug - I personally don't like it when I see a soccer player, basketball player or any athlete for that matter fake a hit. These guys make millions of dollars and the last thing I want to see is a bad acting Dwayne Wade faking an elbow to the face! If a see a soccer player fall down like he's been shot by the slightest contact I go 'get the hell up already! We go to see Adam Sandler movies for bad acting not you guys!' I can understand why they do this but to me it cheapens the game.

Yeah, like many others I've always viewed Hawkman as a visually appealing character but nothing more than that. However, I do think that he's one of those second tier characters who could have been more popular under different circumstances. When Batman debuted in 1939 nobody at that time could have predicted he would become as famous and iconic as he is today.

I don't think the problem is his powers or lack thereof - ol' Bats has zero superpowers but he's co-headlining the next Batman/Superman movie! Over at Marvel we have Captain America who despite having nowhere near the power levels of a Hulk or Thor is leader of the Avengers! Hawkman's lack of first tier popularity has always been his backstory and alter ego; the Carter Hall persona despite being an alien never resonated for some reason with me (and I assume for other readers too), although some writers have tried to change that recently.

- Mike 'wait - the Brazilian football team has a player named Hulk? Does Marvel know about this?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Vintage Bob said...

Hawkman has always been one of my favorite DC characters ever since I was a little kid. Mainly for his look. What a cool costume - the wings, the winged headpiece, the colors, etc. When I first got into comics in the late 60's (and even into the early 70's), I always thought Hawkman has super strength. Mainly because of his appearance in Supergirl #8 in 1973 (I was 8 years old). It shows him wrestling with Supergirl in the air, and while she declares she is stronger, the art shows them truly struggling, as if closely matched. DC never does define the powers of their characters as well as Marvel does, so who could blame me?

But even after discovering he didn't have that level of strength, he was my favorite. The Thanagar origin, his hi-tech ship mixed with ancient Earth weapons - the stories were fun to read and he was always a fun character.

He's still in my Top 10, maybe even Top 5 DC characters. The only thing I didn't like was how he was (in John Byrne's words) "de-uniqued". Just like with Martian Manhunter, he became one of an entire planet of Hawkmen. Sigh. But still, a cool character.

Abe Lucas said...

"Part of the problem is the low scoring. Also, any game that can end in a tie is a problem for me."

Karen: American football *can* end in a tie but the point numbering does make it rarer than in world football.

C.K., I forgot to mention: I love those issues of JLA you're talking about. I always liked the JLA/JSA cross-overs, but the lovely art by Perez made those extra-special.
And yes, that helmet the Earth-2 Hawkman was wearing at the time was really cool. I think it was designed by Joe Staton."

Joe Staton, eh? Like I said before, I'd like to find some more Earth-2 Hawkman stories, even if it's just to see that nicely-designed helmet. I may be the only person here who's never read Crisis, as I had bowed out of comics just as it was happening. I always want to pick up the tpb every time I'm in the comic shop, though!

Teresa said...

I have always liked the Hawks on both Earth 1 and 2.
Earth 1 the Hols were from Thanagar. The Thanagarians disguised their tech as ancient weapons to confuse their enemies.

Earth 2: The reincarnation and the Halls as immortal lovebirds. I always liked that angle.
Hawkgirl was also one of the first female superheroes.

All that being said, here is a link below.
It explains why Hawkman is not a viable character. I think this video is hilarious!
I've watched it many times. Warning: Language, sexual innuendo and crass humor prevail.

Edo Bosnar said...

Er, Teresa, that video was already linked about 10 comments up by David - and yes, it is indeed quite funny (and yes, I've also watched it many times). Anyway, since it's getting mentioned so much, I think it's only fair to provide a link to Pete Doree's recent post on it at
The Bronze Age of Blogs.

Teresa said...

LOL, Sorry about that!
I must confess, all the World Cup discussion caused me to glaze over and through the comments.
No offense to world soccer fans intended.
We don't really do sports in Portland. All we have is the Trailblazers.
The defense rests.

Edo Bosnar said...

Hey, Teresa! What about the Timbers?!

Garett said...

I liked the angle of the original Hawkman with Egypt and reincarnation. Sheldon Moldoff did some nice art, although he lifted some of it from Alex Raymond. I also liked Hawkman in the JLA, not my favorite but he was ok.

I'm a sports fan. Started with hockey and football, then basketball, now baseball is my favorite. Blue Jays fan, being Canadian. I like World Cup soccer because the stakes are high, but regular league soccer I find dull.

I'd read a Hawkman series drawn by Perez. But, that goes for just about any character!

Teresa said...

The Timbers?
OMG, you are trying to trick me into talking about soccer.
*runs away*

Anonymous said...

Yes, I love the look more than the character. He always looked so cool especially lined up with Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Flash in Super Friends! His ever-changing back story just was too boring and confusing for me.

Yes, I also liked Truman's HAWKWORLD when it came out, but I dropped it after about five or six issues (as I was prone to do with new series in the late 80s/early 90s).

I was VERY excited to get my DC Universe Classics 6" Hawkman figure (he comes with an alternate Golden Age head, howcoolisthat?). I think this is one of the greatest figures ever, IMHO. I also recently got a Hawkgirl DCUC figure, also very nicely done.

My favorite version of Hawkman is from the 1967 Filmation cartoons. His "sidekick" was a hawk named "SKREEL". "SKREEL" usually saved the day, the plots were pretty shaky in those Filmation cartoons, but the aliens were cool!


Anonymous said...

Ooops, I forgot to cast my vote.....

soccer sucks.


Anonymous said...

Ooops, I forgot to cast my vote.....

soccer sucks.


Humanbelly said...

Dude, you voted twice.
Yer abusing the system and makin' a mockery o' democracy!

Soccer-- can't make myself love it. Nope, sorry. Pretty much an NFL guy. Even when I hate so much about it, I still love it.
(And have permanently retired my long-admired Washington R*dsk*ns jacket. . . )


Anonymous said...

The results are as shaky as an Ohio election and as conclusive as a Florida one, this thread ends in a tie between sports and Hawkman/Hawkgirl (Woman). I couldn't have asked for a better ending.......

The Prowler (Over!?! It's not over til we say it's over!!! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor!?!).

Anonymous said...

IT'S NOT SOCCER! It's FOOTBALL. My monacle fell out when I read that some people don't like World Cup. How can you not like it?! The very best players in the world putting everything into it for their team and country. I'm from the UK and i'm super hyped for tomorrow's game.

jim kosmicki said...

in the Golden Age, Hawkman got just about every other cover of Flash Comics. I read in at least one interview that he'd have been the next DC/AA hero to get a solo book except for wartime paper shortages and then the general disdain for AA characters at DC post-buyout.

In the Silver Age, it took two tryouts before he earned his own book, and that was with a GREAT creative team at the top of their game. And when Atom and Hawkman merged into a combined total, it was Atom's numbering that continued, implying that it was probably the stronger book of the two sales-wise.

The Shadow War of Hawkman was a total surprise hit when it came out. But it actually gave Hawkman a storyline, so of course when they resurrected the title, they "solved" that storyline as quickly as they could, and the title limped to a relatively early cancellation.

the Tim Truman mini and the regular Hawkworld series that followed was good, but it ran out of steam and storylines after about a year.

I remember William Messner-Loebs showing his skill in the later days of the Hawkman series that followed Hawkworld, but like all the other writers, he was so hobbled by continuity that the book ultimately collapsed in on itself.

Almost every good version of Hawkman has started with "ignore continuity and treat this as a new character." and then the continuity obession hits and it all goes to hell quickly.

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