And totally thought Hawkeye was awesome, right?
If that’s not your takeaway, well. Shut up.
My mission statement for this blog has been to get some knowledge out there about some comics that are good. Part one of this has been to make y’all understand that comics and not entirely defined by superhero comics. I’ve argued that The Fantastic Four aren’t superheroes and offered some examples where they were portrayed that way. Part two of that has been to simply share comics that I have loved and give you some context for why you might like them. Today, we’re going to talk about Hawkeye, a non-super powered superhero who’s the main AND titular character of a new non-superhero series that launched today.
Hawkeye, with words by Matt Fraction, pictures by David Aja, color by Matt Hollingsworth, and lettering by Chris Eliopoulos(also a great cartoonist) is the total package. No, not THIS Total Package. But the comic book equivalent of that. Or something. It’s great. To start overusing “awesome,” it’s AWESOME.
I really shouldn’t have to do any more than post this image. With this image as the cover to ANY comic book, I guarantee you will go “Oh, head, I should read that comic book there.” It could be the cover to the employee handbook at a factory that assembles fishing rods, and you would say “Hey, this looks like a great and exciting read. I don’t know why there’s an archer on a rooftop on the cover of this employee handbook, but shit, I’m going to read this!” And you would have an efficient factory full of workers that were aware of the do’s and don’ts of the Granddad’s Long Weekend Fishing Rod Corporation.
Next bit of awesome. I told you this was a non-superhero book that features a superhero. Yes, Hawkeye, AKA Clint Barton, is a superhero, a member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, THE AVENGERS! (Now a Major Motion Picture) but as we’re told on the title page, this series is about what he does in his spare time. Which is apparently BE ALL OF THE A-TEAM (He didn’t have a montage sequence of assembling a non-lethal bad guy stopping device, but he did help the little guy (his neighbors) against bad guys (trashy Russian mobsters) trying to kick them out of their building).
So we’re intro’d to Hawkeye getting some off time with him falling off a roof and going splat on a car. Then we’re presented with Clint in traction at the hospital. He is not Wolverine or any other hero that usually hops back up in fighting shape after a stack of Aunt May’s wheatcakes. He is simply a very skilled individual with very unique skills at the peak of physical condition (ha! “simply”).
When I started this post, well, not the part where I gushed about Hawkeye, but the part where I mentioned all the folks involved in the comic? Remember that? I linked out to a crazy wrestler and called this the “Total Package?” Well, it’s a writer and artist and colorist and letterer all working together to tell a story in ways that are fairly unique to comics. The above scene conveys motion without motion. Maybe it would look cool animated, but filmed? It would feel artificial in a way that it doesn’t here. We’re in the real world part of the Marvel Universe. In it’s Outer Boroughs (for serious, Clint’s living in Bed Stuy). And while the act of a man using a card as a weapon is fairly fantastical, it feels real, it feels authentic. I also don’t really know how to talk about the color. Hollingsworth makes every scene unique, the same way that a director of photography would, but that doesn’t do it justice. That just puts things in the context of television or film and I’m sorry I can’t do better on that front.
Now, at this point, I want to make my best friend, Seth, feel bad for not purchasing this comic. Earlier today, before reading this, I told him I bought this and he should too. I did this on the strength of Fraction’s earlier collaboration with Aja on The Immortal Iron Fist, as well as for Fraction’s writing on his creator owned series, Casanova. Plus, as it has been stated before, I love Hawkeye. It probably goes: The Thing, Hawkeye, Deadpool as far as my favorite Marvel characters go. But anyway, “Making Seth Feel Bad.” Seth loves Wall-E. And Up. The dude, like myself, has a weakness for good, emotion triggering storytelling. Emotions triggered in 3…2…1:
I loved this. I’d like to go on more. About the art and how Hollingsworth’s colors make each scene unique. Or the little touch of Clint Barton wearing touches of purple in all his civilian attire. Or about the supporting cast of Clint’s neighbors that aren’t much more than character ‘types’ right now, but that feel unique through Aja’s pencils and I know are going to be drawn out through Fraction’s dialogue.
But I won’t go on more, read this comic. Read Hawkeye. Experience it for yourself. I bought it on Comixology. You can also buy it at your local comic book store. Or wait for the trade and buy it on Amazon in like 8 months. I, in the meantime, am going to re-read it, and eagerly await the next issue so I can tell you to buy that one too.