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Marvel Comics’ Hawkeye wasn’t always a straight arrow

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm •  Published: June 25, 2010

The Robin Hood-inspired archer Hawkeye will become more familiar to casual Marvel Comics fans when “The Avengers” movie comes to theaters in 2012. Oscar-nominated Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”) is reportedly in negotiations to play the character, who was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck in the pages of 1964′s “Tales of Suspense” No. 57.

The character, aka Clint Barton, originally a reluctant villain recruited by the Black Widow after a misunderstanding with Iron Man, eventually became one of the Avengers’ most stalwart members. He joined the team with issue No. 16 of “The Avengers,” and later led the West Coast branch of the team.

Nineteen years after he was introduced, Hawkeye got his first solo starring role, in a miniseries written and drawn by Mark Gruenwald. Gruenwald was perhaps best-known as the writer of “Captain America” and “Squadron Supreme,” and was a Marvel Comics editor from 1978 until his death in 1996. In the introduction to the 1988 collection of the 1983 miniseries, Gruenwald wrote about what made Hawkeye a popular character.

“Hawkeye’s appeal goes beyond the raw charm of his basic, easy-to-understand weapon, the bow and arrow,” Gruenwald wrote. “It was his various character traits that catapulted him beyond the heroic archetype of Robin Hood from which he was derived. First there was his unflagging determination to go head-to-head with folks far more powerful than he.” Gruenwald also credits Hawkeye’s fallibility and occasionally disrespectful demeanor as qualities that made him a fan favorite.

In that miniseries — available in hardcover from Marvel — Hawkeye discovers the great love of his life, Mockingbird, aka spy agent Bobbi Morse.

For a time, Hawkeye was thought dead and took on the identity of Ronin. He was replaced for a time by Kate Bishop, one of the Young Avengers. Following the Dark Reign in the Marvel Universe, when Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, was given control of the Avengers, the villain Bullseye took on the Hawkeye identity. But now, Hawkeye’s back in his original costume in a new series. With Mockingbird, Hawkeye returned to comic-book shelves in June in a new series by writer Jim McCann and artist David Lopez. This series plays upon Mockingbird’s spy background as she heads up the World Counterterrorism Agency.

“First and foremost, I think the thing that everyone loves is that Hawkeye is back,” McCann said at Marvel.com. “Clint Barton has reclaimed his place in the Marvel U, wearing the iconic costume and firing a fistful of arrows into the hearts of fans everywhere. And to top it off, he’s got the one woman who was his true love, the only woman who was ever really his equal in life and love, Mockingbird.”

- By Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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