Friday, February 27, 2009

Hawkman Sketch -- Phil Hester

Our sketch this week is by Phil Hester, probably best known for his runs on Green Arrow and The Irredeemable Ant-Man. Here he adds another tiny hero in the form of the Atom, standing appropriately on Hawkman's shoulder. I like the "roughness" here; Hester's art has a quirkiness to it which suits some characters. Hawkman's helmet looks visually interesting here, and so I give my thumbs up. Just wish we could see what he would do with the full figure, including the musculature and the wings!

Disclaimer: I do not own or have possession of this sketch. It is being reposted from the cited website only.

Image: Hawkman and The Atom sketch, 2008, Phil Hester, retrieved from Comic Sketch Gallery.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bearers of the Honor Wings: New Blog

Bearer of the Honor Wings and all-around cool dude Doug Zawisza has launched a comic book blog focused on that most bizarre of the super-teams, the Doom Patrol!  

Readers here will remember that Doug also penned the mighty (and mightily awesome!) Hawkman Companion from TwoMorrows Publishing, which is pretty much essential reading for any Hawkfan (budding or otherwise).  I don't know that the Doom'ers and the Hawks ever had much contact, but I am looking forward to learning more about this classic teams, especially as DC has just announced their return to the ranks of published titles.  So head on over and check it out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Waiting In The Wings -- 2/25/2009

What sort of Hawk-related stuff can you expect to find at your local comic book retailer today?  Let's take a look!

Justice Society of America #24 -- While technically Hawkman was put on a "leave of absence" last issue, most issues of JSoA at least have something going on with the Winged Wonder.  This issue is also features an Origins and Omens backup, and you know Carter will be involved with that part!

Trinity #39 -- As usual, Hawkman has been making regular appearances in this title so he has a chance to pop up here.  DC has solicited the first collection of Trinity, and yes, it seems that the backups will be included!    

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

PULSE Interview with Kyle Baker


THE PULSE: I'm sure you probably could have asked about working on just about any DC character, so why Hawkman come about? What's your story about?

BAKER: Hawkman's a great character, and I hadn't done a Hawkman story before. I e-mailed Mark a story outline. The story begins with a plane hijacking, because there aren't very many other crimes committed in the sky, and Hawkman has to fight crime in the sky. The hijacking leads to a mystery involving an alien invasion from space.

The rumor is that the new weekly series after Trinity shall be called Wednesday Comics (ugh), and Kyle Baker's Hawkman project will be featured in it.  I'm not really thrilled with the artwork but hey, Hawkman solo stuff is Hawkman solo stuff.

Image: Hawkman page, 2009, Kyle Baker

Monday, February 23, 2009

Read: Mystery In Space #87

Issue: Mystery In Space #87 (Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman v.1)
Title: "Amazing Thefts Of The I.Q. Gang"
Published Date: Nov 1963
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Changed Generations

Summary: In the New York Metropolitan Museum, penny-ante hood Ira Quimby is exposed to a strange radioactive rock (brought to Earth by Adam Strange in the first feature of this issue!), and suddenly finds that he has a genius-level intellect when it comes to planning heists.  He uses his new-found smarts to design and outfit his gang with an anti-gravity ray and anti-gravity shoes, which they use to hijack an armored car.  Hawkman and Hawkgirl intervene, but the I.Q. Gang's plan is apparently foolproof.  A second heist, of a jewlery store, goes awry, however, but Ira ends up accidenttally being bathed in the rock's radiation again and is able to plan another job.

Carter and Shiera Hall, visiting the Metropolitan Museum in their role as curators, end up running into Adam Strange, who is also paying a visit to the museum.  But, the heroes do not make any connection to one another, and continue on their own ways.  Hawkman has his feathered friends acting as lookouts all over the city, so when the I.Q. Gang makes their move, they are ready to thwart it.  The Hawks smash their foes equipment, and capture all of the gang except Ira himself.  Deducing that the rock is the key to his intellect, Ira swipes it from the museum and goes into hiding to plan his next theft.  Analyzing some fragments of the rock which were left behind, the Hawks are able to track down I.Q. and shut down his gang for good.

Review: Aaand we're back to the Silver Age adventures in a new title, with a new psuedo-ally and a new villian!  Adam Strange and the Hawks would have more adventures over the years, but here their meeting is more happenstance than anything else, which is cute.  As for I.Q., he would remain a minor but recurring threat for the duo, filling the role of their "gadgeteer" foe.  He does a good job in that role, and the idea of a small potatoes hoodlum suddenly getting super smart makes for a fun baddie.  We also get some new (and a little silly) technology for our heroes, in the form of expanding costumes for Hawkman and Hawkgirl, which reside in their Nth-metal medallions!  Okay... but how do the wings and helmets fit in there?!  Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson turn in a strong Silver Age adventure, with a lot of action in a relatively short page count (14).

Image: Mystery In Space #87, 1963, Murphy Anderson.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hawkman Sketch -- Harold Jennett

This week's sketch is by Harold Jennett, and features not only Hawkman, but his son Hector Hall as Doctor Fate!  Mr. Jennett is an artist from Allentown, PA, and recently has been working on a book with Wayne Cordova called M.I.M.E.S. ("No talk.  All action!").  He also does a lot of really great sketch and commission work, which you can see here at his ComicSpace page.

I don't awlays go for the cartoony look for superhero characters (especially brawny ones like Hawkman), but I like this one.  It has a sort of Batman: The Brave And The Bold vibe to it, despite predating that series!  The feathers in Hawkman's wings are very nicely done, and I really like the grimmace on his face.  The detail work with the straps on the wing harness and the wrapped grip on the mace stand out as well.  I really like the figure of Doctor Fate, as well as his helmet and ankh "aura."  I can't imagine how nice this piece would look fully colored!

Disclaimer: I do not own or have possession of this sketch.  It is being reposted from the cited website only.

Image: Hawkman & Doctor Fate sketch, 2008, Harold Jennett, retrieved from Comic Sketch Gallery.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Read: Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1

Issue: Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1
Title: "The Dawning"
Published Date: Jul 2008
Generation: Modern Carter
Retcon Status: In Continuity

Summary:  Hawkman is on Thanagar, where the Universal Light Corporation Church, led by Deacon Dark, has begun to win scores of converts.  This is of concern to Hawkman and his friend, the Rannian hero Adam Strange, as Rann has fallen almost completely under the sway of Lady Styx and her cult.  If these two faiths came into conflict with one another, the results would be catasrophic for all involved.  

Meanwhile, other sectors of space have their own problems.  On Hardcore Station, Chief Security Officer Max is searching for a man named Seek, along with his partner Find, unbenknownst to him that they are, in fact, watching him.  On Earth, the "new" Captain Comet (AKA just Comet) sells the Justice League a bill of goods under the guise of providing information on extraterrestrial threats to Earth (for a fee, of course).  Elsehwere on Rann, Omega Man Tigorr has his hands full with an illegal mining operation, while on Throneworld, Prince Gavin (AKA Starman) has to deal with the very sudden, and unwelcome, appearance of Bizarro!

All the while, Deacon Dark plans something big...

Review: Having not read 52, Countdown to Adventure, or Mystery In Space, I was coming into this one a little bit behind the rest of the class, but Starlin does a good job of making this accessible to the reader, which I liked.  Ron Lim's art is clean and very appropriate for the setting and goings-in here.  I especially like how every character has their own style of caption box, so we can always tell who is talking.  The issue itself is mostly setup, which is to be expected, but there are some good character moments in there as well.  Hawkman and Adam Strange's interaction is a lot of fun to read, and Comet's scam on the JLA is downright hilarious.  

Clearly not every DC fan's cup of tea, but reading this one made me very eager for the next issue.

Image: Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1, 2008, Ron Lim.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Waiting In The Wings -- 2/18/2009

What Hawk-related comics and merchandise can we find this week?  Let's take a look.

Justice League of America #30 -- Not sure how much longer she is going to be a member, but for now Hawkgirl is still a member of the League.  I have not been impressed with the goings-on in this title for a while, but I am hoping that now that Final Crisis is finished, DC will get it back on track.

Trinity #38 -- Hawkman, as usual, has a good chance of popping up in the weekly title.

Monday, February 16, 2009

20 Answers, 1 Question With Dan DiDio -- 02/13/2009

From the February 13th edition of the series on Newsarama...

"4. When will we learn the fate of Hawkman and Hawkgirl?

DD: Actually Hawkman and Hawkgirl are recuperating right now from the events of Final Crisis, and they'll be seen in one or two spots coming up, but they also have a big role in the first part of Blackest Night."

More fuel for the speculatory fire!  Apparently Hawkman and Hawkgirl are not dead, but the Kendra-as-a-Black-Lantern theory continues to gain some strength.  

Of course, if they are not dead, this begs the question of what the two feathers symbolized in Final Crisis... the beat goes on, folks.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hawkman Hostess Ad

Keeping with the classic tradition of Marvel and DC characters helping us make informed choices in our junk food purchases, Hawkman uses the power of cupcakes the quell a potential riot at a "Pete McCarthy And The Flyers" concert.  Seems the primadonna is "sick" and cannot perform, enraging the already hopped-up-on-goofballs crowd into a near frenzy.  Luckily, the Winged Wonder's quick thinking, along with his feathered friends dive-bombing of snack cakes, quiets the crowd.

Because nothing espouses Thanagarian culture more than appeasing hippies with delicious chocolate cake, fudgey frosting, and cream filling before locking them up for the rest of their lives as dissidents.

That, gentle readers, is how Katar Hol rolls.

Image: Hawkman Hostess ad, artist and date unknown, retrived from ???

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Waiting In The Wings -- 2/11/2009

What Hawkman related stuff is being released this week?  Let's take a look.

Trinity #37 -- As usual, Hawkman has been a semi-regular in this title, so he could pop up this week.

Justice League Unlimited: Hawkman Symbol T-Shirt -- I previously featured this shirt here, and I am still enamored with it.  I want this one for the con circuit.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Logo Study -- Hawkman V.1

Taking some inspiration from Todd Klein's fantastic logo studies over at his blog, I am going to take a sort of amateur approach to the various logos Hawkman has had over the years, and what I like and don't like about them.

I'm not an artist, not by a long shot.  And I am also not a design guy, who has strong opinions about fonts and what not.  Most times I end up using Courier New because that is the deafult font in my text editor.  So don't expect a serious discourse about dropoffs-this and serifs-that.  Because, honestly, that's not what I am about.

Alright, it took Hawkman a number of years to get his name on the front of a comic book.  His Golden Age career in Flash Comics and All-Star Comics netted him cover appearances, but not a heading logo.  Same goes for his Silver Age revival in The Brave And The Bold, Showcase, and Mystery In Space.  But with the launch of his own title in 1964, it became necessary for him to have a flashy hook right on the cover, and so that brings us to our first logo.

Designed by veteran DC logo and house ad guru Ira Schnapp, the Hawkman logo is, at first glance, pretty staid compared to its contemporaries.  The letters seem fairly simple and straightforward, and there are no unusual angles or italics.  The tall letters appear almost elongated, and make the logo look thinner than other DCs from the same time, such as Superman or Green Lantern.  Before I started reading Hawkman, I never gave the logo any thought.  

Looking at it in more detail, I think the subtle strength of the logo becomes evident.  First off, the "wingtips" on the top of the letters -- especially the two A's -- give a sense of fluidity and motion.  Not as severe as the Flash logo, obviously, but enough to suggest in a very abstract way the motion of flight.  This combines with the "foottips" on the bottom of each letter to form a nice sort of diagonal symmetry.  There is not a real clear pattern on which side of the letters is beefier; for some it is the right hand side, for others the left.  Having the letters be unbalanced in this way does offer a sign of strength, but when you look closely it's an odd effect.

The "diagonal symmetry" works well with the blunted tips of the letters, such as on the A's and the W, as well as the bottom of the M.  Combined with the aforementioned long length of the letters and the overall effect suggests to my eye one of antiquity.  Which, in the case of a character who uses ancient weapons to combat evil, and whose secret identity is that of a museum curator, is a good fit.  Hawkman in the Silver Age was a science fiction character, no doubt, but this logo evokes the fact that he was also a character tied to history and ancient times.  

As I said, before I started reading and collecting Hawkman I never gave his logo a second glance.  But now, it leaps out to me on the basis of its quiet strength.  It identifies the character as being different from his fellow science fiction brethren, eschewing certain "modern" touches for more "old timey" ones.  Overall, I like this logo quite a bit, and it is no surprise that it served Hawkman for many years.

Monday, February 9, 2009

NYCC News -- DC Nation Panel

From this weekend's DC Nation Panel at New York Comic-Con:

When are we going to find out more about Hawkman and Hawkgirl's current place in the DCU?

Geoff Johns: They are alive in well in "Blackest Night" #0. They do have a part to play in the story.  

Hmmmm.  Alive and well?  How does this connect to Final Crisis and Rann-Thanagar Holy War?  They have a "part to play," perhaps by Kendra being a Black Lantern?  Perhaps Carter's resiliant soul is part of the solution to stopping them?  It all raises so many questions and tries my short patience!  

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Speculation: Hawkman Special, Final Crisis, and Beyond

This speculation contains minor spoilers for Final Crisis #7, as well as the Hawkman Special from this past October, and speculation about upcoming DC stories.  

Strange things seem to be afoot in the DCU in regards to the Winged Wonder.  Between what Jim Starlin has been doing on the cosmic side of things and what Grant Morrison just threw down in the finale of Final Crisis, it seems that another sea change is at hand for Hawkman (and possibly Hawkgirl), and as a comic book fan I am contractually obligated to speculate on what it all means.

For those not caught up, in the Hawkman Special by Jim Starlin, cosmic know-it-all The Demiurge told Hawkman that his history as the reincarnated pharoah of Egypt was a lie, grafted onto his actuality by the "crisis."  He showed him a vision of his death and called him Katar Hol.

In Final Crisis #7, while the supercomputer Lord Eye attempted bridge to another Earth begins to collapse(and people say Starlin's stuff is convoluted!), the Hawks jump in and shatter him, saving everyone on the bridge but seemingly dying a fiery death in the process.  At least, I think that is what happens; Final Crisis #7 is very confusing, due in no small part to Morrison's "channel zapping" storytelling method.

Anyway, after reading Final Crisis, I reread the Hawkman Special, and, combined with what we know about where the DCU is going this year, I have a working theory on what the heck is going to go down.  

In the Special, the Demiurge tells Hawkman that both his past and future is an open book to him, to which Hawkman replies "You saying we know each other from the future?"  Demiurge replies "But not as you presently are."  Later, after shattering the illusion of Hawkman's time as Prince Khufu, the Demiurge gives him a glimpse of the future, which features his own burning death, as well as Kendra wearing a black uniform.  In Final Crisis, while apparently inside a bridge between parallel Earths, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are immolated in the explosion of Lord Eye.

So, my thought is that Hawkman and Hawkgirl die while destroying Lord Eye.  The souls of Carter Hall and Shiera Hall, humans, return to their normal place of order on Earth-2 through the inter-multiversial bridge and are reborn.  The body of Katar Hol (remember, the modern Hawkman has reborn into Katar's body, hence his dark hair) is now no longer connected to the soul of Carter Hall, and through some Thanagarian mumbo-jumbo Katar Hol is reborn into his old body.  Kendra Saunders, no longer having Shiera's soul in her body, dies, only to be resurrected this summer as a Black Lantern.

So on New Earth/Earth-0/whatever the heck the main DCU is, we have Katar Hol, a Thanagarian, wearing the wings and fighting the evils of the present, etc etc etc.  Hawkgirl's corpse is reanimated by whatever the heck is reanimating the Black Lanterns and returns to plague the cosmos.  Over on Earth-2, Carter and Shiera Hall have high flying adventures with the other members of the Justice Society Infinity.

All in all, it's a pretty good solution, as speculation of this type tends to be.  It does not invalidate anything which Johns and Robinson did in JSA or Volume 4, it just shifts that character over to Earth-2.  And it restores what Dan DiDio refers to as the most "definitive" version of Hawkman, the Space Cop (we had a whole discussion of that topic over here) to the main DCU.  And it provides this new Hawkman with an "in" to the next big DCU event by resurrecting his partner/quasi-love interest as a Black Lantern.  Gotta say I even impressed myself!

Is this a little too obvious?  Maybe.  But sometimes the obvious thing is the right thing to do.  I think it's pretty plain that Starlin (or perhaps his editor) wants to use Katar Hol in the cosmic stories.  And this method does it with only a modicum of hand-waving and really does offer a clean slate from which to work with -- Hawkman is Katar Hol, former Wingman of Thanagar, who was killed and brought back to life.  Pretty straight forward (at least, when leaving out the details).  

Will this come to pass?  We'll find out at some point.  But for now I can speculate to my heart's content, and hope against all nerd-hope that DC listens to my inane ravings.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Waiting In The Wings -- 2/4/2009

What Hawk-related stuff is being released this week?  Let's take a look.

Trinity #36 -- Hawkman has been a semi-regular in this title, so here we go.  

Yikes, a very light week.  Although, I suppose with the inevitable (it seems) fallout from what went down in Final Crisis #7, maybe the Hawks will rest easy for a bit.  I am going to have more to say about the potential outcomes of what happened in Final Crisis #7, and how that ties to what Starlin did in the Hawkman Special as well.  But I need to compose my thoughts a little bit before I post that, so I guess hang tight on that one.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Acquired: Swag From Borderlands Sale, Greenville Comic Con

This past weekend provided me with not one, but two opportunities to buy comic books, as there was the Big Annual Sale at Borderlands, my LCS, as well as a small Comic Con run by the same folks who put on the show back during Halloween weekend.  I did manage to find a few Hawk-related issues.

From Volume 2, the Shadow War-tinged Isabella series, I picked up #10.  I have a handful of these issues but not enough to start reading it, especially since I don't have, you know, the Shadow War series itself.  I do find it odd that I have better luck finding this series than the 90s one, which ran longer and ostensibly printed more copies, being the 90s and all.

I've decided to just go ahead and start buying up singles from Volume 4, especially for the early ones, as that collection is out of print and it ain't going back to the press any time soon.  I snagged #1, and #4-6 for about $2.50 total, pretty good considering.  I need to find #2-3; in fact I might see if my brother can find them this weekend at NYCC.  

Power Of The Atom #4 was a random find in a quarter bin at the show.  I am not familiar with this series, although I think it takes place before Sword of the Atom?  In any event both Hawkman and Hawkgirl guest star in this double-sized issue, which actually contains two complete Atom stories in it.

I also picked up very cheaply the Countdown to Adventure collection, which does not feature the Hawks proper but does have some cosmic stuff which ties into Rann-Thanagar War, the Space Heroes from 52, and Rann-Thanagar Holy War.

Some stuff did get left behind, most notably all graphic novels besides the aforementioned Countdown book (which was on the $5 table).  Primarily because they were only 10% off at Borderlands!  So I passed on them.  I also passed on grabbing the Legend of the Hawkman miniseries for about $3 an issue when I discovered that they did not have the entire series, only #1-2.  Ah well.

Still, some neat stuff here, and more Hawkman is always a good thing.  Now I just need some time to read them all!

Monday, February 2, 2009

100 Posts (or So), And A Moment For Us

Sorry folks, no Hawk post for today.  I'm just over the 100 post mark on the blog and I figure this is as good a time as any to take a look back and a look forward here at Being Carter Hall.  

I started feeling a little under the weather during my trip to Minneapolis last week -- which was a nice place, but much colder than I have experienced in recent memory.  I'm still pretty tired and I have had sinus pressure and a sore throat which just don't want to quit.  Tomorrow I will have something for your perusal, then the rest of the week will be light once again since I have both work and family commitments coming up.  But I will do my best.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of the great readers and supporters of this blog who have made doing this so rewarding.  Reading and learning about Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and the world(s) they fly around in has been a blast from a personal standpoint, but sharing that through this blog has been just as if not more fun for me.  Hawkman is, like so many of the second tier superhero characters which DC and Marvel has in house, the kind of hero which has a strong foundation and a fundamentally sound identity, both of which give them lasting power even without the exposure of one of the major players.  So, while I doubt many superhero fans don't know Hawkman, I want to help express who Hawkman is.  I know when Frank started his Martian Manhunter (woo!) blog over at Idol-Head of Diabolu, I knew the Martian Manhunter, but I did not know very much about him -- a situation which Frank has since rectified.  Hopefully, I can do the same with Hawkman.

In the coming weeks and months, I should be able to give you more Hawk history, as I'll get further into both the Golden- and Silver-Age adventures of Hawkman.  The modern stuff won't be ignored as I should (hopefully) have all of my Rann-Thanagar Holy War issues in hand shortly, and I am still working on the latest volume.  I also want to introduce some version of the nigh-ubiquitous villian profile, but I haven't kicked that idea around to my satisfaction yet.  And, for those who like their winged warriors a little more shapely but still as badass, I am going to try to incoporate more Hawkgirl content here as well.

So, thanks again folks, and with a little luck and a lot of effort, Being Carter Hall will be able to continue to be your premier Hawkman-related blog, from ancient Egypt to Thanagar, and everywhere in between.