It’s HAWKMAN DAY! PLUS: 13 of the Greatest Hawkman Covers Ever…
UPDATED 11/10/19: Today is Hawkman Day — according to no less an authority than Tim Board, the internationally known keeper of Hawkworld on Facebook and Twitter. According to Tim, Flash Comics #1 came out on this date in 1939, making this the Winged Wonder’s 80th anniversary. To be precise, there are actually conflicting on-sale dates for the issue. The Grand Comics Database, our go-to source for such things, puts it at Nov. 20, 1939. But that’s OK. We’d like to join the fun today no matter what — and Tim’s piece here from Aug. 2017 is perfect to re-present now. (We’ll split the baby and celebrate the Flash on 11/20.) Dig it. — Dan
Dark Nights: Metal #1 comes out this week (8/16 to be precise) — launching in earnest one of two seismic miniseries DC’s publishing this year, with Doomsday Clock coming this fall.
I’ve read the issue and it definitely has wide-ranging implications for the DC Universe. And while Batman and the Justice League are the main players, the central character, in a fashion, is one who’s effectively off-screen the whole time: Hawkman.
If you’ve read the two prelude issues, The Forge and The Casting, you know that Carter Hall was investigating the true nature of Nth Metal before disappearing. (I’m not going to even try to figure out how this factors into the recent Death of Hawkman miniseries, let alone the thousand of other profoundly convoluted threads of the Winged Warrior’s backstory.)
What happened to Hall, back in his archaeologist persona, is a crucial piece of the Metal puzzle. Now, modern comics being what they are, we know Hawkman will be found, in the appropriately titled tie-in one-shot Hawkman Found, come this December by the all-star team of Jeff Lemire, Bryan Hitch and Kevin Nowlan.
But even before that was announced, I was of the mind that big things were in store for Hawkman come 2018. He’s a character with a lengthy, but sometimes maligned history, who needs an A-List creative team to bring him back to the fore, much like Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis revived Aquaman six years ago — a successful relaunch that continues to this day.
I expect that’s what we’ll get once Metal wraps. From a macro standpoint, a lot of what Metal is about is reintroducing forgotten or misbegotten DC characters and concepts. Specifically, the publisher is putting a lot of stock in rebuilding Hawkman in a white-hot spotlight, in the hands of its two most popular stars — Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo — and reminding fans just what made him soar. They’re not going to just drop that when this is over. (My hope is Lemire, one of comics’ best writers, will take the reins full-time next year. It’s an excellent pairing of character to creator.)
But some fans don’t need to be reminded of how cool Hawkman is. Take Tim Board, who is the internet’s — and therefore probably, the world’s — biggest, most knowledgeable Hawkman aficionado. He runs the vibrant Hawkworld Facebook group, which you should join here, as well as an active Twitter feed, which you should follow here.
Tim wrote a piece recently that laid out exactly why Hawkman matters so much to him. I found it genuinely moving because his points are universal. When he says Hawkman, you’ll think of your favorite character. Thing is, though, you’ll be struck by how much he loves this second-tier superhero in particular.
Tim readily agreed to allow me to publish his piece here. He even selected the 13 superb covers you see spread out across this post.
With Metal hitting this week, the timing is perfect. And hopefully all this augurs, dare I say it, a new life for Hawkman:
By TIM BOARD
Sometimes I’m asked why I spend so much time on something like Hawkman, a comic-book character some would call “second-tier.” Why bother with a character that doesn’t have its own comic, TV show or movie? Why bother with a character that has been killed off in practically every storyline during the past decade?
I’m just like everyone else. I work a full-time job. I have a wife and two kids. I have my own share of physical problems just like anyone else. There are good times and there are bad times. Sometimes I feel tired, dead, purposeless and empty. I have experienced death in my family, humiliation, helplessness, and despair at different times during my life. Sometimes it’s just a struggle to get up in the morning and make it through the day.
But I do try to think of the positives when I can and be thankful for what I have. I’m thankful for my wife who loves me despite all my flaws. I’m thankful for my two kids who give me joy and challenges daily. I’m thankful I have a roof over my head. I’m thankful that someone thought enough of me to give me a job and actually pay me for it. Having a family and a job is never easy, but I’m thankful for the sense of belonging and achievement that it gives me.
But sometimes I need a break. I need a place where I can set all that aside just for a bit and enjoy something I call my own. If I stayed in that place all the time, I would be a failure as a husband, father and friend. But sometimes I just need to close the door, get into my personal place and recharge. And one of the places I do that is Hawkman.
This half-naked, mace-swinging, sometimes-reincarnated-Egyptian-sometimes-alien, fictional, “second-tier,” often misused or ignored character has made my heart beat faster ever since I first saw Neal Adams’ picture of him as a 13-year-old boy.
The character has never ceased to fascinate me: What would it be like to be Hawkman? What would it be like to fly like that? What would it be like to swing a mace like that? What would it be like to fly alongside Superman and Green Lantern? What would it be like to have a partner like the beautiful Hawkgirl?
Ever since I “met” Hawkman, he has given me dreams. The image of Hawkman and his character in the comics quickens my heartbeat. He invigorates me. It may sound silly and a bit ridiculous but that’s the truth of it. I think every superhero fan can say the same thing.
Just for a little while, for a short time when I can, I want to live through the character, to feel that powerful, to have that freedom of flight, to feel that confidence of overcoming all odds, and to have that unwavering conviction of doing what’s right no matter what.
When I open up a comic book, I’m not just reading about Hawkman. I AM Hawkman. It probably sounds silly to some people and maybe they’re right. But this winged character makes my life that much more exciting and fun. It gives me something to look forward to. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. That’s why I spend so much time on Hawkman.
Since I was a boy, I have been flying with Hawkman. And I expect to be flying with him for a long time to come.
— 13 COVERS: A Salute to Murphy Anderson’s HAWKMAN. Click here.
— 13 Colorful — and Often Weird — HAWKMAN Designs. Click here.