A post from my defunct Marvel blog, part of a series detailing books that I had worked on that I still liked despite the fact that they were not terribly commercially successful.
Continuing with this week’s theme, today’s Comic I Don’t Apologize For is the HAWKEYE solo series by Fabian Nicieza and Stefano Raffaele.
At the time, I remember that many of the complaints about this series revolved around the fact that Hawkeye was out of costume throughout most of the early issues, and that it was a very down-to-earth story. But the book was produced during a period when Marvel was at its most dogmatic in terms of trying to produce titles that could be picked up, understood and enjoyed by the average man on the street, and given that starting point, I think this series worked out fine. I liked the benevolent everyman quality that Fabian gave Clint Barton–the fact that we’d see him travel from place to place, always stopping to give somebody a ride or help a stranded motorist change a flat tire–and I liked the fact that, at least at the outset, the story had a certain seedy noirish vibe to it, which I thought suited the character’s carny background well. And I liked the notion of the “Hawkeye-cam” shots, where we’d see how, even without a bow and arrow, Hawkeye could strategize and set off a Rube Goldberg-esque chain of events, bouncing item off of item off of item, to achieve a result he wanted.
I do wish we’d had more time to get the series up and running, though. Because of a title shortfall, we had to launch a couple of titles well and truly under the gun, and HAWKEYE was one of them. The first few covers could all have stood just a bit more tweaking–this first one is a perfectly nice painting by a then-young Paolo Rivera, but looking at it, I feel like it could have been snapped into focus with just a little bit of minor work on it. But we simply didn’t have the leeway.
Of course, all the people who hated this book and hoped it’d be canceled also tended to be among the fans who were upset when Hawkeye was killed off a few months later. Proving that you can get what you want, and still not be happy.