“[Metal] has really elevated Carter Hall/Hawkman (Katar Hol), and brought him back to the DC universe in an [exciting] way,” Venditti told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “That’s really what Bryan and I’s vision for the series is, as well.”
Hawkman is one of DC’s most classic characters, first appearing in “Flash Comics” No. 1 in 1940. But despite over seven decades of comic-book, animated and even live-action television appearances (in the CW’s “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”), his mythos is not as well known as that of DC’s famed trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. You might remember the distinctive look and the wings, but what about Thanagarian culture, Nth metal and the character’s famed reincarnations?
“Hawkman is a foundational character in the DCU. Over time I think he’s lost some of that central importance to the DC universe, and we really want to bring that back and make him a marquee character,” Venditti said. “And to do that, we’re going to take him to a lot of unexpected, unexplored places and introduce a lot of new mythology for the character.”
Hawkman, Venditti says, has been chronicling history through his time as an archaeologist and through multiple reincarnations that have made him experience almost every time period imaginable.
“The biggest question mark he has when we open up this series is about himself. He has now become his own greatest adventure,” Venditti said. He’s been “unlocking his own deep past, his own origins, his own mythology and discovering things that he has not known up to this point, and the reader will very much be swept along in that mission of discovery and exploration along with [Hawkman].”
Hitch respects the long history of Hawkman and considers legendary comic book artist Joe Kubert to be the greatest artist to ever draw the character. Hitch also admits that despite Hawkman’s comic book longevity, he hasn’t had as many definitive runs as DC’s other major heroes, which leaves room for him to add to the mythos with his pencils.
“The Winged Man is such a significant and powerful image in myth and legend. That’s exactly the element Hawkman fits best. It’s such a unique image to play with from the Bird of Prey to the Angel, the winged man is genuinely awesome in the truest sense,” Hitch said. “Carter [Hawkman] is the DCU’s greatest warrior, but he’s also part of its secret history. All of that gives you such a rich visual tapestry as an artist to play with.”
Hitch has spent most of his three decades drawing comics working with teams or group books. He most recently was drawing and writing “Justice League” for DC. Hawkman will be a chance to primarily focus on one hero.
“That changes the way you think about a page or a panel,” Hitch said. “It certainly makes the work quicker, having fewer characters or elements in each scene, but it also allows for you to make the character the absolute focus of each scene, page or moment. It’s a different process and, hopefully, will gives us some striking visuals that focus solely on Hawkman. Those wings need a lot of room.”
Fans who grew up with the “Justice League” cartoon and are more familiar with Hawkgirl needn’t worry. Venditti says she is indeed a part of the story he and Hitch are crafting, but don’t expect a love story just yet.
“She’s as foundational to the concept really in a lot of ways that Hawkman is,” Venditti said. “Now how we’re going to do that is hopefully going to be set up in a way that will surprise some people. Even when she’s not there on the page, she’s still there in terms of what we’re building and how we’re working towards it.”
Central to this new “Hawkman” series will be a hero who has seen it all but still isn’t close to knowing it all.
“As much as he knows and as much as his experience with his many lives has brought him, he’s about to find out that he knows a very small piece of the story,” Venditti said. “There’s a mission he has to fulfill, and if he doesn’t, it’s going to have implications not just for Earth, but for the wider DC universe.”
As for Hawkman’s legendary destructive mace, it’ll be there from the beginning.
“Mace action,” Hitch said, “will be swift and merciless.”