Once the most laughed-at Avenger, the archer known as Hawkeye is now next in line to continue Marvel’s series of small screen heroes. Fans are dying to know what’s in store for Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and his new protege (Hailee Steinfeld) and there’s nowhere better to look for answers than the comics.
Though the series will surely lift most of the material for the show from the 2012 Hawkeye comic by Matt Fraction and David Aja, I have compiled below all of Hawkeye’s most important comic book stories to get fully acquainted with before the show premieres on Disney+ on November 24.
Tales of Suspense #57 (1964): the first appearance of Hawkeye
In the early ’60s, Iron Man and Captain America shared stories in a comic called Tales of Suspense. The two costumed Avengers eventually got their own titles, but in an early Iron Man issue, Tales of Suspense #57, Tony Stark faced off against a new foe: Hawkeye.
Yes, created by Stan Lee and artist Don Heck, Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, was originally introduced as an antagonist. Hawkeye attempts to become a crime fighter, is misunderstood by the police, and then tries to defeat Tony Stark in order to impress Black Widow (who was also a villain at the time). Read it here.
Avengers #16 (1964): Hawkeye joins the Avengers
Later that same year, in Avengers #16 (1964), Hawkeye tells Iron Man that he was just trying to become a crime fighter like him, and that his relationship with the Black Widow was short-lived.
Hawkeye asks to become an Avenger, and after the group thinks it over, he joins the second lineup of the team alongside Captain America, Scarlet Witch, and her brother Quiksilver. Read it here.
Avengers #19-29, 57-68, 89-100 (1964-1972): Hawkeye’s storied tenure as an Avenger
For the next decade, Hawkeye is part of the Avengers team, taking part in various colorful stories against classic villains such as Kang the Conqueror, Ultron, the Skrulls, and his mentor the Swordsman.
For a time, Hawkeye even takes up the mantle of Giant-Man from the original Ant-Man, calling himself Goliath.
Tony Dalton, best known for his role as Lalo Salamanca from Better Caul Saul, will play Jacques Duquesne , a.k.a. the Swordsman, in the MCU’s Hawkeye series. Read Avengers here.
Hawkeye #1-4 (1983): his first solo title
Written by Mark Gruenwald, Hawkeye received his first four-issue miniseries in 1983. He teamed-up with Bobbi Morse, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who goes by the name of “Mockingbird.” As the two enter into a romance, they try and take down Crossfire, an ex-CIA marksman turned criminal.
Mockingbird was portrayed by Adrianne Palicki in the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where a prior relationship with Hawkeye was replaced for one with fellow-agent Lance Hunter. Read Hawkeye here.
West Coast Avengers #1-4 (1984-1889): Hawkeye forms his own team
After the success of Gruenwald’s Hawkeye miniseries, Marvel sent Clint Barton and his new romantic partner, Mockingbird, to the West Coast to lead a new branch of the Avengers.
Forming his own team, the West Coast Avengers team included Wonder Man Simon Williams, Tony Stark’s sidekick James Rhodes in an Iron Man suit, femme fatale cat-woman Tigra, and later Scarlet Witch and Vision.
The four-issue miniseries led into a full title that ran for 47 issues, ending with the “Vision Quest” storyline from West Coast Avengers #42-52, which the MCU paid homage to in WandaVision with the inclusion of the All-White Vision. Read the miniseries here, and the continuing West Coast Avengers comic here.
Hawkeye is killed right before Infinity War and Civil War, missing the event both times
When Thanos acquires all of the Infinity Stones (called Gems in the comics) and snaps his fingers erasing half of all life in the universe, Hawkeye is sadly one of the erased heroes.
Unlike his role in the MCU’s Infinity War, which is based on the Jim Starlin story The Infinity Gauntlet (1991), Hawkeye is blipped out of existence and misses the entire fight against the Mad Titan, coming back once Thanos is defeated.
Later in 2005, Marvel’s Civil War erupts, which was partly adapted into the MCU film of the same name. Despite Hawkeye joining Captain America’s side in the film, Hawkeye is actually accidentally killed by Scarlet Witch just before, in a story titled House of M. Scarlet Witch’s disruption of reality in House of M was partial inspiration for WandaVision, but the story could continue to prove as semi-borrowed material in her role still to come. Read House of M here.
New Avengers #26-31 (2004-2007): Hawkeye adopts the guise of Ronin
When the events of House of M are reversed, Hawkeye returns to existence with no memory of his life. He and Scarlet Witch have a brief and awkward romance in the pages of New Avengers #26 while he searches for meaning and comes to terms with his second chance at life.
Meeting Echo, an assassin who can mimic the actions of any foe she sees in action (much like the villain Taskmaster, who made an appearance in MCU’s Black Widow film), Hawkeye takes up the guise of Ronin and later rejoins the New Avengers team.
Hawkeye’s Ronin guise was paid homage to in the MCU’s Avengers: Endgame film with Hawkeye’s black suit and edgy haircut, as well as the marketing joke throughout Infinity War that Hawkeye was nowhere to be found after Civil War.
Hawkeye goes on various other adventures during this time in Marvel Comics history, such as kicking off Marvel’s second Civil War and briefly taking up the shield to become Captain America, but very briefly. The run was written by Brian Michael Bendis, who would go on to create characters such as Jessica Jones and Miles Morales.
In the upcoming Disney+ Hawkeye series, Maya Lopez, a.k.a. Echo, will be played by Alaqua Cox in her first major role as an actress. Read New Avengers here.
Young Avengers (2005-2006): introducing Kate Bishop, the next Hawkeye
In the background of the MCU’s recent Disney+ television series, Marvel has slowly been hinting at various Young Avengers team members.
In WandaVision, we were introduced to Scarlet Witch and Vision’s children, Billy and Tommy (who grow up to become Wiccan and Speed), and in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we met Elijah Bradley (who becomes the Patriot), the grandson of Isaiah Bradley, the first Black Super Soldier.
Other team members include the half-Kree/half-Skrull Teddy Altman, Ant-Man’s daughter Cassie Lang (who will be featured in the MCU’s Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania film), and the next Hawkeye: Kate Bishop. Read Young Avengers here.
Hawkeye (2012-2015): the Hawkeye team-up sure to be featured in the Disney+ series
Teaming up for a 22-issue series, Kate Bishop and Clint Barton, back in his role as Hawkeye, go on various missions together for what will presumably make up for most of Marvel’s Disney+ Hawkeye television series.
Kate Bishop is set to be played by Hailee Steinfeld, with Jeremy Renner returning as Clint Barton.
The two heroes, and Clint’s dog Lucky (who will sure have an impact on viewers), learn from each other as they take down various villains including Madame Masque and the Circus of Crime. Kazi, a clown-faced mercenary in the series, was announced as one of the antagonists of the Disney+ series, portrayed by Irish theater actor Fra Fee.
Written by Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, their Hawkeye series won an Eisner Award (which is kind of the EGOT for comics), and won fans over with exceptional art, design, and story. If there’s any one Hawkeye story to read, this is it. Read it here.
Tales of Suspense – Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier (2017): Another fun team-up
Though not an essential Hawkeye story, a quick five-issue miniseries in 2017 paired Hawkeye up with the Winter Soldier as they track down Black Widow, believed to be either dead or A.W.O.L. Both heroes are also former flames of the female Avenger, and are secretly hoping to win back her love as well.
Heartwarming and comical, the sometimes silly short story was presumably partial-inspiration for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier show title, as well as the idea of partnering up two buddy-cop-like heroes for a short-lived televised adventure. Read it here.
Hawkeye (2016-2018): Kate Bishop’s solo adventure
Moving to Los Angeles, like Clint Barton did in the ’80s to start the West Coast Avengers, Kate Bishop starts up “Hawkeye Investigations” under the tutelage of Marvel P.I. Jessica Jones.
Written by Kelly Thompson, the series delves further into Kate Bishop’s family, her battles with Madame Masque, and her relationships with mentors Jessica Jones and Clint Barton.
While the Hawkeye Disney+ series will most presumably take its look and story from the 2012 Hawkeye comic, most of Kate Bishop’s character will no doubtably be sourced from Thompson’s run, which you can read here.
Marvel’s Hawkeye premieres on November 24 on Disney+.
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