Art by Prentis Rollins

Jul 14, 2018

The History of Kalmoran

   “Kalmoran!” In Hawkman Vol. V No. 2, Carter Hall found himself back in time, fighting Prince Khufu, one of his former selves. Towards the end of the fight, for a reason he didn’t know, Carter uttered the word “Kalmoran” and Khufu immediately stopped fighting. With one word, Khufu realized Carter was not his enemy and even helped him out by telling him where a map was hidden. So, what is this word “Kalmoran?” Long-time Hawkfans will know the meaning of the word but let’s look back and remember what, or rather, who Kalmoran was.
From Hawkman Vol. V No. 2 (September 2018)

The first appearance of Kalmoran is in The Brave and the Bold No. 43 (released June 1962). Katar Hol is remembering when he was 18 years old and the Man Hawks attacked for the first time. In one panel we see the Manhawks stealing the statue of Kalmoran, a bearded man in a chariot. The Thanagarians referred to him as a folk-hero.
From The Brave and the Bold No. 43 (Aug 1962)
We do not learn much about him until Timothy Truman’s Hawkworld. In this series, young Katar Hol idolizes the hero and wishes for the time when Kalmoran was the leader of Thanagar. Kalmoran statues are all over Thanagar and Katar even wears a miniature Kalmoran figure around his neck.
From Hawkworld Vol. 1 No. 1 (Aug 1989)
During a hunting trip on Kalmoran Island with Shayera Thal (Hawkwoman/Shayera Thal’s mother), Katar tells her the story of Kalmoran.
“He was born on these islands when Thanagar was just a Polaran slave world. They say he lived much of his life as a slave. One day, he killed his keeper and ran away. When he returned it was at the head of an army—three thousand strong. His army stormed the Polaran garrison, took their ships, and struck the the Polaran slave worlds. Planet by planet he razed the entire Polaran homeworld. He had no interest in ruling the Polaran worlds but they knew that he’d do what he could do to keep them safe. So he came back here and built a beautiful city. And one day, when he was very old, he came back to these islands with the woman he made his queen. He laid back in her arms and the cool grass and looked upon all he’d built. And then he died.”
Map of Thanagar by Timothy Truman
Katar eventually becomes disillusioned about Thanagar and gives up his admiration for the Thanagarian hero. But all through Hawkworld Vol. 1, Kalmoran’s statues are often seen. It seems that he was a man who wanted peace, but he had to become a warrior to free his people.
From Hawkworld Vol. 1 No. 1 (Aug 1989)
Kalmoran is also mentioned in JSA No. 25. The Hawkman villain Onimar Synn makes his first appearance in this series. Onimar Synn was the most powerful of the seven demons of Thanagar. He tried to take over the world, but Kalmoran defeated him and imprisoned Synn in a vault of Nth metal. After millennia, Synn escaped but was defeated again, this time by Hawkman and Hawkgirl.
From JSA No. 25 (Aug 2001)
So now we know who Kalmoran was, but how does this tie into the new Hawkman series? I’ll have to admit I pretty much did a backflip when I saw Carter mention Kalmoran’s name. It was also very interesting to see Prince Khufu’s reaction to that name. Onimar Synn said it was millennia, which would make Prince Khufu older than Kalmoran. So that would mean that Synn was just being vague about how long he had been imprisoned, or the hero who freed Thanagar was not the first time Kalmoran had appeared.
Could it be that one of Hawkman’s former lives was Kalmoran? When writer Robert Venditti described the character of Carter Hall, he mentioned that Carter Hall is a man who avoids conflict and is not one to throw the first punch. But he will be a guy who throws the last punch. So in other words, he is a guy who wants peace first and foremost. But he’ll go into battle if he has to.
The statue of Kalmoran also seems to signify a desire for peace. His outstretched left hand reminded me of a statue in Nagasaki, the city where the second atom bomb fell in 1945. There is a park in Nagasaki called the Peace Park and in the park there is a giant statue that expresses the Japanese people’s desire for peace and also a warning about war. The statue is massive, standing almost 10 meters (32 feet) high. The right hand is pointing up like Kalmoran’s spear, warning the people of nuclear weapons, and the left arm stretches out just like Kalmoran to signify eternal peace. It did not occur to me then, but when I read Hawkworld again, the statue of Kalmoran reminded me of the meaning of the statue in Nagasaki.
The Peace Statue, Nagasaki / Kalmoran from Hawkworld Vol. No. 1 (Aug 1986)
I mentioned that experience to say this; Carter Hall/Hawkman seems to be a hero who wants peace more than anything. His friendships with people all over the world seem to prove that. In the past, we’ve had a hero who was punch first, ask questions later. He was a hero who was often covered in blood (his and someone else’s) and angry more often than not. He was a man who chased his friends away. But now it seems we have a hero who is nothing like that. We can see that as he tries to fly away from the Wingor in No. 1 and then Prince Khufu in No. 2. There seem to be a lot of similarities now between Hawkman and Kalmoran than there were in the past.
Where is Venditti going with “Kalmoran?” It could be some sort of trigger word that ties all the Hawkman over time and space together. It could be that Kalmoran was one of Hawkman’s past lives. What if the hero who liberated Thanagar was actually Hawkman? How cool would that be?! Whatever the case, I think we’ll be seeing Kalmoran again. Maybe many times. Definitely something to look for in the upcoming issues. 
From Hawkworld Vol. 1 No. 3 (Oct 1989)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tim, I love your posts. I was reading through Brightest Day, and discovered in #8 that in the Hawkworld dimension, there appears to be a statue of Kalmoran. The lion mane tribe claim these statues are of men whose 'names are lost to the ages' teasing the audience.
    I think this shows that Johns was hinting that Kalmoran lived in this dimension between Earth and Thanagar. Furthermore, since Hawkman as a character is constantly pulled between these two worlds, I love the idea that Kalmoran was Carter in a previous life.
    Let me know if you think that statue was in fact Kalmoran :)


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