Art by Adam Kubert

Mar 1, 2021

Why Hawkman Matters (Revised)

Art by Adam Kubert, Background added by Tim Board

In August of 2017, 13th Dimension posted my article titled "Why Hawkman Matters." Since then, we had a great Hawkman series by Robert Venditti but sadly, it ended last year and Hawkman and Hawkwoman are once again homeless. But being comicless has never stopped me from being a Hawkfan before, so there's no reason to quit now! I used to post this on the first day of every month, but I haven't done it in a while so here's an updated version to "Why Hawkman Matters." You can read the original article here.

Why Hawkman Matters.
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 has struggled in continuing his own series? Why bother with a character that has been killed off in practically every storyline during the past decade?
I have my own reasons, but I think everyone can relate to what I feel. I’m just like everyone else. I’m just a normal guy who works a normal job for a living. 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 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. Reality hits you hard sometimes and we all have to find a way to deal with the problems that we face every 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. I never forget that there are people who have helped and supported me to get where I am today.
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.
Art by Prentis Rollins

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 discovered him over 40 years ago.
Back in 1977, when I was about 13, without much interest in comics and on a search for something about Shogun Warriors, I found the 1976 DC Calendar in the marked-down bin at a Pic-N-Save in Jacksonville, Florida. The year 1976 was over so it was marked down to about 50 cents. I didn't buy it (I so wish I did) but I had no money at the time and my mom was in her "don't even think about asking for anything" mood, so I had to pass, but I remember flipping through it and seeing that Neal Adams/Dick Giordano picture on the back. This was the picture that got me hooked on Hawkman. The other heroes were cool, too, but the image of Hawkman captured my imagination. The wings, the harness, the flying, and the helmet were so awesome.
Back cover of the 1976 DC Calendar, Art by Neal Adams and Dick Giordino

This triggered my interest in comics. So I started getting into it, but I discovered Hawkman did not have his own comic. The only place I could find him was in the Justice League so I bought every JLA comic I could get my hands on, even though he wasn't a main character. My second favorite hero was Green Lantern. He was in the JLA, was on the Super Friends, and had his own comic (with Green Arrow). We had this empty shed next to our house which was my JLA headquarters. When I played superheroes, I usually played Green Lantern because I was more familiar with him.

Showcase No. 101, Cover art by Joe Kubert

But then one Saturday, right before my 14th birthday, I ran down to the Seven-Eleven as I always did to check out the new comics, and there it was; Showcase No. 101. The cover had Hawkman in front, flanked by Hawkgirl and Adam Strange. In my humble opinion, it is one of the greatest comic book covers I had ever seen. My attraction to Hawkman hit me all over again. This hero was SO COOL! The wings, the mace, his partner, Thanagar, just everything about him was awesome. The Showcase issue reminded me and renewed my fascination with this awesome character. I still have that 3-issue series today.

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?

From the Superman/Aquaman Hour, 1967

Art by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez

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 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.

Art by Bryan Hitch

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. I’ve been flying with Hawkman for over 40 years. And I expect to be flying with him for a long time to come.

Art by Neal Adams

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