Hawkeye's in the top 10 of my favourite characters ever, maybe even top 5 on a good day. Why's that? Hey, thanks for asking.
Well, he's the original unrepentant loveable lunkhead, isn't he?
He's dumb, sexist, petulant & loudmouthed, and is constantly trying to punch above his weight, but has a true heart of gold underneath all the bluster. He's your best drinking buddy, who just happens to be a superhero.
Even when he started as an Avenger ( after a brief stint as an Iron Man villain ), he knew he could do a better job than Cap.
And that time he beat Ol' Shellhead in The Avengers / Defenders war?
Boy, did he dine out on that.
And then, of course, there's his success with the ladeez...
I didn't even mind when he shook off the quiver and became the second Goliath ( remember, there has to be at least one giant-sized hero at Marvel at all times? )
'Cos, y'know, he was still the same old dumbass underneath...
There's any number of great Avengers stories with the ace archer, but I think this issue of The Defenders shows admirably just why ol' Clint is one of the great Marvel characters. In this issue alone, he manages to annoy Subby, come on to Valkyrie and get his ass handed to him on a plate by The Hulk. And then amazingly proves himself to be the most adult, responsible member of the team. ( Ok, not difficult in The Defenders, but still )
Because the Avengers movie is as magnificent as it undoubtedly is, I didn't mind too much that Jeremy Renner wasn't quite the 'real' Hawkeye.
He had the skills and the moves, if not the attitude, and I get that there wasn't time to give him a full introduction as a character, but appreciated the fact that he started the movie as a villain, just like 'our' Hawkeye. Would'a been nice to hear a ' Holy Spit! ' or ' Tell it to the rubes, pal ' though.
For the next best thing, check out this fun web sketch show: Avengers Assemble The Series.
There's quite a few episodes on youtube, but this one is all Barton: The scripts could occasionally do with a little tightening, but this guy absolutely nails Hawkeye!
The Steel Claw is one of the great British comic strips, of any era, mostly because of the incredible chiaoscuro art of Spanish genius Jesus Blasco. The Steel Claw originally appeared in 148 issues of venerable British weekly Valiant, and was Louis Crandell, a lowly lab assistant who'd had his hand replaced, even before the story started, by the titular talon.
When the story starts proper, Crandell gets into ANOTHER accident in the lab, and is electrocuted, causing him to gain the power of invisibility for as long as the charge holds. To become completely invisible, that is, except for his Steel Claw!
Driven insane by his new powers, it's safe to say he doesn't immediately go down the hero route.
For the first serial at least, Crandell is a cowardly psychotic, threatening to blow up New York, and generally behaving like his direct inspiration, H.G.Wells' original Invisible Man.
But the strip became so popular, he just had to become a good guy
( though is still clearly more than a little screwed up, like all the best British comic heroes ) and eventually turns into a secret agent, and then into a sort of superhero.
Actually, even as a kid, as much as I loved this strip, I always had the creeping thought that it probably wasn't the best role model for kids. Never mind getting his powers via electric shock, in order to continue using his powers, he has to get MORE electric shocks!
So Crandell is always climbing up electricity pylons or breaking into power stations to spark himself up. Not the best message for his young fans, methinks...
Anyway, here's the first part of a classic tale from the secret agent days of the strip, where our slightly unsettled hero goes to Wales for a relaxing holiday. And has to fight off an alien invasion.....
It sort of reminds me of an old episode of The Avengers, but without the gags, with creepy goings on in an isolated village. There really should've been a b/w Steel Claw TV show in the late '60's, shouldn't there?
By the way, I've cheekily ended this at a suitably cliffhanging bit, so let me know if you want the second half!
I'm a writer and cartoonist, responsible for ' The Infernal Gods Of Electric Disaster' & ' Essential Showcase Presents: Stan & Jack ' ( both available on Lulu ), along with the odd thing I've done with old pal Sean Phillips.
I think the 1970's was the best era in comics' history. And I can prove it...
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