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Friday, June 08, 2018 

Hawkman's continuity wouldn't be so complicated if Robert Vendetti knew where the problems began

In this Comics Beat interview with Robert Vendetti, who's now writing a new Hawkman story, they bring up what's been know since the 1990s as the Winged Warrior's confusing history, and he doesn't seem to realize where it actually started:
Hawkman has a complicated history (to put it lightly). Of all superheroes, his continuity is notoriously difficult to make sense of. Did you find that you needed to willfully ignore pieces of his backstory in order to create a coherent version of him for your book?

I mean, I knew that going in. I’d always heard those kinds of things about Hawkman. I wasn’t familiar with the character a lot from firsthand reading experience. But I knew that the character sort of had that reputation. To me that was one of the appeals of working on the character, which I know may sound crazy, but I think I’m a good puzzle piece writer. And by that I mean that I’ve had some pretty crazy puzzles dumped onto my desk and I’m proud of the way I’m able to organize things and find stories and find ways to make sense of it all. That’s just kind of the way my mind works. So tackling a character with a continuity like that, I liked the idea of that challenge. And as I was reading the character and doing the research, I kind of formed my initial ideas on what my direction would be and how I would bring a lot of the elements together under one umbrella. I didn’t really want to do it at the expense of, like I was saying earlier, you know… choose ‘A’ and throw out ‘B’, or choose ‘B’ and throw out ‘A’. I kind of want to take ‘A’ and ‘B’ and find a way to make a ‘C’ and make it all go together. Now having said that, there’s certain things — and again I haven’t read every single appearance of Hawkman or anything like that — but you know there’s always going to be things in comics that don’t necessarily line up. In the same way that Dick Grayson is a grown adult Nightwing now, but Batman’s still kind of the same age that he was when Dick Grayson was a kid, you know? Those things I think are always going to be there but for the most part I didn’t want to go in looking at cutting out large sections in order to make my idea fit. I wanted to see what the character had and see how I could make all of it kind of go together.
At least he gave an idea why he's clueless to how Hawkman supposedly got such a muddled continuity...but it doesn't sound like he's properly researched where it all began - with the 1989 Hawkworld miniseries - nor does he seem interested in tracing back to that point and clearing away some of what came since if that would clear things up best as possible, because that's what I'd want to do, and not have to act like successive writers should be saddled with later storylines like trying to explain away the Hawkman who appeared in Giffen/deMatties' Justice League books as an imposter Thanagarian. The following also strikes me as silly:
But would you say that the “DC Rebirth” banner gives you creative leeway to rewrite some of that if you want to? Like could you say (for example) that Zero Hour didn’t happen because we’re in Rebirth now?

I don’t know if that’s so much true. I think for me the biggest opportunity really came from Dark Knights:Metal. With what happened in Metal and the expansion of Hawkman’s history much farther into the past than what we had known to that point, which you know his origin was in ancient Egypt with Prince Khufu. Well Metal took that much farther — thousands of years beyond that into the past. I really saw that as an opportunity to just have this wide open canvas. That’s a lot of lives. Where has he been during that time, what has he done, what would he remember, what would he not remember? As someone on Earth, as a human, how would his brain even try to process and make sense of all of this, which is counter-intuitive to the way humankind operates? To what extent has he been an unreliable narrator of his own life, and what are the mysteries that he would harbor, and how and to what extent is he really the living, historical document of the DC universe? If you know what I mean. The DC universe has been around a really long time and he’s been there since the dawn of man, so — more so than him even being an archaeologist and preserving history in museums, he is that history. And to what extent can we take that idea of him being the “living, historical document of the DC universe” and really build that out, and not just add to his own mythology and reveal secrets about his own mythology, but do those same things for the wider DCU as well?
Let's see if I have this right. He thinks it takes a crossover to suddenly erase certain aspects of continuity, and can't do it individually like Marvel once did with some of their heroes, which worked better and was tidier? Whether at DC or Marvel, anybody who thinks only a crossover can validate the chance to rework continuity for the better is a laughing stock. The only thing holding back chances to make improvements for the better is the editors and their mandates.
I assume we’ll be seeing Kendra a good bit in this series. Right?

Absolutely. Yeah. It’s something that we’re certainly focused on and we have a lot of discussions about. We want to build toward it and make it something that’s impactful when it happens. We didn’t really want to enter the series with just this assumed relationship, you know? But Kendra’s also showing up elsewhere in the DCU, and there’s some very exciting things that are going to be happening that I encourage people to follow her character and read about. But it is something that we do want to do and we are very focused on it. But I also think it’s kind of nice to have the two characters stand on their own and operate on their own before we see who they are together.
If he intends to use Kendra Saunders and not Sheira Sanders, that's another problem I see here. In hindsight, I can only conclude Kendra was created to serve as an early example of SJW-pandering before it really became a problem (she was of mostly Latina/mixed descent), and reincarnating Sheira in the body of a character intended merely for that purpose doesn't mend a shoddy error made during Zero Hour, when Sheira was killed as the Golden/Silver Age Hawks merged into one bewildering entity with wings that could grow out of the back. I've thought about this, and it's still pretty apparent DC's stuck on their own form of social justice pandering. At least today, they can no longer do it stealthily. IMHO, Sheira should not only be brought back, but it should be in her own body, and with brown hair, as she usually had when first debuting in the Golden Age. These dumb social justice tricks have got to stop.

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  • I'm Avi Green
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