I think I’ve mentioned previously… comics have never really been my thing. I like movies based off comic books just fine. I dig superheroes but, for some reason, the actual format of comic books and graphic novels has never really done it for me… At least not as more than a one off thing here and there. (I mean… everyone read Watchmen after the movie came out, right?)
I did buy the Buffy comic books (soooo shark jumpy) and Firefly/Serenity comics (amazing attention to character voices and story) because I was in love with those characters and craved more stories. It was still never an obsession.
However, a whole reason for doing this blog was to dive into new things and, when the Geek Girl Illuminati meetup in January had us meeting at Challengers Comics in Chicago, there was no way to leave without picking up a couple of recommendations.
According to the women of the Geek Girl Illuminati, Hawkeye is one of two comics that the women all agreed are “gateway drugs” to the world so I picked up volume one, devoured it and picked up number two.
As an aforementioned “Person Who Is Not Into Comics,” I had no idea what to expect from this superhero story. From the movies, I knew Hawkeye was a very human super shot with a bow & arrow and that’s about it. These stories revolve around his humanity. The comics are about Hawkeye when he’s not being an Avenger. You can take the Avenger out of the Avengers and he’s still going to be… avenge-y(?).
I loved the color pallet of this comic. The artwork manages to be both detailed and scaled back. The dialogue is witty. The characters have rich history but you can dive in with minimal knowledge and enjoy yourself.
While volume 1 sets up the characters, volume 2 really hit some high points. My personal favorite was an entire segment of the story told from the perspective of Lucky aka Pizza Dog. It’s an unexpected and brilliant storytelling device for a quite sad moment in the storyline. I also loved that it took me a couple pages to realize exactly what I was reading. It forced me to start over and re-examine every detail once I figured it out but I was by no means bitter about that. I had been flying through and not fully taking things in and I loved that the comic hit the brakes on me.
One of the great things about picking up volumes is the added content that gets included. Notes and letters from the creators, early sketches and alternate covers are often added bonuses. In the case of Hawkeye, there was an entire walk-through of how the art was drawn and colored and it was easily as interesting as the stories themselves. As a total comic n00b, I really appreciated that insight and followed each page with the artist notes, flipped back to the section they highlighted in context and garnered an entirely new appreciation for something that I had almost no knowledge.
Hawkeye is, indeed, a gateway drug into the comic world. Great storytelling, funny and visually interesting, I look forward to picking up the next volumes and wholeheartedly thank all the people who recommended I pick up this series!
Next up… Saga! What should I read after that? I’ve been told The Wicked + Divine. Or maybe Sex Criminals. I’ll take all your recommendations. ALL OF THEM! 🙂
**I didn’t link to a site to buy these because, frankly, you shouldn’t buy them online. Go support your local comic shop. They’ll carry them. They’ll think you’re pretty cool for buying them, too.