Venditti Aims for ‘Easily Understood’ Hawkman Mythology in New Series
While Aquaman is arguably the most oft-maligned superhero in the DC Universe, his publishing history has gone swimmingly compared to how often solo titles starring Hawkman as the headliner have sunk to the bottom of the Seven Seas.
DC looks to buck this trend with a brand new Hawkman series taking flight this week and they’ve turned to the steady hand of fan-favorite writer Robert Venditti, who delivered an epic run with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps over the past six years, following in the footsteps of DCU heavyweight Geoff Johns.
Venditti is joined on Hawkman by superstar artist Bryan Hitch, who has enjoyed recent success writing and drawing Justice League for DC after critically acclaimed and commercially successful runs on game-changing widescreen series like The Authority with Warren Ellis and The Ultimates with Mark Millar.
CBR connected with Venditti to discuss his take on Hawkman, and he shared some important details about his upcoming run — including how Hawkgirl, Atom and Gentleman Ghost may feature in the action. Venditti also teased an impending threat coming to the DCU, and that developing an arch-nemesis for Carter Hall is also part of the plans.
CBR: I saw a tweet from Bryan Hitch that has me — if I wasn’t already — absolutely psyched for Hawkman. How jazzed are you to be working with Bryan Hitch on Hawkman?
Robert Venditti: I couldn’t possibly articulate how excited I am to be working with him. Beyond his obvious skill as an artist and a visual storyteller, he’s just a great guy. He’s a really good guy and it’s been great getting to be friends with him. I sit down before I do every single issue, and even before I start writing down my notes about what’s going to happen, I really challenge myself to really try and come up with something that he hasn’t drawn before whether its settings or the type of battle. It really drives me and challenges me to get outside of my comfort zone and dig deep. And then when I see what he does with the art and as he’s drawing, new inspirations will hit him and he’ll email me and say, “I’m in this scene. What do you think about this?” And it’s always great. He’s inspired by some of the ideas that I’ve had, and then when he comes back with ideas or I see the finished art, it inspires me to bolder and better. It’s a very back and forth style.
I couldn’t be happier about what we’ve got going here. There’s already a lot of art that exists beyond the art of the first issue. And it just keeps continuing to build. His abilities as a storyteller or so great. And he’s so well-suited for something that blends cosmic and earthbound storytelling as Hawkman does. The story is in the sky, but it’s also on the ground. It’s also in the present and the ancient ruins. He’s able to do all of those things with such skill and such creativity, I am just so excited for people to see these issues when they come out.
Famously, I think Aquaman is the most maligned big-name DC comic book superhero, but the man who speaks with fish actually has enjoyed way more solo series success than Hawkman since they both debuted in the 1940s. Why do think Hawkman has struggled to headline his own solo series?
I don’t know. I’ve read a lot of Hawkman stories, probably 200 at this point, and I am still in search of reading others. Part of it could be that whereas with Alan Scott and Hal Hordan, they were very different versions of Green Lantern with different names and different high concepts, with Hawkman, you had Carter Hall in the Golden Age, who was a reincarnating Egyptian prince who was reincarnated as an archeologist named Carter Hall and then you had Katar Hol in the Silver Age, who was a cop from the planet Thanagar, who comes to Earth and ends up assuming the identity of an archeologist named Carter Hall. [Laughs] I think it got a little bit confusing.
For me, as I was reading the character, I loved Carter Hall and I loved Katar Hol. I loved all of it. So I wanted to find a way that didn’t use one at the expense of another or ignored one in service of another. I wanted to find a way to unify it in a way that is simple, easily understood and incorporates all of the mythology and also expands on that mythology. And I feel like that’s what we’ve been able to do. My hope is that we take Hawkman for a character that goes back to the beginning of the DC Universe, and really the beginnings of the superhero genre but really hasn’t had his own series very often and really hasn’t been on the stands at all in recent years, and really return him to that level of prominence and that central position that he deserves to be in the DC Universe. This a hero who is the history of the DC Universe, so we want to make us of that and show him to be the essential character that he is.
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