Matt Fraction Deploys HAWKEYE for Real-Life Sandy Relief


Marvel's Hawkeye is a comic book about what a superhero — specifically, Clint Barton of the Avengers — does when he's not being a superhero. Turns out, he can't stop doing the right thing, even if it's on a much less grander scale than cosmic entities and time-traveling tyrants.

In January's Hawkeye #7, real-life devastation enters the Marvel Universe as both Clint and series co-star, Kate Bishop (a Hawkeye in her own right), deal separately with Hurricane Sandy as it affects the fictional Atlantic Northeast where so many of Marvel's characters reside. The issue is replacing the previously solicited Hawkeye #7 (now #8), and while Clint and Kate are doing good in the comic, the book also looks to help victims of the storm in the real world, as writer Matt Fraction has pledged his entire royalty check from the issue to the Red Cross.

Newsarama talked with Fraction about the issue, its two artists — Steve Lieber and Jesse Hamm — and how both his fans and detractors alike can support a good cause by picking up a copy.


Newsarama: Matt, how much of a challenge has it been, logistically, to change course with the Hawkeye schedule fairly late in the game, to fit in the new issue #7? It's relatively rare to see something like that happen.

Matt Fraction: All praise be to [Marvel senior editor Stephen] Wacker on this. I just kind of asked if we could do it and he was the one that had to make the pieces fall into place.

It's amazing. It's an amazing thing that he's made possible. And Steve [Lieber] and Jesse [Hamm] and Matt [Hollingsworth] and Chris [Eliopoulos] have all stepped up, and we all understand what we're doing — we're dropping a book into our production pipeline going into the holiday. It's crazy. But some people still don't have power, so it ain't that bad.

Nrama: Right, which is what makes the timing of the issue notable — often when a tragedy like this happens, there's naturally a heavy amount of news coverage and awareness at first, and then it drops off, and people assume that help isn't needed anymore — and that's clearly not the case.

Previous <b>Hawkeye #7</b> cover (now #8). Previous Hawkeye #7

cover (now #8).

Fraction: One of my friends still doesn't have power. I have friends who have been delocated, and will not be able to return home for literally months. Imagine going into the holiday and not being able to be in your own home.

Nrama: So the issue will be out in January?

Fraction: Yeah, it'll be out middle/end of January. And we have two issues coming out before that, so we'll basically have three issues coming out in eight weeks.

Nrama: And in terms of the structure of the issue itself, it's two stories, right — one focusing on Clint Barton, and the other on Kate Bishop?

Fraction: Since the book has a focus on the two people that share the name Hawkeye, and it was way easier to get two guys to draw 10 pages than one guy to draw 20 in the time we had available, it made sense to tell two stories.

I sort of noticed the other day that the magic of Hawkeye is that they are all very simple stories that I then go out of my way to tell in a very complicated manner. This is like that. There's a storm coming, and Clint goes to Far Rockaway to help a guy that lives in his building evacuate his dad who doesn't want to go, and Kate has a social event in Atlantic City in the boardwalk that she can't get out of, and she has to deal with Hurricane Sandy in four-inch heels and a formal gown.


Nrama: Even though this issue wasn't planned far in advance, it seems to fit in perfectly with the series, based on the more grounded stories you've been telling.

Fraction: It's the small ball book. I wanted to tell the story about a regular guy that couldn't stop being a better man, and this is just another one of those stories. If there hadn't been a Hurricane Sandy, I still could have done this story in Hawkeye and it would have made total sense for the tone and the timbre of the book.

It occurs to me now that if I had told a Hawkeye story where Queens and Atlantic City get devastated by a flood before Sandy, it would've been unbelievable.

But it was inspired by the heroism of real people, and stuff that was actually happening, and the amazing reports coming out, in real time, as the hurricane was hitting — nurses keeping hearts beating, neighbors rescuing one another, firefighters fighting fires in chest-high flood water. It seemed the least I could do to contribute in my way.


Nrama: And you're also contributing by donating your royalty check from the issue.

Fraction: Here's the spiel: Every issue of Hawkeye is self-contained, pretty much. Hawkeye #7 could have very easily been our first issue. I wanted to help the book, I wanted to draw attention to our book, and I want a lot of people to read it, and I want to write for a nice, long time on it, so I'm putting my money where my mouth is and giving all of my incentives to the Red Cross, earmarked for Sandy relief and recovery. If you are on Team Hawkeye, or if you're Hawkeye-curious, contact your retailer and have them hold you a copy — don't count on getting one off of the rack. Let them know you want one for the numbers to really count. The number they need is NOV120725 [final orders due Jan. 7].

If you like the book, if you're into the book, and you're a fan — pick up an extra copy, and give it to somebody who doesn't read it, maybe. Try to get somebody else into the book. Buy one and give it to a literacy project, who knows, whatever you want to do with it. And if you hate the book, if you hate me, and you hate my stuff and you want to punish me, then by all means, order 10 copies of the book, and know that I'm going to be writing a big-ass check because of your brilliant scheme to make me pay for all of my transgressions.

It's for a good cause. You can buy this book and help it while, in a demonstrative and literal way, help people, with actual literal money. How great is that?

Hawkeye #5 cover.

Nrama: The artists are both new to the series, and though fans are already familiar with Steve Lieber, Jesse Hamm is a new name. Like you and Steve, he's another Portland guy, right?

Fraction: Yeah, and Jesse's a local Portland guy, too. Steve and Jesse were the first two people we went after, the first two people we asked, and they said yes right away. I'm a fan of both of them, but having them both be in Portland, I figured with things going so fast and so crazy, that worst case we could just get together, and help with whatever. 

They're local guys I've loved forever. Jesse's illustration work online I think is fantastic, and his comic stuff is great, and it looks amazing so far.

Nrama: It's interesting to see other artists come on the book, because very early on, David Aja has established such a clear, distinct visual style — obviously Javier Pulido has a unique take in his own right, but the art in #4 still fit in the same milieu.

Fraction: You can see what Steve did — he very clearly took the visual tone of things that David established and honors it, but completely makes the book his own at the same time. It all fits together; it's all of a piece.

Hawkeye #7 is on sale Jan. 30, 2013, with a final-order cutoff date of Jan. 7 (Diamond code NOV120725).

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