For being known as a straight-shooter, Clint Barton’s personal life is anything but – but that seems part of his charm.
This week Marvel launched a new series titled All-New Hawkeye, taking the Avengers archer – and his co-star and other Hawkeye, Kate Bishop – into a new series. Created by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Pérez, the new series looks to capitalize on the success of the original Hawkeye series but create some of its own magic.
Lemire tells Newsarama that he was apprehensive about taking on the series after Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu’s run on Hawkeye, but says that a story idea popped in his head that, according to him, “wouldn’t let me go.”
Newsarama talke with Lemire the morning of All-New Hawkeye #1’s debut, getting into the life and times of Clint and Kate, his previous run on another famous archer, and following up after the other Hawkeye series even though it hasn’t even finished its run yet.
Note: Mild spoilers for those who haven’t read All-New Hawkeye #1 yet.
Newsarama: Keff, you’ve been at DC for some time now. How did you get the All-New Hawkeye gig at Marvel?
Jeff Lemire: I'd been exclusive with DC for about four or five years and my contract was coming to an end. I decided not to renew it so that I could spread out a bit and try some new things. I enjoyed my time at DC. Dan Didio, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee were great to me, and I'm very grateful for the opportunities they gave me. Having said that, I think it's important to try new things and work with new people to keep myself fresh.
Axel Alonso called when I made it known I was no longer exclusive, and offered me Hawkeye. I initially said no and intended on waiting for something else, because Matt Fraction and David Aja's run was so amazing and so celebrated. I hated to try and follow that, but then I got an idea for a story that wouldn't let me go. So I took the gig.
Nrama: Due to some unforeseen delays, Fraction and Aja's Hawkeye series won't reach its finale until after All-New Hawkeye debuts today. What are your thoughts on that?
Lemire: Well, obviously it's not ideal for either Matt and David or for Ramon Pérez, Ian Herring and I, but it is what it is. I'm sure they would like a clean finish as much as we would have liked a clean start. But these things happen. It's my job to write the best book I can each month and hand my scripts in. Everything else is beyond my control. At the end of the day, our story and theirs really stand alone from one another, so I don't think it's that big of a deal, especially when these stories are collected one day, no one will remember shipping dates, etc.
Nrama: Getting into the series itself, you’re no stranger to writing fan favorite characters, from Animal Man, to Green Arrow. What sets Clint Barton apart for you?
Lemire: It's really the relationship between Clint and Kate and also Clint and Barney that interest me the most. And I fully credit Matt, David and Annie Wu for developing that so beautifully. I am also fascinated with Clint's childhood and his upbringing...his road to becoming Hawkeye is something that I was particularly drawn to and interested in exploring more. Especially contrasting that with Clint and Kate now.
Nrama: Let’s talk about Kate, the other Hawkeye. How does she fit into the puzzle here?
Lemire: Kate is an equal partner in every way. She is the co-lead of the book. The story may start out a bit more Clint-focused, but it will quickly become clear that Kate is just as central to things. I'm interested in her evolution and growth as both a hero and as a person. We will see Kate take steps further out of Clint's shadow here, in fact he may end up taking second seat to her soon.
Nrama: Fraction’s run saw Clint and Kate going up against some pretty unorthodox enemies and challenges. We’ve got a glimpse of Hydra this week in the debut, but what else will they be up against?
Lemire: I don't want to spoil that. We saw Hydra in #1 but they are by no means the only antagonist. And, to me, Clint is always his worst enemy anyway.
Nrama: All-New Hawkeye is one of the last titles launching before Secret Wars kicks off. How do Secret Wars and Hawkeye work together?
Lemire: Secret Wars will not affect All-New Hawkeye.
Nrama: Matter of fact. Moving on, bow that you’ve written both Green Arrow and Hawkeye, what would you say is the biggest difference between the two?
Lemire: Oliver Queen is was born into wealth and privilege and could never live up to the legacy of his father. Clint was born in rural America, his parents died when he was young and he grew up in foster homes and later in the circus. He is a self-made man, whereas Ollie is always struggling to live up to pre-conceived notions of what he can/should be. He let that define him.
I think being an archer is much more integral to Green Arrow and his mythos than it is to Hawkeye. For Clint archery is more a means to an end.
Nrama: And since you’ve got such a close relationship with comics biggest archers, I have to ask, have you ever shot a bow or do you plan on trying it at some point?
Lemire: My son has a Nerf bow. Does that count?
I would love to learn archery. Unfortunately I'm too busy writing and drawing ten thousand comics a month. Maybe one day!
Nrama: One thing you do know about is working with Ramon. What’s it like, as an artist yourself, having Ramon on the other end of your scripts?
Lemire: Easy as hell. He is brilliant. He makes me look smarter than I am. And Ian Herring is great too. They are doing gorgeous work on this comic. And we're all from Toronto, which makes life easy. We can actually meet now and again to discuss the book.
Nrama: With things running so smoothly, what has been your favorite aspect of writing All-New Hawkeye so far?
Lemire: Injecting some of my own childhood and rural upbringing into Clint's story has been great. Making it personal for me. And I love writing Kate and Clint together. Their chemistry is so much fun.
Nrama: So where will that chemistry lead them next?
Lemire: Frogs. Trouble with S.H.I.E.L.D. Arguments. Babysitting. Circus and swordsmen. Heartbreak and some really beautiful artwork by Ramon and Ian.