Kate Bishop is on her own in the new ongoing series Hawkeye, and she's already got her "Archer Vision" eye ahead to her next adventure: a team-up with Jessica Jones.
With three issues on the stands and the current campus stalker storyline re-establishing Bishop in Venice Beach, California, Hawkeye has given readers a sun-soaked modern noir thanks to writer Kelly Thompson and artists Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire.
And as Thompson tells Newsarama, Bishop is already on her way in getting out from the shadow of Clint Barton (and the 2012-2015 Hawkeye run) and into establishing her own presence and her own rogues gallery.
Newsarama: Kelly, you're three issues into HAWKEYE. How has it been so far with you, Kate, Leonardo, Jordie, and California?
Kelly Thompson: To be honest it’s kind of a dream scenario across the board. Working on one of my favorite characters and getting to work again with editors Sana Amanat and Charles Beacham - and this incredible creative team - Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire. You sort of have to pinch yourself. I think for whatever reason, schedules in comics are always a little more pressed than we’d like, so we’d love to have a bit more time, but other than that it’s been such a joy to work with all these talented folks.
Nrama: This campus stalker case has put Kate to work. How did you come up with this as the inaugural arc, and what makes it a good kick-off for your larger plans on the series?
Thompson: The stalker case was one of the story ideas I had from very early on and as we were moving pieces around and deciding what should be our first story, that one kept coming back to the top as a favorite of both Sana’s and mine. It offered a really nice merging of both detective work and superhero action, and I felt I had something powerful to say within that narrative. It also just seemed like a great fit for Kate - that it’s the kind of case Kate would want to take on. As a bonus is also slots nicely into some of the larger plotting that we’re doing - the overall arc of this first year that we’re working toward.
Nrama: Classic superheroes are known for their rogues gallery - do you have plans to bring together one for Kate here?
Thompson: Definitely. I think it’s one of the key things we all look for when we hope for a good and well-built hero - we want to see how three-dimensional and viable they feel as a character - one that can go the distance. Rogues (and maybe more to the point, an arch nemesis!) are vital to fleshing that out, and we’re fully intend to continue building that for Kate. Picking up on some of what has come before and building it out in new directions.
Nrama: This lives in the shadow of Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Annie Wu's Hawkeye run - but there comes a point where you have to look forward more than back. How are you working at keeping this your own and innovating forward like you have?
Thompson: Yes, it’s pretty obvious there are very big shoes to fill here. Our Hawkeye is absolutely inspired by and informed by Fraction, Aja, Wu, and Matt Hollingsworth’s Hawkeye run, but we’re also trying to strike out on our own and do new things, to not be derivative in any way. Fortunately for me, right off the bat Leo and Jordie are just very distinctive artists with their own styles and voices and so what they bring to Kate is definitively different. I hope I’m bringing something new and different to the table too… but I’m less convinced of that then I am of how brilliant Leo and Jordie are!
Nrama: Speaking of shadow, Kate's in-story mentor Jessica Jones is coming in April's Hawkeye #5. How would you describe Kate and Jessica's relationship?
Thompson: Yes! I am so excited for that two-issue arc. It was daunting to write Jessica Jones, but once I found the groove for Jessica (and for Kate and Jessica together) it was a hell of a good time. For the most part I think Jessica sees herself as a mentor and a friend of sorts to Kate, but by the end of their time together, I think Jessica is more inclined to think of Kate as a colleague rather than protégé.
Nrama: Jessica has experience, but what does Kate have that Jessica doesn't?
Thompson: Jessica definitely has the experience and also the hard won cynicism and the great instincts about people and the brutal street smarts. Kate, it turns out, has a great observant eye, something she has used as Hawkeye and that is now proving helpful to her as a P.I. Kate also has plenty of bravado and charm (always useful!) and she never gives up in an almost reckless way. All things that serve her well.
Nrama: Leonardo Romero's done several comic books before this, but he seems to have come into his own here with you on Hawkeye. What's the 'inside baseball' talk you to have been having, if any?
Thompson: Leo is so gifted that there’s surprisingly little back and forth. I write fairly tight scripts to begin with and especially because Hawkeye is a detective story it has to fit together very precisely. But Leo’s instincts are so good and his choices so smart that there’s rarely much revision over the choices he makes. I also think we spent a lot of time in development on this book - things like figuring out the “Archer Vision” - how it would look and trying lots of different options to make sure we got it right. And all that time helped us really get on the same page tonally I think. The same for Jordie. We talked a lot about the tricky balancing act she had in front of her - giving us something modern and young and very “Venice Beach” while also heavily referencing old Hollywood detective noir. I think all those conversations really served to focus the vision of the book - and Jordie and Leo are just pure magic together in my opinion.
Nrama: How many issues do you think you need to write before a trip to Venice Beach for "research" can be a tax write-off?
Thompson: Oh man. I’d love that, to get to head back to L.A. for a visit. I actually lived in L.A. for more than five years, so I feel pretty comfortable capturing the general vibe. It’s been a hot minute since I lived there but I feel like I still know the heart of L.A. pretty well after my time there. Obviously our Venice is largely fictionalized anyway. Still, let’s change my answer to…”I think six issues”…so I can buy a plane ticket immediately. [laughs]
Nrama: We look forward to the vacation photos.
Big picture, what are your goals for Hawkeye?
Thompson: Best book ever? [laughs] I guess I just want us to be the best book we can be and for people (most people?) to love us. I feel like we have a very cohesive vision and Kate is a fantastic character that has so many stories inside her, so I’d like to keep writing them for a while. Like all good detective stories, there are a lot of fantastic layers to unravel here and I hope we get a chance to do that.