by Deane & Rod
In our brain-busting fifth installment, our intrepid customizers team up once again, to battle the dearth of Hawk-related figures in DC Universe Classics!
ROD: ….Aaaaaaannnnnnnd, we’re back.
DEANE: If there was ever a definition of “teeth-pulling”, then it must be me taking half a year to oblige Rod Keith this article.
ROD: To be fair, usually I’m the one catching up to Deane.
DEANE: I blame the Modern Age Hawkman.
ROD: He confounded you with his continuity. Or, to be more precise, his “confusity”. Hawkman is no longer just one character, or even an Earth-One and an Earth-Two version. Over the years his backstory has been twisted, abused, destroyed, reconfigured, botched, bewitched, bothered, and bewildered, especially in the last 25 years.
Crisis basically confused everything when the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman interacted with the post-crisis Superman in 1987, but then the 1989 Hawkworld miniseries rebooted the Hawks to have first appeared in modern times. As Mark Waid said, the simple addition of three words at the beginning of that mini: “Ten Years Ago…” would have prevented all problems. But no… since then Hawkman has been a difficult fit into continuity, with several different versions, finally leading to Geoff Johns rebooting the character in 2002 and doing his damnedest to make everything work.
DEANE: As a lad, I was not only a devoted fan of Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert’s Thanagarian Warrior Katar Hol, but a steadfast enthusiast of the Retired Winged Wonder from the Justice Society, Mr. Carter Hall. I could identify the era of Hawkman battles by the style of his winged helmet. I could speak both “sparrow” and “egret”. I knew exactly what the hammer of Thor looked liked. I was a Hawk bad-ass.
I still can’t explain the Modern Age Hawkman. He’s the reincarnation of the Justice Society Hawkman re-born on the Justice League Hawkman’s home planet of Thanagar. He has all the memories of both Hawkmans, and it turns out a bunch of other past-lives, too.
ROD: Johns, for all his untangling of knots, couldn’t help adding his own complications– Hawkman is also the reincarnation of several historical DC heroes, including the Silent Knight and Nighthawk… but anyway.
DEANE: In each of these lives, Hawkgirl is the love of his life, except for his current life, in which Hawkgirl committed suicide and doesn’t love him. Hawkgirl and the Modern Age Justice Society (now the “JSA”) fought to re-incarnate Hawkman.
ROD: I’m with ya so far…
DEANE: Their reincarnated son (The Justice Society Hawk-people, not the Justice League Hawk-people, who, with the wisdom of the Thanagarians, were a dual-career couple that never had children), the Silver Scarab, who died, is now re-incarnated as the Modern Age Dr. Fate (who has since died and another person is the More Modern Age Dr. Fate), warns his father that if his mother returns his affections (Hawkman’s, not Dr. Fate’s), they will both die.
ROD: Don’t forget to mention that Hector Hall was also Garrett Sanford’s replacement for the 70’s Sandman! That is, until Neil Gaiman 80’s Sandman came along and made him dead again.
DEANE: Uh, yeah. Thus, Hawkman leaves the JSA and Hawkgirl to serve on the Justice League. Not taking any hints (and because no one told her about the love/death thing), Hawkgirl quits the JSA and joins up with Hawkman on the Justice League. Then they both die.
ROD: Yay, Blackest Night! So classy…
DEANE: I don’t think they fell in love with each other before they died. Now they’re back again. I’m not sure anything changed, though. Their son is still dead.
DEANE: Yup. That’s the Modern Age Hawkman. Is it a wonder that there isn’t a DC Universe Classics Modern Age Hawkman?
ROD: Well, this is the reason I’m going with Golden Age Hawkman. Screw that crazy continuity! Let’s keep it simple and go back to the Golden Age. When he had a simple life and a simple look. Well, two simple looks. Uh, okay, at least three simple looks. But I’m only going to go with the best two! I’ll skip the First Appearance Hawkman, where the Hawk mask basically sits on his head like a Sunday bonnet. DC Direct actually did a good version of that already.
So, I’m picking the full Hawk mask with beak, which was his second major look, and the cowled mask which he work later in the Golden Age, and which returned in Gerry Conway’s revival All-Star Comics of the mid-1970’s.
With both, there is VERY little change for the body, so guess what? DCUC Hawkman from wave 6 works just fine. All that’s needed to be altered is the red circle, restored to a basic red, no hawk symbol. Easy. So all attention needs to be focused on the head.
A little more involved with modern Hawk…
DEANE: Yep. To add insult to injury, I fear that design sensibility flew out the window with the Modern Age Hawkman costume, as no three artists draw him with the same uniform. Let’s be clear, the differences between Justice League Hawkman and Justice Society Hawkman were esoteric to the Nth degree: one had a hawk symbol on his chest piece, the other didn’t. One wore the same helmet for 40 years, the other doffed different ones like neck ties. Yet, Modern Age Hawkman has burned through a collection of medieval weaponry, gloves, gauntlets, shields, knives, belt pouches, and bandolier accoutrements. This lack of design consistency, in the face of 60 years of stolid Hawk-uniforms couldn’t have helped the toxic swamp that has become the Battling Buzzard.
Nevertheless, I wanted to re-create the JSA when they fought to return Hawkman, so I based my build on his “first” modern appearance.
ROD: So, my first go is at the cowled look. take one Flash head, remove ear wings, re-sculpt with Milliput over the ears to recreate the ‘ears under the cloth’ look, then do some touching up on the pieces under the eyes. Prime, paint, add the little hawk on the forehead, and done! So easy, Mattel could do it!
Note that the mask goes partways down the neck, but doesn’t blossom into a full cloaking of the trapezius muscles. That was a later Silver Age invention, starting in the second JSA team-up in Justice League of America 37, and it continued getting longer to Wally Wood inking days. But Golden Age fidelity keeps it simple for this customizer.
DEANE: The first pass of work on my DCUC “classic Justice League” Hawkman was to cover the color changes- farewell to his time-honored red and yellow swim trunks, add a brown belt, and an all-orange helmet.
I then sculpted his costume additions- more pronounced, raised “talons” on his boots and golden bracers.
Both of these additions, plus a belt buckle, were painted gold.
And I painted his nipples.
ROD: I went for extra exposure on the second GA Hawkman. Because the first was relatively easy, the second I wanted a bit more value-add. I took a DCUC Superman head, cut away the spitcurl, resculpted the hair and painted it, to make a maskless Carter Hall. (Apparently now in the new continuity, his hair is darker, but in the 40’s it was blond, baby).
Then, add the plastic mask that came with the 2000 DCD Hawkman set, which fits snugly but perfectly– see, they did something right!–and I have a removable cowl Hawkman too, also accurate!
Extremely pleased with the way they both came out. The DCUC Hawkman has been one of my top figures that they’ve put out, and these really add glory to the JSA shelves.
This was right up MATTEL’s alley– a little paint and a swapped head. And BAM! Two more fan-craved figures!
DEANE: I find that I can’t read the JSA comic anymore, nor many Super hero comics for that matter. The Hawkman of my childhood was the cool-headed leader of the Justice Society. He beat the living shit out of Nazis with a big fucking mace. Hawkman loved Hawkgirl and that was cool with her.
ROD: We love Hawkgirl too. And they fly together.
DEANE: Looks like we have some more work to do…
Next up in ATOMIC 2ON1: HAWKAPLAOOZA II: ELECTRIC BUGALOO!
In the meantime, enjoy more pics…