Hunter Gets Humbled In Old Man Hawkeye

 

by Vince Brusio

Marvel is taking its "Old Man" concept to the next level when writer Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto give us Old Man Hawkeye (NOV170921) from the House of Ideas next January. The book is a prequel, and it accentuates how father time is the greatest of villains. There is no beating father time. He always wins in the end. The best you can do is to have things wrapped up before he tells you that the watch has stopped ticking. The problem for Hawkeye, though, is that he’s a hunter. He’s not used to being hunted. Plus, his eyesight is beginning to fail him. And this makes Father Time’s deadline all the more unbearable.

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Vince Brusio: Ethan, tell us how you went about brainstorming for this book. What kind of target practice was going on in your head before you were hitting the bullseye? What was it like plotting Old Man Hawkeye #1?

Ethan Sacks: When my editor, Mark Basso, called to ask me if I wanted to pitch for a then-top secret “Old Man Hawkeye,” the gears started churning right away. It had to be a prequel to “Old Man Logan,” that much was clear, and from the beginning I was interested in exploring what it would be like for a marksman, one whose self-identity is wrapped up with hitting the target, to start to lose his eye sight. From there, it was a natural jump to the idea of him being on a ticking clock to right a four-and-a-half decade injustice before he went completely blind. And once a superhero thought dead resurfaces, well, someone is going to do something about it. As Hawkeye chases his targets, someone is simultaneously hunting him.

So much was improved during the brainstorming sessions with Mark and Axel Alonso. The main villain, for example, was largely Axel’s suggestion, which works so well slotted into the larger story. Sorry to sound so cryptic, but you’ll see what I mean within the first few issues.

Vince Brusio: Tell us about the psychology of this seasoned Avenger. Now that you’re in the driver’s seat for showing us how the hero thinks and acts, how does he see the world around him? How has his thinking changed from when he was a younger man?

Ethan Sacks: Hawkeye may have survived that brutal time when all the supervillains banded together to kill just about every superhero, but he’s definitely not unscathed. He’s never gotten over the survivor’s guilt, especially since he was left alive because the villain with the sword to his throat didn’t think he posed a threat with all the “real” Avengers gone. That’s a lot to live with. Whatever hubris, cockiness, he had as a young man is mostly gone. But fortunately his sense of humor and determination are still there.

Vince Brusio: They say time heals all wounds, but judging by Hawkeye’s appearance on the cover, some wounds haven’t healed. Or are these wounds relatively fresh? Can you give us a primer as to how Clint’s cup runneth over when it comes to the pain of old age? 

Ethan Sacks: He’s not as fast and he doesn’t heal as quickly as he did once upon a time. His biggest physical issue, though, is his failing eyesight with the onset of glaucoma. All of a sudden, he starts to miss – once unthinkable – and struggles to adjust. By the time we see him in “Old Man Logan,” he’s made peace with his condition and has found a cause to rally behind. But five years earlier, in our story, Clint has yet to find that peace. Not all the scars are physical, either. We’ll see more of his greatest failure: his damaged relationship with his daughter.

Vince Brusio: What can you tell us about the work that artist Marco Checchetto has done for this story? Have you seen any of the interiors yet? Were you giving any input during the pencil stage? What’s the nature of your relationship during production?

Ethan Sacks: It’s appropriate that Marco lives in Italy, the home of Da Vinci and the other artistic greats. Because of the geographical distance, our working relationship is done through emails, chains with our editors, but I get a daily installment of these stunning interiors in my inbox. My input is largely cosmetic, a detail here or there once in a while. Marco’s input in the story, meanwhile, has been essential and priceless. He designed all the characters, of course, but his biggest contribution has been to visual structure of the scenes. His choice of angles and expressions have given the drama so many extra layers. It’s like having Scorsese direct your script.

Vince Brusio: Why did you choose to write about Hawkeye when he’s no longer in the prime of his life? What do you want to accomplish in this series? What do you get out of it?

Ethan Sacks: Hawkeye has always resonated with me as a fan since my childhood. He doesn’t have the moral certainty of a Captain America or the powers to lean on of a Thor, but is as valued an Avenger as either of them. Somehow, he eventually hits his target. This incarnation of Hawkeye is even more special to me, especially as a 44-year-old father with parental insecurities raising a daughter. He's a walking midlife crisis that I found relatable. Some of my friends have jokingly started calling me Old Man Sacks!

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Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.

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