Graphic Novel Recommendation: ‘Hawkeye’ by Matt Fraction, et al.

This Thanksgiving, Disney+ is set to drop the first two episodes of their newest Marvel television show, ‘Hawkeye’. The show is a loose adaptation of Matt Fraction’s 2012-2015 run on the comic book series, ‘Hawkeye’.
In this series, Hawkeye (a.k.a. Clint Barton) is a bit different than the character we know from the films. He’s more of a shaggy dog type — down on his luck, living in a run down apartment building in NYC, caring for a one eyed dog while fighting an endless string of random fistfights with various members of the local Russian mob. He’s still an exceptionally talented archer battling crime in a superhero outfit, only now his outfit is a wrinkled mess and he’s usually sporting a black eye. Or two.
Think: James Garner in ‘The Rockford Files’ or Elliot Gould in ‘The Long Goodbye’.
If you’ve seen the trailer for the Disney+ adaptation of ‘Hawkeye’, you’ll have no doubt noticed he’s got a young woman shooting explosive arrows alongside him — and that she is also calling herself Hawkeye. This Hawkeye is Kate Bishop, an equally talented archer, only with a MUCH more eager approach to crime-fighting and superheroics.
This unwanted and unexpected partnership has two equal yet opposite effects on Barton. 1. It makes him kinda old man cranky. Seeing as how he hadn’t realized he was an old man yet, that makes him doubly cranky. 2. It reignites a fire under his quiver, inspiring him to do more, do better, and to properly train this new Hawkeye for a life of shooting boxing glove arrows at ne’er do wells. It’s the classic comedic pairing of opposites, and the results are hilarious.
When it comes to comics, good writing is only half the equation. The art is equally important. And in ‘Hawkeye’, the art is phenomenal — stylish, minimalist, and often using only one or two colors to accentuate the thick, black linework. The first 11 issues are drawn by David Aja, and he is clearly having fun, designing clever panel layouts that sometimes read like those little maps in the old ‘Family Circus’ comic strips, and sometimes read like full-blown storyboards for big budget action flicks. The result is something akin to a New Yorker cartoonist adapting ‘The French Connection’.
So now you’ve got a decision to make. Do you patiently wait week to week to watch the story unfold on TV, or do you embrace your inner Veruca Salt and scream, “I don’t care how, I want it now!”?
If you’re the Veruca Salt type (spoilers: you are), have I got good news for you! Matt Fraction’s entire run on ‘Hawkeye’ comic book series has been collected into four graphic novels, and they’re all available as both old-timey paper versions AND as free ebooks. You can either request them for pick-up at your local library (we have ’em all at the main branch of the Falmouth Public Library), or visit Hoopla and read them there!
Hoopla links:
(reviewed by Josh M.)

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