Hawkeye: Where Do I Start?

In a team full of super-soldiers, mythological gods, mutants and technological wonders, Hawkeye is stand on his own in the Avengers with only his archery prowess to guide him. This summer he’s set to reach new heights in his career with his starring role in The Avengers played by Jeremy Renner, and they have a long and rich history to draw from to show how Clint Barton can stand apart. Not quite the patriot that Captain America is or the playboy of Iron Man, Hawkeye is known as someone unafraid to speak up, even against his team-mates. His approach has rang true over the years, and parlayed him into being one of Marvel’s most popular heroes and a in-demand member for various teams over the years.

Launched in the pages of Tales of Suspense #57 by Stan Lee and Don Heck as a reluctant bad guy under the wiles of then-villain Black Widow, Hawkeye stood toe-to-toe with Iron Man despite only having his skills and a few trick arrows against Tony Stark’s billion-dollar armor. Just one year later, Hawkeye was drafted into the Avengers by Captain America during the group’s first recruitment drive and insinuated himself into being one of the perennial heroes in Marvel’s flagship team. Over the years he’s moonlighted in other guises such as Goliath and Ronin, but he’ll forever be known as the bow-wielding warrior with a penchant for purple called Hawkeye.

You would thing for being an expert marksman it would easy to find his essential stories, but it’s not. That’s where we come in.

Avengers: Hawkeye: This hardcover collection is close to perfect when it comes to getting to know Marvel’s resident marksman. It includes everything from his villainous debut opposite Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #57 to several standalone stories from various Marvel anthologies that flesh out Hawkeye’s relationship with Mockingbird. But the big draw to this series is undoubtedly the 1983 Hawkeye series written and drawn by Mark Gruenwald. Gruenwald really understood Clint Barton, and narrows in on his inferiority complex and how that makes him compete to be a better here

Avengers: Hawkeye: Earth’s Mightiest Marksman: Working as a de facto sequel to the Avengers: Hawkeye collection, this tome collects Barton’s 1994 miniseries by Chuck Dixon and a young Scott Kolins, a rare late 90s one-shot and a story out of Marvel Comics Presents. The Dixon/Kolins series is the draw for this one, partnering Hawkeye with a werewolf to take on the Secret Empire (who recently popped up in Secret Avengers).

West Coast Avengers: Assemble: Largely considered an afterthought these days, in its time West Coast Avengers (or Avengers West Coast as it later became) was a unique series showing a different side of the Avengers franchise akin to the present day with New Avengers and Secret Avengers. This has Hawkeye and his new bride Mockingbird setting up stakes in California for their own branch of the Avengers, and seeing Hawkeye in a command position is a thing to behold. The series really plays up its second-tier status to the Avengers and has fun with that, fighting some odd villains like Spider-Man foe the Blank and Maelstrom.

Solo Avengers: Created in the 80s, this was another Avengers spin-off title that worked as a great spot to show solo stories with Avengers who couldn’t carry thier own series. Tom DeFalco and M.D. Brigh show up ready to work with the first arc, entitled ” The Way Of The Arrow,” it delves into the previously glossed over origin of Clint Barton and his archery ways under the tutelage of a man known as Trickshot.

Hawkeye: Blind Spot: The most recent book in our list today, this miniseries by Jim McCann and Paco Diaz puts Hawkeye in the most precarious position of his life: losing his eyesight.Weaving in moments from Barton’s past, Hawkeye is on the path of his mentor’s murderer. What he finds along the way are family secrets, another person vying for his name, and an unexpected tie-in to Hawkeye’s days with the Thunderbolts.



  1. By far my favorite Marvel character. Best as a team member or in his own mini series but not for an ongoing series.

  2. I haven’t read Avengers West Coast since I got the issues off the spinner rack. I have really good memories of it but wonder if it will hold up. I remember really loving John Byrne’s “Darker than Scarlet” (I think that’s the title) run about the Scarlet Witch. I just might have to dig out those old issues and re-read them.

  3. I’ve been waiting for this!

  4. So sad a character that has gone from villain to hero to West Coast Avengers chairman to Thunderbolts leader to NOT LIKE THIS! Now he is……a jerk in sunglasses. His development at one point was great and showed depth and the potential for comic book characters no matter their power set.Thanks to what I bet his role will be in the movie he is going to end up a glorified limo driver. This is what is driving me out of comics as a whole.Destruction of quality characters like this.

  5. Or, y’know, just read Green Arrow.


  6. he has a great side role in Old Man Logan too

  7. Has there ever been a Hawkeye vs Bullseye comic/series/one-shot? That seems like an obvious pairing. Maybe strand the two of them on a desert island where they have to use their archery skills to defeat a band of modern pirates or something…

  8. Love Barton since i’ve seen him in the avengers cartoon of the 90’s. Lately he’s getting recognition due to the movie but love him in ultimate marvel vs capcom 3 and the Avengers: Earth’s mightest heroes.

    Blindspot is my favorite run but good to know suggestions.

  9. I believe with every fiber of my being that Hawkeye isn’t going to make it out the other end of AvX.
    Think about it.
    This is exactly the kinda curve ball Bendis would throw at us. Not only would he be the only writer to write over 100 Avengers issues, but he’ll be the only one who’s killed Hawkeye twice!
    My reason for thinking this is in Avengers Annual #1 when We found out that Simon wasn’t actually “real” because he was brought back by Wanda. That was such an awesome moment.
    (sigh) I’m going to miss Bendis. But yeah, who else was brought back by Wanda in a mysterious way? A-huh.
    What do you guys think?

  10. Not digging the current characterization, but it sure seems like an editorial mandate to return the character to his stage of development circa 1966, in keeping with the character I’m sure we’re about to see in the movie.

    I liked that Hawkeye, and I get the fact that sometimes you need to circle back for the new readers, but after so much personal growth it’s just painful to watch.

    I hated Avenging Spider-Man #4 because of it.

    I’m as willing as the next guy to see continuity stirred up a bit, but in the case of the current portrayal of Barton: