Are we just gonna stay like this forever Floating, I’m serious My heart is furious ‘Cause I’m so confused when we’re together Feels like I’m choking, these emotions I know I’m gonna let you down So don’t hold your breath now, yeah Bittersweet in your mouth Can you stomach the doubt? I wish I could say what I’m feeling I’m scared to let these words out
Why the MCU missed the boat when it came to marketing Hawkeye...
Much like many other Hawkeye fans, with each and every new Marvel movie that is released, we hold our breath and hope that our favourite bandaged, broken badass will actually be allowed to come out of his shell and be, well, HAWKEYE.
He’s gotten a lot of flack as a character, usually due to his stiff, stoic, far-too-serious portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But I came up with ten reasons why Marvel and Disney REALLY missed the boat when it came to marketing Hawkeye, and why he could’ve been just as popular and well-loved a character as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and all of the other characters that are branded as the “real Avengers”, whilst poor Hawkeye and Black Widow are typically removed from merch and ignored by the marketing department.
01: HE’S A DISABLED SUPERHERO. The first thing that really interested me about Hawkeye, and the thing which upset me the MOST when it wasn’t included in the MCU, is the fact that Clint Barton is almost COMPLETELY DEAF in both ears. In Earth-616, he’s been deafened several times over, having it surgically fixed on one occasion and having special hearing aids constructed by Tony Stark on another. It baffles me why Marvel and Disney wouldn’t want to promote a deaf superhero to children who may also share the same disability and would take great solace and comfort in seeing a badass superhero with the same affliction as them. Here’s to hoping Clint comes too close to a violent explosion in Civil War…
02: HE’S HUMAN. My second favourite thing about Clint Barton as a character in a setting such as the Avengers team is the fact that he is absolutely, unapologetically, unashamedly, 100% HUMAN. There is nothing enhanced or supernatural or magical about him, he doesn’t rely on a high-tech exoskeleton or technologically advanced suit – he’s just a normal dude who happens to be able to keep pace with superhumans, legends, and gods due to his incredible archery ability. And not just keep pace – unlike in the movies, in the comics Clint is an essential and critical member of the team, despite the fact that he’s not in any way special. If that’s not inspiring to the everyday person who feels like they can’t accomplish anything compared to their friends, I don’t know what is.
03: ARCHERY IS REALLY, REALLY HOT RIGHT NOW. The Hunger Games, Arrow, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Tomb Raider – archers are sexy, and pop culture is LOVING them. I never really understood why Marvel chose not to push their own badass bow-slinger given the reception received by DC Comics’ Oliver Queen and District 12’s Katniss Everdeen.
04: HE’S AN ABSOLUTE SCREW-UP. The hardest thing to get through to people who have no idea who Clint Barton is beyond Renner’s reluctant, rigid acting is that Hawkeye is NOT a character who stands on a rooftop as a silent, deadly badass, shooting off arrow after arrow with a stoic face behind his sunglasses. Hawkeye is the most self-sabotaging, hapless, ridiculous, damaged, broken fuck-up, who spouts cocky one-liners and does his best to make it through life in one piece. Who can’t relate to a character like that?
05: HIS NEWEST COMICS HAVE GARNERED A LOT OF ATTENTION. Matt Fraction’s work writing for Hawkeye, particularly in alliance with David Aja’s artwork (which captured and reflected Clint’s personality PERFECTLY), has really put the kooky superhero on the map as one of Marvel’s best. Don’t believe me? Go buy Hawkeye: My Life As A Weapon, read it, and get back to me!
06: HE RESPECTS HIS TEAMMATES, REGARDLESS OF GENDER. In the world of Marvel comics, Hawkeye rises to the task of training, coaching, and sometimes even acting as a personal therapist towards many of the new recruits to the Avengers. He’s a staunch supporter of Captain America, and would follow him to the ends of the earth. But one of the best relationships Clint has is with his sidekick Kate Bishop, whom he worships and respects for her skill despite the fact that she’s much younger and much less experienced than he is. I am praying that the Russo Brothers give Clint a bit of a mentor role with the newbies in Civil War and touch more on what we saw between him and Wanda Maximoff at the climax of Age of Ultron.
07: HE’S BEEN INVOLVED IN ACTIVISM FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS… KINDA! If you’re a comic book fan who believes in equality between the sexes, and you’ve never heard of The Hawkeye Initiative, you need to check this shit out RIGHT NOW! In order to combat sexism in the way female superheroes are drawn and portrayed, artists across the Internet have been redrawing the ridiculous poses women are often drawn in (usually a butt-shot), but replacing the heroine with Hawkeye instead. This has given Hawkeye more of a reach than people think, as most Internet-goers who know their memes will have heard of him before even if they aren’t an Avengers fan.
08: HIS MOUTH. Hawkeye is one of the mouthiest Marvel characters (Deadpool aside, obviously), but I suppose it’s hard to find time for the side characters to act as they normally would when all of the funny moments, comic relief, and good witty one-liners are given to The Only Four Avengers Disney’s Marketing Department Thinks People Are Capable Of Caring About. Blah.
09: HE HAS THE BEST SIDEKICK EVER. If you don’t know who Kate Bishop is and you like strong, independent, badass female superheroes, you’ve been missing out and a Google search or a trip to the comic book store is very much in order. Kate spends most of her time (when she’s not helping run the Young Avengers) running after Clint, telling him to stop being a screw up, saving him from various bad guys, and assisting him more like a PARTNER than a sidekick. He even let her keep his name, figuring she was badass enough that she’d earned it – you gotta love a guy without an ego complex! I’m still hoping Kate Bishop will eventually show up in the MCU… and that she isn’t destroyed in the same way Clint was.
10: WE’VE ALL BEEN CLINT BARTON BEFORE. While a lot of us can empathize with Tony Stark’s self-destructive tendencies, or Bruce Banner’s anxiety and rage issues, I firmly believe that Hawkeye is the type of character who, if given a proper and equal shot at the silver screen, could capture the hearts of children and adults everywhere for one simple reason: we’ve all been Clint Barton before. We’ve all been a self-sabotaging, hapless, ridiculous, damaged, broken fuck-up at some point in our lives, and this charming, sweet, cinnamon roll of a character is exactly what we need to remind ourselves that while we aren’t in any way perfect, while we are flawed and broken and are struggling to get through life, that’s okay. Because even without superpowers, you still matter. You’re still important. You’re still a superhero!