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Comic Book: Hawkman

Hawkman is one of the oldest of DC Comics' superheroes, having been created in 1940, during The Golden Age of Comic Books. He's also one of the most infamous cases of Continuity Snarl in the world of comics.

As originally envisioned, Hawkman was really archeologist Carter Hall, who discovered that he was actually the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince named Khufu, and that he had been murdered long ago by an evil priest along with the woman he loved. Furthermore, both the priest and his lover had also been reincarnated, and the former had now captured the latter! Arming himself with equipment found at a museum, as well as using an anti-gravity metal called "Ninth metal" (later renamed Nth metal) to fly, Carter created the costumed identity of Hawkman to go rescue her. She would later join him in his adventures as "Hawkgirl". Hawkman would also become one of the founders of the first superhero group, the Justice Society of America. As the only hero to appear in every single Golden Age JSA story, he was later retconned to be the leader of the group.

During The Interregnum, Hawkman's series, as with most other superheroes of the time, was canceled. During The Silver Age of Comic Books, he was reinvented, this time as Katar Hol, a law enforcement agent from the planet Thanagar (conveniently inhabited by Human Aliens) who came to Earth (along with his partner and wife Shayera) to study Earth's crimefighting techniques, and they assumed the identities of museum curators Carter and Shiera Hall. They also acted as superheroes (using their Thanagarian uniforms) and became known as Hawkman and Hawkwoman. They soon joined the Justice League, the modern version of the Justice Society, and even met the original Hawks during the League's team-ups with the Society (which was established as having existed in the parallel universe called Earth-2.)

(At around this time, Hawkman appeared on Challenge of the Super Friends. Since no one on that show was allowed to throw a punch, his prowess was portrayed as ... somewhat less than stellar. Basically, he could fly, and that's it — which for a super hero is like being able to tie your shoes.)

Up to this point, there was no real confusion over the Hawkman characters. It all started after DC decided to Retcon their universe with the Crisis Crossover called Crisis on Infinite Earths. All of DC's titles were supposed to undergo a reboot afterwards; but due to poor editorial overseeing, some titles were rebooted but others were not. The Silver Age Hawkman was reinvented as a Darker and Edgier character who had only recently arrived on Earth—but Hawkman was still supposed to have been a member of the League for years! They explained this by claiming that the winged heroes in the League were actually the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl (since all DC characters now existed in one universe) and, later, that a Thanagarian spy had joined the team as Hawkman.

When DC decided to fix its post-Crisis mistakes with another reality-changing crossover (Zero Hour) somebody came up with the idea of having the various Hawks... merged into a single being, known as the "Hawk-god". This idea was poorly received and his series was soon cancelled. DC was so desperate over the mess that they actually forbade anybody from using the character for years.

When the Justice League animated series was made, it was decided that Hawkgirl, rather than Hawkman, would be a member. A Hawkman expy, Hro Talak, was introduced in the series as her former lover and a bad guy! Even later, an actual Hawkman character (Carter Hall, following a variation of the Golden Age reincarnation origin) was also introduced in the cartoon.

Back in the comics, DC tried to exploit Hawkgirl's popularity by having (a variation of) her take over the new Hawkman comic book, but it didn't work and it too was soon canceled. Hawkman was finally brought back in the pages of the new Justice Society comic series, with a new origin that explains that both Khufu and his mate have reincarnated many times, including as Katar and Shayera.

In 2011, the entire DC Universe was rebooted, erasing all the history (good or bad) of most characters including Hawkman, hopefully ending the confusion for good. Hawkman had his own self-titled book, and Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders again) is featured in James Robinson's Earth-2.

Hawkman and Hawkwoman appear as members of the Justice League on the Young Justice series. Hawkgirl is a playable character in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Hawkman was also a recurring character in the late seasons of Smallville, played by Michael Shanks.


This character(s) provides examples of the following:

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Carter sometimes comes across as Indiana Jones crossed with Conan the Barbarian.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Shayera calls Katar "peacock". In return, Katar calls her "magpie".
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Kendra Saunders was half-white and half-Latina, in contrast to previous, white Hawkgirls.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The first issue of the Hawkworld mini-series begins with a hawk feeding a lizard to her babies. Then the mother hawk ends up getting eaten by a humanoid alien lizard.
  • Anti-Hero: Type III. Carter Hall is a well-educated, suave, intelligent, and otherwise nice guy to be around. Hawkman on the other hand fights like Conan the Barbarian, and is not especially careful about injuring his supervillains, which he is likely to do thanks to his enhanced strength and weapons. Still, Hawkman is a fundamentally good person, he just occasionally lapses at times. In Hawkman v4 it was a constant personal struggle between being a man who upheld the law and acting like the warrior of violent times he'd been in his many past lives.
  • Animal Talk: Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkwoman can talk to birds as a result of side-effects from using the Absorbascon. Unlike Aquaman, they can't command them but rather use them as spies and snitches.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The "Nth Metal" from which the Hawks' wings are made.
  • Archnemesis: Hath-Set to Carter and Shiera/Kendra.
    • The Gentleman Ghost is often Carter and Shiera/Kendra's archenemy.
    • Byth to Katar and Shayera.
  • Armed With Canon
  • Artistic License - Chemistry: Nth Metal (sometimes called "Ninth Metal")
  • Ascended Fanboy: Charley Parker, he became Golden Eagle.
  • Badass Bookworm: Carter Hall, an extremely intelligent archaeologist and historian, plus it helps to have several lifetimes of experience.
  • Badass Family: When his origins are clear enough. Basically every single person in his family is a superhero of some kind- except his grandson Daniel. Daniel is the incumbent Anthropomorphic Personification of stories and dreams.
  • Badass Grandpa: The Golden Age Hawkman, although when he finally comes back for good, he now has the body of a much younger man.
  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Betty and Veronica: Hawkgirl and Mavis Trent in the Silver Age.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Hawkgirl during Howard Chaykin's run on the character.
  • Blondes are Evil: Hummingbird
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Charley Parker
    • Averted with the Golden Age Hawkman, as Carter Hall was originally blond.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Hawkboy and his sister in The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
  • Canine Companion: In one issue, Shayera Hol has a pet poodle.
  • Captain Ersatz: The angel Zauriel was a stand-in for Hawkman in the League during the time the latter was not usable.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Or a falling Batmobile! (In an episode of The Batman.)
  • Category Traitor: Katar and Shayera (mostly Pre-Crisis).
  • The Chosen One: Hawkwoman in Elseworlds Legend of the Hawkman.
  • City of Adventure: Midway City, the second Hawkman's Earthly base of operations.
    • St. Roch, Carter Hall and Kendra Saunder's base of operations.
  • Continuity Snarl: One of the most drastic in the history of comics.
  • Cult: The followers of Thasaro. However, their god kills them because he does not like to be used.
    • Also the followers of Onimar Synn on Thanagar.
  • Dirty Cop: Virtually the entire Wingmen force (especially post-Hawkworld), except for Katar and (Depending on the Writer) Shayera Hol.
  • Doing in the Wizard : Reinventing Hawkman as a Sci-Fi hero instead of a supernatural one.
  • Drop the Hammer: DCAU Hawkgirl's primary weapon is an energy mace.
  • Eagleland: The Hawkworld comics tend to portray America in either Flavor 2 or Mixed Flavor, while Katar Hol (inspired by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution) embraces the Flavor 1 idealism and hopes Thanagar might follow the same example.
  • Empowered Badass Normal
  • Enemy Without: The Shadow Thief, in the DCAU version of Hawkman.
  • Exiled from Continuity
  • Expy: Hro Talak in the DCAU is basically Evil Hawkman. His name is even an anagram of Katar Hol.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Golden Eagle
  • Fiery Redhead: Hawkwoman
  • Flight: With artificial wings in the comics, and natural ones in the cartoon.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Count Viper switched bodies with Shayera. Then he used her body to switch with Katar's. Viper-in-Katar imprisoned him/her, while Viper's henchmen tried to rape him/her! Katar-in-Shayera kicked their asses and was reunited with Shayera-in-Viper. With the help of his mother, Katar, Shayera, and Count Viper entered the "spirit level" to fight each other, and returned back into their own bodies.
  • Fusion Dance: The Hawk God.
  • Genetic Memory: Nth metal contains the racial memories of Thanagarians, which they passed on to Carter and Shiera Hall.
  • Gentleman Thief: Gentleman Ghost
  • God Guise: In one issue, Katar Hol was mistaken for the god Horus.
  • Grand Theft Me: The spirit of Hath-Set, Carter and Shayera's worst enemy (the one who killed them in their first life in Egypt), can possess any of his descendants. Because his genes have had over five-thousand years to spread, that means approximately half of the human race.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: The Absorbacon
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Katar Hol and Charles Parker
  • Happily Married:
    • Carter Hall and Shiera Sanders
    • Katar and Shayera Hol (Pre Crisis)
  • Heel-Face Turn: Fel Andar
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Though Hawkman wants her even when she's not a redhead.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Charley Parker
  • I Believe I Can Fly: Flying is not the Hawks' only ability, but they're best known for it.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Charley Parker
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: Commissioner Emmett's pet bird, sent to Hawkman when he's needed.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Carter Hall, especially in recent years.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The Wingmen are known to be this.
  • King Arthur: One of his knights was an incarnation of Khufu/Carter as well.
  • Legacy Character
  • Legacy Implosion
  • Living Shadow: Shadow Thief.
  • Love Triangle: Katar/Hawkman, Shayera/Hawkwoman, and Mavis Trent
    • In recent continuity there was a bit of a triangle between Carter, Kendra and Roy Harper (Red Arrow).
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: In the DCAU, Hawkgirl is the mother of future hero Warhawk—but the father is Green Lantern John Stewart!
    • Fel Andar is Charley Parker's father.
    • Hawkgirl's mother is Queen Khea.
      • Shiera Sanders or Chay-Ara?
  • Magical Native American: Katar Hol and his human mother.
  • Mondegreen: Two characters with similar names: Hyathis (queen of planet Alstair) and Hyanthis (Shayera Thal II's maternal grandmother)
  • Mishmash Museum: Midway City Museum
  • Missing Mom: Katar's mother, Faraway Woman ("Naomi Carter")
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Katar realized he killed his father and later, a Wingor who was making a set of wings for him.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Katar and Shayera Hol (Pre Crisis)
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: C.A.W. (Criminal Alliance of the World)
  • Ninja / McNinja: Shadow Thief
  • No Communities Were Harmed St. Roch is a clear stand-in for New Orleans, which also exists in the DCU.
  • No Name Given: Katar and Shayera's son and daughter in The Dark Knight Strikes Again. The son was called Hawkboy.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: A large red hawk named Big Red often accompanies the Silver Age Hawks.
  • Older and Wiser: In Hawkworld issue 2, Katar had one that was an oppressed Wingor, named R'd Nar, who helped him get out of his funk.
    • Faraway Woman
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Hawkman vs Golden Eagle.
  • Old Master: The Wingor R'd Nar from Hawkworld and Faraway Woman.
  • Old Superhero: Carter Hall (he's not so old anymore)
  • Our Founder: Kalmoran
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Lion-Mane (a Were Cat). An archaeologist/lion-hunter transforms into the Lion-Mane by the power of a meteor.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Charley Parker
    • Shayera Thal
  • Percussive Prevention: Hawkgirl does this to Hawkman in the animated series.
  • Planet of Hats: Thanagar
  • Police Are Useless: Wingmen are corrupted.
  • Post-Crisis: His continuity gets messed up, but not right away.
  • The Power of Love: Hawkman and Hawkwoman/Hawkgirl
  • Race Lift: George Emmett gone from white (pre-Crisis) to black (post-Hawkworld).
  • Rape Is OK If It's Female On Male: Forerunner on Golden Eagle.
  • Red-Headed Hero: Hawkwoman
  • Reincarnation: Carter Hall and Shiera Sanders/Kendra Saunders
  • Reincarnation Romance: Khufu/Carter and Chay-Ara/Shiera/Kendra
  • Rent-a-Zilla: Byth, when he turned into a giant dinosaur-like Brontadon.
  • The Rez: Paran Katar met Faraway Woman in one.
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Most of Katar and Shayera's enemies (including Shadow-Thief, Lion-Mane, Fadeaway Man, etc.) now become Carter and Kendra's enemeis.
  • Romantic False Lead: Hawkman is reduced to this in the animated series.
  • Screw Destiny: Kendra Saunders
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Thasaro in Elseworlds Legend of the Hawkman.
  • Secret Keeper: Commissioner George Emmett (he's gave Katar and Shayera their Earth names and jobs as museum curators)
    • Charley Parker (before becoming Golden Eagle)
  • Self-Made Orphan: A drugged Katar Hol killed his father because his soon-to-be archenemy Byth told him he was smuggling weapons. Katar found out his dad was smuggling food and medicine to the oppressed lower-class citizens. Katar was around 18 at the time.
  • Servant Race/Slave Race: The denizens of Downside. Aliens from conquered worlds end up there, forming a single, amorphous class of downtrodden slaves. Some Thanagarians themselves (Katar Hol and young Shayera Thal, each of them at one point) end up in this trope. Isamot Kol, a Lizard Man Green Lantern, is one of these aliens, but is proud to be from Thanagar.
  • Shape Shifter: Byth Rok
  • Shout-Out: In the JSA storyline The Return of Hawkman, one of the members of the Talon of Truth looks like a Shi'ar.
    • The Nth metal was inspired by Cavorite.
  • Something Person
  • Space Police: Katar and Shayera are often referred to as "alien cops", usually by Green Arrow.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Hawkman can speak to birds because a device called an Absorbascon uploaded him with much information about Earth. Maybe a side effect.
  • Straw Character: During the Bronze Age, the Justice League of America writers, who were staunch liberals, used Hawkman as a somewhat thuggish conservative counterpoint to Green Arrow.
  • Superhero Speciation: Only Hawkman (Katar Hol) was allowed membership of the JLA. It was many years before Hawkgirl (Shayera) became a member and broke the original twelve-member limit. Also, Hawkgirl sometimes uses a bow and arrows, which is Green Arrow's specialty.
  • Super Strength: Though not as strong as Superman and Captain Marvel, Nth Metal does give him enhanced strength.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: DCAU Hawkgirl's energy mace.
  • Throwing Your Mace Always Works
  • Unobtainium: Nth Metal
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Well, Flying Shirtless Scene.
  • Wall of Weapons: Hawkman's own personal armory.
  • Where The Hell Is Springfield?: Midway City is in Michigan. Or is it Illinois? Averted with St. Roch, which is explicitly in Louisiana.
  • Wild Child: Hawkboy and his sister.
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • Katar Hol and Shayera Thal (Post-Crisis)
    • Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders/Shiera Hall.
      • They actually consummated their relationship after being resurrected in the finale of Blackest Night, as Kendra Shayera now has memories of all of her past lives, like Carter had always had in his current incarnation. Then she died again.
    • John Stewart and Shayera in the DCAU.
  • Wind from Beneath My Wings: A standard attack form for Hawkman.
  • Winged Humanoid: Manhawks and Feitherans.
    • In The Dark Knight Strikes Back, Hawkboy and his sister have real wings on their backs.
    • Wingors that are gorilla-like aliens with wings.
    • Thanagarians (DCAU)
  • You Can't Fight Fate: That's what Kendra Saunders was trying to do. It didn't work out.
  • You Can't Go Home Again:
  • You Killed My Father: Katar actually killed his father, but he had no idea it was him. Byth tricked him into thinking he was selling weapons to the Downsiders.
    • In The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Katar and Shayera were killed by Lex Luthor. Hawkboy and his sister want revenge.
    • In Hawkworld issue 2, Katar killed R'd Nar's brother because he was making a wing harness and thought he was going to escape without him. To his horror, he learned that he was making them for Katar and has natural wings. Though, R'd Nar doesn't hold it against Katar because he was in drug withdrawal and his brother wasn't afraid to die.

The FlashThe Golden Age of Comic BooksBlack Canary
HawkeyeAnimal Title IndexHeathcliff and the Catillac Cats
Harley QuinnDC Comics CharactersHourman
Benoit BriseferThe SixtiesBatgirl
HawkeyeSuper HeroHourman
The FlashThe FortiesShazam
Great Lakes AvengersThe EightiesArkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
The QuestionComics of the 1990sPost-Crisis
Hotter and SexierImageSource/Comic BooksChest Insignia

alternative title(s): Hawkman
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