Published on June 22nd, 2015 | by Shannin Bailey
How did I miss this?! Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye
The way I see it, one of the things that separate geeks from the rest of the population is how we love a thing. No matter what the thing is (a book series, TV show, movie, or band,) geeks have a very specific way of showing their love and appreciation. It’s the dead opposite of the hipster cliché. We would never say, “You’ve probably never heard of it,” because geeks (and especially geek librarians) don’t just share the things we love, we help people access them in any way possible—whether that means walking patrons directly to the stacks and placing items squarely in their hands, or tracking them down through Interlibrary Loan. When we love something, we tell the world. Which might be why it can be so frustrating when we miss things.
Now, I’m not talking about all the stuff you’ve heard is great. Everyone has a list of things they’re planning on checking out eventually (yeah, I know Battlestar Galactica is amazing, and I’ll watch it someday soon, probably. This summer. Maybe.) I’m talking about things you’ve somehow never heard about, until the magical day you find it. That’s when you think, how could I possibly have missed this? Which is quickly followed by, does everyone know how brilliant this is?! Honestly, does the entire world know how awesome this is, and somehow nobody told me? How does that even happen?! Seriously, how did I miss this?!
My latest “how did I miss this?!” moment happened during the longest Saturday afternoon in human history. I was working at the reference desk, and logged into Marvel Unlimited, half-heartedly looking for a good comic to read to help me stay awake. That’s when it happened—I stumbled upon Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye. Within the span of two issues, I was a full-on Clint Barton (and Matt Fraction) fangirl. Suddenly, I had an urge to start searching for Hawkeye t-shirts and Funko bobble heads. Because…seriously how could I possibly have missed this?
The premise is simple: what does Clint Barton do when he’s not being an Avenger? He drinks coffee. He hangs out of the roof of his building with his neighbors. He feeds pizza to dogs on the street. All this might be boring if it another character, but when it’s Clint Barton, you can’t look away —and that’s all before he gets into trouble with the Tracksuit Draculas, or goes undercover with the other Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, to bust a ring of thieving circus performers.
While the relationship between Kate and Clint is hard to explain, it’s ridiculously fun to watch it unfold. The two Hawkeyes treat each other as equals—with respect, loyalty, exasperation, and sarcasm. Kate Bishop is such refreshing character, the very fact that she exists on the page makes me giddy. She’s smart, snarky, skilled, and definitely no damsel in distress. In fact, Kate rescues Clint just as many times as he rescues her (if not more.) So how did this possibly exist for so long without me knowing about this series, you guys?! Where have I been?!
Instantly, my endless afternoon at the reference desk was completely transformed. I burned through almost the entire series…and realized that the last issue had been published in March. The very last issue. For some reason, this seemed so unfair. But I had just found the series! I want to read more about Clint and his brother, Barney! I have to find out what’s up with Kate! I need more adventures written from the perspective of Lucky the Pizza Dog. The idea of reading the final issue made me so sad, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I decided to save it, like the last chocolate in the box.
I was only upset for a few minutes before I realized—even though this run of Hawkeye was over, I had found it. I found it, and now it was time to do what any good geeky librarian would do. I had fallen in love with the thing, and it was time to tell the world.
I asked all of my friends and colleagues about it (“Have you read Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye? Okay, stop what you’re doing. You have to read this.”) I made absolutely sure that the volumes were part of our graphic novel collection, and I made a mental note to tell all of my comic-loving patrons all about Clint, Kate, and Lucky.
If you’ve been reading the series since it began in 2012, kudos to you. I’m not mad, (although would it have killed you to give me a heads up!?) But if, like me, you somehow missed it…you’ve got some serious catching up to do. I mean it, Bro. Grab a cup of coffee, head to the roof of whatever building you’re in right now, and start reading. After that, it’s time to share. Tell everyone you know all about it, and make sure they know how amazing the thing is. After all…the only thing worse than missing a thing is having no one to geek out with, right?