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Hawkeye’s MCU Branding Problem Is Even Worse in the Comics

When Hawkeye finally got his own standalone MCU project that marked the passing of the torch from Clint Barton to Kate Bishop, Barton learned that throughout his entire career, he was a totally unrecognizable and unmemorable member of the Avengers, which was mostly due to an issue with branding. Thor is a Norse god and looks like it, Captain America is practically wearing a tactical American flag, and Iron Man is too obvious to miss. Hawkeye, on the other hand, is just the archer-guy on the team with no indication that his name is Hawkeye at all–and while Barton gets called out for this in the MCU, his branding issue in the comics is somehow even worse.

In the Disney+ original series Hawkeye, Clint Barton finds himself faced with the crimes of his past as a mysterious person is running around New York wearing his Ronin suit, which calls to action those who want vengeance against the masked killer. When Hawkeye tracks down the suit’s new wearer, he meets Kate Bishop who’s idolized Barton since she first saw him in action during the Battle of New York. While Clint is able to help Kate become a better archer as well as teach her ways of being a true hero, Bishop has a few things to teach her mentor in return, including how to be more recognizable. However, since he was a SHIELD agent before becoming an Avenger, Hawkeye couldn’t think of anything worse than being recognized as it could very realistically have been a death sentence–which is not the same sentiment shared by his comic book counterpart.

In Avengers #36 by Roy Thomas and Don Heck, an alien conqueror known as Ixar comes to Earth and kidnaps Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, prompting the immediate action of the other Avengers members including Captain America, Goliath, and Hawkeye. On board Ixar’s spacecraft, the villain has an army of androids with enough power to take out the Avengers permanently. When Hawkeye becomes overrun by the robots, Goliath comes to the archer’s aid and the alien androids address the giant Avenger by name while only referring to Hawkeye as “Earthling,” at which point Hawkeye says to whoever is listening, “That settles it… I’m just gonna have to get a new press agent!”

Hawkeye has a worse branding issue in the comics. Hawkeye has a worse branding issue in the comics. While the two are separate iterations of the same hero, the MCU’s Hawkeye couldn’t be more different from the original Marvel Comics version in terms of personality and character. This includes their respective levels of desire when it comes to recognition. In the comics, Hawkeye wants to be recognized as an Avenger, and his costume reflects that as he wears a giant “H” on his helmet signifying his superhero name. However, despite the effort he’s put into being recognized, he still isn’t and is even surpassed by the recently rebranded Goliath who just stopped calling himself Giant-Man a few issues prior.

When Kate Bishop suggests that Hawkeye wear a costume similar to his comic book counterpart in an effort to be recognized, Clint rejects the seemingly sound solution as he explains that he doesn’t want to be identifiable. However, the comic book version of Hawkeye proves that an outfit change wouldn’t help regardless as he still isn’t recognized even with that exact costume. The MCU’s Hawkeye doesn’t want to be recognized, so by design, he isn’t, whereas Marvel Comics’ Hawkeye desperately wants to be recognized but isn’t despite his best efforts–proving that Hawkeye’s MCU branding problem is even worse in the comics.

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