Debuting in Tales of Suspense #57 way in 1964, Hawkeye has a long history in Marvel Comics. While he’s mostly known for being an Avenger, he’s also been a criminal, a Defender, and a mentor. He’s had ups and downs, and constantly struggles in the world of gods and titans. All of his adventures and shortcomings, however, have painted a portrait of a complicated everyday hero who’s far more relatable than many of his peers.
While some of Hawkeye’s comic book history has been hinted at in the movies, and he bears a bit of the demeanor he has on the page, the MCU so far hasn’t really done the character justice. Luckily, Marvel can easily fix this by pulling from any number of great arcs featuring the archer. While we’re (sadly) unlikely to ever see Clint and Coulson take a peyote trip together like in Secret Avengers, there’s plenty from Hawkeye's time in the comics that could make its way into a film or TV series. In order to give fans the Hawkeye they’ve long wanted to see on screen, here are 15 Things From the Comics We Want In The MCU.
15 Life in the Circus
While the MCU mostly draws from the Ultimate imprint of comics where Clint Barton is a SHIELD agent, they’re missing one of the core pieces of his comic book backstory: his upbringing in the circus. As a child growing up in a small rural town, Clint and his brother Barney lost their parents in a car crash and eventually ended up running away to the circus. There, they find a second home and are raised in the colorful world. Trained by Swordmaster and Trick Shot, Clint quickly develops skills as a gifted fighter and ace archer. He soon learns, however, that his mentors are using the circus as the front for a criminal enterprise and flees his new home.
These elements are crucial to explaining who Clint is and why he has such a light yet confident personality. They also give him a well of characters and memories to draw from for future stories. Swordmaster and Trick Shot would both be colorful characters to include in a Hawkeye solo film, and showing his tragic past would help humanize the roguish bowman.
14 Barney Barton
If you’re going to tell the story of Clint’s time in the circus, his relationship with his brother Barney has to be explored. After spending years at an orphanage, the two struck out on their circus journey together. When Clint decided to leave the group of criminals behind, however, Barney chose to stay. From there, their relationship curdled into something antagonistic and dark, with Barney eventually taking on the name Trickshot and operating as a supervillain. He even took his brother’s place for a time in Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers.
Eventually, though, Barney cleans up his act and makes amends with his brother during Matt Fraction and David Aja’s stellar run of Hawkeye. The relationship and history adds real depth and life to both characters, making them appear human in ways that most superheroes and villains rarely do. While much of Barney’s arc would need to be streamlined, the basic beats would be the perfect way to frame a Hawkeye solo movie.
13 History with Black Widow
In the MCU, we’ve seen hints of the past between Hawkeye and Black Widow, but many fans are clamoring to see the full thing revealed. Of course, their new origin seems to point towards a history of running missions for SHIELD, but in the comics they met up in a very different way. Way back in 1964 when Hawkeye debuted, he did so fresh out of the circus. He saw Iron Man in action and was inspired to become a hero himself. Sadly, the Russian spy and criminal known as the Black Widow had different plans. She had been an enemy of Stark for some time, and duped Hawkeye into helping her steal some of his tech.
After fighting Iron Man, Widow escaped and Hawkeye was able to clear up the confusion. Proving just how forgiving the Avengers are, the team quickly welcomed Hawkeye into the ranks. Years later, it was even Clint’s sponsorship that brought Natasha on board as well. While this would need to be tweaked somewhat in the movies, it’d be fun to see Widow trick Hawkeye into being a criminal before they both get brought into the fold at SHIELD.
12 Hawkeye As the Everyman
Fraction and Aja’s time on Hawkeye introduced some of the best elements of the character, and brought a number of things from his past into the spotlight. One defining trait of Clint during this time, however, was his status as an everyman. Living in a regular Brooklyn apartment building, Clint is shown to be an affable slob who regularly has rooftop cookouts with his neighbors. They all know he’s Hawkeye, though they hilariously refer to him as "Hawkguy." Even his villains are low-level: a group of Eastern European thugs called the Tracksuit Draculas who liberally use the word "bro."
Hawkeye's fights are always more fun than Earth-shattering. Sure, Hawkeye can go toe-to-toe with plenty of cosmic baddies, but seeing him live a relatively normal life and fight street-level villains while protecting his neighborhood and building make his story that much more relatable and enjoyable. Given his current status as a family man living on a remote farm, not a lot of these elements could be brought to screen, sadly. Still, the idea of him being an everyday hero could easily be explored in other ways in the MCU.
11 Kate Bishop
As Logan proved, even the gruffest character can be humanized with a young sidekick. In the comics, that character has long been Kate Bishop for Hawkeye. Though she began running with the Young Avengers before actually joining up with Hawkeye, their recent adventures together have brought out the best in both characters. There’s the comedy of them both being named Hawkeye, the contentious yet familial relationship they have together, and the running gag that Kate is actually the superior archer.
Kate Bishop is a shoo-in if a Young Avengers movie ever happens and could easily take over for Jeremy Renner if he were to ever leave the MCU, but her story is intrinsically tied to Clint’s. They make each other better people, and have one of the best bonds in comic book history. If Hawkeye ever gets a solo movie or a larger arc, introducing Kate Bishop would be one of the smartest things Marvel could do.
Hawkeye’s time as the vigilante Ronin would require a lot of tweaking to alter the circumstances. Then again, the future of Marvel films might set it up nicely. In the comics, Clint is killed during the Scarlet Witch’s mental breakdown, but eventually gets returned to life. Keeping his return quiet for the most part, he was a fling with Wanda, is asked to be the next Captain America following Cap's assassination, and eventually meets up with his replacement, Kate Bishop.
Following the kidnapping of the original Ronin, Maya Lopez, Clint takes on the persona when he joins the New Avengers during the fallout from Civil War. After some time, he ditches the mantle and goes back to being Hawkeye alongside Kate.
With rumors that Cap could die at some point in the future of the MCU, we could see some of these events alluded to and watch Hawkeye temporarily become Ronin while Kate Bishop begins her life as the new Hawkeye. If nothing else, it would make for a great sequel to the first Hawkeye solo film we’re already dreaming up.
9 Relationship with Mockingbird
One of the best parts of Hawkeye’s life in the comics is his relationship with Mockingbird. For a taste of it, you can pretty much look to Lance Hunter and Bobbi’s coupling on Agents of SHIELD. In the comics, Clint and Bobbi meet while working security for Cross Technological Enterprises. He’s on leave from the Avengers, while she’s temporarily stepped away from SHIELD. Eventually, they discover a plot by the Crosses, including the marksman Crossfire, to attack superheroes. They thwart it and celebrate by getting married. Their union dissolves with time, but they’ve been on and off for years.
Clint is happily married and has kids in the MCU, but that doesn't mean we wouldn’t love to see Adrianne Palicki show up in the films and bring up some old memories hinting that they used to date. Even better, but we could see a nod to their time founding and heading up the West Coast Avengers in LA, something that could make for a great Netflix series set in the past.
8 Teaching at Avengers Academy
Speaking of the West Coast Avengers, following the Fear Itself event, the California base was reopened to serve as the headquarters for the Avengers Academy. Designed to train at-risk teens who had developed superpowers from the experiments of Norman Osborn, the Academy featured a number of Avengers, like Hank Pym and Quicksilver, in teaching roles. Eventually, Hawkeye joined as well, which prepared him to one day mentor Kate Bishop. Like with his future partner, it’d be great to see Clint teach a younger generation how to be heroes.
Avengers Academy is tailor-made for show on Freeform along with New Warriors and Cloak & Dagger, and it could easily feature one-episode cameos by a bunch of MCU figures as they teach a different lesson each episode. And while we know Clint has kids already, we still think it’d be fun to see him get flustered while trying to keep up with a whole class of troublemakers.
7 Leading the Thunderbolts
Following his marriage to Mockingbird and the craziness that was Onslaught, Hawkeye takes on a leadership role with the first group of Thunderbolts. Having abandoned Baron Zemo and his plan to infiltrate the world of superheroes, the Thunderbolts become the first generation of villains to try their hand at heroics. Under the training of Hawkeye, they become a formidable group and took out a number of nefarious threats. They even came to blows with Zemo’s other outfit, the Masters of Evil. Eventually, they try to save Mockingbird’s soul from Hell (long story), but fail at the mission.
A lot of this would need to be excised, but Thunderbolts is a property fans have long been hoping to see in theaters or on Netflix. As part of their origin, it’d be great to see Hawkeye serve as their leader and heroic role model, perhaps joining at the end of season one and leading the team through the next batch of episodes.
6 Joining the Defenders
For a short period of time, Hawkeye became one of the many Marvel heroes to join the Defenders. Fans of the Marvel Netflix series might be surprised to learn that Daredevil, Jessica, Luke, and Iron Fist have only worked all together once in the comics. This year, they’ll finally team up as the Defenders, thanks to the TV show. Like Silver Surfer, Hulk, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and countless other heroes, Hawkeye spent some time with the loosely structured group. With Jeremy Renner repeatedly stating he’d love to show up on Marvel TV show, it’d be amazing to see him get back in touch with his street-level roots and join up with the Defenders for their next adventure.
It’s a long-shot to think we’ll get a tease at the end of this season, but seeing as it’ll likely be years before the next season of The Defenders, we think there’s plenty of time to work out some sort of deal. Adding a movie character to the Netflix series would help fully connect the MCU, and Hawkeye is one of the best people to build that bridge.
5 Hearing Issues
The issue of Hawkeye’s hearing is a long and complicated one. Back when he and Mockingbird were working to take down Crossfire for the first time (they all fought a lot), the use of a backfiring sonic arrow caused Clint to lose his hearing. For a while after, he had to use a hearing aid and it offered one of the few examples of a superhero having any sort of disability. He then had it restored when he and the other heroes killed by Onslaught were brought back to life by Franklin Richards. Fraction, however, loved that element of Clint's character.
Under Fraction, the creepy Pierrot-like villain the Clown stabbed Clint in the ears with arrows to once again knock out his hearing. Aside from serving as a vulnerability, it led to one of the greatest Hawkeye issues ever, where Clint can’t hear anything around him and the whole issue has to unfold with Aja’s minimal art leading the narrative. Any number of things could make this happen in the MCU, providing Hawkeye with a weakness and giving people with hearing difficulties all over the world a hero to whom they can relate.
4 Becoming Goliath
Back in the early days of Hawkeye, he developed some feelings of inadequacy around all the god-like Avengers. In 1969’s Avengers #63, Clint decided to ditch the Hawkeye persona and remake himself as Goliath, a size-changing hero who used Pym Particles to grow massive. His gone back and forth to it a few time, and while it would be pretty silly if Goliath showed up in the MCU, we’d love to see a nod. Though the recent rumor that Hawkeye would appear in Ant-Man & the Wasp was shut down, fans of Civil War are anxious to see Clint re-team with Scott Lang.
While that will likely have to wait until Infinity War or Avengers 4, either film would be a perfect opportunity to give Clint a dose of Pym Particles so he could get out of a sticky situation. We could even see Scott throwing one of his disks at Clint to "embiggen" him temporarily, with a wry reference to him changing his name to Goliath thrown in for the fans.
3 Occupy Avengers
Following the Marvel reboot that was Secret Wars, Hawkeye and Kate had one more adventure that took things down a dark road. Their falling out, and a look at a grim future, slowly removed much of the lightheartedness from Fraction and Aja’s run on Hawkeye. Following that, Civil War II broke out and everything went south fast. Rising from the ashes of that event, however, Hawkeye returned to his everyman roots with a vengeance.
Post-Civil-War-2, Hawkeye joins up with Red Wolf and travels around the country as a wandering hero. They both begin focusing on smaller problems, helping out communities and people who are in need but don’t have the luxury of superheroics.
In the comics, most of the superhero world is centered in New York, making any deviation exciting. Whether in a Hawkeye movie or TV show, he’s the perfect character to explore a smaller, more personal type of heroism. With shades of Logan thrown in, Marvel could have a personal and political character study with plenty of action to buoy it.
2 More Trick Arrows
Like Green Arrow, one of the campier elements of Hawkeye throughout the years have been his trick arrows. Iron Man has his bizarre armor, Spider-Man can do some wild things with his webs, and Hawkeye has long had a quiver packed with some of the most unusual and helpful arrows. We’ve seen some basic ones in the movies, mostly equipped with explosives or mind-blockers, but to really play up Hawkeye’s usefulness, he needs more.
There’s the Pym Particle arrow, which can turn him into Goliath; the sonic arrow, which can backfire and give him his hearing problems; and even a boomerang arrow, which will always come back. There’s freezing, flare, glue, tear gas, bola, net, acid, and even a suction cup arrow. Best of all, Clint has a localized nuclear warhead arrow, which will surely be helpful against Thanos.
While many of the sillier ones will never show up, we’d still love some nods to them. As for the more practical ones, since Clint's only weapon is his bow and arrows and Tony Stark was his teammate, we’d think the MCU could give Clint some cooler ammo.
1 Pizza Dog
The resounding number one among things from Hawkeye comics that we need to see in the MCU is the one and only Pizza Dog. Created by - who else - Fraction and Aja, Pizza Dog is the loveable rascal who lives with Clint and Kate in their apartment. As you can tell from his name, he loves pizza. Then again, that’s all Clint feeds him, so who knows. Like Kate, having Pizza Dog would help humanize Clint and also add to his general air of being an everyday person. More than that, Pizza Dog has helped out in the two Hawkeye’s adventures.
As with Clint's hearing loss, Fraction and Aja turned out one of their best comics in an issue told entirely from PD’s perspective. If he ever shows up in the movies or on TV, we hope Marvel finds a way to translate Aja’s art into some sort of sequence involving Pizza Dog following clues and searching the apartment building for his owners. It’s a small thing, but one that could easily be brought into the MCU to show fans that Marvel are serious about being true to Hawkeye.
What elements from Hawkeye’s comic do you want to see in the MCU? Let us know in the comments.