I spent too much time trying to explain to people how Jeremy Renner was ruining Hawkeye. Now, I want to offer a brief history.
Hawkeye was a young kid in Iowa that wanted a better life. Unfortunately, his parents were killed in a car wreck that orphaned Hawkeye and his brother. The young Clint and Barney Barton spent six years in the orphanage until the brothers ran away to join the Carson Carnival of Traveling Wonders. Soon after arriving at the Carnival, the Swordsman took an interest in Clint. Training Clint and Barney alongside the villain Trickshot, the Swordsman enjoyed watching both Barton boys turn into expert marksmen.
As a young adult, Clint catches the Swordsman stealing money from the Carnival. When Clint tries to turn him, young Hawkeye is beaten nearly to death and Swordsman escapes. Barney and Trickshot blame Clint for what had happened and they abandon Clint to his fate. Clint would turn to the underground where he would join the Circus of Crime and then the Coney Island Circus as an operational cover. While in New York City, Clint meets the Black Widow and they spark a romance. Black Widow convinces Clint to steal technology from Iron Man, but a tragic accident causes Clint to abandon his actions to save Black Widow.
While Black Widow recovers and on the advice of Iron Man, Clint is offered a chance to join the Avengers. Clint joins the team after saving Jarvis and his mother from a mugger. The second team line-up offered Captain America, two mutants and a known criminal as the team. The citizens of NYC weren’t pleased, as the Kooky Quartet spent most of their early issues trying to rebuild their public image. Clint was putting the moves on Scarlet Witch, as Black Widow had seemingly left him by now. Meanwhile, the Swordsman returned into Hawkeye’s life, as he wanted to join the Avengers.
Hawkeye fights against this while trying to prove himself. Unfortunately, Hawkeye feels that he’s underpowered on a team like this and he decides to bombard himself with Pym Particles. Now, he boasts the ability to grow to large sizes while renaming himself “Goliath”. Clint fights for awhile as Goliath, but eventually returns to his original form around the time of the Kree/Skrull War. During this time, Barney Barton returned into Hawkeye’s life as he revealed himself to be an undercover FBI agent. The reunion was short-lived, as the villain Egghead seemingly kills Barney.
Hawkeye splits from the team again and only rejoins to help fight The Collector and Korvac. Hawkeye enjoys the attention for highhandedly defeating The Collector, but he’s kicked off the team due to Affirmative Action requirements. Hawkeye joins Cross Enterprises (Corey Stoll’s Ant-Man movie company) as the Chief of Security. He fights Deathbird, Mr. Fear and Moondragon during this time before returning to the Avengers for the start of a lengthy era.
Now, this is when we get into one of my personal favorites. During the Jim Shooter era, solo characters got mini-series to take individual stories out of the team books. It’s such an amazing idea and one that needs to come back. But, the first mini-series features a ton of changes for Hawkeye. He fights Crossfire and loses his job at Cross. Clint also goes deaf in one ear, as he defeats Crossfire and saves the world. Afterwards, he gets married to Mockingbird and forms the West Coast Avengers under the Vision’s guidance.
Over the next 20 years, Hawkeye would serve as a strong traditional hero. While being the first hero to wear a hearing aid, he didn’t really do much special or different than the past few decades. That is until he dies in Dissembled during the Scarlet Witch’s attack on the Avengers. When The Scarlet Witch has a mental break and triggers the House of M reality, she brings back Clint as a way to make amends. Clint Barton has a hard time making sense of this new world, as he returns to the 616.
Feeling alienated from his former wife Mockingbird, not totally trusting the Avengers and wanting to understand why Scarlet Witch did what she did; Hawkeye adopts a new identity. Serving as Ronin for awhile, Hawkeye makes sense of the past and sets out on a new life as a newly single superhero. Taking in the teenage Kate Bishop as an archery buddy, Clint and Kate serve as dual Hawkeyes fighting crime in their own way. Even if that involves a Pizza loving dog and the beleaguered denizens of a rundown apartment building.
Explain Hawkeye to A Casual Fan
Real Name: Clint Barton
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #57
Joins the Avengers: Avengers Vol. 1 #16
Defining characteristics: Being generally better than Green Arrow, having intimate time with every other lady Avenger and having the best Matt Fraction solo series.
Hawkeye's Marvel Highlights
Hawkeye fires Ant-Man (Scott Lang) into your face.
Clint Barton and Scott Lang team up to free Hawkeye’s carnival family from the clutches of the Taskmaster. People remember the cover, but most didn’t read the story.
Scarlet Witch returns Hawkeye to life during "House of M".
In the moment that was supposed to break the Internet, Wolverine discovers that Scarlet Witch has resurrected Hawkeye during “House of M”.
Hawkeye and Pizza Dog rule the Marvel Universe.
The modern comic take on Hawkeye truly begins when Clint rescues an injured dog after a terrible traffic accident. Alternating between Lucky and Pizza Dog, the canine has become one of the most beloved Marvel Universe supporting characters.