“I see better from a distance.”―Clint Barton, Hawkeye
Hawkeye doesn’t get the respect he deserves. To casual moviegoers or comic book readers, Hawkeye is just the guy in the Avengers who’s there to make the rest of them seem more impressive. But there’s more to the Avengers’ resident marksman than meets the eye, and Hawkeye (AKA Clint Barton, at least in the MCU so far) has saved the day more than once. Truly, he is a can’t-miss superhero. Keep on reading for 43 facts about this sharp-shooting superhero.
43. Big Screen Debut
Hawkeye made his first live-action film appearance in the first Thor movie. Since then, he has appeared in films from the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe, and has only been played by Jeremy Renner. Hawkeye has also appeared in a number of animated shows and films, though, often voiced by Troy Baker.
42. Origin Story
Hawkeye was created, like so many other superheroes, by Stan Lee and artist Don Heck. Hawkeye’s first appearance came in Tales of Suspense #57, 1964.
41. The Family Circus
Clint Barton was born in Waverly, Iowa (the Hawkeye State!), where his father worked as a butcher. When his parents were killed in a car crash, Clint was sent to live in an orphanage and foster homes. He quickly escaped, however, and joined a travelling circus.
40. The Carney
While working at the circus, Clint was taken under the wing of two performers: Trick Shot (an archer) and the Swordsman (a swordsman, obviously), who taught him archery. Clint had natural gifts, and was soon a popular draw with the circus, eventually adopting the stage name Hawkeye.
39. The Natural
Unlike Captain America or the Hulk, Hawkeye doesn’t really have any super powers–no super strength, no X-ray vision, no nothing, right? Not so fast! According to the creative minds at Marvel Comics, Hawkeye has something called “accuracy enhancement”; even though arrows are his weapon of choice, Hawkeye has an innate ability to make a projectile weapon out of virtually anything he touches, and he can wield that weapon with pinpoint accuracy.
38. Til Death Do Us Part
Hawkeye was married to his West Coast Avengers teammate Mockingbird. The couple were separated briefly, then reconciled, continuing to fight side by side until her death at the hands of the demonic supervillain Mephisto.
37. Ladies’ Man
Hawkeye might be the world’s best archer, but Cupid seems to get him every time. In addition to his on-again off-again marriage to Mockingbird, Hawkeye has been romantically involved with Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Moonstone, Echo, Spider-Woman, and the Wasp. Dude gets around, what can we say?
36. Best of Both Worlds
Because of a DC Comics/Marvel Comics event, Avengers/JLA, Hawkeye is the only hero to have ever served in both Marvel’s Avengers and DC’s Justice League of America.
35. The New Avengers
Hawkeye caught the attention of the Avengers when he saved Tony Stark’s butler, Jarvis, and Jarvis’ mother, from a mugger. Jarvis invited Hawkeye to audition for a revamped line-up of the Avengers that included Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and Captain America. Captain America taught Hawkeye hand-to-hand combat to supplement his archery.
34. Hawkeye to The Rescue
Hawkeye’s audition to join the Avengers wasn’t your normal job interview/demo tape situation, either. Together, Hawkeye and Jarvis staged a scenario in which Iron Man and Captain America would come home to find Jarvis tied up. Before they could rescue the seemingly helpless butler, Hawkeye broke in through a window and freed Jarvis with some extremely accurate arrows. The plan sounds convoluted, but it worked!
33. A Quiver of Languages
Hawkeye speaks English, obviously, but he is also fluent in Italian and American Sign Language.
In one very “those were the times” storyline, Hawkeye was kicked out of the Avengers and replaced with African-American superhero the Falcon so that the Avengers could comply with affirmative action laws. Even at the time, readers found the idea a bit offensive, and the Falcon himself strongly objected to being what he called a “token” hire.
31. Out for a Spin
During one of his stints off the Avengers’ roster, Clint worked as a security guard at Cross Technological Enterprises. It was here that he acquired his preferred method of transportation: a “Sky-Cycle,” a kind of anti-gravity snowmobile, custom-made by Jorge Latham.
30. Hawkeye’s Garage
Besides the Sky-Cycle, Hawkeye has also been known to drive a 1970 Dodge Challenger as well as a transforming, AI-equipped panel van called Vantastic.
29. Hands Off
Hawkeye can’t lift the mythical hammer Mjolnir, obviously—no one but Thor can do that. Thor, however, can’t draw Hawkeye’s bow either.
28. High Strung
Hawkeye’s bow, by the way, has a 250-pound draw weight. That’s more than three times the average draw-weight of even the strongest real-world archers.
27. Take a Bow
In the earlier comics, Hawkeye uses the same regular old bow he used when working at the carnival. More recently, and in the Marvel movies, Hawkeye uses a collapsible recurve bow; it can be converted into a staff for hand to hand combat and is also fitted with a laser sight for accuracy, though Hawkeye hardly needs it.
26. Quite The Collection
Hawkeye doesn’t just rely on regular arrows when he’s on a mission. He keeps his quiver loaded with an arsenal of trick arrows: explosive arrows, incendiary arrows, arrows with grappling hooks, arrows fitted with smoke bombs. Hawkeye even has arrows that can be programmed with specific codes and shot directly into a computer port.
25. Drawing The Limit
Of course, the biggest weakness of Hawkeye’s superpower is that he can only carry so many arrows at a time. Top comic book investigators have concluded that Hawkeye’s quiver can hold no more than 32 arrows at once.
24. Grab and Go
Hawkeye’s quiver is mechanized to grant him easier access to his arrows. Buttons along the grip of his bow allow him to choose specific arrows without having to take his eyes off his target.
23. Last Resort
For those moments when he is out of arrows, Hawkeye also carries a combat knife.
22. Back From The Dead
No one ever really dies in comics. Like so many superheroes before him, Hawkeye was killed during a mission, only to be resurrected when the Scarlet Witch basically reinvented all of reality.
21. Hawkeye’s Day Job
When he’s not busy shooting arrows at crime bosses under the guise of Hawkeye, regular joe Clint Barton works as the superintendent of a Brooklyn apartment building.
20. Social Justice Warrior
Hawkeye once teamed up with Native American superhero Red Wolf to travel around the country fighting alongside underprivileged communities against corrupt corporations and cells trying to take over the government. That series was called Occupy Avengers.
19. Evil Twin
Hawkeye has a brother, Barney Barton, who is also an expert marksman. Unlike his heroic brother, however, Barney went the bad guy route. This is when he adopted the name Trickshot (like the archer who had taught them both while they were with the circus), serving as a villainous counterpart to his brother, Clint. Later, Barney even took on the Hawkeye name, filling his brother’s role in the Dark Avengers.
18. Hawkeye Jr.
Barney Barton isn’t the only non-Clint person to use the Hawkeye name. Clint Barton’s protégé, Kate Bishop, also assumed the Hawkeye name when Clint retired. At his encouragement, she kept using the name after the original Hawkeye returned to action.
17. Arrows by Any Other Name
Clint Barton hasn’t always used the Hawkeye name, either. For a brief period—and with the help of Ant-Man Hank Pym’s size-changing gas—he worked as the giant superhuman Goliath.
16. Read My Lips
One of the few identifiably disabled superheroes, Hawkeye is mostly deaf. In the comics, he sometimes wears a hearing aid, but usually overcomes his hearing impairment by reading lips.
15. Hawk’s Eyes
In addition to his hearing impairment, Hawkeye was also briefly left blind after a battle. His brother, Barney, though a villain, donated his bone marrow to a procedure that allowed Hawkeye to regain his sight. However, in the alternate future timeline of the Old Man Logan series, he’s once again completely blind.
14. Born Leader
When the Avengers split to open an LA office, Hawkeye took on the role of teacher with the West Coast Avengers. He also led his own super-team, the Thunderbolts.
13. Going Straight
Like the rest of the Thunderbolts, Hawkeye is a reformed villain. That’s right: Hawkeye was originally introduced as a villain in Tales of Suspense #57, where he squared off against Iron Man.
Hawkeye’s association with the Thunderbolts landed him in hot water. In a deal with agent Peter Gyrich, Hawkeye agreed to go to prison for operating as an “illegal vigilante” in exchange for full pardons for all the other members of the Thunderbolts.
11. Solo Adventures
Hawkeye wouldn’t get his own comic book series until 1983. That series didn’t last long, however: just four issues. Subsequent attempts to give Hawkeye a comic of his own have been similarly short-lived. It seems the fans just prefer Hawkeye to stay close to the Avengers.
That’s not to say that the comics weren’t good, of course. Hawkeye’s most recent solo adventure, written by Matt Fraction and drawn by David Aja, was released to many awards and much critical acclaim. One reviewer asked, “How did Hawkeye become Marvel’s best comic?”
9. Shaggy Dog Story
A standout issue from Fraction and Aja’s run on Hawkeye was #11, titled “Pizza Dog.” That issue tells a murder-mystery story from the point of view of Hawkeye’s dog, Lucky.
8. Nobody’s Got Time for Hawkeye
Screenwriter Joss Whedon wrote Hawkeye’s origin story for inclusion in The Avengers, but it had to be cut for time. Hawkeye receives less than 13 minutes of screen time in The Avengers, the least of any of his teammates; for comparison, the second-least visible Avenger, Thor, is onscreen for 25 minutes. Just more proof that Hawkeye gets no respect.
7. Hawkeye’s Time to Shine
For the Avengers sequel Age of Ultron, Whedon tried to write more of Hawkeye into the movie. But the studio gave him an ultimatum: Whedon would have to cut time somewhere, if not from Hawkeye’s storyline, then from Thor’s. This time, the Hawkeye storyline stayed.
6. The Man With No Name
Despite the increased screen time, Clint Barton is only referred to as Hawkeye once in the entire Age of Ultron movie.
5. A Waste of Time?
To prepare for the role, Jeremy Renner trained with Olympic archers. He later said they weren’t really much help because “real archery isn’t superhero Hawkeye archery.”
4. Poison Arrows
Maybe Renner should have focused harder on his studies. In an article for Wired, archery coach Jim MacQuarrie calls the film version of Hawkeye “the world’s worst archer.” MacQuarrie points out several flaws in Hawkeye’s (or rather, Renner’s) technique, including his grip, his equipment set-up, and his draw technique. MacQuarrie even goes on to say that Hawkeye wouldn’t need to wear arm guards on both his arms if he were shooting properly.
3. Career Change
Trick Shot and the Swordsman were Hawkeye’s mentors, but when Clint discovered the Swordsman was stealing money from the circus, he turned his teacher in to the authorities. In retaliation, Hawkeye was beaten nearly to death and forced him to leave the circus. Not long after, Hawkeye saw Ironman pull off a daring rescue. With no job, Hawkeye decided to use his archery skills to become a superhero.
2. That’s Dedication
Once, when Hawkeye was captured, he had to resort to a truly upsetting strategy to escape. The master marksman had all of his weapons taken away and was tied down, scarcely even able to move. Yet, before long, his captors started dying, one by one. He managed to kill them all by tearing out his own fingernails and flicking them at the guards with deadly accuracy. Hawkeye might not be the most exciting Avenger, but credit where credit’s due—that’s pretty insane.
1. Dystopian Future
In Old Man Logan, a blind Hawkeye recruits the one-time Wolverine for a cross country road trip. Taking place in an alternate future in which villains have taken over the world, Hawkeye gets Logan’s help delivering a mysterious secret package.
Wolverine assumes that it’s drugs or something else illicit, but it’s eventually revealed to be the same Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America, which Hawkeye is delivering to an underground resistance in the hopes of creating a new Avengers. When they finally arrive and deliver the package, however, it’s revealed that Hawkeye’s clients were secretly working for the Red Skull, and they brutally kill Hawkeye—the entire trip had been for nothing. What a downer!