The Next Chapters For Kate And Clint in Jeff Lemire And Ramon Perez’s ‘Hawkeye’ [Interview]
This weekend at New York Comic-Con, Marvel unleashed a host of announcements, revealing new series and projects galore. One of the most fascinating bits of news came out of Sunday's 'Axel-In-Charge' panel, where the Marvel editor-in-chief announced a new ongoing Hawkeye series launching in March 2015, from the creative team of Jeff Lemire and Ramón Peréz.
The book follows hard on the heels of the current critically acclaimed run on the title by Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu, and while the new series will continue to focus on the characters of Clint Barton and Kate Bishop, Lemire and Perez are determined to tell their own story in their own way. We spoke to the creative team to find out more.
ComicsAlliance: You'll be launching this title soon after the current Hawkeye series wraps up, and while the Fraction/Aja/Wu run has been both a critical and commercial success, you'll clearly want to put your own spin on things. So what can you tell us about your plans for the book: the mood, the cast, the style you're going for?
Jeff Lemire: What Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu did on Hawkeye was a miracle. It was truly a special book. I couldn't hope to repeat their success, all I can do is work with Ramon to tell the best Hawkeye story I can.
We also need to bring our own voices and ideas to the book. Fraction and Aja set the bar in terms of bringing a personal point of view and a singular aesthetic to a modern super hero comic. So, for me, I knew I needed to do the same. And by that I don't mean that Ramon and I are trying to copy what they did, or emulate the style they developed on Hawkeye. That was their unique point of view; Ramon and I want to create our own world the way they did. And bring our own voices to the characters.
The tone of the book is probably closer to my indie work, like Essex County or Underwater Welder, than my past superhero work. It will remain very grounded and very "street level." The book will be split evenly between Clint and Kate in NYC in the present, and Clint's childhood.
CA: Are there any particular elements of Clint's history you're planning on delving into with this series?
JL: I won't really be delving too much into his past as a superhero, but rather his childhood, his time before Hawkeye. Having said that, I do love Mockingbird, so I would like to bring her in again at some point.
CA: Ramon, will you be sticking with the Fraction/Aja costume designs for Clint and Kate, or giving them any tweaks for this new series?
Ramón Peréz: Costume-wise, we're sticking fairly close to David's designs. It's in essence the same pair, and we're not looking to change their costumes – the story is the focus here. There may be small cosmetic tweaks to adjust elements to my own personal aesthetics and style, similar to how I adjusted Logan's costume slightly during my arc on Wolverine And The X-Men, but no more and no less.
CA: Ramon, you tend to push your style a bit in different directions for each project – how would you describe your approach to this book?
RP: I love the idea of adjusting my style to fit the story, as I believe every story should have its own voice... And as for inks, I always ink myself, time given. With that in mind, Jeff has created a really beautiful script that will allow me to play stylistically. The better part of the first arc in the series is set both in present day and Clint's childhood. With the past, to evoke that kind of blurred memory you envision when thinking back, I plan to go a bit looser and and sketchy, more raw pencil sketches with washes of ink or watercolor. With the present day, I'll lean more towards a graphic black and white, really pushing the blacks far more then I ever have.
As for colors, I'll be teaming up with Ian Herring again -- with whom I worked with on Tale Of Sand, and Spider-Man: Learning To Crawl. Ian and I share a studio, and there is a nice opportunity for going over pages together. Ian's palette choices are fantastic, and with the idea of a more graphic approach to the modern setting, we plan on using a simplified palette and rendering style. As well, similar to our collaboration on Tale Of Sand, I will most likely be taking over coloring on any painted sequences.
CA: Kate Bishop is a co-star in this series – will she and Clint be back to operating side-by-side, or will they continue to function as solo acts? How has their working relationship changed since they last met?
JL: To me, Kate is an equal to Clint in terms of who the "star" of the book is. It's equal billing. It will be as much Kate's story as it is Clint's. One of the many wonderful things about Matt Fraction's run was the relationship between Kate and Clint, and to me, that must remain central to the book.
So, in terms of the Kate/Clint relationship, I don't just want to repeat or maintain what Matt was doing. I want their relationship to continue to evolve. I want to see what comes next. And I'm not going to say any more, or I'll spoil my story.
Clint and Kate share adventures and time in NYC. They won't be splitting up again in the near future. This will be very much be the final stages of Kate's development as Clint's equal -- or even his better -- rather than his student.
CA: The previous Hawkeye series tended to steer clear of the mainstream Marvel Universe – are you maintaining the same distance, or will we see closer ties to other titles?
JL: Much like what Matt and David did, this book will kind of exist in it's own little "Hawkeye bubble."
CA: Can we look forward to seeing any other regular supporting cast members, either familiar or newly invented?
JL: Both. As I said, Clint's childhood will be explored extensively, which means Barney will also play a big role. And there will be new cast members as well!