Comics / Spotlight

Are Manhawks related to Feitherans?


By Hervé St-Louis
January 5, 2020 - 01:25

In Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s universe, there are two humanoid species with wings and bird-like features. The first, the Feitherans live in Greenland and have bird-like heads and wings. They were introduced in the Golden Age of comics in Flash Comics #71, published in 1946. One them, Northwind is a human and a Feitheran hybrid and the godson Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The Manhawks first appeared in the Silver Age in Hawkman #18 in 1966. The Manhawks are marauding bird creatures sporting human masks that attack the spoils of the Thanagarian conquests in various alien worlds.

Flash Comics #71 and the Featherans

While each species was part of the Hawkman and Hawkgirl mythos, I don’t recall that any ever met. The Feitherans were mostly tied with the Golden Age Hawkman (Carter Hall) and Hawkgirl (Shiera Hall) and by extension to Northwind and the Justice Society and its descendants in Infinity Inc. The styling used for the Kingdome Come Hawkman was later reused in the Justice Society to represent Northwind who had lost his human face and grown a beak preventing him from being able to speak. Other Feitherans also transformed in similarly as they joined Black Adam’s Kahndaq as villainous creatures. In the New 52 DC Comics reboot, Northwind resumed a more human-like appearance.

Northwind after his regression into a bird

The Manhawks were also villains and their presence is used to explain the creation of the wingmen corps from which the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl originate from. The Manhwaks also evolved in recent Hawkman comics to a form closer to that of the Feitherans. In fact, while the Feiitherans have become more animal like, losing the ability to speak and growing legs like those of birds instead of human-like legs, the Manhawks seen in the 2018 Hawkman comic no longer are hawks with human faces. They are now men with wings arms no longer tied with their wings. The Feitherans also no longer just flap their arms as if they were wings. They can also count on an extra set of wings as well as arms.

Manhawks battle Hawkman and Adam Strange

I cannot recall anytime when both species met in the comics or elsewhere like in cartoons, games, or live action. A third race of female She-Hawks was introduced in the Brightest Day comic and operated under Shiera Hall’s mother. These were harpies for lack of a better word and again, I do not believe that they had been tied directly to either the Manhawks or the Feitherans. They were also villainous.

Manhawks in 2005

I have to mention Bird-Boy who along with Mer-Boy, an Atlantean merman sought to charm and date Wonder Woman when she was a teenager (as Wonder Girl). Bird-Boy has red-hair and wings and bird legs similar to Feitherans. The only thing is that he had a human face and was a bit whiter than other Feitherans.

Bird-Boy's first appearance alongside Mer-boy in Wonder Woman #144

Now, just like there are many human-like alien races in the DC universe that have evolved in parallel without being tied, like humans, Kryptonians, and Thangarians, the existence of several bird-like creatures could another example of parallel evolution. Perhaps there is nothing in common with the Feitherans and the Manhawks. Yeah but, what’s the fun in that? Right?

Feitherans in 2018

The common point for each species is Hawkman and Hawkgirl who both are human-like but with wings, most often, artificial. Just like Man-bat or Bizarro, they serve as reversals of the original concept underlying the characters they are met to counter by taking a literal approach to the figurative representation of the superheroes they mimic inversely.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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