DC Comics History
DC Comics History: Hawkman 1964 - 1967: The New Look
By Deejay Dayton
October 19, 2019 - 09:37


Hawkman and Hawkgirl held forth in their own series during the period 1964 – 1967: The New Look. Of course, only Hawkman was title billed, but Hawkgirl usually helped to carry the stories. Adam Strange and the Atom would show up to make guest appearances, and the Hawks had to deal with some of their major villains returning as well. Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson would be in charge of the Thanagarian heroes during this era.


Although Hawkman and Hawkgirl had been given a decent supporting cast in their early Silver Age appearances in Brave and the Bold and Mystery in Space, they seemed to have a hard time keeping them around once they got their own book. Mavis Trent and Joe Tracy both stopped appearing after issue 2, although each was in a different story in that issue. 

Mavis Trent appeared in the opening tale, which centred on a slave owning alien race who have come to Earth to increase their inborn powers by soaking up some galactic rays. It's even compared to tanning at one point in the tale. Mavis does very little though, and there is nothing of her rivalry with Shayera for the attentions off Carter Hall, which had been so important for the character in her appearances before this book began.


The Hawks figure out that the aliens are vulnerable to increased gravity and "cold-light" weapons, thanks to one of their slaves, who contacts the heroes in hopes of overthrowing their masters. It's a decent story, but nothing remarkable, aside from it being the last time we see Mavis until 1978, in the Hawkman back-up story in Detective Comics.


Joe Tracy, the publicity man for the Midway City Museum, makes his appearance in the second story in the issue. The story is a bit more fun than the lead one, dealing with a pair of wings discovered during an archaeological dive in the Aegean, which are suspected of being the very wings Icarus wore when he flew too close to the sun.  Tracy forces Carter Hall to publicly test out the wings, so certain that they will work that he has Carter jump off the roof of a building in front of a big media gathering. Luckily for everyone, they do. Later, Hawkman is going after some thieves who use a bazooka, and shoot his wings, damaging the controls he uses. Hawkman winds up using the Icarus wings, with his frequent disregard of the value of the artifacts he takes into battle.


He tracks the thieves by noticing the distinctive red marks left behind on his wings, and on a series of holes in a cliff face. At the end, Hawkman confirms that these really are the wings of Icarus, although there has been no absolute proof of this given in the story, aside from the fact that the work. And really, as in the original myth Icarus' wings melted, that alone should prove that they are not the right wings. Perhaps because of this terrible work, Joe Tracy is not seen again until the Shadow War of Hawkman miniseries, in 1985.


Big Red, Hawkman’s bird sidekick, did appear in a number of stories which I will be discussing further down, but he too would fly away after Hawkman 17. And since I am talking about final appearances, I may as well discuss that story now. It deals with a gang of thieves who use motorcycles in their crimes. There is a passing similarity to the first story, in that the loot from the thieves gets stolen and replaced, so it's Hawkman who winds up looking like a liar when he brings the men to the cops. Big Red has a very small role in the story, telling Hawkman and Hawkgirl about a motorcyle gang, but these turn out to be innocent bikers. Poor Big Red. No wonder he appears so rarely. Eventually the Hawks get on the trail of the real thieves. The villains have a plot to blow up the Hawks, but this never comes about, and the heroes never even find out about it. Big Red is next seen in a Hawkman back-up story in Detective Comics in 1975.


The only supporting cast member to stick around was Commissioner Emmett. He never really gets developed, and is usually just there for exposition, but does get an entertaining scene in Hawkman 3. The Hawks are battling some thieves when a golden cage suddenly materializes around them, which pretty much makes them sitting (floating?) targets. Alien birds are behind this, and created the cage thinking they were helping the pair. These birds clearly are not that smart, and Hawkman finds it very difficult to communicate with them.


There is a delightful scene with a confused Commissioner Emmett, as Hawkman talks to an Earth bird, who tells him where the alien birds, and the thieves are. Hawkgirl has to translate the entire conversation for the police chief. The second outing against the thieves almost goes the same way as the first, but now Hawkman is able to use sign language to make the alien birds understand what is going on. Why the birds are able to make sense of signs, using hands and fingers that they themselves do not possess, makes no sense at all, really.


Hawkman and Hawkgirl would make a new friend, Dwyanna Ral, a scientist from the planet Illoral. She debuted in Hawkman 6. Hawkman and Hawkgirl are pursuing some thieves when they briefly get turned into cave people, more or less. This effect only lasts for a few minutes, and they are able to recover and stop the thieves. Investigating, they discover a dimensional warp, which takes them to the world of Illoral. They fight tiger-men, and the flying gorillas seen on the cover. The effect has been caused by a scientist on that world, Dwyanna Ral, who had an experiment go seriously wrong, causing the de-evolution of the other people on her world.


There is a way to reverse the situation, but in order to do so Dwyanna would have to leave her lab, which would turn her into a flying gorilla as well, and remove her rationality. So the Hawks battle their way to the machine and reverse it, turning everyone back into the butterfly humans they originally were.


Dwyanna Ral returned in Hawkman 16. The story begins as Hawkman and Hawkgirl encounter six of the flying gorillas they dealt with on Illoral. The gorillas are under the control of an evil priest from a lost city, plotting to overthrow its queen. The priest has no idea that the sacrifices he is sending are not being consumed by a god, but in fact are passing through a dimensional portal. So without really understanding what he is doing, the priest captures Hawkman, and sends him back to Illoral. There, Hawkman meets up with Dwyanna Ral again, and helps her and her husband defeat some Moth-Men, long believed extinct on that world.


After succeeding, Hawkman heads back through the portal, rescuing Hawkgirl and the queen of the lost city, the next up on the "execution" block. Hawkman does have to deal with the flying gorillas, but Dwyanna provided him with a portable version of the evolution machine, which restores them to their normal form. And despite spending much of the issue a captive of the evil priest, Hawkgirl does get to show her stuff at the ending, being the one to push the high priest through the portal, which sends him off to Illoral to be imprisoned.


Hawkman and Adam Strange would work together again during this period, in a two part story in Hawkmans 18 and 19. By this time, Adam Strange’s series in Mystery in Space had come to an end, and it had been a couple of years since the character had appeared. They join forces to deal with Hawkman’s enemies, the Manhawks.
Hawkgirl is on Thanagar at the beginning of Hawkman 18, and Hawkman receives an emergency message from her, mentioning the Manhawks escape from prison on their homeworld. The transmission gets cut off, and Hawkman rushes to Thanagar to check on his wife. But when he arrives, he finds that the entire planet has gone missing. At the same time, Adam Strange and Alanna prepare for their marriage on Rann. This had been discussed a few years earlier, in the last issue of Mystery of Space to feature Hawkman, but then ignored for more than a year. Now, as they proceed to the altar, Manhawks attack and destroy some of the labs on Rann. I should also mention that, in this story, Sardath has found a way to remove the radiation Adam had been imbued with by Kanjar Ro, which prevented him from staying on Rann indefinitely.


It has the unfortunate effect that Adam will die if he returns to Earth, but Sardath has also found a way to remove the Zeta-Beam radiation effect that would send him back there. Hawkman winds up showing up on Rann while Adam is battling the Manhawks. Together, they are able to track the creatures to their hidden lair. The Manhawks had escaped from prison after finding their powers temporarily increased. They "stole" Thanagar, but then as their powers started to wane, they came to Rann in search of the source of their new power. That turns out to be the machine that Sardath had constructed to aid Adam. Hawkman makes a duplicate of the machine, and brings it to Earth. The Manhawks follow, but the radiation that would have killed Adam winds up killing the Manhawks instead. Though the heroes have succeeded, Hawkman has not found Hawkgirl, or Thanagar for that matter, by the end of the issue.


In Hawkman 19 one of the Manhawks was captured before the other were lured to Earth and killed. Hawkman plots with Adam Strange and Alanna to let that creature escape, so that Hawkman can follow him back to wherever they moved Thanagar. And that's it for Adam and Alanna. They are next seen, three years down the road, in Strange Adventures. The Manhawk remains unaware that Hawkman is following it, until Hawkman intervenes to save the creature from a giant space spider, who captures it in its web. Hawkman has to make the Manhawk think that it succeeds in killing Hawkman before he can continue to trail it. Arriving back on Thanagar, the Manhawk uses mental control to turn the Thanagarians against each other, figuring that as long as they are busy trying to kill each other, they won't have time to attack him.


This works, but then Hawkman arrives and destroys the machine the Manhawk is using to pull this off. He gets re-united with Hawkgirl, and informs her of what he has learned about the Manhawks, that they came from a different world, where they were overrun by giant lizards.  The lizards need the Manhawks in order to survive themselves, so they were behind having the Manhawks move Thanagar closer to them. The story culminates in a four way battle, as Hawkman fights the Manhawk's leader, and Hawkgirl battles the remaining lizard. Both triumph, and seal up their enemies in suspended animation, before using the machine the Manhawks had used to steal Thanagar to move it back to its original location.


The burgeoning friendship between Hawkman and the Atom had already started in the diminutive hero’s book, and the Atom would show up in Hawkman 9 to aid his flying buddy against another old foe, Matter Master. The Matter Master escapes from prison by creating a tiny version of his metachem rod, and uses it to attract the real wand, being kept in the JLA trophy room. He uses the real wand to burst free of prison, and sets out to gain vengeance against Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Despite not being drawn by Kubert, Matter Master looks pretty good. The villain succeeds at luring and capturing the Hawks, sealing them inside a diamond he creates. His plan is to crush them by shrinking the diamond, but to everyone's surprise as the diamond gets smaller, so do the Hawks. Much of the issue then takes place with the Hawks in a subatomic world, a place covered in poison gas, so the people live in floating cities.


The Hawks prevent one of the scientists from that world from taking it over, and then escape from the diamond. They are still miniature in size when they get free, but use this to their advantage when battling and defeating the Matter Master. At the end, the Hawks suspect that the mentachem rod got affected by exposure to the Atom's white dwarf star material, and call the hero in to help enlarge them. He does, and they all happily reveal their identities to each other. 


Zatanna made her debut, and began the quest for her missing father, Zatara, in the pages of Hawkman 4. The story begins as Carter and Shiera Hall discover two artifacts in the Midway City Museum that they should not be in possession of, one from Mongolia, and one from Ireland. They split up, each one heading to one of the countries to see what they can find out. Hawkman faces off against some Mongolian bandits before fighting his way into a fortress. There, he discovers a paralyzed woman, speaking very strangely. He picks her up and carries her back to his spaceship. 


Hawkgirl takes down some hoods in an Irish castle, before finding a similar woman, and also brings her back to the ship. There, they determine that the women are really the same person, magically split into two people, and succeed at putting her back together. Zatanna explains that she is the daughter of the magician Zatara. The Hawks are familiar with him, thanks to the Absorbacon. They mention that he had been active ten years earlier, but say nothing about Earth-2, so Zatara must have travelled to Earth-1 by 1954 at the latest. Zatanna is on a quest to find her father, and split into two people to follow two different leads. One of those leads deals with the Druid, who will show up in Zatanna's story in the Atom's book.


Hawkman would also team up with Batman in the pages of Brave and the Bold 70. There is some very nice art on the tale, and it’s a shame that the story is such a mess. The villain of the piece is a wealthy man called the Collector.  He is determined to find out Batman's identity, and uses his computer, which tells him that Bruce Wayne is Batman.  Wanting proof, he has his men break into Bruce's doctor's office and steal his records. All signs point to yes, so the Collector disguises himself as a homeless man, and plants a bug on Batman.  Batman finds the tracer, but is not sure who is behind it.  Since Hawkman is in town, Batman heads over to visit him and Shayera, and gives him the bug, to lead the bad guy astray. So far so good.  But then it all starts to go wrong. 


The Collector follows Hawkman, and begins to think that Bruce Wayne is both Batman and Hawkman, until he sees the two together. He gets them to take a truth serum and reveal their identities, but thry had switched costumes by then, which just confuses things even more. They wind up fighting, trying to unmask each other, just to suit the cover image. In the end they capture him, and try to throw him off the trail.  But though the story avoids showing this, the Collector clearly knows by the end that Bruce Wayne and Carter Hall are Batman and Hawkman, even if he is not certain which is which.  Adding in another fake identity to decoy him really doesn't matter.  It's just another secret identity. I have hated the conclusion of this story from the very first time I read it.

I mentioned the Manhawks and Matter Master already, and the Hawks would face a couple more of their former foes during this period.


In Hawkman 5 the Shadow Thief robs the Midway City Museum, to pay off the man who broke him out of prison, and retrieved the dimensiometer he uses to maintain his shows form. Carter Hall pursues him, and the Shadow Thief realizes that he must be Hawkman, and his wife must be Hawkgirl. In this story, Hawkman keeps his costume inside the Hawk disc, apparently wearing it under his shirt. The Shadow Thief is now hoping to destroy the Earth, intentionally bringing on the ice age that overuse of the dimensiometer will create. He intends to rule the other dimension, where he has imprisoned the creator of that device. There is a really good sequence in which we get to see how the Shadow Thief operates, existing in the other dimension, while his shadow robs on Earth. The villain creates two more devices, and sticks them onto Hawkman and Hawkgirl, to speed up the ice age.


The Hawks are now in the opposite situation to the Shadow Thief, existing as solid forms on Earth, but shadows in the other dimension. They have a difficult time of things, as people trying to help them on Earth, by moving them, are actually making things more difficult for their shadow selves. The Shadow Thief then paralyzes their shadows, leaving the couple just floating motionless on Earth. Hawkman is able to summon Big Red, his pet hawk, last seen a couple of years earlier in Brave and the Bold. Big Red gets a mynah bird to explain things to Commissioner Emmett, and uses other birds to move the Hawks, getting them out of the paralysis ray their shadows are trapped by. The Hawks then also free the inventor of the dimensiometer, and together they are able to capture the Shadow Thief.


IQ returns in Hawkman 7 for another outing against the hero. In his foray, I.Q.'s intelligence had been boosted by an alien rock. In this story, he discovers that sunlight now can bring back his ultra-intelligence, and he devises a special pinwheel with many properties, which he uses to break out of prison. Ira Quimby also constructs a device that prevents Hawkman and Hawkgirl from tracing his location through his increased brain power. 


I.Q. tries to sacrifice his own gang, in order to lead the Hawks into a death trap net, but they break free, and track the criminal using radiation left on one of his gang. The story has a great climax, which makes the most of Murphy Anderson's art. The Hawks confront I.Q.. in his hide-out, but he uses the pinwheel to create a wild distortion effect. Even so, the Hawks overcome it, and capture the villain again.


Of the new villains that Hawkman and Hawkgirl would face in their own series, the most frequently appearing was the Criminal Alliance of the World, or CAW, a SPECTRE-like acronymic group of baddies. Most heroes would gain a group like this during these years, reflecting the influence of the James Bond films. CAW made their debut in Hawkman 7. The story opens in the Midway City Museum, where a strange radiation appears around some Egyptian artifacts. As Shiera examines it, she gets teleported away. Hawkman trails the radiation to Egypt. That's where he finds the crocodile men. They are just humans, wearing crocodile head helmets, sadly. They have been kidnapping people from around the world to use as slave labour, digging up ancient tombs so the bad guys could loot them. Hawkman finds Shiera, and she explains that these guys are working for the Criminal Alliance of the World - CAW. The teleportation effect had been as much of a surprise to them as to the Hawks. He frees his wife, and beats up the men running the slave camp, destroying the other dog statue, which removes the teleportation powers.


Hawkman 10 opens as Hawkman returns from a Justice League meeting, and tries to stop a jackdaw from dropping a camera onto two men. Hawkman shows great perception in guessing this activity is part of some nefarious scheme, and he is right. The men work for CAW, and the bird stole a camera with photos of classified information. CAW stole the camera from the foreign agents, and in turn are being pursued by the CIA. It takes Hawkman only a couple of pages to sort that confusing mess out, thanks to a CIA agent named Blondie. Hawkman and Blondie work together, determining that the secret information is being passed by CAW through a colour-blindness test painting.


They replace the real information with locations to a trap, and capture the CAW agents. As the story ends, Hawkman reveals that he had figured out that Blondie was really Hawkgirl in disguise. There are not a lot of clues for the reader to pick up on, and all but impossible for one to figure it out on their own. But she is Hawkman's wife, so it's a darn good thing he was able to recognize her! Hawkgirl had been recruited to work for the CIA while Hawkman was busy with his mission. Sadly, we don't see Hawkgirl doing any further independent CIA work.


The final CAW story appears in Hawkman 14, and centres on a talking bronze head, created by the Nine Unknowns in India in the third century. The head is activated by solar energy, and was essentially a super computer, a repository of all the information in the world. The backstory is quite impressive, with the head winding up in the possession of a pope a thousand years ago, before seemingly being destroyed. CAW does not believe this, and is out to find the head. The Nine Unknowns also still exist, and send an agent to aid the Hawks in preventing CAW from acquiring it. Hawkman and Hawkgirl split up for most of the story. They use the absorbacon to determine the locations of the head and the solar lamp. Hawkman goes to Paris to retrieve the head, only to find that CAW got there before him. He has to defeat the CAW operatives before he can take possession of the head. Hawkgirl heads to Bangkok to get the solar lamp, finding it in the possession of some Buddhist monks. She has to fulfil a prophecy, which is basically just finding the lamp, and then they let her take it. She definitely has the easier task.


The Hawks are unaware that the CAW agents they were facing were inundating them with deadly radiation, but that turns out not to matter much anyway, as the head and lamp had drained it from them. CAW's secondary plan had been to kill the Hawks and steal the absorbacon. That falls through, and the Hawks round up the masterminds. These were likely the top guys at CAW, as we never hear from that organization again.


Another new foe for the Hawks was Lion-Mane, who debuted in Hawkman 20. Hawkman heads to Iran to meet up with an archaeologist buddy, Ed Dawson, and learns the truth behind a valley of tame lions. A "god" (really a meteor) had landed long ago and emits vibrations that tames the lions, unless someone touches it. Good old Ed Dawson wound up touching it, and turns into Lion-Mane, and not only becomes all nasty and violent himself, but also turns all the other lions in the valley the same way.


Hawkman finds the meteor and smashes it, which turns Lion-Mane back into Dawson, and also tames all the valley lions again. I guess even bits of the meteor give off the calming vibrations? Better be careful not to touch any of them. As the story ends, Hawkman wonders if the curse really has been lifted from his friend.


In the following issue Carter Hall meets with Ed Dawson in Midway City, allowing Ed to discuss his experience as Lion-Mane, and fill in readers who had not picked up the previous issue. There is an identical meteor in the Midway City Museum. Carter touches it, with no effect, but when Dawson touches it he once again turns into Lion-Mane, and goes on another rampage. There turn out to be quite a few pieces of the meteor scattered about, and exposure to each one gives Lion-Mane more powers. He gains flight and a force-field as the story progresses, making things much more difficult for Hawkman and Hawkgirl. As well, breaking up the meteor has no effect this time around. Hawkman comes up with the theory that the meteors are really alien missiles, from a planet of lion-men, and intended to repopulate Earth in their image, although the first couple malfunctioned when Dawson was exposed.


This theory is a huge leap to make from what little they know of the rocks. Exposure to the final meteor gives Lion-Mane eye beams that create dangerous alien plants. Hawkman and Hawkgirl escape from these, and then Hawkman makes a good deduction. Being an archaeologist, Dawson probably kept some pieces of the original meteor in his pockets. And as Lion-Mane continues to wear the shards of his trousers, the Hawks shatter the meteor bits in his pockets, which finally turns him back into Dawson. The story is really muddled, with the alien element, although Lion-Mane himself made a very good opponent for the Hawks.


I should also mention Fal Tal and her followers, who made their debut in Hawkman 8. In later stories Fal Tal was the leader of the Harpies, although in this story they are called the Karvars. Hawkgirl heads up to their spaceship to do some spring cleaning, but doesn't come back. When Hawkman heads up to see what is wrong, he runs into the flying monsters, the Karvars. They destroy his winds, and it takes a fair bit of ingenuity and acrobatic skills for Hawkman to keep fighting them. Fal Tal, the leader of the Harpies, throws an unconscious, and wingless, Hawkgirl out of the ship, and though Hawkman saves her, he has to give up the fight against the Karvars. When Hawkgirl wakes, she relates to Hawkman the story of Fal Tal and her followers, aliens who crashed on Earth 500,000 years earlier, awakened by a recent eruption that raised their ship above the waves. All Fal Tal really wants is to get home, and as her own ship doesn't work, she and her men have decided to steal the Hawk's spaceship. The Hawks repair Fal Tal's ship, and catch up to their own, using a tractor beam to take control of it. The Hawks bring the Karvars to Thanagar to stand trial. This really could have gone a completely different way, as Fal Tal and her people only wanted to get home.


Speaking of Thanagar, there was one issue that saw the main action take place there, rather than on Earth. In Hawkman 12 Thanagarian archaeologists on a different planet wind up inadvertently freeing two warlords from suspended animation. The men had been in battle with each other a long time earlier, and once they are able to act again, resume their battle. The warlords steal the archaeologists' ship and head to Thanagar, taking over the minds of the entire population. Fortunately for that world, Hawkman and Hawkgirl intercept the signal of the now stranded archaeologists, and rescue them, bringing them back to Thanagar. The Hawks prove to be immune to the mind control effect that has taken down everyone else, and figure out this is because of their exposure to Earth's solar radiation.


This means, for some reason, that Earth weapons also work on the warlords, while Thanagarian weapons will not. So clearly there is something more than mind control going on. At any rate, the warlords threaten to kill everyone on Thanagar unless the Hawks stop using them, which they do. Finally, the Hawks figure out that it was the radiation from the dust on the planet the warlords were found on that put them into suspended animation. Hawkman and Hawkgirl split up, and each douses one of the villains in the dust, which freezes them again, and releases the Thanagarians from the mind control.


I also want to mention the story in Hawkman 13, which really merited a follow up, even though it didn’t get one. An immortal Valkyrie comes to Midway City, checking out Hawkman as a potential mate. Frost giants, which are actually robots, attack the city under the command of the Valkyrie Alvit. She sends birds to keep Hawkgirl at bay, while watching Hawkman's battle prowess. Impressed, Alvit then sends Hawkman through a dimensional portal to Alfheim. Hawkgirl learns of this from their pet hawk, Big Red, making his first appearance in two years. Big Red doesn't get much to do aside from giving Hawkgirl information, but will return later in the year. The realm of the Valkyries in this story is not quite the one from Norse mythology. They are from the distant future, and fled to the realm of Alfheim to escape a nuclear war, gaining immortality as a nice surprise bonus. Alvit has had a number of mortal husbands, who she keeps outliving, and Hawkman is just the latest one to capture her interest. Hawkgirl makes it to Alfheim as well, while Hawkman keeps thinking about her, to ward off effects from a mind control machine Alvit is trying to use on him. Hawkgirl manages to destroy the machine, and Hawkman defeats Alvit, but the best part of the tale is the conclusion. Hawkgirl is preparing to tell Hawkman about how she saved him, but he insists that his love for her allowed him to overcome Alvit's machine on his own. How can Hawkgirl argue against that? Alvit and her quasi-Nordic world made an interesting opponent and location, and it's a shame we didn't see them again.

Hawkman continues in the next period, 1967 – 1970: It’s a Happening!

Hawkman: Hawkman 2 – 21 (June/July 1964 – Aug/Sept 67)

Brave and the Bold 70 (Feb/March 1967)

Next up – the Spectre!

Related Articles:
DC Comics History: Hawkman 1964 - 1967: The New Look
Hawkman #5
Hawkman #4
Hawkman #2
Review: Hawkman #1
Hawkman Found #1
DC Comics History: Hawkman (1960 - 1964: the Silver Age)
Death of Hawkman #6 Review
Death of Hawkman #5
Death of Hawkman #4 Review