I am working my way through The Golden Age Hawkman Archives for the second time. The stories, from Flash Comics #1-22, are all written by Gardner Fox. The first three are illustrated by Dennis Neville, but the volume is notable mostly for the art by Sheldon Moldoff. The first time I read this volume I was struck by how many panels were swiped directly from Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant. This time through (I’ve read many more comic strip reprints since the first time), I’m struck by how many panels were swiped from Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon and Burne Hogarth’s Tarzan as well as Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant (and many others that look like swipes whose source I cannot identify), to the extent I wouldn’t be surprised if virtually every panel was swiped from one source or another.

There is one particular comic book artist who came to prominence in the ‘90s and was notorious for uncredited swipes (you probably know the one I mean), and he was generally ridiculed by fellow professionals and fans alike. OTOH, there is Wally Wood, who once famously said, "Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up." And that’s Wally Wood! The “hot” ‘90s artist is no Wally Wood by any stretch of the imagination, but what about Sheldon Moldoff?

Sheldon Moldoff wrote the introduction to the archive volume, and I tend to take him at his word when he professes the desire to elevate comic book art to the level of comic strip art of the time. In his introduction, he related the story of Al Williamson who, as a boy, lived in South America and had no access to American comic strips. One day his father gave him a copy of Flash Comics, however, and inspired him to become a comic book artist. (This story related by Moldoff how Williamson approached him at a con.) And you know what? Sheldon Moldoff’s art is more distinctive that that of most other artists of the Golden Age. I recall thinking that very thought the first time I read Flash Comics #1 and All-Star Comics #3 (reprinted as “treasury editions”).

It is jarring to me now, though, to go from King Arthur’s Camelot to Flash Gordon’s Mongo to Tarzan’s jungle at the turn of a page.

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Thanks for making the effort, Randy. I appreciate it.

I finished reading the Silver Age Hawkman Archives volume 2 over the weekend. I have read it once before, when it was first released (in 2004) and I enjoyed it both times. It includes a few stories I remember being reprinted in those “100-Page Super-Spectaculars” in the ‘70s, including the first part of the crossover of Zatana’s quest for Zatarra. One of the comics reprinted in the collection is Hawkman #6, the cover of which was used as a springboard for 2004’s DC Comics Presents tribute to Julius Schwartz.

I remember doing a sort of half-assed discussion of that series back when it was first released (also in 2004), comparing the new stories (two in each issue) to the originals. The problem was, I didn’t have all of the originals. I hope someday to do a fully-assed discussion of that series, but DC doen’t seem to be in any hurry to release reprints of any of the stories I am missing. It’s 16 years later and I don’t have any more of the originals now than I did then.

Someday, maybe, I hope, DC will see fit to release a Silver Age Hawkman omnibus. If so, it will duplicate everything I have in the two archives, but I’ll gladly accept the duplication in order to read more of these great stories at an affordable price.

Surprisingly Zatanna's first appearance from Hawkman #4 was NOT reprinted in a 100 Page Super-Spectacular! It was in the regular size Supergirl #5 (Ju'73) in a truncated form. Zatanna was the back-up of Supergirl

I didn't read it in its full form for years until JLA: Zatanna's Quest in 2004.

It's difficult to imagine that chapter being truncated; it's pretty short to begin with. I didn't mean to imply that that particular story was from one of the 100-pagers; I didn't get the opportunity to read it until the Zatanna's Quest tpb, either. It would have been fun tracking down all of the individual chapters (just as fun in the '70s as it was in the '60s), but the tpb is the ideal way to read it.

That's how I read the rest of Zatanna's quest but not in order! I got the last chapter first and picked up the others as I started seriously collecting.

The Atom #19 (Jl'65) was in Detective #438 (Ja'74).

Green Lantern #42 (Ja'66) was featured in Superman #272 (F'74), its all-magic issue!

Detective #439 (Ma'74) contained both the Elongated Man story from Detective #355 (S'66) and the "Batman Vs the Witch" tale from Detective #336 (F'65) which got shoehorned into Zee's quest to justify Batman's appearance in JLA #51. Sheesh!

I definitely got Justice League of America #110 (Ap'74) that reprinted JLA #51 (F'67) for Christmas '73 and a fine gift it was!

Shockingly, Supergirl #5 was published nearly a year before the rest.

But at least they came out every month!

btw, I got the title of the trade wrong: it's JLA: Zatanna's Search, not Quest!

btw II, they cut five pages out of the story from Hawkman #4 so it could be the backup of Supergirl #5.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

It's difficult to imagine that chapter being truncated; it's pretty short to begin with. I didn't mean to imply that that particular story was from one of the 100-pagers; I didn't get the opportunity to read it until the Zatanna's Quest tpb, either. It would have been fun tracking down all of the individual chapters (just as fun in the '70s as it was in the '60s), but the tpb is the ideal way to read it.

HAWKWORLD:

I’m now up to the point at which I was inspired to re-read Hawkman in the first place.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading John Byrne’s Doom Patrol Omnibus. At least I was reading John Byrne’s introduction to his Doom Patrol, which was written in 2004 for the first issue. Rather than a retcon revision (which would have preserved the “chronological placement” of the team in continuity, as he had done with Superman in Man of Steel), he decided to do a reboot revision, which jettisoned decades of backstory. I’m a continuity buff, and I remember having trepidations about this approach when it was first announced, but it ended up being okay.

This put me in mind of Timothy Truman’s 1988 prestige format limited series Hawkworld, in which he tried the same approach. I was less okay with that one at the time. But I got to thinking about all of the changes to the character that have happened since, and realized that the changes introduced in Hawkworld weren’t really that big of a deal after all. That’s when I got the idea to read the Golden Age, Silver Age and post-Crisis versions back-to-back. And it was then I realized I had no idea where I had filed my copies of Hawkworld.

Flash forward a couple of weeks. Now I have bought a copy of the 1991 tpb reprinting the min-series and am reading the introduction by Mike Gold. I didn’t like Hawkworld (or, rather, its revisionist approach) and I didn’t read the series (not much of it, anyway). But Gold’s introduction, much like Byrne’s to his Doom Patrol, justified his very solid reasoning for allowing (as editor) Tim Truman to make such drastic and sweeping changes. Gold maintains that, along with John Ostrander, Timothy Truman ultimately jettisoned very little previously established continuity.

I do remember visiting my old high school comics shop sometime after the Hawkworld mini-series had begun. I had graduated college by this point, was back in my hometown for a visit, and I didn’t know anyone who was there. Two guys were arguing (actually, both complaining, IIRC) about the “continuity violations” of Hawkworld. I told them that I felt the same way about the post-Crisis Legion of Super-Heroes. (I didn’t.) I told them that when John Byrne eliminated Superboy and “invalidated” the LSH, I ripped up and threw away all of my old Legion comics. (I didn’t.) Boy, did I feel stupid (I told them) when, a couple of months later when John Byrne introduced the “Pocket Universe” and “saved” those of Legion stories.

My point was, then as now, it is beyond the capability of new stories to "ruin" old ones.

They said that originally Hawkworld was going to be an Elseworlds story but it sold so well they continued in with a regular series and went the "Wonder Woman Is Brand New" route!

Of course, the problem with that is Hawkman was seen Post-Crisis with his Silver Age history intact! He went through Legends, Millennium and Invasion the same Katar Hol that we grew up with. Then came the retcons and revisions! But by that point, Justice League continuity was so shot full of holes, what was one or two more?

“They said that originally Hawkworld was going to be an Elseworlds...”

Oh, yeah… Elseworlds. I remember lamenting, “Oh, if only Hawkworld had been an Elsworlds, then everything would have been all right!” (According to Mike Gold’s introduction to the tpb, it was intended to be in continuity all along.) It was a big deal to me at the time, but 30 years on I realize it doesn’t really make all that much difference. It's like, when we were talking about the Bronze Age Sandman and Sandy last week. At this remove, does it really matter if JLA #113 came out a couple of months before Sandman #1?

That bit about Mike Gold triggered a memory that the series was going to be a re-telling of Hawkman's origin but take place before Brave & Bold #34 so the initial plan was more a retcon but again, its success prompted DC to use the "Day One" approach with the ongoing title.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

“They said that originally Hawkworld was going to be an Elseworlds...”

Oh, yeah… Elseworlds. I remember lamenting, “Oh, if only Hawkworld had been an Elsworlds, then everything would have been all right!” (According to Mike Gold’s introduction to the tpb, it was intended to be in continuity all along.) It was a big deal to me at the time, but 30 years on I realize it doesn’t really make all that much difference. It's like, when we were talking about the Bronze Age Sandman and Sandy last week. At this remove, does it really matter if JLA #113 came out a couple of months before Sandman #1?

Everything I’ve written recently about Hawkworld up until now has been done without re-reading it. Now I have re-read it. I said earlier that I only read Hawkworld once, but I remember now I’ve read it twice: one when it was first released, then again in conjunction with the release of the Fox/Kubert Hawkman tpb (Hawkworld ends, more or less, where the Silver Age Hawkman begins) and I’m here to tell you: they don’t fit, not no way, not no how.

To be perfectly honest, I remember being bugged that the backstory of the Hawkman of Hawkworld didn’t jibe with the Hawkman of Action Comics #588 or Justice League International #10 (to use Philip’s two example), but 30 years on, it makes absolutely no difference… not to me, anyway. Hawkworld doesn’t have anything more to do with the Silver Age Hawkman than the Silver Age Hawkman had to do with the Golden Age one.

I just re-read Hawkworld as a standalone project. Justice League International #10 is included in the JLI omnibus, Action Comics #588 will soon be available in the John Byrne Superman omnibus, and that’s the only way I will ever read those comics going forward. I doesn’t make any difference that The Dark Knight Returns doesn’t fit into Batman/Detective Comics continuity of the day, and it doesn’t make any difference for Hawkman and Hawkworld, either, for the same reason: they’re two different continuities.

I found my copies of Hawkworld #1-3! I bump this up to publicize my shame. Never before have I been unable to locate a book for over three months! (Of course, I haven't been looking all that hard since I bought/read a replacement.) I caouls think what box I had filed them in. Turns out, they weren't in a box at all. they were on my sorting table, right under my nose the whole time. I have stacks of miscellaneous loose comics on that table, all of which I looked through dozens of times, but Hawkworld was beneath a pile of miscellaneous hardcovers I don't have shelf space for. 

I can't point to a specific quote but in my book research I've run across a number of references that the higher-ups at DC (and maybe other companies) had come to the conclusion in the early 1940s that pulp-based characters were passe and superheroes were in, so pulp-inspired characters were abruptly superhero-ized -- that is to say, got leotards and sidekicks (if they didn't have them already). Off the top of my head I know that happened to Sandman and Crimson Avenger, and there may be others. Or they were just canceled.

As to the cluster that was Hawkman's continuity after Hawkworld, it outraged me at the time. But now I realize I suffered from Pre-Crisis Thinking. I expected continuity to hold up reasonably well, for things to make sense, for characters to be consistent. Ho ho! I was so young, so naive, so foolish.

In Post-Crisis Thinking, continuity is whatever the issue in front of you says it is. Don't think about it. Surf along the "nothing matters" wave in blissful ignorance of anything that happened before yesterday. Freed from the burden of actually caring about the characters I read about, I wonder now what I was so upset about back in the late '80s.

Oddly, I also don't read any titles regularly. Surely that's not connected in any way.

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