Hawkworld – Found in THE BARGAIN BIN

Hawkworld
DC Comics
1989

A HAWKWORLD IN THE BARGAIN BIN”, or “OCD, YOU KNOW ME!

It feels strange kicking off our new “Bargain Bin” column with a limited series that most long-time comic readers should already have. But the “H’s” on my shelf start with HELLBLAZER, then go to HITMAN. Nothing “Hawk” related. This is a case where I really (really!) did stumble across all three issues of Tim Truman’s HAWKWORLD series at the St. Paul, MN, Half Price Books.
While hoping to pick up a few trades that are on my radar (it’s research!) I found all three volumes, filed under “H.” This is significant because of this: Missing Issue Syndrome, the most infuriating part of shopping at used bookstores. You have all been here in my shoes. Browsing through books/comics/cd’s/record bins, and there it is! Volume 1 of a multi-parter that you’ve been missing for years!

So what usually happens? You find volume 1, and SWEET, there’s volume 3 right next to it! So volume 2 has to be around here somewhere. Just keep flipping through the stacks here… Some schmo must have carried it around the store and changed his mind at the check out, or something. Better go ask the clerk:

“Hey, Dante. Can you please tell me if you have volume 2 of SAND IN THE VASELINE, by Talking Heads? No? So some jerk just brought in volume 1? Or some other jerk just bought volume 2? And I’m just to damn OCD to buy one without the other!”
(Note from the author: This actually happened. Except I only called the clerk “Dante” in my mind. I think his name was really Jeff.)

Anyway, there I am at Half Price Books, and there on the shelf are all three volumes of HAWKWORLD. I was so knocked out, I almost convinced myself there was some kind of “mystery 4th volume” that wasn’t there. HAWKWORLD, for those that are younger than me, was a three-issue prestige mini-series put out by DC Comics in 1989. This was a few years after the line wide reboot known as CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. Because of the origin altering nature of CRISIS, the mid-to-late 80’s were filled with character redefining stores featuring DC heroes. Superman had MAN OF STEEL. Green Lantern had EMERALD DAWN. Green Arrow had THE LONGBOW HUNTERS, and so on and so on. Hawkman had HAWKWORLD.

Tim Truman handled both the writing and art chores, and it’s amazing work. For this series, Truman removes the Egyptian elements from Hawkman’s origin and sets the story solely on the planet Thanagar. We meet rookie Wingman Katar Hol. Through Katar, we learn about the severe class and economic divide that separates the natives of Thanagar vs. the many conquered alien races that have been absorbed into Thanagarian society.

Yeah, you read this correctly. A dissertation on the evils of class and economic politics set on an alien world doesn’t sound like traditional super-hero fare. But Truman knocks it out of the park. His Katar Hol is a patriot that longs for Thanagar’s glory days, when they were a race that took pride in making their own goods. And explored the universe to expand their knowledge, not to bring pain and suffering to other races. Watching Katar learn the truth about the world he loves is amazingly heartbreaking. And it’s all illustrated with Truman’s organic art: beautiful, lush work.
If you are lucky to find HAWKWORLD in your neighborhood bargain bin, don’t freak out like I did. Be cool. Just saunter up to the counter like you don’t have a comic book treasure in your hands.

Dan Malmon
The Crimespree Wrecking Crew loves a good bargain as much as the next crime fiction fan, sometimes the bargains are worth it, sometimes not. Here in the bargain bin we’ll see if we struck gold or just got a rock.