Plus, writer Ethan Sacks talks about the shocking reveal in this week's issue #5!

In our Creator Commentary series, we give the floor to our storytellers as they present behind-the-scenes looks at the decisions that go into every last panel and page—in their very own words. Today we celebrate the release of OLD MAN HAWKEYE #5 by taking a closer look at the previous issue of the series with writer Ethan Sacks. Read up on issue #1issue #2, and issue #3 before diving into issue #4 right here. 

Ethan, over to you…

*** WARNING: this section contains spoilers for this week’s OLD MAN HAWKEYE #5 ***

Before we dive into issue #4, there’s some big news from issue #5 that just can’t wait until next month’s Creator Commentary…

Kate Bishop is alive in the Wastelands! It’s been hard to keep this under wraps until now, but bringing Kate in was part of my original pitch. She was and is an important part of the puzzle; as Clint loses his eyesight, he can’t continue on the vendetta by himself without being either ridiculously lucky or very dead. So I knew he needed help.

And Clint is not the moody introvert that Logan is, so he works better when he’s yapping away to a teammate or partner. But who? If it’s a super powered character, it would have wrestled the book away from the hero. As I mulled the options, only one made sense to me: Kate Bishop. Their relationship, as shown so well by Kelly Thompson in the recent HAWKEYE book, is the perfect combination of heart and humor for this Hope/Crosby road trip vibe.

Most importantly for me, however, is that their skill sets are so similar that they compliment each other rather than one overpowering the other. It also gave me a chance to explore how each would have handled the survivors’ guilt after all their friends died. Clint is still waiting for the big chance to take down the bad guys, figuring he has to have been left alive for a purpose. Kate has given up on changing the world, so she’s trying to help as many innocents as she can under the radar. Different philosophies of being a hero.

Same monthly price, twice the arrows! Now back to the Commentary on issue #4…

*** Wow, spoilerific! But you’re safe now. No more issue #5 spoilers from here on out! ***

Issue #4 is probably my favorite issue to date, and part of the reason why is because I really like Abe Jenkins and I really feel sorry for him. To show this, we did a series of nine-panel pages—and the fact that [artist] Marco Checchetto hasn’t killed me for this is pretty amazing.

We wanted to show the monotony—without boring the readers—of poor Abe Jenkins’ life. He’s no longer wearing the battle armor, he works six days a week, long hours at this Doombot factory. He has no friends, he just goes home and drinks. He writes letters to Melissa (Songbird) who was the love of his life, but she never writes back. We don’t even know if he really sends any of them, but basically that’s his existence: working, drinking, barely sleeping, writing, and that’s it. Nobody talks to him; they think he’s a joke. It hopefully makes you feel a little sorry for him before Hawkeye comes into the story. Hawkeye obviously feels a little less sorry for him.

So we go through this for a series of pages, and one of the things I’m trying to do here is thread little clues in about Hawkeye’s next stops. He obviously doesn’t know where all of the Thunderbolts are, so part of this is not only trying to kill his former teammates, but just trying to find them.

In Abe’s letters to Melissa, he has an address—the Sanctuary of the Silent Sisterhood—which will come into play later.

Anyway, you don’t have to go through too many of these nine-panel pages before there’s an awesome splash of Hawkeye, bow drawn, ready to put one more notch on his list.

But unbeknownst to Hawkeye, right outside of the factory is Bullseye, who’s caught up to him. He’s got this amazing looking rifle and he’s tracking him with the laser sight, so it looks like this is going to be the world’s shortest 12 issue series, ending in issue #4.

But it turns out, because he crossed Red Skull, he has the equivalent of bounty hunters after him. Some of them are these three grandchildren of Kraven the Hunter. They call themselves the Killer Kravenoffs. They think they’re badass but they really haven’t proven themselves and unfortunately their career doesn’t last very long. But they stall him long enough that he loses sight of Hawkeye, which pisses him off—and you don’t want to piss off Bullseye. So he makes short work of them.

I didn’t want him to fire a gun because that’s kind of a cop out for Bullseye, so he has a bullet that was on the floor and he flicks it with his finger and takes one of them out.

But he gets injured. This was important because he’s too injured to pursue Hawkeye at this moment.

I love this—that the last survivor vows that he will track Bullseye down to the ends of the Earth and have his vengeance; the sort of big comic book declaration of a bad guy. Then Bullseye just stabs him through the head because he wants no part in dealing with that.

He’s no nonsense. He’s not the mustache-twirling villain. He’s somebody who—to recap from previous issues—has been bored for so long. He hasn’t had a challenge, so this is everything to him, that there’s one last hero out there that he gets to kill. Some people take up sewing or karaoke, but for him it’s killing this last hero.

So speaking of this last hero, Hawkeye is waiting for Beetle and he has this little flashback. This flashback is part of that horrific flashback that we saw in issue #2; he’s in the Quinjet, with Black Widow, going to that last fight where all their group of heroes die. Obviously they don’t know that, but Natasha asks if they can really trust the Thunderbolts because they used to be villains. Clint explains his perspective, and the last thing he says is, “I’d trust Abe and those guys with our lives.” We, obviously, find out that was not the best call.

I wanted to give the art team settings for these battles that were different from each other—fun set pieces. So in this case, this is a wrecked Kree spaceship that serves as a war memorial, so there are lots of sharp scrappy pieces and things like that.

When Abe comes, he can barely fit into this old Beetle armor. He obviously hasn’t been taking care of it and hasn’t been taking care of himself.

It’s amazing that he’s sober enough to put it on in the first place, but he couldn’t completely put it on, so just to show how unprepared he was for this, he actually has Hawkeye help him strap in. And Hawkeye is noble enough that if he’s going to kill this guy, he wants him at his full potential.

They have this slightly heartbreaking moment where Clint asks him, “Why did you do it?” And Abe says, “I did it for love,” because he knew that if he joined that last fight, he’d have been treated as a Super Hero and Melissa would have been killed. He sacrificed his principles and he helped kill some of his friends just to keep her alive. That was his motivation, and I found a little nobility in it. Of course Hawkeye didn’t—the woman he loved wasn’t quite so lucky. So that’s what actually sets off the fight.

Elsewhere, the Venoms arrive to Blindfold’s tent. Now Blindfold, being able to see the future, realizes this is going to happen. So she’d been slowly poisoning herself, timing it right so she would die right when they come. But unfortunately, she didn’t die fast enough.

She realized that the Venoms could just bond with her and take her powers by force. She wanted to take that out of play, but they were too fast, so they got a glimpse of where Clint will be in issue #5.

Joe Caramagna does the lettering, and for the Venoms, the letters are like nails down a chalkboard. It really has that horror feel. So the showdown with the Venoms is coming. But now, we still have the Clint and Abe fight to finish.

Ultimately, of course, Hawkeye triumphs and basically causes Beetle’s armor to explode. I love the way Marco drew this scene—he looks like a bug with his arms and legs pulled off. He looks like a dead bug.

Then Hawkeye examines the body and finds a letter to Melissa. Now he has an address. He doesn’t know where it is, but he has a place to go. He starts reading this letter and ends up going to one of his favorite bars because it’s kind of tough to read. He needs a drink to go through with this.

The bar is Josie’s, and it’s Turk—of Daredevil fame—who wasn’t really a villain per se. He obviously survived and has this nostalgic memory of Josie’s. So he opens up, in the middle of nowhere, this bar near Paste Pot Creek.

You can see all of these ants around Clint’s beer bottle. And that’s because Turk has a nephew, Dwight the ant-kid from “Old Man Logan”. I love that character. He was only in “Old Man Logan” for a couple panels, so I kind of wanted to create a backstory for him. He has this helmet and he’s super smart for his age, but he’s still figuring out how to fix it. So there are ants all over the bar.

The cliffhanger at the end of this book is that the Venoms, having seen Blindfold’s vision, know exactly where Hawkeye is. So they are swarming around the outskirts of the bar, and Hawkeye is oblivious.

Keep reading with OLD MAN HAWKEYE #5, by Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto—available now!

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Writer Ethan Sacks reveals the secrets behind the book!

In our Creator Commentary series, we give the floor to our storytellers as they present behind-the-scenes looks at the decisions that go into every last panel and page—in their very own words. Today we celebrate the release of OLD MAN HAWKEYE #4 by taking a closer look at the previous issue with writer Ethan Sacks.

Read up on our coverage of issue #1 and issue #2, then dive into issue #3 right here. 

Ethan, over to you…

Man on a Mission

When we left off last time, Hawkeye had just gotten to an amusement park called Arcade’s Murderworld, because of course that would be the amusement park in that world. The first person he’s out to check off his revenge list is there, but we don’t know who that is yet.

As the father of a daughter who has been to Disney World and all those places, I thought an amusement park in this world would have what Disney World has—where you can take a picture with characters or princesses. So I figured they’d have employees dressed as the super heroes. But here, the kids are actually beating this poor guy who’s dressed as Captain America, because I thought it kind of set up the world a little bit.

And Hawkeye can’t really do anything about it because he can’t break cover—obviously if people find out a super hero is running around then he’d get in a lot of trouble, and he’s very much focused on his goal.

So he gets stopped by this fortune teller, and if you’re a big X-Men nerd, you may recognize her as Blindfold. I needed a fortune teller character so I felt like part of the fun of research is looking through all the bloody panels from when the X-Men were knocked off in the original Old Man Logan story, and she wasn’t in it. I don’t know if she was actually created at the time, but she was not among the dead bodies so I figured she was elsewhere.

The Big Bad

Then we cut to Bullseye, and this is a little bit of a showdown with his boss, the Red Skull. This is the first time we see the Red Skull, who is obviously the “big bad” for that world. But Bullseye’s gone off the grid and he’s not taking messages or listening to his boss, so that could set something up later.

Bullseye, in this case, is very busy torturing the Orb and ripping the Watcher’s eye out of his chest to get as much information as he can about where Hawkeye is. This is probably the goriest panel so far in the series, but I want to warn you, it gets worse later.

Then we go into Blindfold’s tent and, if you didn’t recognize it right off the bat, there’s a Xavier School mug on Blindfold’s table.

She was a tough one to write because she has this strange speech pattern. But I like this scene a lot, especially with the way Marco drew it with the steam from the coffee showing little bits of Old Man Logan—and specifically Hawkeye’s demise in Old Man Logan. Clearly she can tell what’s going to happen to him and she drops hints that if he keeps doing what he’s doing, down the road he’s in for an ignoble end. But he brushes that off and goes to find the big target he’s after…pun intended.

Bullseye, however, is not the only one chasing Hawkeye; we have Venoms. Yes, “Venoms” plural. For those who remember, the Venom symbiote bonded with a surviving Madrox gang clone and now it’s replicating. Just to find his path to Hawkeye, the Venoms end up at the garage of Tonya (Hawkeye’s ex-wife) and they overhear one of the exotic dancers from issue #2 who’s trying to get the hell out of there, and they realize the next step on their quest…

Keep Your Friends Close

And now we get to the main event. The issue is called “The Price of Admission” and it’s called that for two reasons. One: the person who Hawkeye is chasing has become a showman and has decided that if they’re going to go out, they want to go out with a grand show. And two: this is where Hawkeye commits and realizes there’s no going back, because once he kills this person, he’s all in. This person actually works as the main event, but we see they draw almost no crowd. It’s a sad existence.

We flip the page and it turns out the character he’s chasing is Atlas. Yes—the big conceit of this book is that Hawkeye is hunting his former Thunderbolts teammates.

I wondered where the Thunderbolts would have been on the day that the super villains took over. When they were approached for the final battle, they knew the heroes were going to lose, so they decided not to come. But I wanted to make some of them sympathetic—and show that they weren’t out for power, they weren’t out for glory; some were just out to survive.

There’s this exchange where Hawkeye says, “How could you do this to me?” and Atlas says, “God, man, not everything is about you.” He wanted to live—and this may not seem like much of a life, but it’s a life. And Atlas drops a clue about the only person who’s still talking to him, Abe. Abe’s working at a doombot factory in Kree Haven. Again, he bought the right to live.

Atlas realizes there’s no talking Hawkeye out of this, so he stands up and says, “Let’s give them a show worth the price of admission.” Then he grows incredibly big, rips the tent, and they go at it.

One of the things I wanted to do with this fight was make tributes to certain arcs that I loved. One of the things I tried to put in here, which may or may not be obvious unless you’re as old as me, is Hawkeye uses this green gas arrow, and it’s the same arrow that he used the first time he met Atlas. So Atlas is dumb enough to fall for the same thing twice. No disrespect to him, but he was certainly not a Reed Richards-level genius.

At one point, he’s incapacitated, lying on the floor, Hawkeye has his bow arched, and we cut to this panel that’s a throwback to those ‘90s Thunderbolts comics. It’s actually a panel imitating Mark Bagley’s original art, and it just shows them in happier days.

But he shoots the arrow because he’s all in. Now there’s no going back. Hawkeye has now crossed the line.

Crosshairs

For the closing shot, Bullseye has arrived a few hours late, but he’s arrived at the crime scene that Hawkeye left behind. And the Deathlok computer that’s integrated into his brain makes the ID match and he realizes that the Thunderbolts are Hawkeye’s targets.

He knows where to go next, and he’s getting closer and closer to intercepting Clint.

Last thingI want to give a shout-out. I owe a lot of this issue to my friend Paul Pelkonen, who introduced me to the Thunderbolts back in the 1990s. Who would’ve guessed that 20 years later, here we are.

Continue the story by reading OLD MAN HAWKEYE #4, from Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto, today—April 25!

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Get a glimpse on the storytelling elements from balancing tones to collaborations and more.

How do you approach the behemoth that is Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” — a film with ten years of baggage with different storylines, different visions, different tones, to honor? How does a storyteller divide screen time among  40+ major players who are at different stages of their journeys and continue to engage and surprise viewers? The challenge and weight of what this film means to many is not lost on “Avengers: Infinity War” directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.

As we continue unveiling everything we learned during last summer’s set visit, we couldn’t think of two better people to get a look at the magnitude of the biggest cinematic production ever assembled than those who are helming the film — the Russo Brothers. Not only were the Russos tackling “Avengers: Infinity War” and the untitled fourth “Avengers” film simultaneously, they had to contend with the finishing of James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and Taika Watiti’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” with the concurrent production of Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” start of Peyton Reed’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” and planning for “Captain Marvel.”

The Russos entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as storytellers with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” joined by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The team went on to tackle higher stakes with “Captain America: Civil War.” Not to be outdone, they’re now tackling 20-some heroes, multiple locations, six Infinity Stones, and the baddest/most powerful villain our heroes have ever encountered—Thanos, with the next “Avengers” installment. The Brothers shared insight on their approach to the characters, the complications of putting together a project of this scale, and dropped some insights during our intimate set visit.

[Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.]

How “Avengers: Infinity War” Kicks Off

“Avengers: Infinity War” is two years following “Captain America: Civil War.” According to Anthony, “Infinity War” is a “direct corollary to the end of ‘Civil War,’ and our heroes will be heading into this film “with the ramifications of that film at the forefront of this film.”

Continuing, “[‘Infinity War’] is very much about how we move forward from ‘Civil War’ in a big way, and what happens to that division between the Avengers and how does that affect them. What does that mean when the greatest threat they’ll ever face comes to them.”

Despite the two years following “Civil War,” the Russo Brothers have a storytelling philosophy where make sure to “keep any big moments of the characters’ lives on camera.”

We know Cap’s team of Avengers find their way to Wakanda seeking aid from King T’Challa. Joe explained the fortified country is the most “logical place for anyone seeking refuge.”

Meanwhile, Tony Stark has to deal with the consequences of his choice to side with the Sokovia Accords. Our directors haven’t forgotten young Peter Parker. “They basically have a unique mentor/mentee relationship that continues to evolve as they move into this film,” shared Anthony.

With the Guardians, the directors acknowledged the film picks up 5-6 years following “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” The Guardians have had a chance to deepen their relationships with each other where the Avengers haven’t had that chance.

“They’re closer, and they’re tighter, and they’ve been doing it for a while,” said Anthony. “They’ve cemented their chemistry as a team. And they would stand in contrast with the other teams. Potentially.”

They’re thrilled at the chance to take on Thor and lean into his profound experience during “Thor: Ragnarok.” As for Hawkeye, the Russos confirmed he’s on his own journey in this film.

The Directors’ Approach to the Tone and Characters, and their Collaboration with Past Filmmakers

“It’s been a personal journey for us as filmmakers from ‘Winter Soldier,’ of a theme set in that movie that we then tried to expand upon in ‘Civil War,’ that then led to Infinity War,” shared Joe Russo. “It’s how we feel about the characters, as comic book fans, the story that we want to see.”

“It’s not only a culmination of the last ten years of Marvel storytelling, but for us, it’s a culmination of our journey as directors to the Marvel Universe,” added Joe. “Having at our disposal all of those characters and allowing ourselves to re-filter them through the way that we see the universe, the way that we feel about the characters, the themes that we really want to bring to the forefront, that’s what these two movies are for us.”

“Everything’s always got to be character based,” proclaimed Anthony. “If we’re sitting in the editing room, watch the sequences for more than 20 seconds without a character having a point of view or moving the action forward, my brain just shuts down. The action for us, it’s always character based.”

In addition to screenwriters Markus and McFeely, the Russos credited the team there were able to work with the past films, including effects supervisor Dan Deleeuw, editor Jeff Ford, DP Trent Opaloch, and stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, to achieving the complex and ambitious nature of “Infinity War.”

It was important for the Russos to honor the journeys and approach the other MCU filmmakers took their characters on, but also make it work with the film they were creating. As Joe explained, the “Russo Brothers-execution” was filtering what others have done “through our very personal expression of them as characters.” Anthony acknowledged, “Everyone is interwoven in this plot in a way where they have an emotional connection to the story…. You can’t tell a movie with this many characters and not have each of those characters show up and honor them from the different franchises if they are not motivated to be there. If there are not in life or death circumstances. If they are not fighting to save their belief system or way of life.”

The Russos equated the MCU process as similar to how comic book stories evolve and involve several comic creators. “[We] found repeatedly that the best and only way for us to move forward is to receive that information, and keep what we like, and explore what we like, and exploit what we like, and tell the story that we want to tell. The same way you do in a comic run when you’re reading it, you go, ‘I want to see someone else’s point-of-view on that.’ That’s what Marvel’s done really well, bringing in a lot of different voices to execute the films.”

It’s safe to say everyone in the Marvel Universe had been involved. During the preparation and production of the third and fourth “Avengers” films, the Russos had the opportunity to collaborate closely with James Gunn, Taika Waititi, Scott Derrickson, Peyton Reed, Ryan Coogler, and producer Nate Moore. With the Marvel Universe progressing in different courses simultaneously and at the time, not yet completed, the Russos adopted a “real collaborative united artists approach” to ensure they were sensitive to the other stories and sharing those elements.

The Sources and Influences

Mark Ruffalo previously alluded to how THE INFINITY GAUNTLET informed the film, but there are clear deviations. Joe further elaborated on the comics source: “Certainly the Starlin book was our jumping off point. It’s a brilliant comic, and the ideas behind it are so large, it’s what pushed us to go for the scale that we’re going for on these movies.”

Joe continuing, “Anth and I love the post-modern comics. We’re also drawing from newer INFINITY stuff, and we’re kind of combining it all into…how do we see elements from each helping the story that we want to tell.”

In addition, the Russos were inspired by ensemble 90s crime films, and the two films that they look to for inspiration in relation to narrative imagery were “Two Days in the Valley” and “Out of Sight.”

“These movies are so complex you need a unifying peace, or a sense of cohesion, and that cohesion can come from a narrative construct that you can apply all the characters to,” explained Joe Russo.

Thanos (Josh Brolin)

Thanos

True Believers, you’ve never seen a more formidable antagonist in the MCU like the Mad Titan, and he’s on a destructive mission to collect all the Infinity Stones no matter the stakes.

“This movie is catalyzed by Thanos’ decision and an opportunity for him to make a very aggressive move for the stones, a more effective move for the stones than he has ever in the past,” revealed Anthony. “When Thanos decides to do it, he really goes for it. He’s one step ahead of our heroes through the movie and he puts them through a lot of pain in the process.”

“Our job with Thanos is to make him the preeminent villain in the Marvel Universe,” added Joe. “In order to be a preeminent villain, you have to do some pretty bad things.”

The Russos stressed that the Infinity Stones are the “bedrock of the film” — “the key driver.”

Prepare Your Hearts

On the subject of Thanos, several of our heroes wield/guard the Infinity Stones putting them in directly in the path of Thanos, elevating the emotional weight. When asked about the invincibility of our heroes, Joe quickly teased, “I’m sorry.”

Acknowledging that every character is someone’s favorite character, Anthony explained, “We like mature storytelling. We like dramatic storytelling. We like intense storytelling. We appreciate conflict, and we appreciate stakes. And without stakes, there really isn’t a lot of value to the story. If you look at the Marvel Universe as a whole, as a story that’s been told for 10 years, you can look at [‘Infinity War’] as the climax. The stakes will be higher in this movie than they’ve ever been, times ten.”

Once the dust settles, we can expect the Avengers to see major casualties as they protect the universe and all of existence from Thanos.

Topping the “Civil War” Airport Fight Scene

“We have an equivalent that’s like if you had a comic book, and you open it up to your double panel, and then you fold it out. And then you fold it out again and again,” said Joe Russo.

Anthony Russo adding, “And you have another comic book laid out next to it.” “So we have the equivalent of that in this movie,” continued Joe Russo.

Hinting at the Untitled Fourth “Avengers” Film

The Brothers on the new challenge of shooting two MCU films at the same time: “Our approach has always been how we look at the project. It’s simply the same thing in the way that the ‘Winter Soldier’ related to ‘Civil War,’ and the way that ‘Civil War’ relates to ‘Infinity War.’ These two movies will also relate…but at the same time, there’s an independence in terms of what the experience is or where the story goes. It isn’t a true two-parter…. It ended up being more of two singular expressions.”

“We always try to make each film different so they don’t get repetitive,” said Joe. “This kind of serialized storytelling…. You have to keep evolving who’s at the forefront, how you’re laying the story out because rigor mortis will set in very quickly. Each character…can shape and color and re-tone an entire film depending on who you’re following. We find them as exciting as complex and inspiring and heartbreaking, and we believe that there are real emotional stakes. This is exactly the kind of movies we aspire to and exactly the kind of movies we look for as film goers in a theater.”

It’s safe to say that we’ve never seen anything like “Avengers: Infinity War.” Closing out the visit, Joe remarked, “If you were to think of the Marvel Universe over the last ten years of the book, this is the ending of the book. There may be new books written, but this is certainly the ending of this book.”

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

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Writer Ethan Sacks sends Clint Barton back to the Wastelands!

Mark Millar and Steve McNiven‘s modern day classic “Old Man Logan” storyline in the pages of WOLVERINE introduced readers to a post-apocalyptic wasteland future for the Marvel Universe, where longtime Avenger Clint Barton appeared as a bland shell of his former self in a world where everything’s gone wrong.

On January 10, writer Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto take us back to that same dark tomorrow in OLD MAN HAWKEYE #1, the first issue of a 12-part limited series! This time, however, we turn the clocks back to five years before “Old Man Logan,” so we can see how Barton lost his sight and regressed to the man he’s destined to become.

We spoke with Sacks about aging Hawkeye and crafting this harrowing vision of the future.

Marvel.com: Ethan, as someone with a background in journalism, how did you come to write this book?

Ethan Sacks: My not-so-secret origin story involves a kindly wizard! Well, that’s not far off, because it was the amazing [Marvel Chief Creative Officer] Joe Quesada, who’s been a friend for going on two decades. I had an idea for a Star Wars standalone script that was sort of clawing at the back of my head, so in the spur of the moment I asked him to look at it. While that issue didn’t ultimately get published, the behind-the-scenes reaction to it ended up being positive enough that then-Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso began talking to me about potential series and stories that I could do for Marvel. Now, here I am.

I can’t ever repay those two, plus editors Nick Lowe, Charles Beacham, and Mark Basso, for believing in me and giving me a chance to fulfill a childhood dream. And then coaching me up. Marvel has always encouraged finding new writers and artists, nurturing them and giving them a chance on their books. I’m just the latest in a long succession.

I may be a comic book writing rookie, but 20 years in journalism has helped me enormously. Reading thousands of comic scripts covering the “geek beat,” as my editor called it, I could reverse engineer what worked best. Also, reporting has given me a paranoia about missing deadlines, an ear for dialogue and some sense of story-telling, I think. Then again, my editors at the “New York Daily News” may tell you otherwise.

Most importantly, I knew “Old Man Logan,” inside and out. My trade paperback copy is well worn. So I had the confidence that if I could navigate that world.

Marvel.com: OLD MAN HAWKEYE takes place five years before the events of “Old Man Logan.” What inspired you to explore this time period? Can you tell us about the Clint Barton we’ll see when the story begins?

Ethan Sacks: When I was asked to pitch for OLD MAN HAWKEYE, it clearly had to be a prequel…or a zombie thriller, I suppose. But let’s go with prequel. So, by the time the original Mark Millar and Steve McNiven story opens, Clint is already blind and has adjusted to be a competent fighter. Moreover, he has purpose and he has a plan. But how did he get there? And why did it take him 50 years to get off his butt to attempt some avenging? From there it seemed like a good premise for a starting point would be when that onset of glaucoma would force him to try to finish some unfinished business…while he still could see well enough to shoot some arrows into the right targets. This is a revenge tale. From the beginning, I had an idea of what Hawkeye went through on that day that the super villains united to kill all the heroes. Imagine how much survivor’s guilt he carries around having been left alive. His desire for revenge is justified.

Marvel.com: How does this version of Clint differ from the one we see in “Old Man Logan”? And how far removed is he from the lovable Clint of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s HAWKEYE era?

Ethan Sacks: He’s a lot like the Clint of both those eras: Impulsive, a little scattered, immature, a danger to those closest to him. He still has that big old heart and, most of all, that frenetic sense of humor. That’s definitely a tip of the bow to Fraction’s run. In this story, he may be the same old Barton—but he’s that same old Barton under a layer of 45 years of emotional pain. There will be some Easter eggs and nods to that run in the story, too.

Marvel.com: Can you tease which other characters might show up?

Ethan Sacks: Alas, I’m keeping this close to the vest because I want to surprise people. The promo art clearly shows that Venom and Jamie Madrox will be in the story, though very different versions than the ones fans are used to seeing.

One of the joys of this series has also been giving a little more time to some of the “Old Man Logan” secondary characters—particularly Clint’s estranged daughter, Ashley, as well as Dwight and his Ant-Man helmet.

Marvel.com: What challenged you the most when writing this series?

Ethan Sacks: This is a violent story, and Hawkeye won’t be living by the good-guy code of the mainstream Marvel Universe. He’s going to shoot people with pointy arrows that go into the soft bits. No stun gun arrows. Okay, maybe one. But he’s also not Wolverine, who is ready to kill people for ripping off those tags on a mattress. It’s a tough balancing act to make Clint a vigilante while keeping him to some kind of good-guy code. So, when are we going too far? When are we breaking a beloved character, instead of just bending him in a new direction? The last thing I’d ever want to do is damage a super hero created by the great Stan Lee and Don Heck.

Marvel.com: Last question: What’s the wildest thing you’ve asked Marco Checchetto to draw so far?

Ethan Sacks: There is a scene in the beginning of issue #2 that might have been too grisly for “Silence of the Lambs,” and you’ll know it when you see it, that brings new meaning to the phrase, “splash page.” Because a lot of blood gets splashed. But it’s an important moment and not just for shock value. I don’t want to give away the context because it lands like a gut punch when you’re not expecting it. And then there’s the flashback scene…

I hope Marvel will eventually release all the character sketches that Marco has been doing. There are a lot of villains—familiar to comic readers, but previously unseen in the “Old Man Logan” universe—that required a Wastelands makeover. Which means he dips them in blood and sweat and dirt and marinated hatred. They look so damn cool and cruel in a way that would send Mad Max scurrying for cover. And I get these mind-blowing sketches in my email inbox virtually every day. I never stop geeking out.

You all better learn how to spell Marco Checchetto’s name, because the guy is going to go down as one of the best artists in comic book history.

The journey begins with OLD MAN HAWKEYE #1, by Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto, on January 10!

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Marco Checchetto takes aim at an Old Man Logan prequel!

Clint Barton has unfinished business in the future. The accomplished archer may survive in the Wasteland, but he finds himself still dealing with his past in the pages of OLD MAN HAWKEYE by Ethan Sacks and Marco Checchetto. Set five years before the events of the original “Old Man Logan” story by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, the 12-issue limited series will chronicle the Avenging Archer’s adventures as he tries to make good on his mistakes even as his eyesight fails him.

We talked with Checchetto about referencing McNiven’s original opus, working with Sacks, and coming up with all new denizens of the Wasteland!

Marvel.com: What was the process like for developing Clint’s look a few years before we first saw him in “Old Man Logan”?

Marco Checchetto: I drew Clint slightly different from the version seen in “Old Man Logan.” He still has sight and is still fit. He was a super hero. I’ve only filled him with scars, and one of them has the shape vaguely reminiscent of the “A” of the Avengers. I took off his glasses and then I decided to loosen his hair. As for clothes, I wanted to give them a more military and technical look. My intention, then, is to give him, as much as possible, a melancholy look. Hawkeye knows that the super hero times are over, but he does not accept it.

Marvel.com: Between the original “Old Man Logan” story and the current ongoing series, we’ve seen many aspects of the Wasteland. How has it been mixing the previously glimpsed with your own designs?

Marco Checchetto: For this prequel, I chose to stay close to what we saw in the [original] “Old Man Logan” [story] and the great work of Steve McNiven. I’ll be very respectful in regards to already known places. As for the whole “new” environments, on the other hand, it is a continuous challenge and it is certainly one of the most exciting factors in this series for me.

Marvel.com: Along similar lines, you’re dealing with old, new and re-designed characters set in this alternate future. How has it been working out those designs?

Marco Checchetto: In this case, also, for the characters who appeared in the original series, I will remain very close to what we have already [seen]. The most important part, however, will surely be the new characters. We will see the Wasteland versions of many characters known and loved by readers. I can only mention a couple of them for the moment: Madrox and Venom. The others will be a surprise along with many easter eggs that will awaken the memory of old readers and will stimulate the curiosity of the most recent readers.

Marvel.com: Have any of the new characters or design elements given you more of a challenge than the others?

Marco Checchetto: For some of these characters it was not simple. The one that has created [the most] problems is definitely Venom, because I wanted it to be different from everything we have already seen. I wanted it not only to be a black liquid, but a sentient organ, and so I created a real internal matter of flesh and viscera. It will be hard to draw it on all the pages, but I hope it gives an added value [where it appears].

Marvel.com: How has it been working with writer Ethan Sacks so far?

Marco Checchetto: Ethan is fantastic, the story is marvelous, and every time I get the script of a new issue I devour it to know what madness I will have to draw this time. Each issue is full of surprises, and despite being a very long [series]—12 issues—I’m sure I’ll miss it in the end. The script is clear and precise, but gives me the right space to express myself with the setting of the page that I prefer. Ethan is an enthusiast and that exudes from his pages. I’m sure you’ll love this series.

Return to the Wasteland on January 10 with Ethan Sacks and Marco Checchetto in OLD MAN HAWKEYE #1!

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Matthew Rosenberg sends Hawkeye and Winter Soldier on a personal mission!

This December, Matthew Rosenberg takes over a Marvel title that hasn’t seen shelf life since the late 1960s. That would be TALES OF SUSPENSE from the writer and artist Travel Foreman. The original run of the series featured work by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee introducing characters like Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and The Mandarin—so no pressure!

Taking place after the events of Secret Empire, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 showcases a team-up of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier with the duo interested in finding the person responsible for killing the late Black Widow’s enemies. Did we mention both men used to date the Widow?

Arriving on December 20 for the first time in nearly 50 years, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 promises a triumphant return for the genre-themed Marvel title. To get a better idea of this watershed moment, we hit up Matt who told us about taking over a piece of history, the friction we can expect between Bucky Barnes and Clint Barton, and the cathartic process of rebuilding the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: Right off the bat, TALES OF SUSPENSE is pretty attention grabbing. What was the process like of writing a story to match the title?

Matthew Rosenberg: Well, first of all I had to go back to my original story idea and add more suspense! But seriously, TALES OF SUSPENSE has a rich history at Marvel. It was the place where Black Widow and Hawkeye first appeared. It’s where Iron Man first appeared. M.O.D.O.K. and The Mandarin too. And it’s the title that would later become CAPTAIN AMERICA. But more than that, it speaks to a time when Marvel had genre themed books, which is awesome. I think that is the thing we are really trying to lean on here. TALES OF SUSPENSE is a love letter to these old, thrilling super hero stories that have these wild cliffhanger endings. It’s our pulp serial story full of spies and super heroes, intrigue, and excitement.

Marvel.com: The TALES OF SUSPENSE label was originally a showcase for the talents of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck. It must feel pretty cool to be getting a shot at the same title.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, it’s surreal for sure. Stan Lee. Roy Thomas, Gene Colan. One of the things I love most about working at Marvel is the legacy of it all. The idea that these are characters and stories that existed before I was born and will continue long after I am done with them. Even on a book like SECRET WARRIORS, which has a relatively short pedigree, I am still carrying on the work of so many great creators. But, for a title like this, a book that hasn’t appeared on racks since 1968, it’s really a piece of history that I am adding to. To be honest, I try not to think about it too much or it gets kind of overwhelming.

Tale of Suspense #100 cover by Marco Checchetto

Marvel.com: The idea of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier teaming up to track Black Widow’s “ghost” is awesome. Can we expect some friction between the two? If so, is it a machismo thing among two ex-boyfriends or something more?

Matthew Rosenberg: Friction may be putting it lightly. They don’t like each other. In a lot of ways, Hawkeye and Bucky have very similar backgrounds—bad guys turned good, they both died and came back, they have both carried multiple mantles in their time as heroes, been on multiple teams. But in the end they approach things very differently. And that is what is at odds here: How they approach a mission, what they are willing to do, that is a big thing in the book. Hawkeye’s lighthearted approach that masks his determination and intensity. Bucky’s quiet ferocity that hides his self-doubt. All of that plays out in really fun ways. They are the Odd Couple of super hero team-ups. It’s dysfunctional. It doesn’t work well. But they keep going because they both want the same thing.

And then there is the element of Natasha. They both cared about her, obviously. But this isn’t some sort of romantic competition. Not really. This is two heroes trying to defend the honor and the memory of a teammate. And obviously who they are and how they felt about her gets tangled up in that in some ways, but mostly they just want to do right by Natasha and who she was.

Marvel.com: I don’t want everything to be spoiled too early, but how much can you give away on whether or not Natasha or really dead?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, she’s dead.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to be coming off the heels of Secret Empire? What kind of vestiges from that major event—other than Natasha’s apparent death—are we looking at here? 

Matthew Rosenberg: I think Secret Empire did an amazing job of setting up the coming status quo in the Marvel Universe. We have these characters that everyone knows, that everyone loves, and what Secret Empire did is just push them. It tested each and every one of them. Probed them, tested them, looked for weaknesses. It was this tremendously dark time, this real low point for the Marvel Universe. And now we get to rebuild it. That’s what I love about these characters. They get to the edge and then they come back. They get pushed farther than they have before, and then they come back. And that is what we are doing here. This is Bucky and Hawkeye trying to get closure, trying to come back. I think that’s really important for them, for readers, and for me too. I want to see how they come out of this, how Secret Empire hurt them, and who they will be on the other side. I hope that, after all they have been through, all the trials and tests, we find that they come back stronger than ever. That’s why we all look up to them, right? Well, now we’re going to see that up close. This is the story of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier healing, or trying to. And I really hope people are as excited about that idea as I am.

Matthew Rosenberg and Travel Foreman delve into TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 this December!

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Leonardo Romero provides Kate Bishop and Clint Barton with plenty of trouble!

Reunions can be fun times to catch up with longtime friends, but they can get more complicated when someone’s trying to kill the gathered parties.

That’s the situation Kate Bishop and Clint Barton find themselves in on December 6 with HAWKEYE #13 by Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero. Kate intends to ask Clint to assist in finding out about her mom, but he’s got a problem of his own—namely a huge target on his back that sends them both on the run through Los Angeles.

We talked with Romero about bringing these two allies back together, updating Eden’s look for the modern era, and working with Thompson!

Marvel.com: How would you say Kate and Clint react to seeing each other when they first meet up?

Leonardo Romero: Like they’ve never been apart. Clint and Kate are great together and even though they were not around each other this whole time, it doesn’t feel that way.

Marvel.com: The two Hawkeyes obviously use similar weapons and fighting styles, but how do they handle themselves differently, both in quieter moments and in the more action-packed ones?

Leonardo Romero: In terms of personality, Kate is very sassy and full of attitude while Clint can be really laid back. I believe that their [different] personalities is one of the reasons why it is so great to see them together.

In action, I see them both as improvisers. Kate thinks more and scans the environment for alternatives and things that can help her out. Clint kind of figures things out on the way, not planning further than the next action.

Marvel.com: Speaking of action, it sounds like this story features a lot of it as both Hawkeyes wind up under the gun and on the run. What kind of challenges does that kind of tale offer?

Leonardo Romero: Planning the action scenes is always an extra challenge. Both Hawkeyes tend to deal with these situations using everything they can. So a lot of times it’s not only about planning the action itself but also the environment, so everything that they end up using is placed there correctly.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about Eden and the process that went into designing her modern look?

Leonardo Romero: Eden already appeared [in GENERATIONS: HAWKEYE & HAWKEYE]—which [took] place in the past—as a younger version of herself. Creating her look for the present timeline in HAWKEYE was basically taking the original concept of the character—blue hair, lightning powers, and all of that—and trying to imagine how it would look nowadays in a modern approach. So I looked through a lot designs for Marvel’s [heroes] and villains and tried to come up with something my own.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Kelly on the series up to this point?

Leonardo Romero: It’s been amazing! Our collaboration is one of the best parts of the book. It’s always a pleasure to work with her.

Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero stage a family reunion beginning in HAWKEYE #13 on December 6!

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Artist Marco Checchetto breaks down the aged Clint Barton!

The sharpest shooter in the Marvel Universe dives into an uncertain era this January.

A different kind of coming-of-age story, OLD MAN HAWKEYE, written by Ethan Sacks with art by Marco Checchetto, presents a gray Clint Barton, losing his vision, undertaking what may be his very last hero’s quest.

We caught up with Checchetto to get the inside scoop on what Hawkeye faces during the upcoming journey.

Marvel.com: Tell us about the concept behind this series.

Marco Checchetto: It’s a 12 issue series, set five years before the events of OLD MAN LOGAN. We will tell the story of the aged Hawkeye fighting in the name of his fallen friends, the Avengers. And he’s losing his vision—so he has to accomplish his mission while he still can.

Marvel.com: What does this future world look like?

Marco Checchetto: Like OLD MAN LOGAN, our series takes place in a dark world where Marvel’s super villains have killed the Avengers about 45 years prior, leaving only a few survivors. It’s a wasteland.

Marvel.com: Hawkeye played a big role in the original OLD MAN LOGAN runhow does this series connect to that? Will we see Logan appear?

Marco Checchetto: Clint still has his vision—for now. And Logan lives as a pacifist, with a modest life and family. So, yes, we will see Logan in our series too. I’m very happy about that—I’ve drawn a lot of characters for Marvel Comics, but this has been the first time I’ve had the opportunity to draw Wolverine.

Marvel.com: How does Clint compensate for the impacts that age has on him?

Marco Checchetto: Hawkeye has no super human powers and now finds himself in old age—but hey, he still remains an exceptional fencer, acrobat, and marksman. It will be hard for him not to miss all his targets, but he’ll do his best. To show his age, I gave him some serious scars and weathering.

 

Marvel.com: What can we expect from the art in this book? Will it stay in line with the style of the OLD MAN LOGAN series, or can we expect some changes?

Marco Checchetto: I liked the fantastic job Steve McNiven did with the previous series, so I tried to stay close to his character and background designs. At the same time, I’m working hard to create something new and I hope the readers will be happy with it. In OLD MAN HAWKEYE, we will explore new corners of the wasteland, meet new characters, and discover Easter eggs throughout Clint’s journey.

Marvel.com: How does the art reflect the grittiness of this worldand the current state of Clint’s being?

Marco Checchetto: My style does not feel clean; it’s grimy and gritty. I like to draw dust, pain, and blood. I’m a dark side guy.

Marvel.com: Where do you draw influence from when working on these grit and grim stories? And how do you maintain a balance between the darker side and the funnier side of things?

Marco Checchetto: I do like humor in a series. My favorite comic book character is Spider-Man, who we all know to be fun and friendly, but my favorite stories with him tend to be the sad and obscure ones, like Kraven’s Last Hunt. So when I can draw something dark and evil, I do my best.

Marvel.com: What else can you tease about the series?

Marco Checchetto: If you like Venom, stay tuned.

OLD MAN HAWKEYE, written by Ethan Sacks with art by Marco Checchetto, takes flight this January!

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Legacy dawns as Kate and Clint take Los Angeles with Kelly Thompson!

Some friends get together and pose for selfies. Kate Bishop and Clint Barton get together and pose for mugshots.

Or, at least, so it seems in writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero’s HAWKEYE #13! Clint makes his way to the West Coast to drop in on his protégé and friend…though he might be bringing quite an agenda along with him. Luckily, Kate wants something from her mentor as well.

We grabbed a green juice, got our tan on, and asked writer Thompson a few questions ahead of the Marvel Legacy title.

Marvel.com: The cover for issue #13 reveals that the Hawkeyes ride together again—what can you tell us about their reunion?

Kelly Thompson: Clint will actually show up at the tail end of HAWKEYE #12 in November and when we see him there, they both reach out to one another for the same reason—because they need help and trust the other, above all, to be there for them. It’s a great little moment that shows their bond. It then immediately devolves into comedy and bickering of course—but for a whole minute it’s beautiful!

Marvel.com: Having recently handled Clint and Kate’s team-up in GENERATIONS, how does their relationship in this comic differ to that? How does it remain the same?

Kelly Thompson: I definitely had to put some thought into GENERATIONS initially—into finding a voice for Clint that felt accurate to who he would be as a younger character but still felt true to the Clint we know today. That became somewhat tricky.

I think finding the voice for Clint today might be a little easier as it’s been really well-defined by some excellent writers in the last few years—most notably Matt Fraction. So you just try to learn from what others have done and carve your own path a bit; make it your own. I think I found a really happy medium with Clint that feels true to who he is and what he’s currently going through. It continues that magical chemistry that he and Kate have together and that the fans love so much.

Marvel.com: In terms of tone, how does the book feel? And how does Leonardo Romero help you bring that to life?

Kelly Thompson: Leo and [colorist] Jordie [Bellaire] remain my rock…or, rocks. They have been simply the best art team a writer could hope for. They bring such energy and innovation to everything they do, and I think we have a lot of fun with Clint’s inclusion in the book. Adding new elements—especially a character as charismatic as Clint—can be dangerous in shifting the tone or upsetting an existing balance, but with the team we have in place, I have no worries. They have so much talent that every challenge you throw at them just makes their work shine all the brighter. And even though Clint will be a large element to add, he fits rather seamlessly into a Hawkeye world, obviously, and the ways in which he doesn’t fit into Kate’s new life turn into things we have a lot of fun with.

Marvel.com: Individually speaking, where do we find the two Hawkeyes’ states of mind as they enter the story? How do they feel about one another right now?

Kelly Thompson: They’re both actually in very emotional places and not really at the top of their game. Kate has been of course going through the wringer with her father turning out to be an even worse guy than she suspected, Madame Masque taking over her life, plus the revelation that her mother may have been killed by her father—or may still be alive…she’s turmoil central.

But Clint finds himself having an awful time too, after the events of Secret Empire and the tragedy of losing one of the touchstones of his life—Black Widow. I think that might be one of the reasons they seek each other out now, because they’ll find comfort, normalcy, and a whole lot of trust in one another. They’re family.

Marvel.com: Can we expect Kate to encounter any other familiar faces as she enters Legacy?

Kelly Thompson: This arc finds Kate trying to get to the bottom of what really happened with her mother while still trying to deal with Madame Masque, who has been upping her revenge game of late. There will also be a villain “new” to Kate and Clint on the scene, but it will be someone readers have seen before if they’ve been reading my work.

Marvel.com: For readers who haven’t picked up the book yet, why does this arc present a great opportunity to hop aboard?

Kelly Thompson: I think the answer would be the same for both potential new readers and old readers alike—Clint and Kate are simply magic together. They have a fantastic chemistry and things will never get boring when they team up.

Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero’s HAWKEYE #13 hits the target on October 4!

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The Avengers' archer will be onboard the Disney Magic!

The premiere of Marvel Day at Sea is just around the corner! Marvel fans will want to join us as we count down to this epic celebration on select cruises aboard the Disney Magic.

As we near the debut, we’re featuring some of the mighty Marvel Super Heroes you can meet onboard during the daylong event, giving you insights into who they are and how you can get some face time with them.

Today, set your sights on another sensational Super Hero – Hawkeye.

Hawkeye is the world’s most talented archer and marksman, possessing exceptional reflexes and hand-eye coordination. He is a natural athlete and formidable in unarmed combat, with extensive training as an acrobat and aerialist. A member of the Avengers and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Hawkeye is a highly capable and charismatic super-human.

Hawkeye is just one of many characters you can encounter during this epic event which will be the largest assembly of Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains ever at sea. You may see him traversing the ship or shooting an arrow with the most accurate precision, aimed at the bad guys, during the nighttime deck show. In the Marvel’s Avengers Academy youth space, Hawkeye will teach young recruits what it takes to become a mighty Super Hero.

Stay tuned to meet more Super Heroes assembling for Marvel Day at Sea, which premieres on select 7- and 8-night Disney Cruise Line sailings from New York this fall, and returns on select 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in early 2018.

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