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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Ethan Sacks gives a behind-the-scenes look at the issue!

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 prepare for this week’s release of OLD MAN HAWKEYE #3 by taking a closer look at issue #2 with writer Ethan Sacks. Read up on our coverage of issue #1, then dive into #2 below. 

Ethan, over to you…

Hunter and Hunted

In issue #2, Jebediah Hammer, a descendant of Justin Hammer, (and the merchant that was with Hawkeye when the Madrox gang first attacked) is frantically packing because he knows there will be consequences after the events of last issue. So he’s trying to get his family out of there. His wife thinks he’s totally overreacting but of course he’s not, spoiler alert, because on page 2, my favorite page so far in the series that Marco is an absolute wizard at, we see that Bullseye’s found them.

What I wanted to do for this scene is capture the vibe of “Inglorious Basterds,” the very opening with Christoph Waltz, where he plays this Nazi and he’s in this farmhouse and it’s this really tense scene because on the surface it’s just a conversation but you know it’s going to end badly at some pointyou just don’t know when. So I was trying to sort of capture that vibe a little bit. I really like how the scene came out, not patting myself on the back or whatever, but between the art and the conversation I think it’s pretty cool.

But meanwhile, we have Hawkeye who’s started his quest and the first thing he does is search for one of the Wastelands purveyors of information. So who sees everything? A guy with a giant eyeball for his head. I just love the visual for the Orb. So he goes and of course the Orb would have a club called Eye Candy—an exotic dancer joint.

Light and Dark

Apart from the mob drama scene, I also wanted to show one of the most heartbreaking things about this world is how these heroes are totally debased and how generations are going to grow up not knowing what a hero is. I thought the idea that these people would be watching women and men scantily clad as heroes and sort of the voyeuristic thing of that would be heartbreaking so there was a little bit of a visual I was hoping to get here.

From page 5, I just want to say every day should be colorist appreciation day and I want to give a shout-out to Andres Mossa. So what he did here is, you look at this club and if you notice every panel is alternating with shades of blue and shades of purple because of the strobe effect of the lights of the pulsing dance vibe. So that is just an example of how you may not notice it the first time you see it but that is a skilled colorist right there, basically makes the story better.

Related to the color, you’ll see the flashbacks have this fiery red, it looks like a hell, so that’s just the mark of a great colorist, bringing you in and out of different locales with the palette.

We see a couple pages later, Bullseye has this computer interface which gives an advantage to him, so you’ll see that through the book a little bit.

Targets

One little subplot (that’s a very small subplot in this issue), with Jebediah Hammer and his wife Susannah, there’s actually kind of a love story. They clearly love each other because when, spoiler alert, Jebediah Hammer basically has his artery cut by a playing card and he’s dying, his last act is drawing out a clue in his own blood because basically he’s warned by Bullseye, “You better come through before you die or I’m going to kill your wife.” So he saves her and she, spoiler alert, lives no matter what the last page seems to indicate. I just wanted a little bit of love in this horrible, horrible existence to actually mean something.

You’ll notice too that Hawkeye is starting to miss more frequently. Throughout the book we’re going to see the consequences of his diminishing eyesight, so during the big action scene in this book, which Marco rendered amazingly, we’ll start to see some more of that.

The most damning two-page spread is a flashback scene. We parse out a little bit about the horrible event, 45 years ago, that’s driving Hawkeye now. We know from a line in “Old Man Logan” that he kind of was upset that he was left alive. We kind of wanted to show that, so we get to see a lot of dead Avengers. I felt a little bit like a serial killer, just choosing who would be on this page and how they died and why they were included in this team. But the thought that I had was that there would be several Avengers teams, all of a sudden imagine you’re getting an alert that all these super villains are attacking out of nowhere so they send teams to various locations—and Hawkeye was in charge of one of them. Captain Marvel would have been in charge of one of them, Black Panther would have been in charge of one of them, Captain American, certainly—and we know from “Old Man Logan” how he died and where he died.

So this was a team that was sent to Las Vegas, and we know it’s Las Vegas because Thor’s hammer is there, and the city is now called Hammer Falls. So we’re telegraphing stuff that we will learn later in more detail. I will say this, there is a clue on this page as to the identity of the people he’s hunting but you have to be really, really eagle-eyed to figure it out.

Coming out of the flashback to the present, Hawkeye takes a swig of bourbon, and it’s Marcus Daniels…which is the name of a minor super villain called Blackout. You can keep an eye out, there are going to be little tweaks here and there or little visuals here and there that kind of allude to the super villains who weren’t so super that they earned monuments or anything.

Family Fortunes

Speaking of which, when Bullseye has tracked Hawkeye’s trail to Tanya’s garage on page 17, panel 2, he confronts Clint’s daughter Ashley about his whereabouts, and she’s wearing an “Angar and the Screamers” t-shirt. That’s another little Easter egg—kind of figured she’d be into punk and that sounded as punk a band as there would be in the Wastelands. I really like her character, and I wanted her to stand up to Bullseye and Bullseye to be impressed enough that he doesn’t kill her right where she stands. I like that exchange where she’s not intimidated at all by him. Possibly because she’s so young that she doesn’t know who he is, but she clearly doesn’t care one way or the other, so I like that about her.

Then we have the second to last page, Hawkeye reaches the location where he’s going to have his first major fight next issue with one of the people he’s looking for. Especially because I have such a gifted art team working on this, I wanted to explore a new type of setting. What would an amusement park look like in this world? We’ll see more of it in next issue but of course it’s Arcade’s Murderworld because who else would have started a theme park?

There’s another little clue as to who his first opponent is on the bottom of that page.

Then finally, we see—this is the big cliff hanger in this issue on page 20—we see, as poor Susannah is burying her husband and kids and confessing her love for her family, she is disturbed by three Venoms.

So basically what we find out is the Madroxs can of course keep replicating themselves, but also duplicate the symbiote, which is going to be a big headache for Hawkeye later in this series. So it’s Venoms—plural—and his troubles are just beginning.

Continue the story by reading OLD MAN HAWKEYE #3, from Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto, on March 28!

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Ethan Sacks gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the comic came to life!

In our new series, Creator Commentary, we’re giving the floor to our storytellers as they present behind-the-scenes looks at the decisions that go into every panel and page—in their very own words. And for our first installment, writer Ethan Sacks gives a tour of the hidden secrets and influences behind OLD MAN HAWKEYE #1.

Ethan, over to you…

The Inspiration

One of the breakout characters from “Old Man Logan” was Old Man Hawkeye. That the seminal event, set 50 years from the present, has a blind Clint Barton—though he’s been able to adjust; he’s a great fighter, and he’s driven. Hawkeye has a plan in “Old Man Logan” to strike back at the Red Skull, who has harmed him in so many ways, but I’ve always wondered what the hell was Clint doing for 50 years before that? Why did it take 50 years to get there?

My original pitch for OLD MAN HAWKEYE was to set it five years earlier than “Old Man Logan,” as he’s losing his vision, to see the struggle. He has survivor’s guilt that he got to be one of very few heroes still living in this era while many “better” heroes didn’t. He’s been looking for a way to make everything right, but at his heart, he feels powerless. When he realizes he’s losing his vision, he decides there’s one thing he can do: get revenge against a specific set of people—people I will not yet reveal until a later Creator Commentary—before he runs out of time.

Easter Eggs

One thing I loved about “Old Man Logan” was seeing that the Hulk grandchildren flew in the Fantasticar—the Fantastic Four vehicle—so I thought about what would happen to some of these random vehicles and things from the Marvel Universe 45 years into this horrible future. During the scene in the very first panel on page one of issue #1, the characters are driving a vehicle from the 1990s series FORCE WORKS—the Force Wagon—which, in the future, is just a vehicle that a merchant of illegal drugs bought to ferry his stuff across the country.

They’re also driving through Tannenbaum Gorge, which was a little nod to an obscure Marvel villain called Doctor Tannenbaum. I figured that the better villains would have cities named after them but, because this poor guy couldn’t even beat the Great Lakes Avengers, he’d have this uninhabited ravine named after him. Apologies to any Doctor Tannenbaum fans out there.

With the first issue, we wanted to show what Hawkeye is doing at this point in time—that he’s essentially running protection for merchants. And here, his crew gets ambushed by the Madrox gang. In the opening action scene, we have the Madrox gang and, on page three, we see them in all their glory. We thought that, over the years, all that self-cloning and breeding would make him actually forget who he really was; he would evolve into this totally different personality. He was like a copy of a copy of a copy, and he’s degraded. I like the idea of him being an entire outlaw gang and, every time he gets killed, he just makes more of himself. The other purpose of the scene is that we see Hawkeye—who never misses—actually miss one of the people he’s aiming at, accidentally hitting him in the shoulder. And that miss has consequences later.

On page eight, you may notice that Hawkeye has a little scar in the shape of the Avengers “A.” That was Marco Checchetto’s contribution. He liked that. There are many little visual nuances like that.

Old Man Logan

By page nine, Hawkeye’s been given the bad news that he’s losing his eyesight quicker than he thought, so he goes and tries to recruit Logan. Now, I love Logan and he’s obviously the hero of “Old Man Logan,” but in our story—because he’s still a pacifist for another five years—he has to deny Hawkeye’s request. Hawkeye has a crushing realization that his best friend has no interest in helping him.

I wanted to put in a couple of little details that allude to “Old Man Logan,” so on pages 10 and 11, Hawkeye brings a gift—an Xbox. It’s the same Xbox that Logan’s kids have at the beginning of the story that begins five years from this point. I wanted to reveal the secret origin of that Xbox, just in case people were spending sleepless nights wondering about that.

After Clint talks to his friend, he speaks to Ashley. Now, for those who have not read “Old Man Logan,” Ashley is Hawkeye’s daughter and Peter Parker’s granddaughter. And by the point we see her in the original story, she’s essentially a super villain. So I wondered how this daughter of an Avenger—this granddaughter of one of the best super heroes ever to live—could have turned out the way she did. I wanted to explore Hawkeye’s neuroses about being a dad and how he wasn’t always there for her.

The Big Bad

Then, because the sole surviving Madrox clone is in a lot of pain, he can’t concentrate on duplicating, so he’s just trying to survive and he runs into the Venom symbiote. We talked about some of the villains we could use and we thought—without giving too much away—that Venom merging with the Madrox clone might be really, really cool.

The wonderful world that Mark Millar and Steve McNiven made allows for a kind of an upside-down feeling, because the villains run everything. So villains do so some of the functioning jobs. And we have a great villain in as the local Marshal—as the law enforcement. Once it becomes obvious that a real super hero has resurfaced after all these years, it is on this Marshall to hunt down that super hero.

I begged my editors to allow this bad guy to have Deathlok enhancements. Because why not? I wanted to enhance him, while diminishing the skills of his prey; I wanted the reader to see that this villain outclasses Hawkeye.

So, Hawkeye is hunting some people who’ve wronged him in the past and, unbeknownst to himat least for nowhe’s being hunted as well.

Continue the story by reading OLD MAN HAWKEYE #2, from Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto, tomorrow—February 14!

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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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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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