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Hawk & Dove: Origins and Titans Connections

On This Page:
>> Hawk & Dove Genesis: The Creators Speak [from Comic Book Artist Magazine]
>> When They Were Titans: trace the duo’s Titans’ history
>> The mystery behind BRAVE AND THE BOLD #181

Hawk & Dove Genesis

Hawk & Dove: The central concept

The central conflict of their own series,came not from the heroes’ battles with the criminal element in their home town of Elmond, but from their differing and extremist ideologies, which had led to the Voice’s bestowing upon them their particular heroic identities. Hank Hall, the elder brother by not more than a year, was a militant, believing in physical force as a solution to problems, especially those encountered as a super-hero. As the Hawk, he tended to charge into battle with fists flailing first, and to ask questions later, if at all. His only uncertainty in his heroic role came from the fact that while his strength and agility had been dramatically increased, he still had to contend with a fear of heights, a phobia unaffected in the transformation to his costumed persona. Don Hall, the younger brother, tended to socialize with the young collegiate crowd who could more easily appreciate his philosophy of pacifism.

Seeing violence as an abhorrent last resort in resolving any dilemma, the Dove was the pensive member of the partnership, who tried to use brains rather than brawn to defeat their opponents. His major problem was that his very ideals gave him grave doubts about the entire idea of being a super-hero, and while his quiet reason was often a welcome alternative to the Hawk’s quick-tempered reactionism, his indecisiveness in action made him somewhat less than effective as a crimebuster. The running verbal battles between the two heroes were further complicated when their father, Irwin Hall, a tough-minded but highly respected judge, who was unaware of his sons’ secret identities, publicly and privately disapproved of the Hawk and the Dove as lawless vigilantes, taking the duties of the appointed police into their own hands without official sanction. Judge Hall’s views provided a middle-of-the-road alternative to the extreme and totally opposed beliefs of the two heroes.

A Carmine Infantino Interview from Comic Book Artist Magazine #1, 2000

CBA: It seems that you dealt with just about every single issue except Vietnam.

Carmine: We did in a way with The Hawk and the Dove-only we made it as a Super-hero strip.

CBA: Did you deal at all with Steve Ditko?

Carmine: Yeah, Steve came up to see me and I liked him. He’s very opinionated, but that’s Steve. He did a couple of books for me but they didn’t sell. He could draw, this man!

CBA: Do you remember the genesis of that idea?

Carmine: That was mine. It didn’t work. I had Steve Ditko come in and I threw the idea at him. I called one the Hawk and the other the Dove. It was a clever idea and Steve wrote it and drew it but it didn’t work. In those days, we were not afraid to try anything. That was my promise over there, to just try. I didn’t care what the hell they were about, just try ’em all. Keep trying. It’s the only way you’re going to find winners-and we did and I think we had a good time.

A Dick Giordano Interview from Comic Book Artist Magazine #1, 2000

CBA: You were with The Hawk and the Dove and Beware the Creeper right at their inception.

Dick: Actually, I came in as editor right in the middle of The Hawk and the Dove story in Showcase. Steve Ditko already had the rough plot worked out. Steve Skeates worked from that plot and came up with a script. The Showcase was okay because Steve followed basically what Ditko wanted him to do. But from that point on it was terrible for them both.

The basic idea for The Hawk and the Dove was Steve Ditko’s and that concept was a triangle; father as the moderate and the extremes represented by the two kids, and all the other things were put together to make that triangle work. The powers were discussed secondly. The “hawk and the dove” was, at that time, a term that was being used very often, was very popular and referred to where people stood regarding the Vietnam War; there were hawks and there were doves. These two boys represented such extreme opposites we thought that in order for it to work we had to offset both of their extremes, so we used their father, the judge, to be the third part of that triangle. That was the original idea that we started off with. Their names, Hank for Hawk, Don for Dove, were chosen to make everything clear. It was simple and clear; almost a parable. I’m not sure where Skeates fit in there but I think he leaned towards Hank.

Ditko would pretty much eliminate whatever was in Steve Skeates’ scripts that he didn’t feel belonged there. At that point, I think that Ditko’s agenda was more the furthering of his philosophical views than writing and drawing entertaining stories. Mr. A, which immediately followed, illustrates that point to some degree. I have no problem with his beliefs- whether I believe in them or not is irrelevant-I just don’t think that comic books per se are the proper vehicle for a forum. I don’t think we should promote the existence or non-existence of God.

A Steve Skeates Interview from Comic Book Artist Magazine #5, 1999

CBA: What was the genesis of The Hawk and the Dove?

Steve: It was developed by committee. There was Dick [Giordano], Carmine [Infantino], [Steve] Ditko and me. Carmine came up with the title and he attended all the meetings. Part of the concept was to directly appeal to, I don’t know, the counter-culture. My main contribution was that they had to say their names to change into the characters.

They were trying to come up with a “Shazam,” a magic word and I said, Why don’t we have them just say their character names?” They went along with that. I also created the community in which they lived, the college town. Steve Ditko came up with the major concepts, the costumes, the powers, the characters – just about everything. The judge was definitely his idea.

CBA: Were there changes made in your stories?

Steve: It was strange. A lot of changes would happen after I turned in a script. Quite often, my idea of what to do with the Dove was have him do brave stuff – and then it would be changed by either Dick or Steve into the Hawk doing that stuff.

They’d say it was out of character for the Dove. They seemed to be equating Dove with wimp, wuss, coward or whatever. And I don’t really think it was because they were more hawkish. I just don’t think that they knew what a dove was. There was all sorts of problems along those lines but since I was doing it from a distance – I was upstate living on a college campus, which is why I made it a college town – so, basically any complaint I had would be after the fact. As a matter of fact, [Steve] Ditko and Denny [O’Neil] would have more fights over Beware the Creeper than I had with Steve over The Hawk and the Dove.

That’s because Denny was right there and would go in, complain and yell at Dick or Steve. What could l do long distance? Complain about the book after it was published? Fait accompli. There were all sorts of problems with the Showcase issue. Although a lot of people have said that they really like that issue I think a major problem with it was that Dick was trying to please the Comics Code.

One of the rules was that you couldn’t question authority so every time I had the Dove say something against the U.S. government, Dick would change that to some sort of nebulous “they.” To me it comes off as terribly written with a lot of pronouns without any nouns that they are referring back to.

CBA: Was it more comfortable working on the title after Steve [Dikto] left?

Steve: Once Steve left and Gil Kane came in I tried to bring the conflict to a head and change the direction of the book by making the Dove such a loser that he had to change. Gil never understood where the characterization was going and thought I was a raving hawk myself. I felt that the only way to solve the problem that had been set up in the series was to take it to its absolute worst and bring Dove to the breaking point and bring him back up from there.

That was where I was going but the book didn’t stay around long enough to do that.

CBA: Why did Steve leave the book?

Steve: From what I understand, Steve left because he was sick. That is what I was told.

CBA: You had a reputation as DC’s resident hippie. I was surprised to realize that worked on them.

Steve: I had people like Roger Brand, who was working in under-grounds, meet me and say, “Gee, you’re not the raving hawk I thought you were. Because he thought I was from reading those books. The first book I wrote full script, and then Ditko redid it, extending some scenes and cutting out others. So then I had to go back and do it Marvel-style even though I had already done the script. That was sort of a hassle. The second story (The Hawk and the Dove #1) we did do Marvel-style from the start and they changed so much of my plot that I told them to write the plot themselves for the next one.

I said, “I really don’t want to write these plots because you’re just going to change them anyway. So you write the next one” Ditko took me up on it and the next issue was the jailbreak storyline. When the book went to Gil, it went back to straight scripts and I felt more in control. I was trying to make some sense out of the characters.

The story called “The Sell-Out” was inspired by the movie, “The President’s Analyst.” I hadn’t seen the issue with “The Sell-Out” for a long time and somebody only recently sent me a copy. I was surprised how much I like that story.

When They Were Titans

Membership: Teen Titans #25 and 29 inclusive; Teen Titans #50 to 52 inclusive (“Titans West”)


Between the penultimate and final issues of their title, the Hawk and the Dove made their first guest-appearance in another DC comic, as they joined forces with the Teen Titans to battle the criminal cadre headed by the “Fat Man,” which in turn was secretly controlled by the alien would-be invaders from the so-called “Dimension X.” On a vacation trip to New York, the duo again encountered the Titans in a story taking place after their own comic’s cancellation, and became involved in the killing of philanthropist Dr. Arthur Swenson at a peace rally.

Joining the Team

With issue #25, TEEN TITANS went through a major change that altered the flavor of the series completely. With Robert Kanigher taking over the writer’s job, TEEN TITANS retained its youth orientation, but became a very serious book. The Titans attended a peace rally, during which a riot broke out. As the Titans struggled with one of the militants, his gun went off, and fatally shot Dr. Arthur Swenson, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and crusader for world harmony. The Titans, feeling responsible, vowed never to use their powers again, and joined a top secret project run by a Mr. Jupiter, the world’s richest philanthropist The team was no longer a junior Justice League, either. The Hawk and the Dove, who had guest-starred in #21, joined the team with the “big change” story, as did a young psychic name Lilith. Aqualad had been on leave since #19, and Robin had not been with the team at the peace rally, and so was not part of the vow or Mr. Jupiter’s project. Those in the project threw out their costumes in favor of light purple jumpsuits, to further demonstrate the break with their old ways.

Whether these changes were advisable is questionable. Considering that one of the appeals of the series was the chance to see the kid sidekicks on their own, away from their adult mentors, the introduction of Mr. Jupiter as a father figure was unwise. For those who had adult mentors already, he was redundant, and for those who didn’t, he robbed them of their initiative. One of the characteristics central to the Hawk and the Dove’s concept was their efforts to find out what to do, how to act, with their natures in opposition. But with Mr. Jupiter calling the shots, they became little more than a surly boy arid a wimpy boy arguing about whether or not to hit people. The uniforms were pretty boring, too, and made it difficult to tell the team members apart.

The new direction collapsed into mush almost immediately, as the returning Aqualad convinced them to put their costumes back on for one mission, at the end of which they decided that they might overlook the vow every now and then, in extreme situations. The uniforms and costumes switched back and forth thereafter, with little rhyme or reason, and their solemn vow faded quickly from sight. They never decided they were wrong, that their powers were in fact better used for good, they just sort of shuffled the vow under the rug. The characters lost whatever impact they might have had as moral paragons or super-heroes, and their indecisiveness made the series seem directionless.

Hawk & Dove left the team [and the series] following this. Hank and Don were forced to abandon his program in order to return to Elmond or risk their parents learning of their other identities.

Titans West

TEEN TITANS #s 50-52 made the Titans into a 20th Century Legion of Super-Heroes. The Titans East (Robin, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Mal, Bumblebee, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Harlequin) met the Titans West (Hawk, Dove, Lilith, Gnarrk, Beast Boy, Golden Eagle, and Bat-Girl). Only The Golden Eagle (Charlie Parker) and Bat-Girl (Betty Kane) were new to the series. The Golden Eagle had previously been featured in Justice League and Betty Kane, the original Bat-Girl, decided to come out of retirement to handle an emergency (her senior partner, Bat-woman, had recently reappeared in Batman Family #10). Beast Boy had been starring in a science fiction tv series, Space Trek, 2022 and Hank Hall (The Hawk) had joined the Navy. Don Hall (The Dove) already lived on the West Coast and Gnarrk stated that he and Lilith had moved to California to get away from the Titans.

But the budding plans for the Titans East /Titans West were nipped; #53 (February, 1978) was to be the final issue. As previously noted, it revealed the origin of the Titans and so did not follow up the theme of the two groups of Titans.

In Secret Origins Annual #3, George Pérez told the post-Crisis history of the Titans. Pérez: “I’m writing a Secret Origins Annual of the Titans, while Marv writes the Titans Annual. My origin will establish the post-Crisis origin of the middle Titans; the one with Golden Eagle and Bumblebee. I’ll establish who existed and who didn’t, what powers they had, and how visually they might be different.” Written by George Pérez with art by a series of artists (including Tom Grummett, Kevin Maquire & Karl Kesel, Colleen Doran & Romeo Tanghal, among others). The Special gives a post-Crisis history of the Titans, including some revamps and revisions. Includes: First Appearance of Flame-Bird (Post-Crisis Retcon of Bat-Girl); First Appearance of Herald (Post Crisis Retcon of Hornblower and Gaurdian); First Appearance of Golden Eagle’s new costume; Includes Who’s Who entries for Flamebird, Golden Eagle, Bumblebee, The Herald, Antithesis, and Gargoyle. It also details the group’s history from the very beginning to present day in a story involving Antithesis and Gargoyle. This story takes place soon after The New Titans #56.

The re-tooled Titans West consisted of Hawk, Dove, Lilith, Golden Eagle, Flamebird and Beast Boy. The group did not have a headquarters, nor much of any official structure. After being rebuffed by Robin, Hawk decided that he himself would lead Titans West. The group folded soon afterward, due to Hawk’s inability as leader.

Brave & Bold #181: Future Shock & Continuity Blunder

The Goof:

Chronologically, the next appearance of the Hawk and the Dove [after the cancellation of TEEN TITANS with #53] came when they teamed up with the Batman in The Brave and the Bold #181. This story represented something of a temporal paradox as it took place in a “present” which was actually twelve years after the Hall brothers first gained their powers. Now 28 and 27 respectively, Hank is married (to a woman named Linda who may be his former classmate Linda Kieves), employed by an unnamed corporation, and living in the San Francisco suburb of Tiburon, while Don has become a civil servant working for the Federal Welfare Center in Berkeley, where he lives with a girlfriend named Michelle. Change is in the wind for both brothers, however, as their latest adventure ends. Both disillusioned with life in the 1980s and its failure to live up to the expectations of either of their personal philosophies, Hank and Don are forced to change with the times when the Voice returns to strip them of their powers until such time as they prove worthy of them. As the Voice explains to Hawk, although it has been “twelve years. . . you have not changed – nor has your brother! I had hoped, in time, you would realize the wisdom in both your philosophies – but you have… Perhaps your powers have prevented you from growing – perhaps only by losing them… might you recapture yourselves. When you are grown, when you are worthy… perhaps the powers shall be yours once more… I am confident that we shall meet again… one day.”

This adventure would have to take place in the “future” vis-a-vis the timeline of the other Titans, inasmuch as the Hawk and the Dove are said to have been active for a dozen years and have aged correspondingly, while at present, the Teen Titans in all their incarnations have been organized for little more than half that length of time and have no members over the age of 20. Likewise, Batman would have to be older than he is usually depicted as being, in the context of his meeting with the Hawk and the Dove, or he, rather than Robin, would take on the role of Hawk and Dove’s near-contemporary. This story is further complicated by the presence of Barry (Flash) Allen and Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan in its opening scene.

The ‘Fix’:

Marv Wolfman was asked about this time discrepency in an interview; He responded: “Well, I never intended to use Hawk & Dove. They’re a 60’s concept and I don’t worry about it. If that’s the way they have it, fine, since I wasn’t going to use them, it’s okay.”

Hank and Don Hall next appeared as guests at the wedding of Terry Long and Donna Troy in Tales of the Teen Titans #50. George Pérez remarks: “The only thing we did change, in a scene that both of us demanded that we put in, was that Hawk and Dove were shown and [a character said] “Boy, I thought you guys were older.” [laughter] Little bits of dialogue, but I also did a lot of dialogue suggestions on that storyline, including that one.”

The Tribute

Hawk & Dove (second series) #25 [1991] features a tribute to this story, by Karl & Barbara Kesel.

In that issue, Hank Hall experiences various different realities; In one, he and his brother Don are years older and their powers have been stripped away [in a nodding tribute to Brave and the Bold #181, and out-of-continuity Hawk & Dove tale]; In another reality, Dove [Don Hall] and Hawk [a female named Kathy] battle crime while Hank is confined to a wheelchair; In yet another reality, Dawn Granger and Hank Hall have become lovers, after losing their powers in Druspa Tau. Hank discovers these visions have been created by the soul sapphire gem, which he has stolen with hopes of resurrecting his dead brother, Don.


End of transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author