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The Kesels on Hawk & Dove II

On This Page:
>> Karl Kesel’s Version [from Hawk & Dove Trade Paperback]
>> Barbara Kesel’s Version [from Hawk & Dove Trade Paperback]
>> Barbara Kesel Sequential Tart Interview

Karl Kesel’s Version
Original Forward from the Hawk & Dove Trade Paperback

Creation stories – how something came to be – are interesting animals. Look at the creation myths from the various cultures around the world. There’s an eerie similarity between many of them, yet each is slightly different. It’s almost as if there was one, true, core event that happened, and each interpretation pushed it in a different direction. I’m sure the same can be said about Hawk and Dove.

This is my version of their creation story. I broke into the industry as an inker – but always knew I wanted to write comics, too. I was probably pretty annoying about it. I proposed a new series to Karen Berger within my first three months in the business, John Byrne nicknamed me “The Kibitzer,” and I overwhelmed John Ostrander with long letters about ideas for SUICIDE SQUAD. In the middle of all this – and more important than any of it – I became romantically involved with a shy young editor named Barbara Randall.

I was inking the figure of the dead Dove on George PĂ©rez’s “Crisis” spread in The History of the Dc Universe not crying tears over the death of the guy since he was pretty much a minor hero, but regretting the end of a really interesting team. I always liked Hawk and Dove. I always thought how they’d say “Hawk!” and “Dove!” and transform was really cool. Then it hit me: The mysterious voice that gave Hawk and Dove their powers could easily give the Dove powers to someone else! Maybe… a woman! I called Barbara as soon as I could. She sparked off the idea instantly and before even we knew it, we were co-writers.

Barbara took the idea to another new DC editor: Mike Carlin. He gave us a chance, was very supportive, and made us work damn hard. By the time of the 1988 San Diego Comics Con, we had an approved mini-series.

I met Rob Liefeld for the first time at that convention. Barbara introduced us. Rob’s energy and enthusiasm was (and still is) infectious. His samples were very good. We thought he’d be perfect for the book. Mike agreed – although it meant a miniseries about a pair of obscure heroes scripted by a young writer and her untried collaborator, and pencilled by a virtual unknown. Only the inker had anything close to a track record, and fans aren’t known for buying books based on the inking.

The fans bought this book – and not because of the inking. I like to think they bought it because, as rough and awkward as it is from time to time, there’s an undeniable life to It… a real love of comics that we all poured into it.


1. Barbara created Kestrel. Rob Liefeld designed the costume. Mike Carlin decided it would be purple – midway between Hawk’s red and Dove’s blue. It honestly never occurred to us that “Kestrel” was so similar to “Kesel,” although every fan seemed to notice.

2. Rob insisted that we modify the original costume and let Dove’s hair show. It was a very good Idea.

3. Barbara Randall became Barbara Kesel between the inking of issues #1 and #2 of the miniseries. That’s why the inking gets better.

4. Mike Carlin’s one worry about the new Hawk and Dove was that If either one died, the voice(s) could easily replace them. This isn’t good in comics. It led Barbara to create the star-crossed lovers M’Shulla and T’Charr and, eventually, to a pivotal story in the HAWK & DOVE monthly series establishing Hawk and Dove as the last of their line.And then Dove was killed and Hawk became a murderous villain.The end.

Well, maybe not. See, now that I’m writing a monthly series for DC again, it’s crossed my mind that the second Dove’s death was very different from the first’s, and it’s just possible that…

Of course, if enough fans want it, anything is possible.

Karl Kesel

info above courtesy of the Hawk & Dove Trade Paperback, reprinting the Five Issue Mini Series [1993]

Barbara Kesel’s Version
Original Forward from the Hawk & Dove Trade Paperback

Here’s how I remember it:

Back when I was newer to comics, I met this really nice guy. I have pictures of him I drew when I was in college. I met him three years after I graduated. He had all these sketchbooks I’d pore over while I waited for him to finish his quota of work for the day. One day I ran across a sketch of Hawk & Dove. Him and.. .her?

I was immediately excited about the idea. I burst up from my chair (in my usual sanguine fashion) and excitedly asked Karl where she had first appeared… when had they decided that Dove should be female? Of course! It was so obvious! The perfect partnership.. .yin and yang! Brains and brawn! Rage and patience! Blah, blah, blah! (Of course, you have to imagine the delivery at 78 RPM…)

“Oh,” said Karl, “That. I never liked Dove as a guy. Too wussy. I always thought Dove should be a girl.”

That’s how It started.

At the time, I was posted in the zoo office next door to Carlin. We had originally pitched Hawk & Dove as a feature for an anthology book Carlin was developing, but Mike saw the potential and developed it as Its own miniseries Instead. I knew Rob’s work from several sets of samples he’d sent to the office, and I knew he’d be right for the book (with Karl’s inking, of course – the necessary topper to any artist we brought in on the project-no bias here, Sarge), so I pestered Carlin unmercifully until he agreed to add a complete unknown to an underpedigreed project.

And then it sold out. Cool.

This book was always very personal. It has its roots in real people:

Karl’s sister and my brother were the original models for the characters of Dawn and Hank (but only the good parts!); our parents became their parents; our friends became their friends. Kestrel’s name was an inside joke: my friend Ron had used the name (it’s a bird, look it up) as a gaming character- the most peaceful and loving character in the history of role-playing-so we used the name for our vicious mass murderer. Ren started out as my best friend, but just wouldn’t stay her. As writers, we’re always cannibalizing from our own lives in order to create true false reality, and there is, therefore, a lot of us in the mix.

This series always was about, if anything, love: the way it can invade and change your life without any respect for the way things had been, or perhaps should have been… Our love, and the feeling that a complementary partner is important to our own completion. Love for others, and what it will let you give up or give of yourself…

The book always was, and always will be, my favorite wedding present. I hope you all enjoy opening our gift.

Barbara (and Karl!)

info above courtesy of the Hawk & Dove Trade Paperback, reprinting the Five Issue Mini Series [1993]

Barbara Kesel Sequential Tart Interview: Of Hawks & Doves

ST: Who’s idea was it for Hawk (Hank [Hawk & Dove] Hall) and a new Dove (Dawn Granger) to make the scene?

BK: When I was looking through one of Karl’s sketchbooks, he’d done a sketch of a female Dove. “Who’s this?” I asked. “Oh,” he said, “I always thought Dove should have been a girl character.” We chatted, I wrote up the proposal, and poor Carlin got badgered into the series.

ST: Was that the first time you and Karl had worked together? What is it like co-writing and working on a project with your husband?

BK: That was our first project together. We actually got married during the series. “Barbara Kesel” appeared in the credits before I was, I think.

ST: Did you ever argue over parts of the story?


ST: How did you settle disagreements about a particular point?

BK: I pouted, and Karl usually got his way.

ST: I HATED the ending of Hawk & Dove. What was the real reason that Hank Hall became Monarch and Dawn Granger died? What was the ending that you and Karl had planned for the series?

BK: Let’s get one thing clear: that wasn’t a planned ending of Hawk and Dove. That awful story was an Armageddon 2000 special created after somebody at DC spilled the beans about Captain Atom’s being Monarch. Then, a small number of people worked feverishly to find some other character to sacrifice, and since H&D had just been cancelled!

If you’ve ever pitied anyone, pity Jonathan Peterson, the poor person who had to give me the news. I wasn’t pleased, and wasn’t shy about sharing. If there’s anything I hate with a passion, it’s characters behaving out of character, especially when it involves a smart woman being stupid for no reason. H&D becoming Monarch could have been a clever idea: if they BOTH became the character, their innately opposite natures could explain a schizophrenic villain. As it was… it was a last-minute fix that sucked. The ending closest to what I have in mind was in the Unity story in the H&D Annual #2, but it’s all water under the bridge.

above info courtesy of [May 1, 2000]


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