Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Hawkman kubert 3793.jpg

Hawkman is one of the oldest of DC Comics' superheroes, having been created in 1940 during The Golden Age of Comic Books. He's also one of the most infamous cases of Continuity Snarl in the world of comics.

As originally envisioned, Hawkman was really archaeologist Carter Hall, who discovered that he was actually the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince named Khufu, and that he had been murdered long ago by an evil priest along with the woman he loved. Furthermore, both the priest and his lover had also been reincarnated, and the former had now captured the latter! Arming himself with equipment found at a museum, as well as using an anti-gravity metal called "Ninth metal" (later renamed Nth metal) to fly, Carter created the costumed identity of Hawkman to go rescue her. She would later join him in his adventures as "Hawkgirl". Hawkman would also become one of the founders of the first superhero group, the Justice Society of America.

During The Interregnum, Hawkman's series, as with most other superheroes of the time, was cancelled. During The Silver Age of Comic Books, he was reinvented, this time as Katar Hol, a law enforcement agent from the planet Thanagar (conveniently inhabited by Human Aliens) who came to Earth (along his partner and wife Shayera) to study Earth's crimefighting techniques, and they assumed the identities of museum curators Carter and Shiera Hall. They also acted as superheroes (using their Thanagarian uniforms) and became known as Hawkman and Hawkwoman. They soon joined the Justice League, the modern version of the Justice Society, and even met the original Hawks during the League's team-ups with the Society (which was established as having existed in the parallel universe called Earth-2.)

(At around this time, Hawkman appeared on Challenge of the Superfriends. Since no one on that show was allowed to throw a punch, his prowess was portrayed as ... somewhat less than stellar. Basically, he could fly, and that's it -- which for a super hero is like being able to tie your shoes.)

Up to this point, there was no real confusion over the Hawkman characters. It all started after DC decided to Retcon their universe with the Crisis Crossover called Crisis on Infinite Earths. All of DC's titles were supposed to undergo a Continuity Reboot afterwards; but due to poor editorial overseeing, some titles were rebooted but others were not. The Silver Age Hawkman was reinvented as a Darker and Edgier character who had only recently arrived on Earth--but Hawkman was still supposed to have been a member of the League for years! They explained this by claiming that the winged heroes in the League were actually the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl (since all DC characters now existed in one universe) and, later, that a Thanagarian spy had joined the team as Hawkman.

When DC decided to fix its post-Crisis mistakes with another reality-changing crossover, Zero Hour, somebody came up with the idea of having the various Hawks... merged into a single being, known as the "Hawk-god". This idea was poorly received and his series was soon cancelled. DC was so desperate over the mess that they actually forbade anybody from using the character for years.

When the Justice League animated series was made, it was decided that Hawkgirl, rather than Hawkman, would be a member. A Hawkman Expy, Hro Talak, was introduced in the series as her former lover and a bad guy! Even later, an actual Hawkman character (Carter Hall, following a variation of the Golden Age reincarnation origin) was also introduced in the cartoon.

Back in the comics, DC tried to exploit Hawkgirl's popularity by having (a variation of) her take over the new Hawkman comic book, but it didn't work and it too was soon cancelled. Hawkman was finally brought back in the pages of the then-new Justice Society comic series, with a new origin that explains that both Khufu and his mate have reincarnated many times, including as Katar and Shayera.

In 2011, the entire DC Universe was rebooted, erasing all the history (good or bad) of most characters including Hawkman, hopefully ending the confusion for good. Hawkman has his own self-titled book, and Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders again) is to feature in James Robinson's Earth-2.

Tropes used in Hawkman include: