Published November 13, 2017

Hawkeye: Riding Shotgun

Kelly Thompson dishes on Clint Barton’s return!

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In the pages of HAWKEYE, writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero have helped Kate Bishop grow into one of the Marvel Universe’s most fascinating characters. And in the new arc, titled “Family Reunion,” beginning with December 8’s HAWKEYE #13, her former partner Clint Barton makes his way out to Los Angeles to team-up with his old protégé!

We caught up with Kelly to explore the unique chemistry between Kate and Clint—and to see how his return may shape her future! Going into HAWKEYE #13, we’ve got a whole year’s worth of solo Kate adventures under our belt. What made you decide to bring Clint back now?

Kelly Thompson: Some of it came from the fact that I’ve wanted to get Clint into the book for a long time, but that we felt it would’ve been important to let Kate try to stand on her own first. So we’ve been building to their team-up again, almost since the beginning, putting Kate through a real emotional wringer where she really finds herself needing Clint’s help and her having grown enough that she’s actually willing to ask for that help.

Of course, a lot of books have started their Marvel Legacy arcs, so the timing ended up being perfect to get back to a Kate and Clint team up story. Where do you see their relationship standing as this new arc begins? How would you describe their chemistry and what fans can expect from this reunion?

Kelly Thompson: It’s become really overused—including by me!—but as far as I’m concerned, Kate and Clint together are magic. They have a wonderful chemistry on the page, a sort of brother and sister vibe where they love each other fiercely and would do anything for each other, but they also drive each other crazy. All of that dynamic, plus Kate and Clint sharing the classic Hawkeye traits of always getting into trouble and never giving up, leads to just really fun high-octane stories.

Our team—especially artist Leonardo Romero and colorist Jordie Bellaire—have been incredible from day one, but I have to admit that I really love what they’re doing with Kate and Clint together. It may be my favorite stuff of our whole run. The book has been very open about its noir influences. Have any films or novels in particular inspired this team-up?

Kelly Thompson: “The Thin Man” for sure and other classic noir like “The Big Sleep,” and “Double Indemnity.” But I’d say we’ve leaned a bit neo-noir like “The Nice Guys” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” too—a more modern approach to themes. There’s also of course an obvious “Veronica Mars” influence when you look at style and location and the sharp sense of humor we get from Kate. When developing the look of the book, and describing what we wanted, Jordie Bellaire said something like, “Oh. I get it. Classic Hollywood Film Noir meets ‘Miami Vice,’” and I feel like that’s…perfect. These two first became so inexorably linked on Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run on the title. Has bringing them back together made comparisons to that book more prevalent, or do you feel you’ve established a new identity for Kate?

Kelly Thompson: You know, it’s the absolute best and also worst thing to have to work in the shadow of Fraction, Aja, [artist] Annie Wu, and [colorist] Matt Hollingsworth’s amazing HAWKEYE run. They remain some of my favorite comics of all time, and it was clear to everyone that we had to cut our own path or we would indeed always be fully caught in their shadow.

So I think it was the right call to let Kate move to LA—something they originally set up—and to allow her to stand on her own for a while. But I think enough time has passed that it makes a lot of sense for Kate and Clint to share a book again. I think the fans really want it to, and for good reason, as I said, they’re magic together. Can you tease how this arc might affect Clint and Kate’s status quo going forward?

Kelly Thompson: I think getting them back together in a team-up reminds Clint and Kate of everything that’s so perfect about them working together…“the good ol’ days” if you will. But they’re also on different paths right now with a lot going on in their separate lives, so I’m not sure what the future holds.

Find out in HAWKEYE #13, from Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero, on December 6!