The 'Women of Marvel' Guide to Kate Bishop, AKA Hawkeye
This all-new episode of the 'Women of Marvel' podcast takes aim at Kate Bishop, AKA Hawkeye!
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She's Hawkeye, not the Hawkguy! Kate Bishop first swung into action alongside a team of new young heroes in YOUNG AVENGERS (2005) #1. Since then, she has worked alongside the man who inspired her codename, become a private eye, led the West Coast Avengers, adopted Lucky the Pizza Dog and Jeff the Land Shark, and so much more—all while saving the Marvel Universe time and again! Along the way, she has proven herself to be not only a capable hero and leader, but also a loyal and dedicated friend.
In the fifth episode from the latest season of the Women of Marvel podcast, our hosts Ellie Pyle and Preeti Chhibber set their sights on this founding Young Avenger. They broke down a few of Kate's best qualities with writers Marieke Nijkamp and Ashley Poston, as well as Olympic archer Casey Kaufhold and Marvel podcast producer Jasmine Estrada.
Listen to Kate Bishop's full Women of Marvel spotlight, then catch our episode highlights below!
A STRAIGHT SHOOTER
Kate Bishop doesn't need powers to be super. According to Marvel podcast producer Jasmine Estrada, Kate's strengths lie in her skills. "She is a leader. We know her as a founding member of the Young Avengers, but she's also had leadership roles in teams like West Coast Avengers, where she had to not only just build her own team from the ground up, but I mean, there's a legacy there, right? Everybody remembers the West Coast Avengers led by Hawkeye (Clint Barton), but this is her version. Rather than being like, 'I'm going to get all these heavy hitters,' she's like, 'I'm going to get my friends,' and that's it! She does an excellent job at starting a private eye detective organization," Estrada explained.
"She has no powers. She has been on all these teams, like I said, and she's been on a team where she's always pretty much the only one without powers. She doesn't fly. She doesn't have super-speed, super-strength, nothing. Her only superpower is arrows, and that is something that she trained for," she pointed out. "It's easy to resonate with something like that, where it's a skill that you can learn and build and get better at. She just happens to be the best at it."
HAWKEYE: KATE BISHOP (2021) writer Marieke Nijkamp agreed: "I love characters with powers, but I also really love characters who just were able to be the hero they are because of the decisions they make and because of their own wits and their own courage and stubbornly never giving up. I think Kate is very much one of those heroes—very recognizable most of the time character who can find her own way and who basically defeats most bad guys by just being absolutely incapable of giving up. That's a pretty awesome trait."
Meanwhile, Hawkeye: Bishop Takes King author Ashley Poston pointed to Kate's personality, as well as her dynamic with her fellow heroes. "I've just really loved her snark and the fact that she always plays best against a stoic character, like a Clint or even an America," Poston said. "Her and America's dynamic is one of my favorites of any friendship in the Marvel universe. I just love her! She's great. She's just so snarky and she's vulnerable and she's funny and she's really relatable, too."
Of course, Kate doesn't do it all on her own. While she has saved the day by herself on many occasions, she often relies on the friends and allies she's made along the way. According to Nijkamp and Estrada, that's just another one of her core strengths.
"One of the things I love to do in stories is write found families in all sorts of shapes and forms. With Kate specifically, she has this amazing found family," Nijkamp shared. "She's made a lot of friends. She's learned to trust them, trust herself, but she's still struggling with her own family. So I got to be in the fun position where I brought back this character from her past, AKA her sister [Susan]."
"That's this sort of transformational adventure that brought her from her new home back to her old home, which is now her new new home, I guess, and find a way to connect with her close relatives without it being as weird as previous tries," she continued. "It was still slightly awkward, not necessarily great all the time, but far more of a happily ever after than any of the attempts so far."
"I wanted to make sure I had not just Kate and her sister, but I wanted her to have access to friends and teammates at any point, because I feel like those are the types of relationships she has: the people who, when you ask them for help, will drop everything and show up immediately because she's that type of person too—even if she'll be begrudging about it at times and super snarky about it, she'll drop everything to help her friends," she added.
"She just surrounds herself with some of the best people, and her friendship with America Chavez is one of my favorite things in comics. They're pretty much like sisters," Estrada said. "They like to pick on each other and tease each other, but are there for the hardest times. It just goes to show the power of female friendship and how important it is, especially in the Marvel Universe."
"Then, of course, she has two famous animal pets. Obviously, most people know Lucky the Pizza Dog, but she also had Jeff the Land Shark when she was on the West Coast Avengers. So animals love her. I love her. There's clearly something there," she pointed out.
AN ARCHER'S PERSPECTIVE
Women of Marvel also checked in with Olympic archer Casey Kaufhold, who offered some insight into Kate's specific form of archery and how that defines her skillset: "Recurve archery is what's in the Olympics. It's also known as Olympic recurve. The bow is a little bit different than other types. There's recurve archery and there's also a compound archery. Recurve archery is a much simpler setup. It's what you see in traditional archery, like anything sort of Renaissance related. What Hawkeye shoots, that's her type of setup, is a recurve."
"So on a compound, it's a little bit different. Compounds are made for more precision archery, so to say. They are able to pull a lot more poundage, which gives the arrow much more accuracy," she explained. "They have different aids to help; compound has a mechanical release aid that they shoot with, whereas recurve archers shoot with just their fingers and a fingertip. Compound archers also have magnification in their sight, whereas recurve, there is no magnification, so you're just seeing that target from however far away it is."
"Compound has magnification, so the target is going to look a lot bigger and it's a lot easier to aim. They also have a pulley system; they have wheels on their bow, which you pull at a certain point and it's really heavy and then it has what's called a let off. So when they're actually all the way back, fully drawn, the poundage is a lot less, whereas recurve, you're constantly increasing, increasing, increasing as you pull the bow back. So there's just a couple of little differences and compound is much more seen as the accurate sort of set up and recurve is seen as more the Olympic style," she concluded.
As to the skill it takes to shoot a recurve bow in the middle of a fight, Kaufhold said, "I can't imagine. It's difficult enough as it is, just standing there and shooting archery. I can't imagine jumping out of a window and shooting something or falling from a building or running or [being] on top of a car. That blows my mind. I don't know if I'll ever be in the situation to do that, but I know it would be so difficult."
However, "a lot of times, the fictional archers have good technique or good form, so to say," she added. "Some things here and there, it's like, 'Okay. I don't know if that looked as good!' But a lot of times, from what I've seen of Kate Bishop and Hawkeye, the form looks really good. I think, as the archery in movies has progressed, the form has gotten better."
The latest season of Women of Marvel has arrived! Tune into upcoming episodes spotlighting a new hero each Wednesday, available wherever you listen to your podcasts!
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