Birds of a Different Feather: The History of Titans' Hawk and Dove

The casting continues on the upcoming live action Titans television series, which will debut on DC Comics' own screening service some time in 2018 (along with a new season of Young Justice). After rumors of the pair's involvement, it's been officially announced that Hawk and Dove will be appearing on the series in a recurring role, with room to be added as regulars for Season 2, or possibly even get their show. The history of Hawk and Dove and the Titans is a bit of an odd one, so we'll fill you in on their strange history (which involves a whole lot of deaths and resurrections and deaths and resurrections and deaths and...)

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In 1966, Steve Ditko was sick of working for Marvel Comics. He felt that they were not taking care of him financially but, perhaps more annoying to Ditko, they were interfering with him artistically. Ditko had already successfully cut ties with Stan Lee on Amazing Spider-Man, where the two men did not even have to talk with each other after Ditko took over complete plotting duties on Amazing Spider-Man with issue #25.

However, while Lee and Ditko did not talk, Marvel's Publisher, Martin Goodman, still talked to Ditko and he often had demands for what he wanted Ditko to do with the series. Finally, Ditko just quit Marvel all together after Amazing Spider-Man #38. He could have moved to Marvel's biggest competitor, DC Comics, but he instead chose to go to a smaller publisher, Charlton Comics, who offered less money but a good deal more creative freedom (Ditko had worked for them before he moved to Marvel in the 1950s). Ditko essentially had carte blanche on the company. They even let him introduce the Question, a slightly more appropriate version of Ditko's outright Objectivist superhero, Mr. A (who Ditko debuted that same year for Wallace Wood's Witzend)! DC, though, made a pitch to Ditko to bring him over and let him work his magic at DC, as well. Ditko agreed and spent roughly a year at DC (the calendar year of 1968). He introduced two new features for DC's Showcase series. One was the Creeper and the other was Hawk and Dove, which Ditko created with writer Steve Skeates. The characters debuted in 1968's Showcase #75...

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The concept for the characters was simple, but bold for the era (this was in the middle of the Vietnam War). Hank and Don Hall were brothers who couldn't be more different in personality. Don was a peace activist while Hank literally led counter-protests against Don's peace protests!

The boys' father was a judge and some bad guys tried to kill him. He survived the initial assassination attempt, but when Hank recognized the assailant, the boys tracked him to the lair of the bad guys. They were trapped and were in big trouble when a mysterious power spoke to them and offered them the chance to save their father by giving them powers...

They rescued their father and soon got their own ongoing series by Ditko and Skeates...

There was an amusing conflict, though, between Ditko and Skeates. You see, Ditko kept wanting Dove to be an ineffective wimp and Skeates kept trying to balance the two characters in the bravery department. Dick Giordano, an editor at Charlton, was brought to DC at Ditko's recommendation and Giordano edited the series and was in sync with Ditko's way of thinking, so he repeatedly agreed to change the story at Ditko's request to make Dove the wimpier of the two heroes. Ditko, though, left the series soon after it began. The book ended after six issues.

Dick Giordano was also made the editor on Teen Titans, and he brought Hawk and Dove to the team in 1970 for a brief period. This happened to be the same time when the Teen Titans stopped wearing their costumes and became part of a training project under the direction of the mysterious Mister Jupiter...

That did not last long and pretty soon, Hawk and Dove were generally just in comic book limbo throughout most of the 1970s and early 1980s (they still made occasional appearances and even teamed up with Batman in an issue of The Brave and the Bold!). They showed up again when all of the Earth's superheroes fought against the Anti-Monitor in the final issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (by Marv Wolfman, George Peresz and Jerry Ordway). Tragically, Dove was killed in the battle against Anti-Monitor's shadow demons!

With his brother dead, it was time for the next stage of Hawk's life and superheroing career.

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