Tuesday, November 14, 2017
The Hawk And The Dove!
A comic for a our times, ripped from the headlines of the day. The Hawk and The Dove was a curious piece by Charlton alumni Steve Skeates and Steve Ditko, a tale of two brothers caught in a struggle which was at that time both private and public. The United States warred with itself about the war, the Vietnam War (we just called it "the War" back then) about the validity of it and even more about the sacrifice of life for a cause which seemed abstract and remote. We fight today across the globe, but because we don't demand the that the youth of our time commit to that struggle, we are able to glide along calm cool and collected that others will do the fighting we deem necessary. It's an eternal debate, not that war is a necessary evil, but that we need advocate evil here and at this time.
That was the battle between the brothers Hall. Hank was a "Hawk", an advocate for violent intervention and his brother Don was a "Dove", one who argued for peace in our time. They were split ideologically and when they were offered the chance to acquire the power to pursue their beliefs by the supernatural powers of Order and Chaos they do so, becoming two sides of a coin dedicated to justice.
According to reports, Steve Skeates wanted to show that both methods could reap justice and that Dove's peaceful approach was often as effective as Hawk's more aggressive approaches. But he claimed that editorial often switched it up so that Dove came across as not just regretful for violence but downright weak in the face of a threat. Instead of showing a balance between two attitudes, each with some measure of merit, it became in the eyes of Skeates a rejection of peace and a advocacy for violence.
Skeates worked with Gil Kane when Ditko left DC and after Skeates left the book, Kane wrote as well as drew it. After the book's cancellation Hawk and Dove became a sometimes part of the Teen Titans lore and many years later things changed even more, but that' s for another day.
For all their flaws these stories deserve a place on the modern bookshelf. It seems they have been collected in an enormous Teen Titans volume, but I'd love to see them available for a less impressive price in a more easily read tome. With work by giants of yore like Ditko and Kane and Cardy, it seems an easy bet to me.
Here are the covers.