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Hawk and Dove

SECRET ORIGINS OF THE HAWK AND THE DOVE -- PART 3 of 5
WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE DOVE?


The character of the Hawk was relatively easy to write and draw. To some extent, EVERY superhero is a Hawk. Smashing things just comes naturally, and makes for exciting visuals. But the DOVE?!?! How does one depict pacifism in a 1960s comic book? Denny O’Neil admits, “I felt the characters as conceived were a losing proposition. How are you going to dramatize the Dove half in the super-hero genre?” Pictured below is one of the series' attempts to do just that: dramatize the Dove half (as shown below in a crappy scan of Ditko's original art, and then on a colored, printed page):

Hawk and Dove
Hawk and Dove

Jim Shooter recently told Silver Age that Ditko had once refused to illustrate a particular "Dark Dominion" story for Defiant Comics. According to Shooter, Ditko said, "I can't do this."  Shooter asked, "Why not?"  Ditko replied, "It's Platonic, and I am a Aristotilian... Plato thought there was the real world and then this invisible world and I'm Aristotilian — I believe that what you see is what you get.  That's all there is.  Reality.  This story has a substratum world and I'm not drawing it." Below is a page showing the Dove's continuing "real-world" battle with the escaped convict:

Hawk and Dove

WHY STEVE DITKO FLEW THE COOP

The Dove's future character development was thrown into doubt when Ditko abruptly left the title after only two issues. Surprisingly, neither office politics nor national politics had anything to do with his departure from the title. Plain and simple, he left due to health issues. Dick Giordano says that at the time, Ditko was "suffering from a lung ailment... I think, tuberculosis.” According to “The Comic Book Heroes” by Gerard Jones and Will Jacobs, “Steve Ditko's abrupt departure from Hawk and Dove and Creeper was necessitated by a bout of tuberculosis.” 

Exactly what is tuberculosis? It's is a bacterial infection most often found in the lungs. Symptoms include coughing up bloody mucus from the lungs, as well as fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, fever, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and chest pain. Treatment is often successful, though the process is long, taking between 6 and 9 months. This description makes is painfully clear why Ditko had to quit comics entirely for a period of time.
Hawk and Dove
Ditko never returned to Hawk and Dove, although he did, of course, do voluminous other work following this series, and is still working today. Surprisingly, Ditko drew only three Hawk and Dove stories --the original Showcase origin tale and two others. His successor, Gil Kane, actually drew as many Hawk and Dove stories as Ditko!

DEVELOPING THE DOVE

Steve Skeates recalls, "Once Steve left and Gil Kane came, in I tried to bring the conflict to a head and change the direction of the book by making the Dove such a loser that he had to change. Gil never understood where the characterization was going and thought I was a raving hawk myself. I felt that the only way to solve the problem that had been set up in the series was to take it to its absolute worst and bring Dove to the breaking point and bring him back up from there."

Pictured below are two Skeates/Kane pages from Hawk and Dove #3 (January 1968) showing Don/Dove in the process of becoming"such a loser."

Hawk and Dove


In Hawk and Dove #5 (May 1968) Dove thought someone had killed Hawk, and his pacificism gave way to a fit of rage as he beat the "killer" to a bloody pulp (although it turned out Hawk wasn't actually dead):
Hawk and Dove
Hawk and Dove
The "fatally" wounded Hank/Hawk makes an amazingly speedy recovery, and in the very same issue, the boys go right back out on patrol -- and accidentally run into the Teen Titans!
Hawk and Dove
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