Hawkman has been one of my favorite comic book characters since the day I saw him on the cover of All Star Squadron #1.
That comic was released in 1981, but I didn’t discover it until about a decade later. But I knew right away that I had to dig up more Hawkman comics to learn more about him, but it wasn’t easy.
After his own series was cancelled in the 1960’s, Hawkman appeared in the pages World’s Finest and Detective Comics, and as a member of the Justice League of America. But a Hawkman solo book was nowhere to be found.
When I started making regular visits to New England Comics in 1990, the only Hawkman book being published was Hawkworld, but this didn’t look like the same Hawkman I’d met in All Star Squadron. Luckily for me, a used book store in Plymouth MA had what I needed.
At that hole in the wall of a bookstore, I found a 1985, four issue mini-series called The Shadow War of Hawkman. The series was written by Tony Isabella with art by Richard Howell. I picked up all four issues for $1 a piece and headed back to my family.
Shadow War was my first Tony Isabella book, but the writer made an immediate impact. This mini series introduced me to Katar Hol and Shayera Thal, the invading Thanagarians, and more. And I knew Isabella meant business when Hawkman finds a Hawkwoman-shaped silhouette burned into the wall.
I finished reading the mini series in minutes, but was hungry for more. I asked my mom if I could go back to the bookstore to look for more comics. Since Shadow war was a mini series, I thought finding more Hawkman books was out of the question, but I figured maybe I could find other books written by Tony Isabella. Boy was I in for a surprise…
What I ended up finding was a Hawkman special from 1986 also by Tony Isabella and Richard Howell. But there was more goodness to be found at the bookstore: the entire run of the Hawkman series also by Isabella and Howell!
Sadly, Tony Isabella only stayed on the book until about issue 7 or so. If I recall correctly, I think there were some creative differences with the editor. The rest of the run was okay, but it wasn’t anywhere near the stuff Isabella was doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the change in writer was one of the reasons the book was cancelled with issue 17.
You rarely hear about Tony Isabella’s Hawkman run, and I have no idea why because this was a great book. It was clear that Isabella had a long-term plan for the book, and it’s a shame that we never got to see what he had in store.
The bottom line is this: if you’re a Hawkman fan like me, keep and eye out for the entire Tony Isabella run, it is one of the best Hawkman sagas you’ll ever read.