Comic book: Hawkeye

Plenty of raves out there about this comic (not quite my favorite of 2013, which has to go to Building Stories, which is so good I can’t even bring myself to finish it).  But if you find the superheroes thing boring (even the movies are boring me), besides the crackling wit of Fraction’s dialogue (only Brian K. Vaughan is better, to me, right now), the pitch-perfect visual storytelling (a master lesson–one day I’ll post my thoughts about the evolving grammar of American comics, via Eisner and McCloud and Chris Ware), and the not-quite-too-cute-but-close meta-commentary (my favorite so far, in ish 11 about “pizza dog”: “this is what does pretty much every day because he is a dog”), the reason you need to read Hawkeye is that it also wants to envision heroism without superpowers, and finds those very words getting caught in its own throat.  Like young America, it dares not utter the idea of “hero” in the shadow of the monumental artifice of superpowerdom, but it also does not need to flee in the other direction, nihilistic anti-heroism.  In resisting both sentimentalism and brutal realism by vacillating helplessly between them at just the right frequencies, it’s perfectly American, perfect for our times.

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