Marvel's Hawkeye: Kelly Thompson on bringing Kate Bishop to the West Coast
'The high concept is 'Veronica Mars' meets superheroes,' says Thompson
If you don’t know who Kate Bishop is, you’re soon going to want to get to know her almost immediately.
The former Young Avenger is not only the star of her first solo Hawkeye series, but she’s moved out West and started her own detective company (sans the necessary license though).
“Hawkeye is a pretty street-level superhero, she doesn’t have superpowers. So the high concept is Veronica Mars or that film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang meets superheroes,” says writer Kelly Thompson (A-Force) of what the series aims for. “We’re playing with some L.A. detective noir stuff. But you can’t take the superhero out of Kate, and nor do we want to.”
Thompson says the series is a “spiritual successor” to Matt Fraction, Annie Wu, and David Aja’s critically-acclaimed run of Hawkeye.
“We don’t want to tie ourselves too tightly to that because that’s an incredible, incredible comic and comparing yourself to [one] can be dangerous,” says Thompson about her and artist Leonardo Romero’s series. “We’re doing our own thing, but with a heavy reference back to what they were doing that was so great for Kate.”
With Hawkeye #1 hitting stores Wednesday, EW spoke to Thompson about what readers can expect from the West Coast’s latest hero.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is Kate up to when we meet her?
THOMPSON: She’s relocated to Los Angeles, but she hasn’t been there too long. She’s drawn into superhero antics in Los Angeles, and a new case as she’s looking for work. So we’re going to see her trying to help this young woman Mikka with her case, about a guy harassing her. Throughout the arc in the background, she’s also working on this other, extremely personal case for her. It’s about her life and her past and it may bring in some old faces that people have seen before as she tries to solve it for herself and get answers.
There are a couple of other private investigators in the Marvel universe at the moment. What is it about Kate that makes her so suited for this job?
All the books take a different approach. In Kate’s case, the things that make her a good Hawkeye, actually turn out to be some of the things that make her a good detective too. She’s also just so wildly enthusiastic and weirdly optimistic about everything that’s going on with her. But that enthusiasm almost overfills and makes her life awkward. She’s just trying to do some good work and make a living. That’s a big thing for Kate. In her life, she’s always been wealthy, so she could just join a Young Avengers team if she wanted to. But she doesn’t have that anymore and she has to find a way to make a life out of this and pay the bills as well as everything else.
Even though she’s on the West Coast, will Kate be running into any other Marvel characters?
We definitely planned for [her to see] America Chavez, her best friend, but America got her own book, and because we don’t want to step on toes we rejiggered when America might appear. But I’m confident [she’ll show up] in either one of our stories. We may crossover with that book if that’s something we both wanted to do. I’m hoping Clint will show up. We have plans for Lucky, their shared dog. I’m pretty sure Jessica Jones will show up in a non R-rated capacity.
What will we see her go up against in terms of villains?
There will be some villains that people have seen before and we will be building up her stable of villains, including an archnemesis that readers might have seen before. I don’t want to say too much. This first villain is not somebody we’ve seen before. But like most detective cases there are layers to it, and he might be connected to some other more prominent people. Her archnemesis is going to be someone much larger and more traditionally powered and connected. You want to start small and go down that rabbit hole.
As you were planning the series, was there anything you wanted to focus on in terms of Kate’s character?
I always come to the humour. She’s got such a great sense of humour. But my hope is here, that in addition to being funny, we’re going to plumb some depths too. Matt Fraction’s run really started to see that there were a lot of layers to Kate. So even though she presents as this very light and funny “I can handle it all” person, she’s definitely, like anyone, got some stuff going on beneath the surface that’s she’s hiding. I’d like for us to see some emotionally resonant stories where that’s backing up on her and she’s actively dealing with it and trying to solve it for herself. Kate’s really in an “I need to fix my life” scenario. Also, she loves Clint but she also doesn’t want to become Clint. She can see the writing on the wall that she’s heading for that if she doesn’t get her crap in order and she wants to avoid that.
Kate’s first case sees her visit a college campus. Was it ever an option to have her possibly attend college?
It’s actually something we haven’t even taken off the table. Kate skipped over that part of her life, and being in that kind of beachy college area, she might be interested in going back and maybe pursuing that.
What about her personal life? What can readers expect there?
We’re definitely trying to get a little love triangle going for Kate right out of the gate with a couple of new characters. Kate gets a big F when it comes to her relationships in life. She tries so hard, but she’s never sort of picking the right person and so that’s going to continue to be a challenge for her, of the person you want vs. the person who’s right for you and might be good for you. But maybe she can get some hot makeout sessions in the process! [Laughs]
Did you discuss the look of the book with Leonardo Romero a lot, or was he mostly going off of the script?
Even before Leo came on, [Marvel’s Director of Content & Character Development] Sana Amanat and I talked a lot about what we wanted it to look like and what the feel was. We didn’t want it to copy what David Aja and Annie Wu were doing. And not every comic book artist can handle the more street-level aspect, and PI elements. Leo was someone Sana brought to the table early on and we just knew it would be a really good fit. So we just told him the kind of vibe of what the book was going for, what we’re going to do and we didn’t have to have any conversations after that, because he just started turning in character designs and they were incredible.
Hawkeye #1 is currently available for purchase. Below, you can see the first few pages of the issue.