Monday, 10 September 2012


Or I just read Hawkeye #2 and felt compelled to gush about the artwork in it.

I've already written about how much I'm enjoying Hawkeye. Which is unsurpirising given that it's Matt fraction and David Aja: solid writing and ludicrously good artwork. Also Matt Hollingsworth on colours is equally amazing. But there is something in Hawkeye #2 I want to call attention to.

It's pretty obvious from any page in Hawkeye #2 that David Aja is a phenomenal artist. You could pick any page in the book and see some incredible piece of layout, design, or just plain good drawing. A couple standout bits are a 24 (!) panel page that's so well designed that I didn't even realize it on my first pass and sequence where a character mouths a sentence in slow motion as Clint Barton draws, aims, and unloads his bow. This book is just loaded with virtuoustic examples of David Aja being amazing.

But I want to highlight something that is kind of the opposite of these big grand moments of artistic skill. This quiet panel here kind of amazes me. Specifically the hole in Clint Barton's sock toe just rocks my world.

Words Fraction, Drawings Aja, Colours Hollingsworth

The concept of the current iteration of Hawkeye is that Clint Barton is the Avenger who is also a regular dude. And look at him: beat up, forlornly addressing his spilt coffee and WITH A HOLE IN HIS SOCK. It's such a small thing, but absolutely perfect characterization. A sock with a hole in it that is still worn is just such a little humanizing relatable problem. It's also totally a dude thing.

I mean, I'm pretty much a regular dude. I'm a good deal more neurotic than the Clint of this comic, but I'm still just a plain old straight white male from a blue collar home. And I gotta say, I have worn my share of socks with holes in the big toe. When I was younger, holey socks would persist until my mother removed them from the laundry. As a 20-something, socks with holes in the toe live-on until my significant other throws them out when she folds the laundry (to be fair, I do the laundry and hanging and she folds because I "suck at it"). I have seen many of my dude friends sport socks with holey toes, but seldom have I seen a holed sock sported by a female regardless of economic situation or general disdain for fashion. To me at least, socks with holes say DUDE PROBLEM.

And that is why I think this small choice in this quiet panel catches the blue collar guy-ness of Clint Barton perfectly. It is just such a little thing, but it's so well thought out, and tells us so much about the character of Barton. While we are all giving David Aja credit for all his big and bold and glorious artwork, I think we should give him credit for these great little decisions too. I really appreciate them.

(This is all assuming that David Aja made the sock call and that it wasn't Fraction or Aja/Fraction... but it's a great descision regardless). 


  1. Ha! I never noticed the holey sock before, and I've read and re-read these two issues hoping for the third one to just magically appear in my hands afterwards. That is such a great detail, tiny but very characterizing of Clint. I'm constantly blown away by all the little touches that Aja adds in, his amazing way of drawing a 12+ panel page that still breathes and never feels rushed.

    I will say I am a gal and have worn my share of holey socks. What, I mean, sometimes that's what's clean. Or what I can find in the hamper of clean clothes that I haven't bothered to fold. (You fold socks? Who knew?) So maybe it's less of a "dude" thing and more...I dunno "does not care about the little things" sort of thing.

    Or maybe it is a dude thing. Either way, great catch!

  2. Ha! That's the problem with publishing sweeping generalizations on the internet, they're always wrong. It's probably a lot more accurate to call a holey sock an "everyday person problem" and wearing said sock a (as you said) "doesn't care about the little things sort of thing".

    I still think the ratio of holey sock wearing favours dudes rather than gals (may be due to the fact fewer lady shoes call for socks?), but I have no, like, data or maths to support it. Also, I kind of imagine that Clint has other, non-holey socks in the drawer and just doesn't care enough to get one out. And maybe that's the dude problems sock-hole definition: non-obligate holey sock wearing? Maybe?

    Regardless, I still think it's great characterization. I mean, could you picture Tony Stark or Reed Richards wearing a holey sock? I can't. I can picture Peter Parker or Jessica Drew (in her Alias days) finding one in their laundry, and Peter with great disdain wearing it for lack of an alternative and Jessica looking pissed, tossing it, and doing without. Fraction and Aja's Clint is the only Marvel hero I can think of that just goes with it.