Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hawk and the Dove #1

Hawk and the Dove #1 (On Sale: June 25, 1968) has a cover by Steve Ditko. It features one of the odd details about this strip, the way that Ditko had the characters change into their costumes in this weird sort of patchwork way. This issue and the next also feature the strange Ditko head shots bookending the logo, with a roaring Hawk and a Dove that look like he is going to cry. You couldn't tell which one of these characters Ditko was more in touch with now could you?

Writer Steve Skeates was not at all happy with the strong arm Steve Ditko wielded on this strip. As he noted in Comic Book Artist #5:

The first book I wrote full script, and then Ditko redid it, extending some scenes and cutting out others. So then I had to go back and do it Marvel-style even though I had already done the script. That was sort of a hassle. The second story (The Hawk and the Dove #1) we did do Marvel-style from the start and they changed so much of my plot that I told them to write the plot themselves for the next one.

I said, "I really don't want to write these plots because you're just going to change them anyway. So you write the next one" Ditko took me up on it...

A lot of changes would happen after I turned in a script. Quite often, my idea of what to do with the Dove was have him do brave stuff - and then it would be changed by either Dick or Steve into the Hawk doing that stuff.

They'd say it was out of character for the Dove. They seemed to be equating Dove with wimp, wuss, coward or whatever. And I don't really think it was because they were more hawkish. I just don't think that they knew what a dove was.

In Comic Book Artist #1, Dick Giordano agreed:

Ditko would pretty much eliminate whatever was in Steve Skeates' scripts that he didn't feel belonged there. At that point, I think that Ditko's agenda was more the furthering of his philosophical views than writing and drawing entertaining stories. Mr. A, which immediately followed, illustrates that point to some degree. I have no problem with his beliefs- whether I believe in them or not is irrelevant-I just don't think that comic books per se are the proper vehicle for a forum. I don't think we should promote the existence or non-existence of God.
Inside this issue we have "The Dove is a Very Gentle Bird," scripted by Steve Skeates and plotted and drawn by Steve Ditko. When a party attended by Judge Irwin Hall and his two sons is interrupted by a gang of crooks called the Drop-Outs, Hank Hall becomes the Hawk and tries to stop the robbery. The crooks get away, and Judge Hall declares the Hawk a menace. Hawk escapes before the police arrive and accuses Don of cowardice for not taking action.

Hawk continues to hunt for the crooks, but they strike at an art show which Don is attending. Don refuses to resort to violence to stop the crooks, so he decides to take action another way. He remembers that Rita Watkins, one of the party guests, acted like she knew one of the crooks. Don tracks her down and learns where the crooks are hiding.

Hawk has already found the crooks' hide-out and is there when Don arrives. Don finally becomes the Dove to help his brother, but he refuses to hit the crooks. Instead he tires them out by dodging their attacks, then entangles them with rope. Hawk and Dove leave the crooks for police and continue their argument of violence vs. non-violence all the way home.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

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