I’m back with more of my Indie Comics Month with another new guide for all Patrons of CK! This guide is for perhaps the least popular of the Image flagship titles, but the one with perhaps the most straight-forward, self-contained, and satisfying runs of them all. It’s all explained in my Guide to ShadowHawk by Jim Valentino!
ShadowHawk was the only one of the Image launch books that I did not dabble in back in the early 90s, which means the character has always been a mystery to me – as were his serially-numbered 90s mini-series and what seemed like repeated returns from the dead.
I’m not sure I can explain why, other than that Jim Valentino was the least explosive of the Image Comics founders and launch artists at the time. I knew Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, & Rob Liefeld from X-Men, and had at least seen Todd McFarlane on Spider-Man and Erik Larsen on Spidey and Hulk. However, Valentino mostly kept to his Guardians of the Galaxy (1990), which was set millennia into the future of Marvel Comics. With no crossovers into my beloved X-line, I hardly knew who Jim Valentino was.
Also, Valentino’s ShadowHawk simply wasn’t my style of hero. He looked like a shiny, armored Batman or a direct Darkkawk knockoff, roaming the dark alleyways of NYC. Even with a set of shiny Wolverine claws, he never seemed that interesting to me.
(Little did I know he was actually an indie version of totally different character I’d eventually come to love: Moon Knight!)
What I did know about ShadowHawk, likely thanks to regularly reading Wizard Magazine, is that he was HIV-positive. I was keenly aware of the AIDS/HIV epidemic in the early 90s. A debate over whether AIDS was a “plague” sent by god to punish sinners is what caused my permanent fracture with my Christian faith, and by the time of the reveal in ShadowHawk I was being certified as a peer sex educator.
I never knew anything more about ShadowHawk. Was he gay? Was he a future star of the musical RENT? Having that knowledge divorced from any other details of the character made his seemingly repeated death and return seem like it was in mildy-bad taste to me. I never knew the full story of ShadowHawk being HIV-positive, the numbering of his series, and his many incarnations until I researched this guide!
First, here’s the story, in Valentino’s own words from the back matter of Return of ShadowHawk (2004) #1: [Read more…] about New for Patrons: Guide to Shadowhawk by Jim Valentino