Avid comic collector & fan for nearly twenty years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.
How Does Kate Bishop Differ in the Comics and the Hawkeye TV Show?
The Disney+ Hawkeye show that released in the winter of 2021 got positive reviews from both fans and critics. As a Marvel comics fan, I enjoyed the show, despite not caring for the Hawkeye comics character or being a big fan of Jeremy Renner. I do like Hailee Steinfeld, and I think she is one of the best and most marvelous talents in young Hollywood.
I also like the character of Kate Bishop, and—once again, as a comics fan—I do know a bit about her and the differences between the show and the actual comic character the TV show was based on.
Spoiler Alert Ahead!
Alright, before we deep dive here, I'm going to warn you that this article will be chock-full of spoilers for Hawkeye. I mean, there will be tons, and they will be unapologetically given without remorse or mercy. I mean it. No mercy concerning spoilers. So, if you haven't watched the show yet, I suggest you stop reading right here, go watch it, and come back. If you don't care if someone spoils the living daylights out of something or if you've already watched the show, then by all means carry on.
Who Is Kate Bishop?
So who is Kate Bishop? Kate Bishop is a Marvel Comics character that made her first appearance in the 2005 comic series Young Avengers #1. She was created by writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung and debuted during a time in Marvel canon where the original Hawkeye, Clint Barton, was dead. She is the first female character to take up the mantle of Hawkeye.
Like the original Hawkeye, Kate Bishop does not have superpowers but is an extraordinary athlete and skilled hand-to-hand combatant. Of course, she's also a highly skilled archer.
Below is the cover of the Marvel comic book that debuts Kate Bishop before she becomes Hawkeye—Young Avengers #1.
Differences Between the Comics and the Show
Okay, it should be standard knowledge by now that movies and shows based on comics are going to have some differences from the source material. Sometimes they'll have big differences and may upset hardcore fans. Remember Iron Man 3 and the Mandarin debacle? Yes, creative license can be horrid or great or simply passable. What I'm getting at is that it should be expected by now.
When it comes to Kate Bishop in the comics and the Hawkeye show, there are quite a few differences. I just gave you one earlier: Kate Bishop does not meet Hawkeye in her debut. As mentioned before, Clint Barton is dead during the time the Young Avengers form and Kate is given the Hawkeye mantle. The show has the pair meeting right off the bat, but in the comics, Kate Bishop meets the Young Avengers right off the bat. Like the show, we first meet Kate as a simple civilian in the first issue of Young Avengers. We'll take a closer look at this and the other differences below.
Six Things That Were Changed for the Hawkeye Show
- Kate Has a Sister in the Comics
- Kate's Mother Did Not Raise Kate in the Comics
- The Swordsman Was Originally Tied to Clint Barton
- Echo Was Connected to Daredevil, Not Hawkeye
- Kate Did Not Meet Hawkeye Until Much Later in the Comics
- Kazi Was the Hired Assassin, Not Yelena Belova
Two Things That Stayed the Same
- The Track Suit Mafia Was a Group in the Comics
- Kate and Clint Had a Team-Up Comic Series
1. Kate Has a Sister in the Comics
That's right. In the actual comics, Kate Bishop has a sister named Susan Bishop. Actually, her sister was having a wedding when Patriot, Hulkling, Asgardian, and Iron Lad crashed it in order to stop a band of gunmen who was holding her sister's wedding guests hostage. This is how Kate meets the Young Avengers.
Not sure why the show opted to leave a sibling out the picture for Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop, but comic book Kate has a sister.
2. Kate's Mother Did Not Raise Kate in the Comics
In the comics, Kate Bishop's mom was presumed dead when we first meet Kate in Young Avengers #1. It's her father who is still alive and part of Kate's life in the actual comics. The Marvel character's name is Eleanor Bishop, however. That is still true in the comics.
The show has Kate's father, Derek Bishop, deceased, and Kate's mother, played by the wonderful Vera Farmiga (I am a fan of the Conjuring series), alive and the CEO of Bishop Securities. In the comics, Kate's father was a rich publishing magnate and had an estranged relationship with Kate. He was the CEO of a Security company. Unlike the show, Kate seemed uncomfortable with her father's wealth in the comics, and the Hawkeye show had Kate Bishop seem quite comfortable with being a rich girl.
Anyway, Eleanor Bishop did not raise Kate in the comics and was presumed dead. However, in the 2017–2018 Hawkeye comic series, it was revealed in issue #16 that she was alive and pulling the strings of Madame Masque. So far she does not have a known criminal relationship with Kingpin in the comics, but she has been established as a baddie like in the show.
3. The Swordsman Was Originally Tied to Clint Barton
I had a good chuckle when they introduced Jacques Duquesne, played by Tony Dalton, in the Hawkeye show. Any Marvel comic geek would know that he is the Swordsman in the comics, and his character is actually tied to Clint Barton. Actually the Swordsman is tied to Clint Barton's origin story in Avengers #19 and was his mentor. The Swordsman was a performer at various carnivals and circuses when he came across a young Clint Barton and then trained him in archery and swords.
Therefore, Jacques Duquesne was never tied to Kate Bishop's mother in anyway whatsoever in the comics, nor was he part of NYC's upper crust. In fact, the Swordsman was a character long dead in the comics before Kate Bishop was even introduced.
I did like this play on the character in the MCU. It's a lot better than the Swordsman being the one who trained Clint Barton to be an elite archer, so he could perform at Carnivals. I think most fans would agree with me there and that wouldn't quite fly in the MCU. Anyway, the show had Clint and Jacques not know each other and with no connection to one another other than Kate Bishop.
4. Echo Was Connected to Daredevil, Not Hawkeye
For me, one of the highlights of Hawkeye was having Echo in the series. I thought Alaqua Cox was superb in the role, and I can't wait to see more of this character in the MCU. It has been confirmed that she is getting her own Disney+ show called Echo, and rightly so!
The character is quite different from her comic book counterpart, but some things do remain faithful to the source material. Maya Lopez is a deaf character in the comics, and she is connected to Daredevil, not Hawkeye. In fact, the character of Echo was first introduced in the Daredevil comic series as a foil. She debuted in Daredevil #9 of the 2nd series starting in 1998 and was created by David Mack and Joe Quesada. It seems the show did keep her ability to adopt the skills and movements of those she observes. In short, she can simply echo them and this is a power she has in the comics.
Her connection to Kingpin in the show is correct, and her father did work for the crime boss. Maya's father was also killed by him, and Kingpin did adopt her. She was not a foil of Clint Barton as Hawkeye nor Kate Bishop as Hawkeye in the comic books. In the comics, Maya was originally used in a plot to destroy Matt Murdock (Daredevil), and she was even a love interest for The Devil of Hell's Kitchen. Kingpin had her believe that Daredevil was responsible for killing her father in the comics. In the show, she suspected Ronin of killing her father.
Speaking of the character of Ronin, we first saw Clint Barton as the character in the MCU, more specifically in Avengers: Endgame. However, from the panels and pages of comics, Echo was the first to be Ronin. It's true, and she first debuted as Ronin in New Avengers #11. Hawkeye or Clint Barton did not take the Ronin mantle until New Avengers #27.
5. Kate Did Not Meet Hawkeye Until Much Later in the Comics
In the show, the pair are almost instantly thrown together but this is not the case in the comics. Once again, Clint Barton was dead at the time Kate Bishop was given the mantle of Hawkeye in Young Avengers #12. She was given the mantle by Captain America.
We are once again going to touch upon the Ronin aspect here. Kate Bishop and Clint Barton did not meet until the sixth issue of the Young Avengers Presents comic. In that comic, Clint had taken the mantle of Ronin because Kate was already Hawkeye. Clint makes a bet with Kate that if he makes an impossible shot, he gets his bow and codename back. He does make the shot, but Kate and Speed end up breaking into the Avengers temporary headquarters to steal the bow back. This somehow changes Clint's mind, and he allows her to keep the bow. He also continues as Ronin.
Now, I mentioned that Clint was dead prior. This happened in the House of M comic series where Scarlet Witch lost it and altered reality. We did see a bit of that in WandaVision, yeah. However, in this altered reality, Clint ends up getting wiped from existence and everyone thinks he's dead. When Scarlet Witch is defeated and reality restored, Clint ends being resurrected as well. This is the reason why we have this very comic book of Young Avengers Presents #6, and it was Clint Barton as Ronin who meets Kate Bishop first. Not the other way around. Actually, Kate did not become Ronin in the comics.
6. Kazi Was the Hired Assassin, Not Yelena Belova
If this character is not dead, there's no telling whether Kazi can come back looking like a clown as his comic book counterpart does. Actually, in the comics, he is called, The Clown, yet is a ruthless assassin and is a Hawkeye foe for both Clint and Kate. He appeared as an antagonist in their self-titled Hawkeye team-up series that began in 2012. The Clown makes his first appearance in Hawkeye #9 of the 2012 series. It's a last page cameo and he's only really revealed in one of the last panels of the story. He fully appears more in the 10th issue of that Hawkeye series, and the story in that issue also tells of his origin.
This is one of the characters I'm quite disappointed with so far. Kazi was much more interesting in the comics, although he was pretty much a cold-blooded killer with clown makeup on. He was more frightening in the comics, and although he was tied to the Track Suit Mafia, he wasn't a crutch for the character of Echo. I'm only saying that because Kazi was basically a character in the Hawkeye show that was used as an interpreter for Echo and a connection to her past. In the comics, he's a freelance assassin hired to kill Clint Barton by Kingpin and other crime lords like Mister Negative, the Owl, Hammerhead and the Tracksuit Mafia.
Also, it seems that they replaced Kazi's comic role with that of Yelena Belova, played by Florence Pugh. In comics reality, Black Widow wasn't really active in the Hawkeye comic series, and Yelena Belova was not anywhere near it. Probably because Natasha Romanov isn't dead during this time in the comics like she is during this time in the Hawkeye Disney+ series. So, Yelena Belova in the comics is not after Clint Barton, and like Echo, she doesn't think Hawkeye has anything to do with a relative's murder.
Do not get me wrong here. I love Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova Black Widow in the MCU. Her scenes with Kate Bishop were hilarious and fun. I get why the show opted to have Yelena be the hired assassin instead of Kazi, and to be honest, I'd choose Yelena over Kazi in that role as well. However, I still think Kazi as The Clown would have been a very cool villain to explore in a more comic accurate fashion. Just my opinion, and maybe we can still get to see that. After all, it's not really known if he's truly dead or not, just like good ole Kingpin.
Similarities Between the Comic and TV Versions
Let's get into what was similar from panels to screen.
1. The Track Suit Mafia Was a Group in the Comics
Yes, those Tracksuit Mafia dudes who always said, "Bro" was actually a thing in the comics. They actually appeared as antagonists in the 2012 Hawkeye series, but they weren't after Ronin. The bros were actually foes of both Clint Barton and Kate Bishop, so the show did take that element from the actual comics.
In the series, the Tracksuit Mafia were dubbed "Tracksuit Draculas" by Clint Barton, and they are basically goons. I think they may be Ukrainian as Kate did refer to them as titushskis after looking into them. Titushky is a term used to describe mercenary thugs hired to commit violent acts to intimidate pro-opposition forces of the Ukrainian government under Viktor Yanukovych. They developed the strategy of blending into crowds or posing as street hooligans. Just a bit of fun fact there.
2. Kate and Clint Had a Team-Up Comic Series
Quite a bit of the Hawkeye Disney+ show did take from the 2012 Hawkeye comic series by Matt Fraction and David Aja. This comic series actually both starred Clint and Kate as a team-up or dynamic duo. It also introduced both the Tracksuit Mafia in issue #1 and the character of Kazi, The Clown, in issue #9. Like the show, the series did also have Kingpin as a villain behind the scenes.
Both Clint and Kate carried the code name of Hawkeye in the series. I know, kinda weird, but Kate this dynamic duo, team-up did not happen until the 2nd issue of the series. Kate wasn't in issue #1.
. . . With Lucky the Pizza Dog!
However, even Lucky the Pizza Dog was in it. Lucky also debuted in issue #1 of the comic series. He would actually get a name change to Arrow in later comics, if you can believe that. Lucky was not first found by Kate Bishop, though. In the Hawkeye Marvel Comics series, Lucky was the dog of Tracksuit Mafia member Ivan Banionis. After Clint showed Lucky kindness by giving him some of his pizza, Lucky ended up attacking members of the Tracksuit Mafia when they were shooting at Clint. For his betrayal, Lucky was thrown in the street to be ran over by incoming traffic. So, instead of Kate Bishop saving Lucky from being run down in the street, it was Clint Barton who did so, and not as the character Ronin.
Unlike the Disney+ show, Clint Barton was not overly opposed to teaming up with Kate Bishop in the comics. Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye was against the idea for most of the show, not wanting to endanger Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop even further. However, not the case in the actual comics. In issue #2, it's actually Clint who asks Kate to join forces and team up. It wasn't Kate running after Clint like a puppy looking for validation.
To Sum Up!
I enjoyed the Hawkeye Disney+ series. I thought the cast was stellar. Hailee Steinfeld is perfect for Kate Bishop and captures that snarky attitude she has in the comics. Yes, there are differences from the show to the comics, but some are really different like Kate's mother and some are subtle changes like Lucky being Kate's dog.
I will admit that I would've loved to see a more comics accurate version of The Clown, but I understood why they lessened his role and replaced it with Yelena Belova. I do love Florence Pugh in the role even if some criticize her accent. Pugh and Steinfeld are some of my favorite additions to the MCU in 2021.
All in all, I thought 2021's Hawkeye show was a good translation from panel to screen, and believe me, I am excited to see where they go with Kate Bishop in the MCU. Many are speculating a version of Young Avengers, but we shall see. Plus we all know Kingpin isn't dead. He's just getting started in the MCU.
Hope you all enjoyed the show and this article too. Please share and check out my other articles about comics below.
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