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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.


Introducing: The Hawkeye Initiative

Something special happened on Tumblr this weekend, as many of you reached out to tell us. To those of you who did, I want to say I already follow all of these people so relax we got this thank you. HoursAgo, whose fanart for Hawkeye, Sherlock, Supernatural, Community, and Good Omens you should really check out, posted this drawing (based on the cover to an All Ages Marvel comic featuring Hawkeye and Black Widow) where the two superheroes have swapped positions and poses. Which you might not think initially, since one might assume that the serious Natasha would be more likely to charge pragmatically feet first, while the more cavalier, showboating Hawkeye would be the one taking a trick shot just for the heck of it.

HoursAgo left some commentary in the tags about how they enjoy drawing male superheroes in the exaggerated and sexualized poses that female heroes get drawn in as an exercise in disproving the idea that men and women are objectified equivalently in modern comics, and also tagged it “the hawkeye intiative.” And from those humble beginnings… Overnight, The Hawkeye Initiative (inspired by, but unaffiliated with HoursAgo) has become a tumblr blog with over ten thousand followers, dedicated to reblogging and posting sexualized poses and poor anatomy… redrawn to be of Hawkeye instead of female characters. Here’s just a small sample of the best stuff on there.

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  • Martin Pelletier

    Great idea! I’ll never look at Greg Land’s tracings the same…

  • Julie Kessler

    This is beautiful.

  • Toranosuke

    As amusing as these images are, I feel they miss the mark. To sexualize a male character in a feminine way is of course absurd, because men and women are not sexy, or sexualized, in the same way. What would actually hit the mark of satirizing or criticizing the sexualization of women in comics would be to portray Hawkeye, or other men, as sexy / sexualized *men*, e.g. in a Magic Mike kind of way.

  • Anonymous

    That is a really interesting point, and I would love to see it happen! I would be overjoyed to see female super heroes fighting without looking ridiculous (or clearly putting out their backs), too.

  • Joanna

    I know what you’re saying, but I think showing men in these ridiculous poses just shows how dehumanizing they really are.

  • Bess Farris

    The point of it is to show how absurd these “sexy” poses and costumes are, period, not just for female characters. It’s become normalized for female characters to be portrayed in skimpy costumes and contorted beyond recognition that having them on men shows just how ridiculous they are.

  • Matthew Arnold Pacey

    Jeez, are comic artists just tracing internet porn and drawing on costumes now, or what?

  • Martin Pelletier

    Don’t let Greg Land make comics anymore and you’ve resolved maybe 20% of the problem. Documentation:

  • Skye

    If you really follow everyone involved you’d have mentioned GingerHaze. Just sayin’.

  • Bri Lance


    >To sexualize a male character in a feminine way is of course absurd, because men and women are not sexy, or sexualized, in the same way.

    This, what’s being described in this quote, is *part of the problem*.

    What’s that? “Oh, but men and woman are DIFFERENT,” you say?

    I don’t care. You can be female and sexy, and still powerful and heroic and effective. And also, you know, have all of your organs in the right location and lack dislocated limbs, and such.

    For the most part, that’s not what’s happening on the covers shown above.

  • EleniRPG

    These are amazing. Clearly, the greatest challenge facing comic book artists is the unfortunate fact that a woman’s breasts are on the opposite side of her body from her ass. All joking aside, once you replace the women in the poses with Hawkeye so the eye is no longer distracted by just how many curves the artist managed to cram into one pose, you realize how unlikely and ridiculous these poses are. Also, the “Skater” redraw with Hawkeye and Captain America is so hot.

  • Terence Ng

    No need to be so modest. I’d say it’d solve at least 40%.

  • Kirsten Johnson

    I want to throw my support behind this comment. One very good example would be Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel series. If you do an image search for Dexter Soy’s art from the series, you’ll find the female superhero done right. Powerful and graceful and tough and feminine. The problem is female characters posed like they’re modeling underwear while their male counterparts are looking tough and ready to kick some villain ass. Sexiness has a place and it tends to not be in the middle of a fight.

  • Kirsten Johnson

    Yes. And no I’m not joking.

  • Anonymous

    “To sexualize a male character in a feminine way is of course absurd,
    because men and women are not sexy, or sexualized, in the same way.”

    Speak for yourself! The Hawekeye butts all over my Tumblr dash have been VERY appreciated. In fact, following that Tumblr is one of the best decisions I’ve made recently.

  • Life Lessons


  • Sean Hodges

    At the very least, I’d stop feeling like I should hide my comics under my matress like a fifteen-year-old with a copy of Playboy.

  • nopenope801

    “because men and women are not sexy, or sexualized, in the same way.”

    Have you ever heard of ‘yaoi’

    You obviously don’t know anything about women.

  • Laura Truxillo

    One reason I like Cliff Chang’s work. I think he takes it a step further when he drew women who were unclothed and…moved/stood like human beings gettin’ stuff done, not posing for a camera.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Hawkeye is well-know for having the sassiest butt in the Avengers.

  • Russ Rosin

    The Champions cover is very porn inspired. So much so it looks like the Skater was traced from someone doing an actual cowgirl.

    I do have to wonder, is this becoming more of an issue because the comic demographic is changing or because the sexism is much more pronounced and explicit?

    What happens is if some high up in comic world comes out and says: “This crap sells, so we’re not going to bother changing the status quo.”

    I’d be interested in suggestions for comic runs that get these issues “Right” instead of the garbage we’re currently seeing.

  • Anonymous

    So, this tells us that men are more interested in beautiful women wearing form-fitting clothes – much like the leggings and super-tight jeans so many women now wear – in positions that look sexually inviting, than women are in handsome men wearing form-fitting clothes in positions that look
    sexually inviting. Women have other fantasies – including the power that appearing sexually available to men brings them.

  • Anonymous

    Right. So, women looking at Magic Mike empowers MIke, but men looking at idealized drawings of sexually available women disempowers women.


    You can yell at us forever, and we’re still going to like women’s bodies. Maybe you should stop trying to make us feel ashamed of how we think and feel. They’re our thoughts and feelings, and you don’t get to control them, no matter how much you feel you need to.

  • Anonymous

    Women really seem to like to tell us how ignorant we are about them. Makes them feel special, I guess.

    EVERYBODY wants to feel special; so there’s nothing special about that.

  • Brutalitops Odinson

    I understand that these positions are sexy. It is painfully obvious that they are meant to be sexy, and not in a mature, sensual way. More like a young, almost childish, ridiculously over the top ‘**** me in my ******’ type way. My confusion stems from not understanding WHY it is women dislike this. No, it isn’t realistic. These are comic books. Pure fantasy, about sexy people doing bad ass things, very sexily. If Batman isn’t giving me a hardon ever time he punches some thug in the face, or interrogates The Riddler, the artist has not drawn him sexy enough. The comics are ALL about sex, whether we want to admit it or not, so lets just drop the whole “comics are anti-women” bullshit.

  • Sylvia Sybil

    On the off chance you’re asking out of genuine interest:

    Women do not like female comic book characters being reduced to sex objects because it is dehumanizing. It says that men are valuable primarily for their powerfulness and thug-punching ability, and women are valuable primarily for their sexiness and inhuman contortionist ability.

    Even if comics were porn, they’d be bad porn. Good porn does not treat women as objects, but as participants.

  • TDF Pamela

    Awww, poor you. It’s just terrible that women are trying to take away your comic book wank material! And frankly, if you can’t find a woman’s body drawn in a comic book sexy without her body being twisted and contorted to sexualize her as much as possible, then you’ve got some problems.

  • TDF Pamela

    It’s kind of funny to watch the comments pour in from dudes who feel genuinely threatened by stuff like The Hawkeye Initiative. Oh, so dudes feel uncomfortable looking at drawings of a guy in those ridiculous positions? GOOD. That’s the point.

  • Anonymous

    1.I don’t like comix.

    2.Thanks for your concern about my problems.. I do appreciated that.

    a mating posture of some sexually receptive female mammals (as rats) in
    which the head and rump are raised and the back is arched downward

    Such as women wearing the tightest possible leggings and jeans, and bending over, or arching their backs to display their breasts. Women do that. Why, because sexual receptivity in women, strangely enough, is sexy to men, whether or not they have the problems you expressed concern for. We aren’t just civilized humans; we’re also animals.

    It’s true that women are sexualized in this culture – maybe most cultures. Being that women will never, ever stop complaining about men, they will complain if men find them sexy, and they will complain if men don’t find them sexy. They do everything they can to be sexy, because it gratifies their egos, and gives them power they wouldn’t otherwise have. then, they complain when it works.

    What this site proves is that we find women’s bodies far sexier than we do men’s, that the things that make women sexy to both women and men are very different from the things that make men sexy to women. There’s a very good reason why men have 20-40 times the testosterone, the hormone that influences desire in both men and women, that women do. You and your ilk have latched onto that to complain about. You act as though women have no use at all for wanting to be sexually attractive to men. That’s complete BS.

    And, I just don’t buy it anymore. I’ll think what I like, and I’ll like women’s bodies in sexually receptive positions to my heart’s content. I have no right over women’s bodies, but I do have a right to be attracted to what attracts me. Poor you, that this is so oppressive to you.

  • Michelle

    “What happens is if some high up in comic world comes out and says: “This
    crap sells, so we’re not going to bother changing the status quo.” ”

    That’s already what Dan Didio/Jim Lee/Geoff Johns do say every day, more or less. Hence what gets published. (Sorry, I don’t know the names in charge at Marvel anymore, having dropped both companies after New 52.)

  • TDF Pamela

    News flash: this isn’t about what you find sexy. No one’s trying to desexualize anything. It’s not about you.

    But perhaps the more important question is, if you don’t read comics, then why are you trolling a blog post about comic book art?

  • Anonymous
  • LoveyDovey

    Liefeld is well known for this.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    LOL the implication that women hold enough societal power to be able to control men’s thoughts and feelings

  • Kaitlin Moran

    I see the point, clever. But its still stupid. If women want to be empowered than stop bitching about how men draw over sexualized comic book females, and go kick a couple of those comic book artists buts (metaphorically speaking), take their jobs, and do it the right way. Of course this will never happen because if women make comic books, the stories will be all about feminism and other culturally femenistic themes, instead of just writing a good story with good art. Men and women both suck. in their own special way….duh!

  • Viet Le

    This is a bad comment and you should feel bad. If you fail to recognize that institution entities are very clearly weighted against anyone who isn’t WASP then you’re freaking fooling yourself. If you think that feminism and good writing are mutually exclusive you’re freaking fooling yourself.

    The very core and essence of feminism is that women have a right to be depicted as full, whole, and flawed characters which incidentally is the exact same criterion for what constitutes good writing.

    If I could thumb this comment down a thousand times I’d do so again because to sit there and pretend as though the dearth of fair and complete representations of non-WASP individuals in comics is as a function of there not being enough competition is so fundamentally poisonous and abhorrent as to merit me actually logging into disqus again just to put you on blast.

    The reason that there is not a fair representation of non-WASP males in comics is because the institutions that run and produce these comics are overwhelmingly staffed, ordered, run, and operated by men. Men who are too frightened to lose their share of sexist, racist, horrible men in order to reach a larger market of non-heteronormative individuals.

    So don’t you fucking dare come in here with your false equivalency just because you are fucking unwilling to address real and actual problems with any sort of seriousness you horrible, know-nothing individual you.

  • Jerilyn Nighy

    Hawkeye was in a similar pose on the cover of one of his miniseries, in 2003:

  • Kaitlin Moran

    o my…..looks like I hit a sore spot. I am perfectly willing to address the problems, I very simply disagree on what the problems are. You want to blame horrible, frightened, racist, sexist, men…and you do indeed have a right to do so. But don’t be so surprised when those horrible, frightened, sexist, racist, men right you off as an angry, elitist, liberal, feminist, queer.

    The dignity and value of a position is first determined by how that position can make sense of a contradictory world view and give members of that contradictory world view their own dignity and their own coherence within their own system, in spite of how wrong that system is or how actually incoherent it is. I disagree with much of the ideas that you so acerbically expressed, but I do understand the reasons why someone such as yourself might hold to such a position, and I recognize your right and dignity as a person to develop and defend such ideas. While what you said aggravates me to an extent that I cannot fully express without engaging in a long stream of poetic cursing, I cannot chalk it up to you just being an angry, elitist, liberal, feminist, queer.

    But your expression of your position is inherently selfish and belittling, seeing as it requires something to demonize and hit against. The way horrible, frightened, sexist, racist men think of people like you is not so different than the way you think about them, you just use different argument and hold different values. You both suck (as well as I). Sex sells, whether guy on girl, girl on girl, guy on guy, or any other combination of parts being inserted into any other combination of holes. I don’t need to blame that on anyone else but ALL OF US. The New York Times once published a question that was given to many thinkers and intellectuals: What is wrong with the world? One response was “Dear Sirs, I am. Thank you very much, G.K. Chesterton”

  • Viet Le

    You are fucking unbelievable.

    Am I to believe that the totality of your argument is that we are all to be ashamed of the fact that we have sexual desires? Nobody in this fucking comments thread is against the idea of sex selling. In fact in a good number of the comments a great number of women have expressed their desire for a greater number of representations of sexy men, an expression that they should be lauded for and should be fulfilled by the comics industry but what we are discussing is that this need is expressly NOT being fulfilled and more damningly nuanced and accurate portrayals of women are being cast to the wayside in the name of appealing to men MORE.

    This is unfairness, this is injustice. Nobody has had the blatant fucking audacity to even suggest that ANYBODY should be ashamed of wanting to have sexy representations of their favorite character UNTIL YOU. So how DARE you sit here and claim as though the issue is that we have sexual desires. How DARE you try to frame the issue in such a way that it will fulfill your completely inaccurate appraisal of the world as equally blameful in every capacity.

    I do not RESPECT your opinion because it DOES NOT DESERVE IT. You have the goddamned audacity to defend a blatant injustice perpetuated AGAIN against a population of people who have suffered so long and you have the unbelievable gall to defend all crimes as being equal?

    I am not in the business of being your friend, I am not in the business of making friends with people like you. I am not in the business of luring flies with honey because I am sick and tired of them buzzing about my food. I bring flamethrowers, I torch houses down and listen to the children burn inside because I refuse to sit here and listen to someone who doesn’t even have the common decency to defend her positions lecture me from a footstool masquerading as a holy hill about how all of our sins be equal, o lord.

  • Chanel Diaz

    I LOVE This. Not because of the Sexualized Positions of Men, but Addressing how Inhumane ‘Sexualized Positions’ ARE.


    Argh, coming back and looking at these I realize that the art for the Champions cover is not only very clearly traced from porn, but that the inker decided that leaving in the really obvious camel toe was a great idea.


    It’s not even about that, dude. Or don’t you think it’s possible for a woman to be sexy in something that’s basically body paint?


    Oh shit, you mean I could go to Marvel and demand a job and they’d give me one? How come no one told me this before? Probably because you are a moron and it doesn’t work that way.


    If you all want is pornography, there’s tons of it all over the internet that you can have for free. Why would you bother with a comic book that you have to pay for and has a plot?

  • scott mortenson

    Couldn’t you get some actual comic book artists to do the whole pussy-whipped male feminist thing and contribute some good art to appease their white male guilt?

    Ladies, I wish I had your kind of problems. Broken anatomy aside, it’s pretty much a non-issue nowadays compared to the horrible bad-girl craze of the 90′s. There weren’t enough women into comics then to create this kind of furor because being a geek then wasn’t fashionable yet, you bunch of temporary gimmicks.

  • scott mortenson

    I don’t think anyone likes it, it’s always cheesy. It’s just that the select artists in question learned to draw during the 90′s.

    It sure would be nice if sexuality could be handled in a mainstream comic in an actual adult manner, the way it can be in every other medium. We’re still stuck in the comic-code PG13 days when it comes to portraying sex, whereas violence can be as over the top as possible.

    Nobody needs a one-handed comic book experience, there are plenty of alternatives. But I have no idea why the Marvel characters are all chaste mormon missionaries when it comes to their relationships. You just have to assume the characters are having sex off panel because they occasionally have children. The fact that these characters have never developed a sexual side, or even a coyly playful or tender side makes them more unrealistic than the ability to stick to walls.

  • scott mortenson

    On my part, it’s more amusement over the carefully cultivated furor it’s trying to create, just so you women can feel more entitled to some kind of honored minority status because you feel discriminated against when a fictional character chooses to dress like a slut. I’d happily see every female character wear parkas from now on if it could get you geek-chic girls in Lisa Loeb glasses to shut up over such a non-issue.

  • Pamela

    Haha I like that you’re so offended by it that you went trolling the comments on a three month old post so you could teach us women a lesson. So cram it, jackass.


    So not being a lazy tracer is something for pussy-whipped male feminists? You should make a tutorial, that seems like it’s something artists should know. And your “fake geek girl” accusations are darling, but I’m fresh out of fucks to give. I do find it absolutely fascinating, though, why you think that women would flock to something like comic books just because it’s ~fashionable~ when the people who already occupy the fandom think women are all empty headed dolts who only like comic books because you guys make it looks so cool. Because the men who read comics rage against putting Wonder Woman in pants or Don Glover playing Spiderman. Because what is more fashionable than racism and sexism, right? What’s more cool than a bunch of dudes who are so threatened by the idea that their faves might stop tracing porn and start actually drawing that anyone who isn’t all about it is a phony or pussy-whipped, right?

  • scott mortenson

    You know what a more productive object of protest would be in the comics medium than Wonder-Girls boobs? Terrible stories.
    Both female fans and female creators like to pretend like they’re such exciting novelties sometimes. So we get to see a lot of pet-issues like this on the 5,000 geek blogs that seem to think being a girl is the most interesting thing about them.

  • roxy l

    fictional characters don’t choose anything. the artists drawing them choose the outfits. the ‘furor’ is about the sexualization and othering of women in comics, which is a result of systemic sexism… in fact, the kind of sexism that leads you to presume that women are not genuine ‘nerds’ with no stake or claim or right to criticize comics. p.s. wow, lisa loeb… what a current reference.

  • Anonymous

    “the high, hard shaft?” nooo… noooooo….