or: the idiot plot
Idiot plot is a term I picked up in my days in Hollywood. It’s a type of story that can only unfold as it does if everyone involved is a complete moron. The Cohen Brothers have made a career off of it: Blood Simple, Fargo, the Hudsucker Proxy... but, it only works if the creators are in on it. When it’s done blindly in earnest, it’s just sad.
Showcase #75, the first appearance of the Hawk and the Dove, is just such a story and more. The Hall brothers, sadistic thug, Hank and simpering coward, Don are in a constant state of argument. Hank (our hero) wants the US to bomb the world back to the stone age because... well, patriotism. Don (the quivering albatross Hank must bear) believes in peace, freedom and the rights of man so, he’s obviously a commie- pinko- hippie-queer.
Dad’s worse than both of them. He says they’re both wrong because they haven’t thought things through but, he’s the one that allowed his sons to grow to high school age with no understanding of logic, rhetoric or critical thinking.
Ditko’s become so intent on... some... point?... that he’s abandoned story altogether. How do they get their powers? They wish for them and a big green voice says OK. Now there’s motivation for ya. The big green voice creates the Hawk and the Dove and... wait for it... they can’t fly. Best of all, in a strip about right, wrong and personal choices, they have none. They can’t become Hawk and Dove unless forces in the ether deem their intent acceptable. Now that’s dilemma...
Strange thing is, big bag-O-dumb that it is, I can see this thing being published today. Mine was supposed to be the generation that put an end to war and inequality yet mine is the generation leading the charge for interment camps, federal theocracy, and prisons-for-profit because, well... patriotism.
Strange days indeed.
But, hey, Hawk’s costume was pretty cool.