Friday, January 17, 2014

The Superhero Theme Project Part 10: Hawkgirl

Speaking of ancillary female superheroes, Hawkgirl is another DC character that owes her existence to a male character, except the one she is attached to is far less established than Batman. Hawkman has been retconned and rewritten so many times that only dedicated fans have an idea about what is canon, so it is no surprise that Hawkgirl is relatively obscure. This worked in her favor, however, when she was written as the second female lead in the Justice League animated series. Without an accepted canon to stick to, she was a relative tabula rasa and thereby free open to interpretation by the show's writers. She evolved into the most complex character on the show, grappling with some very grownup issues surrounding loyalty, love, betrayal, and regret.

These concepts were mostly over the Little One's head, I think, but doubtlessly, the show made her aware of Hawkgirl's existence. Once Hawkman entered the scene, I knew the request for Hawkgirl was soon to follow. Because these characters are often depicted as lovers, even spouses, I played with the idea of just collapsing the both of them into one song. She would have none of that. When I tried to play off the Shostakovich piece as Hawkgirl, she immediately called me out, stating that the song was "not Hawkgirl," but "Hawk-MAN."

It was clear that I was going to have to come up with something, but I knew nothing of her accepted background. Because the character has such an interesting arc on the show, however, I adopted her run on the animated series as canon and I used it as my conceptual reference for Hawkgirl's personality and motivation.

On the series, she is the team's loose cannon, but is also a fierce warrior with an equally fierceful sense of loyalty. Her dedication to her friends and sense of duty, however, becomes her downfall as she gets caught between her peers and her people. She turns traitor at one point, betraying the man she came to love, and grapples with the consequences of her decisions.

I thought that her personality asked for a martial quality in her theme, but I also wanted to acknowledge her inner conflicts. I did not push too hard on this one, but while doing research for another character, the Game of Thrones theme fell into my lap.

The drums lent the piece a menacing overtone while, simultaneously, its distinctive legato melody seemed to reflect Hawkgirl’s more melancholic aspects, and, more objectively, it contrasted my usual fanfarish brass-heavy selections. Consequently, it is also not most adrenaline-fueled song in the playlist. Although I can visualize Hawkgirl’s wings gently beating against a sky lit by the orange glow of the sunrise, the Little One rarely requests this theme. She has been known, however, to exclaim “I like Hawkgirl!” when it plays, so I think that it could still be counted as a success.

To go to the previous post in this series, click HERE.
To go to the next one, click HERE.

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