“Hawkeye, World’s Worst Archer” – The Rest of the Story

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERSBack in March of 2012, when GeekDad was still part of Wired, I wrote an article about Hawkeye’s actual archery ability as seen in the trailers and publicity photos for the Avengers. The article got a lot of page-views, and I heard from some readers; I got some nice emails from people who liked it, several from my fellow archers agreeing with me, a few from people who wanted to argue some of my points, and one hilarious message full of invective and profanity from somebody who was outraged that I would malign his favorite superhero. (Based on the recent pictures from the set, it looks like Jeremy Renner still hasn’t taken a lesson.)

A few months ago, I got an email from somebody who read it and had a different reaction. I recently stumbled upon that email again, and since it is the nicest response I’ve ever received for anything I’ve ever written, I thought I would share it with you (with the author’s permission, of course).

Hi Jim,

A year and a half ago you posted an article about Hawkeye/Jeremy Renner’s archery form before “The Avengers” came out. I was really looking forward to the movie and had been interested, although uninvolved, in archery for years. After reading your article, I decided that based on your advice on what -not- to do, I should be able to figure out the right way to do it fairly easily (haha – I was very naive!). I got my traditional recurve, a birthday present from years before that I had never learned to use, out of my closet and started practicing at a field course not far from my house.

The next year I moved to Scotland to do postgrad studies. Having enjoyed doing archery so much, I brought my bow along and joined the archery club. It didn’t take me long to become obsessed. In my novice year (2012-13) I was indoor ladies barebow champion in Scotland, won gold at the UK all-universities outdoor championships, broke ten Scottish records, achieved a Master Bowman classification, and was ranked first overall in the UK in ladies barebow outdoor target. (If you’re interested, you can find me on page 7 of the rankings.)

All of this is just to say: I can trace all of that back – the successes I’ve had, the joy of learning a new sport, making friends with fellow archers – to the little push your article gave me to try archery for myself, just to see if I could do it better than Hawkeye. Archery has changed my life for the better and without that bit of inspiration sparked by your enthusiasm for archery, I may never have discovered it. So…thank you.

All the best to you and your family,
Jennifer Mankin

Thanks, Jennifer; I’m thrilled to know that my article inspired you to such heights of excellence. Good luck in your future adventures!

Jim MacQuarrie is a comics and animation geek, a professional cartoonist and graphic designer, professional balloon animal twister, a certified archery instructor (and yes, his arrows are green), former homeless person and occasional gadfly. He has three children who are all grown up, and an incredibly patient wife who is waiting for him to do likewise. Together they co-write the lifestyle blog Blue Collar, Black Tie.