Did Marvel Studios ‘Erase’ Hawkeye’s Disability?

Over the weekend, after I revealed that Marvel Studios was thinking of possibly doing a Hawkeye solo film (that isn’t necessarily Clint), some people got excited while others used it as another chance to bash Marvel Studios for having Hawkeye not be deaf in the MCU. But did they really erase his disability? If you look at when the MCU started and the state of the character in the comics, you see that people really need to read comic books before getting outraged on the internet.

In the comics, Hawkeye wasn’t originally born deaf, him being deafened as a child was actually a retcon done by Matt Fraction in his 2012 run on the comics.

Hawkeye first lost his hearing in the 1983 four-issue limited series where the villain Crossfire made a machine that caused him and Mockingbird to fight each other. Because Crossfire was a jerk, he turned off the machine just long enough during the fight for the two to realize what he was doing and Clint slipped a sonic arrowhead in his mouth to nullify the machine when it went back on. Of course, when that arrowhead went off it shattered his eardrums and after that the character was deaf for about fifteen years.

Following the events of Onslaught in the late 90s, Franklin Richards created a pocket universe (called the Franklinverse) where the dead heroes would be reborn as part of the Heroes Reborn event. When Hawkeye was reborn in the Franklinverse and thus returned to the 616 universe, he had his hearing back.

This is how Hawkeye was when the MCU was created. In the comics, Hawkeye was not deaf when Jeremy Renner was cast as the character. So when Hawkeye was introduced in 2011’s Thor, there was not a deaf version of the character in the comic books and there wasn’t one for over a decade.

Hawkeye did lose his hearing again in the comics after the MCU was started. When Matt Fraction did his acclaimed run on the character (with Kate Bishop and Pizza Dog), Clown stabbed Clint in his ears; again rupturing his eardrums and making him deaf. Tony Stark then made him hearing aids. But, again, this was after the MCU version of the character was introduced, and the MCU character was obviously based on the version of Hawkeye that existed in the comics since around 1998.

Basically Hawkeye being deaf is an on-again-off-again thing in the comics and really depends on who’s writing him. He was deaf for about fifteen years (from 1983 to 1998) and then had his hearing again up until 2012 when Matt Fraction reinvented the character.

So no, Marvel Studios did not “erase” Hawkeye’s disability like some people on the internet are trying to claim.