Comic book hero calls Waverly home

Wartburg students went to the theaters this past week to catch “The Avengers.” Some may not have known one of the main characters was born in Waverly. Hawkeye, or Clint Barton, was born in the small Iowa town, according to his Marvel Comics biography. The archer was orphaned at a young age and ran away to join the circus with his brother. 

Barton’s parents, according to the biography, owned a butcher shop in Waverly. He spent the first 13 years of his life in the town before his parents died. Barton eventually became a S.H.I.E.L.D., or Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division, agent, according to “The Super Hero Book.”

Barton did not spend much time in Waverly and hasn’t always been a well-known character, so it is unclear as to whether his origins will have a great impact on city revenue or tourism. Several Wartburg students were doubtful that it could have a real impact because of the comic book character’s popularity.

“It will probably only have a small impact since Hawkeye is not a very well known Marvel character,” Alexis Eckman, fourth-year, said. “If Waverly embraces Hawkeye, though, tourism could possibly increase.”

Other fictional characters have been found to be from small Iowa towns, such as James Kirk from Star Trek. According to the Star Trek database, Kirk will be born in Riverside, Iowa in 2228. Riverside has embraced Kirk with their city motto, “Where the Trek Begins.”

While Waverly has yet to advertise itself on being “Hawkeye’s Birthplace,” students said they will now pay more attention to the character as his popularity grows with the movie.

“Hawkeye’s a very interesting character because he is just a normal guy devoted to his skill instead of a guy with superpowers,” Brett Mulkey, fourth-year, said.

Eckman and Mulkey both have seen the movie and said they thought it was a great film. They said they liked the combination of action and humor. Other community members said they feel there is potential in capitalizing on Waverly as Hawkeye’s birthplace.

Owner of Limited Edition Comics and Collectibles in Cedar Falls, Rob Rodgers, said if the town has the right idea and the right promotion, it would be possible to add appeal to the city. In the movie, Jeremy Renner plays Hawkeye, alongside Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel Jackson. Joss Whedon wrote and directed the movie.

While students said they do not expect a great upswing in tourism from Hawkeye’s origins, one student said he might gain something from the character.

“I don’t think there will be any impact on the town,” Mulkey said. “Personally, though, it makes me want to take up archery.”


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