Hawkeye seems to be somewhat unusual in the superhero world in that he doesn't have a primary-coloured uniform, and specifically he's associated with the colour purple. Why did his creators choose purple for him? It seems an odd choice.

His uniform (among several examples):

Hawkeye wearing his predominately purple uniform

The cover of Hawkeye #1:

Cover of Hawkeye #1 showing a lot of purple in an otherwise mainly monochromatic image

  • +1 This reminds me to read the new one.
    – Secko
    Aug 7, 2012 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


Back in the early days of comics, the usual comic color theory placed heroes along the primary and bright color spectrum and villains were colored with secondary colors.

Superheroic Color Theory

This meant the bright colors; red, bright blues, yellows, and green were more heroic colors and heroes were dressed in them; think Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Captain America.

Villains were dressed in purples, oranges, dark blues, dark reds, and other hues which were far darker. The statement was that villains could have been heroes. If you look at older Spider-Man villains for example you can see how this was used; think Magneto, the Lizard, the original Juggernaut, the Hellfire Club, Dr. Doom.

This was not always true; the Vision started as a villain and became a hero and Batman is dressed in a villain's color set.

This was part of the psychology used by Zemo when he turned villains into heroes in the Thunderbolts. He changed all of their costumes to brighter primary colors. It even had a strong effect on the psychology of the villains, many started to believe they could be heroes.

Thunderbolts costume comparisions, heroic vs villainous costumes

Thunderbolts costume comparisions, heroic vs villainous costumes

Clint Barton, orphan, trained as a circus archer, started his career in the Marvel Universe as a villain and his costume was originally purple-themed. It also resembled the person who taught him how to use his bow, Trick-Shot.

The sinister Trick-Shot, master archer and his protege Hawkeye

The sinister Trick-Shot, master archer and his protege Hawkeye

During his time as a hero, he has tried moving away from the color, especially during the famous first Kree-Skrull War. During the war, Hawkeye thought the team could use more muscle and used the Pym Particles to take on the identity of Goliath.

Clint Bart debuts as Goliath, Avengers #63

Barton as Goliath during the Kree-Skrull War

After returning to using his bow, he had both emotional issues and an occasional temper tantrum, (Hawkeye is the John McEnroe of Avengers) always fighting, complaining, and even occasionally quitting but always seemed to return to the Avengers in one form or another. His costumes also tended to end up in that color range. Ultimate Hawkeye wears red and black and looks more like the Hawkeye in the Avengers movie.

Hawkeye's first appearance, Tales of Suspense #57

Hawkeye's first appearance, Tales of Suspense #57

  • +1 Nice! Now I'm really curious about Batman, can you offer a quick explanation?
    – Secko
    Aug 7, 2012 at 14:15
  • "...especially during his time as Giant Man". Wait, when was Hawkeye Giant Man? I've never heard of Hawkeye taking on Giant Man's role before.
    – onewho
    Aug 7, 2012 at 16:02
  • 1
    Batman's origin strode the line between good and evil, so his colors were mostly dark blues and black. As he grew lighter and more fun (during the late 50s and early 60's) he became brighter adding yellows and moving toward grey in his primary costume. He has returned to darker colors denoting a darker tone as well. Aug 7, 2012 at 16:05
  • 2
    Clint Barton never was Giant Man - he used Hank Pym's growth serum and took the name "Goliath".
    – Wilerson
    Aug 7, 2012 at 16:41
  • Yes, an edit I made when I had awakened. Same powers, different name. And lets not forget there was a villain who used that name too... Aug 7, 2012 at 17:00

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