Before there was Hawk & Croc, there was Macho Kid & Crush Jr.
It should surprise absolutely nobody reading this to learn that I’ve been a fan of professional wrestling since the early 1990s. What MIGHT surprise you is that my first favorite pro wrestler was Brian Adams, aka Crush. I can’t quite put my finger on it, about 30 years later, but there was something about that orange-and-purple singlet and his blonde mullet, both adorning his 6’8″, 316 lbs. frame, that really captured my 10-year-old imagination.
My cousin Alex’s favorite wrestler when we were kids was Randy “Macho Man” Savage. You’d have to ask him for his reasons, but there was never any question where Alex’s loyalties lie. It actually made it tough when Savage and Crush were feuding in early 1994, because we couldn’t agree on who to root for!
In the summer of 1992, my dad took my brother and me to go visit Alex’s family. We four kids played superhero games with their plethora of Nerf weaponry, particularly the then-brand new Nerf Bow & Arrow. “Awesome Andy” and “Ultimate Alex” teamed up to take on whatever our brothers were calling themselves. And something magical happened.
The following year, after I had gotten into wrestling, Alex and I played with his old Hasbro WWF toys and watched some of the events he’d had on tape that I hadn’t seen, in addition to our usual antics. When the four of us kids decided to play with the Nerf arsenal again, “Awesome Andy” and “Ultimate Alex” were no more. They became Macho Kid and Crush Jr.
Over the next couple of years, Alex and I kept coming up with new names for our heroic personae. Eventually, we landed on Kid America and Night Hawk.
I decided that I wanted to make comics about Nighthawk, whose name I condensed into just one word, not knowing that it was actually already taken by a couple of different Marvel Comics heroes. I wrote the beginnings of some little stories, but it became apparent pretty quickly that I was more interested in the visual side of sequential art, rather than the writing of it.
I created a whole team of heroes to aid Nighthawk in his fight against evil, including Fire Raven, Black Falcon, Dark Raptor, and Vigilant Vulture. And they had to fight some enemies, so I created Masklaw, Shadow, Slasher, Frostbyte, the Dark Wizard, the Skulls gang — Army Skull, Ninja Skull, and Medieval Skull — and the biggest bad of them all, The Great Quagmire. Eventually, Slasher would be renamed Jacky Nightblade; Vigilant Vulture would become Shadow Vulture (“shadow” fit with NIGHThawk, DARK raptor, and BLACK falcon better); and the Skulls became Military, Stealth, and Armoury. The Dark Wizard became Ministry, and Shadow had her name changed to “Hikage,” which is just the Japanese word for “shadow.” There were some other characters, too.
In late 2002, inspired by the video game culture-based webcomic Penny Arcade, I realized that I needed to make online comics, too. I tried to do a few things, but I couldn’t come up with much on my own. Again, I was more interested in the visual side than the writing. But I knew a writer! My friend Brandon A. Mayo had been writing some fan fiction about video games that we both liked, and so I asked him if he’d like to help me work on a comic. We went through a few different ideas, but eventually decided to combine some of the characters that I’d created along with the ones he had.
So Dariaan Nighthawk, now “Hawk” for short, became lifelong best friends with Nancy Alan Devane, or “Croc” for short, so named because when they were kids, Croc wore a shirt with an alligator on them, and Hawk couldn’t pronounce that word.
And so began the adventures of Hawk & Croc.
Thank you for joining me for this entire past month as I explored and celebrated 19 years since Brandon and I put up that very first Hawk & Croc comic!
I probably won’t post very much H&C stuff until next March, for the 20th anniversary.
I’ve just started a new job this week. So I’m probably gonna take a few days off from posting any new content, and then come back with some updates for what the future holds for psychoandy.com