Trailers for Marvel Studios' upcoming Hawkeye streaming show have cultivated a style that seems to split the difference between Die Hard and Home Alone for a holiday-fueled caper with Clint Barton's legacy on the line. While that sounds exciting enough, Marvel Studios has an opportunity to continue their tradition of turning superhero genre expectations on their heads with an innovative, entertaining Hawkeye episode - and it all comes down to Pizza Dog.
What the heck is Pizza Dog? More like who the heck is Pizza Dog.
No, Pizza Dog isn't the mascot of the latest Italian fast food restaurant, he's the beloved pup of none other than Clint Barton, seen in the trailers for Hawkeye.
OK, so his name isn't actually 'Pizza Dog' but Lucky, though that's a nickname the goodest of good boys earned through his love of what else but that most hot and cheesy of delicious delicacies.
Still, Pizza Dog is more than just a mascot for Hawkeye. He's one of Clint and Kate Bishop's closest pals, and even an ally against the criminal forces that are out to get them - and he's the star of one of the most innovative, critically acclaimed issues of Matt Fraction and David Aja's Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon, one of the main inspirations for Disney Plus' Hawkeye.
So if Marvel Studios really wants to capture the true essence of what made Hawkeye's most beloved comic run as groundbreaking and just plain fun as it stays to this day, they could do a lot worse than leaning in and spotlighting Pizza Dog for an episode. Here's why.
Who is Pizza Dog?
Clint Barton adopted Lucky - whose original name was, ironically, Arrow, until Clint decided that was too cute even for him and renamed him - after Lucky saved Clint's life from an attack by the so-called 'Tracksuit Mafia' that wishes him dead. Though Lucky saves Clint, he's gravely injured himself.
After some intensive veterinary care, Lucky comes home with Clint and Kate, becoming their stalwart companion - though he forged a special bond with Kate Bishop, who has even relocated Lucky with her to and from Los Angeles a few times.
2013's Hawkeye #11 puts the spotlight on Lucky amid Clint's clashes with the 'Tracksuit Mafia' gangsters who are trying to force him out of his apartment building.
When one of Hawkeye's neighbors is murdered by the enigmatic assassin known as the Clown (who will likely appear in the show as well), Lucky takes on the case of tracking the murderer in an issue told entirely through the dog's point of view - down to the way the issue is colored, and the way dialogue is presented.
Hawkeye #11's story 'Pizza is My Business' sounds a bit like an absurd diversion for a superhero comic, focusing on a detective dog rather than the title's human stars. But drawing on a penchant for innovative visual storytelling, writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja put together a unique one-off issue that is as innovative and exciting as it is cute and kinda kitschy.
As Lucky hunts the apartment building for clues, his thought process is depicted through a series of images denoting what he smells, and how perceives what each smell means.
Coupled with a color palette that sticks mostly to the blue and violet hues that primarily color a dog's eyesight (and which, appropriately enough, match Hawkeye's aesthetic), 'Pizza is My Business' does the utmost to present an adventure through the eyes of a dog, utilizing the dog's own perception and point of view.
Pizza Dog in the MCU
Would 'Pizza is My Business' translate directly to Disney Plus' Hawkeye? It's hard to say, in that it seems like changing the entire color palette, sound design, and visual communication of the show might prove much more jarring than adding an experimental story into an ongoing comic book run.
But at the same time, given the family-oriented nature of Hawkeye's MCU tale, the holiday trappings of the show, and sense of humor and heart that has permeated the trailers, there may be plenty of room for a slightly more straightforward take on one of Marvel Comics' most unique and beloved single issues.
And of course, we know that, no matter what, Clint and Kate's precious pet Lucky will be in the show - we've seen as much in trailers and stills. So could the MCU deliver on an adaptation of an unlikely fan-favorite comic book issue, in a way that continues the studio's penchant for twisting genre conventions and mashing up new ideas into cinematic superhero stories?
Well, maybe they will, if we're lucky.
Marvel Studios has shown they're drawing directly on Hawkeye: My life is a Weapon by embracing the comic's themes and aesthetic for the show.