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Hawkeye - Eleanor Bishop's comic book history is beginning to pay off in the MCU

Eleanor Bishop in comics and in the MCU
Eleanor Bishop in comics and in the MCU (Image credit: George Marston)

Eleanor Bishop - Kate Bishop's mom - has made her mark on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Disney Plus' Hawkeye streaming series, thanks to a villainous connection to the Kingpin, and her hiring of Yelena Belova (via Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine) to kill Clint Barton. 

Playing a central role in Hawkeye alongside characters such as Clint Barton, Kate Bishop, Echo, Jacques Duquesne, Yelena Belova, and of course Pizza Dog, Eleanor's presence provided some interesting twists in Hawkeye episode 6, the season finale.

With Kate and Eleanor's onscreen relationship taking a dramatic turn following revelations about Eleanor's criminal enterprise, Eleanor's MCU presence has also evolved to be somewhat closer to her comic book counterpart, an out-and-out villain - whose shocking history includes a dark supernatural twist.

In Marvel comic books, Eleanor Bishop died but made a surprise return as a vampire. And though the circumstances surrounding her mysterious death and return (hey, it's comics books) didn't come up in Hawkeye, Eleanor remains a part of the MCU - so anything is possible.

With that in mind, here's everything you need to know about Eleanor Bishop's comic book history.

Who is Eleanor Bishop?

Eleanor Bishop comic book image

Eleanor Bishop comic book image (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Eleanor Bishop's history in the Marvel Universe is as brief as it is odd. She first appeared in flashbacks in 2017's Hawkeye #7, during Kate Bishop's time in Los Angeles working as a private investigator. Kate begins investigating her mother's death, which occurred under mysterious circumstances during the young hero's teenage years.

Teaming up with Clint Barton, the pair face a woman named Eden Vale who holds a grudge from Clint's past, and who has the power to bring people forward in time. She promises to bring Eleanor to the present from a time before her death in exchange for Kate killing Clint, but Kate refuses, losing her mother a second time.

Eleanor Bishop comic book image (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

But in the process of investigating her mother's death, Kate discovers that it was in fact her father Derek Bishop who was responsible for Eleanor's death - and worse yet, he's working alongside Kate's enemy Madame Masque.

Kate and Clint eventually bring down Derek Bishop's criminal operation, but not before discovering that Kate's father has moved his consciousness into the body of a younger clone of himself, developing hypnotic powers in the process. 

Though Kate's mother is lost to her again, she gains some clues that Eleanor may actually still be alive somewhere, and Kate's quest to learn the truth about her mom continues.

Eleanor Bishop in the Marvel Universe

Eleanor Bishop comic book image

Eleanor Bishop comic book image (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

In the recent West Coast Avengers title, Kate and Clint start their own Avengers team as part of a superhero reality show, becoming embroiled in a fight with a new West Coast Masters of Evil comprised of Madame Masque, MODOK, Lady Bullseye, Graviton, and Kate's father Derek Bishop. 

When Kate almost dies in a fight with the West Coast Masters of Evil, she's saved by her own mother, who mysteriously appears out of nowhere - before revealing that she too is in league with Madame Masque, hiding in plain sight as one of Madame Masque's enforcers to get closer to Derek Bishop in order to take revenge for leaving her for dead all those years ago.

But the reunion is short-lived and bittersweet, as Eleanor betrays Kate, and returns to working for Madame Masque.

Later, while infiltrating a secret cult they believe to be Skrulls, the West Coast Avengers (including Kate), are captured by the cult who turn out to be not Skrulls, but vampires.

Eleanor Bishop comic book image (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

What's more, the vampires believe that the blood of Kate's West Coast Avengers teammate America Chavez holds the key to making the entire clan of vampires into 'daywalkers' with all of the traditional vampire strengths and none of their weaknesses, a la Blade.

Fortunately, the few members of the team who didn't enter the vampire temple meet up with Eleanor Bishop, who agrees to help them rescue Kate, as she doesn't want Kate to become a vampire or to die - she just wants her daughter to leave her and the other villains to their affairs.

However, things take a bizarre turn when Eleanor reveals that she too is a vampire, sucking the blood of America Chavez to see if what the vampires believe is true - though she doesn't get enough of a drink to find out before Kate stops her.

As it turns out, Eleanor Bishop is alive because she was turned into a vampire after Derek Bishop left her for dead, and she's been working with Madame Masque in exchange for a cure to her vampirism.

Kate rescues her teammates and leaves Eleanor behind, going on to defeat the vampire cabal as Eleanor presumably escapes - and that's the last time she was seen in Marvel Comics.

Eleanor Bishop in the MCU

Eleanor Bishop comic book image

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Vera Farmiga plays Eleanor Bishop in Disney Plus' Hawkeye, though her backstory seems somewhat different from comic books. 

For one thing, Eleanor is alive in the show, while her husband Derek Bishop is presumed dead (though we never fully see him die onscreen, so a future twist is possible) - a reversal of their traditional comic book statuses. 

Eleanor also seems to have a relatively normal and healthy relationship with Kate - at least up until Kate learns that Eleanor has been working for the Kingpin, and even framed Jacques Duquesne for the murder of his uncle.

Eleanor's comic book criminal past factors into Hawkeye in a much different way than she appears in comic books - after all, Hawkeye has not even a peep about the idea she may be a vampire.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

That said, it's worth noting that Marvel Studios doesn't shy away from leaning into the comic book weirdness of many of the characters they adapt to the screen, and with Eleanor surviving, it's not impossible she could get a bizarre change down the road.

That may be a big stretch given what we know of Eleanor from Hawkeye, but it's worth noting that Marvel Studios does have Mahershala Ali's Blade waiting in the wings, fresh off a surprise voice cameo in Eternals.

So whatever comes next, Marvel Studios has an odd, interesting character on their hands in Eleanor Bishop.

Read up on all of the cast members of Hawkeye (with profiles linked at the top of the article) and learn all about Clint Barton's own dark past as Ronin.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)