Clint Barton was a sideshow sharpshooter who dreamed of using his talents for something greater than mere entertainment. After fashioning himself a costume, he went out on patrol, only to be mistaken for a jewel thief. After fleeing the authorities, he was saved by Soviet spy, Natasha Romanov (Black Widow). Romanov seduced Barton into working for her and attacking Iron Man. When Romanov was exposed and wounded, Barton joined The Avengers as a way to make amends for his previous crimes.
Barton was an orphan who spent his time around circuses and carnivals. While there he came under the influence of Jacques Duquesne, a star performer who would later become the villain Swordsman. Duquesne took Barton under his wing, but the two had a falling out when Barton discovered Duquesne was stealing from the circus. In the fight that followed, Duquesne left Barton for dead after cutting the tight rope Barton was on.
Hawkeye is forced to confront his past when Swordsman attempts to join The Avengers. (Avengers #19)
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #57
Joined Avengers: Avengers #17