1901 - Shiera Sanders is born.
1919 - 18-year-old Shiera goes to college to study archaeology.
1929 - 28-year-old Shiera discovers that she is a reincarnation of Chay-Ara, the thanagarian princess. She becomes Hawkwoman.
1939 - WW2 begins.
1941 - After the attack on Pearl Harbor, The Justice Society is formed, including 40-year-old Shiera.
1945 - WW2 ends.
11 years ago - 50-year-old Shiera returns from Ragnarok with the rest of the Justice Society and joins the Justice League.
9 years ago - When the Justice League collapses, 52-year-old Shiera semi-retires to curate the Hall Museum, although she still regularly goes on adventures with Carter.
4 years ago - 57-year-old Shiera is severely injured in battle. she retires to her Egyptian villa with Carter.
Shiera's massive popularity comes largely from her role in the Justice League animated series, where she was an absolutely fantastic character. Interestingly, during the series entire run, the Hawkgirl in the comics was actually Kendra Saunders. While those comic stories were all awesome and are the groundwork of the current Hawkgirl of our own timeline, There's still a place for this beloved animated character, thanks to the weirdly convoluted history of the Hawks. It just falls to us to build our own history so that even this obscure fan favorite gets her place.
Hawkwoman's Comic History
The very first appearance of Shiera Sanders Hall happened in 1940 in the pages of Flash Comics, but she didn't actually didn't appear as Hawkgirl for another year.
The Hawks are a really hard thread to follow through the years, because their timeline was continually retroactively rewritten. She and Hawkman served in the original Justice Society, but her timeline gets really hard to follow the deeper you go. The Hawks in the Justice League were NOT them, but were in fact different characters with alien origins, until Timothy Truman's 1989 limited series 'Hawkworld' was spun into an ongoing series necessitating the retroactive rewrite to continuity that made the Justice League version of the Hawks now actually the original Hawks, not the alien ones.
Confused yet? It only gets harder to follow from here. In the end, what you essentially have is three versions of the character; The original Hawkgirl Sheira Hall, the alien cop version of the character named Shayera Holl, and the entirely new character that adapted the Hawkgirl mantle, Kendra Saunders. Sometimes even the comics themselves lose track of which is which.
We've simplified the timeline quite a bit. Our current Hawkgirl is Kendra Saunders, but Shiera is still a vital part of our new history of the Hawks.
Our Hawkwoman Story
While our version of Shiera is heavily based on the animated series, it in fact isn't the same character. We're not making any of the the modern Hawks actual Thanagarians; in fact, we're making Thanagar and all it's people an ancient lost race, making their Nth metal technology all that much more mysterious. Sheira and Carter are reincarnations of the stranded Thanagarian police officers Knufu Kan-Tarr & Cha-Ara Thal, ancient alien peacekeepers that used their technology to become rulers of ancient Egypt.
They were both heroes during the Golden Age, meeting as a professor and student who fell in love and were married, discovering the Nth metal armory of their past lives and embracing their new lives together as heroes. They joined the classic Justice Society during World War II, and were lost in Ragnarok with the rest of the team.
The Hawks are among the only heroes to escape Ragnarok with their lives and powers intact, allowing them to join the Satellite Era Justice League. We get to enjoy these classic versions of these heroes for many years before they finally retire, allowing young Kendra Saunders to become the new Hawkgirl.
With so many different versions of Hawkgirl, it's actually pretty common to see incorrect versions of the character associated with certain looks. Modern Hawkgirl Kendra Saunders is the easiest to spot thanks to her short hair, her midriff-bearing armor and her penchant for carrying a variety of bladed weapons. You also often see versions of the full alien version of Hawkwoman, Shayera Hol, sometimes confused with Shiera... This is made all the more complicated by the fact that the animated series actually used Shayera's alien origin story for their version of the character. While there's been a lot of overlap over the years and the characters are often interchangeable, you can usually at least tell them apart when Shayera is depicted with wings made of a single wide piece of metal.
Which basically leaves our Shiera. Most of the features that we all associate with classic Hawkgirl (or Hawkwoman) are all notably features of this version of the character: the long red hair, the single piece of golden armor, and of course, her big bad-ass electro-mace. While there are a lot of variants featuring clever armor and weapons, those all are best suited for Kendra, while Shiera works best sticking to the classic look.
It works out really well for the overall evolution of our DC heroes to have Shiera and Carter both retired from superheroics so that the new generation can have their new Hawkgirl in Kendra. We've really expanded heavily on the lives of these characters, and at this point in the story Shiera is actually over 60 years old, so it totally makes sense that she would have earned her retirement. Of course, we're talking about reincarnated alien pharaohs, so It's totally reasonable to assume that they are still relatively youthful and vibrant, and of course are still very much in love. Neither character would ever hesitate to don their Nth metal harness and fight to protect the world, as long as they are together.
Shiera is a figurehead for the awesome female characters in the DC Universe. She's a bold warrior and awesome hero, and one of the few female companion characters that has always been considered an equal partner to her male counterpart. While we've retired the original Hawkman and Hawkwoman so that Kendra's Hawkgirl can carry on their legacy, It wouldn't be the DC we all love without the career of the inimitable Shiera Hall.