Named after a jazz legend (one can only assume), Charley Parker was introduced in the pages of Justice League of America in 1975. Originally a starry-eyed orphan, then a California drifter, Golden Eagle was the closest thing the DCU has ever had to a Hawkman sidekick. A teenage Hawkman is a pretty cool idea, so of course DC wasted it before abandoning it completely.
Parker started out as a Hawkman superfan, creating a homemade costume that was magically transformed into the real thing (then turned back to normal) during an adventure with the JLA. Later, upon joining the 1977 version of Titans West, it was established that Hawkman was apparently quite active in encouraging Charley’s heroism:
Parker pretty much disappeared completely after the Titans West storyline, occasionally showing up for one-panel Changeling-related flashbacks in the pages of New Teen Titans.
Then Crisis on Infinite Earths happened and Parker’s backstory was changed. He was no longer a protege of Hawkman and he had metal armor instead of feathered wings:
Since readers were probably getting the impression they were about to read an actual story featuring this compelling new version of Golden Eagle, he’s quickly assaulted by a member of the Wildebeest society and then strangled to death:
Thirteen years went by and Golden Eagle was brought back from the dead – miraculously surviving the Wildebeest’s attack thanks to the Thanagarian metal in his armor – and re-introduced to the world in the pages of Hawkman. He’s kind of a prick now:
But not just a prick: he’s also a murderous, woman-beating usurper to Hawkman’s throne. And he’s no longer an aimless Californian orphan but the son of a disgraced Thanagarian villian named Fel Andar (who also once tried to take Hawkman’s place.) Hawkman later blinds Parker in one eye.
During the Rann-Thanagar War miniseries, Fel Andar dies trying to convince his son to quit the supervillian business. Parker complies and Hawkman begrudgingly gives him permission to start a new life.
Parker’s “new life” consisted of a badass new uniform…
…that he barely got to use, since almost immediately after donning it he was forced to become a sex slave aboard an alien spaceship:
Considering Golden Eagle was killed off for the sole purpose of making the “Titans Hunt” storyline more intense, it was a good idea to bring him back – his death was no longer an absolute waste, and a lot could be done with a junior Hawkman character (though not, apparently, a reunion with the Titans.) But they brought him back for this? To walk down the traitor/villian/redemption route, lose an eye, and become a sex slave? They could have made an entirely new character that would serve the same purpose without once again wasting Charley Parker in the name of sensationalism. Oh, well. Maybe next time, DC.