Howard the Duck

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This article is about the character and comic book series. For the film adaptation, see Howard the Duck (film).
Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck #8 (Jan. 1977),
Cover art by Gene Colan and Steve Leialoha.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Adventure into Fear #19 (December 1973)
Created by Steve Gerber
Val Mayerik
In-story information
Alter ego Howard
Team affiliations Defenders
All-Night Party
Daydreamers
A.R.M.O.R.
Fearsome Four
Notable aliases Son of Satan
Abilities Master of Quack-Fu
Minimal magic manipulation
Iron Duck armor grants:
Superhuman strength and durability
Chest-mounted searchlight
Foot-mounted leaping coils
Flamethrowers in both arms

Howard the Duck is a comic book character in the Marvel Comics universe created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik. The character first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 (Dec. 1973) and several subsequent series have chronicled the misadventures of the ill-tempered, anthropomorphic, "funny animal" trapped on human-dominated Earth. Howard's adventures are generally social satires, while a few are parodies of genre fiction with a metafictional awareness of the medium. The book is existentialist, and its main joke, according to Gerber, is that there is no joke: "that life's most serious moments and most incredibly dumb moments are often distinguishable only by a momentary point of view."[1] This is diametrically opposed to screenwriter Gloria Katz, who in adapting the comic to the screen declared, "It's a film about a duck from outer space... It's not supposed to be an existential experience".[2] He was portrayed by Ed Gale and voiced by Chip Zien in the 1986 film Howard the Duck.

Publication history[edit]

Howard the Duck's first appearance, from Adventure into Fear #19. Art by penciler Val Mayerik and inker Sal Trapani.

Howard the Duck was created in 1973 by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik in Adventure into Fear as a secondary character in that comic's Man-Thing feature.[3] He graduated to his own backup feature in Giant-Size Man-Thing, confronting such bizarre horror-parody characters as the Hellcow and the Man-Frog, before acquiring his own comic book title with Howard the Duck #1 in 1976.[4]

Gerber wrote 27 issues of the series (for the most part ditching the horror parodies), illustrated by a variety of artists, beginning with Frank Brunner. For Gerber, Howard was a flesh and blood duck and that, "if Wile E. Coyote gets run over by a steamroller, the result is a pancake-flat coyote who can be expected to snap back to three dimensions within moments; if Howard gets run over by a steamroller, the result is blood on asphalt."[1] Gene Colan became the regular penciller with issue #4. Gerber later said to Colan: "There really was almost a telepathic connection there. I would see something in my mind, and that is what you would draw! I've never had that experience with another artist before or since."[5]

Sporting the slogan, "Get Down, America!", the All-Night Party was a fictional political party that appeared in Gerber's Howard the Duck series during the U.S. Presidential campaign of 1976,[6] and led to Howard the Duck receiving thousands of write-in votes in the actual election.[7] Gerber addressed questions about the campaign in the letters column of the comic book and, as Mad Genius Associates, sold merchandise publicizing the campaign.

Marvel attempted a spin-off with a short-lived Howard the Duck newspaper comic strip from 1977 to 1978, at first written by Gerber and drawn by Colan and Mayerik,[8] later written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Alan Kupperberg.[9]

Gerber gained a degree of creative autonomy when he became Howard the Duck's editor in addition to his writing duties. With issue #16, unable to meet the deadline for his regular script, Gerber substituted an entire issue of text pieces and illustrations satirizing his own difficulties as a writer.[10]

In 1978, the writer and publisher clashed over issues of creative control,[11] and Gerber was abruptly removed from the series. This was one of the first highly publicized creator's rights cases in American comics, and attracted support from major industry figures, some of whom created homage/parody stories with Gerber to fund a lawsuit against Marvel; these included Destroyer Duck with Jack Kirby.[12] The lawsuit ended with a confidential settlement between Gerber and Marvel.[12]

Around this time The Walt Disney Company threatened to sue Marvel for infringement of copyright claiming that Howard looked too similar to Donald Duck and enforced a different design, including the use of pants (as seen in the movie and some later comics).[13]

The series continued for four more issues with stories by Marv Wolfman, Mary Skrenes, Mark Evanier, and Bill Mantlo. Gerber returned briefly to write, though not plot, #29 as part of a contract fulfillment.

Issue #31, dated May 1979, announced on its letters page that it would be the final issue of Howard the Duck as a color comic. Marvel then relaunched the series that year as a bimonthly magazine, with scripts by Mantlo, art by Colan and Michael Golden and unrelated backup features by others; this series was canceled after nine issues. Articles in these issues claimed that Howard was Mayerik's idea, though this is contrary to statements by both Gerber and Mayerik. In issue #6, Mantlo introduced the concept of "Duckworld," which Gerber loathed. It depicted an all-duck parallel earth in which there were equivalents of all famous people, such as "Ducktor Strange" (a parody of Doctor Strange) who later appeared in She-Hulk (vol. 2 #19) and Truman Capoultry (Truman Capote), who narrated the issue. As Gerber told Mediascene, "Howard's world, which would never be depicted visually, was inhabited by other anthropomorphized animals like himself. Like the cartoon worlds of Disney and Warner Brothers. Unlike the Disney and Warners worlds, however, Howard's reality was beset with the same plethora of social ills and personal vicissitudes which human beings confront daily. And the same, or similar, laws of nature applied there, too."[1] The first story of issue #9, written by Bill Mantlo, had Howard walk away from Beverly, and what happened to him next was documented in a story by Steve Skeates the same issue. Steven Grant followed this with a story in Bizarre Adventures #34, in which the suicidal Howard is put through a parody of It's a Wonderful Life.

The original comic book series reappeared in early 1986 with issue #32, written by Grant. Grant had in fact written the story as a topical humor four years before, and as a result the jokes were outdated at the time it was published.[12] Issue #33, a parody of Bride of Frankenstein, written by Christopher Stager, appeared nine months later, along with a three-issue adaptation of the movie. A text article in Howard the Duck #33 explained that Harvey Pekar, himself a Cleveland resident, was mentioned as a possible writer for that issue, but he was unavailable, and nothing came of it.

Issue #32 was originally written by Gerber.[12] In the story, Gerber explained that "a Krylorian Cyndi Lauper" named Chirreep had made up the events in the Mantlo stories much like the events in The Rampaging Hulk magazine were considered made up by Bereet. Marvel's then-editor-in-chief Jim Shooter considered this an insult to Mantlo, and Gerber's story was never published. He identified Howard's parents as Dave and Dotty, names that differ from the Mantlo stories, in which his parents are named Ronald and Henrietta.[14] Gerber's script lampooned Secret Wars, written by Jim Shooter, but Shooter has denied this played any role in choosing to reject the story, insisting that he only took issue with the insults to Mantlo.[15]

Gerber brought back Howard in The Sensational She-Hulk #14-17, again living with Beverly, now working as a rent-a-ninja. How they got back together is never explained, and Beverly is not involved as She-Hulk takes Howard on a trip through several dimensions with a theoretical physicist from Empire State University.

Gerber returned to Howard with Spider-Man Team-Up #5, around the same time he was writing a "Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck" crossover for Image. He had the idea to create an unofficial crossover between the two issues, where the characters would meet momentarily in the shadows, but which would not affect either story. Soon after, Gerber discovered that Howard was scheduled to appear in Ghost Rider vol. 3, #81 (Jan. 1997) alongside Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy, and issues of Generation X leading up to issue #25 and the Daydreamers miniseries by J.M. DeMatteis. Gerber was not pleased with this development, and changed the "unofficial crossover" somewhat.[16]

In Spider-Man Team-Up #5, Spider-Man and Howard meet two shadowy figures (presumed to be Savage Dragon and Destroyer Duck) in a darkened warehouse, then leave shortly afterwards. But in the Savage Dragon comic, a villain creates hundreds of clones of Howard during a fierce battle. As Savage Dragon and Destroyer Duck escape the warehouse with a character hidden in a bag, they reveal that they rescued the “real” Howard, while Spider-Man left with one of the clones. Howard has his feathers dyed green, and is renamed “Leonard the Duck,” which is now a character owned by Gerber, who went on to appear in Image Comics and Vertigo comics. Gerber considers this the real Howard, and Marvel's Howard an empty shell.

In 2001, when Marvel launched its MAX imprint of "mature readers" comics, Gerber returned to write the six-issue Howard the Duck miniseries, illustrated by Phil Winslade and Glenn Fabry. Featuring several familiar Howard the Duck characters, the series, like the original one, parodied a wide range of other comics and pop culture figures, but with considerably stronger language and sexual content than what would have been allowable 25 years earlier. The series has Doctor Bong causing Howard to go through multiple changes of form, principally into a rat (possibly as a parody of Mickey Mouse, in retaliation for the earlier lawsuit), and entering a chain of events parodying comics such as Witchblade, Preacher and several others, with Howard ultimately having a conversation with God in Hell.

Howard had cameo appearances in She-Hulk #9 (Feb. 2005) and vol. 2, #3/100 (Feb. 2006, the 100th issue of all the various She-Hulk series). He returned in a limited series by writer Ty Templeton and artist Juan Bobillo in 2007. This series is rated for ages 9 and up, though it has been published with a Marvel Zombies tie-in cover with a parental advisory claim.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Howard is abducted from his home planet and is dropped into the Florida Everglades by the demonic Thog the Overmaster of the realm Sominus. He meets the Man-Thing, Korrek the Barbarian,[17] Dakimh the Enchanter and Jennifer Kale, but falls off the inter-dimensional stepping stones.[18] He materializes in Cleveland, Ohio and battles Garko the Man-Frog,[19] for which he is arrested for disturbing the peace and mistaken for a mutant during a strip search. Released because the police fear he has mutant abilities, he encounters Bessie the Cow, a vampire cow.[20]

Howard makes friends with an artists' model and a bizarre series of encounters follow. He battles Pro-Rata, the cosmic accountant, then meets Spider-Man.[21][22] He battles Turnip-Man and the Kidney Lady,[23] then learns Quak Fu,[24] encounters the Winky Man, a sleepwalking alter ego of Beverly's artist friend, Paul Same, who would become a series regular (and share the apartment),[25] and becomes a wrestler.[26]

Howard and Beverely hit the road, seeking shelter in a gothic mansion where they battle an animated Gingerbread Man.[27][28] They eventually end up in New York City, where Howard is nominated for U.S. President by the All-Night Party.[28] Howard battles the Band of the Bland — Dr. Angst, Sitting Bullseye, Tillie the Hun, the Spanker, and Black Hole — alongside the Defenders.[29] A doctored-photo scandal leads him to Canada, and the defeat of a supervillain, Le Beaver, who falls to his death.[30] Howard then suffers a nervous breakdown, and flees Bev and their situation on a bus. Unfortunately, the passengers are all believers in various weird cults, and try to interest Howard in them. His seatmates are Winda Wester (afflicted with an Elmer Fudd-like speech impediment) and S. Blotte the Kidney Lady. After the bus crashes, Howard and Winda are sent to a mental institution. There he meets Daimon Hellstrom, and is briefly possessed by Hellstrom's demonic soul, becoming the Son of Satan.[31] Beverly and Paul get them both back to Cleveland. Later, while on a cruise ship returning from scenic Bagmom, Howard and Beverly are taken captive by Lester Verde, who had a crush on Beverly in college and is now in the identity of the supervillain Doctor Bong,[32] who illegally marries Beverly against her will and transforms Howard into a human.[33][34] After escaping back to New York and being restored to his natural form, Howard is hired as a dishwasher by Beverly's uncle and namesake, who goes by Lee. Howard battles Sudd,[35] and then battles Soofi.[36] Howard is then reunited with the Man-Thing, Korrek, and Jennifer Kale, and they all battle Bzzk'Joh.[37][38] After finally meeting up with the cruise ship that rescues Paul and Winda, now befriended by socialite Iris Raritan, he then attends her party on Long Island, where he is abducted by the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime. Paul is shot and left in a coma, and Winda, abandoned by Paul and Iris, is apparently raped by a hobo.[39][40] After defeating the Circus of Crime, Howard, plagued by pessimistic dreams, goes his way alone, as he had at the beginning of the series.[41]

Writer Bill Mantlo, beginning with issue #30, returned the series to its former status quo, bringing Beverly back into the picture and having her divorce Doctor Bong, and getting Paul, who has been shot by the Ringmaster, out of the hospital. Lee Switzler brings everyone back to Cleveland and employs Howard as a cab driver, while Paul, back to being a somnambulist after his release from the hospital, seems to have become Winda's boyfriend. Howard dons a suit of "Iron Duck" armor, and battles Doctor Bong.[42][43] He encountered Dracula,[44] and even returns to Duckworld at one point.[45] At the end of the magazine series, Howard walks away from Beverly (at her request). After that, he is mistaken for "Duck Drake, Private Eye", meets CeCe Ryder when hitchhiking and battles the Gopher.[46] and is later offered a genetically constructed mate whom he does not take to.[47]

She-Hulk accidentally pulls him though a cosmic wormhole, and along with theoretical physicist Brent Wilcox, they prevent other universes from crowding out Earth-616. By this point, Beverly is working as a rent-a-ninja. Howard met the Critic, and traveled to the Baloneyverse, and battled Dr. Angst and his cohorts.[48][49][50]

In an encounter with Peter Parker, Ben Reilly (then-current Spider-Man), and a rematch with the Circus of Crime, Howard and Beverly get stuck in a warehouse full of anthropomorphic ducks, briefly meeting the Savage Dragon and Destroyer Duck. The group leaves the warehouse believing that they have brought the correct Howard with them.[51]

The sorceress Jennifer Kale, in a weekly attempt to return Howard (a Howard with stubble who accuses her and Doctor Strange of being responsible for bringing him to this world) to his home world, inadvertently teleports Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy into her New York apartment. The disoriented dinosaur attempts to eat Howard, but spits him out when shot with John Blaze's hellfire gun, then rampages through the city before being subdued by Ghost Rider (Daniel Ketch). Howard relates to the pair being trapped in a world he never made, and wanders off.[52][53]

Heroes Reborn[edit]

After a series of adventures with Generation X,[54] Howard gets a job as a department store Santa Claus, which gets him dragged to the North Pole, where the real Santa Claus has sold out to HYDRA.[55] Howard goes through several dimensions, apparently through the power of Man-Thing, who can now talk but does not understand this ability, and lands on a version of Duckworld where his parents are essentially Ward and June Cleaver, has a sister named Princess, and is regarded as a hero because his activities on Earth-616 were recognized by Duckworld's version of Reed Richards. This origin traces the source of these dimensions to be projections from Franklin's mind, though through the course of the adventure, Howard has a romance with Tana Nile, culminating in a kiss, after which he apologizes and tells her of his attachment to Beverly.[56][57][58] When Franklin understands that he has shaped all these worlds, they find themselves back in Man-Thing's swamp. While Man-Thing became a self-appointed guardian to Franklin Richards, Howard went off on his own and was captured by the Cult of Entropy, who wrapped him in swaddling clothes.[59] Although we last saw him in the swamp, he states that he was thrown into baggage and transported on a plane. The cult wants him because he has part of the Nexus of All Realities, which shattered during Heroes Reborn, inside him, which he knows because it is making him nauseous. Man-Thing enters his gullet, and Howard vomits him back out with the fragment, but the former is left desiccated and practically dead.[60] He then encountered Namor, who thought he had slain the creature, but Howard explains that he would not be lugging his friend's body if that were the case. Howard sets Man-Thing down in the water, and he revives during the conversation with Namor. Once he sees that Man-Thing is alive and well, he bids Namor farewell and says he is returning to Cleveland.[61]

Back with Beverly, he undergoes further shape-shifting experiments from Doctor Bong. Beverly is hired by Verde's Globally Branded Content Corporation, which manufactures boy bands from protein vats based on the sexual arousal of a focus group of gay men. Attempting to destroy an escapee whom Beverly has taken in, Bong inadvertently knocks Howard into a vat, which changes him, unstably, into a mouse[62]—showering changes his form multiple times. Verde then goes to the press and claims that his building was attacked by Osama el-Barka ("Osama the Duck" in Arabic). Howard and Beverly are sent back on the road after the junkyard office where they are living is destroyed by a S.W.A.T. team.[63] Denied admittance to every possible shelter due to lack of funds, the pair and their dog find a sign for the Boarding House of Mystery, but are taken to the police station for questioning and strip searches by Suzy Pazuzu, with whom Beverly had attended high school. One of the officers on the case is the same beat cop who mistook Howard for a mutant many years before. Suzy is the inheritor of the doucheblade, which starts to take her over until in a skirmish, the bracelet is caught by Howard. The doucheblade causes its holder to grow enormous bare breasts and armor in a parody of Witchblade, and possessed by this, Howard kills the male lover of a businessman who works with Verde as he and Verde break into Suzy's house.[64]

Arriving at the Boarding House of Mystery, Howard and Beverly encounter Cain and Abel, the latter with a rock stuck in his head that allows him only moments of lucidity. There, they are granted their every wish, including Howard's return to his true form, and Beverly never being tight again, and meet parodies of John Constantine, Wesley Dodds, The Endless, Spider Jerusalem, and Gerber's own Nevada (called Utah), all characters from DC Comics' Vertigo imprint. The downside is that everyone staying in the place gets their every wish, so Che Guevara can have his revolution, but someone else can easily slaughter him.[65] One tenant, a writer named Mr. Gommorah (a parody of Spider Jerusalem), takes Beverly and Howard to be on the Iprah Show with the topic "Why Women Give It to Men Who Don't Get It," guest starring Dr. Phlip. Upon leaving the house, Howard is once again transformed into a mouse. Iprah has been merged with an experiment by the Angel Gabriel called Deuteronomy, intended to replace God, because God has been spending all his time in a bar in Hell since 1938. Deuteronomy is a creature half id and half superego, while Iprah is an all-ego promoter of self-indulgent pop psychology. Considering her dangerous, Gabriel sends Cherub Thrasher to resurrect Sigmund Freud, whose cigar blasts out half of Thrasher's brains (being immortal, this just makes him act drunk). Iprah destroys Freud, but Howard blasts her with the cigar, separating her from Deuteronomy. Puffing on the cigar, Howard disintegrates and arrives in Hell.[66] He is eventually freed by Yah, a being who claims to be "God".[67]

In Adam Beechen's ending of Doctor Fate: More Pain Comics, which Gerber left unfinished when he died, Howard, who is heard but unseen (his speech balloon ends with "waaugh"), dispatched the Elf with a Gun to destroy Negal and Ymp, then invited for one last drink with Yah, Bev, Thunny, and Megs before Yah goes back "upstairs."[68]

Civil War[edit]

Sometime later, Howard attempts to register under the Superhero Registration Act during the Superhero Civil War, but learns his socially disrupted life has created so many bureaucratic headaches that the government's policy is that Howard does not exist. This lack of government oversight delights him: "No more parking tickets, no taxes, no jury duty". In this story Howard says he was pressured to give up his cigars.[69]

After he defeats the supervillain M.O.D.O.K.'s scheme to control the public through mass media, his attorney, Jennifer Walters, successfully restores his citizenship including all relevant responsibilities.[70]

Secret Invasion[edit]

Howard the Duck is briefly seen as part of the super-powered army gathered to battle invading Skrull forces.[71] He is seen armed with a pistol, a Skrull's hand around his neck.[72] He is later seen kicking a Skrull during interrogation after the invasion.[73] Brian Michael Bendis has commented when asked of Howard: "That character has shown up in six issues I've done, and I've never typed the words Howard the Duck".[74]

Marvel Zombies 5[edit]

Main article: Marvel Zombies 5

In Marvel Zombies 5, Howard the Duck of Earth-616 teams up with Machine Man to travel across the multiverse fighting zombies.[75]

Fear Itself[edit]

During the events of "Fear Itself", Howard forms a team called the Fearsome Four with She-Hulk, Frankenstein's Monster and Nighthawk to stop the Man-Thing­.[76]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Howard has no superhuman powers, but he is skilled in the martial art known as Quack-Fu, enough to beat or to hold his own against far larger opponents. He has shown some degree of mystic talent in the past, to the point that Stephen Strange taught some spells to Howard and even offered to train him, but Howard declined.[29]

On occasion, Howard used a suit of powered armor known as the "Iron Duck" designed by Claude Starkowski. Besides its property as body armor, the suit was equipped with foot-mounted leaping coils, a chest-mounted searchlight, and flamethrowers in both arms.[42]

Characteristics and associations[edit]

Howard the Duck, as his name suggests, is a three-foot-tall anthropomorphic duck. He generally wears a tie and shirt, and is almost always found smoking a cigar. Originally, like many cartoon ducks, he wore no pants; Disney threatened legal action due to Howard's resemblance to Donald Duck,[77] and Marvel redesigned that aspect of the character by writing into the script that Howard was the target of anti-nudity protests, and was forced to do business with "Wally Sidney", a failed cartoonist who made his fortune through a chain of conservative clothing retailers known as "Sidney World". Howard tries on various outfits, to include ones akin to Donald Duck's sailor uniform and Uncle Scrooge's coat and top hat before settling on his new attire of a business suit complete with trousers. Although Howard sulks that he has lost, Beverly reassures him that she does not want him to be a victim of a mob, and loves him no matter what he wears.[78]

Howard has an irritable and cynical attitude to the often bizarre events around him; he feels there is nothing special about him except that he is a duck, and though he has no goals other than seeking comfort and to be left alone, he is often dragged into dangerous adventures simply because he is visibly unusual. His series' tagline, "Trapped in a world he never made", played off the genre trappings of 1950s science fiction. A common reaction to meeting Howard the first time is a startled, "You...you're a DUCK!"

His near-constant companion and occasional girlfriend is former art model and Cleveland native Beverly Switzler. Like Howard, Beverly wants an ordinary life but is frequently singled out for her appearance, though she is a beautiful and sexy woman rather than a duck. Their only other friends are Paul Same (a painter who briefly became a sleepwalking crime-fighter) and Winda Wester (a lisping ingénue with psychic powers); he has worked with Spider-Man and the Man-Thing and associates on various occasions.

Howard found himself on Earth due to a shift in "the Cosmic Axis" from a world similar to Earth, but where there are "more ducks" and "apes don't talk." In the black-and-white Howard the Duck magazine series, writer Bill Mantlo theorized that Howard came from an extra-dimensional planet called Duckworld, a planet similar to Earth where ducks, not apes, had evolved to become the dominant species. In 2001, Gerber dismissed this idea, calling it "very pedestrian" and 'comic-booky' — in the worst sense of the term." He believes Howard came from an alternate Earth populated by a variety of cartoon animals.[79] A panel in Fear #19, prior to Howard's introduction, depicts Howard or someone like him near an anthropomorphic rat and an anthropomorphic dog, in a hypothetical panel about other dimensions. Destroyer Duck was depicted existing in such a world, and in Howard the Duck vol. 2 #6, Howard mentions that Moses is believed to be a moose in his world and Yeshua a flying squirrel.

His antagonists, who usually appear in a single story each, are often parodies of science fiction, fantasy, and horror characters, and sometimes political figures, but include ordinary people simply making life difficult for Howard. The chief recurring villain, Lester Verde, better known as Doctor Bong - modeled on Doctor Doom and writers Bob Greene and Lester Bangs - is a former tabloid reporter who has the power to "reorder reality" by smashing himself on his bell-shaped helmet; his main goal is to marry Beverly. After several issues, she agrees to marry him to save Howard from Bong's evil experimentation, and remains married to him for some time. Doctor Bong would reappear in issues of She-Hulk and Deadpool in the mid-1990s. Other recurring villains include the Kidney Lady (S. Blotte) who has been convinced by her former lover that the soul is in the kidneys and attacks anything she sees as a threat to them, and Reverend Jun Moon Yuc and his Yuccies, a parody of Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church "Moonies". Another important villain was the Sinister S.O.O.F.I. (Save Our Offspring from Indecency) organization, whose leader was implicitly Anita Bryant, though she looked like an old, fat Elvis Presley with a smiley face/orange on her head.

Other Marvel Comics characters occasionally appeared, including Spider-Man, Daimon Hellstrom, and the Ringmaster. Omega The Unknown appeared to him in a dream, as did the founding members of the rock group, KISS, and Spider-Man, whom he had previously met for real, unlike Omega.

Seemingly an autodidact, Howard at various times references Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Albert Camus (whose novel The Stranger Gerber considers the principal influence on the series),[80] the Brontë sisters, and other figures of philosophical and political significance. In a parody of the Marvel comic character Shang-Chi, he was trained in the art of Quak-Fu. In the 2001 miniseries, as a mocking gesture toward Disney's mascot Mickey Mouse, he was turned into various animals, primarily a mouse.[13]

Other versions[edit]

Amalgam[edit]

  • In the Amalgam Comics universe, Howard the Duck is fused with Lobo to become Lobo the Duck. This character is featured in its own one-shot comic book, a seeming continuation of multiple other 'Lobo The Duck' stories.[81]
  • In the letter page of Bat-Thing #1, there was mention of a fictional upcoming 'special issue' featuring Howard the Mxyzptlk, presumably a merging of Howard with Mister Mxyzptlk.[82]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

MC2[edit]

  • Howard is seen as a blindfold-wearing martial arts teacher.[85]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Universe X[edit]

  • While he does not appear, the Beast says "I still feel badly about Howard" who had been "hunted down and consumed".[87]
  • In the original draft for Earth X, Howard was supposedly served as a feast during the Skull's invasion of New York City. The scene was cut due to space constraints.[88]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Howard the Duck appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Awesome", voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Spider-Man finds Howard the Duck in Dr. Curt Connors' lab on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and declares him too weird to use for Peter Parker and Luke Cage's science project. Howard the Duck states to Spider-Man that he knows Quack Fu.
  • Howard the Duck appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "The Collector." He makes a cameo appearance in one of the pods of Collector who admires the "ultra rare hero", stating he's in mint condition.

Film[edit]

Howard the Duck in the 1986 film adaptation.
  • In 1986, Lucasfilm and Universal Pictures produced the movie Howard the Duck, starring Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins and Chip Zien as the voice of Howard. Besides Howard (who was portrayed by an assortment of stunt actors in a duck suit) the only character borrowed from the Marvel Comics mythos was Beverly Switzler, though in this version she was a rock singer. In the film, Howard is brought to Cleveland by a laser spectroscope experiment gone awry, which additionally summoned an evil alien, one of the Dark Overlords of the Universe, who intended to sacrifice all human life in order to free the others of its kind from their celestial prison. The film was widely panned and was a box office bomb. There was a novelization and a comic adaptation of the film.
  • In the 2014 Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, Howard the Duck makes an appearance in the Collector's museum,[89] and in a post-credits scene with the Collector.[citation needed]

Other comics[edit]

  • In Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck #1 (Nov. 1996), Gerber claims that Howard and Beverly Switzler changed their names to Leonard the Duck and Rhonda Martini, remained in the Image Universe and "were last sighted in Chicago boarding the Amtrak for Buffalo" while the duck who returned to Marvel is "only an empty trademark, a clone whose soul departed him at the corner of Floss and Regret".[90] This was done because Tom Brevoort invited Gerber to write the comic, claiming he was the only one to write Howard, then Gerber noticed the Howard guest appearances in Ghost Rider and Generation X and felt as though he had been tricked.[16]
  • In America's Best Comics's Top 10 #8 a duck appearing to be Howard (with his distinctive blue hat & jacket) can be seen at the Transworld Transport Terminus.
  • In several issues of The Maxx, Howard appears, along with many other characters, seemingly cut and pasted into the story.

Video games[edit]

Newspaper comic strip[edit]

Between June 1977 and October 1978, Howard the Duck appeared in a daily comic strip that comic strip historian Allan Holtz has described as having low distribution and that was eventually replaced by the Hulk strip.[93] Among the handful of newspapers it appeared in were the Toronto Star and Spokane Daily Chronicle. A total of eleven story arcs, as well as a number of single-joke strips, constitute the 511 individual strips that were printed.[94]

The strip started with original stories written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by Gene Colan: "Pop Syke", "The Cult of the Entropy" and "The Self Made Man". The latter was started by Colan and completed by Val Mayerik, who stayed on to do two additional Gerber scripted stories: "The Sleigh Jacking" and "In Search of the Good Life".

These were followed by an adaptation of the "Sleep of the Just" story from issue 4 of the Marvel comic, scripted by Gerber and illustrated by Alan Kupperberg. Colan's departure (and eventually Gerber's) grew out of escalating disagreements fueled by a dispute with Marvel over the delay in payment for work on the strip.[8] Gerber was replaced by Marv Wolfman as writer while Alan Kupperberg continued as artist. The remaining stories were: "Close Encounters of the Fowl Kind", "The Tuesday Ruby", "The Clone Ranger", "The Mystery of the Maltese Human" and "Howard Heads Home". As the series drew to an end, its already meager list of client papers shrank, making copies of these last post Gerber stories particularly hard to find.

In November 1978, the first of a projected eight-issue series reprinting the entire strip was published by John Zawadzki. Titled It's Adventure Time with Howard the Duck, only the initial issue was published.[95]

Merchandise[edit]

7-11 glassware series "Super Heroes" from 1977.

Toys[edit]

  • A Howard the Duck action figure is sold together with Toy Biz's Marvel Legends Series 5 Silver Surfer figure. The only such figure as of 2009, it uses the original, pant-less version of the character.

Miniature gaming[edit]

  • The Heroclix Summer 2008 set entitled "Secret Invasion", includes Howard the Duck. His 'powers' include Master of Quack Fu, Official Non-person, and Trapped in a Game He Never Made. His sculpt shows him wearing pants.

Collected editions[edit]

  • Essential Howard the Duck collects Fear #19, Giant-Size Man-Thing #4-5 (Hell cow), Howard The Duck #1-27, Howard The Duck Annual #1, and Marvel Treasury Edition #12, 592 pages, March 2002, ISBN 978-0785108313
  • Howard the Duck Omnibus collects Fear #19, Man-Thing #1, Giant-Size Man-Thing #4-5, Howard the Duck #1-33, Marvel Treasury Edition #12, and Marvel Team-Up #96, 808 pages, August 2008, ISBN 978-0785130239
  • Spider-Man Strange Adventures includes Howard the Duck #1, 176 pages, November 1996, ISBN 978-0785102212
  • Howard the Duck collects Howard the Duck vol. 3 #1-6, 144 pages, September 2002, ISBN 978-0785109310
  • Howard the Duck: Media Duckling collects Howard the Duck vol. 4 #1-4, 128 pages, April 2008, ISBN 978-0785127765

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Where are the jokes? Howard the Duck meets his creator". Mediascene (25): 4–7. May–June 1977. 
  2. ^ McCoy, Paul Brian (March 16, 2010). "F.O.O.M. (Flashbacks of Ol' Marvel) #13: "If It Ain't Funk He Don't Feel It: Howard the Duck (1986)"". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1970s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 161. ISBN 978-0756641238. "December saw the debut of the cigar-smoking Howard the Duck. In this story by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik, various beings from different realities had begun turning up in the Man-Thing's Florida swamp, including this bad-tempered talking duck." 
  4. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 174: "Gerber and artist Frank Brunner quickly brought Howard back...in his own comic book."
  5. ^ Field, Tom (2005). Secrets in the Shadows: The Art & Life of Gene Colan. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 978-1893905450. 
  6. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 177: "Howard the Duck ended up being nominated as [a] presidential candidate!"
  7. ^ Daniels, Les (1991). Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics. Harry N. Abrams. p. 174. ISBN 9780810938212. "Stan Lee...recalls that the duck received thousands of write-in votes when he ran for President of the United States against Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in 1976." 
  8. ^ a b Cooke, Jon B. (April 2005). "Steve Gerber's Crazy Days". Comic Book Artist Collection, Vol. 3. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 978-1893905429. 
  9. ^ "Alan Kupperberg". Lambiek Comiclopedia. May 29, 2009. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2013. "In 1978 he took over the Howard the Duck weekly comic with Marv Wolfman." 
  10. ^ Howard the Duck #16 at the Grand Comics Database
  11. ^ "Marvel Fires Gerber". The Comics Journal (Fantagraphics Books) (41): 7. August 1978. 
  12. ^ a b c d Zimmerman, Dwight Jon (September 1986). "Steve Gerber (part 2)". Comics Interview (38) (Fictioneer Books). pp. 6–19. 
  13. ^ a b Schroeder, Darren (July 20, 2001). "Steve Gerber: The Dark Duck Returns". SilverBulletComicBooks.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  14. ^ Gerber, Steve (2001). "Scripts: The Unpublished Duck". SteveGerber.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2012. "Unfortunately, the then-editor-in-chief of Marvel requested changes in the story which I found unacceptable. As a result, I pulled the script, and it was never published." 
  15. ^ Shooter, Jim (August 2, 2011). "Gerber and the Duck – Part 2". Jim Shooter. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Gerber, Steve (January 17, 2007). "…and it’s not like you’re going to read about it on the Steve Gerber Web site". SteveGerberBlog. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  17. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Mayerik, Val (p), Trapani, Sal (i). "The Enchanter's Apprentice!" Adventure into Fear 19 (December 1973)
  18. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Mayerik, Val (p), Trapani, Sal (i). "Battle for the Palace of the Gods!" Man-Thing 1 (January 1974)
  19. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Brunner, Frank (p), Brunner, Frank (i). "Frog Death!" Giant-Size Man-Thing 4 (May 1975)
  20. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Brunner, Frank (p), Palmer, Tom (i). "Hellcow!" Giant-Size Man-Thing 5 (August 1975)
  21. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Brunner, Frank (p), Leialoha, Steve (i). "Howard the Barbarian" Howard the Duck 1 (January 1976)
  22. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1970s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 86. ISBN 978-0756692360. "Marvel's anthropomorphic duck, Howard, was given his own series, the first issue of which featured a guest appearance by Spider-Man to help ease new readers into the satirical title." 
  23. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Brunner, Frank; Starlin, Jim (p), Leialoha, Steve (i). "Cry Turnip!" Howard the Duck 2 (March 1976)
  24. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Buscema, John (p), Leialoha, Steve (i). "Four Feathers of Death!" Howard the Duck 3 (May 1976)
  25. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Leialoha, Steve (i). "The Sleep... of the Just!" Howard the Duck 4 (July 1976)
  26. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Leialoha, Steve (i). "I Want Mo-o-oney!" Howard the Duck 5 (September 1976)
  27. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Leialoha, Steve (i). "The Secret House of Forbidden Cookies!" Howard the Duck 6 (November 1976)
  28. ^ a b Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Leialoha, Steve (i). "The Way the Cookie Crumbles!" Howard the Duck 7 (December 1976)
  29. ^ a b Gerber, Steve (w), Buscema, Sal (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "The Duck and the Defenders" Marvel Treasury Edition 12 (1976)
  30. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Leialoha, Steve (i). "Scandal Plucks Duck" Howard the Duck 9 (February 1977)
  31. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "A Duck Possessed!" Howard the Duck 14 (July 1977)
  32. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "The Island of Dr. Bong!" Howard the Duck 15 (August 1977)
  33. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "Metamorphosis" Howard the Duck 18 (November 1977)
  34. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "Howard the Human!" Howard the Duck 19 (December 1977)
  35. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "Scrubba-dub Death!" Howard the Duck 20 (January 1978)
  36. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Infantino, Carmine (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "If You Knew Soofi...!" Howard the Duck 21 (February 1978)
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  38. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Mayerik, Val (p), Mayerik, Val (i). "Star Waaugh" Howard the Duck 23 (April 1978)
  39. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "Getting Smooth!" Howard the Duck 25 (June 1978)
  40. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "Repercussions...!" Howard the Duck 26 (July 1978)
  41. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Colan, Gene (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "Circus Maximus" Howard the Duck 27 (September 1978)
  42. ^ a b Mantlo, Bill (w), Colan, Gene (p), Milgrom, Al (i). "If This Be Bongsday!" Howard the Duck 30 (March 1979)
  43. ^ Mantlo, Bill (w), Colan, Gene (p), Milgrom, Al (i). "The Final Bong!" Howard the Duck 31 (May 1979)
  44. ^ Mantlo, Bill (w), Golden, Michael (p), McLeod, Bob (i). "The Tomb of Drakula!" Howard the Duck v2, 5 (May 1980)
  45. ^ Mantlo, Bill (w), Golden, Michael (p), McLeod, Bob (i). "Duckworld" Howard the Duck v2, 6 (July 1980)
  46. ^ Grant, Steven (w), Smith, Paul (p), Colletta, Vince (i). "Going Underground" Howard the Duck 32 (January 1986)
  47. ^ Stager, Christopher (w), Mayerik, Val (p), Mayerik, Val (i). "Material Duck" Howard the Duck 33 (September 1986)
  48. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Hitch, Bryan (p), Sanders, III, James (i). "A Baloney Place of Dying" Sensational She-Hulk 14 (April 1990)
  49. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Hitch, Bryan (p), Sanders, III, James (i). "Secret Warts" Sensational She-Hulk 15 (May 1990)
  50. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Hitch, Bryan (p), Sanders, III, James (i). "The Lowbrow Hunters" Sensational She-Hulk 16 (June 1990)
  51. ^ Robertson, Darick (w), Robertson, Darick (p), Moore, Jerome K. (i). "Crescent City Memories" Spider-Man Team-Up 5 (December 1996)
  52. ^ Velez, Jr., Ivan (w), Larroca, Salvador (p), Pennington, Mark (i). "Caught Between a Duck and a Hard Place" Ghost Rider v3, 81 (January 1997)
  53. ^ Velez, Jr., Ivan (w), Mhan, Pop (p), Lowe, John (i). "The Duck and the Amok" Ghost Rider v3, 82 (February 1997)
  54. ^ Lobdell, Scott (w), Bachalo, Chris (p), Buckingham, Mark (i). "Bodies In Motion" Generation X 20 (October 1996)
  55. ^ Hama, Larry (w), Ferry, Pasqual (p), Mendoza, Jaime (i). "Wreck the Malls with Hydra's Folly" Howard the Duck Holiday Special 1 (February 1997)
  56. ^ DeMatteis, J. M.; Dezago, Todd (w), Egeland, Martin (p), Shum, Howard M. (i). "Once Upon a Time..." Daydreamers 1 (August 1997)
  57. ^ DeMatteis, J. M.; Broderick, Jr., George (w), Egeland, Martin (p), Shum, Howard M. (i). "Across the Universe" Daydreamers 2 (September 1997)
  58. ^ DeMatteis, J. M.; Dezago, Todd; Josefowiez, Andy (w), Egeland, Martin (p), Shum, Howard M. (i). "Dark Eyes" Daydreamers 3 (October 1997)
  59. ^ DeMatteis, J. M (w), Sharp, Liam (p), Sharp, Liam (i). "An Empty House" Man-Thing v3, 5 (April 1998)
  60. ^ DeMatteis, J. M (w), Sharp, Liam (p), Sharp, Liam (i). "The Duck And The Muck" Man-Thing v3, 6 (May 1998)
  61. ^ DeMatteis, J. M (w), Sharp, Liam (p), Sharp, Liam (i). "In The Waters Of Eternity (Part 1)" Man-Thing v3, 7 (June 1998)
  62. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Winslade, Phil (p), Winslade, Phil (i). "Making the Band" Howard the Duck v3, 1 (March 2002)
  63. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Winslade, Phil (p), Winslade, Phil (i). "Endangered Species" Howard the Duck v3, 2 (April 2002)
  64. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Fabry, Glenn (p), Fabry, Glenn; Leach, Garry (i). "bad girls don't cry" Howard the Duck v3, 3 (May 2002)
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  66. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Winslade, Phil (p), Winslade, Phil (i). "gone to ohio" Howard the Duck v3, 5 (July 2002)
  67. ^ Gerber, Steve (w), Winslade, Phil (p), Winslade, Phil (i). "creator's rights" Howard the Duck v3, 6 (August 2002)
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  69. ^ Templeton, Ty (w), Langridge, Roger (p), Langridge, Roger (i). "Non-Human-Americans" Civil War: Choosing Sides 1 (December 2006)
  70. ^ Templeton, Ty (w), Bobillo, Juan (p), Sosa, Marcelo (i). "Sliding Into Home" Howard the Duck v4, 4 (March 2008)
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  76. ^ Montclare, Brandon (w), Kaluta, Michael; Bodenheim, Ryan; Bisley, Simon (p), Kaluta, Michael; Bodenheim, Ryan; Bisley, Simon (i). "Fight Fear With Fear" Fear Itself: Fearsome Four 1 (August 2011)
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  78. ^ Mantlo, Bill (w), Colan, Gene (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "Animal Indecency!" Howard the Duck v2, 2 (December 1979)
  79. ^ Shelton, Nate (November 2001). "Mad Genius, Angry Fowl". Diamond Previews Online. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2007. "The title character was no super-hero; he was just a cantankerous little guy named Howard who was, in the words of his creator, "the living embodiment of all that is querulous, opinionated, and uncool"…and happened to hail from an alternate Earth populated by "funny" cartoon animals." 
  80. ^ Schroeder, Darren (June 7, 2001). "Steve Gerber: An Absurd Journey Part I". SilverBulletComicBooks.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2013. "I suppose that would be Albert Camus's The Stranger, which I encountered my first or second year of college. This will sound appallingly narcissistic, but that book explained me to myself, in a way that nothing I'd ever read had done before. It was my introduction to existentialism, and, in a sense, it was directly responsible for the creation of Howard the Duck." 
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  90. ^ Gerber, Steve (w). "Fowl Play (text article)" The Savage Dragon / Destroyer Duck 1 (November 1996)
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  92. ^ [1]
  93. ^ Holtz, Allan (January 27, 2010). "Obscurity of the Day: Howard the Duck". Stripper's Guide. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2012. "The newspaper strip version began on June 6, 1977 at the height of Howard-mania. At first Steve Gerber and Gene Colan, the creative team on the comic book, handled the strip as well. Colan, however, dropped out after just five months, and his job was taken over by Val Mayerik, who was occasionally spelling Colan on the comic book." 
  94. ^ "''Howard the Duck'' strip listing and compilation". Nemsworld.com. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  95. ^ It's Adventure Time With....Howard the Duck at the Grand Comics Database

External links[edit]