Howard the Duck Brings Quack-Fu Back to Marvel Comics

Comic Books
Cover by Joe Quinoness. Source: Marvel Comics

When he appeared in the post-credits stinger for Guardians of the Galaxy, Howard the Duck caused some to celebrate, some to shake their heads and the younger crowd to ask; “who was that?” Not surprisingly, Marvel has announced Howard’s official return to comics in the all-new Howard the Duck #1 coming this March.

No matter what your reaction to Howard’s cinematic return, there was no doubting he would in some way make an even bigger return to the world of comics. Ready to rehab Howard’s image after George Lucas’ disastrous 1986 film adaptation, Marvel is diving in to the new series with Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals, Original Sin) writing, and art by Joe Quinones (Savage Wolverine, Harley Quinn). Zdarsky has a knack for satire, with Sex Criminals, his co-created Image Comics series standing out as one of the freshest, funniest comics of 2014. Sex Criminals is also one of the edgiest, most-adult books on the market, so it will be interesting to see just how risqué Zdarsky’s Howard might get.

The new ongoing series will revolve around Howard as a New York private eye taking strange cases from Marvel Universe characters like Black Cat, She Hulk and maybe even some of the Guardians of the Galaxy. There will also be backup stories from a handful of other writers beginning in issue #2.

Created in 1973 by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik, Howard the Duck is one of the strangest, most satirical and cult sensible characters of all time. Ironically, The Walt Disney Company once threatened legal action against Marvel for Howard’s perceived likeness to Donald Duck. Marvel saved face by adding pants to the character, which he appears to still be wearing today.

There’s no telling if Howard will return to the big screen, but with his tendency to show up across the Marvel Universe, it’s fun to speculate. In Marvel’s Civil War series Howard gets buried in bureaucratic red tape when he attempts to register under the Superhero Registration Act. The Civil War storyline, in part, will be the basis for the next Captain America film, so maybe Howard will make an appearance.

If you can’t wait until the new series this March, Marvel just released the Howard the Duck Omnibus collecting stories from Adventures Into Fear #19, Man-Thing #1, Giant-Size Man-Thing #4-5, Howard the Duck #1-33, Marvel Treasury #12 and Marvel Team-Up #96.

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3 thoughts on “Howard the Duck Brings Quack-Fu Back to Marvel Comics

  1. I’m thrilled that Howard is back. I’d be even more thrilled if the artist involved knew what he looks like. Sadly, that cover looks more like the pathetic “guy in a duck suit” version from the film, and not like the good version of Howard. The movie stunk and was a flop, so why are we emulating it?

    1. I hadn’t read the original comics, so I had to go do some poking around—only to discover that Howard originally looked a lot like Donald Duck, probably intentionally. Now that Marvel and Disney have collided, does it mean that it’d be okay for Howard to look pretty much exactly like Donald?

  2. When the Disney-Marvel dispute was settled, Marvel circulated a model sheet spelling out the details of the Disney-approved, non-infringing redesign of the character. It looked a lot more like Howard than this new version. You can see those documents here:

    Howard should look like Howard. I can live with either the pre-lawsuit version or the approved design shown here. Everything done since then in the comics has been derived from the horrible movie.

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