Howard the Duck appeared as a newspaper comic strip for sixteen months from June 1977 through October 1978, consisting of eleven story arcs told through 511 individual strips. Authorized by Marvel Comics and syndicated throughout North America by the Register and Tribune Syndicate, the strip appeared in newspapers daily (i.e. Monday to Saturday) in black-and-white and Sundays in color

Howard the Duck is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik. Howard the Duck first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 (cover-dated Dec. 1973) and several subsequent series have chronicled the misadventures of the ill-tempered, anthropomorphic “funny animal” trapped on a 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.” 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”.

Howard the Duck was portrayed by Ed Gale and voiced by Chip Zien in the 1986 Howard the Duck film adaptation, and was later voiced by Seth Green in the films Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, both set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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6 responses »

  1. Dennis Roy says:

    ==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”==

    Howard’s not from “outer space”, he’s from Duckworld, a parallel earth where sentient (not to say intelligent) creatures evolved from waterfowl, instead of primates, as they did on our earth. If Gloria Katz can’t even get THAT much right, what possible hope does she have of apprehending whether or not Gerber’s original Howard the Duck comic book character (IF she even looked at it) is “existential”, or not? Which pretty much proves my point about comic book movies — that they have little (if anything at all) to do with the comics on which they’re purportedly based. It’s all a big marketing scheme involving brand-name recognition, and nothing else.

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    • boutje777 says:

      I agree.

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    • nightrelic says:

      Comic book based movies were a lot different back when the Howard The Duck movie was made. The people involved in the projects rarely had even read the comic books. Which was obviously the case here. The current movies Marvel is making themselves don’t suffer from that. Moving away from the source is a conscious choice. Whereas what happened with Howard came from ignorance of the source.

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  2. Dennis Roy says:

    Maybe. I have no interest in the current Marvel movies, but it’s hard to say which came first, my lack of interest in the films, or my lack of interest in the Marvel comic books released concurrent with the beginning of the production of of those films. Robert Downey Junior’s Tony Stark is the same Tony Stark character which appeared in the comic books published by Marvel prior to the production of the films? I don’t THINK so. He’s Stark only if Stark somehow had the young Peter Parker’s wise-ass personality grafted onto him. That’s just one random example that sticks out.

    And Gloria Katz may not have recognized Howard the Duck as existential, but the script really isn’t that movie’s main problem. It’s basically a funny movie, and Lea Thompson’s character, although somewhat different than Beverly Switzler in the comic book, is charming nonetheless (also arguably much less iconic a character than Tony Stark, so more malleable for film). The movie’s main problem is — IT STARS A MIDGET IN A DUCK SUIT. That basic disconnect in suspension-of-disbelief undermines the film from the get-go. I’m convinced that if the film had spent some money to animate Howard similar to the later Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, it would have been received entirely differently even with exactly the same script, and might well be regarded as a cult classic today.

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  3. puttesnutte says:

    Dead link

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