Some things seem so far ahead of their time that they could never stick. Well, Howard the Duck has stuck. Way back in 1976, when Marvel Comics first unleashed the fluffy curmudgeon, he seemed like he’d come out of nowhere–and he had. That was his thing. He had a crunchy underground vibe to him and yet he got to hobnob with Spider-Man, the most iconic comic book character ever created. That must have been hilarious for Howard’s original creators, Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik.
Back then, in 1976, Howard also got to spend time with Red Sonja, all ready for a good fight in her chainmail bikini. This time around, Howard matches wits with a whipsmart tattoo artist. She would also look fine in a chainmail bikini but it ain’t gonna happen. Tara resoundingly puts him in his place. And all he did was call her, “doll.” Pretty tepid for the Howard of yesteryear. In this new Howard comic, writer Chip Zdarksky and artist Joe Quinones are definitely working off a different vibe than what came before.
While a lascivious Howard preying on half-naked women seemed so subversive in 1976, it’s a risky business in 2015. It would surely require some creative heavy lifting. And, in the cheesecake wars, this appears to be a battle not worth having. Of course, on the flipside, what have you got left once you defang a raunchy out-of-control misanthrope? In the end, the original Howard wasn’t so bad and he was more of a feminist than he got credit for.
Howard was a dirty, unstable, contradictory, and thoroughly messed up duck. So, I ask you, to clean him up too much is to snuff the life out of him, no?
However, if you never cared for the original underground-like Howard, then this Howard could be what you’re looking for. Consider him a second cousin to the wisecracking Rocket Raccoon. That said, this first issue is definitely a fun and worthwhile adventure.
With anything possible these days, it would come as no surprise to find Howard’s activities meeting up with Rocket Raccoon’s somewhere down the line, even on the big screen. Wasn’t an appearance by Howard the Duck the teaser at the end of the credits to “Guardians of the Galaxy”?
Howard the Duck #1 is available as of March 11. For more details, visit our friends at Marvel Comics right here.