Steve Gerber’s original Howard the Duck is one of the finest works of satire ever produced by any comics company, and for 30 issues Gerber and artist Gene Colan produced some astonishing work that pushed what Marvel could do and the medium of comics. Gerber’s influence can be clearly seen in the likes of Alan Moore’s early material though Gerber’s a name thrown around he doesn’t get the appreciation for his work that he deserves. Issue #16 of the original run is a remarkable issue as deadlines were running late so ended Gerber ended up doing a series of stream of consciousness text pieces that dealt with Gerber’s own nervous breakdown, the Duck itself, the medium of comics and generally anything that popped into his head. It’s a remarkable issue even today. Sadly The Duck gave Gerber problems that are well documented but that run is an example of fine comics.
So off the back of Howard’s cameo in the Guardian of the Galaxy Marvel has brought this cash-in out. This time the comic is created by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones and neither of them have the talent Gerber had in one of his fingers.
It’s not that these creators are especially poor, or this is a terrible comic (it’s not exactly brilliant mind) but it’s trying desperately hard to be zany, funny and witty but is a blunt tool compared to those Gerber issues as one gag comes after another in what is as said, a blatant cash-in for people that don’t hold affection for Howard’s comics, but that bloody George Lucas film that’s it’s hip to knock but many seem to actually like for some bizarre reason.
It’s trying to capture some of the same tone and fun of Marvel’s Squirrel Girl comic but this just comes across like a bunch of teenagers that have got drunk on their first pints of cider and find anything funny, when in fact, it’s not really.It’s a series of gags, a fight scene and a Rocket Raccoon tease to get the Guardians of the Galaxy fans excited but really this is an empty exercise in marketing.
There’s a lot that can be done with Howard the Duck and this has found an audience but it’s depressing that something Steve Gerber put his heart into is now just being used to milk money out of people for Marvel and Disney.Pity, there’s a place in the mainstream for something as vicious as The Duck used to be, but this isn’t that beast.