There is a renewed interest in Howard the Duck, and it showing up in the comics. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Guardians of the Galaxy movie had plenty of surprises in store for its cinema audiences, but as is the case with a lot of Marvel movies, its the after credits cameo really got audiences whooping with delight. Be warned spoilers are coming.
If you do not know by now, Howard the Duck has made his triumphant return to the cinema screens at the end of the box office smashing Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Howard the Duck’s existence has had its ups and downs to say the least. Created in 1973 by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik, Howard took a very satirical look at the world and was a big hit with students. But over the years, as the character changed there was one event that still haunts fans to this day.
In 1986 Howard the Duck was turned into a feature film. To say it did not capture the spirit and anarchy of the original comic would be an understatement. The film tanked and for the most part was disowned by comic and film fans alike.
But now we may finally be able to move the character past that ’86 debacale because he is back in the Marvel cinematic universe. This does open up a whole flood gate of questions though with regards to Howard and his future. Here at Geek we want to look into a few of these questions and the reasons for Howard’s return.
In a recent interview James Gunn gave an explanation into why they chose to bring Howard back:
“We had one plan for the first tag, and another for the second tag. Originally, we were going to put Baby Groot dancing at the very end of the movie. But we kept trying to think of different things. We had a bunch of stuff with Cosmo (the Russian cosmonaut dog) and different ideas, and I think it was some combination of me and the editor Fred Raskin who said, ‘Let’s put Howard The Duck in there.’ What if The Collector looks over and sees Howard The Duck sitting there? And I wrote down the line, ‘Whaddya let it lick you like that for? Gross.’ Fred and I thought it was hilarious but we weren’t sure that (Head of Marvel Studios) Kevin Feige would go for it. But we told Kevin and Kevin couldn’t stop laughing.”
Seems director James Gunn (much like every other film fan) was not a fan of the movie version of Howard either if his tweet is anything to go by.
For the record, I'm not a fan of the Howard the Duck movie, but I was an ENORMOUS fan of Steve Gerber's Howard in the comics as a kid.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 26, 2014
The great news for comic fans about this cameo is that it has sparked interest in the original comic book run. Marvel has caught onto this idea and now you’ll be able to buy the Howard the Duck Omnibus in October. The original omnibus has been out of print for quite some time, and only available to fans a at rather hefty price. This new hardback edition will cost $100 and will cover Adventures Into 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. If October seems too far away then you can always visit the Marvel store and purchase the single issues digitally, giving everyone the chance to experience Howard in their own way.
James Gunn’s love of the character can also be seen in his adding the credit for creators Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik. Now we will never be able to know what Steve has to say about the credit (he passed in 2008), but in a podcast, Val was obviously touched by the acknowledgement.
“I saw that entire frame, that entire card that was given over to Steve and myself. Whereas the other creators, Jim Starlin, Bill Mantlo and so forth, were given credit, but it was more a group of names. I was quite taken aback, I was quite bewildered, I was quite humbled, I was quite…overwhelmed by it. Whoever chose to do that was obviously a big fan of the character, and doing that for me and Steve, I thought, was terrific. All I can do is feel a little regret that Steve is not alive to have seen that. Steve would have gotten a real charge out of seeing that, finally, he’s gotten his due.”
Going back to Howard’s Marvel Universe cameo and who was actually behind the duck? Seth Green is the voice behind the feathers and it seems according to certain websites that the reason for this is that the original role was offered up to fandom favorite Nathan Fillion. He decided against it, going for a smaller blue alien cameo, leaving himself open for possibly an even bigger role in the Marvel universe in the near future. Seth seems to have stepped in due to his connection to director James.
“Seth Green, who voices Howard, is a really close friend of mine. I hang out with him a lot and we’ve been friends for a long time, over ten years now. I came up with a list of three guys I took to Kevin and said that these guys are all good friends, and I think they would come in and do it for me. He reacted really well to Seth Green.”
So the final question we have to ask ourselves is. Will we get another Howard movie?
“I’ll be honest with you, I was just talking about it with my assistant right now,” laughs Gunn. “It’s possible Howard could reappear as more of a character in the Marvel Universe. But if people think that’s going to lead to a Howard The Duck movie, that’s probably not going to happen in the next four years. Who knows after that?”
Kevin Feige also had his views on Howard’s cinematic future.
“I think it would be fun to lay claim to Howard and to remind people that he’s more than just a pseudonym for film failure. And that he is a Marvel character. That would be fun”
It certainly would be fun for Howard fans as well as a whole generation who are just now seeing the duck for the first time. Though we may not see his return for a while, with the revival of the comic series via reprints, we will no doubt see some more Howard in the future, one form or another.
What do you think of Howard the Duck’s return? Why not comment below and let us know.
Images: Marvel Entertainment, Disney, Universal Pictures.