Writer: Chip “Who Are You And What Are You Doing In My Dressing Room” Zdarsy
Art: Joe “No Officer, I’ve Never Seen That Man Before In My Life” Quinones
Publisher: Marvel “This Is The Last Time We’re Bailing You Out Chip” Comics
Summary from Comixology: “Howard the Duck is back! Join him as he takes on the weird cases that only a talking duck can crack as the Marvel Universe’s resident private investigator! Let Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones guide you through his new world as he takes on the Black Cat and mysterious forces from outer space! Waugh!”
Howard the Duck is a unique character. He first appeared in Marvel comics in the early 70’s, as a secondary character in a few Man-Thing stories, before graduating to his own series later in that same decade. In the 80’s, he was butchered (not literally) in the much maligned (literally) Howard the Duck movie, which was produced by none other than the senile old godfather of modern sci-fi cinema, Georgie Lucas. I actually don’t hate that movie though. I recognize it as barely even a shadow of who the character really is, but I’m a sucker for campy-flicks, and that is one of the campiest. Anyway, jumping ahead, last year Howard received some much deserved proper recognition when James Gunn dropped him into Guardians of the Galaxy in a fun little cameo spot (the character was voiced by nerd-culture-hero Seth Green), and the popularity of that seems to be what may have spurred Marvel to give Howie his own series again. Thank. God…
Chip Zdarsky is high. I’m sorry. I meant, “A high.” He’s a high point for this comic. He is, and always was, the only person who could write this character into the current landscape of comics, especially since it’s Marvel domain. Everything is space-related now, and even though Howard’s origin’s are sci-fi related, he doesn’t come across as a science fiction type character. I mean, yes, he is a talking duck, but my point is that the character doesn’t behave like he belongs in a science fiction story, and Chip 100% nails that aspect of the character.
The artwork is terrific. Joe and his art-team (Rico Renzi on Colors, and Travis Lanhamon Letters) do a fantastic job of making the book cartoon-ish, but not childish (Chip does a fine job making things childish on his own, he doesn’t need the help). The pages are full of bright, balanced colors, and the line-work is so damn precise that I’m inclined to accuse Quinones of being a robot. That is to say, it’s pretty flawless artwork.
I rarely have anything “low” to address in my reviews and this one is no different. I was very pleased with the way the book read and I’m excited for more.
The Final Say:
Howard the Duck is great. The character is great, this book is great, the caramel macchiato I just drank while writing this review was great, the guy sitting a few tables up with his back to me working on a photoshop project of radishes is… weird? But that’s beside the point. I’m awarding Howard the Duck #1 5 out of 5 stars. I love the funny comics. The ones that make you laugh out loud. Harley Quinn, Rocket Raccoon, Men of Wrath, etc. And Howard the Duck is definitely on that list now. Go pick up this book before you get left behind, spitting out everyone else’s tail-feathers. WAUGH!
Howard is a classic character trapped in a modern world. He’s a private-eye with a 50’s era vibe (that kind of rhymes, but it was an accident). I highly recommend listening to Me First and The Gimme Gimmes album “…Blow in the Wind.” It’s classic American music, with a modern punk-rock twist. (I’m told that’s what the kids are into nowadays.)