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January 3, 2016

Character Spotlight: Howard the Duck

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Written by: Dr. Bustos
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The star of the first Marvel movie. Lost in a world not his own. Oh, and he’s a duck man. Howard the Duck is has one of Marvel’s stranger journey’s in the 616 and beyond. How did this guy get from a world of ducks to a world of superheroes? Let’s find out!

Howard the Duck was from a planet where all beings were duck people, no relation to Duckburg. Forcibly summoned by Thog, the Overmaster, Howard arrived in the Florida Everglades where reality is thin. He’d end up falling off the multi-dimensional platform that had brought him and end up in Cleveland, Ohio. Now trapped on Earth Howard would do his best with a bad situation.

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Befriending model, Beverly Switzler and her artist friend, Paul Same, Howard would save Beverly from the cosmic accountant and she’d allow Howard to live with her. In just a few short months Howard would become a wrestler, get nominated for President of the United States of America, and fight a gingerbread man. Howard would meet many superheroes early on after arriving on Earth. Spider-Man was someone he’d have frequent run-ins with. Howard’s adventures were always on the stranger side. He’d work with The Defenders and stop the Circus of Crime when they kidnapped him.

Becoming a cab driver, Howard would try to live as normal a life he could but still ends up in weird locations. He’d soon end up in his own Iron Duck armor in one adventure and facing off with Dracula in another. She-Hulk would accidentally wrangle him into saving the universe from inter-dimensional crowding. Peter Parker and his clone Ben Reilly would help Howard when the Circus of Crime came looking for a rematch with him.

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Just because he was stuck on Earth, doesn’t mean others weren’t trying to get Howard back to his home. Sorceress Jennifer Kale had been attempting to send Howard back home on a weekly basis but on one such attempt summoned Devil Dinosaur by mistake. Howard would be slightly eaten by the crimson creature but survive and even sympathize with Devil Dinosaur for being stuck in a place they were never meant to be.

Getting a job as a department store Santa, Howard would eventually find himself trapped at the North Pole learning that the real Santa Claus had sold out to Hydra. After that is all settled, Man-Thing ends up sending Howard through multiple dimensions including one where he is nearly back home but it’s as if he’s on a duck-version of Leave It To Beaver and with duck-versions of the superheroes he’d met on Earth. Here, Howard was a hero, he’d learn that this was a reality created by Franklin Richards of the Fantastic Four family and return back home with other reality tossed heroes.

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Beverly and Howard would become homeless for a period of time and end up staying at the Boarding House of Mystery. Here they would meet people who were eerily similar to John Constantine, Spider-Jerusalem, and Wesley Dodds to name a few. Howard would get involved with heavenly problems that would get him to meet a being that claimed to be God and even get a brief time to be with his family again.

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When the Civil War broke out, Howard went to register and learned that he was such a headache for the U.S. Government that they’d made Howard a nonentity. Howard immediately took advantage of this by getting parking tickets and not paying taxes, knowing he couldn’t be punished for them. He’d stop a M.O.D.O.T. (Mobile Organism Designed Only for Talking) from taking control of people using the media. She-Hulk was able to use her skills as a lawyer to reinstate Howard as a citizen of the United States and suddenly all those tickets and taxes were adding up.

During the Skrull Invasion, Howard would be part of the heroes who would fight back. Due to his experiences with multiple dimensions, Howard would work with Machine Man fighting their way through the dimensions of zombies that were spreading. When the events of Fear Itself cause Man-Thing to go on a rampage, Howard unites with She-Hulk, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Nighthawk to stop him.

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Known for helping Machine Man with zombies, Howard is brought in to lead a team of 11 other heroes to take on the source dimension of the zombies head on. They’d fight zombie Nazis and zombie Asgardians but sadly only Howard, Dum Dum Dugan, Taxi Taylor and Battlestar would survive.

Returning to New York, Howard would begin a private investigation business next door to She-Hulk’s law firm. He’d make friends with a young woman named Tara Tam who would become his assistant as well. They’d end up embroiled in dealing with an item called Abundant Glove, a lesser of the Infinity Gauntlet. This would have Howard teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange over the course of finding a piece of the glove and then stopping the glove’s owner from gaining control of it. Who knows what weird adventures Howard will get into next.

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There you have it folks! Howard the Duck may have gained notoriety for a bizarre film from the 1980s but he’s always been weirder than that. He was forced to wear pants due to Disney back in the day, who now owns him. He’s had some very adult adventures as well as some of the silliest. In the end, one thing is the same, Howard still finds Earth to be the strangest rock he’s ever been stuck on.

Suggested Reading
Adventure into Fear #19
Howard the Duck

Dr. Bustos
drbustos@comicattack.net

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