Marvel is reviving a crass, drink-swilling duck from the ’70s with the help of a Toronto artist.
The entertainment goliath will be launching a new comic book series based on Howard the Duck — an ill-tempered, satirical character from another planet who has a penchant for cigars and is prone to adventure. The character was teased in a post-credits sequence from the recent blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, but is still best known from a failed 1980s screen adaptation.
The forthcoming comic series, featuring Howard as a private investigator, will be written by Steve Murray, a Torontonian and former National Post illustrator who goes by the name Chip Zdarsky, along with American comic artist Joe Quinones.
Murray told the Toronto Star he wants the series to be funny, but also in keeping with the character’s famous past.
“Hopefully it will live up to what has come before,” Murray said. “There is certainly a lot of pressure with taking over a book that was beloved by a lot of people.”
He said his interest in Howard the Duck was first sparked during visits to his “weird Uncle Fred” who had a large comic collection.
“Whenever I went to his house those were the ones I would read because they were weird and adult in tone so they felt elicit,” he said. “In grade six, I quite enjoyed the Howard the Duck movie even though I now recognize that it is terrible.”
Murray first got involved with Marvel after he released an Image Comics series called Sex Criminals, which was nominated this year for an Eisner Award. The series also caught the eye of a Marvel editor, who enlisted Murray to put together some humorous, one-off covers for the company before Marvel asked if he had any ideas for Howard the Duck.
Since then, Murray has written Howard’s first script and Quinones has begun drafting artwork to accompany it. Beyond that, the pair has only plotted out the first few issues.
Howard, who first appeared in the Marvel Universe in 1973, has had a rocky relationship with the comic book company often involving disputes over creative control and the direction of the character, and even a threatened lawsuit from Disney over Howard’s similarity to Donald Duck.