Howard The Duck
First Appearance: Adventure Into Fear #19
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Howard is abducted from his home planet and is dropped into the Florida Everglades by the demonic Thog the Overmaster of the realm Sominus. He meets the Man-Thing, Korrek the Barbarian, Dakimh the Enchanter and Jennifer Kale, but falls off the inter-dimensional stepping stones. He materializes in Cleveland, Ohio and battles Garko the Man-Frog, for which he is arrested for disturbing the peace and mistaken for a mutant during a strip search. Released because the police fear he has mutant abilities, he encounters Bessie the Cow, a vampire cow.
Howard makes friends with an artists' model and a bizarre series of encounters follow. He battles Pro-Rata, the cosmic accountant, then meets Spider-Man. He battles Turnip-Man and the Kidney Lady, then learns Quak Fu, encounters the Winky Man, a sleepwalking alter ego of Beverly's artist friend, Paul Same, who would become a series regular (and share the apartment), and becomes a wrestler.
Howard and Beverly Switzler hit the road, seeking shelter in a gothic mansion where they battle an animated Gingerbread Man. They eventually end up in New York City, where Howard is nominated for U.S. President by the All-Night Party. Howard battles the Band of the Bland — Dr. Angst, Sitting Bullseye, Tillie the Hun, the Spanker, and Black Hole — alongside the Defenders. A doctored-photo scandal leads him to Canada, and the defeat of a supervillain, Le Beaver, who falls to his death. Howard then suffers a nervous breakdown, and flees Bev and their situation on a bus. Unfortunately, the passengers are all believers in various weird cults, and try to interest Howard in them. His seatmates are Winda Wester (afflicted with an Elmer Fudd-like speech impediment) and S. Blotte the Kidney Lady. After the bus crashes, Howard and Winda are sent to a mental institution. There he meets Daimon Hellstrom, and is briefly possessed by Hellstrom's demonic soul, becoming the Son of Satan. Beverly and Paul get them both back to Cleveland. Later, while on a cruise ship returning from scenic Bagmom, Howard and Beverly are taken captive by Lester Verde, who had a crush on Beverly in college and is now in the identity of the supervillain Doctor Bong, who illegally marries Beverly against her will and transforms Howard into a human. After escaping back to New York and being restored to his natural form, Howard is hired as a dishwasher by Beverly's uncle and namesake, who goes by Lee. Howard battles Sudd, and then battles Soofi. Howard is then reunited with the Man-Thing, Korrek, and Jennifer Kale, and they all battle Bzzk'Joh. After finally meeting up with the cruise ship that rescues Paul and Winda, now befriended by socialite Iris Raritan, he then attends her party on Long Island, where he is abducted by the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime. Paul is shot and left in a coma, and Winda, abandoned by Paul and Iris, is apparently raped by a hobo. After defeating the Circus of Crime, Howard, plagued by pessimistic dreams, goes his way alone, as he had at the beginning of the series.
Writer Bill Mantlo, beginning with issue #30, returned the series to its former status quo, bringing Beverly back into the picture and having her divorce Doctor Bong, and getting Paul, who has been shot by the Ringmaster, out of the hospital. Lee Switzler brings everyone back to Cleveland and employs Howard as a cab driver, while Paul, back to being a somnambulist after his release from the hospital, seems to have become Winda's boyfriend. Howard dons a suit of "Iron Duck" armor, and battles Doctor Bong. He encountered Dracula, and even returns to Duckworld at one point. At the end of the magazine series, Howard walks away from Beverly (at her request). After that, he is mistaken for "Duck Drake, Private Eye", meets CeCe Ryder when hitchhiking and battles the Gopher. and is later offered a genetically constructed mate whom he does not take to.
She-Hulk accidentally pulls him though a cosmic wormhole, and along with theoretical physicist Brent Wilcox, they prevent other universes from crowding out Earth-616. By this point, Beverly is working as a rent-a-ninja. Howard met the Critic, and traveled to the Baloneyverse, and battled Dr. Angst and his cohorts.
In an encounter with Peter Parker, Ben Reilly (then-current Spider-Man), and a rematch with the Circus of Crime, Howard and Beverly get stuck in a warehouse full of anthropomorphic ducks, briefly meeting the Savage Dragon and Destroyer Duck. The group leaves the warehouse believing that they have brought the correct Howard with them.
The sorceress Jennifer Kale, in a weekly attempt to return Howard (a Howard with stubble who accuses her and Doctor Strange of being responsible for bringing him to this world) to his home world, inadvertently teleports Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy into her New York apartment. The disoriented dinosaur attempts to eat Howard, but spits him out when shot with John Blaze's hellfire gun, then rampages through the city before being subdued by Ghost Rider (Daniel Ketch). Howard relates to the pair being trapped in a world he never made, and wanders off.
After a series of adventures with Generation X, Howard gets a job as a department store Santa Claus, which gets him dragged to the North Pole, where the real Santa Claus has sold out to Hydra. Howard goes through several dimensions, apparently through the power of Man-Thing, who can now talk but does not understand this ability, and lands on a version of Duckworld where his parents are essentially Ward and June Cleaver, has a sister named Princess, and is regarded as a hero because his activities on Earth-616 were recognized by Duckworld's version of Reed Richards. This origin traces the source of these dimensions to be projections from Franklin's mind, though through the course of the adventure, Howard has a romance with Tana Nile, culminating in a kiss, after which he apologizes and tells her of his attachment to Beverly. When Franklin understands that he has shaped all these worlds, they find themselves back in Man-Thing's swamp. While Man-Thing became a self-appointed guardian to Franklin Richards, Howard went off on his own and was captured by the Cult of Entropy, who wrapped him in swaddling clothes. Although we last saw him in the swamp, he states that he was thrown into baggage and transported on a plane. The cult wants him because he has part of the Nexus of All Realities, which shattered during Heroes Reborn, inside him, which he knows because it is making him nauseous. Man-Thing enters his gullet, and Howard vomits him back out with the fragment, but the former is left desiccated and practically dead. He then encountered Namor, who thought he had slain the creature, but Howard explains that he would not be lugging his friend's body if that were the case. Howard sets Man-Thing down in the water, and he revives during the conversation with Namor. Once he sees that Man-Thing is alive and well, he bids Namor farewell and says he is returning to Cleveland.
Back with Beverly, he undergoes further shape-shifting experiments from Doctor Bong. Beverly is hired by Verde's Globally Branded Content Corporation, which manufactures boy bands from protein vats based on the sexual arousal of a focus group of gay men. Attempting to destroy an escapee whom Beverly has taken in, Bong inadvertently knocks Howard into a vat, which changes him, unstably, into a mouse—showering changes his form multiple times. Verde then goes to the press and claims that his building was attacked by Osama el-Barka ("Osama the Duck" in Arabic). Howard and Beverly are sent back on the road after the junkyard office where they are living is destroyed by a S.W.A.T. team. Denied admittance to every possible shelter due to lack of funds, the pair and their dog find a sign for the Boarding House of Mystery, but are taken to the police station for questioning and strip searches by Suzy Pazuzu, with whom Beverly had attended high school. One of the officers on the case is the same beat cop who mistook Howard for a mutant many years before. Suzy is the inheritor of the doucheblade, which starts to take her over until in a skirmish, the bracelet is caught by Howard. The doucheblade causes its holder to grow enormous bare breasts and armor in a parody of Witchblade, and possessed by this, Howard kills the male lover of a businessman who works with Verde as he and Verde break into Suzy's house.
Arriving at the Boarding House of Mystery, Howard and Beverly encounter Cain and Abel, the latter with a rock stuck in his head that allows him only moments of lucidity. There, they are granted their every wish, including Howard's return to his true form, and Beverly never being tight again, and meet parodies of John Constantine, Wesley Dodds, The Endless, Spider Jerusalem, and Gerber's own Nevada (called Utah), all characters from DC Comics' Vertigo imprint. The downside is that everyone staying in the place gets their every wish, so Che Guevara can have his revolution, but someone else can easily slaughter him. One tenant, a writer named Mr. Gommorah (a parody of Spider Jerusalem), takes Beverly and Howard to be on the Iprah Show with the topic "Why Women Give It to Men Who Don't Get It", guest starring Dr. Phlip. Upon leaving the house, Howard is once again transformed into a mouse. Iprah has been merged with an experiment by the Angel Gabriel called Deuteronomy, intended to replace God, because God has been spending all his time in a bar in Hell since 1938. Deuteronomy is a creature half id and half superego, while Iprah is an all-ego promoter of self-indulgent pop psychology. Considering her dangerous, Gabriel sends Cherub Thrasher to resurrect Sigmund Freud, whose cigar blasts out half of Thrasher's brains (being immortal, this just makes him act drunk). Iprah destroys Freud, but Howard blasts her with the cigar, separating her from Deuteronomy. Puffing on the cigar, Howard disintegrates and arrives in Hell. He is eventually freed by Yah, a being who claims to be "God". A few years later he was reunited with his parents and brother at a baseball game in Dakvorlde.[volume & issue needed]
Sometime later, Howard attempts to register under the Superhero Registration Act during the Superhero Civil War, but learns his socially disrupted life has created so many bureaucratic headaches that the government's policy is that Howard does not exist. This lack of government oversight delights him: "No more parking tickets, no taxes, no jury duty". In this story Howard says he was pressured to give up his cigars.
After he defeats the supervillain M.O.D.O.T.'s scheme to control the public through mass media, his attorney, Jennifer Walters, successfully restores his citizenship including all relevant responsibilities.
Howard the Duck is briefly seen as part of the super-powered army gathered to battle invading Skrull forces. He is seen armed with a pistol, a Skrull's hand around his neck. He is later seen kicking a Skrull during interrogation after the invasion. Brian Michael Bendis has commented when asked of Howard: "That character has shown up in six issues I've done, and I've never typed the words Howard the Duck".
Marvel Zombies 5
Main article: Marvel Zombies 5
In Marvel Zombies 5, Howard the Duck of Earth-616 teams up with Machine Man to travel across the multiverse fighting zombies.
During the Fear Itself storyline, Howard forms a team called the Fearsome Four with She-Hulk, Frankenstein's Monster and Nighthawk to stop the Man-Thing when he goes on a rampage in Manhattan, due to the fear and chaos he senses on the citizens. They later discover a plot by Psycho-Man to use Man-Thing's volatile empathy to create a weapon.
Spider-Man: Back in Quack
Howard and Beverly were brainwashed and forced to work for S.O.O.F.I. as Cynical Duck and Swizzle. They promoted S.O.O.F.I. at a public speech held for them by J. Jonah Jameson. Spider-Man interrupted a S.O.O.F.I. indoctrination at the New York Public Library, and Beverly and the other S.O.O.F.I.'s saw Spidey as a semi-demonic figure and attacked. Spidey escaped with Howard and broke his brainwashing because Beverly was threatened. Howard quickly explained S.O.O.F.I.'s goals to Spider-Man. As Spider-Man publicly announced his long-standing support for S.O.O.F.I., Howard confronted Bev as she stood by the Supreme S.O.O.F.I.. Howard broke through to Beverly, reminding her of their past. The leader ordered the S.O.O.F.I.'s to throw the pair into the special Blanditron at Guantanamo Bay, and Beverly kept them at bay with her whip. Spidey attacked them and unmasked the Supreme S.O.O.F.I., while the others escaped though their teleporter. Howard believed S.O.O.F.I.'s would lay low for a while after such a defeat, he also hoped their Florida Everglades base might lead them to meet up with the Man-Thing.
Because of his experience with zombie-infested worlds and his leadership of Machine Man, he was chosen as the leader of, as he dubbed them, the Ducky Dozen. The team was composed of him, several golden age heroes, Dum-Dum Dugan, and Battlestar, who is also a veteran of a zombie incident. Upon entering Earth-12591, the Ducky Dozen fought hordes of zombie Nazis and Asgardians, but suffered grave losses as either members were either killed or zombified in battle. After successfully accomplishing their mission Howard, Dugan, Taxi Taylor and Battlestar were the only members left to survive and returned to Earth-616 along with the Riveter, the only survivor of Earth-12591's resistance team the Suffragists.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Howard teamed up with his friend Doop to battle Robo-Barbarians in Dimension ZZZ. They beat the horde back with nothing but a broken sword, a rubber chicken with nails in it and a gun that shoots bees.
After the death of Uatu the Watcher and the activation of the secrets buried in his eye, Howard discovered that he had the potential to be the most intelligent being in Duckworld. After evading a squirrel while driving, he was thrown flying and used his intellect to calculate a way to land safely in a dumpster.
Back to New York
Howard returned to his business as a private eye, working in the same building as She-Hulk, in Brooklyn. One of his first new clients was Jonathan Richards, who hired Howard to retrieve a necklace stolen by the Black Cat. With the help of Tara Tam, his new friend and assistant, Howard managed to recover the necklace. But on his way to give it back to Richards, he found himself kidnapped by the Collector and allied with the Guardians of the Galaxy to escape the villain's collection. Upon returning to Earth, he confronted the Ringmaster, who had been hypnotizing old people into robbing for him, after he was robbed by Aunt May, Spider-Man's aunt. After recovering the necklace for a third time, Howard was approached by Richards in the middle of his fight against the Ringmaster and Richards revealed himself to be Talos the Untamed, who revealed that the necklace was part of a marginally powerful item known as the Abundant Glove. With help from Doctor Strange, Howard and Tara located the final piece of the Abundant Glove, but were unable to put it all together when Talos grabbed it, who proceeded to use it to wreak havoc on the city. Talos was confronted by numerous heroes while Howard and Tara took cover. He was able to point out that Tara, who revealed to possess shapeshifting powers similar to that of a Skrull, could help him defeat Talos. Tara used her powers to impersonate Skrull Emperor Kl'rt (Super-Skrull), distracting Talos long enough for Howard to snatch the Abundant Glove from his hand. Talos was later apprehended by the Fantastic Four and everything went back to normal.
Powers And Abilities
Howard has no superhuman powers, but he is skilled in the martial art known as Quack-Fu, enough to defeat, or to at least hold his own against, far larger opponents. He has shown some degree of mystic talent in the past, to the point that Stephen Strange taught some spells to Howard and even offered to train him, but Howard declined.
On occasion, Howard used a suit of powered armor known as the "Iron Duck" designed by Claude Starkowski. Besides its property as body armor, the suit was equipped with foot-mounted leaping coils, a chest-mounted searchlight, and flamethrowers in both arms.