Monday, August 3, 2020

Marvel Immersion Project: Howard the Duck #25-31

I'll be moving on from Howard soon.  The end for the series was messy - unfortunate yet oddly appropriate.  It's on to the X-men next for me.

My Recent Reads

Howard the Duck #25
Originally Published June 1, 1978
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artist: Gene Colan
  • Paul and Winda are finally back in town.  Paul has a wad of cash from rich ship passengers who paid him for portraits.  
  • Paul's not shy about spreading cash around, buying Howard a new jacket and new cigars.  The big spending makes Howard nervous.
  • The trio attends a party thrown by Paul's new patron, Iris Raritan.  The entertainment is supplied by some old friends of ours, The Circus of Crime!

Howard the Duck #26
July 1, 1978
  • The Circus of Crime kidnaps Howard to be a part of their act.  They drag him to Pennsylvania for their next act where, of course, they rob the audience.  
  • In true Marvel hero fashion, Iris, Winda and Paul follow the troupe via tracking device.  
  • The story converge at a gas station.  One of the circus victims has a gun.  The gun goes off.  No one's dead but damage is done.
  • Meanwhile, Winda is attacked by a drunk when she spurns his advances.
  • Two notable music references:
    • "76 Trombones"

    • "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down."  The Band concert documentary The Last Waltz was released in April 1978.

Howard the Duck #27
September 1, 1978
  • Lee comes to Pennsylvania to help Howard and company.
  • Howard and Iris head to Cleveland where they finally have their showdown with the Circus of Crime.
  • Bev is surprised to find herself happy in her forced marriage to Dr. Bong.  However, she is horrified to learn that Bong still intends to kill Howard.

Howard the Duck #28
November 1, 1978
Marv Wolfman/Carmine Infantino
  • Here it is, the first Howard story without Steve Gerber as head writer.
  • In a break from the ongoing narrative, Howard gets caught up in a domestic espionage scandal while out at dinner with Bev.  The government is putting laughing gas in the city water supply.
  • Meanwhile, a psychiatrist is distraught as several patients report sightings of a talking duck. 

Howard the Duck #29
January 1, 1979
Gerber/Will Meugniot
  • Howard is recruited by struggling comedian Joey Goniff to be the face of a telethon in Las Vegas.  
  • The plan works out only too well, at least in terms of raising the money, and Howard is disgusted by the crass commercialism.

Howard the Duck #30
March 1, 1979
Bill Mantlo/Colan
  • A friend of Lee's builds an "Iron Duck" costume for Howard in order to prepare the latter for a final battle with Dr. Bong

Howard the Duck #31
May 1, 1979
Mantlo/Colan & Al Milgrom
  • The final battle itself.
  • Bev comes to Howard's rescue, revealing her true loyalties in the end.
  • On the final page, the gang's all back together.
  • This was the last issue before a seven-year hiatus for the series.


  1. Sounds good! Have a lovely week!

  2. Well you've been busy reading I'll give you that btw Howard one busy duck too and funny to think commercialism has affected his overall trust in the media.

    1. Howard is a busy duck! At least he got seven years off..

  3. I picked up at least the first few issues of his MAX series when that came out, but they dispensed with the weirdness in favor of more adult themes for that series. Which is unfortunate, I think, because they already had plenty of that. They could have done with more weirdness. Of course, Marvel has never -really- been successful with weirdness. I suppose their tight world control actively works against legitimate weirdness in their comics, unlike DC with Doom Patrol and other similar titles.

    1. Interesting perspective. I will write more about the demise of Howard this coming week. Summary: Howard was Gerber's baby and, unlike with other Marvel characters, the link between creator and character was essential to long-term survival. He was fired for understandable reasons but the series was never quite the same afterward.

    2. Yeah, some things really require the creator to make it work.
      DC has never been able to make Sandman work without Gaiman.

    3. Just noticed my Gerber's baby pun... totally unintentional.

      I don't care for Sandman. Gaiman is tricky for me. Sometimes he goes too far over to the horror side - not my scene. Sandman is a good example.