Marvel Announces Howard the Duck 50th-Anniversary Special

Howard the Duck gets the "What If...?" treatment in this giant-size Marvel special.

Marvel Comics will celebrate Howard the Duck's 50th anniversary with a special one-shot in November. Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik introduced the cult-favorite comics character into the Marvel Universe in Adventure into Fear #19, published in 1973. Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones, the acclaimed creative team who worked on the 2015 Howard the Duck series, will reunite for the oversized Howard the Duck #1 one-shot. Additional writers and artists will also contribute to the issue, each offering their unique takes on the beloved Marvel character. In a press release, Marvel says that Zdarsky and Quinones' story "will get into the nitty-gritty of the private-eye's hectic history with a feather-raising journey through the Howard-verse!" The other stories will examine paths not taken in Howard the Duck's history. Here's the synopsis from Marvel:

"Meet Howard. He's a hard-boiled P.I. with problems by the duckload. But a cosmic, all-seeing friend(?) known as the Peeper(!) is giving him a chance to see what his life COULD be! The joys he COULD have! All the ways his life COULD suck way less than it does now! In other words: 'Whaugh If?'"

(Photo: Ed McGuinness, Marvel Comics)

Marvel also detailed some of the other Howard the Duck #1 stories. They follow:

  • Emmy-nominated writer and comedian Daniel Kibblesmith and acclaimed artist Annie Wu put Howard in the Oval Office! Inspired by a classic tale from Steve Gerber and Gene Colan's 70s run, Howard the Duck has been sworn in as President. Find out how gutsy he is as Commander in Chief when the Earth is invaded by aliens in this startling political satire!
  • Popular video game designer and writer Merritt K makes her Marvel Comics debut alongside artist Will Robson with a cosmic comedy that sees Howard the Duck leaving the chaos of Earth behind to take over as leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy! Playing Star-Lord is all fun and games for Howard until some of his most iconic classic villains band together to take him out once and for all!
  • And more!

Howard the Duck led a 1986 movie produced by Star Wars creator George Lucas that fared poorly at the box office. Howard has also made Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy movies and the What If..? animated series voiced by Seth Green. Lea Thompson, who starred Beverly Switzler in the Howard the Duck movie, in 2018 stated that she hoped to see Howard the Duck fully rebooted by Marvel, citing the excellence of Zdarsky and Quinones' run on the comic as inspiration.

"I worked on the pitch for a really long time and I had the help of Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones and they had done a run of Howard the Duck, the last run of Howard the Duck, and they put me in it, Lea Thompson," Thompson said. "And it was really great, so I asked them for help and Joe drew some drawings and Chip and I worked on the pitch and we did it in Marvel and they really liked it. They loved it, actually. But they were like, 'We have no plans for these things, and we're doing the streaming thing, and we'll call you back.' So tweet away, guys!"

(Photo: Ron Lim, Marvel Comics)

Tim Robbins, who also starred in the 1986 Howard the Duck movie, recently spoke to and revealed what it would take to get him on board for a reboot. "Depends on the casting of the duck," Robbins said. "I need that gruff guy. I need the cigar-chomping rude boy. That's what I want in Howard the Duck." 

Marvel also celebrated Howard the Duck's 50th anniversary earlier this year by releasing a series of Howard the Duck variant covers across its titles in February, March, and April. You can see Ed McGuinness' main cover and Ron Lim's variant for Howard the Duck #1 above. Howard the Duck's 50th-anniversary comic book special goes on sale on November 29th.