Saturday, October 22, 2011

Howard the Duck (comic strip)

On June 6, 1977 Marvel began publishing a daily comic strip of their hit title Howard the Duck. For almost a year, in addition to the monthly book and additional responsibilities (the legendary KISS comic book, anyone?) Steve Gerber scribed this daily attack on the sensibility of the conservative Plain Dealer reader with his demented commentary on daily American life.

Thank God he had Gene Colan and Val Mayerik to work with, or there would not have been a chance in hell of cramming HTD's signature attention to absurd and gritty detail into those tiny little panels.

Letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star, August 1977:
"The idea of anyone getting one ounce of enjoyment out of (this strip) is more than I can bear ... there is no reason for you to continue printing this strip." - Simon Ives, President, Howard the Duck Hate Club
I am not unfamiliar with hate mail to the editor.

Less than a year later, as Gerber's relationship with Marvel was unraveling, due to his extensive workload, (see HTD ish #16) he was pulled from the book and also the strip. From that point on the execrable Marv Wolfman was given writing responsibilities for both, and illustration for the strip was handled by Alan Kupperberg, whose work is simply horrid.

I have a hazy memory of this guy, a TV character on Channel 8 (I believe) who did the intro to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman or something, which ran after the 11 o'clock news. He would read that day's Howard the Duck comic strip out of the Plain Dealer like some kind of Mayor Laguardia. If anyone can clear flesh that out for me I would appreciate it.

The comic strip was discontinued in October, 1978 after a sixteen-month run.