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Spider-Man/Howard The Duck: Quack The Whip

Stuart Moore steers an offbeat team-up in Spider-Man: Back in Quack

By Jim Beard

Warning: cynical days ahead on September 29! That's when writer Stuart Moore and artist Mark Brooks proudly introduce the latest star in the Marvel Universe: Cynical Duck. It's all in the pages of SPIDER-MAN: BACK IN QUACK, the one-shot that'll have you screaming "Waaaaaugh!" all the way home.

"As we open, a sinister organization has kidnapped Howard the Duck and made a deal with Mayor J. Jonah Jameson of New York City," says Moore. "That brings Spider-Man into the story pretty quickly."

SPIDER-MAN: BACK IN QUACK #1 preview art by Mark Brooks
Wait-did he say "Spider-Man"? That'd explain why his name's in the title, but what's his involvement with Howard, here in BACK IN QUACK?

"It's a team-up, kind of," Moore explains. "The trick with Howard and Spider-Man is that they both use humor to deal with difficult situations, but their personalities are miles apart. Spider-Man is Marvel's everyman, an ordinary guy who pokes gentle fun in order to cope with the crazy, dangerous life he lives. Howard's humor is much darker, more cynical; he really believes this is a very screwed-up world, and his observations cut to the dark heart of that world. The big question is: Do they have enough in common to work together, when the situation gets serious?"

Rumor around the Bullpen says Howard's days as Marvel's favorite grouchy gander may be numbered, what with the advent of Cynical Duck. Moore's quick to point out the differences between the Duck of Howard Past and the Duck of Howard Future.

"Without ruining the whole thing: We live in a very cynical, jaded pop-culture world, much more so than the world Howard was created in, 30-some years ago," notes the writer. "The comic starts off with a quote from author Philip Pullman: 'Easy cynicism is no more truthful than easy

SPIDER-MAN: BACK IN QUACK #1 preview art by Mark Brooks
optimism.' That's the difference. 'Cynical Duck' is a soulless corporate creation, but Howard is the real thing. Spider-Man has to help sort things out so Howard can be himself again."

Moore feels that in some ways he's channeling the unique voice of Howard's creator, the late Steve Gerber, which he hopes makes SPIDER-MAN: BACK IN QUACK a truly special project.

"Steve's Howard was a big, big influence on me as a writer," he says. "Howard is just one of those great, classic characters; if you can hear his voice in your head, that's half the story right there."

Moore teams with artist Mark Brooks for the big, quacking to-do, a situation he finds fraught with fun and festivity.

"Mark is a stone genius," he clamors. "He can draw anything beautifully. We worked together on CLOAK & DAGGER earlier this year and I'm just pleased that the stars aligned right again."

Not enough you say? A stellar duck-soup of super heroes, super writers and super artists falls just short of a total quack-up? How about a little

SPIDER-MAN: BACK IN QUACK #1 cover by Skottie Young
Man-Thing back-up feature for good measure?

"Howard the Duck's first solo stories were in the back of-wait for it-GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING," reminds Moore. "This is our way of closing the circle. Plus it lets me work with artist Joe Suitor again; he drew a great Man-Thing in SPIDER-MAN: FEAR ITSELF, a one-shot we did together a year or so ago.

"Aside from that, Howard and Man-Thing were the two signature characters that Steve Gerber wrote at Marvel in the 70's. So the whole book is a tribute to him, in a way. Hopefully a worthy one."


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Anyone remeber Duckman, voiced by Jason Alexander(george from sienfeld),loved that show, all the best cartoons came from the 90's.


cool. more Howard. Howard everywhere,Howard for President.....


I'm looking forward to this comic. I think a Spidey/Howard team-up is a great idea.