Waauugh: Howard the Duck Returns

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Howard the Duck #1
Cover

By Jim Beard "WAAUUGH!" That's right, folks: That crafty canard, that magnificent mallard, that duck of your dreams, Howard the Duck, is back in a brand new four-issue mini-series, set to hit stores in October! Your fine feathered friends at Marvel.com have abandoned their comfy nest and gone out of their way (to Cleveland, Ohio) to answer the one burning question that's on everyone's mind: Why?! "Well," begins oh-so-patient DUCK editor Aubrey Sitterson, "most people don't know this, but most major decisions at Marvel Comics are made based on the arcane ritual of haruspicy—which entails sacrificing an animal, opening up it's entrails and divining the future based on them. In this case, we used a mallard—which is sort of ironic if you think about it. Or just perverse. I can never tell the difference."

Howard the Duck #1
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Written by comedic genius Ty Templeton, the man behind the duck in Howard's stunning appearance in CIVIL WAR: CHOOSING SIDES, and a beakful of art by Juan Bobillo and Marcelo Sosa, formerly of SHE-HULK fame and funniness…what more could any self-respecting waterfowl fan want? How about…a story? Sitterson explains. "We pick up on Howard living life as he always has: moment to moment, dating a chick who's way too hot for him and driving a cab (poorly) for a living."

Howard the Duck #2
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Wait a minute. "Dating a chick"? Is that some kind of avian humor? "When a couple of overzealous hunters try and tag Howard," continues the ever-sedate editor, "it sets off a huge media-storm, dividing the country in a way not seen since the halcyon days of CIVIL WAR. Howard and his supporters claim that even though he's a duck, he's also an American citizen and therefore can't be hunted. On the other side of the argument, folks claim that Howard's duckness trumps any kind of citizenship he might have, making him fair game—literally! "Things spiral out of control as Howard becomes the centerpiece of a much larger, much wackier public debate. An Elian Gonzalez for the year 2007, if you will—and you should!"

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"He might be the most fun character to write in comics," says Templeton "because his stories are so broad. They're filled with lunatic antagonists, strange costumes, monsters and other dimensions, etc. And Howard himself is capable of great heroism and great cowardice, sometimes within the same scene. There's so much room to play and to bring the funny in a Howard story, because it's almost impossible to 'cross the line' and destroy the suspension of disbelief...if you're willing to go with the pissed off duck driving a cab, you're already along for the ride. "The mini-series plays with a lot of ideas...gun control, the mainstream media, illegal immigration, Internet conspiracy theorists, crazy people dressed as animals, YouTube video stars, Marvel Superhero crossover appearances, Giant Headed Mutants (tm) and nearly naked images of Beverly Switzler damn near constantly, cause we gives the peeps what they wants." Yes. Yes, they do. Thanks, Ty!

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With the story shaping up nicely, HOWARD THE DUCK's art looks to be a thing of beauty as the SHE-HULK visual team takes to the skies, and wings their way through Howard's newest antics. "With SHE-HULK, we did a very expressive style," says inker Marcelo Sosa. "The idea was to lead it to the extreme of AGENT X. I believe that with Howard, we have more liberty in the matter, definitively more comedy. With this kind of character, you can develop almost a cartoon style from creative designs, narrative, inks and colors." Penciller Juan Bobilo concurs, pointing out the creativity to be found in humorous works. "I also hope the Duck to be funnier than She-Hulk (and that won't be easy; she is really funny). I am more comfortable doing humor then doing super-heroes. As soon as I started working at Marvel, I asked for more comedy than the more serious action that usually takes place in superhero stories. I want to do something different.

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"Like in SHE-HULK, the idea is to surprise myself and the reader with unusual scenes and the characters' reactions," continues Bobillo. "I'm always trying to avoid doing poses, facial expressions, designs and points of view that are common in the hero comics. If you draw a couple of superhero comics, you will find it is really difficult to come up with an original way of drawing a jump or a guy flying. In short, I think I am better at conveying humor in the art than I am when drawing 'spectacular' images. I'm burned out of spectacular images now," he laughs. "Maybe I will come back to 'spectacular' drawing in the future." Both HOWARD THE DUCK artists have nothing but praise for writer Templeton's handling of the Duck and his intense interest in web-footed funny books. "Ty seems to be a great guy," says Bobillo. "I love what he wrote for Howard. He did his homework all right, and he gives me the freedom to try stuff...so I LOVE him. He's really committed to his work. We all want to do the best Duck we can. And poor guy, Ty has to deal with me and my bizarre drawing!"

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"It's a good challenge, HOWARD THE DUCK," remarks Sosa. "A pleasure." "Considering the tremendous work of Gerber, Mantlo, Colan, Brunner, Mayerick, Golden, Winslade and others on this character, I'm aware of the quality fans expect from this character," adds Templeton. "And so, as Juan and I leave our own little personal brand on Howard's ass...we do it with love. Hope you like it." Decide for yourself when "Media Duckling" kicks off October 3. HOWARD THE DUCK #1 (AUG072222) Written by TY TEMPLETON Pencils and Cover by JUAN BOBILLO Rated A…$2.99 FOC - 9/13/07, On-Sale - 10/3/07 To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook
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