Last weekend I attended the Inspire Toronto Book Fair where I had the opportunity to sit in on a panel featuring Ryan North, Kate Beaton and Chip Zdarsky. During the panel Zdarsky mentioned he would be working on an upcoming project for Marvel. As a big fan of his, I was desperate to find out exactly what that project would be, but it wasn’t the right time or panel to ask.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long to find out. Today it was revealed that Chip Zdarsky would be joining artist Joe Quinones for an ongoing Howard the Duck series, which will feature the duck operating his very own private investigation office — presumably for the other characters of the Marvel universe to make use of.
In case you haven’t heard of him before: Howard is an anthropomorphic duck from outer space, created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerick in 1973. He has no magic or super powers, other than his mastery of a martial art known as Quack-Fu. He’s a bizarre and unusual character but he had an ongoing series from 1976 to 1979 and just keeps popping up during various Marvel events like Civil War and Secret Invasion.
When Howard originally appeared at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy there was some speculation that he was going to be one of their upcoming film properties. And I would have objected strongly to this decision — Howard the Duck before Captain Marvel would have been unacceptable, and the disaster of the first movies makes me question how well this character would translate on screen. However, I fully support an ongoing comic series.
I love the surge of female-led books over at Marvel and will always be an X-Men fan, but sometimes you need something completely different to mix things up. Howard’s character has long been used for social satire or as a way to parody the superhero genre. And with Chip Zdarsky (of Sex Criminals and the Barrie Applebee’s page fame) at the helm, it’s an automatic pre-order for me.
Zdarsky is notoriously funny and sarcastic and his style seems like an obvious choice for a character like Howard the Duck. It’s probably safe to assume that he won’t take the character too seriously and will have plenty of opinions on comics, the industry and everything else.
When asked about his goals for the series Zdarsky stated:
”He’s an everyman who happens to be a duck! . . . I love the contrast of Howard against both the normal world of us hairless apes and the weird worlds of Man-Things and Dr. Stranges and Spider-Mans. ‘Cause he doesn’t fit into either, really. I’m just going to continue exploring those contrasts, but my ultimate goal is to make it funny. Marvel has taken chances on funny books and injecting humor into superhero titles, so I want to make sure this is worth some chuckles here and there.”
And if Zdarsky isn’t enough of a draw, there’s also Joe Quinones: a talented artist who has also redesigned Howard to better “be able to sit in the same panel as Rocket Raccoon or Spider-Man, and not have it look like Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
Howard will be opening his Private Investigator Agency for business March 4 2015.