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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Reader's Diary #1219- Chip Zdarsky (Writer), Joe Quinones (Artist): Howard the Duck, What the Duck?

Howard the Duck surprised many a Marvel fan last year, showing up in a after the credits scene following The Guardians of the Galaxy. After the disastrous 1986 movie, not many thought he'd ever have his day on the big screen again. Not that many cared, I suppose. For many, he was a bit too silly in the first place and perhaps the joke had worn thin.

I will admit that I liked the movie. I will also admit that I was 10 and liked a lot of crap. Still, I liked anthropomorphic ducks. I raised ducks, and my favourite Disney and Looney Tunes characters were Donald and Daffy respectively. So I was cool with Howard.

The Guardians of the Galaxy cameo was brilliant. After just watching a movie about a superhero raccoon and semi-talking Vin Diesel, moviegoers were ready to accept anything. Not surprisingly, the renewed interest in Howard the Duck found him in the pages of Marvel once more. More surprisingly, the creators were able to keep the momentum going and even garnered glowing reviews. Howard was back. He was fun, and weird, and there was honest-to-god action.

I won't disagree, though I'll cheapen the praise somewhat. First of all, I'm an easy sell with fun, weird action. Hell, one of my favourite comics this past year was Squirrel Girl, and she's the queen of such stuff. But perhaps it was my enjoyment of Squirrel Girl that lessened my enjoyment of Howard. Simply put: Howard is not as funny. That said, the writers try harder, but I think therein lay the problem: they try too hard. There's a "throw-everything-at-the-wall" sort of quality and the end result is inconsistency. Slapstick, wit, self-deprecation, potty humour, silliness, puns, satire, it's all in there, and sure, there are some real laughs. Unfortunately, I also thought there were a lot of duds. Not so many that I didn't enjoy the book overall, mind you, but just not as great as I hoped.

I also, for some reason, expected it to have a noir, Sam Spade thing going on. Perhaps it's that great cover, Howard in that brown suit, in that quintessential private eye office. It's true he's a private eye in the book, but that look and feel is lost in both the art and writing inside.

The cameos, however, were great. The aforementioned Squirrel Girl shows up (albeit in a non-talking role), as did Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Thor (the new, female version), Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, and She-Hulk. Wanting to know more about She-Hulk, that was an especially unexpected treat.

Quinones art is okay. It's nice and colourful and the expressions are comedic, which suit the book well, but once again, sounding like a broken record, not terribly inventive. That's probably been my number one complaint with superhero comics this year, but ironically it's the better drawn superhero comics that I've also discovered this year (Animal Man, Hawkeye) that are making me judge the generic more harshly.

1 comment:

Nicola Mansfield said...

Finally, someone else who admits to liking the movie! I loved it when it came out and I was much older than 10! but not that older ;-0