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Howard the Duck Omnibus
by Roger Ash
This week I’m starting in on a semi-regular function of comics I’d like to see collected. There are a big number of collections available these days, but there are still numerous comics that deserve to be collected. Let’s begin, shall we?
Howard the Duck newspaper Strip
The comic I’ve always credited with starting me collecting comics is Howard the Duck by Steve Gerber and gene Colan. I later discovered of the other wonderful artists who worked on Howard, such as Frank Brunner and Val Mayerik. but to me, the Howard writer will always be his creator, Steve Gerber. The series may be a bit of its time, but Howard’s character always lusters with and many of the problems that Gerber was parodying still sound true today. marvel has collected all of the Gerber-written Howard comic books, very first as an important and then as an Omnibus. What is missing is the Howard the Duck comic strip. At the height of his popularity, Howard starred in a short-lived newspaper comic strip written by Gerber and featuring art by gene Colan and Val Mayerik. A few of the strips were reprinted in the Menomonee Falls Gazette (which later merged with The Comic visitor magazine), but that’s it. After Gerber left marvel because of his lawsuit for ownership of Howard, the strips was done by Marv Wolfman and Alan Kupperberg up until it was canceled. These comics were every bit as warped and stylish as the comic book, and deserve to be acknowledged as part of Gerber’s opus on Howard the Duck.
Marvel’s Hanna-Barbera Comics
Even though Howard stared me collecting comics, it wasn’t the very first comic I read. My parents would get different cartoon-related comics for me and my siblings to checked out on long road trips . I still have some majorly beaten-up Disney digests at home. It was this animation connection that made me very first pick up a comic starring a duck. but I was, and am, a big animation fan and when I was browsing out problems of Howard, I noticed a comic was being published based on one of my then-current preferred Saturday morning Cartoons – Hanna-Barbera’s Laff-A-Lympics.
These stories were written by mark Evanier and drawn by creators including Scott Shaw!, Dan Spiegle, Pete Alvarado, and Carol Lay. The comics were a fun addition to the animation series and I believe my fond memories of Laff-A-Lympics are based more on the comics than the actual cartoon.
TV stars #3
I was soon to discover that Laff-A-Lympics was only one book in a line that marvel was publishing featuring H-B characters. I chosen up what I could discover on the spinner rack at the regional Stop-N-Go and Copps department store, but distribution on these books was spotty at best. While Evanier composed a majority of the stories, there were other writers including a guy named Reg Everbest. It wouldn’t be till years later on Evanier’s news From ME web site that I would discover that this was an anagrammatic pseudonym for Steve Gerber. A personal preferred problem in all of Marvel’s H-B books was TV stars #3 which includes a Dynomutt story with art by Paul Norris (co-creator of Aquaman), a Herculoids story drawn by will Meugniot & Dave (The Rocketeer) Stevens and a area Ghost story drawn by comics and animation legend Alex Toth. Toth did the cover art as well.
I was believing of completing my collections of these books a few years ago and was surprised to discover exactly how unusual and costly most of the books are. All these series featured fun stories with art by an amazing array of artists and they truly deserve to be collected.
That’s it’ for this column. next time – Micronauts and Shogun Warriors.
Now, go checked out a comic!
Howard the Duck Omnibus
Covers for Laff-A-Lympics #4 (the very first problem I bought) and TV stars come from the Grand Comics-Book Database.