HOWARD THE DUCK #6

“Duckworld!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Michael Golden & Bob McLeod

Howard and Beverly are going back to Howard’s home world of Duckworld thanks to Winda Wister’s ability to shift the cosmic axis. So the pair find themselves in New Stork City which was Howard’s old home. Naturally a big hairless ape attracts a lot of attention. What they weren’t expecting was that the ducks mob the two tearing off their clothes as sacred objects. The two manage to run away and hide out in an alley. They then go to Howard’s parents home.

The home is now a sacred shrine and a large crowd is gathered to hear the Reverend Ganter who heads the Witness of the Ascension Cult or WACies. A few years ago Howard was at Quent State University when an anti-war protest was fired on by the national guard. President Duxon was there and Howard was yelling at him when the cosmic axis shifted and brought him to Earth. Now a cult has arisen around the event.

Howard is not happy with the Reverend and reveals himself. He tells the people to start thinking for themselves which they do. Howard and Bev get on the Tonight Show with Johnny Quackson to tell their story. But the reverent Ganter has a plan and uses a guest to turn on a vacuum cleaner and tear off Bev’s clothing. It reveals her as a truly non-duck being and turns the people against Howard for taking her as a lover.

So with the help of Truman Capoultry the two find Duktor Strange who just happens to be a drunk in the alley to transport them back to Earth. They escape in time before Gander and his boss Uncle Scrounge MacDrake get to them. At the end they find themselves in a swamp with the Man-Thing behind them.

“Street Peeple”
Writer: Lynn Graeme
Artist: Ned Sonntag

It is the sixties in San Francisco and three street jugglers are performing. Cheyanne, Qwami and Moonchild. A guy named Riff falls in love with Cheyanne and rescues her cat from a biker. He gets knocked on the head and the three take him back to their place.

So we get to see Howard’s world and it is one strange place. Back in the Playduck issue they had articles about the cult that arose from Howard’s disappearance so it was nice to see them incorporate that into this story. It would seem that a cult would arise from such an occurrence happening. This was an enjoyable story and loved seeing the world that is like ours except for intelligent ducks running it. Interesting that the big villain Uncle Scrounge MacDrake looks exactly like Scrooge McDuck. Now Disney was threatening to sue Marvel over Howard for looking like Donald Duck which is why the story with him getting pants was done. This was of course before the two entities merged so it seems a pretty risky move back then.

The Street Peeples backup is slated to be a regular feature for this series. Inspired by the sixties and real life people that the author knew. Frankly I found the whole story to be a load of shit. Just stupid beyond belief.

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GROO PLAY OF THE GODS #3

“Play of the Gods Part III”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones

Well a lot of stuff is happening in the new world. The clergy are still planning on converting the natives to Diothos. Unfortunately their army is in sad shape. Made up of prisoners drafted from the dungeon they are a sad looking bunch. That they hire Groo to train them does little to improve the situation. The local natives are growing resentful of the invaders and plan to fight them. When the army chickens out they manage to call Groo who starts to slay the native soldiers. But a kind native saves Rufferto from a falling wall. Groo is moved by this act and the natives take advantage to bring Groo to their side. They ask what he wants and the answer is Cheese Dip. The natives have no idea what that is but start looking for it.

Meanwhile Ahax makes his way to shore after his ship sank. He finds out that Groo did take the boards from the bottom and sell them for a roast pig leg. He convinces the natives to build a new boat. Of course he also has to face the wrath of Taranto and the clergy for trying to leave them behind while he escaped with the gold. And the gods are unset because the heavens are filling up with all these gods and the people are resorting to converting people by force.

The third issue is this series is another enjoyable read. Plenty of witty satire about religion. Plus you have the goofy antics of Groo and all the characters that inhabit his world.

THE WARLORD #71

“The Journey Back”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Morgan and Shakira are heading to the settlement they heard about from the settlers. When they get there they find a huge bridge stretching off into the distance. During the great migration bridges were built to Skartaris so they don’t have to worry about getting a boat. But Morgan’s attire is a bit suspicious to the locals. When he tries to buy a ticket to Skartaris and pay in Skartarian gold coins this gets the local shop keeper to put in a call to the authorities. So Morgan and Shakira just take off and enter the bridge.

Of course the authorities are notified and a patrol craft catches Morgan and forces him to surrender. But Shakira was able to change into a cat. When the two patrolmen come to arrest Morgan, Shakira gets the drop on them. So Morgan and Shakira take off in the stolen patrol craft. Morgan is still a skilled pilot who evades other craft and the heavy AA fire. He still can’t avoid it forever and the craft is hit and goes down.

Shakira manages to drag Morgan away and find shelter in an apartment. The owner is one who still speaks Skartaran so Shakira can communicate. He is also an army medic and patches up Morgan. He thinks the two are part of one of the warring factions in Skartaris. When he overhears them wanting to go to Castle Deimos he agrees to take them. Only the Castle Deimos is the hottest bar in town. Morgan decides to get a drink and while in the bar a newscast comes on showing his picture. The whole bar is out to get him when Shakira notices the mirror on the wall is from the original Castle Deimos. So they jump in and finds themselves back home.

So this is the final issue that Grell will write for this incarnation of the series. It was a strong story that came to a satisfying conclusion. That is what I love about Grell in that he moves the story along. This three issue storyline was fast paced and ties up neatly. It was sad that Grell would no longer be part of the character he created but after 71 issues, an annual and first special issue I guess he wanted to move on to other things.

HOWARD THE DUCK #5

“The Tomb of Drakula!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Michael Golden & Bob McLeod

The writer for “True Vampire Stories” is sacked from the magazine. Harold H. Harold is so upset he jumps out the window from six stories and breaks both his legs. So later Howard is coming home from the drycleaners at night when he is confronted by Dracula. Dracula decides to feast on poor Howard and regrets it when he finds out that Howard is a duck and not a midget. So Howard comes back home not himself. He attacks Winda trying to drink her blood. He is chased out and later tries to attack two cheerleaders with the same results.

After this incident Bev and her friends are visited by Harold H. Harold in a wheelchair. He explains what happened to Howard and that he is a vampire hunter. So next night they track Howard and Dracula to the Cleveland Zoo. Howard is busy draining the ducks and Bev manages to snap him out of the trance he is in. They then manage to stake Dracula but Dracula promises Harold new story ideas so Harold saves him. Dracula rewards him by turning Harold into a vampire.

“Interview with the Duck” by Lynn Graeme

A fictional interview conducted with Howard at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan. Lynn comments that Howard conveys himself like a real person so that is how he manages to get by in society as a talking duck. Howard’s biggest pet peeves are he saves the universe many times but his opponents are so ridiculous that its hard to be taken seriously.

“A Fond Look At Fowl Friends” by Bill Mantlo

An article about Howard’s friends. A humorous look at the many friends Howard has made on Earth.

“Captain Americana”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

Howard is driving a drunk and his date to a baseball game. The drunk starts pawing his date which causes the cab to crash. A home run ball then crashes through the windshield and a mob of crazed fans tear apart the cab to get the ball. With the cab damaged Howard is out of a job so applies for a babysitting position. The woman is somewhat of a moonbat and leaves him to watch over her three kids. The kids are brats and torment Howard. The father comes home and is also a nutjob. His kids accuse Howard of indecency and this causes the father who calls himself Captain Americana to go after Howard.

So Howard is done with the world of hairless apes and convinces Winda to use her powers to tilt the cosmic axis to send him back to Duckworld. Bev offers to go with him and so the two are transported back to Howard’s world.

Once again this was a mixed bag. I enjoyed the Drakula story. It was a funny goofy story with Dracula who is not happy to taste feathers in his mouth. The writer turned vampire hunter Harold H. Harold is a fun parody of writers. Now the second feature was just once again over the top. The humor was just too heavy handed and not subtle. The big development is that we get to see Howard’s world next issue which promises to be very interesting.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #3

“The Death-Dance of Thulsa Doom!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Marie & John Severin

Everyone in Valusia is celebrating the defeat of the snake-men. Brule is still uneasy about their guest Thulsa Doom. When a tiger that was given to Kull from Ka-nu as a gift attacks Thulsa Doom it raises further suspicions on the man. They have good reason to distrust him for he is an evil sorcerer with a skull for a head. He hypnotizes Kull’s mistress Shiva to steal the other half of the serpent eye jewel. She does and then turns into a giant bird. Kull manages to stop her but Shiva dies in the incident. Angry he goes to confront Doom and finds him in his true guise. He has the other gem and as long as both have one half the other can’t harm each other. Doom uses his magic to cause hallucinations and Kull goes to see the Pict ambassador.

When he arrives he gives him the gem. It was an illusion and Doom now has both gems. He then puts Kull in chains and transports him to the arena. Doom joins both halves together but the power is too great and wipes him out. One part of the gem falls into Kull’s hand and the other into a bottomless pit in the arena. Later Kull decides to throw his half into the pit and erect a statue over it of his chains being broke.

So Kull has returned to its own series. This is the first battle between Kull and Thulsa Doom. Obviously he is defeated but will be back for more adventures. This was a bit of a weird story. All the hallucinations and such. Kull also didn’t really defeat Doom. Doom was defeated by himself which is a bit anti-climatic. Anyway the serpent eye gem is gone so neither Kull or Doom can use it again.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #28

“Trouble In Paradise!”
Writers: Michael Carlin & Bruce Jones
Artist: Armando Gil

So Ka-zar and Shanna are recuperating at the Aerie after their ordeal. Shanna is a bit moody. She is upset that she went to hell over Ka-zar’s death and feels very insecure. Not much time to sort her feelings out when Mt. Flavius starts to blow. To save the Aerie Ka-zar and Shanna must go into the mountain and plant explosives that will alter the flow of the lava. They have to fight some nasty giant apes and the impending eruption. Shanna accidentally finds the ring that Ka-zar got for her and she agrees to marry him just as the volcano erupts. They manage to get to safety to plan their future wedding.

It is revealed that Belasco is responsible for the volcano. He has resurrected Leanne from her coma. She has freed the trapped Pterons and with her kingdom are planning to march on the Aerie.

The big event for this issue is that Ka-zar and Shanna are finally getting married. This is the big payoff that readers have been waiting for since the first issue. The relationship between these two has been one big roller coaster ride of ups and downs. I think that the relationship portrayed between these two is one of the most realistic ever portrayed in comics. So the big wedding will be in next issue which is a special 48 pages long. Of course evil Belasco and Leanne are going to crash so it won’t be a boring event.

RED SONJA #8

“Backroads”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez

So Sonja’s friends take some time out to teach Sonja how to shoot a gun. She prefers her sword but drug dealers do have guns. She instead favors the crossbow. The three continue on and stop at a cafe for dinner. While discussing their plans members of the Las Aranhas gang have found their car. They set it on fire to draw Sonja out which works. Works so well they flee with their tails between their legs. But the fire destroys Spike’s uncle’s car and the police arrest the girls.

So now in prison Sonja gets a lecture on the criminal system. Just in time Holly’s father arrives to bail them out. He is a rich judge and has bookoo clout. The three girls are guests of Holly’s parents. In the morning they take the family Lamborghini for their quest. Meanwhile Max in Hyrkania endures bad warm ale and a giant troll. The FBI is also tracking Sonja and her friends for the headless gang members in West Virginia and the incident in New York.

This was an ok issue in Sonja’s road trip. She learns a bit about firearms. We see what’s happening with Max. And we learn that Holly is from a very rich family. Not much else really happens except upgrading their ride. The confrontation with the gang was anti-climatic and it seems to have been forgotten at the end. Of course maybe its coming in New Mexico their next stop. A slow issue but I am still enjoying it and there is still plenty of possibilities ahead.

THE WARLORD #70

“The Outback”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Morgan and Shakira have come upon an outpost of civilization in this futuristic post-apocalypse Australia. One the of inhabitants of this outpost has got the drop on them but Shakira once again uses her unique ability to distract. Morgan then convinces the woman that they aren’t a threat and get invited inside. He finds out that a young married couple occupy the compound. Morgan then gets them to tell him the history of the world since the Vietnam War.

So basically it is about two hundred years into the future and the world has been destroyed by pollution and overpopulation. But back in 1973 the U.S. discovered Skartaris. They made plans for the destruction of the ecosystem and in 2089 presented them to the U.N. So a great migration began to Skartaris. But now there is overpopulation in Skartaris and the government is starting to settle the surface world. Thus the young couple looking for a new life. Morgan trades the .45 and ammo they picked up in Sydney for a horse and continue on to the coast.

“The Mulge!”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall

Jinal has succeeded in a truce with the human settlement and the Harahashan. But there is still resentment between the two people. They are building a pipeline to bring the water from the underground ocean to the surface. Just then the Mulge a fungus type people raid the pipeline and take captives. One of the captives is Skinner.

So in this issue it is mostly exposition on this future world. It was very informative. A future ecology destroyed is a realistic possibility. We find out that Skartaris is settled by the surface world and Morgan is a legend. Kind of a scary world in which those not chosen for resettlement were offered euthanasia or if wealthy enough cryogenics. It was a surprising development that Skartaris in the future has been taken over by the surface but a unique twist instead of the expected nuclear war scenario. Sets up an interesting homecoming for Morgan and Shakira next issue.

The Barren Earth is advancing along nicely. Jinal is showing herself to be a real leader in uniting these two warring peoples. In the beginning you wouldn’t have expected her character to be the one to survive. And we get introduced to the Mulge which seem to be a sinister opponent. It ends with them realizing that Skinner has been taken prisoner and we will see the exciting rescue next issue.

HOWARD THE DUCK #4

“The Maltese Cockroach”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

Howard is driving his cab when he gets an unusual fare. A talking caterpillar dressed as Sherlock Holmes called Hemlock Shoals. He is from the planet Maltesia and he’s searching for the Cosmic Key. He uses his powers to travel through dimensions to transport the cab to New York City. There at Barqu bookstore which is owned by a kooky guy who throws knives named R.L Hanley the Yakima Yahoo. He bought the key along with a bunch of books in Cleveland.

Just then a giant cockroach with a cloak and top hat grabs the key. This cockroach was exposed to the key and mutated to a giant talking cockroach. He plans to use the key to turn all cockroaches into giants and take over the world. He runs to a hotel with a mob chasing after him. Howard gets ahead of him and with paste traps him and forces him to give up the cosmic key. When the cockroach lunges at him Hanley throws the Shoal’s walking stick with a knife in it impaling and killing the cockroach. Shoals gets the cosmic key and transports Howard back to Cleveland.

“Playduck Interview with Truman Capoultry”

Truman Capoultry is promoting his new book “Ducking Out.” It is about Howard’s disappearance that was witness by everyone at a Presidential rally. The event has given rise to a cult called WACies (Witness of the Ascension Cult). Truman tells of his visions of Howard being transported to a world of hairless apes.

“The Old Drake’s Tale for the Anatidian Chronicles… as translated by Sir James Mallardy”

A story of one Widgeon in the land of Anastis. Widgeon made a fortune from shady means. He is hated by everyone. One day he realizes that he will die and doesn’t want his money to go to people that hate him. So he gets a young wife to bear him a son. But the old Drake never touches her and wonders why she isn’t getting pregnant. So he hires a sorcerer named Mergansen. He convinces Widgeon that its his wife’s fault and concocts a potion that creates a giant egg that will bear him a grown son. In reality the son is his wife’s younger brother. Megansen and the wife get a third of the fortune and the brother becomes the heir.

“Duckmate Ms. Amy Quakton

Centerfold for this month’s Duckmate.

“Birds in Bondage! A Playduck Expose”

Article on young hens being sold to harems in the east.

“The Prisoner of Ducks”
By Norman Mallard

An article on how Ducky Lib has effected the relationship between the sexes.

“The Dreadcliff Cuckoos!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: John Buscema & Klaus Jansons

Howard, Bev and their friends Linda Wister and Paul Same won a vacation from filling out a card at the supermarket. Only none of them remember filling out the card. It is to the mansion of Dreadcliff run by a spooky woman. Only the woman turns out to be Nurse Barbara from a previous adventure. She is in league with the Sinister Soofi who heads the organization Save Our Offspring From Indecency. The Reverent Moon June Yulk. The Mahagreasy Migraine who turns bankrupt hotels into meditation business schools. And Werner Blowhard who looks a lot like Dean Martin.

It is revealed that Adolph Hitler is in charge and wants to use Linda Wister’s powers of accessing the cosmic access. They hope to control peoples minds. Linda uses this power to conjure up images of Devo, Elvis the Beatles and others to drive Hitler insane so he shoots himself. It is revealed that he was actually Hitler’s dentist who had Hitler’s teeth transplanted into his mouth.

“Playduck Reviews”
By Duckbill Mantlo

Reviews the books “Duck’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonneduck. “The Web and the Wok” by Thomas Wolf. “Duckfeather” by Mario Duckzo. “Heart of Duckness” by Joseph Duckrad. And Sgt. Beakles Lonely Tarts Club Band”

“Playduck Advisor”

Letters from readers with advice on a spouse into Tar and Feathers. How to cope with chickenism by marring a chicken. And is “Duck Throat” real.

Well this issue was obviously a parody of “Playboy.” It had all the kooky little articles that the magazine would have only told from the Duckworld point of view. It even had the ads like for increasing muscle with Weezaton. Preventing feather loss with Feathermore. And an ad for the movie “The Dirty Dozen” by Manuel X. Quackhoff. Even the letters page was letters from the denizens of Duckworld.

The main stories were a mixed bag. I enjoyed “The Maltese Cockroach.” It had a lot of humor. With the cockroach getting trapped in a giant roach motel to everyone trying to kill it with Raid. The second one I didn’t care for. It was just too weird to really make sense. And having Hitler in it just sort of killed any humor. It was just an absolute mess.

MONSTERS ON THE PROWL #16

“The Forbidden Swamp”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Marie and John Severin

Kull with Brule and his Red Slayers are pushing into a swamp. They are heading for the serpent-men’s temple. When they start to cross the river the serpent-men priests call up a swamp dragon to attack Kull. But Kull and Brule prove too bad-ass and kill the dragon. The serpent-priests then try a red liquid that kills men but has no affect on Kull. So after the priests are killed Kull goes into the temple alone. He finds a man who can speak the words that no serpent-man can. The man is Thulsa Doom and claims to be from Grondar. He arrived to rescue his betrothed but was too later. Kull sets the temple on fire but doesn’t notice that Doom takes a gem from the body of his dead betrothed. Kull then goes back to the City of Wonders in triumph while Brule has reservations about their new companion.

“Where Walks The Ghost”
Writer & Artist: uncredited.

Big Monk McGak is facing 99 years in prison. He escapes and makes it to his stolen loot. His plan is to don a fake beard and buy a haunted house to hold up in. The milquetoast of a real estate agent that is showing him the house recognizes him when a bat knocks Monk’s fake beard off. When Monk tries to grab the real estate agent, he turns into a ghost. This scares Monk who runs to the police begging them to put him in prison.

“Mister Morgan’s Monster”
Writer & Artist: uncredited.

A scientist in 2090 named Philip Morgan creates the perfect robot. It can do all the menial jobs but is kind of a big ugly looking thing. This disturbs people and they feel the robots are dangerous and could turn on people. So Morgan is ordered to destroy all his robots which he does by ordering them to walk off a cliff. But he keeps one in his basement with strict orders never to leave.

Unknown to him aliens are watching. They come to steal the robot so they can build thousands and conquer the Earth. Using hypno-gas they knock out all the people in the city and go to the basement. The robot refuses to disobey his orders and is forcefully dragged from the basement. It takes so long the people are starting to wake up. The aliens destroy themselves and their ship to avoid detection. Morgan finds the robot out and figures it disobeyed orders and was a danger after all. The end shows the robot shedding a tear.

So there was a gap of a year between the second and third issue of Kull. The powers that be decided to put a story in their monster anthology book. So we get this excellent issue of Kull and Brule going into this dark swamp to confront the serpent-men in their temple. The notable thing that occurred is the introduction of Thulsa Doom. Doom will be Kull’s most deadly adversary. Now the reader gets a premonition of evil from him but he is an unknown at this early stage. Luckily Kull was continued and we will get many more future issues of the Barbarian King’s adventures.

The two other stories were some old reprints from the fifties. They were kind of hokey but they were also fun. A ghost scares a big bad criminal into a sobbing baby. The second one was just kind of funny. What kind of aliens need a human made robot to conquer the Earth. You would think such an advanced species could build their own robot. They are also bumbling in the inept way they carry out the abduction and their suicide to cover their identity from the Earthmen. A rare story where the robots aren’t evil but actually good loyal servants. You kind of feel sorry for the big ugly robot.