HOWARD THE DUCK #1

“Fowl of Fear!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Mike Golden & Klaus Janson

Howard and Bev are being driven back to Cleveland from an adventure in Pennsylvania by Bev’s uncle. Now Lee Switzler is someone who is cheap and decided to buy some defective tires. So the car gets a flat and the group is stuck out in the rain in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately for them a house on the hill is nearby. Seeking shelter they find it is owned by Fairer Fowl Farms. Its run by a nutjob named Mr. Chicken a mohawked man wearing a chicken suit and his assistant a dim witted man with a pitchfork named Hank Skidoo. It becomes apparent that the guy is loony when he thinks they are chickens and takes them prisoner. Lee manages to escape while Howard is tossed into a breeding pen and Bev into a automatic plucking machine. The group is saved when Lee returns with the car fixed and bursts in.

“The $64,000 Desperado!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Bob McLeod

So the groups makes it back to Cleveland. Uncle Lee has just bought a cab company called To Hack and Back. He offers Howard a job driving. Initially he wants nothing to do with a job but Bev forces him to take it. So he goes to the taxi commission for a license. There with the other applicants he is forced to strip and undergo a physical. Nobody notices he’s a duck and gets his license. On his first ride in the cab with Bev they come on the Cleveland marathon. A runner collapses on the cab. It is Cleft Chin the famous runner. He has been drugged by Jackpot the One-Armed Bandit. Jackpot has bet on the second best man in the marathon. So Bev convinces Howard to drive Cleft to the finish line since its OK to cheat if someone was cheating by drugging Cleft.

Jackpot has the ability to raise his one arm and out of his mouth comes tokens that bury his opponent. Howard uses Quack Fu and gets behind him and raises and lowers his arm several times. This causes Jackpot to get sick and they manage to drag Cleft Chin over the finish line in first place.

“From Hell It Cometh…Chair-Thing!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

So while driving a cab he is rear ended by a giant cash register that forces him into the cab ahead. The cabbie is angry and starts to tear apart Howard’s cab with the help of a crazy old woman known as the Kidney Lady who is in the crowd. Apparently a past adventure involved said Kidney Lady. A policeman arrives and is about to arrest Howard when his passanger comes from the store and convinces him that Howard’s innocent.

The man turns out to be Dino Digitalis a big time Hollywood Producer who is in town. He wants to hire Howard and gets him to also cast Bev in his new production. So Howard and Bev go to a house that Bev found a room to rent. It turns out the landlady is the Kidney Lady with the disgruntled cabbie as a henchman. She is a witch who gets her power from eating kidneys.(Its never explained what type of kidneys.) When Howard came to Earth through the dimensional portal she got the paranoid delusion that Howard was sent to deprive her of kidneys. So she created a living chair that she then proceeds to feed Howard to. Howard and Bev fight back and Howard manages to set the chair on fire. This forces the Kidney Lady to save per precious chair and retreat vowing her revenge.

So I have to say that Howard the Duck has to be the weirdest comic to ever be created. I don’t think my summaries can do justice explaining just how weird this series is. I mean Howard and Bev seem to actually have sex which is just really weird. Still its an interesting idea. I mean this duck who talks and smokes a cigar goes around and nobody seems fazed that he’s a talking duck. I love the goofy tests they do for a cab license. It would explain the quality of your typical cab driver. There is a lot of sly satire in this series and I get more of it as an adult then a kid.

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