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Howard The Duck #1

Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 10 critic ratings.


Meet Howard. He’s a hard-boiled P.I. with problems by the duckload. But a cosmic, all-seeing friend(?) known as the Peeper(!) is giving him a chance to see what his life COULD be! The joys he COULD have!

All the ways his life COULD suck way less than it does now! In other words: “Whaugh If?”

Publication Date
Kindle Edition
Print Lenght
34 pages
Amazon ASIN

10 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 100

    Nerd Initiative

    Howard the Duck is not a serious character and this comic sheds light on that while making it a lot of fun. Fans should make it a point to dive into the various stories told by some of the best in the business and take a ride through the multiverse.

  • 93


    The various writers and artists have done a great job with this book. The stories are all a laugh-a-minute and give us a less serious look at the Marvel Universe. I loved the character drawings and various backdrops used in the issue. The thought of Howard The Duck leading the Guardians of the Galaxy was hilarious. Marvel should do something with this character and give him his own Disney Plus show. Even if it is just a one-off. It would be fun to see.

  • 90

    The Comicbook Dispatch

    The lore is on full display throughout the entire issue of Howard the Duck #1. So much so in fact, that this comic even offers the issues where it makes reference in the back pages for you to track down if you’d like. Fans of Howard the Duck will not only be pleased with how this comic pays tribute to the character but also how it showcases his mallardly charm and wit.

    No, you won’t laugh out loud but readers will certainly get some good chuckles. More impressively, was the interest this piqued for an ongoing similar to this placing Howard in a multitude of different situations. Fans of Howard the Duck, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and so much more will love the heck out of this comic. If you were even remotely on the fence, take the risk and pick this up. You can thank me later.

  • 90

    First Comics News

    Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones reunite for the duck’s 50th anniversary. Officially closing the book on their run from 2015 while giving the best Howard stories since the 1970s. Zdarsky and Quinones only do the framing sequence but this special sees numerous creative teams doing “What If…” scenarios courtesy of The Peeper (The Watcher’s cousin, I know it’s weird); We see Howard as president of the United States from Daniel Kibblesmith and Annie Wu, a member of the X-Men courtesy of Proteus from Jason Loo and Derek Charm and as the new Star-Lord from Merritt K and Will Robson; Most of these stories bring the comedy to a boil while showcasing Howard’s personality they feel as it the creative teams needed the perfect excuse to acknowledge the rest of the Marvel Universe by having Howard pair up with some beloved characters that works well (The X-Men story being one of them) but also leans heavily on Howard being annoying (The Star-Lord story) that gets old after the first two pages. While this special doesn’t do our favorite duck any justice it’s still a good tribute that would make Steve Gerber proud, I only wish that Zdarsky and Quinones should have taken the reigns but maybe when the next anniversary comes around.

  • 85


    Howard the Duck #1 is a fun treat for fans looking for a bit of humor and a reminder of why Howard the Duck has lasted 50 years. At $5.99, this issue feels a touch overpriced since it’s only four short tales, but it’s also a love letter to Marvel in some respects and an easy add to your buy pile.

  • 80

    Marvel is celebrating Howard the Duck’s 50th anniversary in style with Howard the Duck #1, a one-shot that reunites Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones, the creative team behind both of the Howard the Duck series that launched in 2015 (it was a weird year) remains the best thing done with the duck since creator Steve Gerber stopped writing him. While Zdarsky and Quinones’ contribute only the frame story to this What If-like anthology, it’s still the best part of the book. Quinones’s linework is tight and his characters are energetic and emotive. Zdarsky’s humor is still sharp and the perfect tone for Howard the Duck, including the recurring sad Spider-Man gag, back from their previous run. The Peeper is the best new character of the year, and Zdarsky applies just the right amount of pressure to the fourth, not quite breaking it all the way as a Deadpool comic might, but gently prodding it enough that readers in the know get the joke. Dan Kibblesmith and Annie Wu provide the best What If story, imagining what might have been if Howard the Duck had won his presidential bid back in the 1970s. Wu’s artwork is always great, and colorist Ian Herring manages to walk the line between ’70s retro and modern well enough that the atmosphere is right without feeling like a total throwback. Through an alien invasion, Kibblesmith’s story becomes a clever metaphor for how Hollywood scoops up niche IP, as Marvel Comics once was, and sanitizes and streamlines them for mass appeal, a process to which Howard himself is anathema. The satire might be more biting if the call wasn’t coming from inside the House of Mouse, but even if this critique’s teeth have been filed and smooth, it’s still easy enough to appreciate how well it’s built, as well as the surprise guest appearance by another of Gerber’s creations that seems similarly allergic to adaptation. The remaining stories both imagine Howard on traditional Marvel teams, the X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy. There are some thematic connections between Howard and the mutants, both being ostracized (though Howard isn’t regularly hunted), but the story mostly feels like a mild excuse to have Howard share panels with some fan-favorite characters. The Guardians of the Galaxy story at least feels like an alternate ending to a plot from the Zdarsky/Quinones run and also digs up some Gerber deep-cuts. Altogether, it’s a fine tribute to Marvel’s most misanthropic fowl.

  • 80

    Graham Crackers Comics

    The 1970’s were an odd and amazing time in comic history. Anything went and the thought process of “throw it at the wall and see if it sticks” gave us a multitude of unique characters. And Steve Gerber and Frank Brunner’s Howard the Duck topped that list. Unfortunately, after that initial 33 issue run, several creative teams have tried to recapture that lightning in a bottle … and failed. This one-shot celebrating his first appearance in the pages of 1973’s Fear #19 comes pretty close. With a group of What If? short tales, a variety of writers and artists do a good job of representing the little duck with the cigar. And with cameos by some of Howard’s guest stars from his old title popping up, I really did have some fun reading this. (Omega the Unknown and Le Beaver?! C’mon, who else is feeling nostaligic? Where’s Dr. Bong and the Space Turnip?) While not everything I wanted it to be, it did give it the old school try.

  • 73

    Major Spoilers

    As someone who collected a complete run of Howard’s ’70s adventures back when that meant quarter bin sales rather than display cases, I feel like Howard The Duck #1 is a reasonably effective tribute to the duck trapped in a world he never made, and there’s enough appreciation of Steve Gerber’s greatest creation here to make the six dollar price tag acceptable.

    I also give big kudos for the appearance of a certain android from another planet, another of Gerber’s offbeat but perfect creations.

  • 70


    I tend to think that Howardmania owed almost everything to a chance conjunction of the state of affairs at adolescent Marvel and a weird moment in the larger culture, and not the character itself. That would have worn off at about the same time, like Pet Rocks, or Tamagotchi, whether the creative team could have learned to hand in scripts and art more than a week before shipping date or not. Mickey or Spidey (or for that matter Donald) he is not. But, it is fitting to have this retrospective take the form of a series of what might-have-beens.

  • 50

    Multiversity Comics

    There is nothing wrong with any of these stories, though the alien one gets a bit thin very quickly. There simply wasn’t much meat to any of them for me sink my teeth into. Again, the writing is decent for what these are and the artwork is nothing short of very good and even reaches some great heights – especially with the framing and Star-Lord stories. There aren’t any punches pulled or weak links here, I just have to come to terms with Howard the Duck and his brand of humor not being for me when it comes to these comics. I also rarely find myself wanting to indulge in a “What If” issue, so there’s that too.

    A pretty, and pretty silly issue from top to bottom with some shining moments. Ummm…

More From Howard The Duck (2023)

About the Author: Chip Zdarsky

In the ever-evolving landscape of comic books, Chip Zdarsky emerges as a figure of immense creativity and versatility. Known for infusing his narratives with both humor and emotional depth, Zdarsky has charted a course through the comic book universe that is as diverse as it is compelling. From the groundbreaking humor of “Sex Criminals” to the gritty streets of Marvel’s “Daredevil,” his journey is a testament to a talent that refuses to be pigeonholed.

The man behind the pseudonym, Steve Murray, became a household name with “Sex Criminals,” co-created with Matt Fraction. This series broke new ground with its audacious blend of comedy, romance, and the supernatural. It was here that Zdarsky’s knack for balancing wit with genuine storytelling first shone, earning the series critical acclaim and a dedicated following.

Zdarsky’s portfolio, however, spans a broad spectrum. His unique voice has breathed new life into “Howard the Duck,” where he explored themes of identity and belonging, and his run on Marvel’s “Daredevil” has been celebrated for its moral complexity and rich character development. But Zdarsky’s talents are not limited to writing. As an artist, he has lent his distinct visual style to numerous projects, enhancing his narratives with expressive artistry and dynamic visuals.

In recent years, Zdarsky has ventured into the shadowy alleys of Gotham City, bringing his distinctive flair to the world of Batman. His work on Batman titles has quickly garnered attention for its fresh take on the Dark Knight, blending the character’s traditional brooding intensity with new layers of psychological depth. Through stories that delve into Batman’s complex psyche and the morally ambiguous landscape of Gotham, Zdarsky adds to the rich tapestry of Batman lore, proving yet again his ability to navigate and innovate within established universes.

Beyond his impressive body of work, Zdarsky’s engagement with the comic book community — through social media, conventions, and insightful industry commentary — has made him a beloved figure among fans and fellow creators. His contributions have not only earned him awards and nominations but have also solidified his role as a pivotal voice in contemporary comics.

As Chip Zdarsky continues to explore the darker corners of Gotham City, his journey exemplifies the power of storytelling in comic books — where humor meets heroism, and the human condition is explored in the flicker of a bat signal against the night sky. For those drawn to the art of comics, Zdarsky’s work offers a masterclass in creativity, inviting readers into worlds both wildly imaginative and intensely real.

[Latest Update: April 8, 2024]