Classic Comic Cover Corner – Howard the Duck #23

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Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Howard the Duck #23 – April, 1978

Cover Art by Gene Colan

Howard the Duck #23 – April, 1978
Howard the Duck #23 – April, 1978

The Star Wars fan universe has been buzzing (some good, some bad) about the news of Marvel Comics once again picking up the reigns of the Star Wars line that has been with Dark Horse Comics since 1991, but that was published previously by Marvel (1977 – 1986.) Think of it as the Lucasfilm circle of life.

Marvel has teased some amazing looking Alex Ross covers that will come out when the new series debuts early in 2015 (see this recent image of the Ross Darth Vader cover), but this week at CCCC we decided to showcase one of Marvel’s greatest old school Star Wars covers – that is if you are a Howard the Duck fan.

In Howard the Duck #23, the legendary Gene Colan gave us his take on the classic Star Wars film poster, possibly as it might have been if George Lucas had found Howard a decade earlier than he did. Instead we got the truly horrible 1986 film, Howard the Duck, which miserably fails to tap into the satirical pop culture tone that made the comics so much fun in the seventies.

Howard the Duck #23 – April, 1978On the cover we have Man-Thing filling in for Chewbacca, Korrek the Barbarian fills Han Solo’s shoes, Jennifer Kale (the ingenue) taking the place of Princess Leia and predating Leia’s slave outfit by five years. Howard, of course, takes on Luke Skywalker’s role, then we have 2-2-2-2 (TuTu) as R2-D2 and NAAC-P3O as C-3PO, while Dakimh the Enchanter takes Obi-Wan Kenobi’s place. The villain is Bzzk’Joh (pronounced Berserk Joe) and in the background, we have one of his “Dearth Vapor” henchmen in the place of Darth Vader.

The “Star Waaugh” story is written by Howard the Duck creator, Steve Gerber, and as you might guess, it pokes all sorts of fun at the popular space-fantasy film, like Dakimh directing Howard to “make contact with the farce…the binding energy of the universe which permits men to yok it up in the face of death.” Not to mention the climactic battle aboard the Imperium Emporium’s Death Store.

It’s fascinating to think that with both Marvel and Lucasfilm now owned by Disney, Howard the Duck could actually make an appearance in an upcoming Star Wars film. (Ironically, Disney once pursued legal action against Marvel because they felt Howard to closely resembled Donald Duck – which is why Howard now wears pants.) At least, a Howard cameo in Star Wars Episode VII would be awesome don’t you think? Are you listening J.J. Abrams? (I’m sure he is.)

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About the author

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Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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