Do You Remember? Howard the Duck

They said it couldn’t be done. Steve Gerber’s comic book about a foul-tempered (fowl-tempered? No, that’s too easy), beer-guzzling, cigar-chomping duck simply wouldn’t translate to film. Not even Lea Thompson as the leader of an all-girl, all-huge-hair band could make it work. But braving the odds against them, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz did it anyway. And if there’s a lesson to be learned from all of this, it’s that sometimes the naysayers are right.

Howard can’t help it if he’s different. You’d look pretty funny on Duck World, where the evolutionary chain begins and ends with waterfowl. But when an Earth-based laser experiment sucks him out of his pond and into ours (in Cleveland, no less), suddenly he’s the freak. The only person who seems to understand Howard is pretty Beverly Switzer, lead singer of the rock group The Cherry Bombs.

Working with Beverly, Howard pieces together how he got here. Laser scientist Dr. Jenning’s experimental beam accidentally works as a transporter, bringing in beings from other worlds. Unfortunately, the latest arrival is a bad egg (sorry, sorry), the Dark Overlord of the Universe, who now inhabits Dr. Jenning’s body. With a little help from bumbling Phil Blumburtt, Howard and Beverly set out to defeat the Dark Overlord and save the planet.

Filled to the beak with duck puns (Howard reads Playduck magazine, carries a Mallardcard, etc.), Howard the Duck scored some laughs from the kids, but not enough to keep packing the theater seats. George Lucas disowned the project, which he had executive produced, further tarnishing the much-maligned mallard’s reputation.

The movie took an ignominious swan dive at the box office, and it became fashionable to bash Howard in humor columns across the country. But when the great minds of the world finally sit down to compile a list of the greatest live-action talking duck/rock star movies in cinema history, don’t be surprised if Howard the Duck emerges on top.

About Mickey Yarber 237 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Sometimes referred to as the Retro Rambler...I was born in the '70s, grew up in the '80s, and came of age in the '90s. I love to share all the fun stuff from those years via my Retro Ramblings column.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply