MARVEL ANNOUNCES NEW PRINTING OF ‘HOWARD THE DUCK’ OMNIBUS, SO LET’S REVISIT STEVE GERBER’S BATTLE FOR THE CHARACTER
By Matt D. Wilson
This week, Marvel Comics announced that it’s planning to publish a new printing of the Howard the Duck Omnibus in October, collecting the character’s first appearance, all 33 issues of the original Howard the Duck series, and several other appearances in Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Treasury Edition, and Man-Thing.
It’s the first time the omnibus has seen print since 2008, and it’s a great resource for anyone looking to familiarize themselves with Howard — a great, satirical character often held in low regard because of the 1986 movie. It’s also an opportunity to get to know the work of Steve Gerber, the writer who co-created the character with artist Val Mayerik. Gerber died in February 2008, six months before the original release of the omnibus, and did not hold very positive feelings towards Marvel for decades after his Howard the Duck comics were first published.
Gerber returned to Marvel in 2002 for a Howard the Duck MAX series, which lasted six issues. Prior to that, in 1980, he famously sued Marvel for ownership of the character after being fired from both the Howard the Duck comic book and daily strip. Gerber was particularly angry that Marvel planned to use the character in TV and movie projects. That suit ended in 1982 with a confidential agreement and Gerber’s concession, after two years of fighting, that Howard was Marvel’s property.