I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Howard the Duck

tn_howardtheduckWith THE AVENGERS still going around punching the shit out of every box office record stupid enough to make eye contact with it maybe it’s time to take a look at the other important Marvel Comics films. Obviously we’ve already gone over the most culturally and historically significant ones (BLADE, BLADE II, THE PUNISHER, THE PUNISHER, and THE PUNISHER’S WAR ZONE), but one that we have not addressed is 1986’s HOWARD THE DUCK, from the creators of STAR WARS and AMERICAN GRAFFITI. I don’t see how this one could wrong.

Obviously Howard the Duck sounds like some awesome guy with high tech water assault gear, but actually he’s not human, he’s “a duck from outer space.” His name is Howard. I guess he’s not technically a duck, he’s kind of a duckman, sharing some of the physical characteristics of both duck and man. This was before Sam Jackson started showing up to recruit all the different Marvel characters, so it’s not made clear where he fits into the larger Marvel universe, other than obviously being the most important character by far (only Peter Porker Spider-Ham offers any competittion) and most beloved cultural icon of all time to all comic strip fans and the reason they get up in the morning every day, in my opinion.

I guess Howard the Duck was a ’70s Marvel character introduced in the comics book  MAN THING. The HOWARD THE DUCK movie is basically the same story as the THOR movie: Howard is a being in another world (Duckworld instead of Asgard) who is zapped through some type of portal to a shithole on Earth (Cleveland instead of New Mexico) where he falls in love with a human girl (Lea Thompson instead of Natalie Portman), has help from a scientist dude in a lab coat (Tim Robbins instead of Stellan Skarsgard), is captured by the authorities (cops instead of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and does battle with a powerful being that follows through the same portal he came from (a “Dark Overlord of the Universe” instead of “the Destroyer”). And like Thor he is torn about going home ’cause he’s fallen for this girl. The major difference besides him being a duck is that instead of abandoning his love to go home he sacrifices his ability to return home in order to save the world. So it’s more dramatic.

I know alot of people didn’t like THOR, and here we can see how maybe it could’ve been better, if instead of having to say goodbye Thor decides to stay on Earth and it ends with a big rock concert where he plays a guitar solo on a song about him written by Thomas Dolby and George Clinton. This ending would also work really good for E.T.

mp_howardtheduckThe opening of the movie is probly the best (?) part, because it takes place in Howard’s home of Marshington DC, Duckworld. In what plays like an opening scene to a Moonlighting episode, an unseen Howard comes home to his apartment after a long day of work as an advertising copy writer. The things in his apartment tell us about him: the bowling trophy, the photo of his doo-wop group Howard and the Heartbreakers, the photo of him in some kind of karate outfit, and the one in a hippie outfit. He enjoys movies enough to have framed posters of SPLASHDANCE and BREEDERS OF THE LOST STORK, which is “Coming to Duckworld this summer.” I thought that was funny because our posters would never say “Coming to Humanworld this summer.” They would just say “Coming to the Planet Earth where Humans Live this summer,” or something like that. I should check an actual poster to be sure what it says.

It seems like Duckworld has equivalents for everything on Earth. Much later Howard yells “Tora! Tora! Tora!”, indicating that either there is a duck version of the movie TORA! TORA! TORA! and it doesn’t have a changed title, or that there was an attack on Duck Harbor that was a major turning point in Duck War II, or most likely both. Duckworld also has the Italian language, because the phrase “Ciao for now, Howie” shows up. So there is a definite possibility of there being a Benito Goosalini in their history. And since we see he’s an ex-hippie we can assume he was protesting some sort of water fowl version of the Vietnam War. These ducks can’t swim, so they would still need swift boats.

Also interesting to note, he has an aquarium, with fish in it, and he feeds them. So fish are not people on Duckworld like ducks are. They’re just fish.

Howard reads Playduck Magazine, and when he’s sucked through the portal he crashes through some of his neighbor’s apartments and we see a female duck in the bath with her duck titties hanging out. I don’t know, this is probly covered in the comics and graphic novels, but I’m wondering if this means Duckworld is really more of a Platypusworld. A platypus does lay eggs but it’s a mammal because it nurses its young on milk. Then again a platypus transfers milk through its pores, it doesn’t have mammaries. I looked it up. So it’s hard to say what these ducks really are. This is one of those movies that really makes you think.

Howard lands in Cleveland, which apparently had a thriving glam rock scene that got left in the dust when Minneapolis blew up. Howard saves Beverly (Thompson), the singer for the struggling all-girl band Cherry Bomb, in the traditional crimefighter rescuing-woman-from-punks-in-alley scene. He has no powers but is a self-described “Master of Quack-Fu.” I don’t know if you get it but that’s a play on the Chinese martial art kung fu. Only instead of kung (or gung, it can be translated different ways, gung fu is actually what Bruce Lee called it) what they did is it says “quack,” which is how we describe the sound that a duck makes although to be honest it’s not exactly “quack” that they say, it’s hard to really translate that particular sound into English, but we call it a “quack.” Anyway, I hope you can see why “Master of Quack-Fu” is so funny.

Beverly feels sorry for Howard so she brings him back to her apartment. I know what you’re thinking, that’s a little fast, but it’s not until later in the movie that she lays in bed with him in her underwear, kisses him and almost takes her top off but he turns her down, even though as I’ve already explained  this type of duck does like boobs.

Beverly wants to help him get home, so she brings her to her friend Phil (Academy Award winner Tim Robbins), who is an assistant at a museum but also one of those dipshit movie scientists that’s always yelling about how he’s gonna be famous for his discovery. Of a duck. They figure out what it was that brought Howard to Earth and they try to reverse it, but fellow scientist Jeffrey Jones gets zapped accidentally and starts to slowly be taken over by an evil being from another dimension, and only Howard can stop him. I guess. I don’t know.

But this one’s not really about the narrative, it’s about the characters. And what the fuck is up with this character? It seems like there were alot of this type in ’80s movies, these guys that are supposed to be cool but they’re just assholes, and in retrospect I can’t really tell what’s supposed to be cool about them. I mean, he smokes cigars, he wears sunglasses sometimes, he calls Phil “Philsie” over and over again, he tries to bite a social worker’s fat ass, he calls women “doll” or “toots,” he wears camouflage pants sometimes, he goes into a diner and whistles at the waitress, yells “Hey, honey. Yo!”

What archetype is that based on, what is that supposed to be? Have you ever known a guy like that? Did you think he was cool? I guess he’s kind of like a lamer version of the early Bruce Willis characters. The voice kind of sounds like Richard Dreyfus, but it’s an uncredited Chip Zien (UNITED 93).

There’s a weird inconsistency to the way earthlings react to Howard. Or, what mean is, he’s like a poem or a painting, everyone interprets him differently. Some assume he’s wearing a costume. Some are scared of him like he’s a monster. But punks in alleys or rednecks in diners see him and immediately surround him and try to bully him. You know how those punks are, if they see a duckman they break into a sinister grin and start cracking their knuckles. Cleveland is dangerous for anyone, but especially a 3’2″ talking asshole duck who thinks he’s the shit.

“Diner” isn’t really accurate. It looks like the same old fashioned diners from all movies, but it’s called “Joe Roma’s Cajun Sushi.” You get it? Satire. Because what’s up with sushi, am I right?

Another running joke: when somebody’s turning into a monster or something somebody will say “I think he needs some coffee.” Because we all need our coffee in the morning, huh? Tell me about it! Don’t even get me started! Caffeine! Funny.

There’s actually a couple lines in the movie that made me laugh:

1. Howard is trying to get work, and a social worker thinks he’s pulling a scam: “You think by lookin controversial you’re never gonna find a job and just go on collecting unemployment.” I don’t know why, I just love wearing a duck costume being described as “lookin controversial.”

2. The waitress (Jorli McLain) at the, uh, cajun sushi place is pretty good, and when the possessed Jeffrey Jones is freaking out on her she gets upset and says, “Y’know, hostility is like a psychic boomerang.”

Maybe you had to be there. Not that I’m telling you to be there. I mean, you could. It’s your choice.

The director is Willard Huyck, who wrote the script with his wife Gloria Katz. They’re the team that made that weird horror movie MESSIAH OF EVIL. They were friends with George Lucas at USC, helped him out a little with STAR WARS and wrote AMERICAN GRAFFITI, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM and RADIOLAND MURDERS for him. So I guess he called them up when he had this sweet gig of this duck movie he was producing.

In my opinion HOWARD THE DUCK is not as good as STAR WARS (yes, including the prequels you fuckin babies). The one aspect that does seem George Lucasy is that the special effects are pretty great. I mean, Howard is obviously an animatronic duck mask worn by a little person, and kind of looks like he escaped from Show Biz Pizza Place during a smoke break. But I thought they got a surprising amount of expression out of him, I accepted him as a character.

I don’t like his look though. I know they just didn’t have the technology, but it kinda bothers me that this duck doesn’t have a neck. Necks seem like a pretty important part of ducks. This is why Disney/Marvel MUST reboot the HOWARD THE DUCK saga using the motion capture technology from RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES to create a believable duck neck. Also there would be room for more sophisticated Quack Fu choreography. Give him some solo movies to set him up for leading the Avengers as he did in the comics probly (no time to research). Or he could team up with some of the other great Marvel Comics characters that have had movies such as Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer or Garfield.

But the truly great effect is the stop motion Dark Overlord of the Universe monster at the end. It’s done by the great Phil Tippett and has a really impressive amount of detail and personality in its movement. It almost looks digital, in a good way. I love this fuckin thing:

Unlike THE AVENGERS, HOWARD THE DUCK was a notorious flop. It barely made back its production budget in theaters, got vicious reviews and caused the head of production at Universal to get replaced. Uh, probly ’cause it was marketed wrong? I can’t see any logical explanation for why people wouldn’t want to see it…

According to interviews on the DVD, Katz and Huyck “knew pretty well early on we were a fried egg” so they flew to Hawaii and didn’t read any reviews. Decades later they’re still kind of in denial. Katz describes what they wanted as “kind of very film noir with this absurdist element” and then busts out the ol’ “it’s not supposed to be Hamlet” defense:

“I don’t know if it was before its time, or it was misunderstood, but, I mean listen, this is a movie about a duck from outer space. It’s not supposed to be, you know, an existential experience here. We’re supposed to have fun with this concept. But for some reason reviewers weren’t able to get over that problem.”

See, I got that it was about a duck from outer space. That was explained in the movie. But if there’s a way to make a good movie about a duck from outer space, this sure as shit isn’t even close to it. I mean come on, lady. Have you watched it?

But if he would’ve hit that it would’ve been a perfect movie. I don’t know why he’s so racist. Beverly got over her hangups and she has alot more to offer to him than he does to her. Alot of ducks now days think they’re real progressive because they were hippies back in the day, but they’re alot more conservative and establishment than they realize.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 at 12:05 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

124 Responses to “Howard the Duck”

  1. I’ve seen Howard quite a few times over the years, and I’m not ashamed to say that I like it a lot. Mostly because of Jeffrey Jones. He is really funny in this. I don’t know what version you saw, Vern, but I rented it with some of my kids a few weeks ago, and noticed that some scenes were cut. The condom in Howards wallet and the Dark Overlord sticking his tongue in the cigarette lighter in the truck. Go figure.

  2. Lea Thompson’s underwear scene makes the whole movie worth it.

  3. I like this movie. I grew up watching it cause the special effects were fucking badass at the time. It was so fucking weird there was no way to not like it and it got me into the HOWARD THE DUCK comics so good job Lucas.

  4. I’m gonna be honest, I did not enjoy HOWARD THE DUCK as much when I saw it at age 30 as I did at age 10. But I think that’s probably just because there was too much shouting. Ever notice that they were always shouting in eighties movies? Just yelling all the fucking time. But I still love a lot of the weird crap in this one. Every second spent on Duckworld is a delight, the Dark Overlord is awesome, and Lea Thompson was never hotter. I mean, it’s no GHOSTBUSTERS II, but as far as eighties special effects-driven fantasy action comedies go, you could do worse.

  5. Also, I just learned that the Japanese title was WHO PROSECUTED HOWARD THE DUCK?

    Oh Japan. Never change.

  6. Just the whole Lea Thompson being into interspecies sex made this movie a trip and a half. It’s the only Marvel movie I’ve seen more than once aside from the first SPIDER-MAN, the two BLADE movies, CAPTAIN AMERICA and more recently the Ang Lee HULK. I’ve watched it alot but haven’t watched it in years though but when you’re 5 – 9 years old this movie is the tits.

  7. I’ve never watched this movie, despite the fact that it takes place in my home town of Cleveland. Poor Cleveland. New York gets most of the recognizable superheroes, but all we get is Howard the Duck. At best, we’re a stand in for New York in the Spiderman and Avenger movies. We never get to play ourselves.

    I would like to note that when David Bowie first came to tour in the States, he began his tour in Cleveland because the radio stations there were some of his biggest supporters in America at the time. So Cleveland does have a glam rock connection.

  8. Most memorable theatre experience ever for me. My grandparents didn’t understand movie ratings, apparently.

    And yes, it isn’t as good as the prequels, but it’s tons more fun to watch than Episode II for me.

  9. Thank you for (man)flirting with nostalgic, old-ass Swedes everywhere by putting up that poster, which was so much better than the movie. “No one plucks Howard” (…is the translation back to English from the Swedish translation of the title).

  10. And in here i find people who liked HOWARD THE DUCK!! This place is quite something!

  11. Ah yes! A swedish poster! What weird wonders will befall us next?
    “First came Luke Skywalker, then Indiana Jones. Now we have a new hero!”..wait…WHAT?

  12. Made me happy to read your take on this movie. I liked it as a kid exactly because of how weird it was, but haven’t been back to it in twenty years.

    On the topic of sex education from movies, I have to say: Thank the Lord for PRIVATE SCHOOL, REVENGE OF THE NERDS and EUROPEAN VACATION, because if I hadn’t seen those first, then HOWARD THE DUCK might have been the first time I saw boobs on screen and how screwed-up would I be now? (Answer, probably: Even more than I am already.)

  13. I would like to propose that Garfield is responsible for the “beloved, wise-cracking asshole with many outrageous talents” character model from the 80s.

  14. Except that Garfield was never funny.

  15. Two key points here:

    (1) This was the first movie I ever spanked it to. Because of the duck boobs. I’m not proud of that.

    (2) Cleveland is not a shithole.

  16. This movie is not representative of Howard the Duck, the original run of HtD comics is one of the most original runs in mainstream comics, the best arc being when he has a bit of a mental breakdown, and gets picked up by the cops at the end of a city to city long distance bus-ride, and put in the loony bin. From there on in he becomes the son of satan for an issue, is whisked away to a mysterious island full of mutant freaks, and is transformed into a human for an issue, and loses his human virginity(not shown in the comic, but heavily implied).

    that is the real Howard the Duck, he is the shit, he doesn’t have to have anyone else agree with him, he just is, because in order to survive on this alien world, he has to be.

    Get ahold of the Essential Howard the Duck volume one, and brush up on the real character please.

    This movie is the equivalent of Batman and Robin being the only Batman movie in existence.

    Waaaugh!

  17. I liked it too. It was better than I expected it to be.

  18. The phrase “Benito Goosalini” is about a hundred times funnier then anything in the movie.

    And there is STILL a good movie that could be made out of the Howard The Duck comics, because as Theburn accurately says, the original comics are indeed terrific. Those and Byrne’s SHE HULK are probably the funniest “in continuity” books Marvel ever published. Howard the Duck actually inspired CEREBUS, by the way.

    I was really hoping there would be some kind of Howard The Duck reference in Avengers but I guess Whedon and Feige didn’t want to tempt fate.

    And if you are willing to admit, in print and in public, that you like HOWARD THE DUCK: The Movie? I respect your fearlessness. I really do.

  19. I actually have both the novelisation of the movie, and the original soundtrack album(on cassette tape), my friend knew I was a big HtD fan, and picked them up for me on his charity shop excursions. I own the movie on an ex-rental vhs i bought from a video rental store almost twenty years ago.
    I watched it about a year ago for the first time since the mid-ninties, it is difficult to watch as it annoys you how much they f***ed up the adaptation, and the fact that it will probably never get a chance at a movie again.

    Fun facts on Howard the Duck the movie i read in a movie magazine article once(supplied to me by the friend who got me the album and novel): At one point during the production there was a kid in one of the duck suits crying because he wanted out of the suit, which took hours to remove.

    They wanted to make the movie in black and white(saying they wanted it film noir style), with a Jim Henson puppet for Howard, but the studio wanted a big bugdet special effects extravaganza as they just had a big hit with ghostbusters, and the puppet was too problematic for filming.

    Also, whenever I watch the movie adaptation of Watchmen, during the sex scene, I always think that Silk Spectre’s climax face looks very like the animatronic Duck face from the movie. It’s the way her eyes go, they are very like how the eyes are animated on the Duck.

  20. The main thing is to click the link for that Man-Thing review. A classic.

  21. Yeah I can second Thebum on the batshit insanity hilarity that was the golden age HTD comics. It’s like VENTURE BROS., but within its own screwy little bubble within the Marvel universe.

    Hell you can put him into the Marvel movies by having him work at SHIELD as an “expert,” even though it’s a bluff because he really doesn’t do duck dick but hey where else you gonna put an alien duck except a lab or cell? Hell you can even have a horrible scene with Thor and Howard hissing at each other, their races being long time adversaries. Excuse for bad duck puns this side of an Uncle Scrooge comic.

    Hell I still say Pixar/Disney should make an UNCLE SCROOGE movie. Hellz yeahz!

    “At one point during the production there was a kid in one of the duck suits crying because he wanted out of the suit, which took hours to remove.”

    I’m evil because that’s funnier than anything that was in the movie.

  22. On a related note, here’s Jeffrey Jones’s profile on the State of California’s Sex Offender Registry:

    http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/cgi/prosoma.dll?searchby=offender&id=18603206I0621

  23. Broddie- Too true. Not being funny is almost a hallmark of this type of character, though. It’s like there’s an inverse relationship between how unfunny the character actually is, versus how uproarious or cool the supporting cast is shown to find their behavior. “Married With Children Laughtrack Syndrome,” if you will.

  24. I used to like GARFIELD when I was little, and you know how grown-ups are. As soon as they find out you like something they never let it go, so I was still receiving Garfield-related ephemera until I was in junior high. The weirdest thing I ever got a book called GARFIELD’S NINE LIVES. It was this bizarre anthology of vaguely Garfield-related comics and illustrated short stories, all done in different styles, only a couple of them even vaguely related to Garfield as we know him. In one of them he was a humanoid feline private eye. In another, he was a realistically drawn not-cartoony housecat who got in touch with his primal self. In the last panel, he’s leaping, fangs and claws bared, at his sweet little old lady owner. There is some seriously fucked up shit in there. I had no idea Garfield had it in him.

  25. Mattman Begins

    May 15th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    That Dark Overlord creation is the second-scariest vagina I’ve ever seen.

    As long as we’re feeling link-y, here’s that music video for you, also starring Tim Robbins and the always-smokin’ Lea Thompson:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuJiwojPaMI&feature=player_embedded

  26. Mattman Begins

    May 15th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Also, Mr. Majestyk, that final panel in “Primal Cat”, or whatever it was called, was fucking terrifying.

    When my dad saw how prominently the boobs of Helga, the Viking warrior lady in the “Viking Garfield” chapter, were on display, I think he left notes with all my relatives, saying “Matt is over his Garfield phase now; please don’t get him any more Garfield-related presents.” As I recall, that chapter had some funny stuff in it (former Viking warrior, now a domesticated fat-ass plumber eating a taco while on the phone with a telemarketer: “Hello? *munch munch* No, dis ain’t da lady of da house. *munch munch* Duhhh…how much does dey cost?”) Garfield screenwriters, take some notes.

  27. Holy shit! I thought I was the only one who’s ever seen that Garfield book! My friend’s brother had it in his room when I was a kid. Your name wouldn’t be Joel, would it?

  28. While I hadn’t read many of the comics before seeing this in the theater just the fact that it was being made into a big-budget summer spectacular had me there opening night. It was truly a stinker, I don’t think I’ve heard that many simultaneous groans before or since.

    Steve Gerber, the creator of Howard and one of the funniest, most twisted mainstream comic book writers ever, deserved better. You have to know (or remember) that Howard sprang from a third-tier Marvel horror title, evolved into traditional monthly with a lot of social and comic book satire, then a newspaper strip and black and white magazine-sized title. Along the way Howard ran for President of the United States, and was subsequently marketed as a children’s crossover property when as a character he was angry, mysanthropic, mysoginyst and manipulative. While Gerber was Howard’s only writer (eventually the book and character were taken away from him, I believe there were some lawsuits around the time Marvel fired him) you could really see him take this forum, mass-market convenience store accessible “funny books”, and use it in a way no one had ever even thought of trying before, rolling in the band KISS, creating twisted super powered villains with minor social issue backstories, and generally having fun with a cigar chomping talking animal who interacted with superheroes while making statements about unemployment and the gas crisis.

    Gerber had a sting of twisted successes that many of us who followed his career back in the day even as a kid. My personal favorite was his run on The Defenders where he resurrected ’50s creature villains now with a social agenda that crossed paths with a cosmically powered being who took the guise of a self-help guru to infiltrate the planet. Of course he also created the running Elf-who-shoots-random-people one-pagers but didn’t get to finish that one.

    Thanks for mentioning the Moonlighting opening parallel Vern, seems to be a runner for directors in the ’80s.

    A reboot that followed the comic would be welcome, but nearly 40 years out the outrageousness of its time would need a fresh coat of paint I haven seen comedians or comic writers of the day capable of these days.

  29. clubside – A few years before he died Gerber came back to Marvel to write a new HOWARD THE DUCK mini series published under their MAX imprint. He went hogwild and even turned Howard into a mouse. It was filled of great satirical stuff including awesome pastiches of some of the DC VERTIGO characters.

  30. This is funny, the only movie no one here seems to hate is Howard the Duck. There can be peace in our time!

  31. mr. majestyk – i felt compelled to do a bit of research to verify your claim about the japanese title of this movie, but i found that the japanese title is “Hawaado za dukku/ ankoku no maou no inbou,” which translates roughly to “Howard the Duck: The Plot of the Lord of Darkness.” not as funny, but maybe funny enough?

    i don’t think even as a kid i ever watched this movie all the way through during one of its gazillion showings on hbo. even then, it just seemed so shitty and boring to me, though i did appreciate some of the better elements that vern and others delineated (funny jeffrey jones, duckworld, leah thompson in her undies, and the dark overlord creature).

    also, mattman begins – it’s funny you referred to the creature as a vagina monster, since phil tippet, i presume, as head of vfx for STARSHIP TROOPERS, must also have created the giant vagina monster (brain bug, yeah right) that shows up at the end of that movie.

  32. oops, that should be “dakku,” not “dukku” (not that anyone cares).

  33. nice screengrab of Lea Thompson’s panties

    anyway this is such a bizarre as hell movie, I mean I can kinda see what old Georgie Porgie was going for, “gee, whiz!” he must have thought “I’ll produce an adventure comedy movie along the lines of my buddy Steve’s Back To The Future, but with even more special effects! it’ll be a gasser!”

    but the result is something just downright weird, for one, what’s the deal with oddly sexual tone? you have Howard looking at Playduck, you have the ducktits (a woo woo), you have Lea Thompson panties and to top it all off, isn’t there a scene where Howard works at a “love spa” and you see a couple making out in a hot tub in the background presumably getting ready to do the nasty? and all of this in a movie about a talking duck? why?

    so it’s a bad movie to be sure, but it’s still strangely fascinating for it’s weirdness, it’s more Troll 2 than Transformers 2

  34. One thing the movie really got wrong, aside from a whole lot of other stuff, is that Howard is supposed to be visualized as a cartoon duck, like Donald or Daffy, not as a creepy-looking duck-suit prosthetic effect. Ideally they should have gone in a more Roger Rabbit direction with the movie and had this cartoon character living in the “real world”.

    I like the comics pretty well, although the martial arts movie fan in me gets irritated when I think about the Master of Quack-Fu issue, in which Gerber throws in with the fuddy-duddies who think fans of action movies are more prone to violence because they’re unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

  35. It was the 80’s, man. Almost all comedies had some nudity and/or sexual humor back then.

  36. Griff – want my armchair theory? This was shortly after Lucas got divorced and…maybe he produced this while lonely and horny as hell? God knows how many SW fan girls he was finally able to scoop up in broad daylight at that time in his life. “Hey want a part in the upcoming SW sequels? I think I have a place for you in Episode 8. Just use more spit.”

    Andy – I think the movie doesn’t work because it tries to awkwardly jam a square peg into a round hole, a 80’s family comedy adventure fantasy FX save-the-world extravaganza…except Howard the Duck comics made fun of such silly comic/TV/movie tropes, except the Dark One or Dark Lord or Dork One or whatever is played as pretty straight face.

  37. I had to stop reading for a second, because I laughed so hard at “Benito Goosalini”.

  38. Oh fuck that, I think I have to watch this movie again tonight. (Yes, I own it on DVD.)

  39. Yeah, the “Benito Goosalini” line is the funniest Vern bit since that one where he said that Pac-Man gets high on pills that give him the power to eat the souls of the dead, except for their eyes. I don’t even know what review that’s from but sometimes I’ll remember it while I’m walking down the street and start cracking up.

  40. Hey guys, what’s up on The Howard the Duck thread?

    Oh hi Scary vaginas, Lucas getting a knobber, folks whacking it to duck boobs, and Jeffery Jones. Shit, if this is gonna be that kinda party I’m gonna stick my dick in the mashed potatoes…

  41. Mr. M – I can’t remember the blog of origin, but it coined Baynito Michaelini for AsimiovLives’ favorite director. That’s up there in puns on an Italian dictator’s name too.

  42. CJ – that reminds me: is HOWARD THE DUCK even on DVD in America?

  43. I turned it off when Jeffrey Jones tongued the keyhole. Too scary.

    And ironically scary.

  44. You’re damn right it is. There’s a special edition and everything. Don’t underestimate the staggering drawing power of America’s #1 cinematic anatidaelogical study.

  45. “Jeffrey Jones Tongued The Keyhole”. Now THAT’S a good name for a band!

  46. MR. M, I remember that Pac Man refrence as well. However, I also can’t recall what review it is from.

  47. I was kind of expecting this thread to have turned into a George Lucas vs Nerds by now. I´m glad to be proven wrong, especially since the bad history of threads derailing completely off-topic.

  48. This is a weird movie and one that I remember vividly from my childhood. The idea and images of a naked duck lady’s bare breasts are hard to shake. Then if that was not freaky enough, the movie features Lea Thompson at the peak of her hotness lusting after a 3 foot tall duck man. I seriously think watching this film as a child had to have warped my impressionable young mind. It also made me think Lea Thompson was a complete freak; first she is trying to fuck her son in BACK TO THE FUTURE, then in this one she wants to hump a duck man. Man, the 80’s were a confusing time.

  49. Nothing about Jeffrey Jones’ private photo shoot in 2002, either. This might just be the perfect thread. Or did I just ruin it by mentioning Mr Jones’ private life? If that is the case, forget I ever said anything. In fact, if anyone asks you haven’t seen me.

  50. 1. freakily sexual “Howard the Duck” movie

    2. 10-15 years pass, impressionable children of that era mature

    3. the rise to pop cultural prominence of Furries as a sexual fetish

    Coincidence? I think not

  51. Wouldn’t they be Featheries?

  52. Do Furries include people who dress up as ducks?

  53. “Featheries”, is a word that also pops into my head when thinking about this movie. I am sure there a few people out there with very specific fetishes that think HOWARD THE DUCK is the hottest movie ever made. It is their holy grail of erotica.

  54. Also, not to get to national geographic or anything, but ducks also have weird hooked wieners. As a species duck are not known for courtship, they are what you might call “rapey”, so nature gave them strange shlongs that make it hard for a female duck to get away once a male duck penetrates her.

  55. I actually just reviewed this the other day. There was a lot of bad in this movie, but I still liked it. It was also funny how much my five year old daughter was fascinated by it, and my wife was completely baffled by it. What I thought was strange about this movie like you mentioned, is it’s not sure if it’s supposed to be for kids or for adults. There’s a lot of risque things in it and adult themes, but plenty of colorful characters and child leaning humor and action.

  56. Charles- Thank you for that specific piece of information. It´s fascinating what you can learn from internet. It really is!!

  57. “This is one of those movies that really makes you think.”

    You slay me Vern.

  58. Are ducks really rapists by nature? Assholes…

  59. I wonder about (comic wise) Howard’s sex life.

    Does he even try to attempt inter-species boning, or does he just go to the local park and go Mongol on a Duck pond?

  60. pegsman- if you are out there? Do you remember PYTON? That completely un-pc comic book that basically published anything with violence or nudity in a comedic context?
    There was a Calvin and Hobbes parody with Donald Duck featuring ducksex. I cannot find it on the web. It would be hilarious puttingit here consideringthe subject matter at hand.

    To give people outside of Norway/Sweden a grasp at the comic book here is a link:
    http://www.doloresserier.se/shop/thumbnails/shop/19231/art31/h8475/7078475-origpic-4166ca.jpg_0_0_100_100_300_400_75.jpg

  61. Okay, I just watched it again. Three things that I noticed:

    – About how everybody reacts different to Howard. I love how the first punks he encounters, just use him to shove him into a bouncer’s face to get into the club. Like they were roaming dark alleys for hours or even days, just to find something wacky that they can use against the nerdiest looking bouncer in the history of bouncers.

    – If you put a condom in your wallet back in the 80’s, did you really just out the condom in without the wrapping? Maybe it’s because it’s an alien duck condom (for rape hook schlongs?), but damn, just stuffing a bare condom into your walllet doesn’t seem to be safe or hygienic.

    – So Dark Overlord Jennings drives a truck through the fence of a nuclear power plant and nobody cares? Not even an alert goes off? A few minutes later, we see him taking a tour inside and nobody didn’t even care for the security breach outside!

    Oh yeah, and I totally agree about the stop motion dark overlord. What a great creation this is. I love how he looks at his tail, after Howard runs over it with the cart.

  62. “Put the condom in”, not “out the condom”. Why are P and O next to each other on the keyboard?

  63. Shoot, my brother has that issue somewhere. I’ll check with him. Maybe he can scan it.

  64. pegsman- I know I have that issue somewhere, but no scanning possibilities. However if your brother comes through…hehe..you motherfuckers will not sleep tightly after watching those images.

  65. That was the beauty of PYTON. They scarred you for life with their imagery.

  66. They used Disney property portraying duckfucking. A thing of beauty. Not that I condone animalfucking. Just the rebellious nature of the artistic license they took, thats all.

  67. They did another Calvin and Hobbes featuring a tapeworm as an imaginary friend. I miss those innocent times when they could publish any shit.

  68. ShootMcKay, I don’t like to generalize, but yes ducks are rapey. I am sure you could make the argument that for much of the animal kingdom intercourse is kind of rapey. However, ducks are the rapeyest. Also, not only do ducks have crazy shaped junk but they don’t get erections, their penises are inside of them and shoot out like a little rapey spear. But, male ducks are not the only ones with weird reproductive organs. To combat how rapey male ducks are female ducks have crazy corkscrew vaginas to make it harder for the male ducks to penetrate them. As crazy as this all sounds I swear I am not making it up, and before you go looking it up online I want to warn you that I am not making this up.

    PS: WARNING to all parents, don’t let your kids watch HOWARD THE DUCK or they will wind up having graphic discussions about duck pussy online.

  69. PS 2: Do not let anyone read crazy scandinavian comic books featuring duckfucking.

  70. Are ducks really the rapiest? Don’t dolphins go around gangbanging lady dolphins and leaving them for dead like aquatic fratboys? And have you ever seen koalas fuck? Good God. It looks like an Animal Planet production of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.

  71. Mr. M, you got a point, but like I said most animal sex is kind of rapey. However, maybe I am being unfair. In honor of our discussion about political correctness on the DEMOLITION MAN thread I would like to apologize to the duck community. You are rapey, but it was unfair of me to label you the rapeyest creature in the animal kingdom. I would especially like to apologize to Benito Goosalini, he is a true gentleman and a scholar.

  72. caruso_stalker217

    May 16th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Sounds like ducks weren’t meant to reproduce. Like those lazy goddamn pandas.

    If God wanted the pandas to live he would make them fuck.

  73. I do not think there is such a word as rape in any other animals mind. Therefore it just becomes a mean to procreate.

  74. Shoot, true, but in all seriousness some animals have more of a courtship process when it comes to mating and procreation and then there are some that for a lack of a better word are kind of rapey.

  75. In other means, ducks are assholes. Which means the PYTON spoof was not so far away as one might think in portraying Disneys beloved ducks. Puts it in a new light in my opinion.

  76. Nabroleon Dynamite

    May 16th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Only Howard The Duck could bring me out of self-imposed lurker status for being the only Vern fan who has yet to see “The Avengers”

    I wanted to see this as a kid, but my moms couldn’t make it happen the first weekend, after which, the box office bomb word was out.

    So I first saw it on the movie channel or HBO I forget but I loved it. I haven’t seen it since those days and I swear I saw it in the 5 dollar dvd bin at Walmart, but passed on it.

    I’ll have to make a special trip to Walmart tomorrow…

  77. “Griff – want my armchair theory? This was shortly after Lucas got divorced and…maybe he produced this while lonely and horny as hell? God knows how many SW fan girls he was finally able to scoop up in broad daylight at that time in his life. “Hey want a part in the upcoming SW sequels? I think I have a place for you in Episode 8. Just use more spit.””

    HAHAHAHAHAHA, that’s hilarious

    however I have a hard time picturing either George Lucas or Spielberg as having much of a sex drive, the reason why is there’s little to none sexual content in any of their movies

    I mean with other filmmakers like John Landis, you can tell he’s a horndog because he’s always putting nudity and sexy ladies in his movies, the randiest Spielberg ever got was 1942 (I guess, since I haven’t seen it) and the randiest Lucas got (outside of Howard The Duck) was Leia’s slave bikini

    but then again, maybe they just do a good job of hiding it, I remember the behind the scenes footage of temple of doom where Spielberg was quite obviously turned on by Kate Capshaw

  78. This came on TV a while ago and my wife made me turn it off because in her words “That duck man is too aggressive.” She was seriously Offended by him.
    I like him a bit more now.

  79. with all this talk of duck mans, does anyone remember the 90’s cartoon Duck Man?

  80. you thrust your pelvis AHUH!

  81. Duckman was part of a weird USA channel animation block. I can’t remember the other offensive cartoon it was paired wig, although at some point it was on either before or after Weird Science. Jason Alexander did the voice I think. I liked it for its weirdness.

  82. I remember that shortly after DUCKMAN they used to give USA UP ALL NIGHT with Gilbert Gottfried showing edited b-movies and performing skits past midnight and into the witching hour. That was IMO one of the greatest TV shows of all time. USA Network used to kick serious ass back in those days.

  83. If we’re talking anthropomorphic ducks, I was all about Darkwing Duck back in the day. I keep waiting for the gritty reboot.

  84. I have no idea what’s going on here. Vaguely barely recall this movie from bits glimpsed on WJZY channel 46 out of Charlotte during the commercials of early-mid 1990s afternoon Braves games on TBS. Didn’t even know HOWARD THE DUCK was a funny paper thing until a few months back when I researched my Best of the Marvelverse Films list.

    And I don’t even find Lea Thompson attractive.

    And I have no clue what a Darkwing Duck is.

    Sorry if I offend the HtD fanbase here. Seems like Vern has saved me a couple hours of my life here with this review. Thanks again, my man.

  85. Mouth, I would loan you my family’s Darkwing Duck DVD’s if I could. Think Batman with less money and more ego but set in the Disney DuckTales (Woo-ooo!) universe (Scrooge McDuck, Donald, etc.).

    “Let’s get dangerous.”

  86. Oh yeah, Darkwing Duck. The first Disney cartoon show that dared to get pretty weird at times. I love it.

  87. It seems discussing this movie brings the most insane madness in everybody. I’m out of here!!!

  88. His name was Drake MALLARD. It’s not Benito Goosilini but that shit is still pretty funny. The best episodes of DARKWING DUCK were the ones where he teamed with Gizmo Duck cause he ends up making him look like such a damn fool. Darkwing Duck is not just the middle class Batman but he is also a single father. That show was breaking all kinds of ground with the superhero archetype.

  89. Oh I loved DD as a little tater tot. I was disapointed, unless I’m mistaken, that Uncle Scrooge never did show up despite some of his co-stars did.

    DD and US, two guys not known for their checked egos.

  90. If I’m not mistaken, Darkwing Duck somehow played on two different stations. One station played the show sometime in the afternoon when the kids were coming home from school. The other station played the show on Saturday morning. Now, I’m not sure if this is true, or if it’s just faulty memory, but I remember the episodes on Saturday morning being somehow more bizarre and scarier. Still, I think Duck Tales is still the best when it comes to Disney cartoons from that era. If I’m not mistaken, the first Duck Tales pilot was stretched out over four or more episodes, which absolutely blew my mind at that age. At the end of each episode, we got another “to be continued.” It was truly epic.

  91. Well, if there’s anything we’ve learned from this discussion, it’s that ducks are assholes.

  92. But swans are still worse than ducks. I hate swans. Fucking arrogant upperclass water bird motherfuckers.

  93. They’ll break your arm, too.

  94. RBatty024 – If I remember right, Disney had a whole afternoon syndication block (any network) followed by saturday morning on ABC (owned by Disney).

    Fox did something similar, since Batman TAS basically played 6 days a week. Hell I remember POWER RANGERS in the morning, with the new ones aired on saturday.

  95. But yeah, DUCKTALES was good. I do concurrently at that time reading the UNCLE SCROOGE comics.

    Re-reading those books again, specially by Barks and Rosa, I’m amazed by the wealth of humor and imagination and effort put into what were sold as simply funny books for kids (along with alot of historical research put into the treasure hunts). But re-watching some of the DUCKTALES episodes on YouTube, two complaints about that toon though come to mind:

    (1) Look, I love Launchpad (“If it flies, I can crash it!”) but really I still don’t understand why Disney made the creative decision to substitute Donald Duck in favor of him. I mean in the comics, Donald and Uncle Scrooge are both assholes except Scrooge’s forceful personality (and wallet) make everybody follow him on his schemes with the nephews and their knowledge helping out, Donald doesn’t add much except bitch and get his ass kicked.

    (2) The Smurfette Syndrome on DUCK TALES with the girl duck token that was rather useless. You’re not being progressive by adding a girl dressed up always in pink.

    Also, if I remember right as a kid from that precious age, to use a pro wrestling industry term….I remember Gizmo Duck being OVER as fuck with us kids. I’m surprised in retrospect he didn’t get his own spin-off.

  96. Jareth Cutestory

    May 17th, 2012 at 7:23 am

    After reading this thread, I have a whole new respect for the species that come along and fertilize the eggs after they have already been laid. Those are some real gentlemanly species.

  97. But do they ever call? Nope, it’s just inseminate and evacuate for those guys.

  98. Now that we have established that ducks are rapey assholes, I will reach into the intarwebs and pull out the truly great horror of duck sexuality:

    Scientifically recorded case of duck homosexual necrophilia.

    I’m not joking, this is real:

    http://www.improbable.com/2010/06/04/dead-duck-day-june-5/

    Watch the minimovie, it begins with the greatest line that has ever started a minimovie in the history of intarweb minimovies:

    “I’ll show you the duck’s testicles and penis”

    Said in morose Dutch accent by bespectacled scientist as he reaches into formaldehyde filled specimen jar.

    Then he reenacts the entire scene.

    Oh intarwebs! What would we do without you!

  99. Jareth Cutestory

    May 17th, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Ricky Gervais is really into this sort of stuff. There’s a YouTube clip of him giving a slideshow presentation describing all manner of animal homosexuality, most notably gay dolphin blow hole rape.

    But even those kinky dolphins stop short of necrophilia.

  100. Darth Brooks, funny stuff! I wonder how many minutes of HtD my wife could take before asking me to turn it off?

  101. Charles – Ha! I think she was so offended because at first she was like “Who’s this cute little duck man?” and drawn in a little bit. Until she quickly soured on his “aggressiveness”.
    Who knows, maybe that was an aspect that the filmmaker thought was so funny about old Howard, but was really just a turn off for most folks.

  102. Fun fact: The actor who played the little dude in In Bruges got his start as one of the kids in the Duck suit.

  103. It should be no surprise to anyone here that I like this movie. It may not have what you’d call a “good story” or “production values” but I kind of admire its sheer existence. Griff and I have talked about how films of the ’80s are inherently more enjoyable, even the bad ones, and this could be a prime example.

    I wish I had caught this thread at the beginning but you guys have covered a lot. I watched HtD within the last year on Netflix Instant and really enjoyed it. The bizarre tone and inappropriate bestiality, either they went for it or were totally naive. Either way amazing.

    The worst thing about the movie is probably that it ditches the fish out of water angle for the generic space alien plot. But even then it’s an ’80s style action caper with the classic FX. I mean Jones in the diner is not a good scene and Howard and Robbins hang gliding is not a good scene, but it’s cool action.

    So basically I get where the public is coming from. It’s just my super power to enjoy messes like this. As opposed to modern messes like JOHN CARTER and DARK SHADOWS which feel joyless. After DUCK I watched THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE, also a weird mess but so delightful that they built those Garbage Pail animatronic suits, I dug that too.

    The review is brilliant. It pinpoints everything that could be legitimately considered wrong with the movie, and it’s not mean. That is the epitome of a Vern review.

  104. Michael Mayket

    May 19th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I try to convince everyone I meet to watch the first 15 minutes of this movie because it is straight up one of the most surreal experiences a person can have… that and the 20 or so minute sequence when Nic Cage first becomes Ghost Rider. That is also pretty fucking surreal.

  105. Steven van Norris

    May 20th, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Howard is such a fun(ny) little flick. Stupid, fun and best viewed through nostalgia glasses. Kinda like “The Golden Child”.

  106. Darkwing Duck was awesome. I am still amazed that a kid’s show had an episode that was like, basically Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but with numerous references/in jokes that would make sense only to fans of Twin Peaks(!), of all things(the episode name was in fact, Twin Beaks). As someone who’s parents watched Twin Peaks, I picked up on some of the references and actually had my dad watch the episode. HE was amazed that they ever did anything like that…

  107. I loved this movie when I was a kid. I think my love for Lovecraftian monsters come from this movie.

  108. Saw this at a birthday party as a kid. I could remember precisely two things: Duck tits at the start, and the tentacle getting buzzsawed and all the green shit squirting out of it at the end. Freaked me out as a kid.

    I managed to see it again a couple of weeks back. Holy Christ, there are some bad puns. That Quack Fu is probably the worst and well deserving of a good paragraph of review devoted to it. Also, ‘this isn’t a manhunt, this is a duckhunt’ (I think that was said by the guy from CSI who, it turns out, hasn’t always had cropped hair). Splashdance? It is weird that literally every piece of popular culture on Howard’s planet is duck related. They must be a very insecure breed. I bet Howard’s favourite book was Eggpire of the sun by JG Mallard.

    Quack.

  109. Have you heard that he’s on the big screen yet again?

  110. Dude. Spoiler. It’s not that hard to figure out what you’re talking about. It might have been nice to have been surprised. But I guess that’s not legal anymore.

  111. Man-Thing #19 (Howard’s first appearance) just sold for $595. Two months ago, same issue had sold for $157.

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/forums/front-page-comic-news/85368-first-appearance-howard-duck-rockets-price.html

    Huh.

  112. Gotta love bandwagon jumpers. Keep up the predictability nerds.

  113. hoooooly fucking shit, you’re not seriously telling me Howard The Duck is fucking in Guardians of the Galaxy, are you?

    fuuuuuuuuuuuuck

  114. also, re-reading these comments reminded me of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1v_EcjeIkg

  115. Jesus Christ, you guys. Everybody on the homepage can see this shit. Show some restraint, huh?

  116. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it’s just too mind blowing to keep quit, never in a million years would I have expected Marvel to do that

  117. I get that you didn’t do it on purpose, but I had the surprise blown for me by that comment above the morning after the movie opened. That’s not fair. I would have loved–LOVED!–to have been surprised by that in the theater, but now it’ll never happen. I think it’s important for us to be conscientious of the fact that not everyone makes it to the theater opening night. We shouldn’t leave cutesy little comments that don’t explicitly state the spoiler but anyone with half a brain could figure it out, and we certainly shouldn’t just drop bombs in unrelated reviews where people who have made an effort to stay spoiler-free will stumble upon them. It’s hard enough out there to stay pure and enjoy an honest-to-god surprise. Decent folk like us shouldn’t be part of the problem.

  118. Mr. Majestyk – I agree completely because uh, I don’t know if you realize it but I was spoiled too, I have not seen the movie yet either, I wish I hadn’t been spoiled, but since the cat’s out of the bag we may as well discuss it

    and besides, it’s just an in-joke cameo, it’s not like it’s crucial to the story

  119. Am I the only one who noticed that Howard recently was used a little bit more often in official Marvel properties? Like he made a cameo in an episode of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN and even got mentioned in that PHINEAS & FERB/Marvel crossover. Granted, they were both times jokes, but Howard was originally a joke character anyway, so do you think Marvel is finallly thinking “Yeah, it’s been long enough and there even is at least one generation of fans who actually think the movie was cool, so why not slowly bring him back?!”

  120. I don’t know why, but Marvel is putting back to print the HTD Omnibus (long out of print) and I think his entire run is already on Comixology or is coming to it anyway. Good for ya Howard!

    CJ – because alot of folks at Marvel clearly are HTD fans. Its why after the Gerber run and the HTD title was cancelled, he would pop up here and there in the Marvel universe for decades. Broddie can correct me if I wrong, but a few years back he dated She-Hulk.

    What’s crazy is considering his origins, if he is to pop up (or pop up again if these GOTG allegations are true), he would be right at home in the Marvel supernatural comic films that DR. STRANGE is supposed to unlock like GOTG is meant to unlock the Marvel cosmic. I mean he did make his premiere in MAN-THING. (Sadly in a knock to his ego, not GIANT SIZE MAN-THING.)

  121. I linked to this from the THX1138 review, great review and a fun thread. “Benito Goosalini” still makes me laugh.

  122. I can’t look at Howard in this movie nowadays and not be reminded of Five Nights At Freddy’s

    “LET’S EAT!”

  123. About Howard and having a “corkscrew very very long dick”, his race of duck beings aren’t like Earth’s ducks as they are highly evolved human-like Duck beings who have same genitals (only like a midget’s crotch since you seen the condom), same body structure and intelligence like a human or any Being in general and Howard’s duck race in the comics have romanced different species/races of Bird people and also with other races/species of alien beings and anthro Beings. Those hook corkscrew dicks belong only to Earth ducks.

    And Howard and Beverly were always soulmates in the comics and there is nothing wrong with interspecies/inter-being love as i’m a sucker for the Beauty and the Beast type of romances between two different Beings especially the reverse Beauty and the Beast stuff with the woman who isn’t human and the man being a human. I mean Marvel has plenty of that! you have Beast and Carly on X-Men the animated show with a blue furry mutant man who is like an ape-cat with a human woman, Hepzibah/Corsair which has Cyclop’s human father having a romantic affair with an alien furry cat-skunk woman, Queen Lilandra (an alien bird woman who’s race evolved from birds and born from an egg) with Professor Charles Xavier (a mutant man) and so much more as Marvel is never judgmental about consenting adults who are two different Beings.

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>