The comic series that inspired the George Lucas film
has been collected as an Essential. Is it worth your
time and money?

General Information

Title: Essential Howard the Duck Vol. 1

Author: Steve Gerber, primarily

Illustrator(s): Gene Colan, primarily

Original Publication Date: Feb. 2002 reprint of
material first
published in the mid-to-late 1970s.

ISBN: 0785108319

Cover Price: $15 US, $24 Can

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A duck from a parallel dimension gets trapped on
Earth in the 1970s.
Used as a vessel for comedy and satire, he even runs
for President.

High Point

The presidential campaign sequence.

Low Point

The “essay” fill-in issue.

The Scores

I have to give them credit for an original
creation. Howard
is probably the third most recognizable talking duck
(behind Donald
and Daffy), and his personality is distinct from both
of them. I give
it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is excellent, even in black and
reprint. Where was this quality when Colan was on
The Incredible
? I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is loaded with coincidence and
contrivances, but
that happens with this type of humour. I give it 4
out of 6.

The characterization is a bit flat. You get
to know every
character in three or four pages, and that’s all you
need to
understand every other appearance of them for the
rest of the series.
I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is mixed. The
satirical elements
(with the political stuff, the Star Wars spoof, and
the Circus of
Crime) work very well, but the regular goofy stuff
just doesn’t wash.
(And that’s including the attack by the giant soap
bubble.) I give it
4 out of 6.

The flow is generally well done. The
fill-in issue, and
other issue transitions, are fairly rough, but the
action within a
given issue is often quite well done. I give it 4
out of 6.

Overall, it’s not bad, but I’d say it’s a
low priority among
the Essential volumes. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Essential Howard the Duck receives
31 out of 42.