Howard was a resident of a parallel universe to that of the 616 Marvel Universe. He was a citizen of Duckworld, in which he lived an ordinary, yet quiet life. However, things soon changed dramatically for Howard when a demon named Thog the Overmaster sought to unite all realities into one reality, which he would then control. In this event, Howard was taken from his world and transported to Earth, in the Florida everglades (which is the site of Earth's nexus of all realities). Dakimh the Enchanter, a sorcerer who was a nemesis of Thog, recruited Howard and the others who were taken from their home realities to fight Thog, a battle which they ultimately won. On his way back to his own world, Howard fell off of the Stepping Stones of Oblivion and fell to Cleveland, Ohio. This event left him stranded on this Earth, far away from his own reality.
Howard the Duck was created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik and first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 (1973). Why Howard's appearance has been altered from a duck with big cartoonish eyes to the small eyes he has now has not been clarified. Aside from a mini-series in 2008, Howard's appearances up to his 2015 series were with his original look.
Major Story Arcs
Howard the Duck in a World he Never Made
Feeling like a stranger in a world he was never meant to be in, Howard wandered the Earth. He soon met up with a lovely girl named Beverly Switzler. Beverly took Howard in so he could have a place to call home. The two became close friends and even started developing romantic feelings for one another. Howard and Beverly had many wacky adventures, often teaming up with the Man-Thing.
A villain named Doctor Angst and the Band of Bland also attempted to unite all realities into one, but once again, Howard (with help from She-Hulk) managed to stop them. Due to Howard's experiences passing through the Nexus of All Realities, a piece of it became stuck within him. The Cult of Entropy wished to destroy the Nexus, so they sought to kill Howard. He was rescued by the Man-Thing, who poured himself down Howard's throat so he could merge with the Nexus fragment. He then reformed after being vomited out of Howard.
Another recurring villain was Doctor Bong, an ex-boyfriend of Beverly, who wanted to win back her love. The three often clashed, even coming so far that Beverly had to leave Howard and stay with Bong, else Doctor Bong would kill Howard. Beverly and Howard eventually reunited and lived together happily once again. They shared an apartment, with Beverly pursuing modeling/acting, and Howard finding work as a taxi cab driver to pay the bills.
Generation X and Daydreamers
Howard briefly became associated with Generation X when he was picked up by Generation X'ers Chamber and Skin while on their road trip. Howard accompanied them back to the X-Mansion and started living inside the Bio-Dome created in the so-called Danger Room of the house. Howard was soon joined by mutants Artie and Leech, as well as Franklin Richards, and the alien Tana Nile (a love interest to Howard). This group was eventually joined by the Man-Thing, who emerged from the X-Mansion's Bio-Dome. It was him that teleported the group, now known as the Daydreamers, away and into the space-time adventure of a lifetime.
During their travels, the group, led by Howard, encountered a strange villain named Dark Hunter, who seemed to have a vendetta against Franklin Richards. The group fled from the villain, visiting many strange realities in the meantime. They even visited Howard's former home planet of Duckworld. Eventually, the group faced the Dark Hunter, who turned out to be a manifestation of Franklin's own fears. The group then returned to their own reality, and soon split up when Howard went his own way again.
More trouble arose when Doctor Bong of the Band of Bland had Howard transformed into a humanoid rat. A full scope adventure occurred in which Howard and Beverly tried changing him back to his standard "duck form." Things became even more troublesome when Howard started smoking from the cigar of the Saint of Therapists, after which he turned into a piece of dust. Howard found himself transported into a bar full of demons. There, he conversed with a person who seemed to resemble God. After his talk with this 'God,' they walked outside and he changed Howard back to his duck body.
Howard has been through many crazy adventures, ranging from meeting the X-Men to being nominated for president. During the Civil War story arc, Howard tried to register, but, according to the government, he did not exist, and therefore they allowed him to bypass the registration-act and taxes.
Joining ARMOR and fighting zombies
More recently, Howard became part of a team called ARMOR, which specialized in taking down the earths' biggest threats. In this role, he teamed up with Machine Man to stop a zombie-like virus from taking over the earth. It took the two on a wild time ride, going from the Wild West to the Middle-Ages and right into the far future. They even teamed up with other heroes such as Swift Cloud, Black Knight and Killraven. The team managed to stop the zombie-threat, at least for now.
After these events, Howard left the ARMOR division and teamed up with old friends She-Hulk and Man-Thing as well as with Nighthawk and Frankenstein during the " Fear Itself" crossover. They alliance formed a team called the Fearsome Four.
Howard the Duck: Private Detective
More recently, Howard has taken it upon himself to start his own detective agency. Now trapped in a world he's grown accustomed to, Howard tries to solve crimes and whatever case is brought to him. His next-door neighbor is She-Hulk. Right at the beginning of the series Howard is in jail for things that is never discussed. He is let out and free to go along with Tara Tam. The cops have questions and are suspicious of Howard because he doesn't have a record at all until a few months before. Howard furiously explains that his file is in his home dimension. He also says that he got to Earth through the Nexus of Realities which is the same as his original origin. As Tara and Howard leave they converse and Tara tells Howard the she works in the tattoo shop just in case he wanted to stop by. Howard goes back to his building and asked why She-Hulk didn't bail him out to which She-Hulk got tired of bailing him out.
Howard finds that there is a customer waiting for him. He greets the man whose name is Mr. Richards. Mr. Richards lost a family heirloom and wants Howard to get it back for him. Mr. Richards tried the police but they were no help, and the police knew exactly who took it based on Mr. Richards description of the thief. It was none other than Black Cat. Howard agrees to solve the case. After getting the case, he goes to She-Hulk's place to brag and try to get her to hire him as a private investigator. Howard's real intention is to go through She-Hulk's address book and get the contact for Spider-Man.
After getting the phone number, Howard meets up with Spider-Man at night trying to get some info on Black Cat's location. Spider-Man tells Howard to get rid of his number and to stay away from Black Cat because she is dangerous.
Howard runs into Tara on his way back to his office. Turns out, Tara knows where Black Cat lives, so Howard hires her to work with him on the case for no pay of course. Howard and Tara go through an intense training montage to get ready for their heist to steal the amulet from Black Cat.
Howard and Tara infiltrate Black Cat's house dressed up as pizza delivery boys and distract her cats with some pizza. They start pulling books from the shelf in order to find Black Cat's secret stash. After revealing Black Cat's loot, they find the amulet and are about to make their way out when Black Cat enters in normal civilian attire and finds them there. Right as that happens, something shakes the house which causes Black Cat to fall. Howard and Tara climb out the window onto the roof only to find that one of the Collector's gatherers came to take Howard for the collection. Black Cat, now changed into her costume, comes to the roof to get the necklace back from Howard. Black Cat, thinking that the gatherer is part of Howards "crew", starts fighting with the gatherer. Spider-Man hears this and makes his way to help out. Howard and Tara are terrified and have no idea what to do when the gatherer shakes off Black Cat and shoots Howard with some sort of teleporting gun to bring him to the Collector. Spider-Man arrives just too late and cries like a baby when he thinks that Howard is dead.
We now see that Howard is in jail with some annoying blue alien as well as Rocket Raccoon. Howard shouts and is very pissed about being helpless to get out. Rocket suggests to Howard that he has a plan to escape.
Powers and Skills
Howard does not have any real powers other than the fact that he is somewhat good with magic and is a master of the little-known martial art "Quack-Fu" which even he admits, "was mostly a joke." Howard has perseverance and an unorthodox fighting style that has allowed him to take on fully grown men.
Howard has been shown to have the potential to have an intellect that rivals Reed Richards, but due to his infinitely pessimistic and slacker attitude, he lacks the ability to tap into his potential.
Howard's biggest strength and power, is his will, strength of character and heart. He has been able to lead many other heroes through hard times and inspire courage in hopeless times. Howard is truly a leader and with his self-awareness and heart of gold, he's been able to deduce a way to defeat a fear-overloaded Man-Thing by inspiring his teammates to get over their fears.
Howard has used things to give him powers in the past, including a trident that was given to him by Damion Hellstorm and also an iron suit much like Iron Man's.
Howard the Duck (1986)
Howard the Duck had one movie, presented by George Lucas. The movie was no big success, it could even be said it was a flop. In recent years, the movie has however become somewhat of a 'cult classic'.
The movie tells the tale of a duck from a parallel universe, who crashes to Earth. Unknowingly, he will save it. The film's origin is much the same as Howard's origin from the comics. The only character from the comics to appear in the film other than Howard was Beverly Switzler.
- Howard the Duck returned to the big screen in a cameo appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy. He initially appears briefly as one of the Collector's (played by Benicio Del Toro) prisoners, and then makes a full appearance in the post-credits sequence. He was voiced by Seth Green.
- Howard made a second cameo appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
- Howard made a cameo appearance in Avengers: Endgame as part of the final battle between the heroes and Thanos' army.
Ultimate Spider-Man Cartoon
Howard the Duck appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Awesome", voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Spider-Man finds Howard the Duck in Dr. Curt Connors' lab on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and declares him too weird to use for Peter Parker and Luke Cage's science project. Howard the Duck tells Spider-Man that he knows Quack Fu.
Phineas and Ferb
Howard the Duck was mentioned during the Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel crossover. Spider-Man believed Perry (who was in disguise) was Howard the Duck, to which the other Avengers disagreed. World of God later commented they had to wait a week to get the rights for this shout out.
Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
Howard makes a cameo appearance in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "The Collector", where he is seen as one of the many Marvel characters held captive in pods.
- Howard had his own tie-in game for his live-action movie.
- Howard appears as a card ability in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- Howard appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes in one of Deadpool's bonus mission. In the game, Howard and the Vulture attack Marvel's publishing offices in order to force the company to make them more popular. They are defeated by Spider-Man and Mr. Fantastic.
- Howard is featured as a playable character in the Marvel Contest of Champions mobile app game. T compensate for his small size and lack of superpowers, this version of Howard pilots a mecha battle suit.
- Howard returns as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.
- A Howard the Duck figure was included as a pack-in with ToyBiz's Marvel Legends Silver Surfer figure.
- Howard was featured in the HeroClix figure game both by himself, and with Swamp Thing.
- Hasbro produced a new Howard the Duck figure as part of the exclusive San Diego Comic-Con "Collector's Vault" set. The figure was designed in the scale of the Marvel Universe line.
- Howard was featured in Funko's Pop! line of bobbleheads. A second figure, this time based on Howard's Contest of Champions appearance, was later released as part of Funko's Gamerverse line of video game-inspired products.
- Howard was featured in Funko's Dorbz line.
- Howard was featured in Diamond Select's Minimates line. The figure came as part of a two-pack with Dazzler.
- Diamond Select produced a Howard the Duck statue.
Earth-2149 Marvel Zombies
Howard the Duck existed in the Marvel Zombies reality. He was turned into a zombie-duck and he eats the brains of the alternate-Ash that is native to that version of the Marvel Universe. He is swiftly slain by the Scarlet Witch and the original Ash Williams of the Evil Dead series.
In the Amalgam universe, Howard was merged with Lobo to form Lobo the Duck.