Characters Appearing: Beverly Switzler, Howard The Duck
Howard the Duck #28
Issue(s): Howard the Duck #28
What surprises me most is that there are actually two more issues that, tangentially at least, involve Steve Gerber. On this issue he's listed as an Editor and Gerber's frequent collaborator Mary Skrenes is the scripter (Marv Wolfman is "Guest Plotter"), and next issue he's credited as "Writer/Editor" while Mark Evanier is credited with "Plot". There's no word in this issue that anything is amiss. Gerber's departure is announced in issue #29 and in #30 it's said that "Steve's departure necessitated the fill-in stories of the previous two issues, though Steve helped mold them into HTD's continuity". So this issue and next are officially fill-ins.
This one, though, actually doesn't fit well into continuity. Howard is with Beverly Switzler in this issue, but Bev was last seen being forced into marriage with Dr. Bong, and that scenario will continue in issue #30. More on that in the Considerations section below.
The story itself is an attempt at Geber-ish wackiness and political pseudo-relevance. I won't judge whether the attempt is successful or a failure, since i never much liked the Gerber version. But (unlike the upcoming Mantlo issues) it is definitely an attempt to replicate Gerber. And of course Gerber is somewhat involved.
After touting a meeting with Howard as something that "might trigger a new sense of wonder at the mysteries and aberrations of the universe", or might cause one to "come away with an agonized appreciation of the plight of minorities", we see three people going to a psychiatrist after an encounter with Howard.
The dialogue is full of "snappy" laff-a-minute wordplay better suited to the likes of Crazy magazine.
The first patient is an old lady secret agent, who goes undercover in a restaurant where the waitresses dress in skimpy outfits.
And she mishears her contact's name, Mr. Dutch, as Mr. Duck, so she gives Howard her message.
The psychiatrist of course thinks she's crazy so he has her locked up.
The second patient is a bus driver. Following secret agent's tip, Howard hijacks a bus to get to the nearest military base.
And the third patient is an army general.
The psychiatrist has all his patients locked up. And then he sees the duck himself.
The basic plot here could have been a Bugs Bunny episode, which is kind of ironic since one concern Marvel had was that Howard would be seen by retailers or kids as "just another funny animal book". And sure, the nods to anti-Communist hysteria and military cover-ups weren't meant for kids. But the story isn't exactly a great innovation for adults, either.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Because of Beverly Switzler's appearance here, i've pushed this out of sequence and back in publication time, between Howard the Duck #14 and Howard the Duck annual #1, which is the closest placement where Bev is not traveling or with Dr. Bong. In Howard the Duck Magazine #1, Bev says that she's just had her first American meal in a long while, placing it soon after the end of #31, so i can't push this book in the other direction. I'll note that the MCP does not list Bev as appearing in this issue. She's not named, but it's clearly meant to be her, so unless there's something i'm not aware of that says otherwise, i'm listing her and placing the issue accordingly.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Fnord, I'm curious- I thought that you didn't have Howard the Duck Magazine 1, so how do you know about that scene with Beverly?
Posted by: Michael | February 25, 2015 7:55 PM
All things are on the internet somewhere. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | February 25, 2015 8:43 PM
Howard without Gerber is one of the saddest sights in comics. Like going from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Posted by: Mizark | July 21, 2016 5:29 AM
Interesting comments from Stan Lee about Infantino from an interview in Marvel Tribune #9(10/68):
"I think it would be too hard to work with Carmine because I don't think I could ever tell him anything. I think he'd want to do things his way and I don't believe his style is good for us. It's a beautiful style, but unless he'd be willing to change it I don't think we could use him and nor do I think he'd want to work for us."
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 20, 2018 4:45 PM
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