Howard the Duck Magazine #5
Issue(s): Howard the Duck Magazine #5
That said, this issue features Dracula, and, perhaps more importantly, Harold H. Harold (proving that it's not just a "generic" Dracula appearance; it's the Marvel/Marv Wolfman version). It was especially important to me that i get this issue because i was surprised to get to the end of Marv Wolfman's Tomb of Dracula run and find that Harold H. Harold was still not undead. To back that up a little further, Roger Stern's Doctor Strange #62, well known among comic fans for being the (temporarily) end of all vampires, included Harold H. Harold among the vampires that we see getting destroyed. At the time, i had no idea who Harold H. Harold was. But by the time i got to him in Wolfman's TOD run, i always got a little worried for him whenever he was around vampires, knowing that at some point he gets turned into one. But that didn't actually happen in Tomb of Dracula; it happens here.
The story starts with Harold H. Harold working at the Midnight Publishing company. I guess Jim Shooter and a number of other Marvel staffers were moonlighting there, including Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden, the creators on this story.
Harold has been taken off the Tales of Dracula Magazine, and in response he's thrown himself out the window, crippling both his legs.
Meanwhile, in Cleveland, Howard the Duck is walking home when he encounters Dracula.
Drac doesn't heed Howard's sputtered warning, so he goes ahead and bites him, and gets a mouth full of feathers.
The bite isn't enough to kill or turn Howard, but it puts him in a quasi-vampiric state for a while.
Meanwhile, Bev is at home where Paul Same is doing a nude portrait of her.
Well, sort of.
Howard tries to bite Winda Wester's neck, and Bev gets the wrong idea, thinking that he's putting the moves on her.
But Paul and Winda convince Bev that Howard is not in his right mind. They lock him in the basement, but he escapes. And then Harold shows up.
Harold leads Bev and friends on a vampire hunt.
Meanwhile, Howard is out hunting cheerleaders' pom-poms...
...and Earth ducks.
Harold and company locate Dracula near where Harold is seducing the duck.
A kiss from Bev cures Howard of his pseudo-vampiric state, and he subsequently stakes Dracula.
But while he's dying, Dracula offers Harold the chance to write better vampire stories, successfully tempting Harold.
Dracula keeps his word by turning Harold into a vampire.
And holy crap what's up with those grave diggers? I wasn't ready for that.
As we'll see in Stern's Dr. Strange story, Harold does use his vampirism to make himself a famous writer before all vampires are destroyed.
A second story in this issue has Howard driving a taxi, but his cab is destroyed thanks to a series of events ending with a baseball from a pro game crashing through his window. Fans tear the car apart to get at the ball. So Howard takes a job as a babysitter at the home of a kooky family.
Around the margins of the first story, and, as we'll see, at the end of this second story, Bill Mantlo is taking the idea of Howard as a duck in the real world in a very literal way and is examining the implications of it. Howard is wondering how he can fit in on Earth as a duck, and debating going back to "Duckworld". The only thing keeping him back is his love for Bev. Very practical matters, and not the sort of thing that Steve Gerber would have done, except as metaphor or for the sake of absurdity. But the babysitting portion of the story is very much in Steve Gerber Cover Band territory. Obvious zany satire.
But then we get back to the practical stuff for the end. Since the babysitting job didn't work out, Howard is more convinced than ever that he needs to go back to Duckworld. Due to the events of last issue, Winda Wester has developed mental powers that will allow her to send Howard back to his home world (don't ask me). But instead of Howard just deciding to permanently go back to Duckworld, he says it's only a temporary visit, and agrees to let Bev go with him.
I was just in it for the Harold H. Harold appearance, and i actually enjoyed the first story in a 'prototype for Count Duckula' sort of way. The second story, with the poor man's Gerber Captain Americana or whatever and repeated mentions of "Duckworld" just convince me that i don't need the rest of Mantlo's Howard the Duck run any time soon.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue ends with Howard and Bev going to Duckworld, so they shouldn't appear anywhere else between this issue and next. Howard's taxi is destroyed in this issue, so it presumably takes place after Marvel Team-Up #96 (the MCP actually have that story taking place during this issue, between the first and second stories).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBeverly Switzler, Claude Starkowski, Dracula, Harold H. Harold, Howard The Duck, Lee Switzler, Paul Same, Winda Wester
Personally, I think there might just be a market for a series about a nebbishy horror writer who's also a vampire. Harold H. Harold: Hack of Hell -- it practically writes itself!
Posted by: Gary Himes | May 2, 2017 5:52 PM
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