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DF Interview: Chip Zdarsky puts the quack back in Howard the Duck
By Byron Brewer
Out of the briefest of moments – a small screen in the post-credits scene of summer film blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy – comes a new ongoing from Marvel Comics in March 2015: the return of former presidential candidate and wise-quacking alien Howard the Duck.
Yes, Howard the Duck!
Sex Criminals’ Chip Zdarsky and artist Joe Quinones (Wednesday Comics) will bring us Howard’s new adventures. The series will embrace the absurdity of a talking, case-cracking duck (Dick Duck, Duck Dick?), setting Howard on a series of mysterious capers throughout the Marvel Universe. His first mission will find him teamed with the Black Cat.
To get the bottom of this superstar waugh, Dynamic Forces spoke with scribe Zdarsky in a little dive just outside Cleveland.
Dynamic Forces: Chip, were you ever a fan of Howard the Duck?
Chip Zdarsky: Yes! As a kid I was able to get my grubby paws on the original series because of my uncle Fred who collected them. He actually bequeathed the black and white magazines to me a few years ago. But, yeah, my heart belongs to the original [Steve] Gerber issues.
DF: How did you as a writer become attached to this high profile project?
Chip Zdarsky: I did some covers for Marvel, then a two-page gag strip, then they asked me if I had any Howard ideas. The editor I've been dealing with, Wil Moss, knew my comics work from a few years ago and trusted me with this. Which is wildly questionable judgment, frankly.
DF: Have you done any research for the new Howard book? Read anew the Gerber classics?
Chip Zdarsky: Re-read them all! My girlfriend is still bugging me to re-watch the movie, but I somehow think that won't help me ...
DF: I understand this is an entirely new iteration of Howard. Tell us about the "Marvel Now" Howard the Duck.
Chip Zdarsky: Well, the history's intact. I've just upended him with a fresh job as a private detective in New York. I like playing off of what's come before while giving a new lease on it, y'know? It's a great aspect of mainstream comics, that continuity! I'm trying not to mess with it too much.
DF: Will Beverly, the "hairless ape" that was the Duck's paramour, be a part of this book?
Chip Zdarsky: Not initially! She's missing from the book and Howard's life and we'll definitely get to that at some point.
DF: Think Howard might make a run for U.S. President in a couple of years like he did back in the Seventies?
Chip Zdarsky: Hmm. The beauty of Gerber's run was constantly trying new things. If anything, I want to keep to the spirit of that, so probably not. But I won't say a definitive “no”!
DF: Despite its updating, are you striving to have the humor and edginess Howard has always been famous for?
Chip Zdarsky: Yes! First and foremost, I want this to be a funny book. The edginess will reveal itself as we go.
DF: Can you tell us about the first arc in Howard?
Chip Zdarsky: His first case, a jewelry theft, spirals wildly out of control and firmly cements Howard in the Marvel Universe. There's danger and guest stars galore and jokes. I'm having a blast writing it.
DF: Will we be seeing Dr. Bong or any of Howard's old enemies?
Chip Zdarsky: Mayyyybe. I'm definitely tapping into characters Howard's run across before.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Chip Zdarsky for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Howard the Duck #1 hits shelves March 4th, 2015!
Get your copy of Sex Criminals #1 Rare 4th Printing Photo Cover featuring Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction right here!
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