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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Tales From The Vault: Marvel Team-Up #96 (1980)


Chronologically this tale recounts the second meeting of Spider-Man and Howard The Duck (although Peter Parker isn't quite sure if their first meeting, in Howard The Duck issue one, wasn't just a bad dream).

In Marvel Team-Up #96, from 1980, Howard is working as a taxi driver and has driven a slightly kooky fare from Cleveland to New York, a former librarian and now self-taught orator who now goes by the soubriquet of Status Quo.

Status Quo is violently opposed to "fads" (from jogging and frisbees to roller-skates and disco music), which he believes are undermining the backbone of America.

Quo gets Howard to drive him to Central Park where he starts whipping up the crowds into a riotous frenzy.

Peter Parker sees what's going on on the news - and spots Howard in the background of the broadcast - and so swings over to make sure things don't get out of hand.

Status Quo is a typical Howard The Duck antagonist from the classic Steve Gerber era (even though this issue was written and drawn by Alan Kupperberg)

He's a fruitcake with a political point to make and - sudden and inexplicable - access to high-tech weaponry (exploding frisbees and jet-propelled skateboards!) who is ultimately defeated by dramatic irony.

Although the resolution involves - of course - fisticuffs, it comes down to Howard giving him a stern talking to in front of the assembled media that spells the end for Status Quo.

Among the many nutty moments of this issue, Spider-Man gets very serious (and references Hitler):


And Howard gets naked (and spends about half the issue in a state of undress!):


As an aside, I'd just like to point out that, to my mind, this is definitive Howard The Duck look... you know, like a duck, not that that strange elongated, scrawny appearance he developed after Marvel had a run-in with Disney over his supposed similarity to Donald.

Not really Howard The Duck...

That was my only real disappointment with Guardians Of The Galaxy, the Howard who popped up at the end didn't look like my Howard. And, yes, I am one of the handful of people who likes the 1986 movie.

Given that Disney now owns Marvel couldn't they let Howard get his proper look back?

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