This week, I shed a tear for Howard the Duck, whose comic which has brought me such great joy is ending soon. The fact that we even got a Howard comic since 2015 is surprising, considering if it wasn’t for that cameo in that movie were a human teams up with two green people, a talking tree and raccoon and fight space Thor at the end, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Yes Guardians of the Galaxy is responsible for Howard the Duck getting another comic, but it was the strength of Chip Zdarksy and Joe Quinones that made it the awesome comic it is. But with Chip confirming the comic is ending, rather than being cancelled, which is a bit of a semantic case the fact is that a Howard the Duck comic only has a limited shelf life.
I’m as big of a Howard mark as the next guy but truth be told it’s mostly because of Chip’s handle on the character, and how he wrote the loveable mallard, but I’d be hard pressed to admit that there is 50 plus issues of story that could be told. At the end of the day, he’s still a talking duck and that is difficult to fit into most stories. I mean when you already have the Avengers flying around or a guy with a painted on skull killing fools, it’s hard to take Howard seriously. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great comic and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should. But my point is there are only so many tales you can tell with Howard before you start to repeat because he is such a niche character in the Marvel U, and outside character studies, which Chip is doing, it’s best to limit his appearances.
So if you’re new to comics there will always be sadness when your favourite comic has ended. How do you you fill the void left by such a comic? Well you could always read the series again, from start to finish either in single issue or trade form. That way the series lives on, fresh in your mind. You could always try other books by the creators. Maybe it was the art work or the writer that drew you to the book, and you could perhaps look into other books that they have worked on.
Or use the time to discover new and exciting books. Find a character or setting you really dig and try that. You like Romeo and Juliet, but wished it contained more sci fi elements including a cat that could detect when people lied? Try Saga! Love zombies but wished they had more super heroes in there? Try Marvel Zombies! Want to start reading G.I.Joe because I won’t shut up about how great it is? For the older marvel books, you can start here, for the start of the IDW series, start here or for a kick arse take on Cobra, start here.
The sad part is, collecting and reading comics can be a crap shoot. What may start out as a solid idea, “A group of villains team up to commit crimes” may sound good in paper but doesn’t often translate into sales for what ever reason. Poor choice of opening story, luckluster reaction to a niche character. Market saturation. Some times a book just reaches it’s natural conclusion and to go on would be trying to wring water from an already dry towel. Rejoice that for a time, some one decided that there really ought to be a title of your favourite character out there, and for what ever reason, it just sadly didn’t work.
Am I sai Howard is leaving us? Of course I am, it was one of my favourite books of the past year, I took a chance on a weird, niche character and walked away with a really awesome book that I love talking about, much to delight of no one. Books get cancelled all the time, and while it is sad, it’s part of the publishing process. So enjoy your favourite books while you can and give support to the creators who write them. You’ll never know when they might be cancelled.