Satirical, smart-mouthed, cigar-chewing duck from another dimension created by Steve Gerber (1947- ) for the Marvel Comics horror series Man Thing. HTD first appeared in Fear #19 (1973). The originality of the concept earned the character a comic-book series of his own (Howard the Duck #1-#33 1976-1986); the success of this was due to Gerber's witty parodies of other Comics and comic-book characters. A large-format companion magazine for adult readers was Howard the Duck Magazine #1-#9 (1979-1981).
A legal dispute arose when Gerber left Marvel in 1978 and claimed ownership of the character. Gerber finally triumphed, and his legal victory helped bring about changes in the relationship between publishers and creators in the US comic-book industry. Gerber covered his legal bills by creating, with Jack Kirby (1917- ), Destroyer Duck (#1-#7 1982-1984), a biting Satire of the comic-book industry, and licensing HTD to Lucasfilm for the movie Howard the Duck (1986). [RT]