Name: Howard the Duck
First Appearance: Adventure Into Fear #19 (December 1973 Marvel Comics)
Created by: Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik
“Finding yourself in a world of talking hairless apes–now that’s absurdity!”
The Marvel universe has its fair share of oddball heroes as the film Guardians of the Galaxy as shown the main stream public. They can come in all shapes, sizes, and species. This includes one of the strangest heroes of all, Howard the Duck. Howard was created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik in Marvel’s horror comic series Adventure Into Fear. He was not created by George Lucas as some uninformed might believe; Lucas only provided the film that nearly killed the character for nearly two decades. In Adventure Into Fear, an unlikely scenario occurred, Howard the Duck was a hit with the fans which paved the way for his own adventures a few years later down the line. His fans have come and gone through various series, but Howard has once again found his way back into the limelight, creating the perfect time to explore his first appearance.
Howard is not originally from the Marvel proper universe, 616. He is from Duckworld, an alternate version of Earth that resides in universe designation 47920. Duckworld is very similar to Earth, except for the fact that it is filled with duck-people instead of human beings. While it is unknown if people on his world have ever developed super powers, Howard himself has no powers. He is otherwise normal, with his only line of defense being his Quack-Fu martial arts training, a hand-to-hand combat style that can be very formidable. In Adventure Into Fear #19, Howard first found himself transported into the regular Marvel universe.
Soon to be sorceress Jennifer Kale has found herself slipping in and out of different realities. In what she originally believes to be a dream, she found herself on a giant battle ground in the nexus of all realities that was pulling people from numerous realities into one spot, including Man-Thing and Korrek the barbarian. Korrek believes she is behind the madness and that the Man-Thing is her demonic bodyguard. He tries to kill her, but she is transported back home before he can slay her with his sword.
Back home, Jennifer finds herself awake in her bed, still believing everything was a dream. She tells her grandfather and brother everything and tries to go to sleep. With realities still in flux, Korrek is transported to her house and tries to kill her once more until her grandfather and brother burst into the room behind him, scaring him off. The three are suddenly met by Dakimh the Enchanter who materializes in her room, telling Jennifer that she must come with him to learn how to become a sorceress and stop the converging of realities. He takes her to his castle, where they are quickly attacked, leaving Dakimh escaped and Jennifer captured.
Meanwhile Korrek makes his way to the swamp nearby and once again runs into Man-Thing. He tries to slay the creature, but finds that nothing will hurt it. Finally giving up, Korrek tells Man-Thing to kill him if he must as the world has already been turned upside down. This is when we finally meet Howard the Duck, who approaches the two as he has also been transported to this universe. The three group together in hopes of finding a way back their respective homes. They do not get far before the three our attacked by monsters, which they face in Adventure Into Fear #20.