Howard the Duck has been an unlikely cult favorite character since his 1973 debut, and in 2023, Marvel Comics will celebrate Howard's 50th anniversary starting in February with a series of variant covers that team Howard up with different Marvel Comics characters, and even one that mashes him up with cult '70s sci-fi movie series Planet of the Apes.
Along with the variant covers, Marvel will also print two Marvel Masterworks volumes reprinting Howard's classic Steve Gerber written adventures, drawn by artists including co-creator Val Mayerik, Frank Brunner, and Gene Colan.
Since he was first created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik as a strange, satirical foil to the enigmatic Man-Thing, Howard has pushed boundaries for Marvel, fictitiously running for president against Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford in 1976, and even drawing the ire of Marvel's current parent company Disney way back before they owned Marvel Comics for looking too much like Donald Duck.
Marvel plans to extend the Howard the Duck variant cover program throughout 2023, with covers from February, March, and April in the first round of reveals.
Here's a gallery of the four Howard the Duck variant covers revealed so far, along with the covers of the two Marvel Masterworks volumes, followed by a list of the titles on which they'll appear and the artists who drew them, organized by release date:
- Avengers Forever #14 Planet of the Apes variant cover by David Talaski
- Mary Jane & Black Cat #3 by Carlos Gomez
- Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 by Cory Smith
- Warlock: Rebirth #1 by Ron Lim
Howard the Duck was the best Marvel Comics character debut of 1973.