Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
WAUGH! It’s: Howard the Duck
Appearances in Heroclix: Deadpool and X-Force, Amazing Spider-Man, Secret Invasion
First Appearance: Adventure into Fear #19 (Dec. 1973)
Team Affiliations: Circus of Crime, Defenders, All-Night Party, A.R.M.O.R., Fearsome Four
Created by: Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik
Howard lives a normal life until Thog the Nether-Spawn plucks him from his universe and drops him in the middle of the Florida Everglades. Howard’s normal anthropomorphic duck life is turned upside down quickly as he meets the Man-Thing and is confronted by members of the Congress of Realities. Dakimh the Enchanter arrives and banishes the congresspeople before transporting Howard, Man-Thing and Korrek of Katharta to Dakimh’s castle where they meet Jennifer Kale. The group then travels to Therea’s realm and defeats Thog the Nether-Spawn.
After proving victorious, Howard slips off the inter-dimensional pathway and lands in Cleveland, Ohio where he faces Garko the Man-Frog. Howard soon meets Bessie the Hellcow. The next meeting is one of the most important of Howard’s life as he meets Beverly Switzler who accompanies him on numerous adventures. Howard then goes on to battle Pro-Rata, the cosmic accountant, meets Spider-Man, battles the Turnip-Man and Kidney Lady. After these battles, Howard commits to learning the martial art of “Quack-Fu,” before battling the Winky Man and spending a short time as a professional wrestler.
Beverly and Howard then hit the road where the weirdness only gets weirder. Howard fights a human size gingerbread man before traveling to New York City and becoming the All-Night Party’s nominee for President of the United States. During his campaign he helps the Defenders fight the Band of the Bland before being lured to Canada to fight the Beaver. Howard tries to run away from the craziness of his life only to end up on a bus full of members of different cults, who all try to recruit Howard. When the bus crashes, Howard is sent to a mental institution where he meets Daimon Hellstrom and briefly becomes the Son of Satan. Beverly gets Howard out and back to Cleveland before booking them on a cruise to relax. Unbeknownst to her, Doctor Bong, a college friend of Beverly’s that always had a crush on her, abduct the pair and forcibly marries Bev before turning Howard into a human.
Howard returns to his natural state before rejoining the Florida mystical crew to battle the demon Bzzk’Joh. After returning home to Cleveland, Howard is kidnapped by the Circus of Crime. Bev is freed from her marriage to Doctor Bong and returns to Cleveland alongside Howard, who begins to work as a cab driver. Howard is then gifted a suit of Iron Duck armor and battles Doctor Bong before briefly returning to Duckworld and battling Dracula.
Howard helps She-Hulk prevent the 616 from being destroyed by other splinter universe before traveling the Baloneyverse, meeting the Critic and battling the Band of the Bland once again. Howard and Beverly later get mixed up with Peter Parker and Ben Reilly in a warehouse full of impostor ducks. Peter and Ben escape the warehouse with clones of Bev and Howard while the real Howard and Bev escape with Savage Dragon and Destroyer Duck, going off to live happily ever after.
The clones go on to have many adventures in the 616 universe. Jennifer Kale attempts to return Howard to his home only to accidentally bring Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy into New York City. The pair rampage for a short time before being subdued and returned home. Howard goes on a few adventures with Generation X before becoming a department store Santa. This results in him being dragged to the North Pole where the real Santa has sold out to HYDRA. Howard makes it out of that only to be sent across the Multiverse thanks to Man-Thing and lands on a variant version of Duckworld that he is unfamiliar with but where he is regarded as a hero due to his adventures. This results in them realizing that Franklin is manifesting all of these universes and the pair return to Earth where Man-Thing becomes a caretaker for the powerful Richards. Howard is then kidnapped by the Cult of Entropy, who wants the power of the Nexus of Realities. Man-Thing helps free Howard of the power of the Nexus so that the duck can return home to Cleveland in peace.
Years later, Howard is exposed to powerful chemicals manufactured by Doctor Bong and changes shape multiple times. Howard and Beverly then go on some very controversial adventures before managing to gain entrance to the Boarding House of Mystery. There they learn that everyone staying there can have whatever their heart wishes for, which creates all kinds of odd situations. The caretakers, Cain and Abel, are affable enough for Howard’s taste and return him to his true duck form. When the pair leave the Boarding House of Mystery he is once again transformed into a giant mouse. A convoluted series of events follows that results in Howard being sent to Hell before being returned to life by a god.
Howard tries to avoid trouble by registering under the Superhero Registration Act only to find out that the government’s official position is that he doesn’t exist. Because it’s easier that way. After helping She-Hulk to thwart another evil scheme, she restores Howard’s citizenship and all the relevant rights and responsibilities. During the Serpent’s war on Earth, Howard forms a team that he calls the Fearsome Four with She-Hulk, Frankenstein’s Monster and Nighthawk to stop a rampaging Man-Thing who is being manipulated by Psycho-Man.
Howard and Bev are then brainwashed and do battle with a decency group that has ill intentions. Howard is then recruited to lead an inter-dimensional zombie killing crew that he dubs the Ducky Dozen. The team suffers heavy losses but Howard is able to survive and return home. Howard then helps Doop deal with a group of Robo-Barbarians in another dimension.
Howard returns to New York and starts a new private detective agency. He makes friends with a young person with shape shifting powers and goes on a wild adventures that leads to a jaunt with the Guardians of the Galaxy, being robbed by a brainwashed May Parker, battling the Ringmaster, and encountering Talos the Untamed who has reformed the Abundant Glove. Several superheroes battle Talos until Tara uses her shape shifting powers to impersonate Skrull Emperor Kl’rt and helps defeat Talos. Howard then teams up with Spider-Man, May Parker, Gwenpool and Squirrel Girl on several more adventures.