It was unusual to witness people immediately begin to care about Howard the Duck as a result of James Gunn’s film. It’s like 28 years of Howard hate didn’t happen. Prior to “Guardians,” only a few comic book fans cared, while the rest of us still recalled the scar left by the 1986 film’s massive failure.
Chip Zdarsky recalled the swift timeline of events that led to the 2014 Marvel Comics reboot of “Howard the Duck.” Gunn’s film opened, it was hugely successful, and Marvel almost instantaneously put several new “Howard” comics into production as a result. Zdarsky was called and immediately got a gig at one of the world’s biggest publishers. In his words:
“I wouldn’t be working at Marvel or DC if it wasn’t for James Gunn. After he did ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ the weekend after it opened, a Marvel editor contacted me and said, ‘Hey, did you watch Guardians of the Galaxy? James Gunn put Howard the Duck at the end! I think we have a shot at launching a Howard the Duck series now.’ That was my first gig at Marvel.”
In 2014, Zdarsky was nominated for his first Eisner Award for his work on “Sex Criminals,” and would be nominated for six more in the next five years. He would also would go on to write “Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man” in 2018, and create “Batman: Black and White” in 2020. He’s also written for “Jughead,” “Daredevil,” and the new series “Public Domain.” He even stepped in to write a revival of “Not Brand Echh,” Marvel’s MAD Magazine-like spoof comic.