It’s that blessed time of the year where we all try to take stock of what we’ve done with our lives and what other people have created that we enjoyed. That's right, it's time to start putting together our "Best of 2016" lists, and today we're going to take a look at the Best Marvel Covers of 2016.
Howard the Duck
Deadpool is Marvel's most popular comedy character of the last decade. Howard the Duck was the publisher's comedy star of the Bronze Age, and he's enjoyed a recent revival. But what if these two characters were squished together into one character? That's the very important question that's answered in Deadpool the Duck, a five issue mini-series written by Stuart Moore with art by Jacopo Camagni.
Announced at New York Comic Con on Friday, Deadpool the Duck, by Stuart Moore and Jacopo Camagni, is a five-issue miniseries in which Deadpool becomes Howard the Duck, or maybe Howard the Duck becomes Deadpool. To be honest it seems a little complicated. In any case the comic comes out in January 2017, and you have to admit that a duck in Deadpool's costume is pretty cute.
Howard The Duck is one of the great idiosyncratic characters in comics; an ill-tempered alien waterfowl with no special powers or abilities, who has nonetheless ended up as a fixture of the Marvel Universe.
Since he first appeared on 11 September 1973 in second-tier horror title Adventures Into Fear #19, waddling out of the bushes to interrupt a hallucinogenic story by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik, he's constantly beaten the odds, becoming a beloved character to generations.
Though Hasbro has been taking its sweet time making its annual San Diego Comic-Con exclusive announcements, the few that have made it out into the wild have been rather exciting. Not only are we finally getting things like a classic trilogy Obi-Wan Kenobi, but a GI Joe an the Transformers set with transforming vehicles for the Joes and Cobra to ride in. The Marvel side of things has been relatively mum, but yesterday the first Marvel Legends exclusive did manage to break free from the depths of space.
Coming to Comic-Con in a few weeks will be The Collector's Vault, a box set of 3.75" Marvel Legends with a bit of a cosmic bent. At the center of it all is the Collector, who you may recall from his brief stints in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or as the man in charge of Contest of Champions (both the comic and the game). He's got a few friends and relics to add to the mix, too.
Comics coloring is one of the most unappreciated aspects of the medium, despite enhancing the thematic subtext of a work and just making it look better. In this series I'm going to shine a spotlight on some of the best and most interesting colorists in comics.
Rico Renzi is one of the most recognizable colorists in the business. Whether he's working on Marvel comics like Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, She-Hulk, and Howard the Duck, or a Vertigo title like FBP, it's easy to spot a Renzi-colored comic. Renzi always employs a striking color palette. His backgrounds and spot colors take advantage of the fact that comics don't always need to be realistic. While Marvel and DC comics are often colored in a more orthodox style, Renzi employs bold contrasts even there.
The folks at Marvel know that it's never too late to take a chance to tweak their distinguished competitors at fancy Southern California comic publisher DC. Back in April 2013, DC ran a month of covers under the 'WTF Certified' banner, with 'shocking' twist reveals on fold-out covers. The F in WTF is of course a naughty word, which made some retailers uncomfortable, and DC shuffled its feet and said it would not put the ribald WTF branding on its actual covers.
A whole two years later in April 2015, Marvel has decided to remind the world of DC's embarrassed walk-back with What The Duck month, featuring twenty comics with variant Howard the Duck-themed covers inspired by iconic images. In the PR, Marvel boasts that the covers will be 'WTD Certified', so this is not a simple coincidence. This is mock-making in the classic Marvel manner.
The post-credits scene for Guardians Of The Galaxy featured a rather unexpected comic book character, which inspired fan speculation over whether or not this particular character would make another appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While we won’t see him on the big screen again anytime soon, he is getting his very own comic book sequel to help explain how he ended up in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik's Howard the Duck is a tough nut to quack. The character has fallen fowl of ownership disputes in the past, and had to duck-and-cover after the disastrous 1986 movie. He's ruffled few feathers since, but really got audiences pond-ering a return after just a poultry post-credit cameo in Guardians Of The Galaxy.
No doubt egged on by the warm reception for Ryan North and Erica Henderson's Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Marvel has doubled down with another comedy book, an all-new Howard the Duck series, with Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones billed as the plucky creators. This begs the question; waddle Marvel do next?
Steve Gerber was one of comics' most individual talents – an acclaimed writer whose career spanned four decades, an outspoken voice for creative rights, and, of course, as he's inevitably known today, the man who made an ill-tempered cigar-smoking duck into one of Marvel's most unforgettable characters.