Howard the Duck

updated 12/22/1986 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/22/1986 01:00AM

I never shoulda listened ta that movie producer, but those guys can talk a goose outta flying south for the winter. My friends warned me. Supergirl called, whimpering. The Lone Ranger sent a tarnished silver bullet. Isabelle Huppert gasped when I asked her about Cimino and Heaven's Gate.

But come on. You'da done the same as me if George Lucas, Mr. Star Wars himself, said he was gonna put your name on a movie. After Howard the Duck he was gonna make The Duck Strikes Back, then The Return of the Mallard. He said the chicks would be all over me. I plucked out a pinfeather and signed. His company promised "the duck version of Indiana Jones." It turned out ta be the duck version of the Temple of Doom.

That turkey sank faster than my Uncle Harry the day he took both barrels of a 12-gauge. The L.A. Times called it "a base canard." Frank Price, who ran the movie business at Universal, quit. The headline in Variety read, "Duck Cooks Price's Goose."

I'm an easy target. Ducks always are. Was it my fault Lucas hired a midget ta play me, then blew $2 million on a duck suit? Was it my fault the director, Willard Huyck, gave the guy the emotional depth of a feather duster? Was it my fault that writers Huyck and Gloria Katz put in so many stupid duck puns I nearly quacked up? They didn't understand that I'm a sensitive comic book duck of the '70s, insightful and philosophical, even a little vulnerable. I'm plenty tough, too, no Mahatma Gander, so Lucas at least got that right, but he turned me inta something uncaring and indifferent, practically human. I guess it's my fault for signin' away creative control. I'm not sayin' I'm smarter than him—that's obvious, isn't it?—but he blew it, the way you talking hairless apes always do.

I'm a little down, now. I admit it. These days, anybody got work for a duck, they don't call me, they call Daffy, who ain't got the brains of a decoy. I try Marvel Comics, they say, "Howard the Who?" Nobody wants a duck whose picture cost about $50 million and lost $35 million. I have nightmares about crates of Howard the Duck dolls in a warehouse somewhere, so unwanted you can't give them away at Christmas ta kids who were bad.

Lately, the way I'm feelin', I been hittin' the sauce kinda hard. And that orange sauce is a killer—I can't tell ya how many ducks I've seen lying face down in the stuff. Who woulda thought that Howard the Duck, the webbed wit who conquered the Incredible Space Turnip and the Horrible Hellcow, could be finished off by something as ridiculous as Hollywood?

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