Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

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Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by PopularLoser » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:23 am

Before I begin, I should let you all know that this is the only Howard the Duck comic book I own. So I have no idea where this fits in Howard the Duck's or Beverly Switzer's chronology. Looking at Howard's listing here at the MCP and checking the Cover Dates at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators, I'd suggest a placement between Howard's appearances in Generation X and Daydreamers. But I'm not really an expert in such things. I'm sure Paul B's calender will help in that regard anyway.

Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Written by Larry Hama
Penciled by Pascual Ferry
Inked by Jamie Mendoza and Hackshack Studios

Title: Wreck the Malls with Hydra's Folly!

Pages 1-34:
The story is set on Christmas Eve, I'd say in the late afternoon and probably running into the early evening. Howard is working at at video store in Cleveland (Ohio I'm presuming). After a run-in with Judge Elmer Dwedd of the Copyright Infringment Agency (parodies of Judge D.R.E.D.D and the C.I.A respectively), Beverly Switzer finds Howard and drags him to the Mondo Mega Mall where she's working as a candy cane elf. The mall's Santa got his beard caught in an escalator and, under protest, Howard has to take his place. The kids drive Howard crazy and he's pickpocketed by a midget pretending to be a blind, sick, homeless boy. Howard wants to chase the pickpocket but is waylaid in kids who want to see Santa, the last of whom is an awkward little boy in a Wolverine costume named Dionysius Finster. Having been abandoned by his parents, the kid tags along with Howard and Bev as they are leaving the mall. Suddenly, a real elf (a parody of Stan Lee) from the North Pole busts in on the group and demands that Howard (as a department store Santa) come to the North Pole to rescue the real Santa from HYDRA. Howard, Bev, and Dionysius join a bizarre group of department store Santas to take back Santa's Workship and Save Christmas. Airdropped onto the North Pole, Howard leads the group against an army of HYDRA agents only to find out that Santa Claus has actually sold himself out to HYDRA and most of his elves have been fired as a result of streamlining production at the workshop. Dionysius Finster is outraged that Santa has done this and (mimicking Wolverine) goes berserk on the lead HYDRA agent. Santa sees the error of his ways, and with the help of Howard, Bev, the other department store Santas, and an army of disgruntled, unemployed elves is able to regain control of his workshop. Because of the hard work of all involved, Christmas is saved and Santa agrees to reward the various department store Santas (including Howard) who helped him out by giving them transport back to their homes as well as extra presents. He also agrees to let Dionysius Finster, who has nowhere else to go, live at the North Pole.

Pages 35-37:
The next night (Christmas Night), Howard and Bev are walking down a street enjoying their gifts when Howard sees the midget who pickpocketed him the day before. He gets his revenge, taking back what was stolen from him and donates all the other stuff the midget stole to a charity Santa.

Appearances: Howard the Duck, Beverly Switzer, and Santa Claus. If Ms. Claus appearances are being tracked by the MCP, she has a BTS here. None of the HYDRA agents seem to be anything more than generic HYDRA agents. And I doubt Dionysius Finster appears in any other stories.
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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by Paul Bourcier » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:39 am

I have Howard here between GENX 23 and 25, on December 24-25 of Year 18. Thanks for the analysis, PopularLoser.
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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by JephYork » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:49 am

between GENX 23 and 25
How/why does he go from hanging out in Massachusetts, to working at a video store in Cleveland, then back to hanging around in Massachusetts again?

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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by Paul Bourcier » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:50 pm

Jeph wrote:
How/why does he go from hanging out in Massachusetts, to working at a video store in Cleveland, then back to hanging around in Massachusetts again?
You're expecting Howard's life to make sense? :wink:

I haven't plotted all of Howard's apearances on a calendar but picked the Christmas closest to other books published contemporaneously with this special -- the same Christmas as GENX 24, in which Howard does not appear. That got me thinking that he left Massachusetts after the Thanksgiving story in GENX 23 to appear in Cleveland. The Ohio gig didn't work out, and he returned to Massachusetts in time for GENX 25, which I placed in February. I have the Daydreamers mini occurring right on the heels of GENX 25.
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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by JephYork » Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:26 pm

Howard doesn't appear in Gen X #24 because 99% of the issue takes place in Monaco. It's not an indicator that he left the Academy grounds.

Personally, I have a hard time believing that he'd leave Beverly behind and travel a thousand miles, just to return to living in the Gen X kids' grotto. Wasn't the only reason he was spending time there in the first place because he picked up Skin and Chamber in his cab?

I recommend placing it before or after his Gen X/Daydreamers appearances. Not during.

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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by wolframbane » Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:21 am

According to the OHOTMU Bibliography for Howard, the Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 occurs between "with Ben Reilly & savage Chicago cop, vs Relf & Circus of Crime (Spider-Man Team-Up #5/Savage Dragon & Destroyer Duck, 1996); vs Judge Dwedd & Hydra, saved Santa Claus again (Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1, 1997); befriended Generation X, Franklin Richards, Artie Maddicks, Leech & Tana Nile, joined them & Man-Thing in surreal journey (Generation X #20-21, 23 & 25/Daydreamers #1-3 1996-1997)"

http://www.marvel.com/universe/OHOTMU:B ... d_the_Duck

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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by Col_Fury » Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:21 am

The Copyright Infringement Agency?! Yeah, this should be Howard's next appearance following Spider-Man Team-Up #5(& by extension, Savage Dragon & Destroyer Duck). Definitely. No question about it.

And before anyone asks if Savage Dragon & Destroyer Duck is missing from the Project, it treats the Savage Dragon Universe & the Marvel Universe as the same universe, and is therefore NOT the Marvel Universe 616... as far as the Chronology Project is concerned. HOWEVER, it is continued directly from Spider-ManTeam-Up #5, so if you're a Howard the Duck fan, you'll want to track it down. One, because it's a good issue.(and fun!) Two, because it will put that Copyright Infringement Agency thing into context.

And hey, thanks for the analysis PopularLoser!
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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by loki » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:03 am

Col_Fury wrote:The Copyright Infringement Agency?! Yeah, this should be Howard's next appearance following Spider-Man Team-Up #5(& by extension, Savage Dragon & Destroyer Duck). Definitely. No question about it.

And before anyone asks if Savage Dragon & Destroyer Duck is missing from the Project, it treats the Savage Dragon Universe & the Marvel Universe as the same universe, and is therefore NOT the Marvel Universe 616... as far as the Chronology Project is concerned. HOWEVER, it is continued directly from Spider-ManTeam-Up #5, so if you're a Howard the Duck fan, you'll want to track it down. One, because it's a good issue.(and fun!) Two, because it will put that Copyright Infringement Agency thing into context.

And hey, thanks for the analysis PopularLoser!
There's a slight amount of evidence (thanks to in-jokes by Erik Larsen while he was working for Marvel) that the Savage Dragon has a counterpart on 616, or at minimum that Dragon has visited 616 and is remembered by some of the heroes there. A Skrull agent, seeking to free imprisoned Skrulls, took on the form of Dragon, believing that it would get him access to local prisons to free his compatriots - the only logical reason he could believe such an unusual looking form would give him that kind of access is if someone of that appearance was well known and trusted by local authorities.
http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/savdragi.htm

Obviously copyright dictates we are unlikely to see this Marvel Universe Savage Dragon in too many stories, but apparently he's out there.

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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by Col_Fury » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:22 am

That's right... in Nova: the Human Rocket #3! Featuring the villain the Quintronic Man, a robot driven by five Fury LMDs. :)

Good stuff.
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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by Russ Chappell » Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:16 am

loki wrote:A Skrull agent, seeking to free imprisoned Skrulls, took on the form of Dragon, believing that it would get him access to local prisons to free his compatriots - the only logical reason he could believe such an unusual looking form would give him that kind of access is if someone of that appearance was well known and trusted by local authorities.
I haven't read the story, but I have to ask the question: did the Skrull agent's plan work? Because another theory that springs to mind is that the Skrull agent thought someone of that appearance was well known. Skrulls, after all, have a history of mistaking pop culture items for the real thing.


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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by loki » Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:06 pm

Administrator wrote:
loki wrote:A Skrull agent, seeking to free imprisoned Skrulls, took on the form of Dragon, believing that it would get him access to local prisons to free his compatriots - the only logical reason he could believe such an unusual looking form would give him that kind of access is if someone of that appearance was well known and trusted by local authorities.
I haven't read the story, but I have to ask the question: did the Skrull agent's plan work? Because another theory that springs to mind is that the Skrull agent thought someone of that appearance was well known. Skrulls, after all, have a history of mistaking pop culture items for the real thing.
Fair point - the plan didn't work, at least in as much as he got caught. However, as the Appendix entry notes, one of the cops notes that the Skrull got some of the appearance details wrong, which is why he wasn't a convincing doppelganger, NOT that he took on the form of someone who only existed as a comic book character. So yes, there's a possibility that the Skrull merely made a mistake, and picked a fictional character to copy, but then we'd also have to take it that the cop was joking about why the disguise failed.

Since we aren't likely to see the "real" 616 Dragon in a comic, I guess people can choose to interpret whatever way they prefer.

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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by JephYork » Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:02 pm

I always took the events of SMTU #5 and Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck as some kind of inter-dimensional overlap. For that period of time, the Marvel Universe and Image Universe touch (or touched).

The Image universe has already been shown, in the Kurt Busiek-written series "Shattered Image", to have a history of merging with and separating from other universes without any of the inhabitants noticing. ("Shattered Image" was written to sort-of-explain why the Youngblood, WildCATS and CyberForce characters vanished when their creators left the company, and showed the Ninja Turtle characters suddenly appearing on-panel, with all the other characters being briefly shocked and then going "oh yeah, they've been here this whole time".) My pet theory is that the Image Universe occasionally and briefly merges with other universes whenever crossover time hits.

As for the cop commenting that the Dragon-Skrull "got the fin wrong" -- yeah, that's a huge inside joke. One of Erik Larsen's biggest gripes is that, if anyone else draws the Dragon, they get the fin wrong. (Remember, Erik wrote that issue!) If an in-universe explanation is needed, we can always say that the cop was a big fan of the Dragon comic...

-Jeph!

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Re: Howard the Duck Holiday Special #1 (Feb. 1997)

Post by Paul Bourcier » Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:42 pm

Col_Fury wrote:
The Copyright Infringement Agency?! Yeah, this should be Howard's next appearance following Spider-Man Team-Up #5(& by extension, Savage Dragon & Destroyer Duck). Definitely. No question about it.
Okay, then... That puts this Christmas story shortly before the Thanksgiving story in GENX 23, in which Howard and Beverly stop by "cause we were on the East Coast" (with an editor's note citing the Cleveland-based HTDHS 1 :? ). Then comes the "real" Christmas of GENX 24. Not the best consistency in temporal references between books published in the same holiday season, but there you have it.
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