Howard The Duck has taken over comics and even movies…and now he’s taking over mobile gaming. EW can exclusively announce that beginning April 7 in a special limited release event called “Duck Season,” everyone’s favorite duck detective will be available to play on Marvel Puzzle Quest. Players will only be able to add Howard to their roster of characters during Duck Season, and fans can start earning Howard in “The Hunt” episode, right before a special new episode called “Webbed Wonder,” airing April 11 and written by Marvel writer Alex Irvine. The new episode will find Spider-Man teaming up with Howard to find out what Aunt May has been up to — but they’ll have to battle H.A.M.M.E.R. agents and supervillains first.
Working closely with Howard The Duck writer and artist Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones, Demiurge Studios created new art and abilities for Howard’s Marvel Puzzle Quest debut. EW spoke exclusively to Zdarsky and Quiones over email about bringing Howard to life in this new medium, and what fans can expect. (Aside from a lot of “WAUGH!”)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Chip, what is a duck doing in Marvel Puzzle Quest? Indulge me! In all honesty, how does it feel to know that Howard has such a reach now that he’s not only making waves in comic books, but moving into other creative areas of Marvel where there’s superhero representation?
CHIP ZDARSKY: Look, any time anything I work on gets recognized, I just assume it’s a massive prank. Like, when I get to see him in the game it’ll just be Spider-Man throwing fried duck wings at his enemies. So this ACTUALLY happening is a little surreal. But no matter what I get to do with the character, or where he ends up, it’s still his creator Steve Gerber’s baby. He made him so popular that he became Marvel’s FIRST movie, before all this Civil War rock ‘em sock ‘em stuff. I’m just lucky enough to get to play with him for a while.
You gave Howard a lot of originality and really made him unique in Marvel’s “reboot” of the character. What was it like to be able to design Howard’s abilities for this game?
Oh man, it was pretty fun. It felt like I had the fate of thousands of gamers in my hands. Like, writing Howard in the comic I have HIS fate in my hands, but being able to determine his abilities and characteristics for others to play with was a whole new, strange level. Also, it was great being able to translate some of his lesser-known abilities into game-attacks, like his ability to complain to people for so long that they eventually fall asleep. Now that’s VIDEO GAME CANON.
Was there anything you really wanted to do to Howard creatively that you couldn’t do in the comics that you got to do in this game?
Well, Marvel’s been pretty open to letting me do ALMOST anything I’ve pitched them (apparently I can’t use Batman? OR his archenemy Superman??), so the amount of freedom has been pretty much the same. The big thing I’m looking forward to with the game is seeing Joe’s illustrations moving around and sparkling the way they deserve to.
What does Howard bring to the game as a character? (Aside from WAUGH! and a sense of humor, obviously.)
What I love about the game is the mix-and-match quality of it. Like, you can determine that Spider-Man and Black Widow can fight Juggernaut. But throwing Howard in there just elevates things to a ridiculous level. The idea of a battle featuring Hulk, Storm and Howard taking on Venom where Howard can actually get in the winning blow just makes me laugh. He does not belong in this game in the same way that he doesn’t belong in the Marvel Universe, which is the funniest part.
Who are you most excited to have Howard interact with in this huge world of characters?
I’m really hoping there’s a cut scene where Howard makes Spider-Man cry. And then they fight Dr. Doom together. And then Howard makes HIM cry.
Joe, what was the difference in designing Howard for this game as opposed to drawing him for the comic? Did you focus on your version that you created with Chip or the older version of Howard, or a hybrid of them?
JOE QUINONES: I kept with my version of the character, but got to render him with the loving care that I don’t typically have time for in the comic. There’s certainly touches of the Gerber Howard here though. Heck, even the 1986 movie version.
How does it feel to see Howard in a Marvel Puzzle Quest game? And not only that, a Howard you helped re-vamp?
It’s really exciting to see Howard pop up in other media since Chip and my run began on the book. I’ve grown to love Howard over the course of our run, so it’s affirming to see that love reflected back at us.
Where does he “excel,” so to speak, with other Marvel Puzzle Quest characters? Who are you most excited to have Howard interact with?
Well he’s very dapper, so his fashion is on point (let’s see Hulk tie a windsor knot). It’s easy to ruffle his feathers, and in his case it’s not just a turn of phrase. Um… he knows Quack Fu? As for who I’m most looking forward to seeing Howard interact with? Pretty much every match up is hilarious, but I’m particularly tickled at the thought of a confounded Victor Von Doom facing off against our not so mighty mallard.
How do you think players will respond to being able to have Howard as a character in their game? He’s been so well-received as a character and he’s had such a break-out success among fans.
Confusion? Sadistic delight? Go easy on him, guys. He’s had a rough go.