Howard the Duck got a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, so it only seems fair to return the favor, right? At least in comic book form. He’s taking time out of his busy schedule to pose for a selfie with the mismatched crew of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot, though he doesn’t seem too pleased to be sharing the spotlight in his very own title.
Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso tweeted out this art created by Joe Quinones, which is apparently the cover for the second issue of the soon-to-launch Howard the Duck comic. And it’s kind of perfect, as they’re all trying to make duck faces, some better than other. Drax is certainly having some issues wrapping his literal-leaning brain around the idea, but that’s part of why we love him.
For the five of you who haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet, and the six others who didn’t sit through until the very end, Howard the Duck shows up in the post-credits scene along with Benicio Del Toro’s Collector and Kosmo the psychic space dog. Here’s the scene if you want to take a look for the first time or the 50th.
Usually this sort of appearance is used to tease another title in the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe or introduce future stories, like how you see the Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World, or Thanos popping up at the end of Avengers. We’ve been told repeatedly that isn’t the case here, and the much-maligned waterfowl won’t be showing up again onscreen anytime soon. (I have a weird place in my heart for the popularly derided 1986 film, but I’ve come to terms with being the only one.)
That said, back in November, Marvel revealed plans for a new continuing comic series for the character. The action features Howard as a private detective on Earth, and is being handled by the creative team of Quinones and writer Chip Zdarsky. The revamped Howard the Duck, which is where this image originates, is scheduled to appear in March.
While it’s possible that there were already plans in place to bring back the character Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik created in 1973, you have to assume the decision has something to do with upswing in public interest after Guardians became such a massive hit. And as you can see here, Marvel is definitely using that connection for marketing purposes.