Sunday, November 25, 2012

Duck Of Destruction!

A book of comic legend, the debut of 1982's  Destroyer Duck from Eclipse Comics was most definitely a shot across the bow of the behemoth Marvel by talents Steve Gerber and Jack Kirby. Kirby had long been at odds with his sometime employer over the rights and credit for his bountiful creations. Steve Gerber's complaint was more newly minted, as his Howard the Duck was a big success for Marvel and he wanted a taste of that success. So these two joined forces with Alfredo Alcala, Steve Leialoha and others to produce a one-shot comic intended to help fund Gerber's lawsuit against Mighty Marvel. Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier created a little character named Groo who also appears in this significant comic. This is a milestone for sure.

Here's a great look at the original artwork, which shows off some of the gags which got trimmed out of the printed version.

The world envisioned by Gerber and Kirby is a hurly burly one in these first few pages which remind me of nothing less than the famous bar scene from Star Wars. That's somewhat ironic as another bone of contention for Kirby as he was convinced (and I believer rightly so) that his Fourth World served as something of an inspiration for George Lucas.

But a big surprise I think for one and all was that Destroyer Duck proved somewhat successful, so much so that additional issues were produced for Eclipse. Here's a look at the lush Kirby and Alcala cover artwork. 

Note the addition of Val Mayerik's The Starling to this cover. "The Starling" created by Jerry Seigel and Mayerik ran as a back up in all remaining issues of the comic.

After five issues Kirby and Gerber stepped away from their creation.

Gary Kato too a stab at the sixth Destroyer Duck cover. He also became the interior artist for the last two issues, both written by Buzz Dixon.

And Frank Miller stepped in to supply a very clever cover for the seventh issue. This proved to be Destroyer's farewell. He'd show up again many years later thanks to Erik Larsen alongside the  Savage Dragon.

But fans of a certain age, the "Marauding Mallard" was a statement, a firebrand of a comic character who pointed the way to a new way of doing business in comics.

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  1. I'm tempted to find issue #2 and read it, if only to satisfy my curiosity about how a dislocated spine attacks--or moves (slithers?), for that matter. And no doubt its origin story is one for the books. :D

    1. The blended imaginations of Gerber and Kirby was a dangerous concoction indeed!

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