Waaaaagh!!! What can I say? Ever since I first laid eyes on a Howard the Duck comic book I was smitten with ducks. I’m not sure why, but I think that what Steve Gerber did with the character opened my eyes to what could be done with comics beyond superheroes. It helped a lot that some of my favorite artists had drawn the character. Val Mayerick, Frank Brunner, Gene Colan, Sal Buscema and Michael Golden always left me wanting more and the iconic image by Bernie Wrightson on that campaign pin just sealed the deal!
Later when Gerber launched his creator’s rights battle with Marvel and when Disney challenged Marvel over trademark infringement, causing Howard to be forced to wear pants so as not to look like Donald Duck, Howard the Duck and ducks in general became a symbol to me of some sort of rebellious, creative attitude.
When I was in high school at Bishop Kenrick where I first met Phil Lasorda and Vince Argondezzi, my original partners in Comico the Comic Company, it was tradition to use acronyms to represent our party when we ran for office. When I ran for school president, the name of my party was, of course, D.U.C.K., Demonstrating Unity in the Community of Kenrick. I copied that Wrightson pin and made it school colors of green and gold. I even had a mascot that crashed a student assembly in a duck costume! I lost… but the power of the duck stuck with me.
My fancy for ducks followed me to the Philadelphia College of Art now called University of the Arts where it did not take me long to establish a group of rogue comic artists called Ducks that strove to publish a small newspaper called DUCKWORK. The thinly veiled connection to the school was a central courtyard that had two Peking Ducks inhabiting it and a bag lady that “quacked” as she walked in the area by our school earning her the name Duck Lady.
It dawns on me now that those six issues of DUCKWORK probably have some redeeming collectible value for their role as a precursor to the founding and publishing of Comico comics , CO2 Comics and for representing some of the earliest published works of the widely acclaimed Matt Wagner which can be seen here shown for historical purposes, of course.
This peek at the credits and a dedication to Wally Wood who had passed away just prior to that particular issues publication in 1981 shows our devotion comics and to the comic legend.
It also offers evidence of our lousy typewriter and some Ducks that went pro, Myself, Bill Cucinotta former Comico Partner and partner here at CO2 Comics, Dave Johnson of ROBOTECH fame, Matt Wagner, Joe Williams CO2 Comics contributor and missing, somehow, is another ROBOTECH vet and ELEMENTALS penciller, Mike Leeke.
Ducks were infectious too. Not only did the DUCKWORK crew quickly assimilate to drawing the feathered fowl, I recently discovered this incredible project by Martha Erlebacher, an anatomy teacher at PCA when we were students there.
Could it be remotely possible that our parodies of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus
and Marcell Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase published in DUCKWORK somehow influenced one of our world class teachers? We may never know the answer to that but I think CO2 Comics contributer and another former ROBOTECH vet, Reggie Buyers was tipping his hand when he sent me this fax of Jam Quacky in 1991.
Outside of DUCKWORK I had a propensity to parody superheroes as ducks and could often be found at comic conventions drawing Bat Duck, Spider-Duck, Silver Surf Duck, X-Ducks, Red Sonduck, you name it. The ducks were my gimmick, I guess, and littered my sketchbooks. They certainly helped me attract attention in those early days and develop lasting relationships with talented comic artists that helped to build Comico and CO2 Comics.
I still love drawing those ducks so don’t be surprised if you start seeing them pop up here at CO2 Comics or on ebay. Hey, commissions aren’t out of the question either! If you have a passion to see your favorite character parodied as a duck just drop me a line at email@example.com.
Making Comics Because I Want To “QUACK!“
Tags: Bat Duck, Bernie Wrightson, Bill Cucinotta, Bishop Kenrick, Botticelli's Birth of Venus, comico, comico the comic company, D.U.C.K., Dave Johnson, Disney, Donald Duck, Duchamp's Nude Descending, Duck Lady, duckwork, Elementals, Frank Brunner, Gene Colan, Howard the Duck, Jam Quacky, Joe Williams, Martha Erlebacher, Marvel, matt wagner, Michael Golden, Mike Leeke, PCA, phil lasorda, Philadelphia College of Art, Red Sonduck, Reggie Buyers, Robotech, Sal Buscema, Silver Surf Duck, Spider-Duck, Steve Gerber, University of the Arts, Val Mayerick, Vince Argondezzi, Wally Wood, X-Ducks