But there remained a cult-like interest in the oft-angry duck from outer space with human characteristics. Now a Toronto writer and illustrator is part of a team tasked with reviving the Howard The Duck series in its original format: comic books.
Chip Zdarsky, the alter ego of former newspaper columnist Steve Murray, will reboot the franchise for Marvel Comics, with the first issue due in March. Zdarsky's partner in the series will be illustrator Joe Quinones.
"Howard's a fantastic character because of all the contrasts," said Zdarsky. "He's a talking duck, a wild anomaly, but he's just an angry every man."
The general premise of Howard The Duck is he from another planet and disgruntled about being trapped on Earth. Because he is an alien duck among humans, he often finds himself in bizarre crime-fighting adventures.
"Traditionally in the comics he's thrown into surreal, wild situations which make him seem absolutely normal and relatable," said Zdarsky.
The comics often included appearances from other Marvel characters like Spider-Man, which was an allure for Zdarsky.
"Having him shake his head at how weird Spider-Man is while walking down the street as a talking duck is just super funny to me," he said.
In 2014, Howard The Duck appeared at the end credits of the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, produced by Marvel Studios.