Marvel; July 1976
Cover by Gene Colan and Steve Leialoha
Title: “The Sleep … of the Just!”
Synopsis: A frustrated, narcoleptic artist finds release in becoming Winky-Man, a night-gowned avenger who smashes “symbols of rigidity and conformity.”
Writer: Steve Gerber
Penciler: Gene Colan
Inker: Steve Leialoha
Review: As a kid, this reviewer didn’t know what to make of Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck, and, to be honest, it’s still a bit of an acquired taste. Howard reads more like an underground than a Bronze-era Marvel, and it’s still amazing this series was such a hit. Obviously, Gerber touched something in the zeitgeist that doesn’t translate all that well today. But this issue’s story – a literal critique of people who sleepwalk through life – is clever, and there’s certainly more going on under the hood than in your run of the mill Marvel comic. Worth a look.
Cool factor: This issue features the debut of the classic Howard art team of Gene Colan and Steve Leialoha. Not many inkers do Colan justice, but Leialoha’s style is a perfect fit. (Note: The duo’s work is especially lovely in black and white, as seen in Essential Howard the Duck Vol. 1.)
Not-so-cool factor: The nagging feeling that you’re stuck in the middle of a liberal arts curriculum.
Notable: The “Wise Quacks” letters page includes an announcement of Howard the Duck’s 1976 candidacy for president. It also includes an LOC from future comics writer/editor Joey Cavalieri.
Collector’s note: According to The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, there’s a 30¢ cover price variant of this issue.
Character quotable: “An’ unless you figger a prune is better suited for the job – stay outta my way!” – Howard, a duck with a mission and a way with words.
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