I never understood that tagline. It was a tagline for Howard the Duck, a comic book series written by Steve Gerber. I bought a few issues of Howard the Duck; but it was my brother who became a regular reader. When we were buying comics it was rare we’d be able to start with the first issue. You want to start at the beginning, right? So we’d have to buy back issues at the comic store in Santa Rosa (what a relief when we discovered such a thing existed!) Usually back issues were fairly inexpensive – we weren’t investing in the old back issues, like Avengers #1 or Amazing Fantasy #15, because, well, we didn’t have that kind of money. But the first issue of Howard the Duck I bought was a low number. #4? Something like that. “Something Winkie this Way Comes,” was the story. An old Ozzy, I doubted the Winkie in the comic had anything to do with the Winkies of Oz (in the MGM movie they’re the guys who work for the Wicked Witch of the West and chant OH-WEE-OH); I was right. Nothing. When we tried to buy the Howard back issues they weren’t to be had, and when any showed up they were pricey. It seems Marvel had printed only a few, having little suspicion of success; those first issues sold out and no one wanted to part with them (for cheap, anyway). I’ve not read a Howard the Duck in, oh, thirty years? Nice that reprints are available now, though.
I discovered Steve Gerber’s blog a year or two ago. As I recall he was bent out of shape at Jonathan Lethem’s poaching Omega the Unknown, a comic character Gerber had created for a short-lived comic series also published by Marvel. How dare he! Gerber fumed. Omega was very personal. Maybe he had created Omega as a work-for-hire, meaning Marvel owned everything about it and could legally do whatever it wanted with the “property”, but it wasn’t like Gerber had had any choice at the time. That was the way the business worked. Jonathan Lethem can create his own characters; he doesn’t have to steal mine! Gerber said.
I sympathized. Somewhat. But I stopped reading the blog. After reading an obituary at SF Gate I dropped by Steve Gerber’s blog again last week. Mark Evanier has been putting up new posts, encouraging fans to leave appreciations.
I wonder if I have those original Omegas in a box somewhere.
I haven’t read any of Lethem’s version of Omega the Unknown. I feel like I have to be loyal to Gerber and boycott it. On the other hand, I’ve flipped through it at the comic store and it looks interesting.