Buy this book and the duck gets it.
On Friday Marvel announced a new grouping of variant covers for March's Howard The Duck #1, showing Howard at different stages in his life. Dubbed "Evolution of Howard," it promises to show seven different illustrations of the famous duck from birth to yes, the grave.
Amongst the images previewed in a video released by Marvel is a final variant, showing a tombstone entoning "Here lies Howard T. Duck" with the date range of 1973 to 2015. 1973, of course, is the year Howard The Duck was created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik. 2015, for those without a calendar, is this current year. How will he die, you ask? The artwork says it all: "Valiantly gave his life during the Secret Wars."
Is it just a joke by Marvel and series writer (and cover artist) Chip Zdarsky? Perhaps. But in the press release, Marvel makes it a point to say this series is "in-continuity." Furthermore, the Secret Wars' Battleworld map already has a place laid out for Howard, in the "New Quack City" sector.
Format-wise, these "Evolution of Howard" variants play off the the recent "Shrinking" variants for Ant-Man #1, showing a piece of artwork at different sizes across the variant's printrun. These Howard the Duck #1 variants take it one step further, taking seven pieces of artwork -- this time by series writer Chip Zdarsky -- and showing them at different sizes in this numbered variant scheme.
“The Ant-Man #1 Shrinking Variant was such a successful experiment, we knew we wanted to try it again right away,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel in the press release. “Each one of these variants is numbered and completely unique, showcasing a different Howard at a different size. Waugh!”
Howard The Duck #1, and these variants, go on sale March 4, 2015. Here's a video of all stages of the cover.