MARVEL Embraces Its Absurd Side with HOWARD THE DUCK / SQUIRREL GIRL Crossover

Squirrel Girl / Howard the Duck crossover image by Erica Henderson
Credit: Erica Henderson (Marvel Comics)
Credit: Marvel Comics

Cats and dogs are known to fight like, well, cats and dogs, but what about squirrels and ducks?

Sunday at New York Comic Con, Marvel revealed that in 2016 Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Howard The Duck would be crossing over with each other. These two books are high on humor and even higher on puns, thanks to writers Ryan North and Chip Zdarsky along with artists Erica Henderson and Joe Quinones.

Zdarsky and North spoke with Newsarama this weekend about the two-part crossover in each title's sixth issue, digging into how they meet, what they do, and what the two creative teams are doing together involving pad thai and ketchup.

Newsarama: Chip, Ryan, what can readers expect with this Unbeatable Squirrel Girl/Howard the Duck crossover, and do you have a name for it?

Ryan North: We haven’t come up with a name for it yet, but I think “Squirrel the Girl meets Howard the Duck” has a nice ring to it. That or, “Nuts! There’s Bills to Pay” (because ducks have bills).

Chip Zdarsky: I’ve so far pitched the titles “Howard the Duck, featuring Squirrel Girl” and “Animal House,” but no one has returned my emails. I am typing this while sitting across from Ryan and he is shaking his head “no” even though he hasn’t read what I’m typing yet.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: How'd the idea come about to do this?

North: Chip and I have regular meetings at a restaurant where they don’t kick us out and make pad thai with ketchup in it. I don’t remember who suggested it originally, but I do remember we put down our pad thai with ketchup in it and said “Whoah, I wonder if Marvel will let us do that”. Turns out, they would!

Zdarsky: And, like, a day later, both Joe Quinones and Erica Henderson emailed us putting forth the idea of a crossover. So it was definitely fate. Not sure if “fate” truly cares about a crossover comic between a squirrel girl and a duck man, but there you go!

North: I mean, technically the entire history of the universe has been leading up to this exact moment, so yeah: fate.

Nrama: How much are the two teams working together on the actual pages?

Zdarsky: Well, Ryan and I live in the same city, so we get together regularly to discuss important matters of the day, such as this crossover. The issues themselves will each be written by both of us, one word at a time, so that will help create a unified voice.

Credit: Marvel Comics

North: Plus this way if I don’t know what’s going to happen next, my word can just be “really”, and then it’s Chip’s turn again and he has to put some meat on those linguistic bones.

This isn’t my first rodeo.

Zdarsky: Really.

Nrama: If Doreen is a Squirrel Girl, is Howard a man duck or a duck man? Seriously though, how do these two characters relate?

North: Squirrel Girl has all the powers of squirrel and girl, and Howard has all the powers of duck and guys named “Howard”, so it’s a pretty natural pairing! But they don’t meet on, like, a blind date or anything. Instead, Howard barges in on her quiet, save-the-world-from-Galactus-and-not-worry-about-talking-duckmen life and they need to solve a problem together.

Zdarsky: Uh, just to clarify, Howard only has some of the abilities of a duck. Like, he can’t fly for one. Did you even read my comic, Ryan?

North: I did, but there weren’t that many Howards in it! Like, barely any. It was mostly full of sex criminals.

Zdarsky: Uhhh that’s a really weird reading of Jughead, man.

Credit: Erica Henderson (Marvel Comics)

Nrama: Ryan, so what are your impressions of Howard?

North: Howard strikes me as the kind of guy who doesn’t like other people and doesn’t care if they like him a lot of the time, and there’s something really appealing about that.

Nrama: Chip, you and Doreen?

Zdarsky: Doreen strikes me as the kind of woman who likes other people and I’m not sure I get that but I’ll try for the sake of this crossover. 

Nrama: Will Howard and Noreen's supporting cast be a part of this, or is it all Howard & Noreen all the time?

North: Oh, we’ve got the full cast. I think Chip only did this because he wanted to write Tippy-Toe.

Zdarsky: This full back Tippy-Toe tat agrees!

North: It’s Tippy-Toe on the couch refreshing Twitter and flexing, and beneath it there’s a banner that says “Sorry Ladies, I’m Spoken For”.

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