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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Machine Man and Howard the Duck Come to OUR World!

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today, in honor of Fred Van Lente Day, we’ll spotlight the final issue of the hilariously offbeat Marvel Zombies 5, where Machine Man and Howard the Duck traveled the multiverse and end their mission on OUR Earth!

The first four issues of Marvel Zombies 5 were a blast in and of themselves, as Machine Man and Howard the Duck traveled the Marvel multiverse going to familiar worlds based in different time eras, like Marvel Western and Killraven’s battle against the Martians in the future.

In the final issue, though, they come to OUR world where a familiar type of comic book fan has contracted zombie-ism.

Here is the fellow’s intro…

And here is where he catches the zombie virus…

And when he becomes a zombie…

In a touching bit in the issue, the young man decides that he WILL emulate the superheroes he has read for so long and he will sacrifice himself…

However, before he does it, he hears a scream and decides that it is better for him to use his newfound powers for GOOD!

The problem is, he is on OUR world, where OUR logic follows, so like anyone other dead person, he develops rigor mortis…

Wow, that is one messed up comic book, Van Lente! But a hilarious one!


That 5th series definitely was a good one. You could tell he was just having fun with it.

That is one crappy drawing of Howard.

Plus Steve Gerber is the only person to ever write a good Howard story.

Every time I think the Marvel Zombies concept is played out beyond recovery, Fred Van Lente keeps finding new ways to tell good stories with it.

A character IN the story commented on the article! But I thought his name was Wendell, not Shane…

“Plus Steve Gerber is the only person to ever write a good Howard story.”

Respectfully disagree. Marv Wolfman did a fill-in story on Howard’s original run that was good… or at least it would’ve been good had it not been drawn by Carmine Infantino.

nice story a little art imitating breaking the fourth wall life since the guy was going ga ga over having the final issue of marvel team up with howard and machine man that he winds up a zomibe when they wind up appearing in front of them talk about cruel messed up irony

I missed this because it was during the period when all of Marvel’s mini-series were 4 bucks an issue, and I refused to buy any of them. I was tempted by this one, though, because it’s Van Lente. I’ll have to pick up the trade.

In a perfect world, this would be collected along with the Blackest Night story set on Earth-Prime.

Hmmm…Asia eh? Isn’t that where the zombie plague came from in World War Z?

Well, more to the point, I’m pretty sure the package from Sumatra is a reference to the early Peter Jackson zombie flick Dead Alive (or Braindead, depending on where you are).

Oh a related note, I was kind of shocked not to spot a Sumatran Rat-Monkey in Jackson’s King Kong, seeing as how they were supposed to have originated on Skull Island, but maybe I just missed it. It would be a huge missed opportunity otherwise.

We didn’t see the Rat Monkey in King Kong, but they did reference it.


Broken link, but I’m glad to hear it.

I’m kind of offended at that played-out, stereotypical portrayal of a character that by all rights should have been more interesting. It’s a sign of lazy storytelling when you can’t think of anything more to do with a character than have him spout the same old familiar one-dimensional “joke” that would appear in a Garfield strip. Come on Lente, show a little respect for your cast. Unless there’s a damn good reason that he should speak that way, no android should ever be saddled with that hoary old “[long-winded overly-precise explanation], or as you hu-mans would say….”

I’m not too happy about the way the child molester is depicted as being a comic book fan, either.

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