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Comic Book Easter Eggs – Leinil Francis Yu and the Hidden Howard the Duck!

Every week, I will be sharing with you three comic book “easter eggs.” An easter egg is a joke/visual gag/in-joke that a comic book creator (typically the artist) has hidden in the pages of the comic for readers to find (just like an easter egg). They range from the not-so-obscure to the really obscure. So come check ‘em all out and enjoy! Also, click here for an archive of all the easter eggs featured so far! If you want to suggest an easter egg for a future column, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com (do not post your suggestion in the comments section!).

This week we spotlight artist Leinil Francis Yu’s appreciation for Howard the Duck through a few instances of Yu sneaking the character into the background of comic books.

I don’t know how long Leinil Francis Yu’s appreciation for Howard the Duck has been around, but he drew Howard on the cover of a Civil War tie-in back in 2006 (NOTE: I mention this to show the earliest example I know of Yu drawing Howard the Duck. Clearly, since the book featured Howard the Duck, I am not suggesting that this is an “easter egg” itself)…

In New Avengers #36, when the Avengers used an illusion spell to make it look like they had brought an army of heroes with them to combat the Hood and his gang of villains, look who Yu sneaked into the crowd scene…

When Secret Invasion was announced, here was the promotional art used (later used for the cover of “Secret Invasion Saga,” which detailed the lead-up to Secret Invasion)…

However, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada noted in one of his Cup O’ Joe reader response columns that Howard the Duck would NOT be appearing in Secret Invasion. Quesada even quipped, “No, Howard the Duck in Secret Invasion! Stop hounding me, Leinil Yu!”

In addition, I believe that writer Brian Michael Bendis even requested that Yu not sneak Howard into any backgrounds (a reader told me this, but I haven’t actually seen Bendis say that, so it could be wrong).

But, of course, in Secret Invasion #6, there’s Howard (I won’t point him out – you find him!)…

(Click on the image to enlarge)

And in Secret Invasion #7, there he is again…

Since Secret Invasion, Yu has given Howard a proper spotlight (NOTE: Also not an easter egg) on a variant cover…

In a chat awhile back at Marvel.com, Yu was asked why he likes to draw Howard so much. He explained, “I’m making Marvel pay for creating him. If he’s not dead, they need to use him.” Ha! Good stuff from Yu.

I am sure I am missing some hidden Howards from Yu, so why don’t YOU readers e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you know of any other hidden Howard appearances and I’ll add ‘em in! And feel free, of course, to e-mail me any other Easter Eggs you’ve seen!

21 Comments

Wow. Marvel should have a series of children’s picture books called, “Where’s Howard?”

Heh, I really love how his inclusion of Howard seems like some kind of act of defiance, even though a large corporate publisher should easily be able to prevent those images from being printed. Yu’s like some kind of duck-drawing rebel!

I actually didn’t find it out of place for Howard to be in Secret Invasion.

in the civil war tie-in choosing sides i think there is a howard the duck story so it wouldn’t be an easter egg… i think

I wouldn’t call the “Civil War: Choosing Sides” an Easter Egg, as it includes a Howard the Duck story.

There is, and I didn’t point it out because I wasn’t sure Brian was saying it’s an easter egg. But it’s not, and neither is that last one.

Seems like Howard the Duck is to Yu what Felix the Cat used to be for Todd McFarlane.

I am not noting Civil War: Choosing Sides as an easter egg. I’m just noting it as the the earliest example I have of Yu drawing Howard period. Obviously, if the guy is featured on the cover and in the comic itself, it is not an easter egg.

Hopefully he’ll sneak Howard into “Indestructible Hulk” before he leaves.

I remember an issue of Wizard where they interviewed Leinel and Bendis and talked about different scenes from Secret Invasion, and Bendis mentioned that Leinel kept sneaking Howard the Duck into issues, even when he told him not to.

I’m going to have to pull out HULK #22 when I get home and see if Howard shows up in there–Yu drew 3 or 4 pages of that. Does Howard show up in ULTIMATE HULK VS. WOLVERINE? Yu drew that one too, but I don’t own it…

I remember an issue of Wizard where they interviewed Leinel and Bendis and talked about different scenes from Secret Invasion, and Bendis mentioned that Leinel kept sneaking Howard the Duck into issues, even when he told him not to.

Thanks, Anonymous! Good to know that it is true.

Yu’s comment that “I’m making Marvel pay for creating him” seems a bit ironic considering the legal trouble between Marvel and Steve Gerber over the right to Howard the Duck. I assumed at first that Yu was making a reference to Gerber here, but it doesn’t really seem like he is.

Too bad Gerber and Yu never got to collaborate on a Howard story.

Well, this is the new fugly Howard that Marvel did have to create to avoid issues with the Disney ducks, right? Shouldn’t be a problem now, although the notion of 2 separate lawyers each working on a case against the other but who now work for the same mega-corporation is amusing to me.

Yeah, that Marvel creating him bit from Yu is … awkward, at least. The corporation creates nothing, it just owns it all.

I’ll just go by the Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck story for the “real” Howard continuity.

Yeah, no disrespect to Yu, but that ain’t Howard.

`I’ll just go by the Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck story for the “real” Howard continuity.`

And of course the subsequent MAX line Howard story by Gerber.

To me, an ideal Howard cameo shouldn`t have him in the heat of the action unless he was forced in. Rather it should be Howard wandering the street in the background trying his best to stay out of it, preferring to be left alone.

That image from Secret Invasion #6 was just like looking for Waldo!

Geez, Yu isn’t so good at the whole drawing thing, considering he’s a professional artist and all.

The scary thing here is that Marvel Zombies cover Howard is based on the movie version!

Danny: I attempted to click on your name to reach your art site, but it appears you forgot to link it. Please correct that, so I can see how much better you are at drawing than Leinil Francis Yu. Thanks!

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