Howard the Duck Annual: Thief of Bagmom! (#1) – Steve Gerber

4 out of 5

Some puns and 70s casual ignorance – our Baghdad proxy, Bagmom, has flying carpets and magic and plenty of Abduls and American-women coveting Calpihs – are presented with peak Steve Gerber randomness and wonderful Val Mayerik art.

Gerber’s narration really sings, here, giving Howard’s internal dialogue that kicks things off the right pitch between his curmudgeonly sensibilities and burgeoning hope… only to be interrupted by the story, which has a used carpet picked up by roommates Winda, Paul Same, and Bev whisk (as it flies, y’know) the two ladies away to a place called Bagmom.  A convenient magic lamp grants Howard and Paul tickets to the same, and now it’s a rescue mission, involving underground railroads, airplane derring-do, and a mechanical donkey with wings.  Why not?

Mayerik gives us some funny faces here and there, but his linework and sense of pacing and framing are in sync with Gerber’s zaniness – matching our lead character’s forever balance between the absurd and the logical – with warm colors from Jan Cohen still making an impression after, like 40+ years of this comic being bagged and boarded.  Letterer Joe Rosen has a literary lean to his font that classes the joint up a bit.

A very fun and light issue, on the back of some perhaps overly heavy Howard ones.