Sure, all most people remember now is the punch line that the Howard the Duck film became, but remember, too, there was a valid reason the film got made in the first place. Long before the film, the character had been a genuine hit. So on Steve's birthday that might have been, should have been, let's take a look back at a happier time—the moment Marvel Comics seemed to recognize exactly what it had on its hands.
[Click on the pages below to see them at a more readable size.]
There's plenty of interesting info in this memo, but the two items of note today, the two things which would have thrilled Steve, are a note (on the first page) that "Howard the Duck will go to a monthly frequency, effective #9, December," and a request (on the second page) to "Please schedule a new $1.50 special, (Treasury size) entitled HOWARD THE DUCK #1, 1976, 80 pages."
Steve must have been thrilled that his creation had done so well in the marketplace that it went monthly and spawned a treasury edition.
Unfortunately, that joy wouldn't last. A bitter battle was still to come.
But spare a thought for Steve on his birthday today anyway, OK?