Review: Quack! #1

Quack #1 cover
Cover by Frank Brunner

Quack! #1
Published and © by Star*Reach, July 1976

Title: “Duckaneer”
Synopsis: A comic-book-drawing duck is pulled into the pirate world of the Duckaneer; high-sea hijinks ensue.

Writer: Frank Brunner
Penciler: Brunner
Inker: Steve Leialoha

Review: Much like Imagine #1 (see review), this debut issue of Quack features outstanding art but ho-hum stories. This lead feature by Frank Brunner is gorgeously illustrated, but the story lacks the spark of the early Howard the Duck tales to which this one is obviously indebted.


Title: “The Wraith”
Synopsis: The Wraith saves a prostitute named Kitty from the mean streets – and from a pimp named Solly.

Writer: Michael T. Gilbert
Artist: Gilbert

Review: Michael T. Gilbert’s art is rough but has energy. The Will-Eisner-inspired story lacks the humanity of a Spirit short.


Title: “The Inedible Exploits of You-All Gibbon the Junk-Food Monkey!!”
Synopsis: An ape raised on junk food flies off to Africa in an effort to rescue a missing fast-food tycoon.

Writer: Scott Shaw
Artist: Shaw

Review: Scott Shaw is already an accomplished cartoonist, but this silly story offers nothing more than surface guffaws.


Title: “Smokey Mountain High” and “Easy Wolf”
Synopses: Denver Goose gets wet playing some music and Vincent Van Hogh paints with his own poo.

Writer: Ted Richards
Artist: Richards

Review: These one-pagers are the most undergroundish of this issue’s offerings. The cartooning is excellent but the stories don’t do much.


Title: “On the Skids”
Synopsis: Two swinging, cartoon characters enjoy a night out on the town, but the evening ends without much satisfaction.

Writer: Howard Chaykin
Artist: Alan Kupperberg

Review: Another underground influenced tale, this one seemingly semi-autobiographical. The cartooning is OK, but the story is more self-indulgent that entertaining.


Title: “Duckula”
Synopsis: Mad scientist Duckula and henchman Bearzanboltz’s effort to create artificial life ends in success … sort of.

Writer: Scott Shaw
Artist: Shaw

Review: Again, Scott Shaw is a good funny-animal cartoonist, but his plots need some pizzazz. This one is an easy gag.


Title: “The Case of the Purloined Periodicals”
Synopsis: A futuristic, hard-boiled private eye named Kosmo Cat investigates a string of robberies targeting vintage TV Guides.

Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist (layouts): Scott Shaw
Artist: Dave Stevens

Review: The addition of writer Mark Evanier does little to help this third Scott Shaw feature. Silly, but not very enjoyable.

Grade (for the entire issue): B

Second opinion: “No single issue (of Quack!) has enough meat to make you feel like it’s a great title, but there are many interesting contributions from the likes of Frank Brunner, Mark Evanier, Scott Shaw and Dave Stevens.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: Beautiful Brunner, and early Dave Stevens art.
Not-so-cool factor: There’s not a single standout story this issue.

Quack #1 back cover
Back cover by Alan Kupperberg and Howard Chaykin

Notable: This issue also includes a back cover by According to MyComicShop.com, there is a second printing of this issue.

Character quotable: “Why don’t you get a real job?” – Dad Duck, not appreciating his comics-drawing son’s calling
A word from the writer/artist: “ ‘Why Quack?’ Well, I could hand you some witticisms about the time being right and readers ready for a resurgence of this genre, but rather than sounding like some burnt-out N.Y. comics hack, I’ll simply say: I want to do this. I like doing it.” – Frank Brunner, in an introduction to this issue

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on April 24, 2010.

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