Kevin Smith Talks 'Howard The Duck' Animated Series Influences, Hypes Up 'MODOK' And 'Hit-Monkey' Footage

Marvel Studios surprised us all during the Television Critics Association panels by revealing an exciting new partnership with Hulu for four new animated series based on comic books. MODOK, Tigra & Dazzler, Hit-Monkey and Howard the Duck are all getting their own animated shows before joining forces with each other for a crossover series called The Offenders. That's certainly one way for Marvel to kickstart their streaming projects again after Netflix canceled all of the shows that formed The Defenders.

Kevin Smith is the one tasked with bringing the hilariously raunchy space-hopping mallard Howard the Duck to life in animated form. You might be worried that his animated experience only extends to a short-lived Clerks animated series, but thankfully, he's working with Aqua Teen Hunger Force's Dave Willis to what promises to be a wacky sci-fi comic book comedy. Now Smith has revealed which comics are influencing their Howard the Duck animated series, and he's also seen footage from MODOK and Hit-Monkey, both of which sound extremely promising.

First of all, it's good to know that Kevin Smith has a touching, personal history with Howard the Duck. In fact, it was one of the few ways that Smith's father attempted to make a connection with his son's passions for comics and comedy. Smith explained to Comic Book Resources:

"My father gave me my first Howard The Duck – and my father did not foster my comic book habit. He wasn't against it, but he never said, 'Here, read these!' We were poor, so throwing away money on comic books – even 25 cents – wasn't really in the cards for him. It was something that was done begrudgingly. But he did get me the first issue of Howard The Duck because he had heard about it on the news.

He said, 'I saw this on the news. I like this duck. He doesn't take any guff.' And he didn't read it. He just saw the dude on the news talking about it, and he said, 'If you're going to try to do funny things, this is funny.' He knew I liked comedy and Saturday Night Live and comic books, so for whatever reason, this news report connected with him and he said 'I like this.' Any time he saw something on the news that he thought I'd connect with, he'd pay attention."

Howard the Duck Animated Series

Smith jumped into Howard the Duck around four or five issues into the initial run of the character, co-created by Steve Gerber and drawn by Val Mayerik. And that's where Smith's inspiration for the animated series will be drawing from. Here's what the filmmaker had to say:

"I'm probably saying too much, but we're going to be the last of the series to go, probably, so we have some time. With Howard, we're working with the studio on the design of the character and all of it. But it is going to be pretty damn close to the spirit and the feeling of the Gerber run. That's what we've been looking at and going back to. Doctor Bong is our bad guy, and a host of other characters – if you know the world of Howard – his own rogues gallery that Gerber came up with back in the day make an appearance in our Season 1. We throw in everything and the kitchen sink. And our season finale hands things over to the crossover miniseries."

So if you're a Howard the Duck fan, now might be the time to revisit the initial run of comics to get a sense of who will be popping up in this series.

MODOK and Hit-Monkey Sound Promising

Kevin Smith may only be working on Howard the Duck, but he's seen what the other superheroes who will be part of The Offenders look like in action. Though he's admittedly only seen two of the four shows that are heading to Hulu, here's what Smith had to say about them:

"I didn't see a Tigra & Dazzler clip yet because they were still working on those, but I saw a clip of M.O.D.O.K. and Hit-Monkey, and holy shit...both clips were breathtaking. I'm not just saying that because I work for the company. Me and Dave got scared because this stuff is changing the game. The M.O.D.O.K. stuff was brilliant. I can't wait to watch that show. And then the Hit-Monkey clip looked like Kill Bill come to life. It was gorgeous. It looked like Akira! They're really spending money on these shows. It isn't like, 'Who cares? It's adult animation?" They're going all the way for it."

If Marvel really is going full tilt with these adult-oriented animated shows, then that would explain why they might be trying to purchase a stake in Hulu from Warner Media. Perhaps Hulu will be the place that Disney lets some of their more mature content resides while Disney+ will be more family friendly. That's just speculation on our part, but that would make sense if Disney wants to keep some of the less family friendly content that they're acquiring from the 20th Century Fox merger alive in some form.

Personally, I can't wait to see what Kevin Smith does with Howard the Duck. Maybe we're looking at a kind of comeback for the filmmaker. He's been doing well with directing episodes of the Arrowverse shows like The Flash and Supergirl while his big screen achievements haven't exactly landed with critics or audiences. So maybe with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot on the horizon and his own Marvel Comics series, he'll be back at the top of his game.