Peel Here #12, or why George Lucas should just get over himself and release the damn DVD already!


By Shawn Robare

Man, it’s shaping up to be a hellacious week here at the house of Branded.  First, it seems as if our washer has gone on the fritz, and in the process of trying to fix it last night the fiancée and I did some very stupid things that ended in our having to clean up half a washers worth of water from the kitchen and laundry room.  Will we have to pay an arm and a leg to get it fixed or will we have to buy a new damn washing machine?  Who knows!  Then there’s taking the in-laws out for birthday shenanigans, double shifts at work and the possibility of having to take the car into the shop.  My tax refund is slipping through my grubby hands way too fast kids.

Anyhoo, I won’t let that get in the way of another Peel Here column, because damn it I’ve spent too much on these stickers to let anything get in the way of me sharing the majesty that is 80s stickers with the world.

This week as promised (for anyone who was on the edge of their seat) I present Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins and freaking Chip Zein in the wondrous Howard the Duck sticker card subset from Topps circa 1986!  Well, Chip Zein is sort of presented in spirit as you can’t hear his wondertabulous voice work through either this sticker card set or this website.  I am so tempted to rip some of his dialogue and prove myself wrong, but I am also lame and don’t know how to store or post an mp3 that isn’t my all too rare podcast.  So maybe I don’t present Chip Zein, but the six or seven little people/children/alien ducks that portrayed Howard in the movie.  Remember kids, you can click on the images to make them fantabulously bigger and stuff.

For those of you who haven’t seen this flick (and I know there are some out there, those who ignored it the first time around and those who were too young and have since missed it because fucking George Lucas is keeping this gem out of print) it’s an adaptation of the 1973 comic Howard the Duck created by Steve Gerber (the guy who brought us Thundarr the Barbarian.)  The film is basically about a duck named Howard who is sucked through an inter-dimensional portal in a freak accident and is brought to modern day Earth where he spends the rest of the film trying to mate with Lea Thompson while trying to find his way home. 

Joining Thompson (who plays Beverly Switzler the lead singer/guitarist of the all female punkish band the Cherry Bombs) are Tim Robbins as bungling scientist wannabe Phil Blumburtt and Jeffrey Jones as Dr. Walter Jenning (who is both the scientist responsible for bringing Howard to Earth and the host body for alien demons bent on destroying said Earth.)  This was probably the first time I’d ever seen Tim Robbins in a movie and it’s also probably the flick where I developed my huge man crush on him. 

This is a pretty good example of the standard Topps sticker card subsets that were available throughout the 70s and 80s, what with some “scenes from the movie” stickers with a creative border, and the bold color outlined die-cut character sticker cards.  There were 22 sticker cards in this subset, which is a common number for Topps.  In fact most of the Topps sticker card sets and subsets come in multiples of 11 (11 being the most common followed by 22 and then 44.)  I’m not sure if the reasoning behind this has to do with the ease of printing or what, but I thought it was interesting.

I also really dig these stickers because there is a good balance to what’s available in the set, picture and character wise.  You get, at least, all the main characters on an individual card and most have their own die cut bold color bordered version, though I’m seriously lacking a nice group shot of Cherry Bomb and one of the alien demons from the end of the film.  There’s also a nice sticker of the movie poster image (the egg with the duck bill and cigar popping out.)  The one that kills me though is the duck in the football gear.  It’s from a short scene at the beginning of the film where Howard is watching TV and there’s a commercial for jock itch spray.  Weird choice for a sticker in the set…

This is also the first Topps sticker card set that I’ve shared where I actually had all the pieces of the card backs puzzle.  I decided for the sake of completeness to show both the “what you puzzle should look like” card back (above) and a scan of the puzzle it self in all of its uneven hard to scan glory (below.) 

All in all I don’t know why everyone hated this movie so much.  I mean it’s no worse than Harry and the Hendersons and I remember that being moderately successful.  As far as how it’s aged, I’d have to say it’s right up there with My Science Project, Buckaroo Banzai and the Monster Squad.

Next week on Peel Here, well lets just say “DUH DA DUN DA DON DON DAAAAA, DA NUH NA NA NA NAAAAAN, DUN DA NUN-NA NAAAAA!”

  • The Retropolitan

    I remember having Howard the Duck on the tail end of some UNMARKED VHS tape in my collection, but despite my exhaustive cataloging efforts, I’ve been unable to actually find the damned thing. Maybe it’s time to buy a bootleg.

  • Savage

    I watched that movie when it came out and I mostly just recall a lady duck taking a bubble bath. As for the Howard the Duck comics, I was more of a fan of Cerebus The Aardvark fan. (http://my.opera.com/xyzcosmonaut/blog/cerebus-the-aardvaark)

  • Steven A.

    I can’t even remember the movie, but what I do remember is the kick-ass theme song that came along with it… and by ‘kick-ass’ I mean ‘totally crap.’ But I still loved it… as embarrassed as I am to admit to the fact I have to say that way back at the height of free file-swapping goodness that theme song was one of the first songs I ever searched for and downloaded. A classic!