Howard the Duck is back — and he’s got some famous friends with him. Marvel Television and Hulu are developing four adult-oriented animated series based on second-tier Marvel characters that will culminate in a special one-off crossover event called Marvel’s The Offenders. Basically, it’s The Defenders all over again — except, you know, funnier.
Howard the Duck, which chronicles the struggle between “America’s favorite fighting fowl” and his nemesis, Dr. Bong, comes from cult filmmaker Kevin Smith (Clerks) and animation industry veteran Dave Willis (Aqua Teen Hunger Force). Comedian Patton Oswalt and American Dad’s Jordan Blum will oversee MODOK, a supervillain story whose star has “a really big head and a really little body.”
Meanwhile, Hit-Monkey by Blades of Glory co-directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon will poke fun at Hollywood revenge flicks, while Marvel’s Tigra & Dazzler Show follows two superheroines in search of Hollywood stardom. Tigra & Dazzler comes courtesy of comedian Chelsea Handler and writer Erica Rivinoja.
The Offenders will combine all five of those heroes join forces into a team that “no one asked for,” and will be overseen by Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb. Loeb hinted that other semi-famous Marvel characters will join the fray in The Offenders, too. “Wait until you see who the Team Leader is,” Loeb teased in an official statement.
This isn’t Hulu and Marvel’s first team-up. In December, Marvel’s Runaways second season launched on Hulu, Marvel parent company Disney is set to control once its acquisition of 21st Century Fox is finalized. It’s possible that the Tigra & Dazzler Show relies on the Fox deal, too. As a mutant, Dazzler is traditionally considered part of Marvel’s X-Men franchise, which was controlled by Fox, not Disney, until the deal was made.
The cartoons aren’t the only television projects that Marvel has in development, either. A number of live-action miniseries starring established Marvel Cinematic Universe characters are scheduled to air on Disney Plus, Disney’s other streaming service.
While all of these characters are established Marvel Universe mainstays — Hit-Monkey, who debuted in 2010, is the newest — these series are the first starring roles for all of them outside of comics, with one big exception. George Lucas’ 1986 Howard the Duck was the very first feature film adaptation of a Marvel property. It is also, according to both critics and audience members, not particularly good.
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