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Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain

These days, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), is a juggernaut.  You have the Avengers series of movies, Guardians of the Galaxy volumes 1 and 2(I’m still hoping for a third), Hawkeye, Spiderman movies and much more than I could fit into this column.  But did you know that their first Marvel movie was a dud? I didn’t either until watching AXS-TV’s show Year In Review-1986.


While Howard the Duck is an original Marvel character, the film was basically “what if E.T. was a duck” having been made in a vain attempt to cash in on the family-friendly schmaltz that took the box office by storm four years earlier.  Howard the Duck, however, was a box office bomb.  It was so bad that producer George Lucas, already in debt from building his $50 million Skywalker Ranch mansion, had to sell of off his assets.  This included his fledgling CGI studio, which was produced by Steve Jobs and soon became world famous as Pixar (perhaps you’ve heard of it).  When you consider that Howard The Duck not only cost Lucas the money the film lost, but potentially all the subsequent profits of Pixar, it’s a contender for the most disastrously expensive flop of all time.

As bad as that movie was, the Howard character has appeared in volumes 1 and 2 of Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Endgame, Marvels What If (animated series) in some capacity. (

 Here’s a little tie-in fans of Paramount + series 1883 wouldn’t expect.  Sam Elliot, who plays lead character Shea Brennan, a Pinkerton agent tasked with leading the Dutton’s to Montana, was in 2003’s Marvel movie The Hulk.  He played Thunderbolt Ross in the movie.  I could go through all the Marvel movies but that would take a while!  

I hope you enjoyed this mini trip into the MCU as much as I enjoyed looking it up and writing it.

I invite you to listen to my podcast, it’s called Blendertainment. It’s available wherever you get your podcasts: Spotify, Apple, etc.




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