YMMVs related to the comic book:
- Fridge Logic: One early story arc in the comic had Howard running for president, but since he comes from another dimension, he's not a United States citizen, and is therefore not allowed to run for president in the first place.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- A story arc in the comic spoofed Star Wars, which is funny to look back on now that Disney owns both Lucasfilm and Marvel.
- Marvel's editors made Howard start wearing pants to prevent Disney from suing on the grounds of him looking too similar to Donald Duck. Now that Disney owns Marvel, that's probably not an issue.
- There's actually a character named Scrounge McDrake, a parody of Disney character, Scrooge McDuck, long before Disney bought Marvel.
- Also, Ludwig von Cluck is a parody of Ludwig von Drake, another Disney character.
- Reality Subtext: During a guest appearance in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, we learn that Disney (the version in the Marvel Universe) has demanded that Howard wear pants.
Mrs. Sugarbaker: You're a duck, so legally you don't even need to wear pants, and yet -
Howard: Uh, actually, Disn -
Mrs. Sugarbaker: - and yet, you still dress up!
- Tear Jerker: Issue #26 of the original run, which ends with Paul Same getting hit by a stray bullet after a convoluted sequence of events put him in the wrong place at the wrong time. At the same time, Winda Wester is badly beaten by a violent drunk, and both are hospitalized with Howard sitting in the waiting room, not knowing when (or if) they'll get better.
- Too Good to Last: The 2015 run; will run 16 issues total (5 from the pre-Secret Wars volume 0, 11 from post-Secret Wars volume.)
- The Woobie: All Howard has ever wanted was to go home only to be constantly denied. In his later series he starts to realize that even if he were to get home at this point, it wouldn't be home anymore.
YMMVs related to the 1986 film:
- Adaptation Displacement: Would Howard the Duck be as famous if it wasn't for this bomb of a movie? It's quite possible that the comics made after the movie wouldn't still be around if people didn't read them to...see them mock the movie regularly.
- Awesome Music: Though the film is unpopular, the Thomas Dolby produced soundtrack is well regarded by his fans, especially the song Don't Turn Away.
- Cult Classic: The film does have some defenders. Not many, but some. The most notable of these are Cecil Trachenburg and Mark Kermode of all people.
- Ear Worm: The "Howard the Duck" song at the end.
- Fridge Horror: Howard willingly decided to leave DuckWorld behind. What will happen to his family and friends, those who don't know what happened?
- Ham and Cheese: Once Dr. Jenning has his body taken over by the "dark overlord," Jeffrey Jones starts playing the villain way over the top. Amusingly enough, Howard and Beverly don't take him seriously, even having a Face Palm at some point. On the other hand, they are trying their hardest not to be scared and try to lighten the situation, especially with a murdering sociopathic alien for company.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The film was produced by Lucasfilm, who would later go on to be bought out by Disney, who also owns Marvel. In addition, Howard would go on to cameo in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Just Here for Godzilla: Clive Barker has mentioned that he sat through this movie to see the Dark Overlord's true self.
- "Dat's a duck! Dat's a duck, man!"
- On a similar topic, some kids think Howard is cute at first and want to pet him. But when he waves his fingers, he becomes terrifying.
- The bizarre "Donald Duck impersonating Pac-Man" noise that Phil emits when meeting Howard at the concert.
- Arguably the whole movie due to how unconvincing Howard the Duck is and his many lame duck puns. The acting of the other actors aren't too good either.
- Never Live It Down: Again, the infamous "duck tits." Also, viewers tend to criticize the film for promoting zoophilia during Howard and Beverly's near-sex scene.
- Retroactive Recognition: Yes, that is Tim Robbins as Phil Blumburtt in a very early role.
- The Scrappy: All three of the lead characters to some extent: Howard for his constant lame puns and the ridiculous-looking duck suit, Beverly for having no depth to her character beyond being an airhead, and Phil for trying way too hard to be the quirky comic relief.
- Snark Bait: The film seems to stay out of total obscurity simply because of George Lucas' involvement.
- So Bad, It's Good: When the film isn't awkwardly uncomfortable to watch, it is this.
- Special Effect Failure:
- Howard is a duck? No way, he is a small person in a suit! Ironically, in the movie (and a few times in the comics), he is actually mistaken several times for a small person in a suit! It was one of the first animatronics to be remotely controlled however, which was a new innovation at that time.
- Mostly averted with the Dark Overlord, who is considered to be the best effect in the film by a few critics who bashed the film, though there are a couple of shots where the stop-motion puppet is poorly composited into the live-action footage, particularly when Howard zaps it with the laser.
- Spiritual Licensee: Some would say the 2012 movie Ted showed how to do the basic urban fantasy concept of the property right on film.
- The near-sex scene between Howard and Beverly. Thankfully, it's interrupted. Lea Thompson, who is arguably the one person who didn't disown the movie, admitted her daughters never finished the movie because "After the love scene with the duck, they turned it off. They will not turn it back on."
- Also, the infamous "DuckTits" at the beginning of the film.
- Uncanny Valley: Howard, thanks to his glassy-eyed, inexpressive animatronics, and the number of times that he's shown staring directly into the camera.
- What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: An arguable case; the concept certainly sounds family-friendly enough, but the film itself, with its scenes of implicit violence, dark shots, explicit sexual sequences and horror movie twists and turns in the final act, clearly isn't. The Nostalgia Critic called out the MPAA for this, starting with the "duck tits", baffled by how the MPAA allowed "Daisy's knockers" into the film but barred human breasts. This movie helped lead to the enforcement of the PG-13 rating.
- Vindicated by History: As of The New '10s, Howard's surprising appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy dethroned Howard as the nadir of all Marvel movies helped redeem it in the eyes of a few. Undoubtedly helped by the failure of multiple Fantastic Four films.