SUPER DUCK, THE COCKEYED WONDERMedium: Comic Books
Published by: MLJ/Archie Comics
First Appeared: 1943
Creator: Al Fagaly
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Many comic book fans of a "certain age" remember Super Duck. He was a funny animal published by Archie Comics, which also
put out Katy Keene, Cosmo the Merry Martian and, of course, Archie. He ran from the middle 1940s to the end of the '50s, had a nephew and a girlfriend, and it was a mystery why he had "Super" as his first name — there wasn't anything "super" about him. Most don't realize there originally was. He started out as a one of a genre with Marvel Bunny, Wonderworm and Super Rabbit.
Super Duck was introduced in Jolly Jingles #10 (Summer, 1943), in a story probably drawn and possibly written by Al Fagaly (who also worked for Marvel Comics and Novelty Press). He got his super powers by consuming super vitamins, just as Hourman, Captain America and The Black Terror had gotten theirs through the use of drug-like substances. He got himself a costume with the same color scheme as Superman's and went into the crime-bashing business. Two issues later, he moved away from the Superman look in favor of a red and green ensemble.
Jolly Jingles #10 was actually the first issue. The nine earlier ones were titled Jackpot Comics, and featured the company's most popular superheroes (Steel Sterling, The Black Hood, etc.). But at the first whiff of faltering in that genre's popularity, they dropped the format like a hot potato and filled the comic with the likes of Squoimy the Woim, Gooney the Gremlin and Snuggy the Bug in the Rug. Super Duck was the cover feature from beginning to end, which wasn't long in coming — Jolly Jingles was dropped with #16, dated Winter 1944-45. But by that time, Supe (as he was addressed) had moved out into his own comic, which started with a cover date of Fall, 1944. His familiar subtitle, "The Cockeyed Wonder", debuted on the cover of the first issue.
His time as a superhero was even shorter than the lifespan of Jolly Jingles. He was still one in Jolly Jingles #14 and Super Duck #1 (in the latter, in fact, he took on Hitler and Hirohito, at least on the cover). He still sort of looked like one in Jolly Jingles #15. By Jolly Jingles #16 and Super Duck #2, he he was just a funny animal wearing red and green, and was being bedeviled by his brat of a nephew, Fauntleroy. In Super Duck #3, he was dressed in the red and black lederhosen that he wore for the rest of his career. It was about then that he acquired his shrewish girlfriend, Uwanna, and a rival for her affections, Dapper.
By then, Supe's character had done all the evolving it ever would, but he continued in regular publication for years. Fagaly continued to draw many of his stories, but others, including Jack Mendelsohn (Jackys Diary), Ken Hultgren (who also drew the Bambi characters for Dell Comics), Joe Edwards (Li'l Jinx) and Dexter Taylor (Little Archie) also worked on him. For a brief time, Faunt had his own title — Fauntlery Comics ran three issues, which came out between 1950 and '52.
The character finally went out of print with his 94th issue, dated December, 1960, but his long-running presence on the newsstand ensured he'd be remembered. As recently as 2002, in Mystic Funnies #3, cartoonist R. Crumb did a six-page parody of him, in which he and Uwanna tried a Viagra-like drug, with hilarious results. But you do have to be of a "certain age" to remember him, and many reviewers thought it was a parody of Donald.