Real Name: Hemlock Shoals

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Maltesia) magic-user

Occupation: Interdmensional Detective

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: R. L. Haney, Howard the Duck, and Prei-Ying Mantis;
    presumably Andy the Angel, Chirreep, Jennifer Kale, Korrek, Master C'haaj, Claude Starkowski (see comments);

Enemies: Cockroach, Pro-Rata;
presumably the Band of the Bland (Black Hole/Morton Kribbee, Sitting Bullseye/Oliver Bedwette, Spanker/Fred Hovel, Tillie the Hun/Matilda von Tromp), le Beaver (Pierre Dentifris), Black Talon (Thibodaux Boudreaux), Brotherhood of Evil Prepositions (Amonger, Arounder, Betweener, Of, Underneather, Withiner), Dr. Angst (Floyd Mangles), Galactongue, Jackpot, Jokester, Greedy Killerwatt, Kong Lomerate, Maller, Pro-Rata, Puffin, Quizling, and Wally Sidney (see comments)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Maltesia (dimension)

Appearances: Howard the Duck II#4 (March, 1980)

Powers: Hemlock Shoals is a trained as a detective, and specializes in magical investigations. He can speed up time (or teleport) to make an interstate journey take seconds. He can conjure images, travel between dimensions, are track magic items across the dimensional gulf. He claims not to have mystical abilities, but merely to manipulate objects along a planet's lines of magnetic force.

He uses a walking stick with a mallet at one end and a retractable blade at the other. In addition, he is a semi-humanoid insectoid, and likely possesses a number of adaptation beyond his obvious caterpillar-like form. He possesses some knowledge of Earth, mostly learned from "Fodor's Guide to Earth,"which apparently lacks descriptions of one-way streets and forms of monetary exchange.

History: (Howard the Duck II#4 (fb) ) - Shoals was summoned by the Chief Accountant of Maltesia, Prei-Ying Mantis, who feared for his life, and rightfully so. When Shoals arrived, Mantis had already been killed by the sorcerer Pro-Rata, who sought the Cosmic Key. Shoals knocked the Key from Pro-Rata's grasp, causing it to fall into an interdimensional portal containing pathways to a myriad of dimensions. Pro-Rata entered his own portal and escaped, but without the Key.

Months later, Shoals tracked the Cosmic Key to the Citadel of Sai'Furr, but found it missing. He followed the trail of the lone clue (a cigar of Howard the Duck) to Earth, in Cleveland, to Pro-Rata's credit card tower, but found he was still behind, as the Key was again long gone. Shoals continued to track the Key, following the trail from the pawn shop Howard had hocked it to for clothing.

(Howard the Duck II#4) - Shoals utilized a taxi-cab driven by Howard to travel to Manhattan, to the Barqu Bookstore, where he found it in the possession of the store's owner, R. L. Haney. However, when Haney revealed the Key, it was snatched by the Cockroach. The Cockroach had been mutated from its normal insect form into a giant, semi-humanoid form and intellect, and sought to use the Key to evolve a number of other cockroaches to form an army and takeover the World.

Shoals, and Haney pursued the Cockroach, eventually catching up with him when Howard managed to delay him in a newly made glue-trap. The Cockroach tore free of the trap, but was skewered and apparently killed by Shoals walking stick, thrown by Haney. Shoals transformed the sign for the Coach Motel, in which the Cockroach had met his fate to read "Roach Motel," to serve as an epitaph for their fallen foe. Shoals then returned Howard to Cleveland, and returned with the Cosmic Key to Maltesia.

(Steve Gerber's unpublished script for Howard the Duck#1 "Secret Crisis II" (fb) - BTS) - Shoals was transported -- along with Andy the Angel, Dakimh the Enchanter, Jennifer Kale, Korrek the Barbarian, Man-Thing, Master C'haaj, and Claude Starkowski -- to within a motorhome (specifically a Winnebago)-like construct in an interdimensional space between Reality-616 and Reality-791021 (mirroring the storyline generated by the dark matter-powered Poporb of Krylorian techno-artist Chirreep).

(Steve Gerber's unpublished script for Howard the Duck#1 "Secret Crisis II") - Entering the Winnebago, Howard recognized the other occupants, but not Andy the Angel nor Shoals, whom the caption identied as "a CATERPILLAR the duck has never seen before in his life!" (see comments)

    After Hemlock Shoals pointed out the arrival another vehicle/conveyance in the interdimensional space, and Claude noted it to be a fire hydrant, Dakimh explained that it, like their "RV,"  was an artificial construct, crafted to resemble a common object. Dakimh mystically sensed its inhabitants to be Dr. Angst and the Band of the Bland (Black Hole Sitting Bullseye, Spanker, Tillie the Hun), le Beaver, Black Talon, Bzzk J'oh, Dr. Bong, Jackpot, Jokester, Greedy Killerwatt, Kong-Lomerate, Maller, Pro-Rata, Puffin, Quizling, and Wally Sidney. Dakimh noted that, apart from their evil, they seemed to have little in common...except that they all wanted Howard dead.
    The monstrous mouth Galactongue then appeared and disgorged an entire galaxy. As the contents formed a planet with an immense office building, Dakimh noted with concern the objects streaking toward them:
The Brotherhood of Evil Prepositions (Amonger, Arounder, Betweener, Of, Underneather, Withiner) then appeared and challenged both groups to "Play both ends against the middle, and all you desire shall be yours."

    Both groups were transported to the office building on the planet formed from contents disgorged by Galactongue; Dakimh's group arrived in the unlit mailroom,
sprawled amid boxes, carts, postal scales, stamps, a few thousand unsorted envelopes, etc.

(Steve Gerber's unpublished script for Howard the Duck#1 "Secret Crisis II" - BTS) - Kong Lomerate led the villains in a plot to destroy the other group.

    Bong, presumably along with some of the others, targeted Andy the Angel, Dakimh the Enchanter, Jennifer Kale, Korrek the Barbarian, Man-Thing, Master C'haaj, Hemlock Shoals, and Claude Starkowski, while Kong led Maller, Jackpot, and Greedy Killerwatt to attack Howard and Chireep, who had followed Howard..

Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo and Gene Colan.

Thanks to Godzillabrawler for the improved R.L. Haney image.

Profile by Snood.


Hemlock Shoals has no known connection to:

Prei-Ying Mantis was the Chief Accountant of Maltesia, and as such was guardian to the Cosmic Key. He sensed the possibility of an attack on his life, and summoned Hemlock Shoals, but was too late. Prei-Ying was assaulted by the sorcerer Pro-Rata, who broke his neck with a slide rule and took the Key, when he refused to surrender it.







R. L. Haney, aka the Yakima Yahoo, was the owner of the Barqu Bookstore in Manhattan, New York City. He unwittingly obtained the Cosmic Key along with a shipment of books from Cleveland, but was unaware of its true nature. He placed the Key in a drawer in the store, and was also unaware when its energies transformed an ordinary insect into the Cockroach. However, he joined Shoals in the pursuit of they Key and the Cockroach, and it was his hand which threw Shoal's bladed walking stick to skewer the Cockroach. He had some experience wiht knife-throwing, and would hurl his own pig-sticker in warning at those he suspected of being book rustlers.










Howard the Duck II#4, p6, pan2 (main)
Howard the Duck II#4, p1 (head shot)
Howard the Duck II#4, p8, pan3 (Prei-Ying Mantis)
Howard the Duck II#4, p10, pan1 (R.L. Haney)

Howard the Duck II#4 (March, 1980) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Gene Colan (penciler), Dave Simons (inks), Lynn Graeme (editor)
unpublished Howard the Duck story by Gerber - 1985

First posted: 08/01/2002
Last updated: 03/20/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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