Duckworld, a planet in another dimension where intelligent life evolved from waterfowl, resembles Earth in an astounding number of ways, including the fact that ducks speak English. (In fact, Howard mistook Earth for Duckworld on his arrival, until he saw the “hairless apes” wandering around.) Howard was born the eldest son of Dave and Dottie, but beyond enjoying his rocking horse on Christmas as a baby, he disappointed them in every other way. He couldn’t hold down any job, be it serious or frivolous, and couldn’t fit in to any group. Instead, he figured he had no use for society, despite his ability to adapt to any situation and society, and found content as a malcontent.
Howard found himself trapped in a world that he never made when the power-hungry demon Thog the Nether-Spawn used his magic to shift the interdimensional Cosmic Axis in hopes that all realities could be collapsed into one under his control. Howard was plucked from Duckworld and dropped into the middle of the Florida Everglades on Earth-- the site of this world's Nexus of All Realities. Reluctantly, Howard joined the similarly-dislodged Korrek the Barbarian and Earth’s Jennifer Kale, Dakimh the Enchanter, and the Man-Thing in stopping the forces of Thog. When the battle was over, Howard accidentally fell off the otherdimensional Stepping Stones of Oblivion and landed in the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
In Cleveland, Howard was almost immediately arrested for believing to be disrupting the peace. (Actually, the culprit was Garko the Man-Frog who had stumbled into an encounter with Howard.) However, the police soon released him, not wanting to face the public ridicule for having booked a duck. Howard then hoped to find a job, perhaps by solving a series of murders, and instead found himself in an encounter with the vampiric Hellcow.
Despondent that he might never get home or even a job, Howard happened upon the castle of the costumed criminal accountant Pro-Rata. He rescued young life model Beverly Switzler, escaping with the timely arrival of Spider-Man. Bev invited Howard to stay with her, and the two even fell in love.
Although Howard has attempted to live as normal a life as possible, considering that he is a talking duck on a world of human beings, he has continually run afoul (so to speak) of various unusual menaces, most notably the members of the Band of the Bland and his archnemesis Doctor Bong. However, through cleverness, persistence, and (perhaps most of all) good luck, Howard has always managed to defeat or escape his adversaries.
Howard came to public notoriety when he became a candidate for the United States presidency on a very minor party ticket known as the All-Night Party. However, the general populace refused to believe that Howard is a real talking duck, thinking of him instead as a small person in a duck suit, and the public dismissed his candidacy as a joke.
Bev eventually asked that she and Howard separate. Howard, despite his feelings for her, agreed but embarked on a series of wanderings that took him around the country, from Chicago, to New York, and San Francisco. His adventures finally led him back to Cleveland, whereupon he and Bev reunited. After the two reunited Howard faced several different and strange foes such as Ducktor Doom (Larval Earth), Spider-Ham (Larval Earth), Captain Americana, Jackpot, Grey Panther, Kidney Lady, Mister Chicken, Pinball Lizard, and several other creatures and people with fantastic (and sometimes lame) powers.
When Howard’s nemesis Doctor Angst attempted to “squish” all realities into a universal state of inertness, Howard was chosen by the cosmic entity called the Critic to join She-Hulk in confronting Doctor Angst and the Band of the Bland, and the universes were restored to their rightful order.
Later, Howard encountered the young mutants Chamber and Skin, who were on the run of the mutant-hunting X-Cutioner. Howard helped them escape and make their way back to their team, Generation X, at the Massachusetts Academy. Howard stayed at the Academy briefly, forming a friendship with the children Artie, Leech, and Franklin Richards. About the same time, the Academy was targeted by the villain Black Tom, and Man-Thing rescued the children, Howard, and an alien refugee Tana Nile. This unlikely band of heroes helped Man-Thing restore balance to the Nexus of All Realities before being returned to the Academy and Howard soon parted company.
When a group of heroes was restored to reality after being shunted to Franklin Richards' Counter Earth, the Nexus of Reality was damaged. Howard, because of his experiences passing through the Nexus, he found that a fragment of it became lodged within him. The Cult of Entropy, led by Mahapralaya, hoped to kill Howard in the Man-Thing's swamp and thus destroy the Nexus, Howard was rescued by the Man-Thing and Ellen Brandt. The Man-Thing merged with the Nexus fragment by pouring itself down Howard's throat and being regurgitated. Mahapralaya and the cultists were forced to flee, and Howard left for Cleveland.
More recently, Bev found a new job at a dot com company, only to find it was run by, Doctor Bong and was captured. Howard rescued Bev, and in the process he was thrown into a vat of chemicals that transformed him into a humanoid rat. While seeking his revenge, Dr Bong destroyed Howard and Bev’s house. They found refuge in the Boarding House of Mystery. However, they were still pursued by Dr. Bong. Finally, by using the magical Amulet of Pazuzu, Howard was able to defeat Dr. Bong. Afterwards, he was asked to go on the Iprah talk show, but Iprah was possessed by the demon-angel hybrid Deuteronomy. Howard destroyed Deuteronomy by using the cigar from the Saint of Therapists, but a puff on that same cigar instantly disintegrated Howard. Now frees from his duck body Howard’s soul passed into the afterlife, and Howard had a conversation with God about the meaning of life. Not long after that conversation God allowed Howard to return to the body of a duck and return to Earth. He was seen recently at the trial of She-Hulk, where he vouched for her not to be erased from history.