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Claude Starkowski, alias Claude Stark, was the penniless owner of Iron Man Auto Wreckers in Cleveland, and friends to Lee Switzler. Starkowski claimed to be a veteran of Vietnam War, where he suffered shrapnel wounds to the head, and ever since he obtained scrap transistors from the Stark Cleveland plant, as a part of their program to support veterans, which Starkowski used to create Iron Man armors as a secondary business, theoretically supplying the Avengers. Starkowski claimed that the real Iron Man did not mind Starkowski building other suits of armor for good causes, so he was building one for his nephew.[1]

Meanwhile, in Skudge, Pennsylvania, the villain Doctor Bong challenged his enemy Howard the Duck to a one-on-one fight in 24 hours, lest Bong would destroy the Skudge hospital, with patients there (including the Duck's friends Paul Same and Winda Wester), and blame the Duck in the press. Lee Switzler was also the Duck's friend, so he took the Duck to Starkowski's repair shop. Sympathising with his plight, Starkowski adapted the half-finished armor suit for his nephew and gave it to the Duck. He also built a weapon, independent from the suit, that would negate Doctor Bong's vibration powers - a circle of sonar dishes. Switzler's strategy was for the Duck to use the armor to survive long enough until Bong was positioned within the range of the dishes.[1] Limited in his capacities, Starkwoski had failed to install a battery in one of the dishes, which would later lead to the dish set failing; but Starkowski forgot about it until the fight had started.[2] The Duck was reluctant to go with this plan, as he considered the armor suit to be a junk heap; but, lacking real alternatives and appreciating Starkowski's naïve but good-spirited effort, decided to go with it. As Bong's powers were sonic-based, the Duck accepted cotton balls stuck in his ears for extra protection.[1]

Bong arrived prematurely at Skudge Hospital and started the fight.[1] The Iron Duck Suit proved to be ineffective against Bong - even the flamethrower was useless when Bong covered himself with his gauntlet. Its gadgets provided the Duck with a chance to escape Bong throughout the hospital floors, thou. However, as the dish-based trap failed, Bong was undefeated (and deafened any witness as a side effect). In a last-ditch attempt, the Duck took from the armor's hip pod a small hammer to be used in case of mortal danger, and hit Doctor Bong's bell-shaped helmet. This activated Bong's teleportation back to his Himalayan base. Once there, Bong used his powers to peel the armor suit from the Duck, leaving the Duck naked. Bong was then defeated by his wife Beverly Switzler (incidentally the Duck's friend and Lee Switzler's niece), who had cloned Bong and then threatened to use the clones to ruin his reputation, lest Bong ceased in his attacks against the Duck.[1]


The Iron Duck armor was made with low-budget materials and scrap transistors, by a car mechanic.[1] The outer shell did provide some protection against physical attacks.[3] The armor had several hidden gadgets:[1]

  • Boot-springs for extraordinary movement,[1] allowing for vertical and (greater) horizontal movement,[3] but an untrained user may find himself bouncing without real control.[2] The rationale to include those was as an alternative to jets, which would have been more expensive.[1]
  • Flamethrowers, with short range[1][3] that allowed to hit a person fighting the user - but were not powerful enough to hurt Doctor Bong when he protected behind his gauntlet.[1] Starkowski considered repulsor rays, but those were beyond his budget.[1]
  • Chest lamp: A searchlight beam providing light at short range.[2][3]
  • Air conditioning to keep the user comfortable, theoretically allowing the Duck to smoke while wearing the armor.[1]
  • Radio to communicate with anyone outside the armor.[1]
  • Transistorized windshield wipers so that the viewscreen is not blocked by water.[2]
  • Whirling butt-bit, a diamond-tipped drill-bit in the lower part, allowing to generate a hole in the floor to escape.[2]
  • Hip pod: Marked "in case of mortal danger, break glass", and provides a small hammer to use as a weapon.[2]
  • Hidden fail-safe device, that activates the armor's magnetic uncoupler.[2]

The cotton balls stuffed in the Duck's ears were not a part of the armor.[1]

The armor was not immune to Doctor Bong's sonic technology, but it took him a while to disassemble it.[2]


Its role-playing stats were listed in Jeff Grubb's article Not Quite the Marvel-Phile, published in Dragon magazine #96. Even if the article was admittedly about silly characters and items that were unlikely to appear in other publications, Grubb added a note specifying that the Iron Duck Suit was only included due to pressure of "Roger" (probably editor Roger E. Moore).

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