Monday, February 11, 2008
Thank You, Steve Gerber
Sad news is circulating that Steve Gerber, comic book writer extraordinaire, died Sunday, February 10th of pneumonia (he was on a short list for a lung transplant). Steve Gerber is primarily known for creating and writing Howard The Duck, but he's written countless comics since the early 1970's, including Man-Thing (where Howard The Duck first appeared), Omega The Unknown, Hard Time, Destroyer Duck (a book he worked on with Jack Kirby to raise money and awareness in his battle to obtain the rights to Howard the Duck), The Defenders, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Steve Gerber was at the forefront of writing comics that were thought-provoking, satirical, had rich multi-layered characters, and he seemed to have a special understanding of madness (meaning his portrayal of characters that suffered with psychosis).
One of my favorite all time comic book series is Howard The Duck as written by Steve Gerber. Howard The Duck was Gerber's outlet for satirizing the absurdity of existence, a reoccuring theme in his writing. I started reading comics regularly in the late 1970's and it was Gerber's Howard The Duck that awakened my appreciation that comic books can be something other than endless slugfests (although I enjoy that kind of story from time to time also). Steve Gerber didn't create Man-Thing (a bog creature that appeared about the same time as DC's Swamp Thing), but like Alan Moore later did with Swamp Thing, when people think of that character the Gerber written Man-Things are the ones that rise to the top. Steve Gerber was one of the first "thinking outside of the box" mainstream comic book writers and reading a Steve Gerber comic was a template for how to write intelligent characters and comics without talking down to your readers.
Thank you Steve Gerber for over thirty years of amazing mind-bending comic book stories that have been very influential in shaping my world view.
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