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.


kreeson1 said...

I had the pleasure of dining with Steve Gerber several years ago, It was one of the great thrills of my life to meet one of my favorite writers. Mr. Gerber could'nt have been more gracious and patient answering all of my fanboy questions. Thanks, Mr. Gerber you will be missed.

Ralph Mathieu said...

Earl, I'm glad to hear that you got that chance to dine with Steve Gerber. It's always great to share with our favorite artists (writers, etc.) how much their work was appreciated, because of course creative people work in a largely isolated environment.

Nevada Clan said...

What a wonderful post. I think it was pretty special.

Happy New Comics Wednesday 7/18/18 - Life of Captain Marvel, Magic Order #2 (we still have #1 too!), conclusion of Infinity Countdown, Justice League edition!

 Hope all of my friends going to the San Diego Comic-Con this week have a GREAT time!