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Steve Gerber Passes Away

Old 02-11-08, 06:55 PM
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Steve Gerber Passes Away

Very sad.

From Newsarama:

After a battle with pulmonary fibrosis, acclaimed and beloved writer Steve Gerber died on Sunday from complications due to his condition. The news was confirmed by a close acquaintance. He was 60 years old.

Gerber was a comics fan all his life, having started the fanzine Headline in his early teens, and eventually finding work as a writer at Marvel in the early ‘70s, working under Roy Thomas. Amid the work that was coming out of Marvel at the time, Gerber found his own, unique voice which often mixed the usual superhero tropes with satire, commentary and an absurdist sense of humor. During his early days at Marvel, Gerber is best remembered for writing The Defenders and Man-Thing, and of course, creating Howard the Duck and Omega the Unknown and having notable runs with many Marvel characters, from Shanna the She-Devil to the Guardians of the Galaxy, Son of Satan, and Tales of the Zombie. In many ways, Gerber was 1970s Marvel. It was his unpredictable, groundbreaking work and strong desire to stray from the beaten path throughout the ‘70s that made Gerber a role model for the next two-plus generations of comic book and other writers, including Michael Chabon and Glen David Gold.

After leaving Marvel in 1979, Gerber became something of a journeyman in comics, putting in time with some of DC Comics heroes, but most notably, being present at the forefront of the “independent revolution” of the 1980s. When it came to “mainstream” superhero comics of the time, Gerber was as loud a voice (or louder) advocating change and modernization as the legends of the day such as his friend and colleague, Frank Miller.

Many of Gerber’s larger plans did not come to fruition and, like many creators at the time who found that comics had seemingly passed them by, Gerber turned his attention to animation and television in the ‘80s, writing for Dungeons and Dragons, Transformers, Star Trek: The Next Generation (“Contagion”), G.I. Joe and Thundarr the Barbarian, which he created.

Following up on his independent work from the ‘80s, Gerber was one of the founders of Malibu’s Ultraverse, and for a period, found a home writing a handful of Image Comics titles. Gerber’s work throughout the ‘90s was an eclectic mix, always quirky and always very personal.

More recently, Gerber returned to Marvel to write a Howard the Duck miniseries for its MAX imprint. He had also recently returned to DC, where he had created the acclaimed series Hard Time for the publisher’s failed DC Focus line. Since that time, Gerber had largely taken up residence in the DC Universe’s more “mystical” side, writing the Dr. Fate story which was contained in the Countdown to Mystery miniseries.

Recently on his blog Gerber had been keeping his friends and fans appraised of his condition. In an interview about Dr. Fate here at Newsarama in September, Gerber discussed his health with characteristic frankness and humor, saying:

“It’s just a fact of life, it’s something I have to deal with. Naturally, I’d be very happy if there were, you know, a ‘cure’ for this, but there isn’t. I’ve got fibrosis of the lungs, and it’s a…so far slow-but-progressive disease that, if not treated, will ultimately off me.

“I’m moving toward getting on the lung transplant list at UCLA. And, hopefully, I will have a newly-refurbished pair of lungs (laughs) to breathe with in a little while. We’ll see what happens.

“It’s almost funny…I really do have a sick sense of humor about some of this stuff. (laughs) Part of me wants to go for the sympathy ploy. Put a picture of me on the cover of Countdown to Mystery with a gun to my head, or a plastic bag over it, and the caption, ‘Buy this magazine or this writer will never breathe again!’ The old National Lampoon gag.”

Gerber’s last post on his blog was from a week ago, noting that he was working through the night on a Dr. Fate script.

Newsarama extends its deepest condolences to Gerber’s friends and family. He will be missed.
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Old 02-11-08, 07:38 PM
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Damn, that's a shame. I've always enjoyed his work on Man-Thing quite alot, it's actually some of my favorite 70's stuff. He'll be missed.
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Old 02-11-08, 08:17 PM
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Love Howard.

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Old 02-11-08, 11:23 PM
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Yes very sad. We are losing some of these greats at relatively young ages (like Dave Cochrum).
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Old 02-12-08, 07:03 AM
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Damn. Just .... damn.

Without Steve, there is no adult comics boom. There is no Vertigo. Brian K. Vaughn, Brian Bendis, Brian Azzarello, and a bunch of guys not named Brian do not have careers writing the kinds of comics they write. The man transformed mainstream U.S. comics in a way few others have.

Man-Thing. Omega the Unknown. Defenders. Howard the Duck. And that's just the stuff he did in the 70s. He continued to keep a hand in comics in later years (even now -- he is (was) writing Countdown to Mystery), but also moved into animation. This is the man who created Thundarr the Barbarian (with character designs by Alex Toth and Jack Kirby!).

We're about 6 weeks away from the publication of the Howard the Duck ominbus, and I was really hoping Steve's lungs would let him last long enough to see it in print. This sucks.

Rest in Peace, Steve. You will be missed.
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Old 02-12-08, 08:01 AM
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I've never read any of his stuff, but I respect the influence he's had in the industry.

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Old 02-12-08, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by boredsilly
I've never read any of his stuff, but I respect the influence he's had in the industry.

Do yourself a favor and pick up the Essential Man-Thing. If you're willing to spend a little money and take a chance, get the Howard the Duck Omnibus when it comes out next year; if dropping that much cash on a blind buy bothers you, go for the Essential.
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Old 02-13-08, 08:07 AM
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Howard the Duck was the first comic I read as a kid that made me realize comics could be something more than guys in tights beating the shit out of each other. Still love it. Here is an interview he did with Comics Journal in 1978 after Marvel fired him. Pretty interesting stuff.
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Old 02-13-08, 01:59 PM
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Old 02-14-08, 01:23 AM
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