Hard Time: Season 2 #7

It’s in the stores, I’ve heard.

So — what did you think?

32 Responses to “Hard Time: Season 2 #7”

  1. Brian Hughes Says:

    Well, as a hasty series wrap-ups go, this was probably as strong a finale as we could have hoped for. Nice touch immersing the readers and the characters in a total data dump, so Ethan’s clearly as overwhelmed as we are. Everyone’s story gets an ending, we get some closure, and we all leave more or less happy. It’s too bad this book never caught on, but I enjoyed it while it was here. Good job, Steve, I’ll be watching for future projects.

  2. Johnny Monolith Says:

    You’re kidding me, no more hard time. People really spend their money on the wrong comics.

    I’m not sure whether I should be delighted or infuriated that the last issue was the best of the series.


    But, no more, really?


  3. Danko Meloy Says:

    So who’s in the limo?

  4. Mark Loughman Says:

    I’ve been a fan since the 70’s and was enjoying the heck out of this story. I’m left with mixed feelings…glad that you got to wrap it, but disappointed that most of Season Two got collapsed into one issue. It was well-done, I just wish we could have savored it more.

    What do we have to look forward to from you next?

  5. J. Alexander Says:

    Hmmm. I really hated it. Why? Because it was the last issue. Damn, I really enjoyed this series and I do not want it to have ended. I will buy whatever is going to be your next project. You have still got it.

  6. PeteTheRetailer Says:

    I really loved it, but my experience reading it the first time was marred by the fact that one of the pages (including the introduction of the parole hearing panel and the beginning of his flashbacks) was, instead of being stapled into position, neatly inserted into the back of the book. I haven’t been back to my local comics shop yet to figure out if this was the case with all their copies, or hopefully just a rare error. Anybody else have this happen?


    Oh, and I assumed it was Cindy in the limo, no?

  7. Doc Muerte Says:

    I thought it was Alyssa in the limo, but it could have also been Cindy. Who knows?

    I’ve got to say that I was pretty shocked and a tad depressed, when I opened the book and saw that Ethan was still in prison 49 years later.

    The ending was excellent, I’m sad to see it go, but I enjoyed every page of the farewell.

  8. A.L. Baroza Says:

    For an issue that was basically pure exposition, it was pretty compelling. Loved the seamless folding of the sci-fi concepts into the ongoing story. I think it’s my favorite issue of the series, but I’m going to read it as apocryphal, just in case you ever revive the series with another publisher.

    Also because I don’t believe we’ll have hovercars 50 years from now. 🙂

  9. Fred Chamberlain Says:

    It was both an engaging and frustrating experience for me. I enjoyed the read but, with the turn of each page, I found myself down about the missed opportunities that would have taken place within this series had it gone on.

    Looking forward to your next series. Any news about it that you can share with us?


  10. George Tramountanas Says:

    I really enjoyed it, but was sorry you had to rush things.

    Now please – WHO WAS IN THE LIMO?

  11. Adam McGovern Says:

    I can’t remember when I’ve awaited a comic this anxiously, or been so moved by the outcome. I couldn’t #$@&in’ sleep after reading this. The abrupt close-out is seldom good for a series (and I’m glad Peter David keeps avoiding it in Fallen Angel), since the sadly small number of us who follow these deeply-drawn character studies don’t really want to see that tossed down an elevator shaft for fake, plot-centric closure. But Gerber and Skrenes had textured a reality so full that it suffered nothing either at intimate scale or at macrocosmic magnification. This series was an act of bravery at every step, especially when you get two panels into the finale and realize that no, Ethan didn’t “win,” but yes, he lived on, and maybe there were other ways to survive — to be a human, not a hero. The future trappings rang all too true, and that last scene of the carbon-bloated sun over the industrial badlands, with one human leaf floating over and out of its picture, will haunt and help sustain me. My main cliffhanger was not how it all turned out or who’s in the limo (a good, suspended twanging of our hope reflex, though I think it’s Red — remember that trust fund — just taking him as far as the nearest satellite phone) — I just hoped the Skrenes-first credits on #6 and 7 were merely a sign of a master getting her due and not Steve being too depressed about this parting to be fully in the fray. But from the blog he seems to be his usual stinging self. This is an immense accomplishment for all parties to be proud of, and in the real 49 Years Later, people will remember it when much of what it shared the stands with is obscure. From the fat-kid soliloquy in Man-Thing that I read to my public-speaking class in ninth grade, to the encouragement I still take from the wit and vision Steve can show through an illness I share, this story is one of my favorites, and it’s over by no means.

  12. Chris Schillig Says:

    Absolutely fantastic. It takes a skilled writer to be able to quickly tie up so many plots in progress and still have the resolution resonate so fully. Easily the best comic book story I have read this year — beating out the six OTHER best comics I’ve read this year, which were all issues of HARD TIME SEASON TWO.

    I’ll miss the book a lot, but as always, I’ll be around for whatever you do next.

  13. Richard Bensam Says:

    Okay, this is the first time I ever deliberately waited a week to read a comic book. I just wasn’t ready to face it immediately. It wasn’t just the prospect of reading the last issue of a favorite comic, knowing there weren’t going to be any more; it was being caught up in the lives of these characters and not wanting to think about Ethan spending another 49 years in prison. And as soon as I saw the opening pages, my immediate thought was that this really was going to be a total bummer and bring me down.

    So color me more than a little impressed that you took what seemed like a hopeless scenario and made it a message of hope. Ethan doesn’t just survive those decades, he lives through them and stays whole. It may be bittersweet in some ways, but that only makes it more real.

    What’s more…there’s no reason the rest of the story can’t still be told if another publisher can be found. And there’s no need to contradict anything said in this issue — no need for a “divergent reality” or having a young Ethan wake up saying “I just had a dream I was an old man!” Don’t do anything to diminish the beauty of this issue or diminish the opportunity this gives you. After all, keeping the audience in suspense about “what happens next” is really only the most rudimentary form of storytelling. We have more in our bag of tricks now. Start a new issue of a new series for another company with the “49 years later” Ethan, and then have him recall the rest of the story, perhaps even with the older Ethan serving as first person narrator. Knowing how the story ends just gives you powerful foreshadowing to work with.

  14. gordon kent Says:

    Steve, it read like you and Mary had fun writing it. However what’s best and saddest is that Brian Hurtt really nailed the art with this issue.

  15. Len N. Wallace Says:

    As disappointed as I am that the book got canned with virtually no notice, I’ve gotta say that it’s a pretty perfect send off. Bittersweet, and sad to see it go, but there you go…

    And like I’ve said Steve, if you’ve got any time freed up, I’d love to do an interview of some type for The Pulse.

  16. Brizoni Says:

    Quick reminder: I will pay 4 dollars an issue for new Hard Time if you take it to Boom or Avatar or whatever those new companies call themselves. DO IT!

  17. Charles Bryan Says:

    As noted above, it was the best of a bad situation. I’m glad that we were able to see the ways that the characters lives played out over the years, but I’m particularly glad that the issue really was full of heart. It would have been easier to fill the story with nothing but sadness, but it was very well balanced.

    As it did for another post-er above, this story reminded me very much of some of the key 70s issues you wrote at Marvel. In a way, it was sort of Nighthawk’s Brain in reverse.

    (In a weird side note, you should know how much relief this particular fan felt after theives stole a lot of comics in a break-in a couple of years ago — relief that they missed my “Gerber box”, with your issues of Man-Thing, Howard, Defenders, Omega, and Daredevil.)

    (You’re the only writer that has his own box in my collection. Probably not something to include in a biography under Awards and Recognitions, but its true.)

    It’s not often that series creators get to give their creations a good send-off. I’m glad taht you were able to get to at least do that (if not have the series continue).

    Looking forward to the next projects,


  18. Steve Gerber Says:

    We’re overwhelmed. Thank you, all.

    — Steve & Mary

  19. Greg Says:

    I really did like this issue. The great thing about comics is its serial format; the sucky thing about comics is its serial format, in the sense that you rarely get an ending. This was an ending, and a fine way to repay the fans who want to know about the characters.

    As someone who was tracking down back issues of Howard the Duck in junior high, it’s amazing that your writing has continued to mature and deepen, as opposed to show wear and tear like many other professionals who continue for so long in the comic industry.

    Now WHO WAS IN THE @(*&*! LIMO?!

  20. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    Greg wrote:
    Now WHO WAS IN THE @(&! LIMO?!>\
    An elf with a gun, of course.

  21. Pete Says:

    I loved and everyone at the CBR forums that reads Hard Time loved it. I’ve been hooked on this series since issue 1.

  22. Raheil Says:

    I had no idea it was the last issue until I bought it weeks ago, and have been avoiding reading it, until just now. Great issue, sad but it felt right, but the real surprise was Brian Hurtt. He really stepped up, channelling a classical P. Craig Russell-style that fit so perfectly in a future setting. Great job.

    Only question (besides who was in the limo): was the question of what the jocks did to Brandon to set him off in the beginning (what Ethan refused to tell) ever resolved? It was pretty much the only unsatisfactory thing about the book…other than, you know, the ending of the series itself.

    Thank you again for all the great comics.

  23. Devz Says:

    Thanks for a great series. The issue was spectacular, as always. Beyond sad to see this go. It seems all the best books are leaving us in 2006/2007. “Hard Time”, “Sentinal” from Marvel, and Terry Moore’s “Strangers in Paradise”.

    Thanks again for giving us a great series that was a complete joy to read.

  24. Art Says:

    Great issue. Managed to keep the humanistic elements of the storyline while basically dumping fifty years of continuity on the reader.

    On the one hand, I’d love to be able to keep reading Hard Time if you took it to another publisher; on the other hand, this is a perfectly satisfactory ending, and I wouldn’t be sad to see you devoting your time to some new project either.

  25. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    I DID notice that you put in a hole that would allow you to take it to another publisher (well, at least one hole).

  26. Steve Gerber Says:

    I assume most of you have figured out by now that Mary and I are never going to reveal who was in the limo.

    There are at least four possibilities: Red, Cindy, Turo, and Inez. Just pick whichever one you like best.

    By the way, apologies for not posting here. I’ve been concentrating on the new project. I’ll resume regular posting as soon as I can.

  27. gordon kent Says:

    “At least” is the relavent phrase, right Steve?!

    Personally, I don’t really think it matters who’s in the limo — does it?

    Can’t wait to begin reading the new project and hope you are adjusting to your new place and that you continue to get better.

  28. Craig Taylor Says:

    I recieved my copy or issue 7 in the mail a couple of days ago and read the issue twice in one sitting.

    A great way to go out. I fully enjoyed the issue and found it, dare I say it, heartwarming.

    Brian Hurt outdid himself on the art, including inking his own pencils. Interesting the last couple of issues was on better (glossy) paperstock, making the art leap off the page.

    I like to think that it was Alyssa in the limo. I can’t really see after reading the issue that it could be anyone else. Of course it could be whoever you wanted (within reason), but … the romantic in me believes it was Alyssa.

    Good luck to Ethan on his new life, whatever it might be.

    Congrats to Steve and Mary on good closure.


  29. James B Says:


    Bring it back now….

    Just can’t let a critter this lively sleep.

  30. Doug Says:

    I think that the mystery of the limo is that, it could be any one of the people who have been in Ethan’s life, and we’ve seen that he is part of a community – just because the limo was there to pick him up doesn’t neccisarily mean that he’s ending up with that person, or that it’s a lover or anything like that. Just a friend, one of many who will continue with him.

    And an odd thought about Alyssa… her relationship was with the spirit being, and while she might have known it was Ethan, it’s also possible she wouldn’t want a physical relationship with Ethan as human. (once you go k-chakra, you never go back!). So could his spirit have one love, and his body another?

    That’s what I liked about the story here – Ethan has been locked up, but he’s also continued to live, to learn and grow, have relationships, and experience the world.

    Another question: Why didn’t he break out of prison – surely he could have? Or was the point that he had found who he was and a way to live life in a fairly well-rounded way due to his mind and his powers?

    It was very cool – other than it ending at all, of course.

    I’ll be following what else ya’ll put out, and want to add that the art was fantastic throughout the series, but the last issues were particularly outstanding.

  31. Steve Gerber Says:

    Doug: “Why didn’t he break out of prison – surely he could have?”

    We never got around to explaining this (although we did illustrate it by implication in the Kaga na Yu’usha story), but the khe-chara couldn’t act physically upon Ethan’s body. It could leave or enter it, that’s all. So while the khe-chara might eventually have become powerful enough to blast a hole through the prison wall, Ethan would still have had to walk through the breach in corporeal form in order for his body to escape. (He *could* have simply abandoned his physical body, of course, but apparently that alternative wasn’t appealing to him.)

  32. Steve Gerber Says:

    Bart: “I DID notice that you put in a hole that would allow you to take it to another publisher (well, at least one hole).”

    We did? What was it?