Ten Years

It’s been ten years since the passing of Steve Gerber.  I wrote some thoughts over on my blog and now I’m opening a comment thread here so anyone with something to say about him can say it.

If you’ve visited here before, you may notice that our layout has changed.  When I took over managing Steve’s blog, I intended to keep his “template” (the look of the blog, fonts, colors, etc. ).  It was a design Steve himself did so it seemed right to keep it.  Alas, it is not compatible with the current version of the software that drives this site and the comments were not displaying properly.  I have swapped the template out for a new one that does display comments and I will decide later if Steve’s template can be upgraded.  Probably not.

13 Responses to “Ten Years”

  1. Don Says:

    Read the piece on your blog, so I thought I’d add a comment in honor of Steve.

    I think of him as the godfather of alt-comics, the first to successfully merge underground commix’s existentialist, anti-establishment, and literary sensibilities into mainstream IP.

    Whenever I read a book featuring oddball misfits fatigued by the absurdities and contradictions of society, I think of it as part of “the Steve Gerber school”.

    Some of DCs Young Animal books, like Doom Patrol, for example, feel like his spiritual grandchildren. Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol also felt like it was part of that lineage.

    Personally, I think Howard the Duck may be the high-water mark for mainstream comics of the Bronze Age, and I think its influence is still felt.

    Show me anything vaguely neo-Dada in comics, and I can’t help but think of the Kidney Woman or Space Turnip or Dr. Bong. Show me anything grasping after “literature”, and I think of the confessional, text-with-illustrations “Dreaded Deadline Doom” issue of HTD.

    Anyway, RIP Steve. Gone too soon, but not forgotten.

  2. Kid Robson Says:

    Hi Steve. (I know you’re on another plane of existence, but I’ll write this as if you’ll get to read it – ‘cos maybe you will.)

    Howard The Duck #3 still resonates 40-plus years after I first read it. Who’d have thought a comicbook story about a talking duck could have such an emotional impact? Even Stan Lee recognised it as the classic it was (and is). Whenever I revisit the story these days, I’m returned to the ’70s, and the (illusion of) youth and vigour I had back then is once again mine for a short time. I still have the actual issue I purchased back then – it’s one that I would never give away in the occasional clear-outs that all comic collectors must reluctantly resort to from time to time. That says something for its enduring quality, that transcends the decades and the ’70s Kung Fu fad.

    Anyway, wish I could say something profound, but all I can do is thank you for writing all those wonderful comics you wrote – particularly HTD #3. If that was the only comic you ever wrote, it would still be remembered and talked about today – and you along with it. Fortunately for us, you wrote many fine tales during your career, so you certainly weren’t a one-hit wonder.

    So, once again, thanks for enhancing my teenage years with your wonderful stories. You made a difference – and that’s more than can be said for most people.

    Cheers, Steve. Hope you’re in a great place and enjoying it.

    Kid Robson.

  3. Micah Says:

    I love Howard the Duck. I recently bought the HTD Omnibus, which contains an introduction that Steve wrote about three weeks before he died. It’s quite nice.

    It also contains some interviews with Steve that I hadn’t read elsewhere. It doesn’t include the Marvel Max HTD, which Steve wrote in the early 2000s, and which does a nice job of resolving the series. I was delighted when I found out it existed and even more so that Steve picked up the character without losing a beat. He may have even bettered the original. Steve was the only one who could write the duck.


  4. Mark C Dooley Says:

    I wish we had gotten to know each other in someway, either via a chance meeting at a comic con or through correspondence. You work set me on a flurry of creativity with my own online comic strips. In my youth I just couldn’t wait for the next issues of Howard the Duck, the Defenders, and Man-Thing. Thank you for being one those many points of light to take inspiration from.

  5. Ben Varkentine Says:

    Speaking of inactive blogs, I wrote this for mine when we lost Mr. Gerber:


  6. Harry Says:

    I didn’t know Steve, but no new comics meant more to me in the 1970s than Howard the Duck and Omega the Unknown. I did meet him and Mary Skrenes back then–at a Phil Seuling con, I imagine–and they were very nice to me and signed some Omegas.

    A couple of decades later, I was on an online service (CompuServe?) where Steve hung out. He wrote a book called BBSs for Dummies for IDG Books, which was an arm of the company where I worked as an editor for PC World magazine. That allowed me to think of him as a coworker of sorts, and I’m happy to say I was quick-witted enough to tell him that and that it was an honor, and that he graciously replied. I wish I’d kept that message thread.

  7. Joyce Melton Says:

    I worked in underground comics around the time Steve brought some of those sensibilities to mainstream comics. His writing impressed the heck out of me, especially since I did have an idea of the constraints he was working under. Every time I see HtD in a Marvel movie, I think of it as Steve’s peers giving him a nod. Steve is gone but the Duck lives on and with him, a reminder of some of Steve’s wonderfulness.

  8. BK Munn Says:

    I am honouring Stvee Gerber today by reading some of his old posts and later today I will read some of his old comics. Maybe a Howard the Duck or an issue of the Defenders? Dunno. So much to choose from. A great creator and unique in the world of 70s superhero comics.

  9. Jerry Stratton Says:

    I still remember reading the Howard presidential race issue back in 1976. It was the first HtD I picked up, and because comic book issues were hard to find in the grocery store where my parents shopped and I browsed comics, the next issue I picked up was the Deadline Doom issue almost a year later. That was when, and why, I started to pay more attention to who wrote the books rather than which characters were in them.

    I was just recommending HtD 16 at my writer’s group last week, as “ an amazing meditation on writing”.

    “Plants are like people. Writers are like plants.. Therefore, and this may come as a surprise, writers are like people.”

  10. Roger O Green Says:

    I was buying comics in the period that HTD #1 came out. My store didn’t get it from the distributor because the store owner had a “no funny animals” arrangement with his distributor. So the 1st issue I saw was #4, when the store owner was able to rectify the situation.

    It was Steve Gerber, who wrote early on in his blog that, if you’re a writer you write every day, that’s gotten me to have blogged every day for 12.8 years. He and my friend Fred Hembeck are the ones that got me to blog, even though I’d never met Steve except through HTD, Man-Thing and especially The Defenders.

  11. Forrest Leeson Says:

    I was reading “Tom O’Bedlam” and “Come dame or maid, be not afraid / Poor Tom will injure nothing” rang a strange bell. Googling did not pan out, but the archive.org copy of stevegerber.com came to the rescue with “Killing for money that’s sweeter than honey / I’m sunny but I feel disheveled” from “In Prudence is the Better Part of Valerie”.
    Don’t let those items get lost forever…

  12. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    When I was reading your blog, and read that Steve Gerber was described to you as being insane, my first thought was “Steve Gerber, insane?” As you pointed out later, he was one of the sanest, most down to earth people I knew; while much of his work might be described by some as “insane”, a major theme was throwing sane people and throwing them in the middle of insanity, and how they cope. And, on top of it, he was an all-around nice guy. There may have been one or two cases that I didn’t like his work, but I always liked him, and was extremely sad to see him go.

  13. Jonathan Nolan Says:

    I was talking to Steve Gerber shortly before his death about reviving Void Indigo and it was a hell of a shock when communication ceased and then I found out he had died. A real shock. His Howard the Duck is seminal, absolutely influential on everyone then and now. Howard is the lineal ancestor of TMNT and Marvel’s movies. His style and attitude and refreshment of the genre comes through loud and clear when anyone sits down to watch Guardians of the Galaxy. We take it all for granted now but back in the day his Howard and Omega and Defenders were so far out and far from the “bullshit comics” as he called them – the beginning of the endless recursion of trademarked properties never allowed to age or change – and now they still seem superior and active, confronting and thoughtful.