2 Years and Counting…

Yesterday marked two years since we lost our friend Gerber.  I dunno about you but his name still comes up in conversations around me and I often hear folks lament the loss of one of their favorite writers…and sometimes, he isn’t even “one of their favorites,” he’s Numero Uno.  I still miss my pal.

That’s not news.  What is news is that Steve Gerber is  a nominee for induction this year into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame.  The other nominees are Carl Burgos, Dick Giordano, Mike Kaluta, Jack Kamen, Frans Masereel, George McManus, Sheldon Moldoff, Marty Nodell, Bob Oksner, Bob Powell,  Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Mort Weisinger.  Four of those folks will be inducted along with the two judges’ choice inductees for this year, who are Burne Hogarth and Bob Montana.

I suspect there’s a fair amount of likelihood that Steve will be selected, if only because his name and credits are probably better known than at least three or four of those folks.  Also, I think most people actively liked Steve’s work, as opposed to several of the other nominees, who I suspect are on the list because they simply worked on a number of significant projects.

A couple of folks are asking me how I think Steve would have reacted to this.  Well, if Steve were alive to react, it would be a little different.  He’d be taking it, as most living recipients seem to, as a collective decree that their most important work is behind them.  We can all understand why someone wouldn’t like to think that the whole industry views them that way.  As it (unfortunately) turns out, Steve’s most important work is inarguably behind him…so I guess if he’s watching from somewhere, he’s flattered but also modestly thinking others should be ahead of him in that line.

Once again, I’m going to lock down the comments on all earlier postings and invite you to post whatever you want to post about Steve — on these topics or anything else — in response to this message.

26 Responses to “2 Years and Counting…”

  1. Roger Green Says:

    All I really wanted to say is that I’m glad you’re keeping the page up, Mark.

    Oh, and that of COURSE he’s deserving of whatever posthumous accolades come his way.

  2. Stefan "Starocotes" Immel Says:

    The Steve is deserving of an induction is not the question, the question for me is if his best work was really behind him. Yes, Howard the Duck was one of a kind, but Hard Times had another quality alltogether and what he started with Dr. Fate and what I gathered from some remarks by Justiniano was much deeper as well. He got more experimental with this while at the same time got rid of some strangeness while introducing some other alien elementes.

    His Dr. Fate had the makings of a new Swamp Thing, and he still is missed very much by me.

  3. L0N Says:

    I miss Steve’s work very much and I thought he was coming into the second act of his writing career. Hope he is inducted.

  4. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    Hmmmmm… From my perspective, Mort Weisinger and Dick Giordano both had influence well beyond their personal contributions, and are likely winners. Most of the rest, while impressive on their own, were not all that influential, so I think Gerber, who took every rule in comic books, broke each one of them, and made it work, has a really good shot.

  5. RAB Says:

    I can only second what all the above commenters have already said!

  6. Scott Rowland Says:

    Thanks for keeping the site up, Mark. I never met Steve Gerber, but I did have one or two exchanges with him via e-mail or on message boards. A tremendous talent that left us too soon. Here’s hoping for a complete Destroyer Duck collection one of these days.

  7. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    I think that I have said this before, but about 3 years after I quit buying comics, it was Steve’s availability that got me buying them again, at least for a few years (I stopped buying them pretty much for good around 1999 or so; it was around the time that Marvel bought out Malibu).

  8. Charles H. Bryan Says:

    Let me add my thanks to you, Mark, for keeping this site up and running. I don’t come around as much, for all of the obvious reasons, but also because it just makes me sad. I can’t think of a single comics writer (or many writers of any kind) whose work meant as much to me as Steve Gerber’s. When I first found this website, it was a personal thrill.

    Although each of those nominees deserves the recognition, It’d bring a little smile to my face for Gerber to be inducted.

  9. gordon Says:

    I think the first thing Steve would do is laugh as if it were preposterous… but he’d truly love it…

  10. Kplan Says:

    Hey there.

    I was happy to come across this page, but, the way I came across it was a little odd: I found it via a still active Linked In profile.


    Thought you might want to know…just in case it’s not supposed to be there.


  11. Kplan Says:

    p.s. I apologize for my excess comma

  12. kelly borkert Says:

    Glad I happened to click the old link and find this out! He certainly had better receive the honor. He clearly stands on the top tier of comic book history, among distinguished company even more distinguished by his.
    I would like to see Carl Burgos honored as well. I find his work very interesting, and his place in history particularly significant. Sadly his relationship to that work was harmed by those who took more than they should have without giving back. It seems to me that Steve Gerber fought that fight bravely at a time when few if any had the courage to do so.
    Both of these creators truly created, and stood up for themselves, whereas some of the other nominees might not have such dignified resumes…

  13. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    Based on discussion on another board, it appears that the website, omegatheunknown.com is going to expire in June. Anybody want to let Mary Skrenes know?

  14. Mary Skrenes Says:

    Thanks Bart. Five years since Steve and I put up the site. Gone in a blink.

    As to the Eisner Award – Mark nailed it. “He’d be taking it, as most living recipients seem to, as a collective decree that their most important work is behind them.” Steve already felt discounted.

    Starting with “Nevada”, interviewers often brushed by the new series to ask questions about Howard or Man Thing or any other thing he did in the seventies and eighties. Even though we got a lot of attention for “Hard Time”, he told me that he was frustrated and felt that the majority didn’t want to see anything new from him.

    He was proud but rather tired of having to create a new series in order to get work. He was interested in doing Dr Fate because it wasn’t his creation. It might have more of a Super Hero kind of appeal for the fans. Maybe it wouldn’t be canceled in five minutes.Then, naturally he proceeded to recreate it in his own image.

    I saw him go through this many times. Gerber always made a book enter his alternate universe. He really had no choice.l Sometimes I was there and enjoyed the freedom of working that way. Mostly I was a reader who loved it when something of his, that I hadn’t worked on, became available.

    Back in the seventies, Steve and I and a few others started the Great American Comic Book Arts Association, GACBAA. We had the noble if deluded idea that we would acknowledge the contributions of others and publicize America’s “other” indigenous art form.We had membership meetings with many industry professionals in New York City. We gave out awards for writing and penciling and inking and lettering and coloring for a couple of years. The membership voted. I don’t remember Gerber winning any awards back then. Mark is right again. It wouldn’t have occurred to him when he thought others were more deserving.

    Well, he deserves it by now. Being inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame is certainly a more mature honor than those innocent and naive GACBAA Awards would have been.

    Again, thank you Mark for taking care of this site. It means a lot to many fans, friends and family.

  15. Brian Spence Says:

    Thanks for keeping the site alive Mark. I really appreciate the update.

  16. Charles H. Bryan Says:


    Brian Cronin at CBR has a Comic Legends Revealed devoted to Steve Gerber. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of all of the info, but there may be items of interest — they mostly seem to be illustrations of the Gerber Curse.

  17. Dean Stein Says:

    Thanks for taking care of this site, Mr. Evanier. Thanks for taking care of Gerber too. Steve told me on more than one occasion that he was grateful for all your help and financial assistance and was determined to pay you back. We even joked about how guys like Jim Hudnall lecture everyone on self reliance and personal responsibility and then borrow and welsh on debts.

  18. Justin Says:

    I didn’t know Steve personally, so it’s quite strange that he often pops into my head when my mind wanders far enough (this just happened the other day, actually). It’s a testament, to me, that the guy was an intensely personal and effective writer.

    As for Steve being “past his prime”, well, I don’t think so. Personally, I think he always got better and better, his work achieving more depth and mystery with every fresh start. Yes, Howard is great, but he’s also encapsulated. Same with the later MAX series, very well done, but still timely. The relevance Gerber’s writing maintained, especially in light of recurring themes, is remarkable. Nevada, Hard Times, Doctor Fate, all of it was a continuation of his evolution. He never stopped getting better.

    Anyway, I think Steve deserves all the recognition anybody wants to throw his way.

  19. Charles H. Bryan Says:

    Jeff Jensen in his column about Lost at EW this week throws in several references to Man-Thing, including the concepts of a nexus of realities and reactions to fear. Nice to see someone else who is a fan.


  20. David Allen Says:

    With the new Nightmare on Elm Street movie out, it’s worth noting that Steve wrote two issues of an obscure B&W tie-in mag, Freddy Krueger’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, for Marvel in 1989. I feared the worst, but Steve’s story (more than 80 pages across two issues) was psychological and genuinely creepy. The Alfredo Alcala inks didn’t hurt. Worth tracking down.

  21. Fred Chamberlain Says:

    Wow… over 2 years now. I only had begun to get to know the tiniest bit of Steve on a personal level during what would be his last several months. I had commented on his public forum about some of his more recent work and he contacted me regarding an upcoming project, focusing on the field of psychology. I am a therapist and was thrilled to be able to read original scripts before he sent them off to DC for the Dr. Fate series. Also thrilled that STEVE GERBER, who was megatalented and easily much more intelligent than I, was asking me for feedback on his scripts. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to delete those e-mail coorespondences. I miss him, his work and what Fate might have become.

  22. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    To Fred Chamberlain:

    That’s what Steve was like. If he thought you were interesting, it didn’t matter who you were; he was interested in you.

  23. Quint Says:

    I’ve only just recently found this blog and pondered for a long while, but ultimately felt I needed to post this.

    Like many others I think, I read comics and novels by who I consider the greats of their fields, the ones that stick out to me and spin off-beat and thought provoking yarns. From Grant Morrison to Neil Gaiman in comics and from JG Ballard to Arthur C Clarke in novels, they are my guiding lights in my adult years, the ones I will always seek out. But when I try to think of why I look for these greats and why they speak to me in such a way, I can only look back far into my childhood. And when I do I find only one name, one man who shaped my childhoods’ mind and nurtured my imagination like no other. And that name is Steve Gerber.
    It’s strange to think about it, as at the time I simply read his stories not realising who wrote them and as such only in more recent years realised who he was and ultimately what he meant to me. A man I never got to know or even meet in person, but he’s left an imprint on me that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
    Now knowing who he is however, I get to search for his stories wherever I can and discover and rediscover strange worlds to enjoy. From obscure titles like ‘Hard Time: 50 to life’ and ‘Nevada’ to the more well-known titles like ‘Howard the Duck’ and ‘Dr Fate: Countdown to Mystery’ as well as all the titles he wrote for Marvel and DC in general of course. And in some way through these stories I get to know Steve a little bit and even on some level get to meet him in person.

    In many ways I owe him for making me the person I am today through his stories, for allowing me to dream. And for that I thank him, from the bottom of my heard.

    I will forever miss you Steve, but you’ll never be forgotten.


  24. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    Just in from Mark’s column: Steve got his Hall of Fame award. Too bad it wasn’t three years ago.

  25. Charles H. Bryan Says:

    So good to hear of the Hall of Fame award. With any luck, it will spur some new interest in Steve’s work.

  26. Stefan Immel Says:

    It was to be expected that Steve would be inducted but it still good to hear that Mary Skrenes was there to accept the reward.