Steve Gerber 1947-2008
Steve Gerber passed away yesterday. This is truly a sad sad time for the comics industry as one of its great innovators has died.
Gerber was probably best known for co-creating Howard the Duck, a character despite attempted butchery for the silver screen by George Lucas, was one of the most original concepts in decades. My first exposure to Howard was an issue of his series where an armored Howard became ‘Iron Duck’ and battled a seriously demented baddie named Dr. Bong who would club himself in his bell-shaped helmet with a bong-shaped to make loud headache-causing booms. Then I cam across Stephen King’s “The Stand,” where King described the reluctant hero as ridiculous and reason comics had gone to hell. It wasn’t until later I realized what a brilliant, subtle and hilarious satire on our world Howard the Duck really was. Gerber was/is a genius.
Steve Gerber wrote many comics and characters over the years, including for Marvel Comics – Man-Thing, Omega the Unknown, Simon Garth the Zombie, Shanna the She-Devil, Son of Satan, Daredevil, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Hawkeye, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the rock band Kiss.
Far and above, for me at least, was his work on the Defenders, Marvel’s premiere non-team. His run on that title was among the wildest, off-the-wall and coolest I’ve ever read in any comic. Gerber made the Defenders different, he made them demented, he made them cool. Among his concepts for the title were the additions of Luke Cage and the Red Guardian, the unbelievable Headmen, Korvac, Valkyrie’s husband Jack Norris and the infamous Elf with a Gun. These were some of the most fun comics to read, ever.
Steve Gerber also did work for the independents with Destroyer Duck, Exiles and Stewart the Rat. His DC Comics work includes the amazing revival of Mister Miracle with late artist Marshall Rogers, and also work on Doctor Fate as a back-up in The Flash.
He also worked extensively in animation, winning an Emmy for his work on “The New Batman/Superman Adventures,” and was also involved in other eries like “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Transformers,” “GI Joe” and “Thundarr the Barbarian.”
Gerber recently returned to DC to work on the new Doctor Fate mini-series in Countdown to Mystery. It’s probably one of the finest things on the shelves right now. He passed while in the process of writing this one. He will be missed. By me. By many. Rest in peace, man.