Ok- So I am in my forties and I still read comic books. Look how many of them are being turned into movies. Even one is listed on Time Magazine’s list of “the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. ( Alan Moore’s Watchmen)
Being a comic fan I was shock to see that one of my favorite writers, Steve Gerber has taken his Final Taxi at the early age of 60.
I was introduced to Geber’s writing in a book called Man-Thing. It was about a large, slow-moving, vaguely humanoid creature living in the Florida Everglades near the Seminole reservation. (Not to be confused with Swamp Thing or your mother-in-law) By helping people around him he runs into a duck from another planet called Howard.
Howard graduated to his own backup feature in Giant-Size Man-Thing, confronting such bizarre horror-parody characters as the Hellcow and the Man-Frog, before acquiring his own comic book title with Howard the Duck #1 in 1976. Howard’s adventures were generally social satires and often parodies of other fiction. Gerber wrote the first 27 issues of the series. It gradually developed a substantial cult following, possibly amplified by Howard’s entry into the 1976 U.S. presidential campaign under the auspices of the All-Night Party (an event later immortalized in a brief reference in Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers). Marvel attempted a spin-off with a short-lived Howard the Duck newspaper strip from 1977 to 1978 written by Gerber. ( Gerber had nothing to do with the George Lucas’ movie Howard the Duck.)
He was born Stephen Ross Gerber in St. Louis, Missouri on September 20, 1947. During the 1960s, he was a fanzine publisher in the days of dittos and mimeographs, publishing Headline at age 14.
Gerber became friends with comic book writer Roy Thomas. Years later, Gerber was hired by Thomas, then the editor at Marvel Comics, and made a writer and assistant editor. (Gerber had been writing advertising copy until then.)
Gerber’s many titles at Marvel included Morbius the Living Vampire, Guardians of the Galaxy, Son of Satan, Dracula Lives, Daughter of Dracula, and one of my favorite super-teams- The Defenders. The Defenders are Doctor Strange, the Hulk, Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Silver Surfer and a few other heroes.
His other comics creations include Nevada (Vertigo Press); Void Indigo (Epic Comics); Sludge (Malibu Comics); Destroyer Duck (Eclipse Comics and Image Comics); Stewart the Rat (Eclipse Comics); A. Bizarro (DC Comics); and Foolkiller, Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils and Omega the Unknown (co-created with Mary Skrenes), all published by Marvel Comics. Gerber also wrote, edited and supervised the production of Marvel’s celebrated KISS comic book, based on the goth-glam rock band.
Besides comics he also wrote scripts for animated series. In 1998, Toons magazine asked its readers to vote for the Top 25 animated series of all time. Gerber served as chief story editor on two of those series — G.I. Joe (Sunbow Productions) and Dungeons & Dragons (Marvel Productions) — and won an Emmy for his work as staff writer on a third, The Batman/Superman Adventures (WB Animation).
Gerber was a writer for the short-lived 1981 Ruby-Spears Productions series Goldie Gold and Action Jack, as well as Ruby-Spears’ Mr. T (1983) and 4Kids Entertainment’s Yu-Gi-Oh! He also co-created and story edited the animated cult favorite Thundarr the Barbarian for Ruby-Spears. His first work in animation was for a script for Ruby-Spears’ Plastic Man series.
He was also a story editor for Marvel Productions’ Transformers (1984).
During a career spanning over 30 years, Gerber put words in the mouths of virtually every major character in the comic book world — from Superman to Scooby-Doo — and his work appeared under the imprint of almost every major publisher in the field.
I will miss his writing. While in the hospital struggling with pulmonary fibrosis, Steve Geber was working on one of my favorite comic book character, Dr. Fate. I can’t wait to read those last stories of his.
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