Wednesday Evening

I continue to be Mark Evanier.  And to the extent you can be delighted by anything in connection with a friend’s death, I’m delighted with the attention being paid, on this board and elsewhere, to the passing of Steve Gerber.  Today, I was interviewed by both The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times for obits that will run in the next few days.  I told reporters for both Timeses that if they wanted to understand what Steve’s work meant to people, all they had to do was read the comments being posted on the board here.

They’re all wonderful, ranging as they do from folks who had personal relationships with Steve dating back for decades…to those who only knew him as the guy who wrote a favorite comic book. If you haven’t read through them all, you should. But have a Kleenex handy.

As I said, I don’t know what the future of this board will involve but I’d sure like to see all these messages, and some of the others about Steve posted across the Internet, preserved on the web indefinitely. Just so that when folks Google the good name of Gerber in years to come, they’ll be able to read it all.

Once again, I am closing off comments on the previous message and asking you to begin posting in the comments section of this one. If you’ve posted already in these forums, feel free to post again…especially if you can link us to some other interesting piece about Steve somewhere on the Internet. I’ll start by linking to this interview that Gary Groth conducted with Steve in 1978.

49 Responses to “Wednesday Evening”

  1. acespot Says:

    Baruch Dayan Emet.
    Steve will be missed.
    I always enjoyed his work, and will continue to do so. In that way, he will live on forever.

  2. Greg Huneryager Says:

    I started reading comics in 1967 so while I learned to appreciate the contributions of Lee, Kirby and Ditko it was mostly in stories read out of sequence. It was Roy Thomas who first made me think that comics could aspire to literature and it was the ‘70s Marvel triumvirate of Englehart, Gerber and Starlin that confused and expanded my mind with their wild inventive tales. My reverence for their work has not diminished in the last thirty years and while I now think Alan Moore is the smartest writer in comics (and inversely most writers are just being lazy – not even trying to do something new) Gerber was the genius writer of comics. His stories were in turns (or often enough at the same time), absurd, touching, insightful, and hilarious.

    It seemed like anything could happen in his stories but no matter how ludicrous it became Gerber made sense out it by the story’s end. This was especially true of his ‘Headmen/ Bozo’ saga in The Defenders. When everyone was talking about how surreal Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol was I would tell them to read Gerber’s Defenders – it was more absurd and it actually made sense. That he could do it without planning it all out before hand was even more amazing. Supposedly he was given the editorship of Howard the Duck because no one could understand his notes for the plots and while all of the things promised in the next issue blurb would happen when it came out he never knew much more than they would happen because he hadn’t plotted the issue yet. He wrote the first half of the two issue origin for the character Starhawk in the Guardians of the Galaxy series and then left the book. The new writer was at a loss at how to finish the story so he called up Gerber – he told him he hadn’t figured out what would happen next.

    I’ve stepped back down to a sometimes volunteer but for the last seven years I co-ran comic book conventions in Kansas City. One of my goals was to have Gerber as a guest. It finally happened in the summer of 2004. The other out of town guests included Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, and Alan and Pauline Weiss. It was so fun I joked about how I should retire because I couldn’t put together a better show than this (and I didn’t!). Running these shows plays tricks with your mind since some crisis is always happening and try as I might I can’t remember much of what we talked about but he was a real fun guy with a silly laugh. On the drive to the airport on Sunday he told me how much he had enjoyed the con and hoped he could come back some time. I had wanted to make that happen at some point, perhaps with Steve Leialoha who said he hadn’t seen him in years, but at least I got to meet one of my idols once.

    Greg

  3. Jennifer Meyer Says:

    I first met Steve in the early 70′s. He was a DJ at a local radio station, and we had long conversations on the phone. Later, he moved to NY to begin his career at Marvel. Margo was pregnant with their daughter. He had really long dark hair and drove a VW bug. I was the character known as Jennifer Kale; truly my claim to fame. I’ll have to write later; I’m too upset right now to hear of Steve’s passing.

  4. BobHale Says:

    I no longer collect comics. I still read them from time to time but it’s quite a few years now since I stopped collecting. When I did collect though I collected A LOT. I collected all sorts of different things from mainstream superhero to very off-the-wall independents. In my whole collection Steve Gerber remains to this day the only writer where I made a deliberate effort to track down absolutely everything that I could find that he had written.
    A unique voice has gone and the comic book world is lessened by it.

  5. Stefan Immel Says:

    I think Steve would have gotten a laught out of this:
    http://somethingpositive.net/sp02122008.shtml

  6. Roger Says:

    I’ve never read Howard the Duck, but I would like to say that his DEFENDERS were the best writen comics of all the serie. He was a genius.

  7. Mark Hale Says:

    I said a few words over here. Not much different than what I posted earlier in the week.

    http://chaosmonkey.blogspot.com/2008/02/steve-gerber.html

  8. Scratchie Says:

    Here’s an excellent, and very perceptive appreciation:

    http://savagecritic.com/2008/02/saying-kaddish-passing-of-steve-gerber.html

    “Every writer passing through Marvel in the ’70s had to write in Stan’s house style and now that styles and mainstream tastes have finally progressed, I find it’s a bit of tough sell to convince younger readers–and more than occasionally myself–that there’s good writing buried underneath all the labored rhetoric, and the expository diatribes and the “Dear God, no!” melodramas, and those last panel captions that read, “And somewhere, in the distance, comes the gentle weeping…of a clown.”

    “One of Gerber’s achievements–and I’m not sure if someone who doesn’t know the period can really appreciate what a strange achievement it is–was to develop his own voice while immersed within that of another: within the Stanisms were the Gerberisms, the things you found only in Gerber’s work, that held their own spell, bdspoke their own worldview.”

  9. Ken Sanderson Says:

    Growing up, like a lot of people here, in the bronze age was a fun time to get into comics, Marvel seeming turned over Stan and Jack’s keys to this new generation, who then continued to throw new ideas, characters and plots out with the same fun and wild abandon-something that I don’t always feel exudes from “the big two” Modern comics now with the same vigor-albeit great work,Maybe the spectre of legal papers, character licensing and movie contracts looms too heavy in the background.

    At the forefront of this Seemingly always was Steve Gerber-Defenders, Man Thing, Howard Guardians of The Galaxy..were all spinner rack, “save my lunch money for” stand bys for me, even in those tough days where Marvel published some titles with an excruciating wait of every other month… and while a lot of the concepts- and most of the great subtlety of Gerber’s writing, I think went right over my 10 year old head, the energy- and the wild ( and pardon the expression of time) funkiness of the stories was infectious and part of why I still read comics today.

    People have said that time period needs more review, and sadly it’s something like this that makes me haul out my long boxes and get re-reading… but as I’ve re-read more series like OMEGA or HOWARD as an adult, the picture becomes clearer of how these stories of this time, began to tilt the focus of comics upward- in both terms of maturity of the stories and subject mattter as well as the target audience, and make the ground work for the comics renaissances of the 80′s and today.

    Thanks for that Steve, and I’ll keep reading.

  10. pete doree Says:

    Mark,
    If these posts can be kept on the web indefinitely, then absolutely.
    Apart from anything else, I know from my own experience that
    Steve’s family may not be able to read any of these yet, but, in time,
    they may want to. It’d be a shame if they couldn’t.

  11. Michael Purdy Says:

    I had to badger them about it a little bit, but it looks like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Steve’s hometown paper, will run an article on his passing tomorrow.

    I have been a fan of his work since his incredible 70s runs on The Defenders and Howard the Duck. Ty Templeton is doing a pretty decent job on the current Howard the Duck, but it can’t compare to the brief return of the master to his masterpiece in 2002′s HTD miniseries.

  12. Adrian Reynolds Says:

    Steve Gerber was the writer who made me realise that comics could be used to tell any kind of story, and who with compassion, wit, and a satirical scalpel, demonstrated exactly how that could be done again and again. In the process he helped shaped my own approach to writing, and I was lucky enough to interview him some years ago to find out about his outlook and processes. My website, http://www.youdothatvoodoo.com, contains an appreciation of Steve in the piece dated Feb 12.

  13. Scott Andrew Hutchins Says:

    So many beat-up issues of Man-Thing and Howard the Duck did I find in quarter bins growing up in the ’80s. Gerber’s work entranced me the way contemporary comics often weren’t. I also had Claremont and Fleischer Man-Thing issues, but they didn’t impress me. (I never got through Claremont’s issue #5 as a child and found it hard-going as an adult–and it was the same copy, by the way.) I had read them out of order and found them the best comics, though they sometimes disturbed me or made me uncomfortable enough that I wasn’t sure that I liked Gerber, though in a itme when I paid little attention to the credits, his name always stood out as a voice that was different.

    Collecting together his Man-Thing issues and reading them all together in order convinced me that Gerber was the greatest comics writer of all time. So far, only Gaiman’s Sandman comes close. I’m reading Moore’s Swamp Thing right now, and though it’s very good, I don’t think it’s on Gerber’s level. I worked on gathering everything he did that I didn’t already have after finishing Man-Thing, and read Howard the Duck, Omega the Unknown, Defenders, even Daredevil and Sub-Mariner in order. With Son of Satan, Lilith, Shanna the She-Devil, Marvel Two-in-One, Guardians of the Galaxy, and others, he really worked in his own little corner of the Marvel Universe and tied them all together very well. The only one who has done a better job in making a mythos his own is when Gaiman tied all the old DC horror hosts to the Dreaming, and that’s almost de facto since everyone noticed it was Gaiman that was doing it to the point that we get reviews claiming that Sandman has nothign to do with the DC Universe.

    Reading Gerber’s comics as an adult got me reading other comics again as an adult when I wasn’t intending to, but few have left me so much to think about and to appreciate. Many have the sex and violence introduced by Gerber, the in-jokes, metafiction, surrealism, and self-reflexivity, but I don’t think many have the substance. Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory, for example, seems aspiring to be Gerber, but it never makes it, and ultimately degenerates into near-incoherence. Unfortunately, now I’m starting to get too much into comparison, and I don’t mean to knock Morrison, since he is one of the better writers today.

    Gerber just seems to be such an unsung, underappreciated influence that I just started bringing it up. I could go on for a long time gushing about Gerber’s impact.

    Yes, he too wrote some bad stories. One he found particularly embarrassing (and which happened to introduce the monk Montesi, whose formula destroyed Dracula) was a story in which Dracula was able to walk around in the Vatican without harm from any of the crosses and other artefacts. And yet, this story has a power and a way with words to it. If any comics can be said to be great literature, Gerber’s were the first of these. Just read the short stories on his site. they are amazing works of modernism/post-modernism. Try “Conversion in a Terminal Subway” and “…And the Birds Hummed Dirges!” and see if you don’t agree. Was Gerber just echoes of Camus? Was Beckett just echoes of Joyce? Does it really matter? Are we getting writing like that elsewhere?

    If so, the voice is surely unlike Gerber’s, even if it’s as good as Gerber’s. Gerber was unique. Having read Camus, I know he’s significantly different. He wasn’t compromising about wirting in his own voice, and that’s what makes his work so special, as writing as commerical second-guessing seems to be increasing exponentially, especially in comics dirven by editorial events.

    Of course, would such editorial events exist had people like Gerber not started writing year-long arcs such as those in Defenders, Man-Thing (16, Giant-Size 4, 17-22 tell one tight story, and they were being published bi-monthly as I recall), and Howard (how long does it take the Damned to sail)? Gerber left the industry forever changed.

  14. Bill Nutt Says:

    I only found out the news today from the NYTimes. Add my name to the huge list of people who were so influenced by Steve Gerber’s writing, from his MAN-THING stories in the 1970s right up to HARD TIME and his DR. FATE stories.

    What most impressed me about Steve’s stories were the sense of moral outrage, coupled with his satirical eye.

    I count myself fortunate that I was able to interview Steve about 10 years ago, around the time of the NEVADA miniseries, for a local listener-supported radio station. He was funny and gracious and INCREDIBLY generous. (When I mentioned we had been speaking for an hour, he said, “Have we really?”) I had always hoped to interview him again.

    I don’t know what else to say.

    Rest in peace, Steve, and thank you for your words.

  15. Bill Henley Says:

    Steve Gerber’s passing was a shock as well as an occasion for sadness. As I commented to my comics shop owner tongiht, it makes you feel old when the people who were the “young turks” of comics in your youthful comics-reading days start passing away.

    I never met Steve Gerber in person, which I gather was a loss, but along with the other Steve (Englehart) he was my favorite comics writer of the 1970′s, and some of his stories helped me get through bad times. I particularly identified with the fat and awkward kid, hounded to death by a gym teacher, who was the protagonist of GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #3, or was it #4?

    I haven’t followed Steve’s more recent comics work too closely, though I did enjoy his A. BIZARRO miniseries for DC a few years ago. I gather he made his living in recent years mainly in animation. Did he manage to sneak any of his genius and subversion into that medium?

  16. Vic Berkshire Says:

    Oh God, I just got off the phone with a friend who’s been trying to call the past few days with the news of Steve’s passing… I’m devastated.

    I remember a really great e-mail from Steve after I quit the HTD yahoo group and a few extra correspondences after that just to see how I was doing. He didn’t seem to care how he was doing.

    Thank you Steve for creating comics that intrigued me, taught me words and ideas I would have never been taught as a kid, and for just making me laugh at things. Your humor had so many levels, I’m still just figuring out some of the jokes 30 years later.

    The world sucked beef jerkies and Steve made it all seem entertaining as only he could.

    Gooz. Piano wire. Malarky.

    See you on the corner of Tryst and Chout, Steve!

  17. Mark Haden Frazer Says:

    Like so many other voices out there in the wilderness, I, too, was forever changed when the good doctor gave me Neez.

    I never knew Gerber the Man, but I was very familiar with & heavily influenced by Gerber the Writer. From his epic final arc on Man-Thing to the sheer cynical craziness that was Howard The Duck (and now we’ll never know the second part of Doctor Bong’s origin, will we?) to cleverly getting away with mainstream comics first hardcore sex scene (Marvel Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy #7, I believe) to the very three-dimensional James Michael Starling, it has been said that Gerber actually was 70′s Marvel personified – and I see no reason to debate that point. As far as I’m concerned, his was the most unique voice in a very creative stable (one that included Englehart, McGregor, Moench, Starlin & more) and that, dear friends, says it all.

    The words remain, but the man will be deeply & sorely missed.

  18. Jack Holt (Bgztl) Says:

    Thanks for keeping this posting up Mr. Evanier.

  19. Andrew Standish Says:

    “The words remain, but the man will be deeply & sorely missed.”
    Mark Haden Frazer

    Couldn’t agree more. Plus to me he remains the conscience of a generation of teens growing up in the ’70s. A true GREAT.

  20. Charles Bryan Says:

    For those who haven’t read it, Steven Grant has remembrances of SG at his Permanent Damage Column. Cut and paste the link below:

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/?column=10

    Let me also add more thanks for keeping the site up, Mark. If there’s anything we fans can do, pending his family’s decision, please let us know.

  21. Ted Whitby Says:

    I’m late to this wake. Just learned of Mr. Gerber’s passing in yesterday’s NY Times. I was shocked and seriously saddened. Thank you Mr. Evanier for your extraordinary efforts keeping this site alive so those like myself have a somewhat intimate place to grieve. You are in my personal hall of fame for doing the same, times 100, for the King all these years.
    I have been reading comics regularly since the mid-60s. I am extremely selective now, as you might imagine. But anytime I see the name Steve Gerber on a book, I stop and look. Mr. Gerber is one of the 10 greatest comic book writers ever in my humble opinion. When you are a student of the art form and have been actively reading for 45 years, this is a statement not made lightly.
    Mr. Gerber’s work enlightened, entertained, inspired, frustrated, and just plain made me jump up and pump my fist in comaraderie. His writing sometimes missed for me, but I always respected that. He was not one to find a comfort zone and hang. Never. That’s the mark of an Artist with a capital A. And when he was on, it was transcendent.
    I was not aware he was sick, or of his blog. I wish I could have told him how much his work influenced me an made my life better. As Mr. Evanier wrote, I hope Mr. Gerber has a good internet connection wherever he is.
    Mr. Gerber, thank you for whatever drove you to reach out with your wonderful writing. I, and the world, will miss you tremendously. Love and respect.
    To your family and loved ones, be strong. My thoughts are with you all.

  22. Terry Coyle Says:

    I am very saddened by Steve Gerber’s death.

    Growing up in the 70s, before there were any comic shops in Iowa, going to the drug or book store each week was real adventure. Without shipping lists or catalogs that tell us what to expect these days, the weekly take was a real surprise. Sure, after a while you got a feel for the rhythm of releaes, but it was a real gamble.

    I remember how thrilled I was each week when the weekly take include works by the likes of Englehardt, Starlin, Wolfman, McGregor and especially Gerber.

    Those were usually the first comics I read when I got home and was never disappointed.

    These days I might not make it to the store for a few weeks at a time, but whenever there has been an active Gerber title the process was the same. While some series may lay around for a few months so I can read the arcs all at once, I can never wait to read a Gerber book.

    Now, after the last few issues of Dr. Fate, the wait will be eternal.

    Bummer.

  23. Glenn Ingersoll Says:

    Thank you, Steve Gerber, for creating characters that have lived in my imagination since I first read them 30 years ago. Omega the Unknown, especially, fascinated me and I was just a bit younger than the main character when it came out. Ah to be able to shoot fire from your hands … and, huh, whuh? … wonder where it could have come from. Howard was fun, too.

  24. harris smith Says:

    http://negativepleasure.blogspot.com/2008/02/really-sad-news.html

  25. James Woodward Says:

    I heard the news Wednesday morning (on The Savage Critic’s blog – Jeff Lester’s is one of the best memorials I’ve read) and have wanted to post here since, but somehow I just couldn’t; somehow I needed to process what I felt about Steve’s passing, about the grief I somehow felt for a man I never knew, yet felt I knew intimately through his writing and what it spoke to me personally. And that is why I think I was personally devastated at the news of his passing: more than anyone writing in comic books, or really perhaps in any medium, Steve Gerber’s work hit me on a personal level that I cannot adequately describe.
    A few nights ago, a couple of friends of mine and I entered into a discussion of what the Beatles “best” album was, and we couldn’t reach any conclusion, not as a consensus or even individually, and a lot of it had to do with the difference between “Best” and “Favorite” and what really defines either term. I think Steve would have enjoyed the discussion, partly because through references in his works it’s obvious he really liked the Beatles, and because, I think, that sort of critical view of art intrigued him, as exemplified in the fact that he always, whenever possible, edited his own letter columns. But I mainly bring it up because you could argue about who may be the best comix writer, and Steve was certainly one of them, but I think he is and always will remain my Favorite.
    I say I never knew Steve personally, and that is mostly true, but not completely so, as I did once correspond with him. Several years ago, I was planning a trip to Las Vegas, and from the Nevada comic book, I knew that Steve lived there. So I e-mailed him through his site, and asked him, besides gambling, what should I do? I really hoped for a response, but it was sort of a lark, and I didn’t really expect him to reply, my being a total stranger and all. Within 2 hours (2 hours!) he e-mailed me back with a wonderful travelogue of things to do, sites to see, places to eat, etc. I’m sure he didn’t put a lot of effort into writing it, but he delivered a capsule view of his town in such a timely manner, and more importantly, it was so beautifully written, that I was sincerely touched. There was a careful choosing of words, a pleasing way of phrasing ideas, and especially a sense of pacing to this dashed off e-mail that truly amazed me, and I’ve regretted for years since that I lost his e-mail on some former computer. Many who knew him far better than I have spoken of his graciousness and generosity in the past few days, and I feel honored to have experienced a small part of that.
    You are no longer trapped in a world you never made.
    Goodbye Steve.

  26. Lisa Medinnus Says:

    Odd as it may sound, when I met Steve I didn’t know the greatness that was before me. We met at a lunch with my then boyfriend (David Medinnus) when Steve was working with Stan Lee Media. As far as I was concerned at the time though, he was just a remarkable man with a devilish sense of humor, razor sharp wit, and tremendous wisdom. It wasn’t until Dave explained to me just who he was that I blushed at having not recognized it for myself. I had read some of his comics while growing up, but ignorantly never paid any attention to the names; just the characters.

    Well, I went out and re-read everything I could find, and by the next lunch (a week later) I felt much more in tune with everyone else, and enjoyed some very remarkable company. And by the time we left Stan Lee Media and he was in LV and the,re was talk of Hellcow, well, I considered Steve a dear friend. Through the recent years I stepped away a bit, dropping the communication ball per say, but tried to maintain at least a small stream of contact. His condition, his overall health and well being, I hoped and hoped that it would improve, for just a little while longer.

    This news…I was stunned, a large lump in my throat that, when cleared, opened the flow of tears. It took me days to get up the nerve to post here. Even now, when I stop long enough to think of it, I almost can’t believe it. Steve, if you’re reading this, thank you so very much for your friendship, your bright mind, and everything your imagination and expressions gave to us. hugs

  27. Charlesx Says:

    I loved Howard the Duck since I read an issue with the character in it. Steve Gerber was a writer ahead of his time. His creations have definitely left his mark on the Marvel Universe, though perhaps not to the casual observer. Gerber’s work brought humor, social commentary, and turned comics into a medium for social introspection. And, thanks to his collaborations with Gene Colan, we have the “other” red-headed bombshell in the MU, Beverly Switzler. In the end, his greatest contribution was the struggle that Gerber led against Marvel in order to secure rights for the artists and writers who invented the magic upon which the company capitalized. It’s enough for me to know that he earned the respect of people like Jack Kirby (see Destroyer Duck) and Frank Miller.

    RIP, Steve Gerber. I hope that you have all of the peace and tranquility that you ever wanted.

  28. Joe Devon Says:

    I was shocked to read that Steve has died so young. My condolences to the family. I chatted with Steve Gerber through the BBS world back when the Howard The Duck movie came out and found him to be one smart cookie and so nice. I was just a kid at the time and not all the comic book writers were so friendly to fans. His writing was top notch. He will be missed.

  29. Scott Warwick Says:

    Damn! This guy meant a lot to me….he was a breath of fresh air in a smoky room at a time when I was so bored with comics that I was ready to quit reading them. Then this duck sidled into my view, using a tire-iron to ward off a vampire…cow? and I decided that any art-form that could bring me that image was worth keeping. I looked at the credits and saw the name Steve Gerber and thought “I’m going to read this guys work…a lot” and I did. Thanks, Steve.

  30. Marcus Lusk Says:

    Steve was Howard, and Howard was Steve.

    No other writer could come close, and really, how could they hope to?
    And it seems to me that this is an exceptionally rare thing in the comics medium. (Charles Schulz’ self-reflection in Charlie Brown is the only example that readily comes to mind.)

    Steve gave us that terrific HOWARD mini-series in 2002, but other than that Howard has essentially been out of my life for close to 30 years. Knowing that Steve could someday come back and revisit the character made it feel like Howard was still out there.

    So I’ve realized that I’m also mourning Howard.
    A fictional character.
    I think that says a LOT about Steve Gerber.

  31. Brian Christgau Says:

    I wish I could have brought myself to write something here sooner, but this news hit me so much harder than I thought it would and I just kept finding excuses to do something – anything – else.

    I didn’t know Steve personally, I just grew up reading his comics. Some of my earliest memories are of reading his “Man-Thing” stories. He was the first writer in the medium I followed with any interest and the one who made me realize the potential it has as a vehicle for personal expression.

    A couple of years ago I e-mailed Steve personally, asking for legal advice. I was in negotiations with a publisher over a comic scripted by yours truly and was at a loss to find the information I needed in books or on the Net. Steve was helpful, informative and just a downright nice guy to me. What I never told him was what a boyish thrill I got every time I saw a message from him in my Inbox. The people you look up to when you’re a kid never lose that giant-like stature, no matter what age you are.

    Steve, I know you were an atheist. I have faith that you have gotten a very big, very welcome surprise. Thanks for all of the wonderful stories! Thanks for sharing your voice.

  32. Joe Sheridan Says:

    Steve was an incisively witty guy. I met him in San Diego several years ago, just after Nevada was published. He happily sat with me and gave me advice on self-publishing, as well as getting published in the comics medium. I had admired his writing, and I have admired his character ever since.

    My heart goes out to his friends, family, and loved ones.

  33. Bret Walker Says:

    From the flip side of the same coin….its Bret again and i and im a bit embaressed to admit that id known Steve the man, the friend, the one person id ever met that took on not only his own personal demons but those of the ones he loved…even those he was just getting to know with humble and boundless crusader like defiance,for nearly a year,changing my life with conversation, laughter, some anger and tears and plenty of rightous indignent bitching and moaning on both our parts, before i ever knew he had changed my life years before we ever met as the writer of some of my favorite comics, cartoons and tv shows. He was a humble, genuine, caring friend the likes of which many of us search for but never find, except in the world of our ownor someone like Steves, imagination..He told it like it was,warts and all,with a smooth combination of humourous life embittered wisdom and the warmth and compassion of a true friend . Our Starbucks “therapy” sessions as we sometimes called them,more than likely sounded to passers by,with such rapid-fire changes in pitch ,volume, emotion and subject matter, like bipolar macaws on crack agruing over the remote! Those sessions never failed to make me laugh, look at things in new ways,and learn something about myself.whether i wanted to or not. Ican only hope that everyonce in awhile he felt the same- He said he found me intelligent and funny…..such high praise from a man i considered the pinnical of both fills me with confidence and pride to this day…i hope he wasnt talking to the girl sitting behind me…to be honest he was as much a Hero as any of those he ever wrote about, as any of those lucky enough to know him would tell you and a fact that he would most assuredly kick my butt for even insinuating.
    At any rate as i read all of these wonderful comments as well as Marks entries im overwhelmed at the fact that Steve really didnt have fans…He had friends..and you all need to know he felt the same..
    i must admit im a little protective of the man and the memories i was honored tobe a part of these past 6 years.Memories which, for the most part will remain my own private collection of Gerber classics ; a collection i will more than occassionaly, im sure, remove from there protective sleeves and refrence on those many occasions when i need guidence,wisdom, the understanding voice of my best friend, a good laugh or just a swift kick in the ass. Thank you Steve, Ill do my best do pass it on

  34. JeffZ Says:

    That was beautiful, Brett. I’m really sorry for your loss of such a rare friend. You know we share the loss to some extent, but what you had with him was truly unique and special. It’s comforting to know that Steve’s sadness and lonliness was mitigated by your support and loyalty; I know that must have been priceless to him.

  35. Lark Russell Says:

    It’s been most of a lifetime since I last saw Gerber some 30 years ago. He was a Marvel editor, I was a freelancer–mostly for Gold Key–and from time to time he’d buy my stuff for Crazy. While that was useful, what really got me was his kindness in critiquing the things he didn’t buy, the suggestions for improvement, and his total enthusiasm for the good bits. He helped generously and without ego; not the maestro speaking to the tyro but one writer to another.

    Once I was up at his place and we got hungry. Looked in his fridge, not much instant food there, so we tried to cook a whole chicken. It was a lengthier process than imagined, with undercooked chicken emerging from the oven at regular intervals.

    Gerber started doing chicken voices, making the chicken complain about how cold the place was and the indignity of having an onion stuffed inside. “Hey, lady! It’s winter in New York, close the door! Brack bak-bak-bak…” Over the hour or so, the chicken acquired a distinct personality, items of clothes it demanded back, friends we had to send postcards to, and quirks that in any other company would have been surreal. (Once you’ve bought into cooking a talking chicken, not a lot else is a stretch.) Eventually we had a fully-cooked chicken dinner–talking chicken tastes great, which is probably why most chickens don’t talk–and went back to work.

    Gerber kept the wishbone for emergencies.

  36. Strange Girl In A Stranger Land Says:

    One last twirl.
    Namaste

  37. Chris Munn Says:

    While I wasn’t born until after Mr. Gerber’s Marvel heyday in the 70s (1979 is my birth year), I quickly came to know and love his writing through my father’s support of my comic book addiction. Man-Thing, Defenders, Son of Satan, Tales of the Zombie…to this day, all stand mightily above 90% of the comic stories that have been published since. And Howard, oh Howard – as someone said above, I’m mourning not just Mr. Gerber’s passing, but that of his best creation as well.

    Steve Gerber was one of my heroes, the main force behind my own desire to be a writer. I never had the opportunity to meet the man, but I miss him as if I lost a dear friend. Thank you, Mr. Evanier, for keeping this site afloat.

  38. Jay Hochstedt Says:

    I opened some emails late & only learned of Steve Gerber’s death today. At a time when the Silver Age formulae were becoming tedious, he was one of those pressing forward along paths that had been opened up.

    It’s impossible to express how much those subversive dreams meant to me in the years since.

    I hope his website will remain, not just as a memorial, but as one of those places permanently on the most creative edges of imagination.

  39. Gordon Kent Says:

    You know, in addition to reading the deserved tributes to Steve posted here and possibly leaving your own thoughts, people visiting this site might want to browse through the archives for Steve’s occasional thoughts and they also might want to find the bibliography button to discover some very old stories (from as far back as 1971) and various interviews he did over the years…

  40. gene phillips Says:

    Not to get too far off the topic but I’m the lunatic Don McGregor mentions as having termed both him and Steve G. as “Anglo-Saxon bard” and “Jewish intellectual.” Forgive me! I was temporarily possessed by the not-yet-dead spirit of Robert Graves!

    Anyway, here’s a link to my tribute to Gerber:

    http://arche-arc.blogspot.com/2008/02/steve-gerber-1947-2008.html

  41. RMerwin Says:

    Sumbitch.

    Worked together. Thundarr. Mr. T. GI Joe. Transformers. Stunt Dawgs. D&D.

    Lunched some. Partied some. Convoed muchly.

    Comrades in animation writer campaigns. The old AWA as far as it went.

    Fell out of touch despite shared wonder at all things gadgetech. Remember shipping scripts MCI Mail pre-email pre-net. Remember bulletin boards. Not for lack of care. Not for lack of deep admiration. More because we simply were and are immortal so why be all clingy.

    Silly. Friendship is a dish best served daily.

    No lapses now. Steve has always been and shall remain my friend.

    Thank you Mark.

  42. Charles Bryan Says:

    I’d like to second Gordon Kent’s suggestion — there’s all sorts of Gerber goodness to be found (or rediscovered) and enjoyed (or, um, re-enjoyed). Checking out the Howard the Duck Yahoo Group is also worthwhile, as is Going to the Grand Comicbook Database and searching for his work.

    And if you’re lucky enough to have the old comics themselves (as I do many of them), have a little extra fun and read the letters pages. You’ll not only see many responses written by SG, but you get to play Spot the Pro. I’m about halfway through HTD and I’ve found letters from Joey Cavalieri and Kurt Busiek. Oh, and Stan Lee, too.

    If a con does decide to have a tribute panel, I hope that they’ll be able to get Gene Colan, Jim Mooney, or some of the other collaborators there. (I’m thinking particularly of the ones who are kind up getting up there now, and whose retirement plans may not include airfare.)

  43. Scratchie Says:

    I’m about halfway through HTD and I’ve found letters from
    Joey Cavalieri and Kurt Busiek. Oh, and Stan Lee, too.

    Steve’s run on Defenders also features letters from Ralph Macchio, J.M. Dematteis, and possibly Busiek and Peter Sanderson, too. Busiek and Dematteis later wrote Defenders themselves, of course, and Ralph Macchio wrote the second KISS Super Special after Steve wrote the first.

  44. Scott Martin Says:

    Just went back and read the Howard the Duck Essentials. Any man who can write dialogue like “Zounds and a half! A shippie-do in our midst! And ’tisn’t just passing strange — ’tis sticking around!” deserves a medal. At the very least.

  45. Bob Kennedy Says:

    Steve, you were my first “favorite writer.” I wish we could’ve met in person, but I cherish the e-mails and message boards. And I’m sorry I called you a dick that time.

  46. Michael Kaplan Says:

    Steve and I were cousins–our moms are actually first cousins, and I see his mother regularly at family gatherings in St. Louis. Over the years, she’s kept me up-to-date on Steve’s latest projects, obviously proud of her son’s accomplishments. She recently was carrying in her purse an old clipping about Steve and some other writers from a local newspaper dating to the ’70s. I’ve spoken to her on the phone a couple of times since Steve died, and I printed and mailed her some of the incredible tributes people have left here, along with the obits in The Comics Reporter and NY Times. She said she didn’t think Steve (we always call him Stephen) was aware of the degree of admiration out there for him.

    Sadly, I never met the man, but I did interview him on the phone once for the St. Louis Jewish newspaper, in 1986 when the HTD movie came out. It took several attempts to reach him (I recall leaving many a message on his answering machine “at the sound of the cuckoo being strangled”). When I finally did get him on the phone he seemed to enjoy waxing nostalgic about his St. Louis days, mentioning Steak ‘N Shake as the thing he might have missed most about the city.

    Like so many of you, I loved the Howard the Duck comic books and can remember looking forward to the next edition arriving in the mail. Later, at college, a dorm buddy and I discovered our mutual admiration for the Duck, and I was so proud to say that I was related to his creator. Looking back, I think that having Steve in the family was a real inspiration, helping me realize that I, too, could maybe do something great. It’s obvious to me now that so many other people found Steve similarly inspiring, and as corny as it sounds, we’re really all part of the same family.

    RIP Steve, and thanks Mark Evanier.

  47. Rob Pincombe Says:

    In a comic world where writers are finally getting their due as true comic stars, may the Alan Moore’s and Neil Gaimans and the all would be Warren Ellis’ and Grant Morrisons bow their heads and realize one thing — When the business only wanted to fill pages…

    He did it first.

  48. Josh Shaw Says:

    Never met Steve Gerber.

    Read, and enjoyed, his work since……

    A very long time now.

    Sorry to hear.

    Sorry to hear.

  49. Jay Sprout Says:

    I was born the same day as a puppy we named “Duke.” When I was about twelve, we took Duke to the vet for a routine visit. It turned out he was so sick they needed to euthanize my lifelong friend immediately. I said goodbye and cried a lot. Sitting in the car in the parking lot, my Mom asked, “Would Howard the Duck cheer you up?” She drove me to the Classic Movie and Comic Book Center and bought me a stack of back issues. No, it didn’t cheer me up, but it may have been the only thing that kept me from being catatonic.

    Many years later, as a grown-up, I googled his name and/or Howard the Duck and emailed this childhood hero of mine who could write the Dreaded Deadline Doom and still keep the attention of a child … he emailed me back which I was stunned by.

    I recently found the Essential Man-Thing and HtD … he kept coming back into my life and enriching it every few years and now he’s gone and I feel I’ve lost a friend.