Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Passing from a world he never made

It's funny how you find out about things. I just checked out the site for webcomic Something Positive and saw this.

The Liefeld joke is funny, even if he's not exactly a hard target. But my first reaction was "Hold the phone! Steve Gerber died?'

As it turned out, that is the case. Which is melancholy. Gerber was born in 1947, making him sixty as of February. By the standards of 21st century America, he did not have that long a life. Was it a happy one. I hope so. He did his part to make the world a bit more fun.

In the early seventies, when he hit the scene, mainstream comics were still a pretty square affair. While some writers (notably Denny O'Neil) were dealing with topical material, the results were mostly on the "Mod Squad" level. Hell, it seemed edgy to show hippies and "women's libbers" (an unlamented loss from our vernacular)hoisting placards.

Gerber's work on The Defenders, Man Thing, Omega the Unknown, and of course Howard the Duck took the stories in some wild and goofy directions, no doubt. But he also inserted relateable characters in a way that few had done before and few are doing now. See the "Howard" story "Quack Fu", which adds a surprisingly poignant element to its martial arts flick parody.

Well, if that's not enough to keep Gerber remembered, something is seriously wrong.


susan said...

sad news indeed.. didn't know til we read your post. i'd like to think he had many happy days simply because he made many people laugh.

Ben said...

Yeah, I think if he kept sight of that, he had a pretty good chance of being happy.