STEVE GERBER PASSES AWAY
After a battle with pulmonary fibrosis, acclaimed and beloved writer Steve Gerber died on Sunday from complications due to his condition. The news was confirmed by a close acquaintance. He was 60 years old.
Gerber was a comics fan all his life, having started the fanzine Headline in his early teens, and eventually finding work as a writer at Marvel in the early ë70s, working under Roy Thomas. Amid the work that was coming out of Marvel at the time, Gerber found his own, unique voice which often mixed the usual superhero tropes with satire, commentary and an absurdist sense of humor. During his early days at Marvel, Gerber is best remembered for writing The Defenders and Man-Thing, and of course, creating Howard the Duck and Omega the Unknown and having notable runs with many Marvel characters, from Shanna the She-Devil to the Guardians of the Galaxy, Son of Satan, and Tales of the Zombie. In many ways, Gerber was 1970s Marvel. It was his unpredictable, groundbreaking work and strong desire to stray from the beaten path throughout the ë70s that made Gerber a role model for the next two-plus generations of comic book and other writers, including Michael Chabon and Glen David Gold.
After leaving Marvel in 1979, Gerber became something of a journeyman in comics, putting in time with some of DC Comics heroes, but most notably, being present at the forefront of the ìindependent revolutionî of the 1980s. When it came to ìmainstreamî superhero comics of the time, Gerber was as loud a voice (or louder) advocating change and modernization as the legends of the day such as his friend and colleague, Frank Miller.
Many of Gerberís larger plans did not come to fruition and, like many creators at the time who found that comics had seemingly passed them by, Gerber turned his attention to animation and television in the ë80s, writing for Dungeons and Dragons, Transformers, Star Trek: The Next Generation (ìContagionî), G.I. Joe and Thundarr the Barbarian, which he created.
Following up on his independent work from the ë80s, Gerber was one of the founders of Malibuís Ultraverse, and for a period, found a home writing a handful of Image Comics titles. Gerberís work throughout the ë90s was an eclectic mix, always quirky and always very personal.
More recently, Gerber returned to Marvel to write a Howard the Duck miniseries for its MAX imprint. He had also recently returned to DC, where he had created the acclaimed series Hard Time for the publisherís failed DC Focus line. Since that time, Gerber had largely taken up residence in the DC Universeís more ìmysticalî side, writing the Dr. Fate story which was contained in the Countdown to Mystery miniseries.
Recently on his blog Gerber had been keeping his friends and fans appraised of his condition. In an interview about Dr. Fate here at Newsarama in September, Gerber discussed his health with characteristic frankness and humor, saying:
ìItís just a fact of life, itís something I have to deal with. Naturally, Iíd be very happy if there were, you know, a ëcureí for this, but there isnít. Iíve got fibrosis of the lungs, and itís aÖso far slow-but-progressive disease that, if not treated, will ultimately off me.
ìIím moving toward getting on the lung transplant list at UCLA. And, hopefully, I will have a newly-refurbished pair of lungs (laughs) to breathe with in a little while. Weíll see what happens.
ìItís almost funnyÖI really do have a sick sense of humor about some of this stuff. (laughs) Part of me wants to go for the sympathy ploy. Put a picture of me on the cover of Countdown to Mystery with a gun to my head, or a plastic bag over it, and the caption, ëBuy this magazine or this writer will never breathe again!í The old National Lampoon gag.î
Gerberís last post on his blog was from a week ago, noting that he was working through the night on a Dr. Fate script.
Newsarama extends its deepest condolences to Gerberís friends and family. He will be missed.
STEVE GERBER PASSES AWAY