Steve Gerber Passes Away at 60

Steve Gerber passed away Sunday, Feb. 10 at the age of 60.

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Steve Gerber passed away Sunday, Feb. 10 at the age of 60 from complications due to pulmonary fibrosis. Perhaps best known for creating the inimitable Howard the Duck, Gerber began working for Marvel Comics in 1972 as an associate editor. He subsequently wrote for almost every Marvel character at one point or another throughout his career. His trademark humor was evident in everything he wrote, and his run on THE DEFENDERS was known for being one of the first deconstructions of the super hero genre. "What I most recall about Steve's tenure on any title was that you knew it was going to be different," said Ralph Macchio, Marvel Comics Executive Editor. "That book would go in directions no one else would have thought of." OMEGA THE UNKNOWN, another of Gerber's creations, is celebrated for its offbeat storytelling, focusing more on a 12-year old boy named James-Michael Starling than the titular super hero. It is HOWARD THE DUCK, though, that remains one of his greatest achievements. The book was a hilarious satirical romp starring an irascible duck schooled in the art of Quack-Fu, and remains a creative highlight in Marvel's history. "It wasn't just Steve's wild imagination that made reading a Gerber book so satisfying. It was Steve's superb use of the English language. Seldom did you notice huge captions or word balloons. Steve paired it down and made every phrase, every word count," Macchio said. "Editing a Gerber script was a sublime pleasure, because all you had to do was read and enjoy." Throughout his 35-year career Steve's imagination has provided us with endless amounts of entertainment and food for thought. He was a giant in the industry, and he will be dearly missed. Ralph Macchio Remembers Steve Gerber "Steve was a restless soul who always felt we could do much more with comics than tell super hero stories. We all know his brilliant work on Howard the Duck and the Man-thing series from which Howard came. Steve was never about just big visuals, super hero fights for their own sake or explosions to take up space. This was a writer of immense talent who was always, always about the story. He would never settle for putting out a routine script. He constantly challenged both himself and his audience. "Steve had a long and highly successful run on The Defenders. And what a perfect pairing it was—an odd assortment of characters banding to form a 'non-group' written by an author known for his offbeat take on super hero material. The result was a masterpiece of superb storytelling and subtle character interactions seldom seen. "He could write stories in Howard the Duck that have you rolling off the chair in laughter while he stingingly commented on the shallowness of popular culture. Or, he could write with such emotional force it would break your heart, such as the clown stories he did with Mike Ploog in Man-Thing. And, he could turn all the expectations of a super hero audience on its ear with Omega the Unknown. He was a wide-ranging, constantly searching talent who was rarely satisfied with the status quo in comic books. "Steve was the prime mover behind the hugely successful KISS comic that he wrote with Alan Weiss and John Buscema penciling. That was another groundbreaking project for Marvel that Gerber was at the heart of. While I recall plenty of naysayers who didn't think it would work, Steve proved them all wrong and tallied up sales figures that blew everything else away. "Finally, Steve was a heckuva nice guy to know and spend time with. He had already left staff at Marvel when I'd started, but he frequently came up and we'd hang out, go to a movie (where he'd instantly fall asleep) or have a meal at his favorite diner over on Eighth or Ninth Avenue where he'd spend many hours plotting the stories that became landmarks in Marvel history. "I was deeply saddened by his passing. In the time I spent with Steve I knew him to be a self-effacing gentleman who never took himself too seriously, but, boy did he take his work seriously. He was a generous guy and a lot of fun to be around. He was a talent whose like we won't see again. I miss him tremendously." A small sampling of Steve Gerber's work appears below.

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