Feb 18

Comic Book Writer Steve Gerber Passes Away

Category: News

Star Wars Author Steven Gerber born on September 20th, 1947 in St. Louis, Missouri passes away on February 10th, 2008. He died in Las Vegas Nevada. For those of you who have heard of it, Gerber was an the Author of Tatooine Sojourn, and also a famous American Comic book writer. He was notable for creating “Howard the Duck,” but he also did many other comics including several Marvel comics as well. For those of you have haven’t heard of him, or Tatooine Sojourn then here is this that might help.

Tatooine Sojourn:

Tatooine Sojourn

( sorry the quality isn’t any good, it just loaded that way)

Published by Los Angeles Times Syndicate. It was only published in the U.S, and Canadian Newspapers. It is available in the Webstrips section of Hyperspace, and collected by the Classic Star Wars, The Early Adventures 4. It was written of course, by Steven Gerber, and drawn by Russ Manning. The Illustrator was Ray Murtagh, and it was published on September 10th, to November 5th, 1979. To see more follow this link: The Tatooine Sojourn.)

After corresponding with fellow youthful comics fans Roy Tomas and Jerry Bails, and starting one of the first comics fanzines, Headline, at age 13 or 14. Gerber went to college at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, the University of Missouri, and St. Louis University, where he finished his communications degree and also some post-graduate work.

He then soon began to work as a copywriter for a St. Louis advertising agency. During this time he wrote short stories, some of which, such as “And the Birds Hummed Dirges”, later appeared in Crazy Magazine during his stint as editor.

Some time in the early 1972, Gerber asked Thomas, by this time the Marvel editor-in-chief, about writing comics; Thomas sent him a writer’s test — six pages of a Daredevil car-chase scene drawn by Gene Colan — which Gerber passed. He then accepted a position as an associate editor and writer at Marvel Comics for $125 a week — $25 less than at the ad agency — and $13 a page for writing. Thomas said in 2007,

Steve and I had been in touch, off and on. …I [eventually] got a letter from Steve saying, in essence, ‘Help! I’m going crazy in this advertising job’. … So I thought, ‘Gee, he’d be a good person to get up here, so if he wants to make a change, let’s give it a try’. He was brought in to be an assistant editor on staff. That didn’t work our so well, because for whatever reason … he had trouble staying awake. At the time, he wasn’t a staff kind of person, at least in terms of what Marvel needed, but he was a real good writer and did some interesting things….”

Steve Gerber penned stories for title’s some such as daredevil, and Sub-Mariner. Gerber was said to have had a unique voice in his writings. He has also scripted Man-Thing, which is about a swamp monster empath, Omega the unknown, which explored the strange link between a cosmic superhero and a boy, and Howard the Duck, which artist Val Mayerik and Steve Gerber created as a throwaway character in the Man-Thing story. Then later Gerber and Artist Gene Colan teamed up to make Howard the Duck syndicate comic strip. Gerber recalled this:

“We had some problems with the Howard newspaper strip, which led to problems with the Howard book, which ultimately led to the lawsuit. Marvel wouldn’t pay the artist to draw it. Gene Colan and I were supposed to get a percentage of the syndicate’s take for the strip. The problem was, the money came in 90 days, 120 days, six months — I don’t remember how long exactly — after the strips were published. So, essentially, the artist was working for nothing up until that time, and no artist can afford to do that. [In comparison with Stan Lee and John Romita‘s Spider-Man comic strip,] Stan, as publisher of Marvel, had a regular salary coming in, and John Romita, I believe, was also on staff at the time. They didn’t have quite the same problem.”

It was said that Gerber was noted for “memorable supporting or guest characters who would become cult favorites in their own right. Among his best known are Everyman Richard Rory, who has appeared off and on in most of the Gerber books, and the Foolkiller, a psychopathic vigilante who inspired several different individuals to adopt his identity over the years and acquired his own 10-issue limited series in 1990.” Gerber was also responsible for the creation of the “Silver Samurai during his Daredevil run, and the female Red Guardian when writing Defenders.”

Then sometime in 1979 Gerber left Marvel, and launched a lengthy legal battle for control of Howard the Duck, and during the late 1970s and 1980s he did some work for DC Comics, and and for independent comic companies. One of his first major works was Stewart the Rat, which was away from marvel and done for Eclipse Comics, with art done by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer. Then finally in1982 he teamed with Jack Kirby at Eclipse to create Destroyer Duck, which was a comic which raised funds for his court case and Kirby’s similar legal battles against Marvel. Gerber and Marvel reached a settlement in the case.

Later in his life he still completed many more comics. He many at first for Marvel. Then he did Void Indigo for the Epic Comics imprint in 1983 and The Legion of Night and Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils in 1990) and DC (including A. Bizarro and Nevada for the Vertigo imprint in 1998). Then Returning briefly to Marvel, he had a 12-issue run on The Sensational She-Hulk, a three-issue run on Cloak and Dagger, had Hawkeye get shot and wear a new armored costume designed by Tony Stark in Avengers Spotlight, and wrote two issues of Toxic Crusaders, all for Marvel. During this time he also did a serial in Marvel Comics Presents featuring Poison, a character he created in The Evolutionary War crossover.

He also wrote the two-issue Freddy Krueger’s A Nightmare on Elm Street which delved into the backstory of the character with a depth the films never displayed. Plus he even partnered up with Beth Woods to write the episode “Contagion”, which was an episode of the syndicated television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Gerber worked in television animation, working as story editor on the animated TV series The Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Dungeons & Dragons; created Thundarr the Barbarian; and shared a 1998 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class — Animated Program, for the WB program The New Batman/Superman Adventures.

His the Berlin Wall episode of The Puppy’s New Adventures was heavily censored to prettify East Berlin, resulting in Gerber’s mock-slogan “ABC Standards and Practices… Protecting Your Children With Lies”. He also wrote the pilot episode of the animated TV series Mister T. He was also one of the founders of the Malibu Comics Ultraverse, co-creating Exiles and creating Sludge. For Image, he co-created The Cybernary with Nick Manabat and disbanded Codename: Strykeforce (in their crossover with Cyberforce, in which Gerber showed the impossibility of one leader leading two teams with any effectiveness).

In addition to guest-writing Pitt. In 2002 he created a new Howard the Duck miniseries for Marvel’s MAX line. For DC he then created Hard Time, which outlasted the short-lived imprint DC Focus

In 2005, when Marvel Comics sponsored a vote on which of four unused characters to revive, Gerber asked his fans to vote against Wundarr the Aquarian. ( a supporting character he had created in Fear and Marvel Two-in-One.) Wundarr took second after Death’s Head. He stated numerous times on his blog and elsewhere on the web his opinion that no one should write another’s characters without the creator’s endorsement. He himself endorsed the 2000s Foolkiller series,starring a character he had created in Man-Thing.

Later, Gerber wrote the Helmet of Fate: Zauriel one-shot and continued writing the Doctor Fate strip in the Countdown to Mystery limited series for DC Comics up to the time of his death, working on stories in the hospital.

Then in 2007, Gerber was suddenly diagnosed with an early stage of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and was eventually hospitalized, but while continuing to work. He had gotten onto the waiting list for a transplant at UCLA Medical Center. Sadly though, On February 10, 2008, Gerber died in a Las Vegas hospital from complications stemming from his condition. At the time of his death, Gerber was separated from wife Margo Macleod, and a daughter, Samantha Voll.

During his life he recieved awards such as recognition for his work in comics with several awards and nominations. He was nominated for several Shazam Awards, including for Best Writer in both the Dramatic and Humor Divisions in 1974. He was inspiration to the Marvel Universe character named Stewart Caldwell, who was a TV writer who later became “Thundersword.”

Here are just some of his collections of writings,

  • Essential Daredevil Vol. 4, Marvel
  • Essential Defenders Vol. 2, Marvel
  • Essential Defenders Vol. 3, Marvel
  • Essential Howard the Duck Vol. 1, Marvel
  • Essential Man-Thing Vol. 1, Marvel
  • Essential Marvel Horror Vol. 1, Marvel
  • Essential Marvel Two-in-One Vol. 1, Marvel
  • Essential Tales of the Zombie Vol. 1, Marvel
  • Giant-Size Marvel, Marvel
  • Hard Time: 50 to Life, DC
  • Howard the Duck (MAX), Marvel
  • Nevada, DC
  • Omega the Unknown Classic, Marvel
  • Stewart the Rat (with Gene Colan and Tom Palmer) About Comics, 48 pgs

While Steve Gerber may have passed on, his work will still live on throughout all his fans lives. He did a few things for Star Wars, but also did many more things for others too. He was a fantastic Comic Book writer and his works will probably become very rare in the near future. May we honor Steve Gerber, and the many works he has created for the world, and may he never be forgotten.

Article Links:

For more poeple associated with Star Wars like Mark Haigh-Hutchinson,who was a member of development staff of several Star Wars videogames, and also a project leader for Star Wars: Rogue Squadron and Shadows of the Empire, then follow this link:

Wookieepedia Main Page

Or if you want to see the article for Mark Haigh-Hutchinson then follow this link:

Mark Haigh-Hutchinson-Wookieepedia

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