Steven, I believe you had lunch with him fairly regularly.
Steven, I believe you had lunch with him fairly regularly.
That was a really nice tribute today.
One thing that you pointed out at the end of the column strikes me as horribly sad is that Steve Gerber is the second "big name" Las Vegas resident I've heard of dying of pneumonia recently. The other was professional poker player Chip Reese, who died back in December.
These two men seem to have had a lot in common. They were close in age, were extremely famous and admired within their profession yet mostly unknown to the larger world and, from all the tributes I've read about both men, were nice, friendly guys.
If I've heard of these two guys passing from pneumonia, is there like an epidemic in Las Vegas or something. Why all these "weird little diseases" now (as you put it)?
I didn't read much of his work, but very much enjoyed Foolkiller and Hard Time, and always thought, when I'd learn a little bit about him, that I very much agreed with the sensibilities presented to me. A very good eulogy, Steven.
And I had no idea he'd worked on GI Joe, but I'm betting now I could put his name to certain episodes just by how trippy they were.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."
Hey look, I made a comic book.
Thanks, Steven. That was a nice piece.
And you know what? Everyone seems to be writing a blinder for Gerber, at no bloody notice, of course. Someone should put together a festschrift or something.
one of the highest principles of America is that we're a nation of people from different backgrounds living in equal dignity and mutual loyalty - Eboo Patel.
Lots of people have been sick here in L.A., too. I didn't catch it and I attribute that to mega-doses of Vitamin C and acidophilus supplements, plus saline nasal treatments (gross, but helpful).
Oh, and that was odd trivia to hear that Void Indigo was originally conceived as a Hawkman reboot. That was one of the first "direct market only" books I ever bought, which I got from my subscription service at the time because it sounded so far out. I was seriously pissed when it ended after two issues. I haven't read them in years, but I remember really liking them. I'd like to dig it out again and see if it was really all that violent.
I think the article summed up very well a lot of what attracted me to Gerber's writing. Totally agree with the assessments re the comics industry and its failure to provide means for his talent to express itself more freely.
From 1974-1985 or so, I bought pretty much every comic on the rack, and then some (before that, I was not as regular with my buying habits, although my mother had been a comic book editor). Around 1985, I started not going to the store as often. Finally, I decided that I didn't really miss comics, and quit. In 1988 or so (I'm too lazy to look it up), being heavily involved in the electronic bulletin board systems, I was looking at the conferences on one of the early networks (I don't even remember what it was called at first, but it became known as RIME). I saw a comics conference, and decided to take a look. And there was the name, "Steve Gerber". It couldn't be THAT Steve Gerber, I thought. But it was. And, even though I wasn't buying comics, I was appointed moderator of the group. And it was some group, with regulars and semi-regulars like Gerber, Grant, Buzz Dixon, Brent Wilcox, Mark Evanier, Michael Part, Don Rosa, Lee Goldberg, Nat Gertler, and that's just off the top of my head. And I was riding herd on the whole group (not as easy as you might think; lawsuits WERE threatened, and part of my job was to see that RIME wasn't dragged into them). And I started reading comics again. The proviso is that I pretty much only read comics by people with whom I corresponded, notably Steve Gerber.
With some of the people there with whom I became friendly, I can mark a specific point when we went beyond just correspondence. With many of them, involvement with other conferences helped cement things (the first time I specifically recall Grant noticing me was when Gerber made a statement Foolkiller, and I answered him by paraphrasing Sir Isaac Newton, and Gerber had no idea what I was talking about). Still, Gerber was always asking what I (and others) thought of his work. Gerber set up his own bulletin board (The Bingo Bango Bongo BBS); I was one of the first members, dialing from New York to Los Angeles (when long distance rates were still long distance rates) to participate. Michael Part also had a BBS limited to professional writers and people he found to be interesting (I was in the latter category); Gerber was on that one, too. I started going on the Compuserve groups, too, and there was Steve. Then, with his impeccably bad timing, he co-wrote BBS'S FOR DUMMIES, just as wide access to the Internet killed the BBS's that didn't switch over to become ISP's, later to be gobbled up by Earthlink.
Somewhere along the line, he and others got together to start up Malibu Ultraverse, an attempt to do for writers what Image had done for artists. It was at that point I mentioned to him a concept I had for an anthology series; essentially, 8-12 page one-part stories involving those who were shortchanged when superpowers were handed out. I had several names for it, but he preferred Infras (Ultras were what the superheroes were called). He asked me to write up my plot ideas, and a couple of detailed plotlines, and passed them on to the editor in chief. About this point, Marvel had bought out Malibu, Ultraverse was gone, and the proposal was lost in the shuffle. However, I had been long predicting the bursting of the collector's bubble, I was making a good living at computers, and did not pursue the idea any further. That was the last time I was communicating with Steve on a continuous (at least once a week) basis, although we continued to correspond about 1-5 times a month. I lent him a technical hand once in a while (for example, when the new Omega The Unknown came out, I was the one who suggested to him that he pick up the domain name omegatheunknown.com; it was done very privately to keep anybody from grabbing it first.). I've been following his blog on and off, commenting occasionally, and was fully expecting him to get a new lung and a new life. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
I talked to him on the phone a number of times, but never met him in person. There was always time. Well, there is not always time.
And that's my personal memory of Steve Gerber. Written on the spot, and without much editing, so pardon the rambling, please.
That was a really nice column, Steven.
I can only comment on the work and not the man behind them, as I had no personal experieneces with Steve Gerber.
I was a little late to the game, having only become aware of his work recently, but I've since read all of HARD TIME, FOOLKILLER, and a good smattering of OMEGA, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (A personal favorite), and THE DEFENDERS. He was an amazing writer with a very unique voice. His perspective on the world informed every page he wrote.
You gotta love a guy who just threw all convention and formula out the window...
Thanks for all the great books, Steve.
I can't wait to go back and read some more.
Man-Thing was the only title I ever bought based on the writer alone.