Steve Gerber Footnotes (Reprise)


Friday, December 29, 2006

NOTE: As the second issue of Comics Comics is just now being distributed to many comics stores for the first time, this is a special encore presentation of an earlier post.

Consider this an errata slip to Comics Comics #2. Unfortunately, two footnotes were left out of the printed copy of my essay on Steve Gerber in the story, so I decided to reprint them here. They will not make sense without the essay, so please feel free to skip this post if you don’t have it.

Footnote 1 — This should have been attached to the third paragraph of Section II: The Duck:

This reviewer is not old enough to have read these comics when they came out, so their funniness at publication is impossible to determine fairly. It may be worth noting, though, that in 2002, Marvel published a new Howard the Duck mini-series written by Steve Gerber, and the topical humor there ranges from the obvious and forced (a boy band literally manufactured in a laboratory by an evil corporation) to the fairly sharp and pointed (there’s a pretty devastating satire of Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan and that title’s futuristic Hunter S. Thompson-clone protagonist, whose book collection prominently features copies of The Bluffer’s Guide to Cyberpunk and Egotism Without Charisma). A mixed bag, basically, but one entertaining enough to be worth reading, if you’re so inclined.

Footnote 2 — This should have been attached to the sixth paragraph of Section III: The Unknown:

See, for example, this Gerber quote from Gary Groth’s 1978 interview with the writer: “Glance through a typical Marvel or DC book, you’ll find that, regardless of which character the magazine features, the material will be arranged in roughly the following way: a three-page fight or chase scene to open; about two pages of the character in his secret identity; three more pages of the character back in costume, either engaged in a second fight with the villain or swinging around the city looking for the villain and encountering other little obstacles along the way; a couple more pages of the alter ego; and then the big fight scene at the end. That’s the formula… All of it reads alike.”

That’s it. I hope this is helpful, and apologize for the mistake.

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One Response to “Steve Gerber Footnotes (Reprise)”
  1. Len Riggio says:

    Howard the Duck #4 was the second comic I ever bought, back at the local U-Tote-M when I was in 7th grade. It was by far my favorite series until it petered out (and my interest in comics petered out for a while). I loved its absurdism.

    From the vantage point of today, the humor does seem a bit obvious, but in my 7th grade mind, it was daring and sophisticated. Now when I look at it, I am struck by the bizarre juxtaposition of Gene Colan’s moody, realistic art with the bizarre subject matter. When I first read these comics, I didn’t really notice this irony.

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