Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Get down, America!

Jerry Stratton, February 11, 2008

Get Down America!

Get Down, America!

Steve Gerber died on Sunday. As Mark Evanier wrote, not a surprise, but a shock. Just February 4, Steve Gerber posted, probably from his hospital bed, that he was “up in the middle of the night, working on Doctor Fate”.

Steve Gerber was the first author that I realized existed. The presidential election issue of Howard the Duck was the very first really good comic that I read; possibly the first really good book. Several months later, his strained brains issue, Zen and the Art of Comic Book Writing, was an eye-opener. In this issue, Steve Gerber pushed his creation aside and spoke straight to the reader for the entire issue, writing about writing, writing about comic books, writing about deadlines and insecurity.

Plants are like people. Writers are like plants. Therefore, and this may come as a surprise, writers are like people.

He showed this reading-obsessed thirteen-year-old that writing was something people did, and that the reason the best books were best was the author who wrote the story. And that I could do this too! Steve Gerber’s stories were a huge influence on me, from Howard the Duck through Foolkiller and various smaller pieces through my high school and college years.

That I do my best work in satire is probably entirely Steve Gerber’s fault. Reading through Howard the Duck for President (issue 8) right now, it still reads well today. Change the names a bit and it would be a near-perfect satire of this season’s charged election.

Turkeys for 200 Years

He had continued writing right up until he died; just about anything with his name on it is worth taking a look at, including his very recent Hard Time and his semi-recent Nevada. And if the only thing you know about Howard the Duck is the movie, you should pick up the original series and read it. Some of it is a satirical take on comic books in the seventies. But much of it, such as the presidential election issues, are still on target.

“The only reader who’ll remain loyal after this flagrant flouting of comic book convention is Harlan Ellison. Maybe.”

  1. <- McCain’s Success
  2. Substantive Misquotes ->