Steve Gerber passed away. The people that knew him personally have written many profound words about his life.
I only met him a few times. I think I might have helped market some of his titles that passed through Eclipse Comics in the '80s.
But it wasn't the man that I knew. It was his writing. His work in the mid-1970s had a profound influence on me.
Reading a Gerber title during that period of time was an experience like no other. There was a span of time when reading a new issue of Man-Thing, Howard the Duck or Defenders was the high point of my comic book reading month. It just so happens that this was the also the same time that something I called Beanworld started to take root in the creative part of my imagination.
Although the undergrounds had shown me that ANYthing was possible in the comic storytelling format--Gerber's books showed that ALMOST anything was possible in a newsstand comic book that could be marketed to all ages.
My favorite Gerber character was the Elf With A Gun. During his run on Defenders, Gerber only wrote 4 pages featuring the terrorist Elf over a span of two years. The character would pop out of nowhere and inexplicably shoot innocent people that didn't seem to be connected to the storyline in any way.
Gerber never explained WHY the Elf behaved like this. But in the post-Viet Nam and post-Watergate era, it was a brilliant piece of deranged anarchy that just made me laugh and smile.
I became a better cartoonist because I had the privilege of reading his work.