Steve Gerber, the man who created Howard the Duck and whose courageous battle against Marvel Comics made him the Curt Flood of 1980's comics, has died. Rather poignantly, you can visit his blog, which is filled with tantalizing comments from Gerber about his interests and medical problems (he suffered from pulmonary fibrosis), but the final posts are from Mark Evanier, a personal friend and well-known Kirby scholar.

Gerber's impact on me as a young man, particularly his Howard run with Gene Colan, can not be estimated. Gerber's satire stretched the limits of mainstream comics more than any previous title in my estimation, and the sacrifices that he, Jack Kirby and a handful of others made to retain control of the characters they created made the comics world a better place.

I love comics, and I especially love some of the comics Steve Gerber created. His sly, mocking humor was a wonderful mixture of silliness and penetrating commentary.

I still repeat little phrases from his books. Here's a few I remember, just off-hand:

"Pardon me madam, but it makes me edgy/for my face to feel your wedgie."

"I find that whenever I lend my thews to a cause, they always come back damaged."

(big over-done comic blurb) "Trapped in a world he never made!"

(subversively, when running for President) "My God! He's telling the truth! He'll be dead in a week!"

"Right this very minute, in a galaxy too close for comfort!"

Thanks, Steve.

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