…And The Lamentation Of Your Armadillos

Good morning, you Bloggers of Comic. I seem to have been up all night, now how did that happen? Anyway, I’m here now.

And today would have been Steve Gerber’s 61st birthday. I am sure he would want us all to have a party.

I think I’ve said all I possibly can in a public forum about how much Steve meant to me as a reader; have not yet exhausted all the things I can say in private life about him, and probably never will. Because, uh, among other reasons no one outside the comics blogosphere is likely to get how important that Steve connection was to me.

But anyway I’ll just mark this day, today, and I won’t mark his death-day’s anniversary when it comes around. His death-day, after all, did nothing for me. But his birthday did a lot to shape the person I am now, or at least most of the things I like about that person.

The truth is, I was lucky.

Or, actually, it wasn’t luck.

Englehart, see your doctor regularly. Ed, it wouldn’t kill you to pick up the goddamn phone once in a while.

Let’s all remember to bank a couple of dollars with The Hero Initiative if we can, some way — somehow I am hoping against hope that someone will volunteer to make a Man-Thing candle (or something) that I can buy for some truly outrageous price at my LCS, proceeds to go to. Something like that would make it easier for people to contribute, I think.

Steve, so long. And Happy Birthday. And thanks.

Hope they’ve got lots of paper towels where you are.


5 responses to “…And The Lamentation Of Your Armadillos

  1. ‘A Candle for Saint-Cloude’ was the candle Man-Thing story, wasn’t it? I’ve a memory of being completely weirded out by that one.

    Kurt and Steve and poor old David Foster Wallace. It’s not been a good year for people I admire.

  2. No, it has not.

    And yes, it was.

    I do seem to recall that there was a Man-Thing candle once upon a time, that you could buy…

    But maybe I just dreamed that.

  3. Anyway I’d slap down quite a chunk of change for one of those, if I knew it was going to THI.

    Pleased to report I did in fact do something absurd and exuberant today.

  4. Thanks for posting this one.

    I only found Gerber this summer, sometime in let’s say June. I was new to town (Oakland), having a devil of a time finding work, and one day doing some retail therapy down the comic shop, I bought Howard the Duck, the Essentials collection, explicitly as a joke.* I remembered the movie, not fondly, and I’d heard some reputable source agitate in favor of the source material–probably a worker at Portland’s Bridge City Comics. Ambivalence = interest, usually…

    2 days later, I was half-way through it, and the way I thought / think about comics had changed fundamentally. Googling madly, with a half-formed notion of emailing him just to say thanks for doing some awesome work, 30 years ago. An email I’ve never sent to anybody in the 30+ years I’ve been reading, and didn’t send to him, because, well. Yeah.

    3 months later, ish, I’ve picked up the MAX HtD, the Hard Time trade, the last batch of Hard Time issues (unread, cuz I’m missing some stuff in between), the new Dr. Fate trade (stupendous and depressing, overpriced), the Omega the Unknown trade (staggeringly overpriced but wonderful), and, best of all, the 2 Man-Thing Essentials volumes.**

    I can’t say he’s the “best” comics writer I ever read. All I can say is that he means the most to me; he’s my favorite; he’s better at the things I care about than anybody else I’ve read (in the medium). And most of the most worthwhile stuff I’ve read about him is on this site, or linked from it. So, again, thanks. Thanks for this post, and thanks for the earlier ones.

    Eventually, I’ll probably inflict my halting theory about what’s the best Gerber, and why Omega only got half-right treatment from the 7 Soldiers of Steve project. But for now, “hi”. I’m sorry I missed the guy’s birthday, and I’m sorry I wasn’t reading his work ‘way earlier. But I’m reading it now, and I’ve got the benefit of y’all, which is a boon.


    *While I can & do get excited about (occasional) more modern comics, the parody version of my tastes was well-sketched by my old housemate and dear friend Canada: “You want a fight, a plot point, and a resolution. Then on page five…” Not far off! I remember reading Canada’s Daredevils the last couple years, Doom Patrol before that, all this stuff, and just thinking “Why are there all these pictures of men sitting in rooms on chairs? Why all the talking? Is this really a worthwhile use of the possibilites of text & image unfettered?” (Maybe that last sentence got some polishing between brain & keyboard.)

    **Pulling a ton of overtime next week, some of which is earmarked for Defenders Essentials…

  5. Chris, wow: it always thrills to meet a new Gerber fan, particularly when they’re as eloquent as you are. It’s true, there was something about the guy — his stories always achieved the personal, always made you feel like he had a stake in you, and you in him.

    You’ll enjoy the Defenders Essentials — hope you end up feeling the same way I do about “Too Cold A Night For Dying”. WARNING! May result in caring more than is warranted about imaginary work-for-hire characters!

    Well, much like HTD MAX, in that…

    Come back soon and give us your theories and conclusions — it’s never a bad time, nor is it ever too late, to talk about Steve. And, you’re welcome. Also, you flatter me.

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