Beginning at Marvel
Gerber was born in St. Louis, Missouri, son of Leonard and Bernice Gerber. In 1972 he started his career on comic book writing in Marvel titles like Daredevil, Shanna the She-Devil and Sub-Mariner. However, it would be in Adventure Into Fear that Gerber would gain notoriety for working in the stories centering Marvel's resident swamp monster Man-Thing. Through Man-Thing, Gerber developed stories that dwelt with the drama of human condition, as well fantasy-type adventures involving sword & sorcery and time travel. It was also in Man-Thing that Howard the Duck, Gerber's most famous creation, made his debut. The cynical and conceited talking duck made such unexpected sucess among readers that he ended up getting his own series later in 1976.
Gerber made remarkable presences in other titles like Tales of the Zombie, Marvel Spotlight and The Defenders, and co-created the cult-classic series Omega the Unknown along with his long time friend and collaborator Mary Skrenes.
The Legal Battle for Howard the Duck; Moving to DC and Animated Shows
Unfortunately, Gerber's work in Marvel would come to an end in 1978, when he was fired by the chief editor of Marvel at the time, Jim Shooter, with the allegation that Gerber wasn't delivering his scripts in the proper schedule, which, according to Shooter, wasn't fulfilling Gerber's contractual obligations. This resulted in Gerber going for a legal battle over the control and ownership of Howard the Duck, which lasted for several years until the court decided that Howard's ownership would remain with Marvel. The short series Destroyer Duck, which was published by Eclipse and co-created by Gerber and legendary artist Jack Kirby, was especifically made to raise funds to Gerber's lawsuit against Marvel.
Between the period of 1980 and 1990, Gerber went to work briefly in DC, where he wrote stories for titles like Metal Men, Weird War Tales and Mr. Miracle and co-created the miniseries Superman: Phantom Zone along with the late artist Gene Colan. In Eclipse, he published the one-shot Stewart the Rat and wrote stories for Eclipse Magazine. During this period he also contributed to television animation as the story editor of Transformers, G.I. Joe and Dungeons & Dragons, and as the creator of the series Thundarr the Barbarian.
Gerber returned to work again for Marvel during the beginning of the 90's, where he wrote to titles like The Sensational She-Hulk, The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger and Marvel Fanfare, and created the miniseries Foolkiller. He also tried to release the miniseries Void Indigo, but it was cancelled after two issues due of the violent content which was found too unacceptable for the period's standards. In 2002, he published Howard the Duck MAX.
His latter works also include A. Bizarro, Superman: The Last Son of Earth and Helmet of Fate: Zauriel for DC, and the series Nevada and Hard Time for the Vertigo line, being the latter co-written by Mary Skrenes.
Gerber passed away in 2008, in Nevada, Las Vegas, while worked in the series Countdown to Mystery starring the grandson of the original Dr. Fate. In 2010 he was posthumously added to the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.
His writing style got known for blending absurd humor and social commentary, and having his protagonists (who are often portrayed as outcasts) involved in completely bizarre and surrealistic situations as they confrot hostile forces beyond their comprehension and struggle with their own inner demons at the same time.
Characters Created by Steve Gerber