illustration (c) Josť Villarrubia 2000 digital 
illustration (c) Josť Villarrubia 2000
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(Editor's Note: In addition to being a stand-up guy and a great interview subject, Mr. Gerber provided PopImage with a 4 page (plus cover!) preview of his upcoming project, Superman: Last Son Of Earth. The art shown is by Doug Wheatley. Just click on any of the the thumbnails to view the full image. Enjoy!)

You are Lex Luthor, Superman's greatest enemy. A man of wealth and power and gargantuan plans of devilish complexity. An Earth-shaker in fact. Governments are scared of you, and not a little envious- you have but to think of a scheme for it to be enacted, and those who stand in your way will perish. As for how that mighty empire functions, well... it just does, OK? LexCorp is this gigantic business, and it does gigantic business stuff.

No, I don't know what kind of stuff that would be. I read comics, not the Wall Street Journal. And we all know that massive corporations headed by Super villains obviously do some seriously impressive and profitable shit to fund the orbital mind control devices, android bodyguards and presidential campaigns that the likes of Luthor put their money into. LexCorp doubtless promotes a whole range of products and services, like any multinational. Hi-tech appliances. Financial services. Ad agencies and PR consultantcies. That kind of thing.

And for years, that's all comic readers needed to know. It never occurred that there was more to discover, no more than you'd ever wonder about the constitutional status of Latveria, the bathroom situation on Deep Space Nine, or what's kept in the warehouses that your typical costumed hero spends a solid ten hours a week 'patrolling' the roofs of.

Unless, that is, you're Steve Gerber. In which case, that warehouse and its contents are exactly the things that interest you:

"At LexCorp, as at any industrial colossus, the serious money is made in spare parts. Sooner or later, every exoskeletal ball joint, every amphibious tank tread, every quantum cannon turret gearbox... breaks. And when the inevitable happens, it can only be replaced with proprietary LexCorp components."

Of course. LexCorp is just like BMW. It takes serious logistical expertise to dominate the world and conduct bizarre vendettas against a misplaced Kryptonian. I'm willing to bet that Luthor's much put-upon goons aren't unionised, but you don't get muscle like that without offering top dollar and health insurance. Anyway, that's what's in the warehouse. Spare parts.

Gerber's revelation of this so-obvious-it's-transcendental aspect of Luthor's empire was made in the first issue of A. BIZARRO. It's all about the adventures of something else that's found in one of LexCorp's warehouses. The clue's in the title, and it's a story that's funny, imaginative, and firmly rooted in character. Quite an unusual character, admittedly, admittedly - even Gerber's supporting cast tend to have more about them than the main attractions of most titles.

Chances are, you haven't read A. BIZARRO. If you were looking to pick up a new title at the time, odds are you picked up TOM STRONG instead. Which is a shame. Don't get me wrong. I like Alan Moore, and I enjoy Tom Strong. But if you're going to check out new work by an influential writer who's not been heard of so much lately, then please bear Steve Gerber in mind. He's playing with the Superman mythos once more in LAST SON OF EARTH, an Elseworlds story with art by Doug Wheatley. Gerber started his career in advertising, and he's worked in television as a writer and script editor. - so give us the pitch, Steve...

The basic premise of LAST SON OF EARTH is this: What if Earth had been destroyed, and an infant Clark Kent - son of Jonathan and Martha Kent, had been rocketed to Krypton, instead of the other way around?

I approached it as a science fiction story about the collision of two species, human and Kryptonian. It also explores Krypton's conflict with its own ancient history, including the "Silver Age" version of that society, the utopian Krypton of the '50s and early '60s comics. And the story delves very deeply into the characters of Jor-El and Lara, as well as Clark, as he matures on an alien world. It turns the entire Superman legend on its head and recasts it in an entirely new light. I became so fascinated with this version of the character, and DC liked it so much, that we're doing a sequel to the book next year.

I think readers will rave about Doug Wheatley's artwork, too. I haven't seen it in colour yet, but editor Andy Helfer tells me it's gorgeous, that it achieves an almost painterly look.

Your writing has covered a wide range of styles. LAST SON OF EARTH is a science fiction story, rooted in the mythology of the Superman title. NEVADA, seemed very organic, with characters leading us through the story. FOOLKILLER came across as more thematic. Are these different styles something you're aware of when you're writing them, and how do you approach different projects?

I'd call these more differences in "tone" than "style." My writing style has evolved over the years, but I don't think it's all that different from one project to another contemporaneous one. Tone, though, is another matter. NEVADA is very different in tone from A. BIZARRO, which is wildly different in tone from LAST SON OF EARTH, even though all of these were written in just the past couple of years. Usually, at least for me, the subject matter or the characters will dictate the tone of the story, and yes, it is something I'm aware of while I'm writing.

NEVADA, for example, reflects the main character's growing unease as the boundaries of her world expand far beyond her understanding. This is probably why it strikes you as "organic." The reader is taking the same journey through the wilds of spacetime that Nevada is, and accruing knowledge with her. Parts of the story are very deliberately confusing, because I didn't want the reader to know more than Nevada did at that point. The reader discovers what's really going on at the same moment she does. The story itself also has a smart-alecky tone that grows out of Nevada's personality.

FOOLKILLER is different. The story has much more to do with Kurt Gerhardt's interior journey, as he tries to sort out the truth of his world, and his place in it. It's not written in the first person, but it really is an examination of violence and morality as seen through his eyes, and he tends to view almost everything in those terms. So, yes, the word "thematic" would apply.

LAST SON OF EARTH has an epic sweep. The canvas spans half the galaxy, from Earth to Krypton and all the way to Oa, the headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps. Also, the story takes place over a period of about thirty Earth years, and it involves, directly or indirectly, more than ten millennia of Kryptonian history. It deals with the characters' interior lives, but against that larger backdrop. In this kind of story, I wanted the reader to get a sense of time and distance and of the immensity of the stakes involved, which extend far beyond the immediate situations of the characters. And yet, I couldn't allow the characters to get lost in that immensity. What they do and why they do it is at the very core of the story. Balancing the focus between forest and trees was one of the larger challenges of this story. It's been a very long time since I've done a story like this, but I think I pulled it off rather well.

You write good dialogue. You've got a sense of humour. You write credible human beings, and female characters in particular. How come you write comics, or even want to???

You know, those attributes used to be considered requirements for writing comics, not liabilities.

Anyway, I write them because I feel the same fascination with and attraction to the medium that, say, a Steven Spielberg or a George Lucas feels toward movies. I've never found TV or film, or even prose, nearly as interesting a form. There's something about the combination of words and pictures in comics - about the melding of the literary with the visual - that's peculiarly appealing to me. I just don't care about movies or television, or even prose, in quite the same way.

What similarities do you see between comics and the comics industry when you started?

The industry is every bit as closed-minded now as it was 28 years ago. Maybe more so. The major difference today is that the same rigidity has infested the fans and the retailers, and brought the industry to the edge of extinction.

What examples of close mindedness then and now come to mind?

When I started in comics, the buzzword I heard most frequently from editors and other writers was "commercial." This writer, that artist, such-and-such a series was either "commercial" or "uncommercial." "Commercial" didn't mean that the writer, artist, or series necessarily did well in the marketplace, but rather that they conformed to certain conventions of the medium and therefore should do well. "Commercial" writers got all the plum, high-visibility assignments. "Uncommercial" writers were usually shunted off to marginal books, where it was assumed they could do less harm. There were even instances where one of those marginal books would suddenly attract attention and start to sell, and the writer would be replaced with someone the company considered more "commercial," on the theory that that person would be better able to sustain the success.

Now, that sounds horrible and very stifling, and it was. But in those days, the definition of "commercial" was at least broad enough to encompass a fairly wide range of material. AVENGERS was commercial, but so was MASTER OF KUNG FU. SPIDER-MAN was commercial, but so were CONAN, TOMB OF DRACULA, and WEREWOLF BY NIGHT. Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway were probably considered the two most consistently commercial writers of the day, but there was also room under that rubric for styles as diverse as those of Doug Moench, Steve Englehart, Marv Wolfman, Archie Goodwin, Len Wein, Jim Starlin, and any number of others. And the industry could at least appreciate and find a place for creators whose work was rarely, if ever, conventional.

Today, the definition of "commercial" would be limited to one genre: superheroes. And, really, to only one way of presenting superheroes, relentlessly upbeat, with lots of fight scenes, and every story hinging on the minutiae of past continuity. And even today, writers who take a different path are still considered "uncommercial," whether their superhero books are successful or not. I seem to recall reading something about Grant Morrison wanting to do an overhaul of Superman, and DC turning him down, even after his spectacularly successful run on JLA, because they thought his approach would be too unconventional. (All this applies to artists, too, by the way. It's just my natural inclination to think in terms of the writing first.)

Was the fan scene as conservative when you started to write as it seems to be now? And what impact has this had on the state of the business?

The major difference today is that the same rigidity has infested the fans and the retailers, and brought the industry to the edge of extinction. Something else that's changed drastically since the '70s is the role of fandom. It used to be an axiom that fans embraced the more experimental material, whereas readers - the casual newsstand buyers of comics - were more apt to like the more conventional stuff. Calling a book a "fan-favorite" was a back-handed compliment in those days. It meant that the book had a devoted, but small following.

Well, there are no casual buyers of comics anymore. People don't pick them up at newsstands or drug stores, because in most parts of the world, they aren't sold there. The audience is now limited to the people who patronize the comic book shops, and since the comic book shops don't sell, or order, much of anything besides superhero comics, the hardest-core superhero fans now constitute virtually the entire readership of comics. And the hardest-core superhero fans have always been extremely conservative. They want their heroes portrayed without ambiguities. They consider humor anathema in comics, because it strikes them as "kid stuff." Basically, they want comic books to be corn flakes, with the flavor and texture uniform and unvarying from one box to the next. And, since the Crash of '93, when most of the speculators abandoned ship, and dealers cut back drastically on their orders of everything except the top-selling books, that's what the publishers have been providing. Corn flakes.

By doing so, the publishers and the retailers have collaborated to drive away any customers who might be more interested in Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Wheat Chex, or Froot Loops. The creators haven't exactly helped things, either, what with their recent penchant for rehashing old stories.

All of this might not matter if the superhero readership were growing, but it isn't. It's shrinking month by month. Kids don't give a rat's ass about men in tights anymore, and adults are only interested in them for the occasional dose of nostalgia. They'll happily go to a Batman movie once every couple of years, but they're not going to follow a Batman comic book on a monthly basis.

So, comics today appeal only to the rarefied sensibilities of a diminishing readership, and any attempt to appeal to a wider audience is thwarted by a distribution system which can no longer reach beyond superhero fans. What does that tell you about the state of the industry?

Not only are comics created for people with very limited conceptions of what comics can do, they're often created by people who buy into that conception, and who are content to wallow in nostalgia. Life is too short to be putting valuable energy into writing definitive explanations of why Dr. Doom has three different shades of cowl in his wardrobe.

Gold for command, blue for executive, red for technical and security...? There are some very talented writers in the industry today who seem perfectly content to spend their time on revamping and rebooting old characters, and retelling old stories. I'm sure they're being paid well for that work, and they've certainly garnered a large fan following, but they clearly don't understand the damage they're doing to the medium, and I wonder if they realize the longer-term implications for their careers.

The "hot" period for any writer or artist seems to last, oh, roughly three to five years. After that, new talent inevitably comes along to supplant them. This happens to everybody. It's one of the few processes remaining in comics that resembles natural selection. It happened to me and my contemporaries. It happened to most of the '80s writers and artists. It's already happening to many of the '90s stars, the Image guys, Peter David, and so on. Nobody stays on top of the heap forever.

So the question becomes, what kind of career does your body of work prepare you for, after you've been dethroned. Have you created enough original material, for example, that you're able to work without the template of the DC or Marvel universes? Have you learned how to structure a story that wasn't blueprinted forty years earlier for you by Gardner Fox, Jerry Siegel, Bill Finger, or Stan Lee? Can you surprise, entertain and, most of all, stretch yourself with characters and settings that are entirely the product of your own imagination?

Those who have those abilities will do just fine. Others will find themselves in a very difficult position. They'll discover, first of all, that their fan-following is limited to the books where they initially made their mark. Fans rarely ask me, for example, what I've got coming up that's new. Fans in general don't care about new. They're nostalgia-driven; they want to know if I'd ever consider writing HOWARD THE DUCK or DEFENDERS again. Frank Miller has had pretty good success with SIN CITY, but what fans really wanted from him was more Batman and Daredevil. Those are just two examples; it's true of everybody. Claremont and X-MEN. Peter David and HULK. The list goes on forever. The problem is, once a writer's "heat" begins to dissipate, the publishers will want to put their books in the hands of new "hot" talent.

And another factor comes into play. The formerly "hot" writers and artists will have expended all their youthful energies on properties that they don't even own or control. The burnout rate in this business is very high, because of the sheer quantity of material that artists and writers in their 20s and early 30s are expected to produce. And, speaking from experience, I can tell you that once youth has fled, you can never recapture that energy in precisely the same way. You need other resources to draw upon, something more substantial than youthful enthusiasm and the love of your favorite superheroes.

Whose work out there inspires you now?

The truth is, I don't get into comic book stores very often anymore, so, like most of the rest of the world, I'm not exposed to much of what's going on the field. When they're at their best, I really enjoy the work of people like Frank Miller, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, James Robinson and Garth Ennis. I usually like Alan Moore, too, but for some reason the ABC material just hasn't caught my interest. Maybe it's the "homage" or "retro" aspect of it. (I fully realize I may be the only soul in all of comicdom who feels this way, and I'm very happy for Alan that that's the case.)

Reading your comics, Howard the Duck in particular, made me aware for the first time that actual people were involved in the process. Hey, I was young. But it was definitely your writing that made me aware of the possibilities of comics. Now, after Alan Moore and the wave of British (why???) writers in his wake, we're used to the idea that comics can contain ideas and feelings, and we expect something more than chases and fight scenes. You seemed to be out there on your own doing something that no one else was doing, at least that I ever came across when I was buying back issues in second hand bookstores on the way home from school. Did it seem that way at the time?

Why the British Invasion? Because someone in the U.S., probably Karen Berger, discovered that what was going on in British comics was a hell of a lot more interesting than what was happening here at the time, and decided to import it.

With a few exceptions, most notably Frank Miller's work, Howard Chaykin's AMERICAN FLAGG, the '80s were a terrible period for U.S. comics. That was Shooter's reign at Marvel, when everything looked exactly alike, and everything read like "Little Miss Muffet" with gritted teeth. And DC seemed to be flailing around in desperation at the time, just flinging out one thing after another, hoping something would stick to the wall. In the midst of all that, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman shone like laser beams through a shit storm. They would have made an enormous impact at any time, but arriving when they did, the shock was that much greater.

I've heard that both Alan and Neil were influenced by my work, which is very flattering. If I'm even microscopically responsible in some way for their turning out work of that caliber, I can feel I've made a significant contribution to comics.

Was I doing something no one else was doing in comics back in the '70s? Well, not quite. If you look back at Marv's TOMB OF DRACULA, Doug's MASTER OF KUNG FU, Don McGregor's BLACK PANTHER and KILLRAVEN, Steve Englehart's CAPTAIN AMERICA, and some of Steve Skeates' work, you'll see they were attempting very similar things. Not all of those experiments succeeded, nor, god knows, did all of mine, but that period was, in general, a time when people were trying to push the boundaries of what could be done in comics, and what comics could become. Most of the progress we made, at least at Marvel, was buried in the '80s in favor of Shooter's "pure entertainment" (read: "Comics for Dummies"), but it bubbled back to the surface again, in vastly altered form, when the Brits landed.

And do you think there really has been a renaissance in comics writing, or just a new breed of stereotypes?

I think we've traveled in and out of the renaissance and entered the age of the copyist. Which isn't all bad, in that the revampers and rebooters of today's comics have at least solved one of the major questions plaguing the field of cosmology. We can now state with assurance that universes, at least comic book universes, don't expand infinitely. At some point, they contract, and time does indeed run backwards.

Fortunately in your case you've also developed a successful television career. Has your involvement in television shaped the way that you now tackle a script for comics and if so, how?

I would say "influenced" rather than "shaped," but yes, it has. For better and for worse. It's had a major influence on the way I write dialogue. One of my ex-girlfriends is a screenwriter, and she pounded one thing into my head about dialogue very early on. Ideally, every line should be one that the audience has never heard before. Now, that's not always possible, there are only so many ways to say "Look out!", "Come in," or whatever, without the dialogue sounding forced, but it's a goal to strive for. If you look through my work, you'll find I use very few of the cliches that seem to permeate movies and other comics these days. Nobody in my stories ever "talks the talk" or "walks the walk," or tells an adversary he's "toast" or "history," unless I'm deliberately lampooning those idiot lines. Also, you'll find that very few of my characters ever make speeches or engage in soliloquy, they converse instead. Their personalities are usually revealed in what they do and how the interact with other characters. And they don't always say exactly what they mean. They obfuscate, they lie, and sometimes they shade the truth for their own benefit, even when they think they're being honest.

It sounds weird, but most comics aren't written that way. Typically, a villain shows up, announces he's a villain, and proceeds to do villainous things. Comics seem to have forgotten that among the most heinous things anyone can do is conceal or distort the truth.

Working in film has influenced the way I use captions, also. I write far fewer of them now than I did when I started writing comics. These days, I'm more apt to write short, simple, transitional captions than to use them as a major feature of the narrative. Whenever possible, I'll prefer to let the art convey a transition in scene or the passage of time. Readers are familiar with the visual grammar of film and TV. They don't need a lengthy caption to explain that the location or time has changed. On the other hand, there are times when I'll write a caption like "Next morning...", or some such, just to make sure the colourist gets it right. Colorists in comics don't usually work with the script in front of them, so if an artist doesn't use solid black skies or heavy shadows to convey the impression of night, it's necessary to provide a cue for the colorist.

How does working in TV compare to comics? What's better, what's worse, what's just different? (I'd say that the Batman animated show is a wonder, and if kids did want to check out a comic afterwards they'd probably be disappointed. I've seen sharper writing and more interesting graphics in Rugrats than I have in most comic titles, and there are many more examples.)

My girlfriend, who's, uh, a lot younger than I am, did decide to check out comics for the first time as a result of the Batman animated series. She found most of the superhero stuff, including Batman, unreadable, but she became a fan of some Vertigo titles and some of the smaller press books.

The only thing that's really better about working in TV than comics is the money, and, as Mark Evanier used to remind me, a large percentage of what they pay you is for putting up with the aggravation.

What's worse about TV is that every script that gets to the screen is ultimately a bastardized version. The writer writes, and then everybody else; story editors, directors, producers, network executives, censors, actors in live action, storyboard artists in animation, gets to have "input." The "input" process is best illustrated by touching the thumb and index finger of one hand together and inserting the index finger of the other hand in the circle. There are rare instances when this doesn't happen, David E. Kelley pretty much gets his own way, I've heard, and Joe Straczynski apparently had a fair amount of control on Babylon 5, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule.

Comics are a collaboration among, at most, four or five people. With TV or film, you're collaborating with the proverbial cast of thousands, or at least a few hundred, anyway.

What's different about TV, for most writers, is the nature of the job. If you're writing episodic television, all you're doing is taking things apart and putting them back together again. That's the nature of series TV. Nothing ever really changes. Or, when it does, the critical script is always written by the executive producer. Writing that way can be exquisitely boring, but it does teach you a sense of structure, something many comic book writers don't understand at all.

The limitations on the length of a story are also different in TV. If you're writing a Star Trek, for example, you have to tell your story in 44 minutes, no more, no less. You don't have the option of making the story a two-parter, let alone drawing it out over ten issues and an annual the way I did with the DEFENDERS "Bozo" story. So another thing you learn very quickly in TV, something that, again, many comics writers never learn, is what to leave out of a story.

Writing dialogue for real people to speak is also very different from composing dialogue for the comic book page. Both require a certain economy. In comics, because you can't cover up the pictures with word balloons; in TV, because of the time limitations. But the first thing a comic book writer discovers in TV is that you can't deliver two paragraphs of dialogue over a shot of a character throwing a punch. For television, dialogue has to work in real time. The second thing you should discover, although this eludes a lot of TV writers, is that you don't have to write as much dialogue when you have the assistance of a live actor or even a voice actor in animation to convey the meaning and the emotion. If you can avoid the trap of falling in love with your own "voice," it allows you to write in a much more natural style.

And there are certain craft elements that are different in TV and comics. Again, with dialogue, it's easier to write a real exchange between characters for TV or film, with one character speaking, then the other, then the first again, then the other again. In comics, that's extremely difficult, because the balloon placement becomes a nightmare. So the rhythm of comics dialogue is very different. That's on the printed page, of course. With the advent of net comics, that's going to change, because you can do multiple balloon layouts over a single panel, pop up one grouping of balloons, dissolve them away, and pop up another when the reader clicks the "Next" button, or whatever.

One other thing that's different about television is that writers spend a lot more time being salesmen than is necessary in comics. In TV, story ideas are initially "pitched" verbally, in meetings, not written out as proposals. That process has its good and bad aspects. The good: Fewer ideas get stolen this way, which is why the Writers Guild actually forbids pitching stories in writing. The bad: If you're a good writer but a crappy pitchman, you'll never get work. Both skills are absolutely necessary to make a living in TV, and the pitchman's skill is probably the more important of the two.

Where working in TV has probably hurt my writing is in the area of spontaneity. In my earliest years in comics, I used to plot everything on the fly. I'd start a story having no idea at all where it was going to end. I'd just start the conflict rolling, and it became kind of a game for me to play out all the ramifications and figure out how the events would resolve themselves. After years of writing outlines for every story, and then revising, re-revising, and re-re-revising those outlines before ever taking the story to script, that improvisational approach isn't something that comes naturally to me anymore, though, maybe it would if I were working on a monthly book again. The graphic novels and limited series I've been writing in recent years demand a tighter structure, because there are only a finite number of pages to work with. It's difficult to start one of those without a reasonably clear idea of where it's going to end.

Any future plans you'd like to tell us about?

I'm in the process of setting up a new website - - that should make its debut sometime this summer. And I'm working on the premise for another Elseworlds book, this one starring the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, and set in New York in the early 1900s. The artist for that book, assuming we get it approved, will probably be Marshall Rogers. And, as I mentioned, I'm doing a sequel to LAST SON OF EARTH Both of those books will appear sometime next year.

And then there are those various net-related projects. In some ways, I'm looking forward to those most of all. Maybe because I've worked a lot in other media, I don't feel as wedded to the printed page as some comics people seem to. I really believe the future of comics is digital, whether on the net or as e-books, and I'm eager to explore those new frontiers.

You've got projects of your own underway, and you've been working with Stan Lee.

I was on staff at Stan Lee Media for about six months, but we parted ways over certain contractual and creative issues. I've since done some work for the company on a freelance basis. Stan wants to produce very accessible material aimed primarily at younger viewers, and I'm trying to turn out the best work I can within those parameters. I approach it the same way I did Thundarr or G.I. Joe or the WB Batman series, when I was working in animation, and make no mistake, I'm very proud of a lot of the scripts I wrote and had the privilege to story edit on those shows.

My own projects, as you might expect, are a little more bizarre. One could be described as a Hanna-Barbera cartoon on acid, a surreal, trans-dimensional adventure series with an underlying theme of funny-animal rights. Another is an action-horror-comedy-romance about vampires, secret agents, and nurses. And there's a third that could be described, in the high-concept lingo of film and TV, as a cross between Alien and The Grapes of Wrath. I've been meeting with some resistance on these, I'm accustomed to that, but sooner or later someone will realize that they're at least as interesting as your average Internet fart-humor cartoon, and may even have the potential to rival a certain talking duck trapped in the real world.

In some ways, I'm looking forward to these most of all. The Internet audience is much wider than that for comics these days, and, maybe because I've worked a lot in other media, I don't feel as wedded to the printed page as some comics people seem to. I really believe the future of comics is digital, whether on the net or as e-books, and I'm eager to explore those new frontiers.

If I were 24 again (he says, heaving a large sigh), and I still wanted to do comics, I'd never even consider going to Marvel or DC. I'd amass all the knowledge I could about HTML, web design, Photoshop, and Macromedia's Flash, and head straight for the net.

Sounds just like a Gerber story in fact. A man travels back in time to create a new identity for himself. Yet another story of transferred consciousness and creative ambition from the man whose fascination with what makes a person who they are, and not someone -- or something -- else, has permeated some of the best comics I've read.

Do yourself a favour. Pick up LAST SON OF EARTH. Invest in the NEVADA trade paperback. Hang around on street corners and wait for someone to pimp you copies of HOWARD THE DUCK, A. BIZARRO, STEWART THE RAT, VOID INDIGO, or whatever else has Gerber's name on it. You won't find foil covers or bikini variants, but if you're looking for character-based writing with warmth and humour, and intriguing concepts that are all the more powerful for not screaming their weirdness at you, then Gerber might be just the writer you didn't even know you were looking for.

Adrian Reynolds is a continuing contributor to PopImage.

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