Steve Gerber, Father of Modern Madness
It was not for nothing that comics-writer Steve Gerber called his corporate identity "Mad Genius Associates"; from the early 1970s onward Gerber did acrobatics on that divide and saw through the visions foisted on America by false self-help prophets.
There was the folksy charlatan "Pop" Syke in the Howard the Duck newspaper strip; the human-potential movement to eradicate your "Bozo" self (literally punching out a clown persona in those copyright-loose days) run behind the scenes by a paternalistic extraterrestrial conqueror in the Defenders comic; the vision-questing derelict ex-shrink in Doctor Fate; and much more.
We first got the sad news of Steve's death from gifted U.K. cartoonist Pete Doree, who was also the only reader to note the debt owed in Dr. Id's battles with Dr. Bill and Joy Bronner to the ghost-of-Freud/almost-Oprah clash in Steve's early-2000s Howard miniseries, though at the time Adam scripted those the similarity was -- wait for it -- unconscious.
Our respect for Steve, though, is very deliberate, and to add to the mutual support that so many have been giving each other and his memory online, we offer this link to Adam's eulogy on ComicCritique.com, and a PDF, through the generous cooperation of TwoMorrows Publishing, of a 2004 article by Adam containing an interview on imaginary presidential politics with Steve himself. Web journalist Tom Spurgeon has compiled an extensive archive on Steve's legacy here, and the multi-talented Mark Evanier is maintaining Steve's old blog in a memorial capacity here.
Goodbye, Steve -- our time is up but your gift is eternal.