Monday, February 11, 2008

R.I.P. Steve Gerber and Roy Scheider

I've been away a while and this was just not the kind of post I wanted to return with. I just found out on the Byrne board and then on Newsarama that the great Steve Gerber has passed away after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

I grew up reading a lot of Steve Gerber's books, particularly MAN-THING, HOWARD THE DUCK and, later, THE DEFENDERS. While a lot of the subtext in his stories flew waaay over my young head at the time, I could still tell that this guy was special. His stories were unlike anything being published at the time. I read and re-read, countless times, his story "Night of the Laughing Dead" in MAN-THING #5. Gerber and artist Mike Ploog created magic with that story. I've read on the Internet that Gerber was very fond of the character Omega the Unknown and it saddens me to think that a miniseries "reimagining" that character was being published at the time of his death, without his involvement. I'd been checking in on his blog in recent months after hearing of his illness and was not surprised to see him facing his own mortality with the same black humor you'd expect to find in one of his stories.

Damn it, sixty is just too young. Tonight, with Suzanne away in New York on business, I think I'll curl up in bed with the cats, open up ESSENTIAL MAN-THING Volume 1 and read "Night of the Laughing Dead" one more time in Mr. Gerber's honor.


Today we also got the news that Roy Scheider passed away on Sunday. While he had a fairly distinguished career, I knew him primarily from two movies: JAWS and BLUE THUNDER. I think we can all agree JAWS is an excellent film and Mr. Scheider was a big part of that excellence. But BLUE THUNDER was different. I loved it as a kid but, as an adult, watching it a few weeks ago on OnDemand, I had to admit it just didn't hold up. The story was dumb, the dialogue and characters kind of uninspired. But Roy Scheider made the film watchable. In just about everything I ever saw him in, he elevated the material, just by being in it. I was really, really sorry to hear he'd passed. So long, Chief Brody.


renecarol said...

Lexie and I just got back from the funeral home. Her friend & classmate died Saturday evening. It seems like they rushed things with the funeral so soon. They wanted the kids from her class there at 6:30pm tonight. I pick her up from after school at almost 6pm. Anyway 7 is too young. I cried. A lot. For a kid I didn't even really know. My daughter was friends with her for 2 years now and she'd never even spent the night at our house. I've spent the last 48 hours thinking about how fragile life is. As if I hadn't been doing that enough the past several months.

Brian said...

With Gerber and Scheider, it is some consolation that they had long lives and achieved much in their lives, but when you have to face the death of a 7 year old, there are no words for such a tragedy.

Leaf said...

Yikes. Horrible news all around. Just saw the we lost another artist over the weekend: St├ęphane Peru. I'm actually at a loss of words, which doesn't happen much.

Heywood Jablomie said...

Sad news indeed. I've only read bits and pieces of Steve's work, mostly his Howard stuff. And Roy will always live on in his scenes from Jaws. I liked his cameo in the Punisher though. And Rene's story is just sad. 7 years old really is way too young.

Elizabeth said...

Roy has one more film coming out that is rumored to be his best performance. It's called Iron Cross. Has anyone heard anything about it?