By now the news that Steve Gerber died has been on nearly every comic blog I read and then some. A number of folks blogged about how they grew up reading Howard the Duck or came of age with that comic, but for me, Howard just hit at the right time. I was reading comics for quite a while, since 1960 or thereabouts, and was an adult by the time I discovered Howard the Duck. And that was just good timing.
I was a DC fan, so I mostly read DC comics, along with Archies. I read some romance comics and have since discovered that Marvel published some of those titles, so I guess I read some Marvels without knowing it. The one Marvel comic I know I read in the '60s was an issue of Fantastic Four in the dentist's office.
In the '70s, I thought I should broaden my comics reading to include Marvel, but I didn't want to read the established superhero books. I wanted to try the titles that got away from all that. So I tried Man-Thing (and decided I liked DC's Swamp Thing better), Killraven, and a perverse little comic that got under my skin in ways I'd never expected, a comic about a cigar smoking duck that pretty much turned the wholesome image of cartoon ducks on its ear, then spun it around til it got dizzy and collapsed.
Howard the Duck became the first comic I read each week it came out. It was a delightful obsession that made me laugh and sometimes cry. And Steve Gerber was the man responsible for it. I'm sure I read other comics he wrote, but it's Howard the Duck I associate with his name and that I'll always remember.
He had enormous talent and will be missed.