Comics writer Steve Gerber has died. As a writer for Marvel in the 1970s, Gerber created Howard the Duck and Omega the Unknown. As a result of the legal battle for ownership of Howard, Gerber became an early advocate and fighter for creator’s rights in the U.S. comics industry.

The best adventure comic book writer of the 1970s, Gerber enjoyed long, innovative and popular runs on The Defenders, Son of Satan, Manthing, and many other titles. Gerber’s brand of tightly-plotted superheroics combined with social commentary, satire, psychedelia, and an original approach to character and setting to produce memorable characters and stories that are still read today. Indeed, for many readers , fans and historians, Steve Gerber was 1970s superhero comics.

Gerber worked for a variety of publishers during his career and was a writer/producer for television, working on several animated series and created the fondly-remembered Thundarr in 1980.

Gerber died of pneumonia, a result of his struggle with pulmonary fibrosis. In recent years he had been writing for DC Comics, preparing a Dr. Fate miniseries and blogging about his life. Beginning earlier this year, a new series featuring his Omega character and written by Jonathan Lethem paid honour to his legacy.

Tom Spurgeon has an excellent obituary at Comics Reporter.

Mark Evanier has posted the news at Gerber’s blog.

T.Hodler’s 2-part critical overview of Gerber’s career, written for the magazine Comics Comics, is an excellent introduction. Hodler’s footnotes are here.