Man-Thing #22 (1975): Series Ends

Steve Gerber resigns in the most Gerber-y way possible: He writes himself into the book, and re-tells all of the prior 21 issues as if they were dictated to Gerber by Dakimh, the sorcerer from the first arc.  It’s long and jumbled, with a full text page in the middle, but in a nutshell Steve himself saves the world because his words are a force against the evil magic in the world.

In the end, Dakimh thanks Gerber for his help-because he and Man-Thing couldn’t have survived without him, and Steve gives a resignation letter in the last panel.

This is clearly an influence on Grant Morrison, who concluded his incredible Animal Man book by drawing himself into the story and making himself an essential part of the character’s denouement.  Having a writer who cares so passionately about his characters was essential to the 1970s for Marvel, when they were still expanding and growing their Universe.  These days, it’s much less critical, as writers are focused on franchise characters (or legacy versions of franchise characters), and truly new characters barely ever make it in the Marvel world.

I know Gerber isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  He’s experimental, weird, and often his experiments fall flat.  But wouldn’t the world be a better place if we allowed for this kind of creativity today?  I think Marvel would be better off, at least.

Creators: Steve Gerber  and Jim Mooney
Grade: A-
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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