MAN-THING #11-12 (1974)

At this point, M-T becomes a freak-of-the-month book, which lets Steve Gerber play out his wildly libertarian, anti-Church and anti-Government fantasies out on a swampy stage.  It’s tons of fun, even if the stories don’t amount to meaning much of anything in terms of developing the mythology of Man-Thing. I’m going to cover two in a single post, even though they’re not interrelated, because collectively they show how Steve Gerber used this book to push the limits of the comic book medium and tell very unusual stories.

In #11, Man-Thing and Richard Rory save a girl from some Vietnam veterans who are trying to kidnap a girl (who flees into the swamp, of course) and use her to create a platform to talk about the use of napalm. Their bodies are all burned from it, so we’ve got humans who look scary fighting the frightening Man-Thing.

For #12, we get John Buscema layouts and Klaus Janson finishes. Extraordinary. I imagine artists wanted to work on this book, because Gerber scripts are dense and unusual, and typically are not “action” stories. This means that mood and layout–and inking–are very important. Like camera angles and lighting matter in a talk-heavy movie.

Gerber also loved to write about writing, and in this story a writer is haunted by literal, physical manifestations of writer’s block. We see Gerber’s penchant for “all-text” pages at work here as well.

Leave a Comment