By Todd Allen
Steve Gerber died in 2008. Four years later, his final Man-Thing story is coming out. Doubtless, this would have gotten a sardonic retort from Gerber, so let’s all pause a moment and let you imagine it.
Felt good imagining that, didn’t it?
So the story over at Marvel’s website is that Gerber was never really satisfied with the ending to Man-Thing #12. This prompted him to go back a write a sequel to it, getting back to the original ending he’d intended. At some point, Kevin Nowlan was brought in to illustrate it. Nowlan being one of those artist who doesn’t pop up nearly regularly enough, frequently on a special project.
The new story is called ““Screenplay of the Living Dead Man,” after the original “Song-Cry of the Living Dead Man.” Of the script, Nowlan says:
“The main character’s violent struggle against his own mind,” he says of what stands out in INFERNAL MAN-THING. “On the surface, it’s ‘comic’ violence but it’s painful and grotesque. I don’t want to give away too much because there should still be some surprises for the reader. Smaller details of the protagonist’s life will seem familiar to anyone who knows a little about Steve’s career. There are a few, vaguely autobiographical moments. Some cartoon characters come to life. That’s a Steve Gerber trademark.”
The format of this is interesting. On their website, Marvel is calling it The Infernal Man-Thing and lists it as a 3 issue mini-series, starting in June. Over on his blog, Kevin Nowlan refers to it as a graphic novel. Sure enough, Amazon has a “Man-Thing” hardcover coming out in October, which would be a couple months after the mini-series wraps.
Either way, Gerber’s back from the dead and Marvel got a good one for his illustrator. Amusingly, one of the “alternate covers” Marvel lists for Infernal Man-Thing #1 is the original Gil Kane cover for Man-Thing #12. Is recycling a swamp monster the eco-friendly approach? A green-friendly approach to Man-Thing art? (I kid, I kid. And please note the “Kane + Romita” signature on that cover.)
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.