Sunday, August 30, 2015

Steve Gerber Piggyback

Ever so often I run across something on the web I'd like to share.  The fan blog about Steve Gerber is one of them.  As some may know, Steve Gerber was the writer of the comic Howard the Duck, which was eventually made into a movie of the same name in 1986.  Partly produced by George Lucas and initially conceived as an animated film, it turned into a live action film, and didn't get very good reviews when released.  I've seen the film and it's hardly the worse film I've ever seen, though it's not great by any measure.  It is what it is, a comic book movie based on a satirical comic book that has an outlandish story. 

For the 80's it has that vibe that many of the fantastical movies of that period had, for instance, Back To The Future (though done better), The Goonies (better than average), Beetlejuice, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Weird Science, Earth Girls Are Easy, Spaceballs, and so forth.  Like I said, it's not a great movie, but has that zany element to it that a lot of the films of that decade had.  I'm not sure why that decade had so many films like that other than I think perhaps they were influenced by punk and new wave music, and some of that manic music overlapped into the films, and also Hollywood wanted to exploit and capitalize on that market.  Sure there were other and better films made during that decade like Blade Runner, The Empire Strikes Back, Die Hard, Aliens,  Raiders of the Lost Ark, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or which ever films were your personal favorites.  Actually looking back at that decade reveals just how many amazing films were made during that timeframe.  So back to Howard the Duck, it wasn't the greatest, but for me it wasn't a totally stinker either.  I prefer it over Spaceballs, Earth Girls Are Easy, and a few other films of that caliber. 

I never knew much about Howard the Duck or Steve Gerber either as I never read an issue of said comic.  I always heard it mentioned when someone was talking about great or unusual comics.  That it contained a lot of satire, was well written, and was pretty funny.  Man-Thing I was a bit more familiar with as I had one or two issues of that, though my knowledge of that was slim too, though I liked a lot of the horror comics.  At any rate, here's the piggyback link to The Gerber Curse site.  I found it interesting because it has a biography on Gerber and notes many of this works.  Enjoy.


At 8:09 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

The fate of the film “Howard the Duck” demonstrated once again that no one knows anything about how commercial a product will be. I remember the hype leading up to the release. George Lucas, it was thought, could do no wrong, and “Howard the Duck” would be the camp classic of the decade. All the usual merchandise from Duck Themed T-shirts to coffee mugs to action figures stocked store shelves. Even after studio execs saw their finished product and previewed it to test audiences they remained convinced. Instead it didn’t even rise high enough to flop. Moviegoers ignored it in droves while reviewers ... well, let’s just say they weren’t kind. (There must be something about being a member of a test audience that alters the experience, for test audiences often differ in response from general audiences.)

I agree that it isn’t nearly as bad as its reputation. It is even amusing in spots, but it certainly didn’t live up to the hype. Maybe the hype was much of the problem; audiences might have been more forgiving if they hadn’t been told how entertained they should be by it. Nonetheless, it’s fair to say that as an attempt at “camp,” the Duck missed. It didn’t miss as by as much as some 80s attempts, e.g. the truly dreadful “Voyage of the Rock Aliens,” but it missed. As a comic book, the Duck didn’t miss, and I give Lucas some credit for having the courage to try a live action adaptation, but the different format was a quack too far. I wish the movie warranted a better joke.

At 9:30 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

You quack me up, Richard. Sorry. I've never seen Voyage of the Rock Aliens, and I'm thinking that's a good thing. You're probably right about the hype, plus it being a movie taken from a satirical comic probably didn't help either. But then, there were enough zany movies at the time, and like I said, it just seemed to be one of the many. It seems I remember it got pretty bad reviews across the board, and that probably didn't help it either. People always say about some movies: "That was the worst movie ever made." or "That the worst movie I've ever seen." But then, they've never seen Voyage of the Rock Aliens, or The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.


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