All October long I will be exploring the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” Here is an archive of the past installments!
Today we look at Steve Gerber’s famous (infamous?) issue of Howard the Duck #16, where the late, great Gerber devoted the entire issue to basically his own ruminations upon his run on the title.
Howard the Duck #15 ended on a cliffhanger, but after showing the cliffhanger again, the issue quickly explains that due to a delay, Howard the Duck #16 was going to be a reprint issue (Marvel used to do that in the old days to avoid issues being delayed). Gerber decides that instead of doing a reprint (especially for a relatively new series), he would do a special series of essays illustrated by a number of different artists (click to enlarge the double page spread).
The whole issue is Gerber examining his own work…
And, really, his own doubts about the book, as well…
To cap it off, he even writes himself a fan letter criticizing the issue!!!
Definitely one of the most memorable issues Gerber ever wrote.