Steve, of course, was having ongoing lung problems, which made it difficult to work. Hero had stepped in and helped Steve with some bills from time to time, and even helped him land a paying gig writing a five-minute cartoon short. Josue Justiano, the artist working with Steve on Countdown to Mystery, also knew of Steve’s health problems, of course. Josue floated the notion to Steve that perhaps he would give Steve some of his original art, and Steve could sell it, auction it off, or whatever to make a buck. Steve’s answer:
“That’s great for me. But what about the next guy?”
To me, this illustrates one helluva lot about Steve’s character. Of course Steve had needs. He was no dummy; he knew it! But he was even more concerned about “the next guy.” Whoever that next guy was.
So it was with alla that in mind that we concocted FOOG, TOO! or “Friends Of Ol’ Gerber,” too. (Your miraculous Interweb will tell you all you wanna know about the original FOOG if ya wanna look it up.) We were gonna create several Gerber-centric products under the FOOG, TOO! banner that would help fund Hero (and thereby, also help Steve out financially in his convalescence). The first outta the gate was scheduled to be this super-cool Frank Cho Howard-and-Beverly print seen here. Working with our pals at Marvel, we got some new Frank Cho/Jason Keith art, and got these suckers printed up. Frank and Steve were slated to sign ’em, and ¡voila! Instant fundraiser product.
So here’s irony, coincidence, “the universe knows something” or whatever. Steve passed away in the evening of Feb. 10. These arrived in Las Vegas for Steve’s signature the morning of Feb. 11.
The good news: We’ll have both unsigned and Cho-signed prints available for sale starting at the Orlando MegaCon, March 7-9, and throughout the rest of the con season. They’re also available via AtomicComics.com. Pick one up if you’re of the mind. I think and hope that’s what Gerber woulda wanted. There is, after all, “the next guy.”
More on FOOG, TOO later.