Old Steve Gerber was the security chief of Frederic Schist's oil-drilling company in Bywater, New Orleans. Schist's extractions in a Seminole sacred land (which Schist had legally bought) attracted peaceful demonstrations of oponents, and Schist claimed that swamp-dwelling mestizo Rene LaRoque was sabotaging his hardware. Gerber, who was prejudiced against non-whites, subscribed Schist's opinions. However, LaRoque was not the saboteur: The hidden truth was that Indian chief Ted Sallis had refused to sell the land, so Schist murdered Sallis and buried him in the sacred land; Sallis had returned as the monstrous Man-Thing, a barely-seen guardian spirit of vengeance set against Schist and his assets.
After the Man-Thing had murdered Sheriff Corely, demonstrations against Schist continued, with several peaceful protesters tying themselves to the machines. Schist and Gerber tried to convince them to leave. Replacement Sheriff Kyle Williams appeared and drove the boycotters away; Schist told him his version of the facts, with Gerber watching and approving it all.
That same night, Schist reported a sabotage against his machinery, even with Gerber watching: It was all full of flora. Schist asked for the sheriff to came, and he told Williams that he suspected LaRoque had done this. Gerber endorsed this opinion based on his racism, which was disliked by Williams. Even after Williams had expressed his disapproval, Gerber warned Williams against the supernatural dangers of the swamp.
Gerber joined Schist's son foreman Jake Schist for a night shift of the facilities. Schist saw something moving in the nearby swamp, shot with a submachine gun and went to investigate. Gerber asked for details, but received no answer. The old man considered joining Jake Schist, but he was unable to jog and convinced himself that he was simply not willing to make an effort because of an Indian man. He returned to his booth, but the Man-Thing reached it and attacked the outer walls. Gerber tried to believe that Jake Schist was simply playing a joke, but suddenly the door exploded and he could glimpse the Man-Thing. The creature was so hideous that Gerber screamed in panic. The Man-Thing murdered Gerber by making branches grow from the inside of Gerber's body.
The following morning, medical examiner Val Mayerik was sent there to examine Gerber, with Sheriff Williams making a police analysis. Both were aghast at the corpse. Mayerik however confirmed that the branches were not inserted on Gerber, and he recognized that three other corpses had been found in similar conditions during the past months, only Sheriff Corely forbid Mayerik from reporting it.
Jake Schist hired local thugs the Thibadeaux brothers to track LaRoque in the swamp, claiming that it was a reprisal for Gerber's. Sheriff Williams visited the Thibadeauxes to warn them against this scheme; the brothers falsely claimed that Schist was only telling them about Gerber's sad passing, not hiring them.
Powers and Abilities
- Being in a bad shape, Gerber could not run during extended periods of time, like several minutes. Gerber is also vulnerable to flora-based attacks in which branches grow from the inside of his body and leave through the throat.
- Loudspeaker. A smoker and drinker, Gerber also carried tobacco, a lighter and a hip flask.
- Steve Gerber was played by actor William Zappa in the film Man-Thing. The character was named after the real-life Steve Gerber, famous co-creator of Howard the Duck. Gerber had worked alongside Michael "Mike" Ploog on the first Man-Thing comic book series.