Gerry Conway: Wikis

  
  
  

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Gerry Conway
Born Gerard F. Conway[1]
September 10, 1952 (1952-09-10) (age 57)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer
Notable works Punisher, Spider-Man, Justice League of America, Firestorm the Nuclear Man

Gerard F. "Gerry" Conway (September 10, 1952 - ) is an American writer of comic books and television shows. He is best known for co-creating the Marvel Comics vigilante The Punisher (with artist Ross Andru) and scripting the death of the character Gwen Stacy during his long run on The Amazing Spider-Man. He is also known for co-creating the DC Comics superhero Firestorm (with artist Al Milgrom), and for scripting the first major, modern-day intercompany crossover, Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man.

Contents

Biography

Early career

The Amazing Spider-Man #121: "The Night Gwen Stacy Died". Cover art by John Romita Sr.

Born in New York City, New York, United States, Conway grew up a comic fan; a letter from him appears in Fantastic Four #50 (May 1966), written when Conway was 14. He published his first professional comic book work while still in his mid-teens,[2] with the 6-1/2-page horror story "Aaron Philips' Photo Finish" in DC Comics' House of Secrets #81 (Sept. 1969). He continued selling such anthological stories for that series and for Marvel's Chamber of Darkness and Tower of Shadows through the end of 1970, by which time he had also published one-page, text short stories in DC's All-Star Western #1 (Sept. 1970) and Super DC Giant #S-14 (Oct. 1970). He published his first continuing-character story in DC's semi-anthological occult comic The Phantom Stranger #10 (Dec. 1970).

Conway broke into Marvel Comics through Marvel editor Roy Thomas:

I'd been writing for DC Comics for two or three years . . . but to paraphrase the joke about the actor's ambitions to be a director, what I really wanted to do was write superheroes — specifically Marvel heroes. Through friends I'd become acquainted with Roy Thomas, who was Stan Lee's right-hand man at the time, and Roy offered me a shot at the Marvel 'writing test'. Stan wasn't impressed, but Roy liked what I did, and began throwing some short assignments my way, including scripting over his plot on an early Ka-Zar [story]. . . .[3]

Following his first continuing-character story for Marvel, with his script for the jungle lord Ka-Zar in Astonishing Tales #3 (Dec. 1970), Conway's began writing superhero stories with Daredevil #72 (Jan. 1971). He quickly went on to assignments on Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and both "The Inhumans" and "The Black Widow" features in the split book Amazing Adventures. Conway would eventually script virtually every major Marvel title, as well as co-create (with writers Roy & Dann Thomas and artist Mike Ploog) the lycanthropic lead character of the feature "Werewolf by Night", in Marvel Spotlight #2 (Feb. 1972); and write the premiere issue of Marvel's The Tomb of Dracula, introducing the longstanding literary vampire into the Marvel universe. He scripted the first Man-Thing story, in 1971, sharing co-creation credit with Stan Lee and Roy Thomas.

Superman and Spider-Man

Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (1976), cover art by Carmine Infantino, Ross Andru & Dick Giordano

At 19, Conway began scripting The Amazing Spider-Man, one of Marvel's flagship titles. His run, from issues #111–149 (August 1972 – October 1975), included the landmark death of Gwen Stacy story in #121 (June 1973). Eight issues later, Conway and Andru introduced the Punisher as a conflicted antagonist for Spider-Man. The character went on to become a popular star of numerous comic books and has been adapted into three movies. Conway additionally scripted Marvel's other flagship, Fantastic Four, from #133–152 (April 1973 – Nov. 1974).

Conway in 2009 reflected on writing flagship Marvel characters at a very young age:

Precocity is a well-known curse; most of the pressure I felt as a younger writer was self-imposed. I wanted to be accepted by other writers and artists as an equal, which put me in some awkward situations — pretending to be more mature than I was, emotionally and professionally. As it happened, I was pretty good at faking a maturity I didn't have, which had advantages and, obviously, some disadvantages. I think people often forgot how young I was, and expected me to perform at a level that was actually beyond me. The result was, I was pretty stressed for most of my early career as a writer, and I often felt like I had no idea what I was doing —which was true. I wrote instinctively and from the gut; when those instincts were appropriate to the material I was writing — for example, when I was writing [The Amazing] Spider-Man — the results were something I was quite proud of, then and now. When my instincts were off, I didn't have the experience to either recognize it, or to compensate for it, with results that were more uneven.[4]

Conway returned to DC Comics in mid-1975, beginning with three books cover-dated Nov. 1975: Hercules Unbound #1, Kong the Untamed #3, and Swamp Thing #19. Shortly afterward, he was chosen by Marvel and DC editors to script the historic intercompany crossover Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man #1, a 96-page, tabloid-sized, $2 one-shot, at a time when comic books sold for 25 cents.

Firestorm #1 (March 1978), cover art by Al Milgrom

He continued writing for DC, on titles including Superman, Detective Comics (starring Batman), Metal Men, Justice League of America, 1st Issue Special #11 starring Codename: Assassin, and that of the licensed character Tarzan, yet briefly returned to Marvel as editor in mid-1976. In short order, he succeeded Marv Wolfman as Marvel editor-in-chief in mid-1976, but held the job only briefly, relinquishing the post before the year was out and succeeded in turn by Archie Goodwin.

For a time, a confluence of publishing schedules resulted in Conway stories appearing in both Marvel and DC comics in the same month: The prolific Conway's comic books with January 1977 cover-dates alone, for example, are Marvel's The Avengers, The Defenders, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man and the premiere issues of Ms. Marvel and Logan's Run, and DC's flagships Superman and Action Comics (starring Superman).

After leaving Marvel's editorship, he again wrote exclusively for DC, writing both major and lesser titles — from those featuring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League of America, and the Legion of Super-Heroes to such books as Weird Western Tales, Atari Force and Sun Devils — through mid-1986. His co-creation Firestorm, "the Nuclear Man", debuted in the eponymous Firestorm #1 (March 1978), which lasted five issues before being canceled during a 1978 DC retrenchment. The character then starred in a backup feature in The Flash before again receiving his own series, Firestorm the Nuclear Man, from June 1982 – August 1990; Conway wrote most of the first half of the run, plus four of its five annuals.

Conway returned to Marvel in the 1980s and served as the regular writer of both The Spectacular Spider-Man and Web of Spider-Man from 1988 until 1990. He relinquished writing duties on both titles when he became the story editor of the television series Father Dowling Mysteries.

Conway's last recorded comics credit is Topps Comics' "Kirbyverse" one-shot NightGlider[5] #1 (April 1993), scripting from a Roy Thomas plot. Conway said in May 2009, however, he was returning to comics to write DC Comics' The Last Days of Animal Man, with artist Chris Batista.[6]

Books, comic strips, screenplays

In addition to comics, Conway published two science-fiction novels: The Midnight Dancers (Ace, 1971, ISBN 0-441-52975-5; this is not the same-name book by Anne Maybury, nor Midnight Dancer by Emily Bradshaw) and Mindship (DAW, 1974, ISBN 0-87997-095-2). He also wrote the February 14 - December 3, 1983 dailies of the syndicated newspaper comic strip Star Trek, based upon the 1960s TV series.[7]

Conway as well moved into screenwriting in the 1980s, starting with the animated feature Fire and Ice (1983), co-written with Roy Thomas, based on characters created by Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta. Conway and Thomas wrote the story basis for Stanley Mann's screenplay for the film Conan the Destroyer (1984).

Conway went on to write, and eventually produce, for such TV series as Father Dowling Mysteries, Diagnosis Murder, Matlock, Jake and the Fatman, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Baywatch Nights, Pacific Blue, Silk Stalkings, Perry Mason telefilms, Law & Order, The Huntress, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and an episode of Batman: The Animated Series.

Personal

Conway married Karen Britten, a psychologist who works with autistic children, in 1992. The couple have a child, Rachel Conway (born 1995). As of 2006, they reside in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, California. Conway is also the father of Cara Conway, born Nov. 30, 1979; her mother, Carla [Joseph] Conway, has a "story assist" credit in Ms. Marvel #1 (Jan. 1977).[8]

Conway's ancestral family background is Irish, as he described in his blog:

In my case, on my mother's side, I'm a second-generation immigrant. My grandparents were born in Ireland. They came to America in the late 'teens of the last century and lived a life not very different from the life my housekeeper and her husband live today. My grandfather was a day laborer in the Brooklyn ship yards. My (step)-grandmother washed floors at Hunter College in Manhattan. (My biological grandmother died when my mother was eight years old, so I've no idea what she did to earn a living, but I assume it was either piece work or domestic work of some kind.) Because they were lower-class Irish, they were the Hispanics of their day — tolerated, but not embraced, by the larger society, and viewed with scorn by the WASP upper class. ... Even my father felt that anti-Irish prejudice, real or imagined. In the 1950s he once spoke, rather bitterly, about being one of the two 'token Irishmen' working at his company.[9]

Audio/video

Footnotes

  1. ^ Thomas, Roy. "Roy's Rostrum," "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel Super-Heroes #43 (Marvel Comics, May 1974).
  2. ^ Conway's autobiographical capsule on the Internet Movie Database says he was 15; his blog said 16. Conway's earliest recorded credit bears a September 1969 cover date, meaning newsstand availability in summer 1969 and a typical deadline of two to three months earlier. This gives the age of 16 more credence; however, it is not unusual for a novice's story to be held indefinitely before being published (c.f. comics writer Mike Friedrich).
  3. ^ Harvey, Allan. "Black Widow: The Gloria Steinem of the Jump-Suit Set". Back Issue #26 (Feb. 2008), p. 4
  4. ^ "Exclusive Gerry Conway Interview" FantasticFourHeadquarters.com, 2009
  5. ^ Sources disagree on the spelling, sometimes even within the same source: The cover of the single issue itself appears to spell it "NightGlider". The cover of Victory #1 likewise spells it as one word, though in an all-caps typeface. The Jack Kirby Museum site spells it "Night Glider". The Grand Comics Database entry spells it as both "Nightglider" and "Night Glider".
  6. ^ "The End? Gerry Conway on The Last Days of Animal Man", Newsarama, March 13, 2009
  7. ^ Star Trek Comics Checklist: Star Trek Los Angeles Times Syndicate newspaper comic strip
  8. ^ Reprinted in Lee, Stan, The Superhero Women (Fireside Books, 1977) ISBN 0-671-22928-1
  9. ^ "Immigration, Part One", Gerry Conway official blog, September 17, 2006. Accessed October 10, 2009

References

External links

Preceded by
Marv Wolfman
Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief
1976
Succeeded by
Archie Goodwin
Preceded by
None
Man-Thing writer
1971
Succeeded by
Len Wein
Preceded by
Allyn Brodsky
Iron Man writer
1971–1972
(with Allyn Brodsky in early 1971)
Succeeded by
Gary Friedrich
Preceded by
Roy Thomas
Daredevil writer
1971–1973
Succeeded by
Steve Gerber
Preceded by
Roy Thomas
Man-Thing writer
1972
Succeeded by
Steve Gerber
Preceded by
Gary Friedrich
Captain America writer
1972
Succeeded by
Steve Englehart
Preceded by
Stan Lee
Thor writer
1972–1975
Succeeded by
Bill Mantlo
Preceded by
Roy Thomas
Fantastic Four writer
1973–1974
Succeeded by
Roy Thomas
Preceded by
Stan Lee
Amazing Spider-Man writer
1973–1975
Succeeded by
Len Wein
Preceded by
Steve Englehart
Incredible Hulk writer
1974
(with Roy Thomas)
Succeeded by
Len Wein
Preceded by
Steve Englehart
Avengers writer
1976–1977
Succeeded by
Jim Shooter
Preceded by
Archie Goodwin
Iron Man writer
1976–1977
(with Herb Trimpe in late 1976 and early 1977)
(with Bill Mantlo in late 1977)
Succeeded by
Bill Mantlo
Preceded by
Marv Wolfman
Daredevil writer
1977
(with Jim Shooter)
Succeeded by
Jim Shooter
Preceded by
Steve Englehart
Justice League of America writer
1978–1986
Succeeded by
J.M. DeMatteis
Preceded by
N/A
The Fury of Firestorm writer
1982–1986
Succeeded by
Paul Kupperberg
Preceded by
Peter David
Spectacular Spider-Man writer
1988–1991
Succeeded by
David Michelinie
Preceded by
Peter David
Web of Spider-Man writer
1989–1990
Succeeded by
Danny Fingeroth







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