Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gerry Conway - 5 Quick Questions

Gerry Conway 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.

At 19, Conway began scripting The Amazing Spider-Man, one of Marvel's flagship titles. His run, from issues #111-149 (Aug. 1972 - Oct. 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 to be adapted into two movies. Conway additionally scripted Marvel's other flagship, Fantastic Four, from #133-152 (April 1973 - Nov. 1974)

Conway succeeded Marv Wolfman as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics in mid-1976, but held the job only briefly, relinquishing the post before the year was out and succeeded in turn by Archie Goodwin.

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. 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 featurng Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, 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, The Fury of Firestorm (later Firestorm the Nuclear Man), from June 1982 - Aug. 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 script-editor of TV's Father Dowling Mysteries.

He agreed to answer 5 Quick Questions:

1) What would you say is your greatest achievement in comics?

Inadvertently making super-hero comics "grow up" with the death of Gwen Stacy.

2) Who was your favorite writer or artist that you worked with & why?

Ross Andru; he was a genius storyteller and a brilliant layout artist, and a highly underrated draftsman in his own peculiar way.

3) What character you have never worked .., would you like to do & why?

I've never written Green Lantern as a solo hero, and I'd love to; of all the powered super-heroes, he's the only one I could ever seriously imagine myself becoming. After all, he just wears a ring; I could do that, right?

4) Who are your influences?

In comics, Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Jack Kirby, Denny O'Neil, Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox, and John Broome.

5) What hero or villain would you like to change if you could and why?

Not being all that up to date on the current versions of most heroes and villains, I can't really answer that one. I guess I wish Barry Allen were back as the Flash; no, wait...

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