Decades after its release on March 13 1973, The Amazing Spider-Man #121 by Gerry Conway, Gil Kane, John Romita and Tony Mortellaro remains one of the most affecting, heartbreaking superhero comics to see publication. What starts off as a traditional superhero versus supervillain battle over the fate of the hero’s love interest takes a tragic turn when Gwen Stacy dies despite the hero's best efforts to save her --- and in that moment, superhero comics grew up in a major way.
At 19 years old, Gerry Conway --- born this day in 1952 --- took over writing duties on The Amazing Spider-Man. If that wasn't enough pressure for a kid, know that he took over from Stan Lee, who co-created the character and wrote over a hundred issues. Within a year of taking over on the book, Conway wrote the death of Gwen Stacy, one of the major turning points in the history of superhero comics.
If you were looking for the most auspicious start to a writing career, you'd have a hard time finding a bigger and better one than that. What's amazing is that Conway managed to live up to the standard he set for himself, carving out one of the most influential careers in comics history.
Debuting in the pages of Hawkman #4 by Murphy Anderson and Gardner Fox this week in 1964, Zatanna is a magician in a science fiction world; a magic user in a shared universe built upon Superman's otherworldly power and Batman's human ingenuity. She is both a “real” magician and a performance magician, as much at home with a genuine mind-wipe as she is with a dove up her sleeve.
Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Captain Marvel comics.
Writer Gerry Conway, who created several characters during his time at both Marvel and DC (including Firestorm, Killer Croc, Vixen and The Punisher) took to his blog recently to discuss and throw a spotlight on the way DC pay credit to their creative talent for the characters they created while working for the company.
By introducing what they call ‘creator equity participation’, DC was one of the first publishers to offer royalty payments to creators for when characters were used outside of the comics medium --- such as in television, cinema, toys, or video games. Chuck Dixon, for example, is paid whenever Bane appears in a film or video game, as he is cited as the character’s co-creator.
Originally published by DC Comics in 1988, Cinder and Ashe is a comic by Gerry Conway, José Luis García-López, and Joe Orlando about two mercenary/detective friends who are unable to escape and reconcile with the horrors of their shared past in Vietnam -- a past which has become actualized with the returning of a mad killer who they both thought was long dead. The story takes place in New Orleans with flashbacks to Vietnam, and some stops in Washington, DC and Iowa.
Now available in a collected edition, the book is a well preserved testament to the artistry of one of comics' best storytellers.
If our weekly Ask Chris column isn't enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: ComicsAlliance is proud to present Here's The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he dives into comics history to explain why you're wrong and he's right.
This week, a few viewers write in to ask about the history of Firestorm, a relatively obscure DC Comics character who was most prominent in the 1980s. As you may already know, obscure DC characters from the '80s are Chris's entire jam, which sends him on a long explanation of who Firestorm is and how he came to be, from the DC Implosion to Brave and the Bold.
If early reports are accurate, one of writer Gerry Conway's most famous Spider-Man stories has been adapted in the new The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie. Yet the studio behind the movie, Sony Pictures, has yet to contact or acknowledge the writer.
According to a post on Marvel Comics: The Untold Story author Sean Howe's Tumblr, Conway has been vying for a seat at the movie's premiere, even starting up a Twitter hashtag (#inviteGerryConway) to rally support. (Though Conway later undercut just how real the campaign is, calling it only "partly serious.")
One of the interesting things about Marvel Comics is how seamlessly they integrated horror characters into their mainstream universe. A lot of that, of course, is just convenience. Marvel is, after all, a superhero publisher, so even when they do a comic about Dracula or, say, an actual demon from Hell who runs around with his head on fire punishing sinners with his supernatural abilities, they still just treat them like superheroes that are just part of this bigger, weirder world.
As a result, while they might all get lumped in together, they never really stay cooped up in some spooky corner, and if you're the type to dive into the quarter bin to look for a few cheap scares, that makes it pretty easy to find a spoooooky Halloween back issue. Sometimes Dracula shows up in X-Men and hits on Storm for two issues. Sometimes Blade joins a team of British heroes and helps fight aliens. And sometimes... sometimes Spider-Man gets kidnapped and strapped to a table with Frankenstein so that some weirdo you've never heard of can make "MONSTER SUPREME."
Felicity Smoak is an important character on The CW network's Arrow. Next season, Smoak, played by actress Emily Bett Rickards, will be a series regular. A few months ago, the fact that Smoak was even appearing on the show came as news to Gerry Conway, the writer who co-created the character with artist Rafael Kayanan in a 1984 issue of Firestorm. He didn't find out via a royalty check, either. He found out from fans. Now, he's started a blog aimed at getting himself and his fellow creators some compensation when DC Comics characters the create appear in non-comics media.