Gerry Conway

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Holy crap, where did this category stuff come from?

Anyway, Gerry Conway, the rat bastard responsible for nearly killing Spider-Man. CLONES! GWEN STACY CLONES! JACKAL CLONES! SPIDER-MAN CLONES! Never mind all that Joe Robertson / Tombstone garbage. A no-talent jerk.

Daver, Tuesday, 7 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Right behind Conway - David Micheline. VENOM! CARNAGE! PETER'S PARENTS! YOUNG VULTURE! Is it that hard to write comic books?

Daver, Tuesday, 7 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

dave, how old are you?

jess, Tuesday, 7 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'm twee years old.

Daver, Tuesday, 7 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

He was always a crap writer. Some other Marvel writer used to call him the Human Waterbed. I think that meant that he was fat. I'm not sure how that is supposed to distinguish him from other American superhero comic writers. He was a terrible editor too, by the way. If there was a good title with critical respect, he'd grab it for himself, and instantly lose said respect. Examples when he first got power were Gerber's Defenders and Englehart's Avengers.

Martin Skidmore, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I think he also wrote for Father Dowling Mysteries or Diagnosis: Murder. Whoo boy. I mean, whoo!

Daver, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I never met Conway, but I've just remembered when I met Tom DeFalco many years ago. He was claiming that the New Universe line (an abortive set of crappy titles) was aimed at the intelligent adult, college graduates in particular. My reaction to this was to say in a shocked tone, "You're telling me that a giant robot comic by Gerry Conway is aimed at intelligent adults!?" He was adamant = DeFalco is an idiot. Not coincidentally, DeFalco is the Gerry Conway of his generation.

Martin Skidmore, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Yeah, I can see Dad getting into Kickers, Inc. Suuuuuuuuure. (So THAT'S where Karen Berger got her Vertigo inspiration.)

DeFalco? His Spidey run was pretty solid, as far as I recall (tho that's due to Ron Frenz & Brett Breeding); his FF run was supercrap, tho - I could tell just by the stench coming off the covers.

It's Shooter's fault, really.

Daver, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Butbutbut both Psi-Force (Fabian Nicieza) and DP7 (Mark Gruenwald) were great! They were the first non-X titles I ever bought! (I will admit that Kickers Inc and Spitfire and the Troubleshooters were awful, but Spitfire was pretty cool when she showed up in DP7...)

Dan Perry, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Actually, I'm sure DeFalco was EIC of Marvel @ the time, and therefore obligated to tow the company line. And, Dan, don't let nostalgia cloud the obvious fact that A) the New Universe is crap and B) both Gruenwald & Nicieza (sic) weren't all that. Nicieza : X- Men :: Conway : Spider-Man.

Only 80s / early 90s Marvel writers worth a damn anymore: um ... Ann Nocenti (tho I know Dr. Funk will disagree), and ... um ... Frank Miller?

Daver, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Nicieza's X-Men = not that inspired, but light-years better than Mark Waid's. Nicieza's Thunderbolts = way more entertaining than Busiek's.

Gruenwald wrote Squadron Supreme = Gruenwald is a GOD = you are a monkey.

Dan Perry, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

one month passes...
Excuse me Daver, but Gerry Conway's original run on ASM was brilliant- -or, at least, it certainly was thought-provoking, and created a dilemma for Peter Parker that really mattered (what do you do when your past returns to you, and doesn't even know it's past?) wonderful! And i don't know where the rest of you are getting your critical notions from about Marvel in the eighties/ nineties: Nocenti & Miller brought a violent, S&M type of feel to comics that some people decided was more "mature" than the kind of stuff that, say, Roger Stern did on Spider-Man--but no way was it better: Daredevil was one of my least favourite titles throughout the period in question, precisely because it encouraged the kind of junk that comic fanboys label "hard-edged"-- but i just call it fodder for bad movies of the week...

Davo, Tuesday, 25 June 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

four months pass...
I know people who worked with Gerry Conway and had a lot of respect, for at least his work. Roy Thomas, another comic book writer great and him were writing partners well into the 80's, so that at least says something about his respect from others at Marvel.

Of course, the death of Gwen Stacey was an all time great and pushed the comic book world into a more introspective trend of superhereos capable of making human mistakes. Like it or not, Gerry Conway had a huge impact on comic books and was a young prodigy in the business (he started with marvel at age 16...what were you doing at 16?)

Also, a lot of the sequences of the box office hit Spiderman were taken from some of Gerry's work.

My last piece of evidence that Gerry Conway was a comic book great is that if there is a web page dedicated to a heated debate about his work, well - then he must have done something right to catch our attention.

beth, Wednesday, 13 November 2002 16:44 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh, don't get me started on Roy Thomas. I just read a couple of his Avengers stories (packaged in one of those damn 100 Page Specials from a couple years back) - #98-100 - and they were AWFUL. (Then again, this could be due to Barry Windsor-Smith's awful artwork.)

And re: bringing back the past to shove Spidey's nose in it - isn't that what the character's about? He became a super-duper dood because he indirectly killed his uncle! He STILL hasn't moved past that - Paul Jenkins has written a handful of great stories addressing this. That's already a set precedent - there's no need to cheapen such a powerful turning point in Spidey's life (the whole Goblin / Stacy death thing) by resorting to uninspired sci-fi tropes.

The fact that the movie folk used the Goblin death scene (AND the Stacy "death" scene, subbing in MJ for Gwen) only shows how lazy the writers were.

David R. (popshots75`), Wednesday, 13 November 2002 19:49 (nineteen years ago) link

Wow a G. Conway googler - I've seen it all now!

Andrew L (Andrew L), Wednesday, 13 November 2002 22:35 (nineteen years ago) link

You should laugh, Andrew: I got an email using almost entirely all of the same words as Beth above, except it started (no hellos at all) with "What do you know anyway?" As this was months after my comments upthread, it took a few lines to work out that I had obviously made disparaging remarks about Conway some time. This wasn't surprising of course, but why has it taken a couple more months for these same very weak points to appear here, albeit more politely put?

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 14 November 2002 00:37 (nineteen years ago) link

two months pass...
Dear Andrew, Martin and David R.

If my points are so weak then why have you not addressed the fact that all three of you have spent a good deal of time trying to discredit Gerry. As I said before, that at least proves that his work has impacted the comic book world, so much so, that all three of you feel you have to prove that his is not as good as the rest of us realize he was.

Also, you have still not answered my question. Gerry started publishing his work when he was 16 - what were you doing at that age?

Beth, Thursday, 23 January 2003 19:56 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh, and one last thing.

David R. - You are right that Peter Parker indirectly killed his uncle. However the difference between that and when Spiderman indirectly killed Gwen Stacey is that Peter Parker is just a normal guy and it is only normal for him to make such a human error. However when Parker takes on his role as Spider Man, he now has crossed over to super hero and therefore, traditionally, this role is suppose to be above human error. The fact that Spiderman indirectly Killed Stacey burst that bubble and took a way the safety net that super heros were perfect , aka could always save the day.

Beth, Thursday, 23 January 2003 20:04 (nineteen years ago) link

We have the world's slowest argument! Beth will turn up every few months to disagree with us!

Yes, I ignored your points: this is because I did reply to your very impolite email, and you ignored what I said and posted virtually identical words here months later. I'm not planning to treat you with loads more respect than you treat me.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 23 January 2003 20:12 (nineteen years ago) link

Gerry Conway's the Gerry Finley-Day of America...

I think I can take the '16' challenge! If Tom has any of the one-shot efforts from the far-off year of... 1994/5! They involved beatniks.

If Conway did Gwen Stacy dying (is that true?) then he did Harry Osbourne dancing through a giant maze of pills, which was ace and helped reduce the Comics Code to a toothless tiger. That said, the interminable clone madness - how do you fight the past when it has fists and hits you? Is what still keeps me from buying Spidey. Any Spidey. I think 'Mmm, Bendis, eh? Worth a look!' and then just crumble at the thought of the little webbed bastard.

Other rub Spidey-writers include DeMatteis, but his Dr Fate was worse, from its beginningless beginning to it's seemingly endless end.

Al Ewing (Al Ewing), Thursday, 23 January 2003 21:06 (nineteen years ago) link

DeMatteis was far worse than Conway - GC was competent and did a few decent things, but was often lazy, and often very mediocre. J.M. was unspeakable much of the time. Interesting Gerber follow-on comparison: Conway threw Gerber off the Defenders, and had to deal with the Elf With A Gun, which he did brilliantly, the best anyone but Gerber could do - he had him run down by a truck. Years later DeMatteis revived the bloody elf for an astoundingly crap multi-issue epic.

Jim Shooter was selling stories to DC at the age of, I think, 13. Some of them, especially the Legion ones, were terrific. He also wrote one of the best ever runs of the Avengers, then came back years later and wrote one of the worst ever.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 23 January 2003 21:50 (nineteen years ago) link

Martin, how come you think DeMatteis is unspeakable? I'm asking because I agree with you, but lots of people (specifically people into Spider-Man) seem to rate him. Mostly it's for 'Kraven's Last Hunt' that he's praised, but he is generally well regarded. KLH seems to me pretty decent, in terms of storytelling, but I generally hate his reliance on Oprah-level psychology. Stories called "The Child Within" etc. The dialogue is catastrophically bad.

Oh, and Al, I don't think Gerry Conway did the drug issues. That was two years before Gwen Stacey died. Also, the clones are gone - they've unofficially been written out of continuity.

Eyeball Kicks (Eyeball Kicks), Thursday, 23 January 2003 22:03 (nineteen years ago) link

I've not read J.M.'s more recent Spidey stories - I haven't read very many comics since I was professionally involved, and that's about ten years now. I'm mainly remembering appalling stuff like the Defenders stories I referenced, and most of all things like Moonshadow, which strikes me as a contender for the nadir of Marvel/DC publications of its era. Conway was pretty rub much of the time, but he was never in that league.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 23 January 2003 22:12 (nineteen years ago) link

Actually, _Kraven's Last Hunt_ WAS damn good, from what I remember (circa '90-'91), and possibly the best JMDeM writing I can recall - he had a run on _Spectacular_ sometime during Spidey's 30th anniversary, w/ Harry Osborn going nutzo & becoming the Green Goblin AGAIN, which was all right, nothing spectacular. However, he also wrote this mediocre / awful Vertigo series (Seekers?) that bored me to the same tears Moonshadow brought to Martin's eyes, I imagine. And let's not talk about the Defenders. Or the Secret Defenders. (How the hell can you mess up a team book featuring DOCTOR STRANGE? I don't get it.) Most indelible JMDeM flourish - the one-word-per-word-balloon schtick he'd employ when the message was very serious - HE / WAS / MY / FATHER! (Also - I liked the Shawn McManus art in the Dr. Fate books. That whole pseudo-Oedipal thing, not so much. Not sure whether that demon sidekick was cute or shitass.) (How the hell can you screw up DOCTOR FATE!?!)

The drug issues were Stan Lee's baby - Conway came onto the series sometime in the 100s, I think.

Al - the Bendis Spidey (Ultimate Spider-Man) is just a moderny recasting of old skool Spidey shenanigans, and has NOTHING to do with clones (eradicated from continuity or otherwise). I'm not sure I like what they're doing with Venom in this series, but everything else to this point (Kraven the Hunter as a Croc-Hunter-esque poseur, the Green Goblin as super-powered Hulk-like freak, Gwen Stacy as bitchin' bad girl, Aunt May as ex-hippie) has been done quite well, much better than I thought possible (given that I, too, was wounded by the excessive clone bullshit, & stayed away from all Spidey titles for a long, long while). Then, again, every little tweak made by Millar & Bendis et al for the Ultimate Marvel line has been marvelous, so I might be too biased to bother with. (Christ, I'm enjoying the Ultimate Owlman shenanigans - clearly I'm a lost cause.)

But, yeah - Bendis & Jenkins (not sure if he's still writing for Peter Parker, but issues #23-50 are golden - word of advice: the issues not involving villian fisticuffs are the best of the run) & Straczynski (sic) have been doing wonders to rehab Spidey's tarnished reputation. I think it's safe to come back now.

David R. (popshots75`), Friday, 24 January 2003 07:20 (nineteen years ago) link

You know, I just realized I actually enjoyed the initial few issues of Conway's run on _Spectacular Spider-Man_ - I clearly remember thinking, "Holy crap, how could he have been responsible for that clone horseshit - this Tombstone stuff is pretty good!" And then ... well, you know. I was fine w/ the back breaking & all, but when Tombstone & Joe Robertson get lost in the Appalaichan mountains and come face to face with BANJO (this hulking inbred superfreak), the lustre started to dim just a tad.

I think I should start more threads like this to come to terms with what is turning out to be a troubling adolescence.

David R. (popshots75`), Friday, 24 January 2003 07:25 (nineteen years ago) link

Banjo! He was fun. Wasn't Conway responsible for Knight & Fogg around this time as well, those boys from Liverpool? Spidey travels to Britain to sort them out after they kill the Arranger. He foils a robbery in Picadilly Circus, then asks if anyone knows the way to Scotland Yard. A taxi driver says, "For two bob I'll take you there meself, guv".

Eyeball Kicks (Eyeball Kicks), Friday, 24 January 2003 10:11 (nineteen years ago) link


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