Gerard Francis Conway (born September 10, 1952) is an American Comic Book writer who was especially prolific in the 1970s and '80s. He had a hand in the creation of several major characters, including The Punisher, Power Girl, Jason Todd, Firestorm, and many more.
Conway began his career as one of many fans turned comics writers. He wrote his first story at the age of 16 for DC's House of Secrets before going over to Marvel, whose revolution he had already experienced at ground zero, with many of his fan letters published in the pages. Eventually editor Roy Thomas got him to work on a number of characters before Conway earned the daunting and prestigious task of writing for Spider-Man after Stan Lee stepped down. Despite having the proverbial Tough Act to Follow, Conway quickly made his mark, creating characters like Hammerhead, the Punisher (introduced in a Spider-Man story), the Jackal, as well as the Spider-Mobile. Years later he returned to Spider-Man and created another popular minor villain in Tombstone.
He also made the unforgettable break from Stan Lee's shadow as the writer of the The Night Gwen Stacy Died which came out when he was 19 years of age. Conway had the unique distinction of being the same age and generation as Spider-Man and his supporting cast when he started writing the comics, and he brought a new spin on the comics. This story earned Conway hate-mail, to the point that he would claim that he would be afraid of showing his face in public for ten years but in the course of time it was embraced as a landmark story. Conway would go on to contribute to a number of comics titles but no other story quite defined comics history like that one.
Comic-Book series and storylines Conway has worked on include:
- The Avengers
- Justice League of America
- The Mighty Thor
- Werewolf by Night
- Wonder Woman Vol 1
Tropes associated with Gerry Conway:
- The Big Damn Kiss: Until Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy, Conway's run saw the most iconic kiss in Spider-Man lore, when Peter and MJ kiss each other for several panels.
- Darker and Edgier: He has a reputation for taking comics to a darker direction, what with being the co-creator of The Punisher and the man who killed Gwen Stacy. However, in his story, The Punisher is shown as an antagonist and not in any way justified or glorified. Likewise, Conway's run on Spider-Man actually has some of the most optimistic moments in Peter's life and most notably he developed Peter and Mary Jane into a special love story, one that Conway pointed out was more relaxing and less stressful than his relationship with Gwen.
- Door-Closes Ending: He used this twice with many noting that it served as bookends for his iconic run on ASM. The end of The Night Gwen Stacy Died has MJ firmly shut the door to stay with Peter with a "click" noise signifying her resolve and commitment. Comes full circle in Conway's final issue, 149, which ends with Peter returning to his apartment to find MJ waiting for him, and this time he closes the door with a "click" as he resolves to show MJ how glad he is to see her, showing his commitment to MJ and that he's moved on from Gwen to his true love.
- Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: This was his point when he wrote the so-called original clone saga. Peter pining after Gwen's death, meets Gwen's clone and his old feelings for her resurface but the returned Gwen is the Gwen as she was when she died and as Peter remembers her and not the true Gwen and his real feelings are for Mary Jane an actual flesh-and-blood woman. According to Conway the whole point was to demonstrate how unhealthy and sick grief can be and how our longing for The Lost Lenore comes from rejecting reality.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Mary Jane Watson was his favorite Spider-Man supporting character; Conway believed she was the "most interesting woman in comics" and simply had to be Spider-Man's true love, so that was bye bye Gwen.
- Killed Off for Real: Gwen Stacy. Norman Osborn was supposed to also be this but was eventually brought back.