13 Great GERRY CONWAY DC Comics Series of the 1970s

A birthday salute…


Gerry Conway turns 71 — he was born Sept, 10, 1952 — and, to me, he was one of the main DC writers of the 1970s. He started, stayed on, and edited so many great DC books — several of which barely got a chance by either being cancelled too soon or dropped in the DC Implosion.

Back in the mid-to-late 1970s, I knew that a Gerry Conway book was going to be fun, exciting, and action-packed, so I gave all of Gerry’s books a try and at DC they even gave him an official, if in name only, imprint – Conway’s Corner! Anytime someone mentions it or I see it in print, it brings back fond memories!

So, in honor of his birthday, here are 13 of my favorite titles from “Conway’s Corner” — regardless of whether they were in it or not:

Man-Bat (1975). Gerry kicked off the Man-Bat solo series and then handed it over to Marty Pasko, and sadly after two issues, it was gone! It also, strangely, switched artists who had wildly different art styles: Steve Ditko and Pablo Marcos.

Metal Men (1976). I’ve always been a fan of DC’s quirkier characters, so I was definitely excited when the Metal Men made their smashing return! Gerry edited and then took over for several issues after Steve Gerber’s one-and-done issue. Marty Pasko wrote some before Gerry returned for a few issues before turning off the lights. Walt Simonson’s art really grabbed me as I had never seen anything like it in a DC comic before then.

Super-Team Family (1975). Starting off as a reprint book under Gerry’s editing, he soon left to be followed by E. Nelson Bridwell and later Joe Orlando. He came back to script when it shifted to all-new team-up stories and wrote five of them before the title closed up shop.

Steel the Indestructible Man (1978). I hate to admit that I was never the biggest Don Heck fan. I know, right? But I came to my senses and now appreciate his storytelling. So at the time I wasn’t too keen on this World War II series featuring a new super-hero. Gerry’s writing sucked me in and it, too, left us too soon in the DC Implosion. But Steel, now Commander Steel, is still around 45 years later.

Challengers of the Unknown (1977). One of the things I really liked about Gerry’s time at DC was his ability to take an older title and breathe new life into it while respecting its history. It’s one of the reasons I liked his take on the Challs. And newcomer Mike Netzer’s (aka Nasser) art was a definite plus!

Secret Society of Super-Villains (1976). Although he only wrote two issues, Gerry brought together some of the biggest names in villaindom from across the DC Universe, minus Lex Luthor and the Joker, before handing it off to David Anthony Kraft and then to Bob Rozakis.

Hercules Unbound (1975). I wasn’t a big comic book sword-and-sorcery, barbarian, or mythology fan but there was something about this José Luis García-López cover that pulled me in and Gerry’s story just grabbed me! Even though Gerry left after the sixth issue, I stuck with the book and it’s been one of my faves after all these years. It was going to be collected before it fell of the end of the Earth, which is too bad because it’s a great little maxi-series before maxi-series existed!

Firestorm (1978). As a Captain Marvel fan, I couldn’t wait for Firestorm! Teenager Ronnie Raymond and the adult Prof. Martin Stein transformed into Firestorm, the Nuclear Man, who came with transmutation powers! And the fact that he had the color scheme of the Big Red Cheese didn’t hurt. Gerry, along with artist Al Milgrom, didn’t disappoint. Sure, it was more of a Peter Parker take than Billy Batson but I didn’t care. Sadly, it didn’t last long as it was a casualty of the DC Implosion.

Justice League of America (1978). I was and remain a huge JLA fan, so with a brief start and then a much longer run with a few other writers dropping by every once in a while, Gerry was a mainstay of Justice League of America with Issues #125-134 and then #151-255, turning in action-packed scripts and many memorable JLA/JSA team-ups.

All-Star Comics (1976). This is another one I was all agog over. DC was finally doing the JSA! And keeping it on Earth-Two! And bringing in some new heroes! I was definitely in! Plus that Mike Grell cover didn’t hurt!

All New Collectors’ Edition #C-54: Superman vs Wonder Woman (1978). This was a big one. A Conway-scripted tale set in World War II, featuring the Man of Tomorrow and the Amazon Princess, and pulling in a villain from his story in World’s Finest #246 — Baron Blitzkrieg! Plus it featured the gorgeous art of José Luis García-López.

All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-58: Superman vs. Shazam! (1978). I think everyone was waiting with baited breath for this one after plenty of teases by DC with Elliot S! Maggin’s Superman #276, E. Nelson Bridwell’s JLA/JSA/Fawcett heroes crossover in Justice League of America #135-137, and Bridwell again in Shazam! #30, featuring what seemed to be Superman on the cover. It was finally here, and Mary Marvel and Supergirl also came along for the ride. Gerry served up another epic, tabloid-size team-up!

Superman vs The Amazing Spider-Man (1976). The granddaddy of all team-ups and still one of the best! It’s hard to quantify the excitement when it was revealed that Marvel’s mighty web-slinger was going to take on the Distinguished Competition’s Man of Steel, with a story written by Gerry. From Metropolis to New York to Africa and back again, Gerry spun a tale that would make for a great team-up movie even today!


— The Timeless Brilliance of GERRY CONWAY’s SPIDER-MAN Launch. Click here.

— PEAK SPIDER-MAN: The Enduring Power of the CONWAY-ANDRU Team. Click here.

A 10-year-old Walt Grogan fell in love with the Big Red Cheese thanks to essays written by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson in the paperback edition of All in Color for a Dime, released in 1970 and bought for him by his father off a paperback spinner rack in a liquor store on the South Side of Chicago. Walt runs The Marvel Family Web Facebook page devoted to all incarnations of the Fawcett/DC Captain Marvel and blogs about Captain Marvel at shazamshistorama.com.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. The merging of Ronnie Raymond and Professor Stein was a really neat concept. Fortunately, Gerry got to explore it more with the second Firestorm series.

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  2. Love seeing the mention of Conway’s Corner. If you weren’t there at the time, it’s hard to convey the excitement that he brought to DC.

    Slight correction: Gerry didn’t write the JLA/JSA/Shazam team-up. That was by Bridwell and Pasko.

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    • Thanks, Scott! I had a total brain fart on the JLA/JSA/Fawcett Heroes bit. As a huge Captain Marvel fan, I have egg on my face! It’s corrected now, thanks to you!

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  3. Wow! Thanks for a million good memories! And I was a comics geek, I read about Firestorm through all the P.R. promos, grabbed the issue (in the mall, remember those?) when it first came out and I NEVER caught on that Firestorm and the Big Red Cheese had the same color scheme! Holy Moly!

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  4. I wasn’t a big fan of DC, but I loved All-Star Comics and Super Team Family. And of course Superman/Spider-Man was epic!

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  5. I have or had almost all of these. I never picked up DC’s HERCULES but I kinda want to find some having recently found out that Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Wally Wood did some issues together.

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  6. Hercules was included in the Showcase trade The Great Disaster featuring The Atomic Knights in case you are interested (it is in Black and White though).

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