If I could conduct an in-depth, career spanning interview with any comics creator, it would be Gerry Conway. One of my favorite writers, Conway has been responsible for some of the finest super-hero comics ever ("The Night Gwen Stacy Died", The Last Days of Animal Man) and some of the absolute worst (the not at all unfairly maligned Justice League Detroit). He bounced back and forth between the two largest comics publishers, Marvel and DC, during the 70's and 80's, along the way creating such fan-favorite characters as the Punisher and Firestorm and writing the history making first inter-company crossover pairing Superman and Spider-Man. Away from comics, his second act as a writer for television has also run the gamut from the sublime to the silly with credits that include The Father Dowling Mysteries, Diagnosis Murder, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
There are many questions I would have loved to pose to Mr. Conway, but now it seems I don't really have to. I recently came across an installment of Michael Bailey's podcast Views From The Longbox from last April in which he and the Irredeemable Shag, keeper of the Firestorm Fan blog, conduct just the kind of extensive interview with Conway that I envisioned.
Clocking in at just under two and a half hours, the conversation covers every aspect of Conway's career as a writer of comics and television, from his brief stint at DC as a teenager; through his lengthy runs on The Amazing Spider-Man, Justice League of America, and The Fury of Firestorm; onto his years in the wilderness of Hollywood; to his return to DC to write The Last Days of Animal Man. Along the way, Bailey and Shag ask just about every question to which I have always wondered about the answer, such as the reasons behind the killing of Gwen Stacy, how Conway felt about not getting any credit for essentially writing the ending of the first Spider-Man movie thirty years before its release, and "What the bloody hell could you have possibly been thinking when you gutted the Justice League of America like a fish and turned what should be the world's greatest, most powerful super team into a two-bit, fifth rate imitation of Batman and the Outsiders?"
Of course, Bailey and Shag phrase that last inquiry somewhat more politely than I did above. Shag, poor benighted soul that he is, appears to be one of the few people who actually enjoyed the Detroit era JLA.
If that's not enough Gerry Conway for you, a few months earlier on his own site, Shag posted a solo interview with Conway, which he uploaded in two installments, that lasts, all told, about an hour and a half and focuses, as you'd expect from a blog called Firestorm Fan, mainly on the Nuclear Man.
Between these two interviews, we get nearly four hours of Gerry Conway attempting to justify his existence and doing a pretty good job of it. These are definitely recommended listening for any fan of Gerry Conway's work, whether you know him mainly from comics or television.