Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Legacy Virus or Conway Is The New Black

  • Catman is unceremoniously taken out of the picture by showing up and being utterly ineffective.
  • The Secret Society of Super-Villains forms.
  • Mind-wipes soon follow.
  • The Justice League under attack by Starro.
  • Black Lightning offered Justice League membership.
  • Vixen and Firestorm emerge as DCU players.
Are these simply the recent happenings of the DC Universe or are these events rooted in something deeper, with repercussions that would not be felt for nearly thirty years. Ladies and gentlemen, I have come to the realization that Brad Meltzer became a comics fan during...

(By the way, this pirate is gay, now.)

THE AGE OF CONWAY.

Writer Gerry Conway came to DC after writing titles such as The Amazing Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk for Marvel Comics. Conway immediately hit the ground running, writing many of DC's marquee comics, among them, Detective Comics, Superman and The Justice League of America. While writing Justice League, Conway flirted with the idea of Black Lightning joining The JLofA but had Lightning turn them down, as he preferred to work alone. Conway also went on to create characters for DC such as the previously mentioned Vixen and Firestorm, while also launching, in his newly minted position as writer/editor, a new title, The Secret Society of Super-Villains. In SSoSV, Catman never actually joined, he just fell off his yacht. Somewhere, a young Brad Meltzer is reading.

Fast forward twenty-plus years and New York Times bestselling author is writing Green Arrow and following up on his influences. Catman immediately gets his ass kicked by Green Arrow basically falling off the boat all over again per SSoSV. Fast forward to Identity Crisis and after a twenty-plus year absence, The Society is re-formed and in its wake Conway creation Ronny Raymond (Firestorm) is killed as Conway's other DC creation, Vixen, looks on, helplessly. Later, Meltzer plays with a thread laid down in the pages of Conway's Justice League of America run. This thread, under Meltzer, involving the mind-wiping of heroes and villains would extend another two years within the pages of Green Arrow, Teen Titans and Catwoman, amongst others.

Recently, in the pages of Justice League of America #3 (formerly JLA), Black Lightning and Vixen have both joined The League just in time to fend off a Starro invasion, one probably similar in scope to the Conway-penned JLofA #170.

So, is Brad simply riffing on the chords laid down by Conway or is he simply doing the exact same thing we all would like to do if we got the chance, taking small notes from different places in order to build a symphony?

Any way you look at it, good or bad, Gerry Conway, through Meltzer, has became an uncredited architect for DC's "New Earth." One in which, for the most part, we've all have actively enjoyed and participated in.

What do you think?

11 comments:

Tom Bondurant said...

Oh, absolutely. "In My Father's House" in Firestorm is a total valentine to one of Conway's big storylines.

Haole said...

I have no idea, not being a DC born and bred fanboy, but your post sure did make for interesting reading.

Devon, since your apparently pretty familiar with Herr Conway's writings, can you guess where JLA is going to go for the next nine issues? (Or at least speculate wildly, which is always a lot more fun?)

Anonymous said...

I hadn't made the connection, but I think you've hit on something. Maybe it's not intentional, but it sure could be subconscious on Brad's part.

Anonymous said...

I was a huge fan of the late 70's, early 80's JLA, much of which was Conway's. I liked most of what Conway did in that era, with one huge exception - his Legion from 1979-1981 was marked with stuff like "The Space Circus of Death" and "The Super-Spectacles Swipe".

Scipio said...

Brilliant analysis, DVS! Have you sent it to Brad? I bet he doesn't realize... .

Of course, if we are living during Conway's Revenger, you know what becomes inevitable.

Vibe. Vibe is inevitable.

Probably a Mexican-American girl rather than a Puerto Rican boy, but still inevitable.

The Mutt said...

You really nailed it. Every fanboy has his own personal Golden Age, and it will shade everything he writes. For me, it is the DC war comics of the 60's.
Sadly, DC's New Earth is returning their universe to the period when I thought DC started to really suck and pretty much gave up on most of their titles. The Conway-led Marvel-izing of DC didn't work for me at all. I hated Firestorm and Red Tornado. I hated that they were taking the fun out of my funny books.
It is really odd to me that DC is pitching us a kinder, gentler DC universe while returning to the era when their comics started turning dark and ugly.

Anonymous said...

good observations, I had to follow it up on my blog as well. Great comic detective!

Ununnilium said...

A legacy hero version of Vibe would be the best thing ever.

Anonymous said...

Well, Commander Steel is getting a legacy in Justice Society of America #1.

Dale Bagwell said...

I agree totally with you on this one! Perhaps Meltzer will continue to use conway as a reference point for future storylines, or maybe he'll start using other writers' toys, maybe gardner fox or morrison isn't too far way?

notintheface said...

Well, those of you needing that Conway fix will see his executive-producing touch on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent", particularly the Vincent D'Onofrio episodes:

"I notice you're....tapping your left foot in a...rhythmic pattern. That's one of the...classic symptoms of...schizophrenia."