Punisher Creator Gerry Conway on Netflix’s ‘THE PUNISHER’ & a Few Other Things

When Gerry Conway speaks, even on other websites, we at TVWriter™ listen. Because not only is he a “minor comics icon,” (in Gerry’s own words), he’s one of Larry Brody’s closest friends, plus a frequent contributor to TVWriter™ and, of course, a force to be reckoned with in ye olde television industry as well.

Last week Gerry talked to SyfyWire about Netflix’s version of one of his major comics creations, the Punisher. Here’s the result:

by Dana Forsythe

The infamous “Death of Gwen Stacy” scene written by Gerry Conway

Boasting dozens of writing credits for both DC and Marvel, Gerry Conway helped shape the Bronze Age of comic books with stories like “The Night Gwen Stacy Died,” the original Clone Saga, the creation of the Punisher, and his run on the Justice League. He’s written almost every superhero from BatmanSupermanWonder Woman and Flash to Spider-ManDaredevilThorHulk, and Iron Manand amassed countless writing credits for his work in TV, movies and books.

He’s been able to be so prolific in part because he got such an early start. Conway sold his first stories to DC and then Marvel when he was just 16 years old. Over his 50-year career as a comic book writer, Conway co-created handfuls of characters including Power Girl, Killer Croc, Firestorm and Jason Todd for DC and Dracula, Tarantula, and Mockingbird and more for Marvel. Still active today, Conway most recently penned a What If? issue with Flash Thompson as Spider-Man.

Ahead of the Season 2 premiere of Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix, Conway spoke to SYFY WIRE about the Punisher and prevalence of the skull symbol, how working at Marvel and DC felt like going to college, why he thinks universe-changing events are destroying the comic book industry, and, of course, killing Gwen Stacy.

What are your thoughts on Amazing Spider-Man #121 so many years later? I know you got a lot of heat for it when it happened but how do you look back on killing Gwen Stacy? What do you think of her return as Spider-Gwen?

I’m really proud of my work on that issue — and the work of Gil Kane and John Romita. We had no idea that story would end up having the legacy it’s had, but even at the time I was conscious of wanting to drive home what I believed was the core theme of Marvel’s approach to superhero storytelling: that being a superhero doesn’t make you immune to tragedy, that superpowers don’t make you infallible, and that real life doesn’t always produce happy endings.

Unfortunately, Gwen’s death also inspired some terrible stories, including the “girl-in-a-refrigerator” trope women in comics rightfully decry. I’d like to think that our approach to Gwen’s death wasn’t a cheap shot to create sympathy for our male hero, especially because I tried to use that tragedy more as a motivation for the emotional growth of the woman who would become the most significant female in Peter Parker’s life, Mary Jane Watson….

Read it all at syfy.com

The 20 Most Popular Books Ever Written

Most writers aspire for their books to become best sellers, and we believe that kind of ambition is a good thing. But we also believe you need to know what you’re competing against.

This infographic shows the top selling books of all time. Outsell these babies and you definitely will have proven yourself!

More cool infograph-type stuff is here

“Professional Editors. Affordable rates” are also on the very same site. Worth checking out!

 

You’re over 40 and want to become a Hollywood Writer? Read this and let yourself smile.

Words of wisdom – and encouragement – from a Hollywood writer who himself is, erm, over forty: The one and only William Martell:

WRITING OVER 40
by William Martell

There was a fellow on a screenwriting board I frequent who was lamenting ageism in Hollywood. He was past 40, and believed that was the reason for his lack of success in the biz. As a guy who is also on the wrong side of 40, I asked him a couple of questions about where he had encountered the age problems.

He thought he wasn’t getting a fair read because his scripts featured protagonists dealing with adult issues like mid-life crises and male pattern baldness and divorce and being laid off from the job you’ve been working at for 25 years.

Though stats say the over-35s are the fastest growing segment of the movie audience, movies are still the place where kids go on dates. So that 15-25 year-old high school and young adult audience is usually the target for films. They are the regular film goers – look at the people in the ticket line with you on Friday night.

You’ll see a lot of high school kids on dates or in groups. Hey, they may get their money from their parents, but who buys the tickets and makes the choice? Those 15-25 year olds! They pick the film. If you just look at the numbers, you’ll find that 15-25 year olds are the core cinema audience. They go every weekend. There are reasons for this – they are dating age, they don’t have kids keeping them at home, they have more disposable income.

Older folks go to the cinema infrequently – usually for some event film like MAN OF STEEL or AVENGERS or the fall and Holiday films that tend to skew older. They are not there every single weekend like a 15-25 year old – that age group is where the money is.

Even the most popular holiday Oscar buzz films that attract adult viewers don’t make much money – THERE WILL BE BLOOD, a brilliant movie, only made $40 million. Total. Last year TRANSFORMERS 3 made over $64 million in its first week.

Yes, every once in a while a film aimed at adults, like this weekend’s #13 movie BEFORE MIDNIGHT, , but most films are aimed at those 15-25 yerar olds who went to see MAN OF STEEL… and go to the cinema almost every weekend. They are the regular audience for the movies we write.

But wait, you cry! You don’t go to the cinema – too many of those damned noisy kids – you watch movies on DVD on your massive plasma screen TV! Though I am always first to note that DVD makes more money than cinema, it is still largely an *after market* for films that debut in the cinema.

Hollywood doesn’t know how to gauge what films will do well on DVD and did poorly at cinemas – and that’s partially because most movies that do well in the cinema also do well on DVD. So the ones that are DVD hits and cinema flops are the exceptions.

Even if we just look at movies aimed at older adults (as Hollywood sees us) we still have a problem – some are hits, others complete flops on DVD. Hollywood is all about *investment* in movies – and they want to invest in a sure thing. Movies that did well in the cinema are a sure thing on DVD. Making a movie that will probably flop in cinemas but *might* make money from older folks watching them in their home cinemas?

How do we know they aren’t just going to watch LOST or 24 or some TV movie? TV movies are usually aimed at an older audience… you know, our age. Hollywood tends to make films for the cinema aimed at people who regularly go to the cinema. If most men wear size 10 shoes, you can make all of the size 5 shoes you want but you aren’t going to sell as many. You can make all of the size 15 shoes you want, and you aren’t going to sell as many. So Hollywood focuses most of their production on the people who buy tickets every single week.

THE 15-25 YEAR OLD IN ALL OF US

I told this writer that I though we had the advantage over those punk kid writers. See, we’ve been kids! They have never been over 40. We can write about kid characters AND their parents! And mine our own experiences. We can write about Jim in AMERICAN PIE (I was once just like him) *and* Jim’s dad (I’m fighting desperately not to become him now). You’re as young as your characters feel. There’s no reason you have to think like a 40 year old in this business… in fact, it helps if you don’t.

I go to the cinema every Friday night with a group of friends and I’m, um, twice the age of most people in that target audience. But I don’t *think old*. The stories I write are for the 15-25 year old in all of us. You don’t need to write about high school kids – most films are about adults. But not adults dealing with male pattern baldness and how to take care of their aging parents and that second mortgage you took out just before housing prices took a nose dive. Harrison Ford is an old man, the last INDIANA JONES movie was *still* made for 15-25 year olds… and the 15-25 year old in all of us. The last INDIANA JONES movie was written by a guy closing in on 50….

Read it all at Bill Martells great site – Script Secrets

What Studios and Network Execs Really Want in a Script

More insight into the professional world of showbiz. Because knowledge is, and always will be, power.

You’re really going to want to buy the book this interview is associated with. And you can. Right HERE

‘DOCTOR WHO RPG: Series 11

This is for DOCTOR WHO fans. Which as far as this TVWriter™ minion is concerned means the following article is for…EVERYBODY.

by Siskoid

On the occasion of completing reviews on Doctor Who’s 11th series, I should like to re-imagine it as a role-playing game campaign using Cubicle 7’s Doctor Who RPG. (Go back one, to Series 10.)

The GM [Chris Chibnall, Showrunner]

Chris landed the job of new GameMaster, but he’s got a history with the Doctor Who role-playing club. He ran a couple of seasons of the Torchwood campaign, and often shared ideas with the Doctor’s GMs during and after that time. Recently, he’d paired up with one of the Doctor’s players, David, for a police/mystery game, but that had wrapped. With no surviving players/PCs, he really got to start from scratch. He recruited his own players (one of them from his previous game). He drew up new designs for the TARDIS. He vowed not to use any old enemies, or even follow previous GMs’ game notes. Instead of teasing a big arc, he wanted to push players to explore their personal drama. He would also turn out to be a more serious-minded GM, rarely playing anything for humor, and interested in exploring topical issues in his plots.

The Players
-Jodie will play a new version of the Doctor. Not only is this the first time the Doctor would be played by a female player, but the GM totally let her turn the Doctor into a woman. Jodie wants to highlight the character’s kindness and make her a very empathetic hero that gives the other PCs a chance to shine and sees the group as a team more than a set of companions. She also boosts the character’s Technology Skill as she quite likes the Boffin angle.
-Tosin makes a decision that affects the other players. His character, Ryan, is a blue collar worker in the blue collar town of Sheffield. The rest of the group agrees to make this their pied-à-terre instead of a more cosmopolitan city like London. Ryan Sinclair lost his mom, his dad ran off, he’s being raised by his nan, and he struggles with dyspraxia (in game terms: the Clumsy Trait). But he’s also Internet-savvy and a good soul.
-Bradley, a much older player than the rest of his group, doesn’t want to take the lead too much, so he funnels that part of the group dynamic into making his character, Graham O’Brien, an unwanted father figure to Ryan. Graham is a cancer survivor who fell in love and married his nurse, Ryan’s nan, but Ryan never really took to him. This retired bus driver would be motivated by living his second chance at life to its fullest, but also keeping Ryan safe.
-Mandip creates Yasmin Khan, a contemporary of Ryan’s of Pakistani descent who became a police officer, but is impatient with the service which has relegated her to a status not much above that of meter maid. She wants to bring policing skills to the team, and maybe Yaz sees the Doctor as a mentor who will unlock her potential.

Read it all at Siskoid’s Blog of Geekery