The Justice League at 60, Part Five: The Experiment

You gotta lose your mind as Tom Bondurant dives into the infamous ‘Detroit League’ of the late 1980s.

Check out part one, part two, part three and part four of this series!

There’s a lot crammed into the 40-page story writer Gerry Conway, penciller Chuck Patton and inker Dave Hunt tell in 1984’s Justice League of America Annual #2. The issue charts the official end of the JLA (as Aquaman exercises his founding-member privilege to disband it) and the subsequent creation of a new, ostensibly more focused team. Along the way the Leaguers say goodbye to their ruined satellite headquarters and hello to “the Bunker,” a mall-sized fallout shelter in the middle of Detroit, built by an ex-superhero who apparently saw too many movies about NORAD. Everything that happens in the annual happens quickly: four experienced Leaguers decide to re-form the team moments after dissolving the original; the new League gains two new members who each saw the re-forming happen on live television; and the third and fourth new members basically break into the supposedly impregnable new headquarters. The issue ends with a block party, welcoming the Justice League to this particular run-down part of town.

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The Justice League at 60, Part Four: Conway’s Corner

Tom Bondurant continues his look back at 60 years of the Justice League.

Check out part one, part two and part three of this series!

Ask a Marvel fan about Gerry Conway and you’re likely to get an answer involving Gwen Stacy. Ask a DC fan about Conway and the answer may well involve his eight years as regular writer of Justice League of America. We’ve mentioned his statistics already, but they bear repeating: Gerry Conway wrote 102 of JLA‘s 261 issues (including 81 in the Satellite Era), plus one of its three annuals. Original JLA writer Gardner F. Fox is in second place with 65 issues.

Between Fox and Conway, an assortment of writers worked with the scarily dependable penciller Dick Dillin. Denny O’Neil, Mike Friedrich and Len Wein each contributed solid, multi-year runs before writing duties were shared among a bullpen for three years. After that was Conway’s immediate predecessor Steve Englehart, whose 10 oversized issues successfully combined existing DC lore with new characters and relationship-driven subplots. Included in the latter was friction between Flash, Green Arrow and Wonder Woman over her alleged bossiness (in reality mind-manipulation from new villain The Construct). Englehart left everyone on good terms, but it was awkward and a little bumpy getting there.

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Gerry Conway’s Skulls for Justice shirts raise $45,000 for Black Lives Matter so far

The Punisher co-creator uses the skull symbol ‘for the cause of equal justice and Black Lives Matter;’ the campaign runs through June 30.

The death of George Floyd and the protests against police brutality that followed have also once again put the spotlight on the use of the Punisher logo by police officers. The skull logo, often altered to include a blue line, has become a popular symbol with some members of law enforcement, with many websites selling bootleg merchandise.

While Disney hasn’t done anything (yet) to stop the sale of this merchandise, Punisher co-creator Gerry Conway has taken matters into his own hands. He has a campaign up on the website Custom Ink call Skulls for Justice, and has teamed with several artists to sell shirts featuring altered versions of the Punisher logo, in support of Black Lives Matter. And so far, he said, they’ve raised more than $45,000 for the organization.

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Larsen, Conway, Bagley return to ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ for Marvel’s 80th

Dream team of Spider-Man creators brings decades of experience working on the character.

The guest list for Marvel’s 80th anniversary blowout continues to grow, as the publisher has announced Savage Dragon creator and Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen will return to do an Amazing Spider-Man one-shot in September. He’ll be joined by two other creators known for their work in the character – Gerry Conway and Mark Bagley.

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