Gerry Conway, Punisher & Jason Todd Creator, Reveals Cancer Battle

The beloved Marvel and DC writer reveals his recent struggles with pancreatic cancer.

Gerry Conway, a prolific comic creator known for his work at Marvel, DC, and beyond, has revealed that he recently battled pancreatic cancer. Conway took to Twitter on Thursday to reveal the news, sharing that he was initially diagnosed with the cancer in October of 2022. After undergoing surgery to remove the tumor, he has been cancer-free as of January of 2023, but still endured health complications in recent months, including being put in a medically-induced coma. Conway has been involved in the creation of a number of beloved comic characters, including Marvel's Man-Thing, Ms. Marvel, The Punisher, Werewolf By Night, and Ben Reilly, and DC's Firestorm, Vixen, Power Girl, and Jason Todd.

"Last October I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I had Whipple surgery to remove the tumor, including my gall bladder, some of my intestines, and rearrange most of my lower body parts," Conway's thread reads in part. "The good news is, praise Cthulhu, as of January, I'm now cancer free. The bad news is, praise Cthulhu, there were complications. I've been dealing with those complications since last December and it's been a lot. Three hospitalizations including weeks in an ICU I don't remember because I was in an induced coma and various other issues too fun to discuss here. The reason I'm bringing this up is not to grab for sympathy (I received much needed sympathy and support from friends and family at the time) but to express my sincere gratitude to the wonderful team at UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital who saved my f*cking life. And— —to publicly express my love especially to my family, particularly the amazing @ConwayLauraB, and to the friends who stood by me, old and new. I don't have a high opinion of my worth. Their generous support was a revelation. Fingers crossed, I believe I'm well on the road to recovery. I've been in a dark place and I've come out. My heart is filled with gratitude. There's a ways to go still but the bottom line is— I'm back, baby, ready to take names and kick ass."

Conway began working professionally in comics at the age of 16, initially working on DC's The Phantom Stranger and Marvel titles Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Amazing Adventures. In his early years at Marvel, Conway helped co-create fan-favorite heroes Man-Thing, Werewolf By Night, and Dracula. He subsequently took over as Stan Lee's successor on The Amazing Spider-Man, writing the title for three years, during which the book introduced The Punisher and The Jackal and infamously killed off Gwen Stacy. 

Returning to DC in 1975, Conway became known for his stints on All Star Comics (which led to the creation of Power Girl), Superman, and Detective Comics. His stories continued to be published at both DC and Marvel, including the latter's Ms. Marvel series in 1977. In the late 1970s, he began writing exclusively or DC for over a decade, working on Justice League of America for eight years, including the book's fan-favorite "Detroit" era. He also wrote a number of World's Finest stories for Green Arrow and Black Canary, as well as a lengthy stint on Batman and Detective Comics that led to the creation of Killer Croc and the second Robin, Jason Todd.

Conway has continued to write for both DC and Marvel in the years since, most recently working with Marvel on Spider-Man one-shots. He has also branched out into movies and television, working on projects such as G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Transformers, My Little Pony, Matlock, Batman: The Animated Series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Law & Order.