Comic Book Legend Dennis “Denny” O’Neill Has Died (1939-2020)

Greetings my comic book loving Legions, it’s time to bow our heads once more as the news about the legendary scribe Dennis “Denny” O’Neill passing away is making the rounds. An official statement from DC Comics is presented beneath the photo and then I will offer up some personal insight. Mr. O’Neill was 81 years old.

dennis o'neill

From DC Comics:
DC is deeply saddened by the loss of our longtime friend and industry legend, Dennis “Denny” O’Neil.

Denny began his professional career as a reporter in Missouri, and it was a series of articles he wrote in the mid-1960s about the comic book industry that caught the attention of Marvel editor Roy Thomas. Denny soon started writing for comics, and in 1968 he contributed his first stories to DC. Denny quickly became one of the company’s most influential contributors, writing six or seven stories a month.

His breakthrough came in 1970 when he and artist Neal Adams started working on Batman. The pair forged a grittier version of Batman, returning the character back to his earliest days as the ominous Dark Knight of Gotham City.

“Denny modestly described it as a return to the character’s roots, but it was much more than that,” said DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee. “They channeled the zeitgeist of the times and brought to life a darker, more evocative yet grounded take on Batman.”

Next up for the pair was a remarkable series of Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories, “Hard Traveling Heroes.” These stories dealt with topics that were formerly taboo in comics, including drug addiction, racism, and other social ills. The stories won every award the comics industry could bestow. After a stint at Marvel, Denny returned to DC in 1986 to supervise and edit the Batman titles. It was a post he held until his retirement in 2001.

“Denny was an amazingly talented writer and editor,” said Bob Harras, Editor-In-Chief, DC. “More than that, he was a beloved member of the DC family, and he will be sorely missed.”


dennis o'neill, dennis o'neill photos
Denny O’Neill in NYC (2012) by Ken Pierce

Though I’ve been an ardent reader of numerous stories penned by Mr. O’Neill, I only was ever able to meet him once and that was at a lecture for a tome called “Leaping Tall Buildings”. Mr. O’Neill was a part of the panel assembled by the author Chris Irving and this collective also included the great Neal Adams. During the course of the night the pair regailed comic book history and talked about their reworkings of the Batman and Green Arrow mythology. In the sixties both characters had a lot of similarities and quite a few bits of silly to them, and after they were done they were some of the grittiest, most compelling comic book works ever printed. To say that it was a fantastic night for any fan of the medium would be an understatement. I was able to say hello after the event and even get a photo with him and Neal that I value greatly. I’ve numerous issues of the original comic books that Denny wrote and many of the stories in a collected edition form which now become the “reading copy” for me since I am not unbagging such classics at all. As there is far too much to compose that’s already been noted in his Wikipedia listing, I will leave my summary to be a simple one. On behalf of the PiercingMetal outlet, we send the most heartfelt of condolences to his family, friends, industry colleagues and worldwide collection of fans. Thank you for your contributions to the comic book medium Mr. O’Neill, may you Rest In Peace.

dennis o'neill, dennis o'neill photos
Denny O’Neill & Neal Adams in NYC (2012) by Ken Pierce

Official Artist Wiki:’Neil

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