According to family, Dennis “Denny” O’Neil passed on June 11, 2020 of natural causes. The comics industry will never be the same.
Denny O’Neil was a Navy veteran coming off of the blockades during the Cuban Missile Crisis when he took up journalism. It was here that his love for comics first emerged as he used a column to explore the comics revival of the era. The column caught the attention of another legend– Roy Thomas– and the rest, as they say, is history. Denny would go on to work prominently for Marvel, DC, and Charlton as a writer and editor for decades, creating many iconic characters and leaving numerous acclaimed runs in his wake.
Denny’s frequent collaborator, Neal Adams, teamed with him throughout the 70s on Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow famously, yielding such classics as the first appearances of Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia Al Ghul, John Stewart, and notable reinvigorations for the Silver Age Joker and Two-Face. In Batman, Denny rescued the series from the aftermath and camp of the 1966 television hit, creating the blueprint from which all modern vigilante comics are built upon to this day. In Green Lantern/Green Arrow, the duo tackled social issues in a bold and unique way that threw the industry into full on revolution. From Speedy’s heroin addiction to racism in the United States, O’Neil and Adams charted a course for comics to address contemporay social issues and paved the way for this modern era to thrive.
I never got to meet Denny. I’ve seen all of the interviews, read all of the lovely forwards he contributed to others, and absorbed all I could from his works. By all accounts, there isn’t a bad word to say about the life this man led. He was a scholar who used his experiences to teach and impart knowledge on others. Denny may be gone but his works will certainly live on. Rest in Power, Denny, and thanks for all of the stories. We’ve got it from here.
Absolute Legendary Writer and Historian Denny O’Neil Passes at 81
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