Some sad news this past week, as Dennis O’Neil, a true legend in the comic book industry, has passed away from natural causes. Mr. O’Neil was instrumental in shaping the comic book industry into what it is today. HE worked as both a writer and an editor and was a driving force in bringing comic books to a more mainstream acceptance as an art form and medium for literature.
Denny O’Neil started his career in comics in the 1980s the best way that any creator could wish for, with a job offer from Stan Lee. He worked for Marvel, then Charlton, and finally began working at DC. His stint at DC Comics still resonates today as he focused on social issues to make comics more relevant.
Some of his work for DC Comics includes the teaming up of Green Lantern and Green Arrow which dealt with things like Speedy’s heroin addiction, a major milestone in the life of these characters and a true first in comics. Denny went on to bring Batman back to his original darker side that we all know and love today, away from the campier Batman stories of the ’60s and ’70s.
Another notable storyline in his portfolio include bringing in James Rhoades to replace Tony Stark during the classic story of his alcoholism. Again, using social issues, especially issues that, at the time, may have been more prevalent but less acceptable in the medium, Dennis O’Neil cemented himself as one of the great comic book writers.
Denny also spent time as an editor and was the one to hire and motivate Frank Miller on Daredevil. Think of the hole that would exist in the comic book universes if that iconic writer had never made the grade and given us Sin City, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, or 300.
Dennis O’Neil was a true standard of the comic book industry, and we have him to thank for the awesome stories and characters. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on.