Longtime Batman writer and editor, Denny O’Neil, passed away on June 11 from natural causes. O’Neil was 81 years old, and he leaves behind a rich legacy in the field of comics. He got his start at Marvel Comics in the late ’60s and early ’70s. There, O’Neil first collaborated with artist Neal Adams on an issue of X-Men. After moving on to DC Comics, O’Neil and Adams had a groundbreaking run on Green Lantern, which also redefined Green Arrow.
However, O’Neil and Adams are best known for their contributions to the Batman mythos. Together, they took the reigns of Batman’s monthly adventures and reintroduced Joker and Two-Face. They also co-created Ra’s al Ghul and his daughter, Talia. More importantly, they returned Batman to his Dark Knight roots after years of lighthearted stories inspired by the Adam West-led Batman TV series.
O’Neil and Adams also worked together on the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali special, which was one of the most famous comics from the ’70s.
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When O’Neil returned to Marvel, he scripted Amazing Spider-Man and oversaw Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil. Additionally, O’Neil coined the name Optimus Prime while working with Marvel to develop Hasbro’s Transformers. In 1986, O’Neil returned to DC as an editor and oversaw the Batman titles for 14 years. Outside of comics, O’Neil wrote episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and G.I Joe: A Real American Hero. He was also a novelist and a teacher, who passed on what he had learned to several generations of comic creators.
What were your favorite Denny O’Neil stories? Please share your memories of O’Neil in the comment section below.
Recommended Reading: Batman: Illustrated by Neal Adams Volume 2
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