DC has issued a statement following the passing yesterday of Dennis "Denny" O'Neil, the veteran writer and editor who helped reshape the public perception of characters like Batman, The Question, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow as well as creating numerous DC characters who would become staples in pop culture, like Richard Dragon and, with his frequent collaborator Neal Adams, Ra's al Ghul and his daughter Talia. O'Neil also served as a longtime editor for DC, running the Batman titles during the '90s, and created the character of Azrael, who would reshape the Gotham landscape following the events of "Knightfall," when Batman was briefly off the board following injuries sustained in his first showdown with Bane.
O'Neil never lost his love for comics, and worked to pass his knowledge along to a new generation -- first by writing a book, The DC Guide To Writing Comics, and later by teaching a Writing for the Comics course at Manhattan's School of Visual Arts, a role he shared with Suicide Squad co-creator John Ostrander.
During his career, O'Neil won numerous comics-industry awards, and was recognized by The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in 2018 and the city of Phoenix, Arizona, in 2019 -- in both cases for his contribution to both comics and American culture. O'Neil passed away at home as a result of natural causes, according to his family. His final published work will be an installment in the Joker 80th anniversary special that was just released by DC.
You can see DC's full statement below.
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.0comments
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.”
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