Goodbye Denny O’Neil

Writer, editor, visionary, and comic book legend Denny O’Neil passes away at 81. On Friday, June 12, we lost a true legend and maverick in the comic book world: Denny […]

Writer, editor, visionary, and comic book legend Denny O’Neil passes away at 81.

On Friday, June 12, we lost a true legend and maverick in the comic book world: Denny O’Neil

Denny was a writer who started out at Marvel and moved to DC Comics. It was then-controversial work on Green Lantern/Green Arrow where he really made a name for himself. 

I was a huge fan of Dennis, but it wasn’t until later in life. I think my first exposure to Dennis was either Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter #15, or Green Lantern #90. I remember having both issues, but I was only 8, so I think I missed a lot of the impact. It was later on, with the reprints of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow storyline, known as Hard-Traveling Heroes, is where some of it made some sense. I was a huge fan of the original Teen Titans and to see Denny make Speedy a drug addict blew me away.  Later on, I truly got the full impact of these stories.

It was Denny’s run the Question is what truly made me a fan of his. After the heroes of Charlton Comics were absorbed into the DC Universe, Denny and artist Denys Cowan released a Question comic series. This series was like nothing I ever saw before. The sound effects were totally removed from the comic. For someone who grew up on sound effect in comics and of course the Batman TV show, this was weird for me. Then they killed off the main character in the first issue. That just shocked me. But what really made this series was every issue of this book was filled with Zen philosophy. And as a bonus, there was a list of recommended reading to better understand a lot of themes of the story. This was deep for its time, and I fell in love with this series. These themes were really innovative. 

This also caused me to go back and re-read those Green Arrow/Green Lantern stories and do research on the backstory behind them. I found the entire process just fascinating. The collaboration between Denny and artist Neal Adams is one of the few writer/artist teams that many fans still remember.  Of course, this also made me re-read their work on Batman which still holds up today.

I really was a fan of Denny’s and I’m really at a loss here. 

Comic fans have truly lost one of their greatest storytellers.

Rest in peace Denny. Thank you for all the wonderful stories.

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.