Dennis "Denny" O'Neil, 1939 - 2020
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.
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.”