Comics Legend Dennis O’Neil Passes Away at 81
On Thursday, legendary comic book writer Dennis O’Neil passed away from natural causes.
O’Neil began his comic book career at Marvel Comics, where he penned Doctor Strange and Strange Tales. He would later bounce between Charlton Comics, DC Comics, returning to Marvel, and ultimately landing again at DC where he would become the editor of the entire Batman line of books.
During his career, O’Neil put his stamp on a number of books, including The Shadow, Daredevil, X-men, Superman, The Question, Wonder Woman, and many more. He created several lasting characters along the way, including Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, Azrael, Madame Web, Yuriko Oyama (later to become Lady Deathstrike), and is even credited with naming Optimus Prime. One of his most celebrated works was on DC’s Green Lantern and Green Arrow series.
As a writer and editor on Batman, O’Neil was tasked with reinventing the character after the “camp” era of the 1960s. His take on the character transformed him into the “Dark Knight” that we know today, and became the standard by which other interpretations of the character are measured. Fan of Batman the Animated Series? That’s pretty much O’Neil’s version of Batman.
Outside of comics, O’Neil was a U.S. Navy veteran, he wrote novels, short stories, and teleplays (sometimes under the pseudonym Jim Dennis), and worked as a writing instructor at the Manhattan School of Visual Arts, as well. O’Neil also sat on the board of The Hero Initiative, a charity designed to assist struggling comic creators with health, medical, and quality-of-life assistance.
Dennis O’Neil’s passing is a heavy loss, but his legacy will be felt for a long time. He was 81.