Friday, June 19, 2020

R.I.P. Denny O'Neil

As most of you know, Groove-ophiles, Denny O'Neil, one of the most influential writers of the Groovy Age passed away at the age of 81on Friday, June 12. Much has been written about O'Neil during the past week, and that's how it should be. During the 1970s, O'Neil changed the way we would think about Batman in particular and comics in general forever (in tandem, naturally, with artist Neal Adams, mostly, but also with a host of other artistic luminaries from Irv Novick to Mike Kaluta to Jack Kirby to Mike Grell). His revamp of the post-camp Batman and introduction of hardcore "relevant" comics (with Adams) on Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow caused waves in the comicbook industry that are still being felt to this very day. From the late 70s right through to the present, as a writer and editor he has continued to help comics grow and adapt to the times, as well as help groom new, sometimes super-star talent (like Frank Miller). Like I said, much has been written by others, covering much more ground. Google and Facebook is filled with it, and it's worth your time to check it out if you haven't already.

Personally, Denny O'Neil has always been a huge inspiration to me as a fan, as a writer, and as a person. His run on GL/GA convinced me as a youngster to look at many things in this world in certain ways. Positive ways. That makes him more than an important writer. That makes him an important person in my life, although I never had the pleasure of meeting the man.

Like Roy Thomas was my first favorite writer at Marvel, O'Neil was my first favorite DC writer of the Groovy Age. He was the one writing my favorite Batman stories. He was the one writing JLA when I first starting buying it. O'Neil was the man who wrote the really cool stuff like The Shadow, Justice Inc., Swords of Sorcery, and Iron Wolf. Instead of listing and listing, though, I think I'd enjoy it more (and I think you will, too) if I just share splashes from favorite O'Neil stories like I did with last week's Len Wein tribute. These stories enthralled, amazed, entertained, and sometimes changed me.

Cheyanne Kid #66


Bat Lash #2

The Atom and Hawkman #42

Justice League of America #74

Phantom Stranger #8



Batman #232


Adventure Comics #419

The Flash #217



Batman #251




Detective Comics #460


Batman Family #18

DC Special Series #15

The Hulk! #21



Thank you for the enjoyment, the lessons, and the inspiration, Mr. O'Neil. You'll never be forgotten!

Hey, Kids! Comics from 50 Years Ago!
June 15, 16, & 18, 1970









 

5 comments:

  1. Great Information,
    Thank you for sharing..

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  2. great post Lloyd. I forgot he was involved in the Captain Marvel launch at DC. Thanks for reminding me.

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    Replies
    1. That's part of the fun of strolling through Groove City, Doug! :D

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  3. I love the choices you made here, Groove. Please allow me to give a few of my own:

    Detective Comics 395: "Secret of the Waiting Graves" was first read by young John in a black and white book version (Doubleday, I think?) and the intensity of the story resonated with me.

    Detective Comics 457: "There Is No Hope in Crime Alley" established the character of Leslie Thompkins, as well as the whole idea of Crime Alley and what it means to Batman's saga.

    Green Lantern/Green Arrow 81: "Death Be My Destiny" was a great story about overpopulation on planet Maltus and the general cruelty of imprisonment.

    Superman 252-253: "The Kid Who Saved Superman" really blew me away-Big Blue gives some of his powers to a kid with a pet lynx and has to navigate super-stuff through meditation.

    Justice League of America 73-74: "Where Death Fears to Tread" introduces Black Canary for the modern JLA era and is easily my favorite JLA/JSA team-up. Two Supermans battling each other to a standstill, Batman vs Dr. Midnight, two Green Lanterns saving the day, wow, great stuff.

    I limited myself to Denny's 70's stuff, but could have included so much more (his Daredevil stories after Frank Miller left with David Mazzuchelli were amazing; his Question issues are the definitive version of the character, in my opinion. Check out issue 17 for a great tale about Vic Sage reading an issue of Watchmen and giving his views on a certain trench coat wearing, masked individual). I will always treasure Denny's stories!

    Best,
    John

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, John! That's exactly the kind of commentary I was hoping for! The second half of your JLA pick is part of my post. I would have chosen several on your list except I didn't get them off the rack when they came out; I either got them later via trades or bought them as reprints or back issues. All excellent choices!

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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!


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