He was a legend. An iconic writer. The voice of Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and so many more. Sad news to report from the comic book world, as it’s been confirmed that comic book writer Dennis J. “Denny” O’Neil passed away Thursday at home from natural causes. He was 81.
O’Neil’s alma mater Saint Louis University, shared the news on social media.
Born in 1939, O’Neil was a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Saint Louis University in 1961 with a degree in English. He began his journalism career in Cape Girardeau, and later served in the U.S. Navy.
After serving, O’Neil joined Marvel Comics. In the 1960s, he signed with DC Comics and spent the next 12 years there.
Best known for writing the main Batman title, O’Neil also worked on Detective Comics and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. He edited DC Comics’ line of Batman comics for fourteen years from 1986 to 2000, and he’s among the people (alongside editor Julius Schwartz and Neal Adams) who are credited with bringing Batman back to his darker roots after those campy 1960s stories.
As well as creating the likes of Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, and Azrael, O’Neil also breathed new life into villains including The Joker and Two-Face. He also paired up Green Arrow and Green Lantern in that critically acclaimed run, and penned that now iconic Superman vs. Muhammad Ali one-shot.
At Marvel, O’Neil helped create Lady Deathstrike, Obadiah Stane, Hydro-Man, and Madame Web. He also worked on Transformers and helped name some autobot named Optimus Prime.
His work was also seen on television through Batman: The Animated Series and Logan’s Run.
DC Comics also posted a tribute on its official Twitter account, saying O’Neil’s “voice will be missed.”
“DC mourns the passing of Dennis “Denny” O’Neil, who co-created some of DC’s—and the industry’s—most important comics. Between revitalizing Batman and telling thoughtful stories that addressed addiction and racism, he told the stories we needed to hear. His voice will be missed,” the tweet said.
Comic Icons celebrate O’Neil on Twitter
From iconic Jim Lee to the voice of animated Batman, Kevin Conroy. O’Neil’s contributions to the super powered world were remembered on social media.
Rest in super powers, Dennis.
The Geek is a working screenwriter, director and screenwriting instructor.