Denny O’Neil, who helped revive Batman, dies

Splash page to the Batman story “There Is No Hope in Crime Alley,” written by Denny O’Neil

Denny O’Neil, a comic book writer and editor who returned Batman to his dark origins, has died at 81, the Games Radar website said.

The character’s comic stories had turned light-hearted during the run of the 1966-68 television series starring Adam West.

After that show ended, editor Julius Schwartz assembled contributors who’d take the character in a darker direction.

O’Neill, artist Neal Adams and inker Dick Giordano were among the key contributors, though there were others.

Those stories ended up being an influence on the 1989 Batman feature film directed by Tim Burton. O’Neil and Adams also created the villain Ra’s al Ghul, who appeared in the 2005 Christopher Nolan-directed Batman Begins. Also, some of the O’Neil-written comics stories were adapted by a 1990s Batman cartoon series.

O’Neil and Adams also worked together on a run of Green Lantern and Green Arrow comics in the 1970s intended to take on contemporary issues, such as drug addiction.

O’Neil left DC for a time to work at Marvel. He was editor of Daredevil when writer-artist Frank Miller rejuvenated that character in the late 1970s and 1980s. O’Neil also wrote Daredevil for a time after Miller departed.

O’Neil later returned to DC, where he edited the Batman titles from 1986 to 2000.

Tributes to O’Neil were published on social media, including one by retired comic book writer Gerry Conway.

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One Response

  1. Denny wrote the scripts for that Demon’s Head two parter of Batman: The Animated Series. David Warner is, without question, the best Ra’s Al Ghul. He should have returned for the Arkham Games.

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