The Hollywood Reporter reports that longtime comic book writer and editor Dennis “Denny” O’Neil died Thursday of natural causes. He was 81.
O’Neil was best known as the longtime writer and editor of the Batman comics since the 70s, and along with Neal Adams brought the Caped Crusader back to his Dark Knight roots.
He got his start at Marvel Comics with work on Doctor Strange stories in Strange Tales and his first collaboration with Adams in X-Men #65. He later worked in Charlton Comics under the name “Sergius O’Shaugnessy.”
When he worked at DC Comics, he revived most of DC’s most iconic characters including Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. He even revived Captain Marvel when DC got the rights to the character and renamed it Shazam!. Some of O’Neil’s best work with Adams was the stint on Green Lantern where he teams up with Green Arrow with issues dealing with racism, pollution, and drug abuse.
During his stint at DC in the 70s, O’Neil helped create John Stewart, an African-American who became Hal Jordan’s backup in Green Lantern. He also created the Batman villains Ra’s Al Ghul and his daughter Talia, and the supporting character Dr. Leslie Thompkins.
O’Neil returned to Marvel in 1980 writing The Amazing Spider-Man. He even wrote Iron Man when Tony Stark dealt with alcoholism, even replacing Stark with James Rhodes as Iron Man for an extended period. He was also an editor on Daredevil during Frank Miller’s run and also edited Alpha Flight, Moon Knight, and G.I. Joe.
He went back to DC as a writer of The Question and created the character Azrael in Batman: Sword of Azrael. He also continued writing and editing Batman comics.
O’Neil’s TV credits include writing episodes of Logan’s Run, Superboy, G.I. Joe and the two-part Batman: The Animated Series episode, “The Demon’s Quest.”
O’Neil is survived by his wife Marifran, and his son Lawrence.
(Photo of Denny O’Neill at New York Comic Con 2011 by Ed Liu)