Comic book legend and veteran writer/editor Dennis J. “Denny” O’Neil has died at the age of 81. His family confirmed the news (via GamesRadar); that he died at home due to natural causes several days ago on the night of 11 June 2020.
O’Neil was best known for revitalizing two DC Comics characters; Batman and Green Arrow. After the campy and goofy silver age of the 60s, he brought back a darker Dark Knight and Emerald Knight in the 70s, with the help of editor Julius Schwartz and legendary artist Neal Adams.
He co-created iconic Batman characters such as Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, Leslie Thompkins, Azrael, and Richard Dragon. However, one of his best comics (to this day) remains the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run, where he focused on the two superheroes as a duo travelling the United States.
It was notable for being one of the first mainstream comics to explore complex issues of political subject matter and social justice problems that plagued the era, including those related to drugs and racism.
It was during O’Neil’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow run that the famous and iconic Green Arrow story appeared in issues #85 and #86, which shockingly revealed to the world that Green Arrow’s partner Roy Harper AKA Speedy was addicted to heroin.
In addition, he also wrote the iconic Superman vs. Muhammad Ali one-shot and the Armageddon 2001 crossover event for DC Comics. He later worked for Marvel Comics as well, being involved in the creation of Madame Web, Hydro-Man, Obadiah Stane, Lady Deathstrike, and the concept for the Transformers, including naming Optimus Prime.
We have also lost several other comic book legends in 2020, including Asterix creator Albert Uderzo. They will be terribly missed, and we shall forever cherish their contributions to the comics industry.