I’m sitting here, trying to think of what to say about the late Denny O’Neil, who passed away last week. Certainly there’s no one besides Batman’s creators that had more of an impact on the stories of the Dark Knight than Denny. It’s not just that he wrote the Batman stories that dragged Batman away from the camp and back into the dark, it’s also his decades as editor for the Batman line, providing a steady hand and unified vision for the character.
But for me, it was his monthly column “From the Den”, that appeared at the end of the letters page across the Batman titles. It was there that O’Neil would muse about random things, subway pickpockets in New York, whether he was too old to keep going by the nickname “Denny”, or if television was really the key to everlasting life. As a kid living in the middle of nowhere, there were no comic conventions for me to go and meet the professionals, and peek behind the curtain so to speak. There was no facebook to friend them, no internet interviews posted on the company webpages. But through this sort of column, I felt like I was able to get a glimpse of that life, making comics in the big apple…and I’m glad I took the time to tell him this face to face.
One of the obits I read referred to Denny as “Legendary DC editor”. Denny never saw himself as legendary. He was just a guy doing a job. But nevertheless, I feel entirely justified in saying we have lost a giant.