DENNIS O’NEIL: Tribute to a true master

Dennis O'Neil

Dennis O'Neil

Dennis O'Neil was born in 1939, the same year that Batman first appeared in Detective Comics. It was thus perhaps fated that he would be so closely associated with the character, writing and editing the Dark Knight for more than 30 years. He's been an editor at Marvel and DC Comics. In addition to Batman, he's worked on Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Man, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, the Question, The Shadow and more. O'Neil has won every major award in the industry. His prose novels have been New York Times bestsellers. Denny lives in Rockland County with his wife, Marifran.

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9 Responses

  1. John McCarthy says:

    Ah, Mr. O'Neil. . . it's never "a waste of [my] time." Thank you, sir, for hitting your deadline. I'll be back next time as will you, I reckon. ;-)

  2. Peter Bangs says:

    Oh Man… Vonnegut's gone. That sound you hear is my heart breaking as yet another of my heroes leaves this world.

  3. Liz Glass says:

    Like Kurt Vonnegut, you could write 300 words about your breakfast experience and it would be a treat.

  4. John Tebbel says:

    Or 6 words 50 times.

  5. John Tebbel says:

    Vonnegut effortlessly cultivated the Twain look later in life in a case of playing the hand you're dealt. I've tried growing my hair and a moustache and the effect is not Mark Twain but Edgar Allan Poe had he lived to flabby middle age and grown a moustache. Vonnegut in a pale suit could have been Sam Clemens' brother. He was probably flattered to be worthy of the comparison.

  6. Dave says:

    This was a great installment! Is the end of Hammer of the Gods: Back from the Dead, or merely the end of another of the short stories therein? In either case, I've really enjoyed it (as I have the print stories which came before). I look forward to more whenever the muse strikes you.

  7. Russ Rogers says:

    "Enemy of the Gods" ran 18 pages, plus a bonus splash by John Staton. This issue we were given NINE full pages (18 ComicMix double spreads). This is more pages in a single ComicMix Episode than we've seen in a while. And I can't help but wonder (because I tend to overthink things),l "What does this mean?""Enemy of the Gods" is over. "The Color (Moduck) Saga." "Fragments." "Modi Hits China" bled into the Modi/Skögul love and dream and fight sequence in Chapter 3. Going back, it's strange that SO many pages were used to establish a sense of journey and a sense of place (we are in CHINA), only to have the China Witch transform into Odin and press Modi into a timeless, placeless dream sequence. Modi falls forever and ends up on a ship in the middle of nowhere. Modi never even finished his quest of getting Odin back to Valhalla. Wasn't that his mission?There is a sequence where Skögul kills Modi with a sword, screaming, "Fly Modi!" Modi immediately wakes up on the next page…"Gah! A DREAM!" [Issue #9, page 65-66] This whole collection of story fragments feels like that. Maybe this shouldn't be titled, "Back From the Dead." Maybe the title of this should be, "Hammer Of The Gods: Fragments and Dreams." Ephemera.Every few pages the rug gets pulled out from under the readers feet. We fall and find Modi on a ship or a snowy mountain or waddling about as a Duck. I love the art, the mood, the scale, the epic scope of "Back From The Dead." But, I'm also a bit lost and confused and this feels like the last story. Is this the end? It easily might not be. And I don't want it to be. I just don't know where Modi will wake up next week or if there will be a next week. The thing this collection lacks is cohesion. The art style shifts. The writing style shifts. There's no overarching plot. The story fragments pop in and out, all middle, with little beginning or end. I'm reminded of a Randy Newman song I heard yesterday, "In Germany Before the War." It's one of those strange, character pieces by Newman. All middle. No beginning or end. Newman does that a lot. Here's another one. Sometimes "all middle" is good, if it's juicy enough.I miss Snorri, the Monk, from the Foward in Issue #1. I've wanted to see him pop in at the beginning and ending of these episodes like a Dark Ages, Scandihoovian Rod Serling. Again, I'm just looking for something to tie this stuff together. It was the way DC used to use Cain and Able or the Three Witches to tie together their horror books. Maybe there's at least one more issue of Hammer of the Gods left. Maybe we'll get a Afterward by Snorri.Oh well, nice job on this fragment and dream. I really enjoyed the cool colors on this one. The blues and purples. Very chilly, very frosty. Kudos to John! There's an interesting effect in this issue where the Giant tosses the rocks right at the "camera" and the rocks blur out of focus. That's a nice digital manipulation. I've rarely seen depth implied in comics by blurring the objects in the foreground. Neat.

  8. MARK WHEATLEY says:

    Not a Dream! But maybe Hit or Myth? (Sorry!) This is not the last story for BACK FROM THE DEAD. This graphic novel runs through week 21. And the basic concept behind all of this is that we see the MYTH of Modi through many eyes and perspectives. I had been reading so many books about Viking myth and there were seemingly an endless number of stories about the gods – and even more fragments of stories about the gods. On top of that there were almost always stories about how, say, Odin got his dog – followed by a story where the dog is a wolf instead. After the passage of several ages of man we have very little to go on. The details do not agree – and that makes it all the more the stuff of legend for me. This is not a Marvel Universe where someone is working like crazy to track all of the details and keep them straight. This is much more a case of one storyteller trying to outdo the previous version of the tale. And Mike Oeming and I thought there was a lot of charm in the ability to tell a story unencumbered by "fact". I also kept thinking of the story that Mike Gold tells about his time as the PR guy for Abbie Hoffman and the Chicago Seven trial – how misinformation was his goal and job (and he did a good job at it). And yet when he reads history books today – his PR is now quoted as historical fact. So every one of these BACK FROM THE DEAD tales is a unique take on our characters. I think it makes for a richer reading experience. But I can see that if you are looking at it like it is the DC Universe, you might resist getting the idea.Oh – and in a print version of BACK FROM THE DEAD these daily format pages will not be two page spreads – they will be printed sideways as single pages. And we are only paid for the single pages – and that means technically the chapter this week is really a nine page chapter. It was also a good chunk of story. Next week is a single, complete, story that features guest art by my buddy, Neil Vokes.

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