Nudity and the Editorial Process, by 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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7 Responses

  1. John Tebbel says:

    And the comics publishers damned their creative staffs to a uniquely low circle of hell in 1953 when they conspired to restrict trade via their heinous Comics Code Authority scam.

    • Rick Taylor says:

      My favorite, most requested 'art correct' was the 'no nipples' directive.You could take white tape and make little pasties over the drawing's chest/boobs.

    • mike weber says:

      I promise you that, had the publishers not come up with the CCA, Congress would have don a lot worse.Remember – Estes Kefauver, apparently, wanted some of that good viewing with alarm and saving the nation PR like Tailgunner Joe was getting, and jumped on Dr Wertham's bandwagon.

      • Mike Gold says:

        "I promise you that, had the publishers not come up with the CCA, Congress would have don a lot worse." Yeah, except for that nasty First Amendment thing, which was far more in effect in the mid-50s than it is today.If the publishers got slammed by Congress, they would have had a wonderful case. And I think it's pretty clear the Supreme Court — the Warren Court — would have upheld their position. But the publishers were too cheap and too scared to do anything but back down.And why shouldn't they? The Code and the times eliminated an enormous amount of competition from top sellers like EC and Gleason. There was so much unemployed talent wandering around the big surviving publishers could cut page rates and make their product even more profitable.

  2. mike weber says:

    Regarding the artist who thought a colour hold would cover the nekkid character (what character, BTW?), Mel Lazarus's great novel of the early days of the Silver Age, "The Boss Is Crazy Too", features a production manager who literally knows nothing about his job; he's the publisher's wife's unemployable cousin, and giving him a job is part of the price of getting family mopney to keep the company afloat.The artists hae him, and the inker has a habit of lettering obscenities in areas that are going to be solid black, just to honk him off. He's positive that, one day, the black isn't going to cover it up.So, one week, the bullpen crew grab one of the sample bundles of comics coming into the office, and, with a rubber stamp and dark grey ink, stamp an obscene word in the same place in a black doorway the hero has just emerged from, gun blazing.And then they tie the bundle back up and leave him to find it…(For those who haven't read the book, i will mention that the publsiher's name is Fulton A. Fineman. I'm sure no resemblance to any actual bullpens, living or dead, was iontended…)

    • Michael H. Price says:

      Mel Lazarus' tale draws on more than comics-bullpen life, at that. Many such pranks as that rubber-stamp stunt have figured in the news-publishing racket.A bullying, paranoid managing editor from my early days as a reporter was similarly obsessed with "hidden meanings" in the news stories and the headlines. Art Director George Turner and I made a point of taunting this guy with bogus glitches — a thoroughly irresponsible response.One day's editions carried a banner story about a meat company's decision to build a local factory: GIANT PACKER FIRM TO OFFICE HERE. George and I cobbled together a fake variation — simply a matter of switching places for an "A" and an "I" — and ran off a realistic proof-page. Then we sneaked the counterfeit onto the editor's desk. One seldom hears "Stop the presses!" hollered with such urgency.

      • mike weber says:

        Alfred Bester told the tale of when he noticed that DC editorial were rewriting his gibberish – you know, the stuff you wrote to go in balloons for "native languages" back in the Bad Old pre-PC Days. He asked why.The reply: "We know you're a smart-ass and you know several languages, so we're rewriting it just to make sure you don't sneak something dirty in."So, he said, he decided that he'd put something rude in without disguising it and still get it through – so he named a character "Mr Merkin".