Smoke Gets In Your Brain, 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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6 Responses

  1. Andrew Bergstrom says:

    I recall a very powerful and controversial storyline penned by Mr. O’Neil in the ’60’s involving the dynamic green duo and GA’s protoge ‘Speedy’ (who attempted to keep up with his name.) It was landmark in its time, and marked a definite shift in storytelling at DC to comment on the world as it was. If the question is “Does Art reflect Life”, or even should it, then YES! I applaud Dennis’ embracing this menace and giving it to the attention he did, and especially the way he did it. If that accuser had only seen the cover GL/GA #85 there would have been even more controversy than the Batman standing in partial view of a cigarette bilboard…

  2. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    I love hearing from people who are serial complainers. Nothing is funnier than real life. The best way to deal with these people is to shine a light on them. let them say their piece in the spotlight, with nobody shouting them down or telling us why they’re stupid, just let them do it themselves. That way they can’t fall back on the old “They don’t want you to know this” trick.

    Every time I hear about PETA doing another one of their publicity stunts, I get goose bumps, because I know it’s going to be insane. last week, they wrote to Ben and Jerry’s and asked them to stop using cow’s milk (milking cows is cruelty, don’t you know) in their products and starts using human milk. They were met with a polite murring (I actually went a looked up the noun form of “demur”), when they should have been met with outright laughter and pointing. Radio personalities Opie and Anthony had exactly the right response – they found a woman willing to donate, and made a batch of vanilla mother’s milk ice cream. And predictably, is was foul.

    In this modern 24-hour news cycle world, every damn crazy with a letter head is propped up and presented as a legitimate expert, followed by five minutes of ACTUAL experts who discuss the “issue”, but secretly must be questioning whether or not the paycheck is worth it. Need I mention the psychiatrist group who got their fifteen minutes by protesting the use of the word “Madman” to describe doomsday?

    I gotta say, Terry Ricolta has a LOT to answer for.

  3. Chompa says:

    I believe there is a line between romanticizing booze/smoking/drugs and depicting it in a realistic manner. These things are a part of society and recognizing them is not the same as endorsing them. In fact, I'd say that most comics actually do more than their share to depict them as problems.

  4. Martha Thomases says:

    The politician in question was Mark Green, an opportunist of the worst sort. The fact that we agree on many issues does not in any way make me feel more kindly towards him. I was thrilled at the occasion to vote against him when he ran for mayor.

  5. mike weber says:

    News story from Reuters:U.S. official says online drug videos threaten teens (Reuters)LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The director of the White House war on drugs said on Monday that Internet videos that show people getting high pose a dangerous threat to teenagers by encouraging them to use drugs and alcohol.{snip}Walters advised parents to check the browser history on their teens' computer. Also, since the videos are posted on sites where teens meet other Internet users, Walters said parents should look at text messages and incoming and outgoing phone numbers on their teens' cell phones."Nobody's talking about censorship over the Internet here, what we're talking about is legitimate parental supervision," he said.I think they wrote "Walters" when they meant "Wertham"…Read the full Article

  6. Mike Gold says:

    It is our obligation as storytellers to tell the story. If we want to make moral judgments, fine, as long as they're part of the story. If the purpose is to create morality plays, fine, as long as the story works. It is not our OBLIGATION to censor society's actions. We should not alter reality just to suck up to the tenor of the times. If your kid is so shallow that he starts shooting up heroin after reading The Man With The Golden Arm (one of my favorite novels), the problem isn't Nelson Algren's… although it might be the way you raised him. That book was published in 1949. How many junkies did it create? Green Arrow's Speedy shot smack (odd choice of drugs, Denny, for a guy named Speedy). Did that first-rate morality play turn any readers into junkies?Give me a break.Great column, Denny.