DENNIS O’NEIL: Not Dennis O’Neil
When is a Denny O’Neil column not a Denny O’Neil column? When it’s being written by Man-Child editor Gold. Denny is under the weather – hopefully no longer in pain, as the only thing worse than being sick is being in agony. I know, because that was my situation for half of June and July.
All this means Denny and I are old and, obviously, decrepit. Let me tell you something, kiddies: that sucks. I’ll tell you two other things: it beats the alternative, and therefore if you live long enough for it to happen to you, you’re lucky.
But since we have this space that’s Denny’s, I’m going to say a few words about the old geezer. I can do this because he’s even older than I am, and I was a teenager when I started reading his stuff. I loved his work (and continue to do so) since before there was a Dennis O’Neil byline in comics. His phenomenal work for Charlton, Children of Doom (Charlton Premiere #2 November 1967, drawn by the late-great Pat Boyette and edited by the similarly late-great Dick Giordano), was published under the pen name Sergius O’Shaugnessy.
Jeez, Denny. Can you get any more Irish?
Anyway, if you can beg, borrow or steal a copy, do so. Go to your local schoolyard or crawl under the covers with a flashlight and read the thing. You will be amazed, entertained, edified, and overwhelmed by the succulent smell of deteriorating newsprint. And as I recall, Charlton used pre-deteriorating newsprint on their presses.
Denny and I became wall-mates during our respective tenures at DC Comics in the mid-70s. When we both returned to those hallowed halls (well, they had moved but DC is always doing that) we became office-mates for several years. And here’s a shock: I was totally honored to be sharing space with the man.
In fact, when I became his editor on [[[The Question]]] (yes, I’m bragging), I was totally intimidated. How the hell could I edit this man? Now, this is a fanboy response and not a professional one: I edited Will Eisner and even Peter O’Donnell, and those were not self-intimidating experiences. Then again, I didn’t live with them eight hours a day.
I had a great time on The Question. At a few points, it was an almost volatile experience – DC is known for its office politics and fighting with the bureaucracy and particularly with our crack marketing department was an ongoing thrill. Some are convinced I enjoyed that.
I don’t get to see Denny enough, but when I do I feel a strong connection to a kindred experience – one who, on his worst days (we both have a background in “journalism”), can write rings around me. So when his wife Marifran told me he would miss this week’s column – as saintly as Denny is, his being married to Marifran is an act of astonishing luck – all this dribble immediately popped up in my brainpan.
Thanks for letting me share. And Denny, get well soon or I’ll have to write that Dark Denny piece!
Recommended Reading: Charlton Premiere #2 November 1967, “Children of Doom,” written by Sergius O’Shaugnessy, drawn by Pat Boyette and edited by the similarly Dick Giordano.
FRIDAY: Martha Thomases
- DENNIS O’NEIL: Universal Upheaval! (comicmix.com)
- MIKE GOLD: Fantastic Fifty (comicmix.com)
- DENNIS O’NEIL: Green Lantern’s Pink Stash (comicmix.com)
Denny is one of my favorite humans. Here’s hoping he’s feeling better.
I’m in agreement with Martha. And The Question is now in trade, on my bookshelf. I loved it to death. Kung-Fu gripped death.
Nice job filling in Mike, and psssst Hey Denny, get well soon
I remember a number of those stand-alone Charlton Premiere books fondly. Have Denny’s story, or any of those issues, ever been reprinted? I’m guessing there are copyright issues with Charlton being long-gone, but somebody must have the rights.