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)