Dennis O’Neil: Superman, Spider-Man, and the God Particle

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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5 Responses

  1. The Gorn says:

    “So: if he commanded such technology, why didn’t he use it for much greater good than he could achieve as a costumed vigilante and, incidentally, plunk his saintly Aunt May down in some swell digs?”

    One problem I had with Spiderman is the fact that he continued to work for that jerk Jameson as a photographer. I thought Parker was supposed to be budding scientist. To me, it seems that the spider bite gave him not only superpowers but stunted emotional development.

  2. Jonathan (the other one) says:

    Supes actually gets a pass from me on two fronts:

    1) That “world spinning backward” thing was, obviously I thought, meant to signify that Superman was looping his timeline backward; Einsteinian physics does imply that if you were able to exceed the speed of light in an Einsteinian plenum (which would require greater-than-infinite energy, but this is Supes we’re talking about), entropy would reverse, and you’d travel back in time.

    2) This isn’t a trick you’d want to use very often; unless you have perfect knowledge (which Supes didn’t, even in the movies), you run an unacceptably high risk of changing something in your own history that could prove disastrous. (What if, while flying down to save Lois, he’d accidentally nudged that missile so that it hit in a different place than it had last time, and his past self was in the wrong place to save anyone?)

    Peter, however – why has he not founded Parker Chemical, and started manufacturing webshooters for the use of police and military forces? (The MPs at our local Army base, for instance, would *love* to have a level of engagement of intruders somewhere between “yelling” and “shooting”…)

    • There’s a great Concrete story in which he ends up developing a law-enforcement subduement device called “the hugger” that approximates Concrete’s own body size and arm reach.

      Basically, a cop wears it, slowly approaches someone who needs to be restrained and hugs him until he calms down or can be cuffed. It’s the step between “words” and “tasing” on Concrete’s flow chart.

    • mike weber says:

      Aside from clockwise/counter-clockwise time travel, the comics had also established that Supes could travel back but not change the past – when he tried to save Lincoln, Luthor just happened to be time-traveling, too, thought Superman was there for him, and hit him with green K that took him out of action just long enough for Lex to make his escape.

      Which was. of course, just enough time for Booth to pull the trigger.

      Of course, this means that even if his traveling back was established in the comics as possible, he couldn’t have saved Lois anyway…

  3. mike weber says:

    Of course, traveling backward in time by flying counter-clockwise had been established in the comics at some point – flying clockwise to break the Time Barrier forwards…