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    Default What did Dennis O'Neil think of modern Batman

    Recently the beloved Dennis O'Neil passed away, leaving a lasting impact on the Caped Crusader. One thing I have been curious is what did he ever think of modern Batman. Did he ever express his like and/or dislike other interpretations such as Jeph Loeb, Scott Snyder, or even Grant Morrison?

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    Mighty Member jb681131's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batfreak101 View Post
    Recently the beloved Dennis O'Neil passed away, leaving a lasting impact on the Caped Crusader. One thing I have been curious is what did he ever think of modern Batman. Did he ever express his like and/or dislike other interpretations such as Jeph Loeb, Scott Snyder, or even Grant Morrison?
    I would say he created the modern Batman ! I don't know but he wrote his last Batman story in 2009.

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    Anybody know what his thoughts on Damien were?

    Because I’m pretty sure O’Neil would never allow Bruce having a child under his stint.

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    Denny was pretty strict with his writers that they shouldn't depict Batman sleeping with anyone. His thought was that if Batman slept with anyone, before long he'd be sleeping with everyone. He wouldn't have given Batman a kid and he wouldn't have shown him in a relationship with Catwoman.

    With that said, Denny also stated that he had his turn on the character, and that now it was other people's turn, and so their work should be respected as well.
    Cheers - CL

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    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Date: 2018
    Context: Historically, comic books have been aimed squarely at children and early teens and yet you seemed to write for a very different and older audience.
    Response: Oh I think that “children’s literature” thing has always been somewhat incorrect. I mean comic books come from comic strips and if you look at the history of comic strips they’re clearly aimed at adults.
    https://www.nerdteam30.com/creator-conversations-retro/an-interview-with-denny-oneil-the-author-behind-dcs-socially-conscious-70s


    The conversation went on to current DC Comics and the difference then and now

    "But with comics, I just read a whole bunch of Batman comics a couple of weeks ago to prepare for a thing I did and I was mildly surprised to see some things that were absolutely forbidden to us even five or six years ago are now accepted.

    I think ever since DC did some real marketing surveys twenty or so years ago we’ve realized that comics are not for kids. That’s too bad, but the level of maturity and sophistication now…I mean Marifran used to love to give comic books as prizes for the kids in her classes. It’s very hard for her to do that with mainstream comics any more because even by our very liberal standards they are certainly not for children."

    "I mean, Marifran had to give out like a hundred comic books, so we called a friend at DC, one of the vice presidents, and she said, “Sure, I’ll be happy to get those for you, but it will take a couple of days to assemble that many Cartoon Network titles" and Marifran said, “Well, what about Superman and Batman?”

    Our vice president friend said, “No, absolutely not.”

    When they started sending me comps again after not having done it for five years and looking at the stuff I see, yeah she was right, that would not have been a good thing to give to a first or second grader."

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    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    This is not on-topic but might as well since it's interesting.
    On consulting Batman Begins.
    https://www.nerdteam30.com/creator-c...-conscious-70s

    "The Ra’s al Ghul one, well they were…except for denying me a screen credit, and I don’t know why they did that, because they’re perfectly willing to acknowledge that I created the character, what I really did was consult on the video game.

    That was the easiest money I ever made. A very bright, smart, 27-year old writer would drive up here a couple of times a month and we’d go to lunch in town and I’d say, “Well, you know, Batman can’t say ‘goddamn.’”

    “Oh, okay, Batman doesn’t say ‘goddamn.’” That was the extent of my consulting. My name was there for theatrical value."

    "But I didn’t really consult on the movie. I missed a chance to meet with the director. They had the premiere in Hollywood. We were invited, but there was a conflict. We couldn’t getaway. So I missed a chance to meet Chris Nolan. Paul Levitz said that he had asked if we could get together. I think it’s one of the best superhero movies ever made and by a wide margin the best Batman big-screen effort."

    "Oh, it wasn’t exactly my Ra’s, but it shouldn’t have been. What they did was perfectly valid on its own terms. If I was going to quibble, I might have wanted a little more gravitas in Liam Neeson’s performance. I have always envisioned Ra’s as this enormously impressive, serious…sort of like Jupiter, the god, or Saturn, but the basic mistake comic book people make is to think that you can make a movie out of a comic book and you can’t. They’re different media, they have different requirement"
    Last edited by Restingvoice; 06-29-2020 at 06:43 AM.

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    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Back to the topic, about comic anti-heroism in general. Same interview.

    "It’s not that I would not take a comic book assignment, but I probably would not be too comfortable doing the current interpretations of the characters.

    I think I had a pretty good long run of staying contemporary with the audience, partially because I had a kid, who was the audience. A bright teenager. Probably the average comic book audience, or college kid, but, well, a question I asked someone the other day: “Where is the line between allowed and here? How far negative can you go with a character and still call that character a hero?”

    I really would love to have an answer for that. I don’t. I don’t know. I am not comfortable with the degree of anti-heroism that I sometimes see. That, I have to shout from the rooftops, does not mean it’s wrong. It means I don’t get it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Evans View Post
    Anybody know what his thoughts on Damien were?

    Because Iím pretty sure OíNeil would never allow Bruce having a child under his stint.
    He didn't like the concept of a son of Batman to be sure. He was the one who ruled Son of the Demon not canon when it came out. He was not big on Batman with a family in general, and he doesn't seemed to have liked Dick much more than he liked Jason.

    For Damian specifically I think he was checked out of comics enough not to know much about him. John Suintres hosted a Robin panel where O'Neil turned to Peter Tomasi and essentially said that he was sure everyone liked the new Robin because Tomasi hadn't made the same mistake as O'Neal had made with Jason in making him a snot-nosed criminal with an abrasive personality...

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    Given Denny O'Neil has only recently passed, I don't want to be too harsh. But for me he's a conflicting figure. I liked him a lot as a writer. But the Batman editor he became is a striking contrast.

    Of course, none of us are consistent and over our lifetimes we're bound to say different things at different times. And some of the reason why the younger O'Neil created a different Batman from the one he edited is situational. In the 1970s he was working for Julius Schwartz, who probably pushed O'Neil to follow one direction. And when he was editor, he pushed other writers in a different direction.

    Just on the matter of Bruce not having sex and not having kids, O'Neil wrote "I Now Pronounce You Batman and Wife," DC SPECIAL SERIES 15 (Summer 1978)--the story where Bruce is married to Talia and they sleep together. It seems to me that story must have in part influenced Mike W. Barr's BATMAN: S0N OF THE DEMON (1987). So it was Denny O'Neil who opened that door.

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    I am a diamond, Ms. Pryde millernumber1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb681131 View Post
    I would say he created the modern Batman ! I don't know but he wrote his last Batman story in 2009.
    He wrote a short for the Holiday Special in 2017, and another for Tec 1000 in 2019, though.
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    see beauty in all things. charliehustle415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swallowtail View Post
    He didn't like the concept of a son of Batman to be sure. He was the one who ruled Son of the Demon not canon when it came out. He was not big on Batman with a family in general, and he doesn't seemed to have liked Dick much more than he liked Jason.

    For Damian specifically I think he was checked out of comics enough not to know much about him. John Suintres hosted a Robin panel where O'Neil turned to Peter Tomasi and essentially said that he was sure everyone liked the new Robin because Tomasi hadn't made the same mistake as O'Neal had made with Jason in making him a snot-nosed criminal with an abrasive personality...
    I never knew that, so a writer like Morrison was able to reverse that edict; that's pretty amazing.

    I love O'Neil and without his additions to the mythos I would not be a BatFan, but we have had great stories because of Morrison and later Tomasi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charliehustle415 View Post
    I never knew that, so a writer like Morrison was able to reverse that edict; that's pretty amazing.

    I love O'Neil and without his additions to the mythos I would not be a BatFan, but we have had great stories because of Morrison and later Tomasi.
    In THE KINGDOM--Mark Waid's follow-up to KINGDOM COME--we saw Batman's son, Ibn al Xu'ffasch--given his own one-shot, THE KINGDOM: SON OF THE BAT (Februay 1999), on sale December 23, 1998. This event was edited by Dan Raspler, while Denny O'Neil was still the Bat group editor.

    I guess Mark Waid had enough pull that that could get past O'Neil. And it was set in a possible future, rather than the present continuity. However, it does tend to confirm what happened in BATMAN: SON OF THE DEMON and/or "I Now Pronounce You Batman and Wife."

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    At the time he was writing Batman, the stuff he was doing was very cutting edge for the time. Shift forward to now and "cutting edge" has quite a different meaning because the stuff O'Neil did is now just part of the accepted lore. Thats just the evolution of comics and what is and is not acceptable.

    In other words, the cutting edge stuff that O'Neil was doing back when would now again be cutting edge for different reasons, because its looked at as too simple and black and white. It would need more moral ambiguity, more gray areas.

    I do think O'Neil would accept much of the better modern work, had he given it a chance and read it. But it sounds like he was kind of moved past the Batman stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    I do think O'Neil would accept much of the better modern work, had he given it a chance and read it. But it sounds like he was kind of moved past the Batman stuff.
    O'Neil was in his sixties by the time he gave up his day job at D.C. And even after that he continued to do stuff for them--he seemed to be in the extra features for any given D.V.D. they released. So I'd say he was involved with the comics for the better part of his life.

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    What a great career he has had.
    Every day is a gift, not a given right.

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