DC History Club - Dennis O'Neil and 1970s Batman

I added another article on the Bronze Age, where how characters were presented changed dramatically, to the wiki.

Our library says the Bronze Age started in 1971. Others put it as early as 1968 and as late as 1973.

Below are the important dates for that time period. Notice that Denny is crucial for many of them.

Denny’s background was as a reporter, sensitive to social issues and trained to meet deadlines. He did not come from fandom. Also he had a wife and baby and thus could not reject any work.

1968 Writers Otto Binder, Bill Finger, John Broome, Arnold Drake, and Gardner Fox asked DC management for more financial benefits, including reprint payments, higher page rates and health insurance. Most were no longer given any more work.
One result:
Justice League of America 65
Gardner Fox
Justice League of America 66
Denny O Neil
Some say these writers leaving DC was the true end of the Silver Age.

1968 Wonder Woman surrendered her powers Denny O’Neil and editor/plotter/artist Mike Sekowsky

1970 Green Lantern Green Arrow 76 O’Neill Adams

1970 Marvel Conan the Barbarian Roy Thomas

1971 Superman 233. First Superman under editor Julius Schwartz By O’Neil, Swan Anderson

1971 Batman 232 “Daughter of the Demon” writer Denny O’ Neil and atist Neal Adams redefined the Batman

1971 New Gods Kirby comes to DC

1971 Marvel Kree–Skrull War Roy Thomas,Sal Buscema, Neal Adams, and John Buscema.

1971 Comic Code Authority standards revised. Code now permited the depiction of “narcotics or drug addiction” if presented “as a vicious habit”.
Also, newly allowed were "vampires, ghouls and werewolves

1971 Marvel Savage Tales 1 First appearance of Man Thing, By Thomas Conway. Later THE Writer of Man Thing was Steve Gerber

1972 Swamp Thing Wein Wrightson

1972 Marvel Tomb of Dracula Wolfman Colan

1973 Marvel The Amazing Spider-Man 121-122 The Night Gwen Stacy Died, by Conway, Kane.


Though there is no definite answer as to one comic book that ignited the Bronze age I would put the year down as 1968.

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I have fallen behind and offer no excuses.
Hopefully I’ll have 20 of them read in time.

There seems to be some posts missing from a week ago.
What happened?

I don’t remember it akl but
@msgtv gave sales figures
I replied
He said newstand sales dripped as well
I replied

Here is text combined

1966 Batman 1 898,470
1967 Batman 1 805,700
1968 Batman 3 533,450
1969 Batman 9 355,782
1970 Batman Unk 293,384
1971 Batman Unk 244,488
1972 Batman Unk 185,283

Readership comes from following sources

Loss from no TV show
Loss from end of Camp phase
Loss of readers like me who couldn’t stand Camp
Gain of new readers just coming in
Gain of old readers coming back due to new approach

1968 is when Denny came to DC
He could not helped earlier.
Old Camp approach was still in effect that year as Batman TV craze just ending.

At some point, Julie must have realized old approach not working.

So try different writers
See what they do
Monitor sales that month
Give Title to winner


You are right about newstand sales.

It was not also that the DC stories were silly, in some ways they were always silly at least the Superman and Batman franchises, in contrast to Marvel

I gave up on Marvel and DC around the same time in 1967 or 1968 because I could not find the comics anymore. With Marvel who had continuing stories it made it impossible to continue reading them

I know I was still reading comics in 1966 because I remember Black Panther debut but I got Conan, GL/GA, Skrull Kree War and Wein Swamp Thing as back not current issues.

I remember getting JLA when Wonder Woman was doing her 12 trials to come back to the team which was around 1973. I started going to Forbidden Planet on 17th street snd other stores when I moved to Manhattan in 1979 and that is when I could get Comic Books easily again. I remrmber going to a tiny store at 86th street before that to get comics. Maybe also near 34th street. I dont know how I found these shops

So from 73 to 79 it was hard to be a fan. I dont remember buying many Batman comics duting that time but I had the Englehart run from.Detective 1979 as well as All Star in 1976 and Spectre in Adventure in 1974.

Englehart not ONeil may have been my Batman

There’s two threads that next time I need to make more distinct. This is the research thread, the discussion thread is pinned near the top of community events. Still trying to figure out best way to do stuff

Not only am I confused about this thread your Anti-monitor avatar threw me for a loop.

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The initial thought was to have two different threads. The “here’s stuff to research and read, please post any other research material you find” and at mid-month a discussion thread. The idea was to give everyone a chance to read about the topic before opening discussions. Now, think that’s overly complicated. Think next try will be one thread, then a “vote and defend” going up at mid-month

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So…are we done here with O’Neil/Adams?
How about you come up with 3 different runs in DC history…start a thread on that…and we vote democratically about the next bit of history to read. Maybe we can keep the reading count down a bit…maybe just 20-25 issues instead of 40.
Edit…and maybe not Batman again…

Crisis is next but plan votes after that. Again, I’ve got to write these up better. Never intended that people would read the entire run, but sample it and read some articles or interviews. And, historic runs are just one option for topics. Could be the Fleischer cartoons, or Julie Schwarz, or politics in early Superman, or Superman the movie. Anyway, will do a poll with options in December for the January topic.

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See…I’m so lost I forgot Crisis was in this book club…and that’s on me…

The book club is doing Crisis. I’ve gathered some interviews and articles and one thesis that all look at its creation impact, etc that I’ll post links to and the History Club can discuss it from that perspective

Right now watching ASU trying to knock off the Ducks

That’s a big task now that I think about…I may not be up for it…I have read Crisis like 4 times…

Don’t need to reread then, still can pitch in on your thoughts on its importance, impact, etc

OK…I’ll call Marv and George…Maybe get some feedback from them too…:money_mouth_face:

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In light of Denny O’Neil’s passing, thought I would give this discussion a bump for those who haven’t seen it.


Great work everyone one providing informative sources! Lost one of the greats this last week.


An update to our Dennis O’Neil 70s Batman list with the addition of Detective #405 this week. And, it’s a debut story for the League of Assassins so it’s an important issue in O’Neil’s development of Ra’s al Ghul’s world. Unfortunately, this is not a Neal Adams story, with Bob Brown and Frank Giacoia joining O’Neil on art. Their Batman looks a little dated compared to O’Neil’s and while their work does not elevate the story the way Adams’ does, it serves the story well enough.

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