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

This month, the DC History Club is exploring the seminal 1970s run of writer Dennis O’Neil on Detective and Batman comics. Following the campiness characterizing 1960’s Batman, O’Neil helped put the dark back into the Dark Knight.
Over the next several weeks, find quality sources addressing the impact this run has had on our view of Batman, innovations and character introductions from that time, or anything you think shines light on this Darkness. Post one or two sources with title and a link in our O’Neil Batman Sources Wiki directly below.

How to wiki

If you aren’t familiar with the wiki function on DCU, look for the orange pencil in the upper right corner of the post. You should be able to click on that icon and edit the post yourself. This way everyone can add the research sources they are finding in a single place.

If you have questions about where to find a particular source or type of information, ask in the thread below.

You will also find a post below listing the Dennis O’Neil Batman stories available on DCU, in publication order, from his debut in Jan 1970 thru 1980. Dive in as part of your research. If you have specific issues you want to recommend to other History Club members post in thread.

Please save your findings and thoughts until the November 15th when we will open a discussion thread so your fellow historians have a chance to do some digging themselves.


O’Neil Batman Sources Wiki: Just tap the orange pencil to open

Dennis O’Neil interview reference Batman in the 70s with Neal Adams, 5 min

Pure storytelling, no other agenda, 3 days to do a story

Neal Adams on Making Batman Scary Again

O’Neil interview series

Comic book sales numbers, including Batman and Detective 1966-69

Batman sales numbers, 1960-today


From @TurokSonOfStone1950



Turok Son of Stone 1950 Super Hero History


As of August 18th, 2020
The below are the Dennis O’Neil Batman stories available on DCU, in publication order from his debut in Jan 1970 thru 1980.
· Detective Comics #395, 397, 399
· Batman #225
· Detective Comics #405-406, 410, 411
· Batman #232, 234
· Detective Comics #414
· Batman #235, 237
· Detective Comics #418, 419
· Batman #240
· Detective Comics #422
· Batman #241
· Detective Comics #425
· Batman #243-245, 247
· Detective Comics #431
· Batman #251, 256
· Detective Comics #451
· Batman #268
· Detective Comics #457
· Batman #303
· Detective Comics #480, 481, 483-487
· Batman #320
· Detective Comics #489-491


My suggested issues are:
Detective #395, Secret of the Waiting Graves-O’Neil’s debut issue for his take on Batman
Batman #232, Daughter of the Demon-It’s all in the title, plus art by Neal Adams


1973 Comic Book Batman #251 “The Joker’s Five Way Revenge!”
This issue of Batman diverged from the established conventions of The Joker, which at that point were more in line with a prankster or mild annoyance more than a wildcard killer.


If you were a former welder of K9s, then yes you did

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@tuxnut hope you enjoy hanging out in the History Club



Great club

I am a little confused.

Are there two.wikis outside of this topic?

One for interviews/ sources.
One for recommendations

That you would provide links to, or is that later?

As requested,Mike Uslan is a big Batman fan who is executive producer for all Batman films since 1989. He owns the novie rights to Batman.

In his biography, he gave his 20 best Batman stories.

Here are the ones written by Denny.

From Mike Uslan Book The Boy.who loved Batman

  1. Night of the Reaper from Batman #237, which came out around September 1971, became a hot topic in my comic book course about the impact comics could have on an audience and as hard evidence of their growing sophistication in theme and storytelling. This is a POWERFUL tale everyone should read, and it is courtesy of another of my comic book course guest lecturers, Denny O’Neil, and the magic that is Neal Adams.

  2. Daughter of the Demon from 1971’s Batman #232 kicked off the emergence of Ra’s al Ghul and his daughter, Talia, giving us fans the greatest Batman villain created post-Batman TV show. From the typewriter and pencils and pens of Denny O’Neil (of course) and Neal Adams (who else?).

  3. Challenge of the Man-Bat, beginning in Detective Comics 400 in 1970 from Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, was a truly chilling modern-day comic book version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  4. Both Batman #253 and #259 in 1973 and 74, when he meets the mysterious figure who most directly influenced his own creation, the Shadow, as written by Denny O’Neil and rendered by Neal Adams.

  5. Secret of the Waiting Graves from Detective Comics #395 in 1970 marked the first Batman collaboration between the Dynamic Duo of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams.

@TurokSonOfStone1950 okay, was afraid I hadn’t explained it well. I’ve tweaked the announcement above. The first post after the announcement is the Wiki for sources. I had started it with a few. I figured issues recommended could just be posted in the thread. Give a look and see if that’s clearer now. Thanks

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Got it

Finished reading every O’Neil Batman story from the 70s available on DCU. Going to backtrack now to the late 60s and see the difference from other writers.


In the middle of the Batgirl debut, “world of difference”

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Which Batman writers’ of the 70’s work do you enjoy?

Denny O’Neil

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Frank Robbins

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Bob Haney

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Elliot Maggin

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Gerry Conway

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

David V. Reed (David Vern)

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Steve Englehart

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Len Wein

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

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For a quick bit a research/comparison try reading Detective #365 and Batman #251 (suggested by @TurokSonOfStone1950). Both Joker stories that comparing can really demonstrate the changes in tone, etc.

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My final bit of research preparing for next week’s start of the discussion thread is reading O’Neil’s contemporaries on Batman to see whether his take is unique or not.

I don’t know if Steve Englehart is a contemporary but he describes his run in


It includes a Joker story which was adaptrd in BTAS

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This article sounds like the work of Denny never existed, but without Denny, it is doubtful this series would have been published

The problem with researching this is separating quality info out, O’Neil starts Detective on 395, this article talks about a writer reestablishing the characters pulp roots in 469. Articles and interviews can be good, but you gotta compare to the actual product. Sounds like a good run though.

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There are much better Batman done in one issues, like To Kill a Legend, Night of the Reaper or There is No Hope in.Crime Alley.

But Englehart and Rogers are considered by many to be the best Batman team in regard to a sequence of issues.

I consider this run and the first arc of Detective Comics 2016 to be in my top ten series.