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These frequently reprinted Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories from the early 70s are both a harbinger of things to come in American comics and a dead end. As sales for DCs Green Lantern fell, young writer ONeil, influenced by 60s liberal politics, decided to have superheroes confront real social issues of the time, including racism, political corruption and capitalistic exploitation of workers. ONeil compared Green Lantern to a policeman, accustomed to unquestioningly accepting the status quo. Green Lantern is clued into social ills by the newly radicalized superhero archer Green Arrow, whom ONeil revamped into a contemporary Robin Hood. ONeil thus started a trend of "relevant" comics that quickly faded. Nor have these stories aged well. Influenced by magazine illustrators, Adamss art was acclaimed at the time for its realism, but now seems to glamorize naturalistic subjects. Though professing to portray moral complexities, these stories make their "real life" malefactors as purely evil as standard costumed villains. ONeil vividly characterizes his two heroes, but they still lack true depth. The writer is more successful with characterization in Volume 2, and his introductions to Volume 1 provide proof of the sophisticated author he has become. Readers interested in comics history will want to read this collection; it represents an early step toward the mediums maturity.
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Dennis "Denny" O'Neil is a comic book writer and editor, principally for Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 1970s. His best works include Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman with Neal Adams, The Shadow with Mike Kaluta and The Question with Denys Cowan, all of which were hailed for sophisticated stories that expanded the artistic potential of the mainstream portion of the medium. As an editor, he is principally known for editing Batman. His 1970s run on Batman is perhaps his most well known endeavour, turning Batman from the campiness of the 1960s TV show, to "The Batman", getting back to the character's darker roots and emphasizing his detective skills. This grimer and more sophisticated Dark Knight, as well as new villians such as Ra's Al Ghul, brought back Batman from the verge of pop culture oblivion. His work would influence later incarnations of Batman, from the seminal comic "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" by Frank Miller, to the movie Batman Begins in 2005.