SuperMOOC 2: A Student’s View on Denny O’Neil

The comics lecture series SuperMOOC 2, which we are co-sponsoring, is geared toward adults but high school student Quinn Hurley is giving his own perspective on the first module, covering addiction:



This first SuperMOOC module, on addiction, has been a great experience thus far. I hope that you all feel the same. I have yet to read “Buzzkill,” but that will be done before we interview Donny Cates, but the rest of the reading has been slain.

Let’s start with Green Lantern/Green Arrow: I had heard of these two issues before, but not from the addiction standpoint — rather from the view of one of the first great defiances of the Comics Code. Now if you watched the interview with Denny O’Neil you will know that those two issues did in fact get the seal of approval, but it was still sort of sticking it to the man — tackling a subject in comics that had been deemed a taboo.

Green-Lantern-85 (1)

Speedy’s addiction story is one that I think will remain a required read for anyone who looks to comics for more than pure entertainment value, but the second Denny O’Neil story is what I think is the meat and potatoes of this module: Batman: Venom.

In Mr. O’Neil’s interview he said: “I have a problem writing God characters.” I know what he means, and he later went on to explain that heroes without flaws are borin g— and I couldn’t agree more; the problem, I argue, is that Batman is the most godly character out there.

Yes, Superman has but one great weakness and can do everything under the sun (that was a pun) but Batman is a hero that everyone holds in such high regard that it is conceived that Batman cannot, and will never be, beaten.

Now I know we are talking about fiction here, but if we were to take the expansive comic book universe and make it reality, Superman would rarely have a scratch on him and Batman would be dead on his second back-alley-rendezvous: My point is, while Batman does not have the powers that would make him be considered godly, our perceptions of him have made him the most divine character in comic print. This is why Batman: Venom is such a great story: It grounds Batman and truly makes him one of us.

"Batman: Venom," by Denny O'Neil and various artists, is one of the reading assignments for SuperMOOC 2.

“Batman: Venom,” by Denny O’Neil and various artists, is one of the reading assignments for SuperMOOC 2.

We know from our independent study of addiction that it is a serious problem that many people face — both the successful and the downtrodden suffer from addiction; giving Batman an addiction brings him to our level. We know Batman though, and we know he will kick his habit — he has to — but the struggle is something that I feel many people with addiction can relate to.

The last comic that I read for the module was Sex Criminals. It has been awhile since I enjoyed a comic that much — it was amazing. Is sex addiction real? I don’t know, that is a discussion I wish to have with you fellow SuperMOOCers, but I can tell you that I loved what Matt Fraction did and I am beyond excited for Alter Ego Comics to get my issue number two in.


Before I sign off, I want to share my favorite parts of the interview with Mr. Denny O’Neil that I have not already mentioned:

1. He said, and I quote: [Politics is] “the serpent of our collective genome.” That’s an amazing quote right there.

2. He commented on his belief that comics should do whatever they can, because they can do anything. That is inspiring to me.

Thank you guys so much for reading, enjoy the rest of this module, and I will be back after the interview with Donny Cates, happening April 7 at 10 A.M EST.

Talk to you droinks later,


Author: 13th Dimension

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