Denny ONeil comic book artifacts sell for over $33k at auction

Tools of the trade and books once belonging to legendary comic writer Dennis O’Neil are headed to new homes.

Dennis O'Neil auction items

Bound volumes of Denny O’Neil’s work (Image credit: Metropolis Comics)

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O’Neil, the longtime Batman (opens in new tab) and Green Lantern/Green Arrow (opens in new tab) scribe, passed away in 2020, and many of his belongings were auctioned off by Metropolis Collectibles via on March 2. The 31 lots in total sold for just over $33,000 (before 15% buyers’ premium).

Many of the lots, 18 in all, were custom-bound volumes of O’Neil’s work. One volume containing the very rare Canceled Comic Cavalcade, a nearly 1000-page omnibus DC rushed out in ’78 to secure copyright on canceled titles, sold for a whopping $11,000 (opens in new tab). The previous known record for a copy of Canceled Comic Cavalcade (by itself) was $3860.

Another bound volume of O’Neil’s work on The Question (opens in new tab) sold for a staggering $5000 (opens in new tab), buoyed by the fact that it contained O’Neil’s handwritten notes on the book.

Some of O’Neil’s personal items also went up on the auction block. His typewriter (and Batman mouse pad) sold for $430 (opens in new tab), while his desk (opens in new tab) went for $2766.

The desk will wind up in an interesting place—the Borderlands Comics and Games store in Greenville, SC.

Dennis O'Neil auction items

Denny O’Neil’s desk (Image credit: Metropolis Comics)

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“We’re talking about having it on display in the store, and we’ve talked about having it in my office on the store as a grading desk, where the only thing that would go on it is comics,” says Borderlands owner Rob Young. “Having just won it, we’re still trying to figure it out.”

Young is a longtime comic book fan who also operates the SC Comicon in Greenville. He was originally drawn into comics by O’Neil’s work and later had him as a guest at the con. Young was emotional about the auction win.

“Once we had him here at the con and he was so sweet and so kind…to have the desk where he worked on those things that influenced me as a kid…just mmmm. It’s surreal.”

Young was also a bidder on the Question bound volumes. But when both lots reached high prices, Young had to make a choice.

“When it got up to five grand, I decided…I’d rather have the desk,” he says. “I was white-knuckling. The idea I fell in love with was ‘I want Denny O’Neil’s desk in a comic shop.’ If there’s anything I felt like he would have liked, it’s that. I don’t want it in my house, I don’t want it buried in a basement, I want it here at the store. 

“This means the world to me. Because without that guy, I don’t know that I ever would have got into comics and now do what I do. I thought it was surreal enough to have him here for a weekend at our show. Now we’ll have something that we can remember him by every single day.”

No look at the comic book creators that defined Batman would be complete without Denny O’Neil ranked high on the list.

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