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COMIC LEGEND: A health scare by Denny O’Neil led to a change in how Azrael was written off.
In the final issue of Azrael, in early 2003, Azrael confronts his arch-rival, Nicholas Scratch, who had co-opted the Azrael name to form a racist cult.
As you can see, it sure seems like Azrael died, but at the same time, it is left vague.
Originally, though, Azrael was going to PLAINLY die in the final issue of Azrael. But then a weird thing happened. In September of 2002, Denny O’Neil suffered a major heart attack. His heart stopped beating. Thankfully, he was in a restaurant and he was able to get his heart revived (the same thing actually happened to my own father in 2003. He had a heart attack in a restaurant and was luckily shocked back).
Well, while they were originally planning on killing Azrael, with Denny almost dying it seemed kind of perverse, so as O’Neil notes:
[T]he original idea was to kill him off, but I was myself briefly dead (and revived by defibrillation and a stalwart fireman) and while I was recovering, Mike [Carlin, editor on the series] called Marifran [O’Neil’s wife] and told her that maybe having a character I created die might be letting fiction get a little too close to fact, and maybe we shouldn’t do it. So we didn’t.
Very cool gesture by Mike Carlin.
One last thanks to Denny and Jek for the information!
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed involving Denny O’Neil!
Did Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams sneak Richard Nixon into an issue of Green Lantern…as a little girl?!!?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
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