British comics artist Kevin O’Neill recently passed away at 69 after a long battle with cancer. O’Neill was a driving force in the British Comics boom with his fantastic work on the 2000 AD series, drawing short stories and creating the character Nemesis The Warlock for the comic book. O’Neill was perhaps best known for his co-creation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Alan Moore in 1999.
Mr. O’Neill did some work for DC Comics in the 1980s and that’s where his connection to the Green Lantern universe was established. DC was running a “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” backup feature in every issue and O’Neill provided art for two stories during that time period. He and writer Joey Cavalieri told the story “I, Lantern” in Green Lantern volume 2 issues #182-183, which told the story of Yron, a robotic Green Lantern from the planet Grenda who scoffed at his predecessor Stel as being inferior and then later sacrificed himself to revive Stel when he found that he was unable to defeat an invasion of the Krydos. O’Neill returned for issues #189-190 for a story written by Todd Klein which told an adventure of Green Lantern Xax as he took on the Spider Guild.
However, it was O’Neill’s work with Alan Moore in 1986’s Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 that is his most notable Green Lantern work. The short story “Tygers” told the adventure of Abin Sur as he sought to rescue beings who crashed on the planet Ysmault where he encountered the Five Inversions. The story is notable for the establishment of the Blackest Night prophecy which ultimately led to the major DC event of the same name in 2009. The Comics Code Authority took exception to O’Neill’s art style and specifically with his depiction of the crucifixion of Qull of the Five Inversions and refused to approve it. DC Comics stood by the art and published the issue without the stamp of approval.