Tuesday, January 24, 2017
He first appeared in 1967 in Strange Adventures in a story written by Arnold Drake and drawn by Carmine Infantino.
The story follows trapeze artist Boston Brand, who fights to keep a circus afloat despite criminal activity, con artists and other forces working against him.
In a real break from DC's lineup of heroes, Boston is not a nice person. In fact, he gives plenty of lowlifes reason to hate him - so it's not really a surprise when he's shot during his "Deadman" act (he dresses up in the vivid red and white costume for the act).
He finds himself watching the events after his death - he's become a ghost, but one cursed with a unique fate. No one can see him or hear him, but he finds he can take over the body of another person (they aren't aware that they've been possessed).
So he sets out to solve the mystery of his death and swears to track down his killer.
It's very much along the lines of The Fugitive, as he searches for the killer with a hook for a hand.
Some top-flight talent tackled future adventures, including an impressive run by Neal Adams - but since he couldn't really interact with other characters, Deadman was never destined to be a hit.
But because he's such an unusual creature, and a unique character he's carved a hard-earned niche into DC's pantheon.
Long may he wave!