Created by industry legends, Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino within the pages of Strange Adventures #205 in 1967, the relatively obscure character has remained ever-present in the DC Universe. In the last decade or two, however, because of appearances in Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Justice League Dark cartoons, he has slowly gained in popularity.
I was first introduced to Deadman via a seven-issue DC Comics reprint series in the mid 1980’s – stories that re-published the characters origin from those Strange Adventure pages, specifically highlighting the realistic and heroically-styled artwork of Neal Adams. I’ve since read pretty much everything that Deadman has been a central character in.
Biff Bam Pop! has highlighted Deadman and the comic book pages he graces on a few occasions, most recently in a 2016 Halloween-themed The Wednesday Run column here and a 2008 editorial call out (by yours truly) to have the character make the leap to the silver screen here.
Today sees the paperback compilation of some Deadman’s greatest tales, all illustrated by Kelley Jones, an acclaimed and fan favourite artist that simply redefined the look of the acrobat-turned-ghost-turned-superhero in the early 1990’s.
No one’s interpretation of Deadman comes anywhere near the one that Kelley Jones gave us in those Gothic tales!
Here then, is the low-down on the larger-market release of Deadman By Kelley Jones: The Complete Collection!
Deadman By Kelley Jones: The Complete Collection
Written By: Mike Baron
Illustrated By: Kelley Jones & Others
Published By: DC Comics
Boston Brand was the world’s greatest circus trapeze acrobat who performed under the stage name Deadman because of his death-defying aerials without the use of a spotter – or a net. Brand was s cocky hot-head who made enemies easily and, during one (typically) risky show, was shot dead high above the crowd as he leapt through the air, by a mysterious rifled assailant who just so happened to have a hook for a hand.
Boston Brand died. But due to the intervention of the Hindu god Rama Kushna, his spirit lived on so that he might find redemption!
The story, liberally influenced by television in the form of Richard Kimble and The Fugitive, was a monthly long-form whodunit mystery, compelling to it’s very end!
With stories etched firmly in the more supernatural corners of the DC Universe, Deadman By Kelley Jones: The Complete Collection, is a 272-page compilation of horror stories the artist drew along with writer Mike Baron in the early nineteen nineties. Here, then, in their entirety, is the original prestige format miniseries Deadman: Love After Death and Deadman: Exorcism along with tales from the Deadman-starring Action Comics Weekly series.
Truly, this is some of the darkest, most harrowing comic books you’ll read. The stories are Gothic in influence and Deadman is drawn by Jones as a skeletal reminder of the man he once was: frightening in appearance, but full of a pathos reserved for a character of Mary Shelley’s creation. Bridging those two disparate human and non-human elements is a testament to Jones’ ability as an illustrator, whose line work and deep shadows in every frame will remind you of the horror master, Bernie Wrightson!
Treat yourself to stories that are a celebration of life as seen through the eyes of a dead man!
Make the run to your local comic book shop or bookstore today and pick up the absolutely fantastic Deadman By Kelley Jones: The Complete Collection