Sunday, August 19, 2012

Direct Currents: Deadman

Created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Carmine Infantio, Deadman's first appearance was in Strange Adventures #205 in October of 1967, though the character is best remembered for the early innovative work of Neal Adams at DC Comics. Boston Brand was a skilled trapeze artist and part owner of the Hill Brothers Circus who preformed nightly in a ghastly red costume calling himself Deadman to frighten the audience. One evening the performer was murdered by a rifleman with a steel hook for a right hand, and though his body died, his spirit lived on due to Brand's good deeds and the magical powers the deity Rama Kushna. The mighty Kushna told Brand he would continue to "live" until he found the man who murdered him, as the invisible spirit travelled the world on the trail of his killer. Finally catching up with his slayer, who had shot Brand as an initiation to join the secret League of Assassins, their leader suddenly murdered Brand's man before Deadman could have his revenge. Feeling cheated from his reward, Brand's ghost now asked Rama Kushna to let him remain on Earth to avenge evil until a balance could be reached and his soul  finally satisfied. Being able to possess other bodies, have the power of flight, his superior Olympic training, and eerie supernatural abilities, this spirit of vengeance continues to walk the Earth, a Deadman dedicated to the cause of justice.

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