Deadman

Issue #1

Cover Date: May 1985
Subtitle: Who has been Lying in my Grave // An Eye for an Eye // The Game [non-Deadman story]
Writer(s): Arnold Drake, Carmine Infantino, Jack Miller
Artists(s): Carmine Infantino, George Roussos, Neal Adams
Storyline: (1) "Boston" Brand spoke with Lorna, his co-owner in the circus business, while he put on his costume and makeup. They were having a hard time paying the bills. On his way to the tent, he managed to piss off Lorna, Tiny (the strong man), and a cop who was trying to shut down Vashnu, their fortune teller. He got them a stay of execution and Vashnu told him that Rama Kushna watched over the trapeze artist. Though Brand didn't believe, Vashnu assured him Rama Kushna was preparing a special gift for him.
Before "Deadman" could even grab onto his trapeze, he was shot in the chest. At his funeral, it was said the cops had a lead - a man with a steel claw for a hand appeared to be the shooter.
Boston didn't realize he was dead - he'd gotten up from the fall. He didn't understand why everyone was making him out to be dead. Rama Kushna told him he was given the gift to walk among the living until he found his killer. After the funeral, Boston realized he could "possess" people when he attempted to touch Tiny. Back at the circus, "Tiny" took down one of the circus workers who was selling dope to the cops.

(2) During the drug bust, Tiny's head was grazed by a bullet. This was accredited for him not remembering the incident. Lorna's brother Jeff came to the circus asking her for $10,000. When Lorna told him she didn't have it to give, he told her he'd taken out a $250,000 insurance policy on Boston Brand. She argued with him since she didn't sign the form, but he told her he'd slipped it to her with some other documentation. He slapped her and walked off.
Deadman possessed Jeff Carling. One of his friends from his motorcycle gang caught up with him and took him back to the rest of the group. His girlfriend welcomed him back. They were planning some trouble that night and split up. "Jeff" went back home (Boston went through his wallet to learn stuff about him) and found another girlfriend there waiting for him. In Jeff's closet was a rifle. He checked it out only to learn that it was a .22 instead of a .30 (which had killed him). Girlfriend #2 saw him playing with the gun and left him.
That night, when he refused to pay one of the members the $10,000, the man threatened to turn him in for murder. He had a picture of him shooting a man. Deadman didn't believe Jeff killed the guy, so he continued his investigation. He dodged some police that had been tipped off on him and got to the crime scene. There, he found evidence (to go along with the broken sight on Jeff's gun) that he couldn't have done it. The real killer jumped him. Deadman made Jeff take some sleeping pills and jumped into the killer. He confessed everything.
Boston continued his search for his own killer.

(3) A kid headed home, but stopped at another house when it started raining. The only thing inside was a bed. He hid when he heard something - it was another kid (himself). The two played a word game for hours until the boy's father found him. A flood had wrecked everything but the bed. There was no kid in it.


Issue #2

Cover Date: June 1985
Subtitle: What Makes a Corpse Cry? // Second Choice [non-Deadman story] // How Many Times can a Man Die?
Writer(s): Carmine Infantino; Jack Miller
Artists(s): Neal Adams
Storyline: (1) The circus left town. Deadman watched as some of his belongings go up in smoke as they left their trash burning. He thought back on an old flame, Liz Martin. He fought off a man trying to grab her. The man pulled a gun and threatened to kill him, but Boston took him down. He promised the girl he'd help her get out of that town, but now he was unable to.
He found the place - Liz was still there, and the man (Rocky Manzel) was still her boss. He mentioned Brand's death and she threw a drink in his face. Boston noticed the man was missing two fingers. He possessed a man Liz had been seeing and investigated. In Rocky's office, he found paperwork where the man had been in the hospital (the missing fingers) on the day Boston died. Deadman also learned Rocky was a counterfeiter. Manzel burst in and pulled a gun on him. Using Paul's body, he took down the man and his goons. The police were called when the shots were fired. Paul received a head wound, and the bad guys were taken in.

(2) A man found a centuries-old book of a slave boy who was aided by a wizard in overthrowing the man responsible for enslaving his people.

(3) Boston remembered another man who had it out for him - an acrobat hired for a few shows in St. Louis who went by the name Eagle. While working out their act, Boston accused Eagle of trying to kill him when he almost missed a catch. The two fought it out on the stand and tight rope and eventually fell. Tiny was able to break their fall with an empty crate. They continued their fight until Boston forced Eagle to call himself a sparrow and admit to being a coward.
Boston looked up to find a billboard for the circus - Eagle had been hired to replace him. Boston came in on Eagle trying to get in close with Lorna. She refused him, but he persisted. Tiny burst in; Boston possessed him and decked the man. Eagle mentioned Boston's death, causing him to believe he'd found the killer.


Issue #3

Cover Date: July 1985
Subtitle: How Many Times can a Man Die (continued) // Second Choice part 2 [non-Deadman story] // Hide and Seek
Writer(s): Carmine Infantino, Jack Miller
Artists(s): Neal Adams
Storyline: (1) Deadman possessed a hand named Pete hoping to get closer to Eagle and a confession. He left a note in Eagle's room saying "someone" knew about his crime. Eagle took the note to Vashnu hoping to find out who'd written it.
Deadman found Eagle talking to some cohorts about a crime. He followed them - they were pulling off some high-rise robberies. Back in Pete's body, Deadman snuck into Eagle's tent and grabbed the money. He felt a gun to his back - it was one of the accomplices. He was able to give them a slip. Eagle chased him onto a Ferris wheel, where Pete's body finally gave out. Deadman possessed Tiny in time to catch him. By this time the cops had arrived and captured Eagle for the robbery and the one previous - September 10 - the day Boston Brand was killed.

(2) The boy went to fight the evil sorcerer only to find he was his father. It was too late, he'd fallen in a hell pit.

(3) Deadman possessed a policeman and looked at his file. He checked up on the officer in charge of his case only to find he'd been fired for using excessive force. One of the witnesses, Roy Martin, had a hook for a hand. Deadman believed the cop was getting too close and Martin framed him. With no information on Martin, Deadman went looking for the other witness, an ex-boxer. He (in the cop's body) confronted the man and learned there was a frame - Martin gave the loon some birdseed for his beloved "kids" if he'd testify that he saw the cop (Michael Riley) beating up his prisoner.
As Riley, Deadman called the police. When an officer arrived, the boxer was dead. In Martin's apartment, they found the murder weapon - a crowbar. Riley was cleared, but Martin was long gone. He left behind a fake beard and glasses, which made up the only description they had of the man.


Issue #4

Cover Date: August 1985
Subtitle: How Close to Me, My Killer // Above and Beyond the Call of Duty [non-Deadman story] // The Fatal Call of Vengeance
Writer(s): Jack Miller, Neal Adams
Artists(s): Neal Adams
Storyline: (1) After finding a brochure on El Campo, Mexico on the table of his newest suspect, Deadman headed there. Shortly after arriving, he found his twin brother, Cleveland. Cleve resented him for not letting him join the circus act and for roughing up a couple of his gang members. Cleveland had a near-grown daughter whom Boston had never known about. He visited with her shortly and they talked about going back to the States after he completed another "job." Boston followed him.
Cleveland was smuggling Mexicans across the border to a politician for cheap labor. When authorities were tipped off, the politician ordered Brand to unload the workers in the middle of the Rio Grande. Deadman followed, hoping his brother would not be a mass murderer. On the boat, he refused. His partner pulled a gun on him, and Deadman took over. He made short work of the would-be killer and told his passengers he planned to hand them over to the authorities - they'd only get a warning if they turned in Jackson (the politician). Another man attacked him, but with the help of his passengers, he was defeated.
Back at home, Cleveland's daughter treated him like a hero.

(2) A rich old man made a deal with the devil to be young. After receiving his new body, he threw his old one down a flight of stairs. He was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for the murder.

(3) Boston overheard someone talking about a man with a hook. He'd become enraged when reading the papers - Boston Brand was alive. Deadman headed back to the States to find out who was impersonating him. Cleveland was in his costume - he planned on bringing out the killer by impersonating his dead brother. Boston began following him around.
The new lion tamer had recently lost a hand to one of the animals. Cleveland was lured into a tent and locked in a cage with a lion. Boston possessed him and got him clear of the beast until help arrived. A girl who was injured helping him escape told him that "the hook" wanted him dead. Cleveland, free of his brother, caught up with the suspect - he was wearing a fake hook and had been hired by a man with a real one to impersonate him. Cleveland was shot dead from a distance. When they removed his mask, they found him to be Tiny - he'd knocked out Cleveland and stolen his outfit (he knew Boston would want his brother safe and raising his daughter).


Issue #5

Cover Date: September 1985
Subtitle: The Call from Beyond // The Track of the Hook
Writer(s): Neal Adams, Bob Haney
Artists(s): Neal Adams
Storyline: (1) With the help of Deadman, Vashnu, and some expert surgeons, Tiny survived. A relieved Deadman went back out in search for his killer. Boston decided to stick around for a bit when he heard one of the doctors wanting to use Vashnu to get a grant for psychic research (Vashnu was a noted seer in his home country). During a meeting, a woman conjured up one of her colleague's dead sisters. Boston was taken aback - he could neither possess nor touch the vision. Dr. Shasti declined on the grant - he was too shaken by the ordeal to take it any further.
Madame Pegeen was furious and locked the doctor and his son in a room. Inside, dozens of souls reached out to him, but Deadman continued to believe otherwise. He possessed the kid and began attacking the "spirits" with a crow bar. The cheap material tore, granting them all a sigh of relief. Madame Pegeen entered the room with a pistol. The doctor and his son laughed and attacked her men (they were both black belts). Deadman possessed the fortune teller and called the police.

(2) Batman and Commissioner Gordon checked out a crime scene where a man (Whitey Marsh) had been rubbed out by the mob. The press was quick to arrive - even before a witness stepped forward. The witness said the shooter had a hook in place of one of his hands.
Deadman, the spirit of Boston Brand, believed it to be his own killer. He possessed a man nearby and attempted to get Batman to take the case. As Batman was leaving, Deadman (still an unknown to Batman) possessed him and saved him from a drive-by shooting. Alfred picked him up and took him to Wayne Manor (with Deadman still inside). From Wayne's body, Brand recorded a message telling his story. He drifted out of Batman as the message began its playback.
Bruce Wayne attended a dinner that night at a place owned by a major reformist, Carleton Kaine (who owned much of Gotham City's news outlets). Wayne had Deadman scout the records while they ate. He came up with some leads which they checked that night.
Monk Manville, who Brand suspected as his killer, was actually Max Chill - brother of Joe Chill, the man Batman believed killed his parents. Batman checked up on the man who'd been killed, and Chill appeared. Deadman realized he was not his killer - the man who killed Boston Brand had a hook on his left hand. During the struggle, Chill got caught by his fake hook and fell into a pile of slot machines. He was crushed and admitted to Marsh's murder - "the King" had set him up to do it to double-cross the Syndicate (mob).
Going off a clue from the dying man's last words, Batman and Deadman headed to Carleton Kaine's place. He was "the King." Boston and Batman took down the man and his goons, but Kaine was killed by a stray bullet.
Though Batman failed to find Brand's killer, Deadman thanked him and went on his way.


Issue #6

Cover Date: October 1985
Subtitle: To Haunt a Killer // A New Lease on Death
Writer(s): Robert Kanigher, Neal Adams
Artists(s): Neal Adams
Storyline: (1) Deadman, feeling lonely, wandered into a circus and possessed an audience member named Phil Carling who was enjoying the show with his fiancÚ. After the show, they had dinner. The restaurant exploded with action, and Deadman came face to face with a man who had a hook. He was shocked, but it turned out to be a police officer wrestling with a man who was using a bailing hook as a weapon.
The next day, Deadman got out of Phil's body and watched over him. He was horrified to see them man shoot another man in cold blood. Deadman continued to follow the man and quickly learned he was a hitman. He reentered Phil's body and broke off his engagement. He shoved the woman out of the car, but realized she wandered into the path of traffic. He swerved the car around and crashed into the oncoming truck to save her, then got into her body to tumble out of the way of other vehicles.
With the truck stopped, Phil's boss got out. He showed him a car Phil was supposed to push off a cliff, then told him he was next. Deadman got into the body of the hit and saved that guy, then back into Phil to take on his mob connections. The cops arrived after he'd shot his boss and he was labeled a hero for saving his fiancÚ and the would-be-hit.
Deadman entered the body of the father who's son had been killed by Phil. The man happened to be a circus performer - a "man of a million faces." He changed his face into that of his son in order to haunt Phil. After seeing his victim seemingly everywhere he looked, Phil flipped. Deadman was able to get his host to safety long enough for the cops to arrive and arrest the hitman. Strangely, one of the cops killed Phil while he was in custody.
The killer cop dropped his cop disguise and fled. Deadman followed him to Hong Kong. There, the man picked up his next job. Deadman continued to follow him. At the location, the killer and a man going by the name Hook began to brawl. Hook tried to escape the hitman, but Willie caught up with him and blew up his boat and grabbed the man.

(2) Deadman followed the men to see what was in store for his own killer. Inside a mountain temple, the men went through a trap door. Hook was brought before the Society of Assassin's leader and charged with failure to kill Boston Brand. He said he'd picked Brand as his "graduation" target because it would test both is marksmanship and his nerve to kill a man on stage from the crowd. The Sensei told him he'd failed twice (they thought Cleveland was still Boston) and prepared to kill the assassin.
Deadman possessed Willie hoping to get him and Hook free so he could have his own revenge. He failed, and entered Hook as he was being challenged to his death by the Sensei. Deadman was no match for him, so he tried to enter the teacher - but failed. Hook was killed.
Rama Kushna called out to Deadman, asking if he was satisfied.


Issue #7

Cover Date: November 1985
Subtitle: (1) But I still Exist; (2) You Can't Hide from a Deadman
Writer(s): Neal Adams, Bob Haney
Artists(s): Neal Adams
Storyline: (1) The sensei disposed of Hook's body. Deadman, though he'd found his killer, did not feel a balance or that justice had occurred. Outside the temple, Deadman was startled to see Vashnu from the circus. He heard the man praying to Rama Kushna and entered his body in order to read a scroll. Vashnu was shot at. Deadman entered the body of one of the would-be assassins and attacked the other. Believing the old man was doing something to them, the assassins fled.
Inside, Willie was given the name of his next target: Nanda Parbat. Deadman remembered the name from Vashnu's scroll. He boarded the plane with Willie. Near their target, Deadman entered the body of the pilot and attacked the assassin. A shot was fired and a window was blown. Willie was sucked through it. Leaving the pilot's body, Deadman dropped through the plane and down to the earth below to investigate "Nanda Parbat." Surprisingly, gravity began to affect him and he crashed onto the solid ground below.
A strange man named Taj Ze welcomed him to Nanda Parbat. He explained that Deadman could live tangibly inside Nanda Parbat, but only as a ghost outside. Deadman was introduced to Lotus and then allowed to visit Rama Kushna. He decided he wasn't ready for his final rest and vowed to help rid the world of the evils which plagued it. The deity allowed it, but also gave him certain unknown weaknesses. He left Nanda Parbat.

(2) Batman and Robin staged a planned raid. As Batman helped their guy on the inside, Robin pulled a gun on him. Batman slapped some sense into him, then Gordon moved to take down the Dark Knight. Batman escaped believing Deadman was trying to kill him. As he ran, dozens of people attacked him one at a time. Batman realized he had to get away from anyone Deadman could possess.
A confused Deadman confronted Batman, only to be confused more - Batman told him that if he really wanted him dead, all he had to do was possess him and make him jump from a rooftop. Deadman released the body he was holding.
Lotus and Willie Smith came before the Sensei and told him about Deadman. As he was leaving Nanda Parbat, Willie shot him with a poison dart. With its help, Willie confused him into believing the Sensei was his friend and Batman was his enemy.
Batman found Deadman's old circus - Hill Bros. Circus - was in town. He visited with Lorna, who told him that Cleveland, Boston's twin brother, had been performing his act for the past few months. Boston possessed his brother. Batman saved them when he missed a bar. Vashnu greeted Boston and told him he must return to Nanda Parbat. Batman accompanied him.
As they parachuted down to the sacred land, they were shot at. Deadman left his brother's body. He entered one of the assassins and allowed his friends safe landing before reentering his brother. As he entered Nanda Parbat and became tangible again, his body felt the full attack of the poison.
Rama Kushna told Batman and Cleveland that the antidote was on its way up the mountain via the assassins. Using the elements to their favor, Batman and Cleveland took down the group and secured the cure. The sensei vowed revenge as Boston was cured.


notes

  • Reprints stories from: Strange Adventures 205-216; House of Mystery 178; House of Secrets 85; Witching Hour 8; Brave and the Bold 79, 86
  • Boston Brand is killed during his aerialist act as Deadman.
  • Deadman was granted the ability to stay on Earth to track his killer as a ghost.
  • Hook, Deadman's killer, is killed by his sensei. Deadman was granted the ability to stay in his form and fight evil.