Real Name: Boston Brand
Class: Human spirit
Occupation: Wandering spirit
Group Affiliation: formerly Seven Soldiers of Victory II, Sentinels of Magic, Justice League of Apostles
Known Relatives: Cleveland Brand (brother, deceased), Lita Brand (niece), Unnamed parents
Base of Operations: Realm of the Just Dead
First Appearance: Strange Adventures I #205 (October, 1967)
Powers: Deadman was normally invisible and intangible, but he could be seen and sometimes touched by other supernatural beings. Deadman could temporarily inhabit living bodies, taking complete control of that bodies’ actions. The consciousness of those possessed by Deadman went to sleep, unaware of his presence.
History: (Strange Adventures vol. 1 #205)-Boston Brand was circus aerialist and part owner of the Hill Bros. Circus, who performed under the name Deadman. One night, at the high of a performance, he was shot by an assassin named Hook. Despite the death of his body, his spirit lived on thanks to the intervention of the Eastern deity Rama Kushna. She told him it was a reward for the kindness he showed in life, and his existence would continue until he had brought his murderer to justice.
Deadman traveled around the world searching for his killer, and ultimately found out that he was murdered as part of Hook’s initiation into the League of Assassins. Deadman was denied vengeance when Hook was slain by the League’s leader, the Sensei. Rama Kushna and Deadman then struck a new bargain: Deadman would remain on Earth until balance between good and evil was achieved.
(Forever People I #9, 10) - “Doc” Gideon was exploring the paths of revitalizing the dead, and used Electro-organic micro-charges to resurrect a patchwork corpse he’d constructed in the morgue in which he worked. His experiment was a failure, but it did open the door between life and death, and pull Deadman’s spirit back to Earth. He was puzzled by why his spirit, which had been at peace, could be so rudely disturbed. He followed Gideon home to the apartment he rented from Trixie MacGruder, an old carny fortune teller that once worked with Boston Brand. Her tenants were the Forever People, and when Serifan demonstrated his blue cosmic cartridge, which had the power o animating the inanimate, Gideon was obsessed with having it. Gideon convinced Trixie to hold a sťance, and during the show he absconded with Serifan’s capsule. During the sťance Trixie contacted Deadman, who demanded to know why his afterlife was being interrupted after having finally found Hook, the man who’d killed him. Trixie was there the day Boston Brand became Deadman, and told him his real killer had a hook on his right hand, not his left one. Gideon managed to resurrect his monster, which immediately went on a rampage. The Forever People tried to stop him, but it was Deadman who ended the battle, possessing the monster as it caused a gas explosion that ended its’ second life. Serifan used his powers to give Deadman a temporary corporal form, and the Forever People promised to help him fulfill his destiny, to find his killer and for his soul to find peace. The Forever People built a “Follower” for Deadman in his own likeness. The “Follower” was superpower bio-technology from New Genesis, a vessel that could mimic the movements of its creator, but could also serve as a vessel for Deadman’s spirit. Serifan went to gather Big Bear and Beautiful Dreamer, who’d decided to get jobs, to see his handiwork. By the time they returned to the boarding house they found the “Follower” had been stolen. The Scavengers, a business group that considered themselves super-sellers of super-merchandise had absconded with the “Follower,” and their regional Director, who had a hook on his right hand and seemed disturbed by a likeness of Deadman, was particularly interested in the product. The Forever People and Deadman tracked down the Scavenger Depot and Deadman took possession of his new body. After a tremendous battle they defeated the Scavengers, and Deadman believed he found his killer in the Director. The Director scoffed at him, telling him there were many more Scavenger Depots, all run by Directors with hooks on their right hands. Deadman thanked the Forever People for his new body and left them to once again pursue his killer.
(DC Comics Presents #24) - Deadman still blamed himself for the death of Abraham Gold, and in a fury he told Rama Kushna that he wanted to quit. She thought he was being ungrateful and short-sighted, not seeing that Gold’s death redeemed the life of his son. She promised him the final rest he desired on one condition, which she did not name. She transported him to Metropolis during an earthquake, and after watching Superman minimalize the damage Deadman wanted to know what was going on. Alex Atley confronted Superman, and begged him to take him to S.T.A.R. Labs, saying he was the cause of the earthquake. Atley had been on the government project Earth-Heart, which bored into the center of the earth, and when he began having heart attacks he invented the Cardialink, a two-part mechanism, one implanted in his chest, and one implanted in the earth’s core, that was supposed to synchronize his heartbeat with the earth’s pulse, Unfortunately the Cardialink backfired, and his erratic heart was causing worldwide earthquakes. S.T.A.R. Labs Dr. Klyburn set him up with a pacemaker to prevent any more catastrophies. Superman figured the city was safe, and flew off, but Deadman got suspicious when Atley’s daughter and her boyfriend Dennis visited and Dennis seemed a bit too interested. He followed Dennis, who told mob figure Mr. Genarian about the Cardialink. Generian was near death, and would do anything to prolong his life, and Dennis just wanted to make extra cash. Genarian’s men recklessly unhooked Atley from his pacemaker, causing another earthquake, but they lost their motivation when Genarian got overexcited and passed away. Deadman found Superman, and possessed him to bring the situation to his attention. Deadman entered Atley, and Death confronted him, but they battled on the astral plane, and Death backed off. Superman dug to the center of the earth for the other half of the Cardialink, and turned it off with Atley’s help. He promised to perform super-surgery to make Atley healthy again. Deadman told Rama Kushna he no longer had any intention of quitting, because he’d fought death, saved a life, and lived to tell the tale.
(Swamp Thing II #49, 50) - Deadman joined Swamp Thing, the Spectre and other in a journey to Hell. They attempt to defeat ultimate Evil as it rose from its slumber. The battle ended, at best, as a stalemate when the Shadow Creature merged with God.
(Swamp Thing II #51) - Phantom Stranger and Deadman guided Swamp Thing on the path from the Afterlife back to Earth.
(Swamp Thing II #55) - Gotham City; Deadman attended a memorial service for the seemingly deceased Swamp Thing, and told Abby Arcane that he didn’t think Swamp Thing was dead because he had not seen him anywhere in the afterlife.
(Deadman: Love After Death #1, 2) - Deadman found that most ghost were insane, and he has no one to talk to. This changed when he meets the spirit of Ann Colby, another circus acrobat. They fell in love, but she pleaded with him to save her from her still-loving husband, Warlock Byron. Deadman puts an end to the wizard, and Ann traveled to the afterlife, leaving him behind. Deadman felt used, and decided humanity was not worth fighting for.
(Deadman: Exorcism #1, 2) - Deadman lost contact with Rama Kusha, and this slowly drove him mad, and made him lose sight of his mission. Taking up residence in Shattuck Church in Vermont, he showed signs of schizophrenia brought about by a repressed childhood memory involving his brother Cleveland. He possessed and manipulated innocent people, and his newfound hatred of humanity inadvertently gave strength to the vengeful spirits inhabiting the church, namely Reverend Amos Shattuck, Chief Nebagamon and Lucian Camponus. Madame Waxahachie, a psychic, investigated Deadman’s erratic behavior, and was assaulted by the vengeful spirits. These spirits threatened to raise Hell, and the Phantom Stranger interfered, but couldn't halt them. Deadman realized that he was to blame for the chaos, and he destroyed himself in order to stop the spirits. Rama Kushna healed him and apologized for her absence, but refused to explain herself. She also demanded that Deadman seek help at a human level to heal his schizophrenia.
(Spectre III #5) - Deadman oversaw the new arrivals in the land of the recently deceased, while Spectre flew past him on the way to Hell to confront Shathan.
(Lobo / Deadman: The Brave and the Bald #1) - Deadman’s psychiatrist told him he had to reconnect with humanity to escape his obsession with death, so he took a vacation on Bizmo Beach, California. He took the body of a surfer and spent some time with beach bunnies before he had to fight off a crowd of steroid bikers. Lobo arrived on Earth to collect a bounty on Deadman put on him by Doctor Kroolman. Lobo used a spook-detector to find Deadman, but before he could use a spook-collector on him Deadman possessed him. Deadman had to use incredible willpower to keep Lobo under control, and took Lobo’s bike to the drop-off point where he was supposed to deliver Deadman. Doctor Kroolman used a boom tube to bring them to Apokolips where they were assaulted by Para-Demons. Deadman/Lobo fought them off, but the distraction let Lobo regain control and use the collector to capture Deadman. Kroolman offered Lobo two million creds to collect another bounty, and the Main Man shook on it before Kroolman told him the bounty was for Lobo. Lobo’s sense of honor wouldn’t let him back out, so he killed himself, at which point Kroolman used the spirit-collector on him. Kroolman sought the secrets of heaven to make Darkseid a greater god, and he knew both Lobo and Deadman had been to Heaven. He used a psionic dissembling machine to break apart their spirits in hopes of finding the subconscious part of their spirits that knew the way to Heaven. While dragging away Lobo’s body a Para-Demon accidentally summoned Lobo’s bike, disrupting the dissembler and allowing Deadman to escape and Lobo to return to his body. Darkseid was not pleased with Kroolman’s failure and demanded he commit suicide. Lobo fiddled with Kroolman’s mother box before handing it back to the despot, and it sent Darkseid on a boom tube trip across the universe. Lobo was satisfied with his revenge.
(Green Lantern III #81) - Coast City; Deadman was among the heroes who attended a memorial service for Green Lantern Hal Jordan.
(Spectre III #57) - Spectre visited Limbo when God vanished from Heaven. Deadman laughed at him until Spectre zapped him with an energy bolt. Deadman confirmed that Spectre's God was gone, but not Rama Kusha, who he recognized as the creator, so he didn't care.
(Resurrection Man #18) - Resurrection Man’s body was in a coma, and his mind was stranded in The Dreaming, so he was unable to use his resurrection power. Deadman and Phantom Stranger helped Resurrection Man fend off some Nightmorphs in The Dreaming, and Deadman went to Earth, possessed the body of Resurrection Man’s doctor, and unplugged his life-support so he could once again be reborn.
(Green Lantern III #93) -
(Green Lantern 80-Page Giant #2) - L.A.; Deadman possessed a college student to bust Professor DeCord, who was selling drugs to his students. Green Lantern IV stopped Deadman from turning DeCord over to the police because DeCord was one of his old favorite teacherd. Deadman explained the situation, and they both raided the compound of DeCord’s supplier Charlie Blue. Blue fought the heroes, and during a firefight DeCord was fatally shot. Deadman possessed Blue and had him call and confess to the police.
(Day of Judgment #1-5) - Deadman was recruited by Zatanna to join the Sentinels of Magic, whose purpose was to battle Spectre / Asmodel, who'd unleashed Hell on Earth. The Sentinels separated Asmodel from most of the Spectre-Force, containing it in Madame Xanadu's orb. They knew it was only a temporary measure, so Deadman and a small team of heroes went to Hell to reignite its' fires that Asmodel put out so the demon army on Earth would return home. Deadman possessed Enchantress to force her to go on the mission, although she soon expelled him from her body, but by that time there was no going back. They defeated Cerberus to gain entry to Hell, but once there they fell into the River Styx. Their souls were assaulted by their worst nightmares, but they were saved by Faust, who had no soul. The heroes were ready to reignite the hellfire pits when they were attack by Nebiros. Firestorm destroyed Nebiros, and Faust reignited the pits, returning the demons to Hell. Deadman and the others returned to Earth to confront Asmodel. The soul of Green Lantern Hal Jordan took over the Spectre-Force from Asmodel, who was taken to Heaven to be imprisoned for his crimes.
(JLA #40, 41) - Deadman was among the legion of heroes summoned by the JLA to quell worldwide outbreaks of warfare that were incited by Mageddon.
(Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1) – Deadman was among the superheroes that attended Young Justice’s Justice for All rally in Washington. It was interrupted by Klarion, who magically de-aged Deadman and most of the heroes present into children. Doiby Dickles pulled out an extraterrestrial aging gun to return the heroes to their proper age, but another of Klarion’s spells intercepted his shot. The result was that the younger heroes present were aged to adulthood, but the other heroes remained children.
(Sins of Youth: JLA, Jr. #1) - The de-aged Deadboy met up with all the heroes affected by Klarion's spell at the Justice Cave, where they decided to split up to find a way to reverse Klarion's magic.
(Young Justice: Sins of Youth #2) - Deadoy and the other heroes affected by Klarion’s spell attacked Agenda’s headquarters in Alaska, where Superboy, Superman, Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman were being held hostage. The hq was defended by the Junior Injustice Society, but the heroes prevailed, forced the Agenda to flee, and freed the prisoners. They then used the captive Teekl to persuade Klarion to return everyone to their proper age.
(Justice Leagues: Justice League of Atlantis #1, Justice Leagues: JLA #1 (BTS)) - When the Advance Man made the world forgot that the JLA ever existed the individual members still had a vague memory of the team and formed their own Justice Leagues. Deadman was recruited to be in Zauriel’s Justice League of Apostles. The Apostles offered to help Aquaman’s Justice League of Atlantis attack Advance Man’s techno-organic island, but Aquaman refused their aid out of pride. The Leagues of Apostles disbanded following the reformation of the Justice League of America.
(Green Arrow III #7, 8) - Spectre introduced Deadman to the reborn Green Arrow, and asked told him he'd just taken him away from Earth to save him from the Demon. He was going to introduce the soulless Green Arrow to the soul of Oliver Queen, and asked Deadman to go back to Earth and explain the situation to Arrow's allies. Deadman possessed Demon, neutralizing him, and told the heroes to get far away from him.
(Batman: Gotham County Line #2, 3) - Deadman investigated Gotham County after Batman was tricked into helping serial killer Radmuller commit suicide. Radmuller's death had created a fold in time that made Gotham county a unique time and space between the living and the dead, and as the dead rose they fell under Radmuller's control. Deadman said he'd help Batman sort out the mess, and admitted he liked having someone living to keep him company. They went to Radmuller's apartment, and found Batman just as he was about to enter the day before. Deadman told Batman to take a leap of faith and change events, saying his sense of faith was holding him back. Batman moved past his past self and entered the apartment, but he and Deadman were swarmed by zombies, who overwhelmed them. Batman woke in the city streets, surrounded by Radmuller and his army of zombies. Batman fought the undead, but they were relentless, and Radmuller told him they were the dead that he failed to save, and they all hated him, wondering where the hero of Gotham was when they died. The undead Jason Todd appeared, and helped Batman fend them long enough for him to flee. Batman found himself in Radmuller's basement with his dead parents, and learned his deepest secret, he'd killed his parents and blamed it on robbers, but had come to believe his lie. Deadman reappeared with the Phantom Stranger, and were pleased that Batman finally realized he was being used by Radmuller to sustain his hellish realm. The spirits of Thomas and Marta Wayne appeared to Batman, and told him he hadn't failed them, but asked him to stop remembering them only as murder victims. By remembering the good times they'd have an easier go in the afterlife. Batman turned Radmuller's undead against him, and returned to Radmuller's apartment, merging with his past self. He stopped Radmuller from committing suicide by breaking his noose with a batarang, and Gotham county returned to normal, even though both Batman and Radmuller remembered the experience. Batman handed him over to Detectives Greer and Keith, and Radmuller begged Batman to tell them that he was powerful, not a pathetic man who'd killed his parents.
(Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special #1) - The Shadowpact summoned Deadman and a number of other mystical entities to Gotham City so they could reconstruct the shattered Rock of Eternity and capture the Seven Deadly Sins that had been freed because of the Rock's destruction.
Comments: Created by Arnold Drake & Carmine Infantino
Deadman received profiles in Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #6 and Who’s Who in the DC Universe #3.
Deadman had a cameo in Demon III #51 and Swamp Thing IV #2.
All characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © DC Comics, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Please visit The Official DC Comics Site at: http://www.batman.com