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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 95

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at Neal Adams’ run on Deadman in Strange Adventures…
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Enjoy!

After debuting the character in Strange Adventures #205, Carmine Infantino turned the art duties over to Neal Adams, who would draw the book until the Deadman feature ended in Strange Adventures #216.

Jack Miller wrote most of the early stories before Adams took over as writer himself for the last handful of stories (with a Robert Kanigher-penned tale also mixed in).

The basic set-up of the series is explained pretty well in this opening of one of the later issues…

So with that out of the way, the rest of the series continued “The Fugitive” style – Deadman is searching for the person who murdered him, and each journey to search brings him into one wacky adventure after another (when he possesses people, he can use his acrobatic abilities in their body – this leads to some awesome Adams action sequences).

The stories are pretty straightforward, but the more Adams drew of the series, the more complex the book became and the more interesting it became – mostly on the art side, but the stories weren’t bad, either.

In this one story, Deadman suspects the acrobat who followed him as the “greatest acrobat alive” as perhaps being the man who murdered him, but he soon finds out that the acrobat (the Eagle) is actually just using his abilities for crime.

Deadman gets an innocent bystander (whose body he possesses) into the mix and he suddenly realizes that he is putting this poor guy into deadly fire, so he does whatever he can to save him, and boy does Adams draw the following sequence beautifully…

deadman8

Click on the last picture to enlarge!

This was basically every issue of Deadman – it was a fun book.

Sadly, it only lasted roughly 12 issues, with Adams wrapping up the plot in an issue of Brave and the Bold.

But the Deadman character has remained in play ever since, with later writers and artists expanding on the stories Adams and Miller did!

6 Comments

The Crazed Spruce

April 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I missed the run when it first came out, but I managed to pick up some of the reprint issues that DC put out a few years back. I agree, they were great stories, and the reprints are definitely worth scrouring the quarter bins for.

Brave & The Bold #79, “Track Of The Hook!” – that was my first encounter or Deadman, and I was hooked (excuse the pun) from the start. Sadly, that was the only Deadman I’d read for another decade or so (finding ANY comics in rural, early 80’s England was not an easy task). I have to admit, I found the writing in these stories slightly disappointing, but the fantastic art more than made up for it.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

April 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

“Hey look! A Jim Steranko rip-off!”

Peter Woodhouse

April 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Matt – I was in the same rural early 80s UK boat, but luckily the village next to mine (Ivinghoe, Bedfordshire/ Hertfordshire border, just a 5-10 minute cycle ride) had a neat little post office with a spinner rack full of Batman, JLA, a bit of Marvel.
The next town (Tring, short bus ride away) had shops full of Marvel (Spidey, DD, Cap, Hulk), DC (my cousin bought Englehart/Rogers’ The Laughing Fish Joker tale – probably the first Batman I remember reading). Guess I was lucky, although in the latter 80s I had to visit London to get any American stuff.

Anyway, what I was going to say – CBR, you are spoiling us!! First Scott’s stuff on Adler covers, now Adams Deadman!! Are you reading my mind?
I love the tale of when Adams went to Marvel, Stan Lee said Deadman was the only DC thing the Marvel guys read! I guess Deadman’s angst was the most Marvelesque story DC had (– plus the awesome art!).

I read two Deadman stories when I was young. I don’t clearly remember the first, but the second one was actually an issue of Phantom Stranger (the only I’ve ever seen). I remember thinking it was a pretty cool concept at the time, but I’ve often wondered how well it could possibly work over time. It seems like a series would get pretty repetitive.

I gotta say, that Eagle guy has some… odd way of talking. “You’re practically dead, pal”? Who talks like that? And you gotta admire his ability to use the phrase “wise guy” four times in three sentences. (“How much time you got to live, wise guy? I’ll tell you, wise guy, as long as it takes me to reach you, wise guy! Now, wise guy…” Yeesh…)

As fun as the stories may be, methinks the script could have used a bit of polishing…

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