Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

Comics character, the Ghost of a murdered circus performer who is granted (a) the right to return to Earth and (b) the ability to enter any living human body at will and animate it for his own purposes. D was created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Carmine Infantino (1925-2013) for Strange Adventures #205 (1967), and skilfully developed and experimented with in subsequent issues (#206-#216 1967-1968) by Jack Miller and Neal Adams.

The series is most significant for Adams's consummate draughtsmanship, his portrayal of Deadman's outrage and frustration (as Deadman gradually uncovers the trivial reason for his death) and his playful experiments with page layout and visual effects. These latter reached a peak in Strange Adventures #216, where a cryptographic message is contained within the flames of hellfire and where a 6-panel page has each panel drawn so as to form a full-page portrait of Deadman.

Deadman also appeared during this period in a number of crossover titles in which he became involved with other DC Comics characters, the sequences featuring him almost always being drawn by Adams. The character was resurrected in Deadman (#1-#4 1986), expertly drawn by García López, and again in Deadman: Love After Death (1989-1990) and Deadman: Exorcism (1992), which featured the delightfully contortionistic grotesqueries of artist Kelly Jones (1962-    ). [RT]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.