“Yeah…I’m Deadman.”

Obscure DC hero worth a read and a watch


Deadman is an underrated DC superhero—his first appearance was in October 1967 in the comic “Strange Adventures #205.” Starting as an aerialist for the circus he later becomes Deadman, a phantom hero for the Justice League Dark: a ghost to walk the Earth forever choosing to fight for justice. 

Boston Brand, Deadman, is the only son of Gary and Barbara Brand. The parents consistently fought and when they didn’t, that anger was taken out on Boston. After being abused by his parents until he was sixteen, Boston left for the circus. Even though he left his parents behind he couldn’t leave his past and often succumbed to alcohol and violent tendencies. But even though his personal life was terrible, his life as a performer was much better. He even gave life to his persona, Deadman, painting his face white and wearing a red suit. All that changed when he was shot during one of his trapeze performances. 

When he was killed he was placed in-between life and death becoming a ghost by Rama Kushna, a goddess who presides over the scale of balance and karma. Kushna tells Boston that he needs to atone for his past deeds. As punishment, he must help better the lives of others. On one of his “missions” for Rama, he found a library with an old angel. Demanding answers about himself, the old woman says to see the Sun of Morning a.k.a Lucifer. So he does and Lucifer reveals Kushna’s true intentions, which were far darker than Boston realized. Boston then escaped her control over him. 

He later goes on a journey to find himself and is told that he can go into the afterlife or help those in need. Boston chooses to continue helping others as his old persona Deadman. Fighting the more supernatural villains that most superheroes can’t. Later he joins Justice League Dark with other heroes that fight the supernatural finding his place among them.

Deadman’s abilities include:

  • Flight
  • Intangibility
  • Invisibility
  • Possession (Possessing a body of his choosing while controlling what they do and say. Afterward the subject of the possession doesn’t remember anything that happened during the possession)
  • Mind Control (selectively wiping out the memories of the subject)
  • Enhanced Senses (sensing where people have died)
  • Dimensional Travel (travel between dimensions and different Earths). 

I’ve never read many comics growing up but I’ve watched many of the shows about the many amazing superheroes. Because of this I never heard of Deadman and learned about him in the most interesting way. Thanks to Mr. Appel and his love of superheroes I was introduced to this character. What started as a joke became a small interest in learning more about this phantom man. Deadman does make some appearances throughout the multiple animated shows but he isn’t well known. Boston is an interesting character and has great growth throughout his origin. I believe he would be an interesting character to write a movie about or even a small series.