Review – Deadman: The Kelley Jones Collection (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Script: Mike Baron
Art: Kelley Jones
Release Date: 30th August 2017

Being a horror kid, I always liked what I saw of Deadman. A superhero who was also a body-hopping ghost? Of a trapeze artist who was murdered mid-swing by a mysterious hook-handed man? What’s not to like?

The thing is, I never *loved* Deadman. As good as he was, he just wasn’t creepy enough for me to adore. Until along came Kelley Jones.

Now I’ll be honest, Kelley had been my favourite artist in comics (a spot he holds to this day) since his jaw-dropping turn in Sandman not long before, but it was on discovering Love And Death, those first prestige format Deadman books, that I felt like I was seeing something truly, horribly wonderful ooze out of his brain.

All of a sudden (or not so sudden if, unlike me, you caught his gradual decay in Action Comics Weekly) Deadman looked like he was actually properly DEAD. He didn’t look like a superhero ghost, he looked like a corpse and he wasn’t wisecracking like a pasty Spider-Man.

Boston Brand wasn’t having a great time being dead, he was a broken spirit and Mike Baron’s script for both Love And Death and it’s sequel Exorcism both hit hard. They weren’t a fun read, they were painful and tragic and full of pathos.

God, they were amazing.

Jones clearly relished every moment of getting his claws on Deadman, drawing out every bit of Wrightson-inspired horror out of his subject, but also injecting emotion and empathy into the poor sucker too.

Released under the regular DC banner, the stories contained in this volume were Vertigo before such a thing existed, exploring the very darkest corners of the DCU’s supernatural world and pulling out what turned out to be very human stories.

If you’ve never read these before you’re in for a real treat, but even if you have this volume is a thing of real beauty and belongs on every horror fan’s shelf.

Deadman By Kelley Jones: The Complete Collection is a 272-page compilation of the original prestige format miniseries Deadman: Love After Death and Deadman: Exorcism both written by Mike Baron, alongside the original Deadman stories from the Action Comics Weekly series.

Rating: 5/5.

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JULESAV The Writer of this piece was: Jules Boyle
Jules tweets from @Captain_Howdy

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