Here’s a cover image chosen at random from my collection.
Deadman: Exorcism #1 by Mike Baron (w), Kelley Jones (a), Les Dorscheid (c), & Ken Bruzenak (l)
This two-issue mini-series was released in 1992, and redefined Deadman as the skeletal looking ghost that was a bit crazy, for me at least. While preparing for this entry, I found out that Baron and Jones had previously done another two-issue Deadman mini called Love After Death. It was that series that defined the visual aspects of Deadman that we see in Exorcism. But I didn’t even really need to know about that former series given the two-page synopsis at the beginning of this issue.
This story apparently picks up where Love After Death leaves off, meaning that Deadman is a bit crazy and haunting an old church in Vermont. A psychologist and a witch doctor confront Deadman to stop him from possessing a client, and unwittingly unleash the trapped souls of some nasty people. The last page reveals the arrival of the Phantom Stranger to entice you to pick up issue #2.
As I stated, this was the first time that I’d seen Deadman portrayed in this way. The Deadman I was familiar with up to this point was a brooding egotist that looks like a normal man, except for the pale, ghost-like skin (Boston Brand’s performance “mask”). Jones’ redesign stuck with the character for a while, and he deftly evokes a moody sense of dread via his art in this issue. This book also struck me in that in really earned the “Suggested for Mature Readers” stamp on the cover (if it were published a few years later, it would have been under the Vertigo imprint for sure), considering the language and nudity, yet another large departure for this character, but it was the late 80s and going all mature with second- and third-string characters was all the rage back then. Perusing the book now, it seems like a bit more economy of plot could have had this story completed in one volume, but overall it was an interesting take on a lesser known DC property.