There can be no doubt that we are living in a Golden Age of comic book media. I mean, a single week’s TV listings looks like a Diamond Comics order form. But what does this wonderful flood of super heroes and comic properties look like to a comic book legend like Neal Adams? Adams was one of the most important artists of his generation, if not of all time, and he continues to bring his special brand of superhero action to life in books for DC Comics. In November, Adams returns to Deadman, a character he helped define in his run on the character in the title Strange Adventures in 1967. At New York Comic Con, we got to pick Adams’ brain about the current slate of superhero properties that are thrilling fans on a weekly basis.
As far as movies are concerned, Adams feels that superhero films are, “Really good at Marvel, and just beginning to get good at DC,” but says that “DC TV is unbelievable.” Adams is probably slightly biased as his co-creations Ra’s Al Ghul and the island of Nanda Parbat play major roles on both Arrow and Gotham.
Going back to his view on DC superhero movies, Adams said, “Wonder Woman reopened the door that closed after two great Batman films. We got the door partially open with Batman…it kind of closed…and Wonder Woman was unbelievable. If I could just play the Germans invading Paradise Island beach scene and play it over and over again, I’d be a happy man. Those stunt guys in Hollywood are going, ‘Uh oh, women can do that? We’re in trouble.’”
Along with Wonder Woman, it seems like every major DC character is being brought to life on TV or in film. Even semi-obscure characters like Black Lightning are getting live action love, so the question remains, how has a character like Deadman, a character that creators like Adams have breathed so much, if you’ll pardon the expression, life into, not been exploited in a TV series? Deadman is a ghost detective trying to solve his own murder by possessing people and fighting crimes. It has a unique premise, procedural elements, and a kick ass protagonist, all the things TV execs love. So how has Deadman, a property that is essentially a supernatural Quantum Leap, not been realized on TV? Well, according to Adams, Deadman almost did come to TV, but in a way that might surprise you.
“They were going to do a TV show,” Adams recalls. “They called me maybe 12 years ago. Someone in Canada and DC Comics called me… it was maybe fifteen years ago…and they said, ‘We thought you’d like to now, they’re doing a Deadman show in Canada.’ So I said, ‘Oh, why are you calling me?’ They said, ‘You’re part of the history.’ So I asked, ‘Are they going to change it?’ to which they replied, ‘Well, they’re going to change it a little bit.’ I asked how. They said, ‘First of all, it’s a woman, and she’s not dead.’ So that didn’t happen.”
So, according to Adams, the Canadian Deadman show that almost existed was basically Living Woman. The takeaway from all this? First, TV people from 15 years ago simply didn’t get it the way they do now, and a perfect ghostly procedural is still out there waiting for the right person to bring Deadman to TV. Someone get Greg Berlanti on the phone, please.
In the meantime we can enjoy Neal Adams’ return to the character when Deadman #1 arrives on November 1st.
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