Friday, November 21, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Strange Adventures #216

Strange Adventures #216 (On Sale: November 14, 1968) ends Deadman's run with a wonderful cover by Neal Adams.

"But I Still Exist" is written and drawn by Neal Adams and it is a visual tour de force. Continuing from last issue, Deadman leaves the lair of the League of Assassins after he is unable to prevent Hook's death. He is surprised to find Vashnu waiting outside with a scroll that mentions the hidden land of Nanda Parbat. Deadman also watches the Sensei order Willie Smith to destroy it. Deadman decides to tag along with Willie to thwart his mission.

When over the appropriate airspace Deadman fights Willie using the body of a pilot. Willie falls from the plane, but uses a parachute to survive. Deadman floats down to the Earth, but becomes solid when he enters Nanda Parbat. No longer a ghost, Deadman meets Taj Ze and Lotus, residents of this strange land of peace.

Deadman learns that if he leaves the city he will become a ghost again. He confronts Rama Kushna who can be reached via a temple guarded by Taj Ze. Rama agrees to allow Deadman to remain on Earth as a force for good to achieve balance. Deadman then leaves Nanda Parbat and becomes a ghost once again. He is followed by Lotus, who is dragged outside by Willie Smith where she becomes evil again. Reprinted in Deadman #7 and continued in the Brave and the Bold #86.

This book is known though for Neal Adams' amazing pop art effects. My favorite was the page where if you look at the panels as a whole it is a giant face of Deadman.

Thanks to Robbie Reed over at Dial B for Blog for these crisp and clear shots of Neal's' Deadman work.

This book was meant to be the start of a new Deadman. With his killer found Rama Kushna gives Deadman a new mission, to ""balance the forces of good and evil" in the world. We only get a peek at this in the Brave and the Bold follow-up and that's too bad. I would have loved to see where Adams would have taken this character for which he obviously had so much affection.

The back-up story was "I Lost My Past," a reprint from Tales of the Unexpected #3 drawn by Mad Magazine's own Mort Drucker.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

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