Arnold Drake and Carmine Infanto created the comics series in 1967. It's centred on Boston Brand, a former trapeze artist murdered mid-act who, as a ghost, is given the power to possess people for crime-fighting purposes by a made-up Hindu goddess called Rama Kushna. He's rarely had his own series, but has regularly turned up in various DC comics, including Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and Neil Gaiman's The Books of Magic.
The Gaiman connection isn't insignificant: Supernatural showrunner Eric Kripke describes that programme as a cross between Sandman and Gaiman's novel American Gods (itself in development at HBO), and Sandman was the last DC TV project Kripke was attached to. He sadly admitted that plans for the Lord of Dreams had foundered earlier this year (although he was later contradicted by DC honcho Geoff Johns). Will Deadman constitute its permanent replacement?
CW is jointly owned by Warner Bros and CBS, meaning that the Warner-owned DC roster can be developed in-house. Warner Bros TV will be producing the pilot, which will get underway for "this development season". Supernatural, by the way, isn't going anywhere, although Kripke has now retreated to an executive producer role.
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