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Sandman (comic character)

The Sandman is a comic book character created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Bert Christman[?] in 1939 for World's Fair Comics, published by the comic book company now known as DC Comics; thereafter he appeared in Adventure Comics from issues #40 to #102. Wesley Dodds was one of the earliest superheroes (then called "Mystery Men" for lack of a better term), though his status as such is debatable as he came rather from the detective tradition seen in the pulps of the 1930s. Wearing a green and orange suit and sporting a memorable gas mask, the Sandman solved mysteries and fought crime. In 1941, he was given a more superheroic yellow and purple costume by artist Chad Grothkopf[?], as well as a yellow-clad kid sidekick -- Sandy the Golden Boy. It was this version of the character which was written and drawn by the legendary team of Joe Simon[?] and Jack Kirby. This character became a founding member of the Justice Society of America (or JSA) in 1940s All Star Comics #3.

A second Sandman was created by Simon and Kirby in 1973. This Sandman was originally intended to be the actual Sandman of popular myth, "eternal and immortal," although in a later retcon by Roy Thomas[?], he was "revealed" to be Dr. Garrett Sanford, a UCLA psychology professor who became trapped in the Dream Dimension. This Sandman battled demons and monsters, protecting children within their dreams, especially one young boy named Jed Walker. This character only appeared for a handful of issues and was generally unused for the following decades. In 1987 a third Sandman (Hector Hall, father of Daniel Hall) based on the second version appeared as a member of Infinity Inc[?], written by Roy Thomas.

Writer Neil Gaiman proposed a revival of the Sandman in 1987 as well, and together with editor Karen Berger[?] and artists Sam Kieth[?] and Mike Dringenberg[?] created an all-new character who finally saw print in 1989. This version of the Sandman was Morpheus, a pale, gaunt immortal who reigned over the world of dreams. Wesley Dodds makes several guest appearances in this series, and it is intimated that he becomes the Sandman because Gaiman's Sandman is out of action. The third 'original' Sandman also shows up, fathering Daniel Hall in The Dreaming. (For more information on the Neil Gaiman series, see The Sandman and Characters in The Sandman.)

An updated version of the original Sandman appeared in a 1993 series intended for adult readers entitled Sandman Mystery Theatre. In this novel-like 70 issue series by writers Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle and artist Guy Davis, Wesley Dodds and his girlfriend Dian Belmont, daughter of the District Attorney, encountered several often grotesque foes in multi-issue storylines. (The team of Dodds and Belmont were a nod to Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man series.) This series dealt with mature themes such as abortion and anti-Semitism, as well as historical themes such as the rise of Nazism.

Marvel Comics also had a character called the Sandman. This character was a supervillain and an enemy of Spider-Man who could transform himself into moldable sand.

In 1999, a year after the end of the Sandman Mystery Theatre series, the original Sandman's still-youthful but now grown-up sidekick, Sandy the Golden Boy, became known simply as "Sand" and took his mentor's place as a member of the Justice Society of America. Like the Marvel Comics Sandman, Sand gained the power to turn into sand, though otherwise he was the true heir to the original, pulp fiction-inspired Sandman in all but name.

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