DC’s 1930s ‘Sandman’ Was Very Different From Neil Gaiman’s Version
Picture through DC.
by Neil Gaiman The sand man is a legendary comic book with mythological scope that will soon see a Netflix adaptation. But long before Morpheus and The Endless were part of the DC world, several other heroes would go by the same moniker, albeit in drastically different capacities.
Probably the most popular take on the character is Gaiman’s, which leans into a fantasy world that very much reflects the character’s ancient mythological roots. The Sandman, who also goes by Dream or Morpheus, is the lord of – and the physical embodiment of – all things dream and history. The pale-skinned, raven-haired titular character is also drastically different from the typical DC superhero protagonist, with Dream looking more like a goth kid who’s a die-hard fan of The Cure.
Dream’s six siblings are also anthropomorphized personifications of other universal concepts, such as death, fate, despair, and delirium, among others. But long before Gaiman reinvented the character in the late 1980s, DC had another hero by the name of Sandman who fit the style of the comic books of the era…
1930s Sandman, Wesley Dodds
Published in the golden age of comics, the 1930s version of The sand man was a DC title steeped in the black influence and crime-fighting of its era. Rather than being a divine entity, the character Wesley Dodd wore a green suit, fedora, and gas mask, the latter of which he wore so he wouldn’t be knocked out by his own sleeping gas gun that he would use to subdue the criminals. , as noted by the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library blog in Alabama. Additionally, Wesley also had eerily prophetic dreams that aided him in his crime-fighting adventures, an element of the superhero that would tie into the Gaiman-era comics decades later (more on this later). topic later).
1940s Sandman and his sidekick: Sandy, the Golden Boy
Beginning in the 1940s, Wesley Dodds would undergo a makeover that would see him sport a more traditional – and less noir-inspired – superhero outfit, ditching the fedora, suit and gas mask for a spandex unitard. Additionally, he also received a Robin-like sidekick from Batman known as Sandy, the Golden Boy, the HMCPL blog noted. Sanderson Hawkins, who would later take over the role of Sandman from his mentor in years to come, was also the nephew of Wesley’s romantic partner Dian Belmont. In fact, Sanderson was the person who convinced Wesley to change his outfit from a green blazer to purple and gold, in order to appear friendlier, the DC Wiki noted.
It was during this time in Wesley’s history that he would be recruited by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be one of the founding fathers of the Justice Society of America during World War II.
1970s: Garrett Sanford, Jack Kirby’s reinvented Sandman
Legendary comic book creator Jack Kirby would try his hand at reinventing Sandman in the 1970s by drafting an all-new character to take up the mantle, Garrett Sanford. As the Sandman, Garrett would don a yellow and red costume and “was meant to be the eternal Sandman of the mythos and had a new set of powers, sidekicks, and skills,” according to the HMCPL blog.
“Sandman was accompanied by two living nightmare sidekicks named Brute and Glob and used his dream surveillance devices to enter [The Dream Dimension] or streams of reality to shield sleepers from unnatural nightmares.”
Although the character was short-lived, Garrett was later woven into the larger Gaiman mythos. Sand seller storyline when it was revealed in the 1990s The sandman volume 2 #12. As the DC Wiki explained:
“The dream dimension was nothing more than a part of the dream created by Brute and Glob in the mind of Jed Paulsen (now called Jed Walker, brother of Rose Walker and grandson of Desire and thus great-nephew of Dream).”
It turned out that Brute and Glob were simply using Garrett as a pawn to try to take over the reality known as Dreaming while its regular master, Dream of The Endless, was still imprisoned. After Garrett died by suicide, Brute and Glob recruited Hector Hall – AKA Doctor Fate – as their new Sandman and their tool in an attempt to gain dominance.
Sanderson Hawkins: from sidekick to successor
Wesley Dodds’ sidekick – Sanderson Hawkins, once known as Sandy, the Golden Boy – would transform over the years to take over the role of Sandman himself. At one point, a bizarre accident caused by one of Wesley’s experimental weapons resulted in Sanderson being placed in suspended animation for years while his mentor sought a cure. When the Justice League finally returned Sanderson to normal, he gained the superpower of being able to turn himself into sand, as a side effect, similar to Marvel’s Spider-Man villain Sandman, as explained by the DCWiki.
After Wesley’s death, Sanderson inherited his prophetic dreaming abilities and later took over the role of Sandman. Sanderson even sports a somewhat similar outfit complete with fedora and gas mask to that of his late former mentor.
Morpheus meets Wesley Dodds
With the Sandman universe’s penchant for exploring various points of history and mythos, both modern and ageless, it’s not necessarily surprising that Dream at some point crossed paths with its age-old counterpoint. ‘gold. In the years 1995 Sandman Midnight Theater #1, Wesley Dodds travels to cultist Roderick Burgess and discovers Dream in the basement prison where he is being held at the time. There’s also a hint in the comic that Wesley’s prophetic dream powers may have been influenced by Morpheus, to begin with, as We Got This Covered previously reported in a 10 Times Roundup. . The sand man characters have appeared in other comics.
While the next show probably won’t feature Wesley Dodds, Garrett Sanford, or Sanderson Hawkins (but you never know), we can’t wait to see how Tom Sturridge’s divine dream comes to life in live-action for Netflix. The sand manwhich arrives on the streaming service on August 5th.