Saturday, September 07, 2019

The Best Sandman of Them All?

There have been several different characters in comic books that have shared the name Sandman. The earliest on the scene was Wesley Dodds, first appearing in July 1939's Adventure Comics #40. Dressed in a suit and tie with a cape and gas mask, this Sandman fought crime by gassing bad guys for a little over two years.

Then in 1941 Mr. Dodds ditched the gas mask motif and put on a more standard superhero costume. The run of stories by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were far more fun than those gassy stories had been.

The Golden Age ended and for some years there was no Sandman to be found in comics. But 1963 saw Stan Lee and Steve Ditko create a villain that claimed the name.

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (yes, them again!) created a whole new Sandman character in 1974.

Arguably the most popular version of a Sandman debuted in 1989, as re-imagined by Neil Gaiman.

Sandman Mystery Theater in the 1990s was a retro-return to Wesley Dodds wearing the gas mask.

In last week's daily newspapers, Patrick McDonnell stripped away the artifice to present the most basic Sandman of them all. Think about it: if a snowman is made by piling one gob of snow upon another, shouldn't a sandman be made by piling one gob of sand upon another? Bravo, Patrick McDonnell! And congratulations on TWENTY-FIVE YEARS of Mutts!


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