Sandman Archives volume one (and only) features the first 22 Sandman stories from Adventure Comics #40-59 and New York World’s Fair Comics #1-2. NYWFC #1 beat Adventure Comics #40 to print, but Adventure Comics #40 was probably prepared first. In any case, neither was an origin story per se. Bert Christman was that artist through Adventure Comics #48, and Creig Flessell drew all but one #49-59. Gardner Fox wrote the ones in the latter group, and probably some of the earlier ones as well, which remain uncredited.

When the original gas-masked version (a combination of the Green Hornet and the Shadow) began to lose steam, artist Paul Norris was directed to transform the character into a Batman clone, complete with a yellow and purple costume, a cape and a teen age sidekick. This version lasted only three issues (#69-71) before Joe Simon and Jack Kirby took over with #72.

The first thing S&K did was to lose the cape. The final redesign of the costume came in #76 when the purple of the hood was extended down over the shoulders to end mid-chest. The most significant non-visual change was to switch from a “sleep” motif to a “dream” motif. The changes wrought by Simon and Kirby were so sweeping that, for all intents and purposes, Sandman became an entirely different character. The makeover was so extreme that is was not unlike those ordered by Julius Schwartz for the Flash, Green Lantern and the Atom when he ushered in the Silver Age… but in 1942!

I am really curious how Sandman's assistant Dian Belmont was written out and his sidekick Sandy was written in but, to my knowledge, Adventure Comics #69 has never been reprinted.

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Sandy was Dian Belmont's nephew but that was a Roy Thomas retcon!

From what I've found on-line, there was no explanation given for Dian 's absence in the Golden Age.

Here's something strange: according to the GCD, in Adventure Comics #69 (D'41), Sandy's last name is "McGann", not "Hawkins".

Also, the Sandman was still in the business suit/gasmask in All Star Comics #9 (Ma'42) which had an appearance by Dian. He would have the new outfit, complete with cape, in #10 (My'42), a half-year after the change!

Of course, they didn't really have "continuity" as we know it now in those days.

Philip Portelli said:

Here's something strange: according to the GCD, in Adventure Comics #69 (D'41), Sandy's last name is "McGann", not "Hawkins".

Also, the Sandman was still in the business suit/gasmask in All Star Comics #9 (Ma'42) which had an appearance by Dian. He would have the new outfit, complete with cape, in #10 (My'42), a half-year after the change!

In 1973, both Joe Simon and Jack Kirby found themselves freelancers working for DC. Someone had the idea to put the former partners together on a project for the first time in 25 years. I have read that neither of the man was particularly keen on the idea at this time in their respective careers, but they reluctantly agreed to team up for a one-shot appearance of a revamped version of one of their former characters.

The story itself was pretty offbeat, featuring such characters as the nightmares Brute and Glob and villains General Electric and the Werblink. The main characters were a young boy, Jed Paulson and his fisherman grandfather who lived on Dolphin Island “almost within sight of Cape Kennedy.” The story, which also introduced the “Dream Dimension,” was quite fanciful, obviously designed to appeal to younger readers, but it didn’t really matter because they never expected a second issue to be produced.

Apparently sales of the first issue were good enough to warrant an ongoing series, but neither creator was free to do it, so it was turned over to writer Michael Fleischer and artist Ernie Chua (although Jack Kirby did do the covers of issues #2-3). Kirby returned to the interior art for issues #4-6, and the story intended for #7 eventually saw print in The Best of DC Digest #22. Contents were equally off the wall as the first issue, featuring such stories as “Invsasion of the Frog Men” and “The Seal Men’s War on Santa Claus.” Jed’s grandpa dies in #5 and he went to live with his crual and abusive Uncle Barnaby, Aunt Clarice and cousins Bruce and Susan.

A more "realistic" backstory was added in Wonder Woman #300. Dr. Garrett Sanford was the head of a UCLA sleep research project. He had invented a machine called the “Dream Monitor” which enabled him to “read” the dreams of participants while they slept. When the President of the U.S. fell into a death-like coma, Sanford was called upon to save him. He succeeded, but became trapped in the Dream Dimension himself.

Infinity, Inc. #49-50 revealed how Garrett Sanford died and was replaced by Hector Hall (son of the original Hawkman) as the “Lord of Dreams.” At the end of that story, Hall proposes to his pregnant girlfriend, Lyta Trevor, and they both disappear into the Dream Dimension to live happily ever after.

Am I delusional, or was this originally a "Golden Age Sandman" thread?

Both, I think.

In Justice League of America Annual #1 (1983), Doctor Destiny takes over the Dream Dimension, capturing the Sandman. He helps stop the Insidious Insomniac and is offered membership but he must decline as he can only spend one hour a day in the Waking World.

"In Justice League of America Annual #1..."

Ah, thanks for the reminder. I do have that one, but I had forgotten that the Garrett Sanford Sandman was in it. I sometime re-read JLA Annual #1 (because of Dr. Destiny) in conjunction with Neil Gaiman's Sandman... which is coming up next, in case you were wondering.

Good! You explain what happens there! Because my head's already hurting!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"In Justice League of America Annual #1..."

Ah, thanks for the reminder. I do have that one, but I had forgotten that the Garrett Sanford Sandman was in it. I sometime re-read JLA Annual #1 (because of Dr. Destiny) in conjunction with Neil Gaiman's Sandman... which is coming up next, in case you were wondering.

Philip Portelli said:

Sandy was Dian Belmont's nephew but that was a Roy Thomas retcon!

That retcon was introduced in All-Star Squadron #18 (Feb 83).  This story (expanded from an idea originally intended as a 7-page short in Brave and Bold) explained why the Sandman changed from the gasmask and business suit to yellow-and-purple; and what happened to Dian Belmont; and why another mystery man, the Tarantula, wore an almost-identical yellow-and-purple costume, as seen on this cover.

Dian designed the new costume for the Sandman, and also showed it to the Tarantula (when, in his alter-ego as a writer, he interviewed her).  Then later, disguised in the gasmask outfit to fight Nazi saboteurs, she was shot and killed by the Nazis.  The story was a typical piece of Roy Thomas continuity porn.  I loved when I first read it.

“Continuity porn.” Heh.

When Philip mentioned “A Roy Thomas retcon” yesterday, I thought he was might have been referring to Secret Origins #7 (1986), which I plan to re-read tonight.

I have a complete collection of All-Star Squadron (acquired as backissues, mostly), but I’ve actually read very few of them (which led, in part, to my precept “Buying comics and not reading them is stupid”). Now that I know it’s #18, I’ll read that one tonight as well.

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