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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Just re-read that Sandman story in my collection of Last Days of the Justice Society of America, which has a bunch of those Secret Origins stories in it.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

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.

It's probably my least favorite origin story of the collection for reasons I'll say after Jeff reads it.

But it was in the previously mentioned All Star Squadron #18 where Sandy was rather off-handedly referred to as Dian Belmont's nephew.

The Baron said:

Just re-read that Sandman story in my collection of Last Days of the Justice Society of America, which has a bunch of those Secret Origins stories in it.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

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.

As for the Tarantula, he made only one appearance before All star Squadron #18 and that was a reprint in World's Finest Comics #207 (N'71) as the entry of its "Bureau of Missing Heroes". Note on the cover he was described as comics' original web-slinger!

Still he debuted two months before Sandman changed his costume!

Sadly his Golden Age run lasted only a year and a half!

I got this as a back issue when I was a kid so I did know who Tarantula and was amazed that he made such a big comeback, certainly bigger than the purple & gold version of the Sandman, especially in All Star Squadron!

“It's probably my least favorite origin story of the collection for reasons I'll say after Jeff reads it.”

Go for it. I’ve read it before (once, when it first came out), but I read it again last night. I have that collection, too, and it’s probably my least favorite as well. I admit I remembered, well… nothing about it, but go ahead and post your thoughts and we’ll compare notes.

It suffered from too much "Uncle Roy ties it all together".  Also, I didn't like the fact that Wesley didn't invent the gas gun himself.

Philip Portelli said:

It's probably my least favorite origin story of the collection for reasons I'll say after Jeff reads it.

But it was in the previously mentioned All Star Squadron #18 where Sandy was rather off-handedly referred to as Dian Belmont's nephew.

The Baron said:

Just re-read that Sandman story in my collection of Last Days of the Justice Society of America, which has a bunch of those Secret Origins stories in it.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

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.

The Secret Origin of the Sandman suffers from a multitude of problems.

  • Wesley Dodd has no real motivation to become the Sandman. Yes he wants to protect the Royal Couple and prove something to himself. But there was no event that prompts him to begin a war on crime, not even a dream.
  • And there was no good reason to call himself "the Sandman" either. As Baron said, he didn't even have a gas gun when he took that name!
  • He was the third most interesting character in his own story after the Crimson Avenger and the Phantom of the Fair. Fourth if you count Fiorella Laguardia! 
  • The story was way too busy and lacked the elegant simplicity of classic super-hero origins.
  • Far too many cameos especially Johnny Chambers/Johnny Quick!
  • I didn't like the gas gun exchange either. Yes both characters were inspired by the Green Hornet but this makes Sandman still look secondary to the Crimson Avenger, so much so that you wonder why the Avenger wasn't a founding member of the JSA!

My theory was that Roy Thomas had become enamored with the Crimson Avenger after Secret Origins #5 (and rightfully so as it was a great issue) and wanted to do more with the character but wasn't able to use that version of him in All Star Squadron because by "then" he was no longer the cloaked mystery man but a spandex-wearing super-hero! Roy would later do a Crimson Avenger mini set in the Pre-war period.

But Roy never seemed to like the Sandman much, not as he did Hawkman or the Atom. In fact, in Young All Stars, he had the Master of Dreams break his leg to justify Sandy joining the younger heroes.

“It suffered from too much "Uncle Roy ties it all together"…”

“The Secret Origin of the Sandman suffers from a multitude of problems…”

I don’t think this story would have much appeal to anyone not already steeped in Golden Age lore. In other words, it doesn’t stand on its own. Also (and more importantly)… it was boring.

Before moving on to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, I want to put forth an old pet theory of my own regarding the identity of the 1970’s Sandman. This was before Hector Hall, before I knew about Garrett Sanford, and before Neil Gaiman (and, later, others) blew my idea out of the water. Admittedly, my theory is based largely on a certain similarity of costume.

The problem with your theory is that The Sandman #1 (Winter'74) came out for January and then they explained Sandy's fate in Justice League of America #113 (O'74) that June!

"The problem with your theory is that The Sandman #1 (Winter'74) came out for January and then they explained Sandy's fate in Justice League of America #113 (O'74) that June!"

Admittedly, I hadn't considered the exact timing of the release of those two issues, but I don't see it as an insurmountable problem. (There's noting tying Sandman #1 to continuity otherwise; the stories were simply present out of the order in which they "happened.") Besides, I still like my idea better than DC letting Sandy Hawkins languish as a sand creature for 25 years! It's a moot point, anyway, at this point, because I prefer the Gaiman and JSA stories which explained their respective fates.

Now I'm wondering if JLA #113 was done to show that the New Sandman couldn't be Sandy!

And man, did sidekicks on Earth-Two have it rough!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"The problem with your theory is that The Sandman #1 (Winter'74) came out for January and then they explained Sandy's fate in Justice League of America #113 (O'74) that June!"

Admittedly, I hadn't considered the exact timing of the release of those two issues, but I don't see it as an insurmountable problem. (There's noting tying Sandman #1 to continuity otherwise; the stories were simply present out of the order in which they "happened.") Besides, I still like my idea better than DC letting Sandy Hawkins languish as a sand creature for 25 years! It's a moot point, anyway, at this point, because I prefer the Gaiman and JSA stories which explained their respective fates.

“Now I'm wondering if JLA #113 was done to show that the New Sandman couldn't be Sandy!”

OFF TOPIC: I don’t know, but I have considered the timing of First Issue Special #5 and Detective Comics #443. Wouldn’t it have been cool if the the “Mark Shaw” Manhunter could have been the “Paul Kirk” Manhunter? But the conclusion of the Goodwin/Simonson version put the kibosh on that idea. I also think Jack Kirby’s Cadmus concepts would have been a better fit in Challengers of the Unknown rather than Jimmy Olsen, but the timing of the cancellation of the former titles precluded that possibility. Oh, well. There’s always “Earth-J.”

MORE OFF TOPIC: There was an elderly Manhunter in First Issue Special #5 who was inferred to be Paul Kirk since DC did reprint some Golden Age Manhunter stories. He returned in Justice League of America #141 but was still unnamed!

A good Manhunter clone was a featured character in Secret Society of Super-Villains #1-5 (Ju'76-F'77). He was killed (supposedly taking Darkseid with him, Oh well!) in #5, again for February 1977 just as the Mark Shaw Manhunter would return in JLA #140 for March 1977! Coincidence? I think not! 

JLA was being written by Steve Englehart who just left Marvel and was an early example of a "Big Name Writer" affecting other books, for good or bad!

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