From the cover of Sandman #1. Artist: Jack Kirby.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1974
Creators: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
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The team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, creators of Captain America, Young Romance, Boy Commandos and …

continued below

… much, much more, is a legendary one in comic book history — but in the 1950s, they went their separate ways and didn't work together again for decades. In the '70s, both were working for DC Comics (Kirby on such properties as New Gods and Kamandi, and Simon on Prez, Champion Sports and a few others); and publisher Carmine Infantino got them together for one more joint project. The last collaboration of Simon and Kirby was The Sandman #1, dated Winter, 1974.

Simon and Kirby had done a character called The Sandman for DC back in the '40s, but this wasn't even remotely the same guy. This Sandman didn't seem to have any other name, or any occupation other than wearing a gaudy costume and fighting evil. His headquarters was a place called "The Dream Dome". His range of operations included all the strange worlds people visit in their sleep, which he would reach through what he called "The Dream Stream". His assistants, a couple of ugly monsters named Brute and Glob, came straight out of nightmares — literally.

The Sandman was intended as a oneshot, but it sold so well, DC put it on the regular schedule. The second issue was dated May, 1975. Simon and Kirby weren't available on short notice to continue it, so Michael Fleischer (The Spectre, Jonah Hex) took over as writer, maintaining the whimsical , dream-like style Simon had used, with Ernie Chua (who was doing a lot of Batman and Flash stories for DC at the time) on the art. Kirby returned as artist in #4, but Simon never came back to the character. Fleischer remained the writer until the end — which wasn't long coming, as the delay between issues, combined with the abrupt change to less bankable creative personnel, went far toward damping reader interest. The last issue was #6 (January, 1976).

But DC doesn't turn loose of a character that easily, and seldom allows one to remain as vaguely defined as this one was. In post-series appearances, it turned out The Sandman was Dr. Garret Sanford, a psychologist doing sleep research at UCLA, who was called on to apply his knowledge to superhero work when the president of the U.S. went into a coma-like sleep state. Sanford subsequently became guardian of the Dream Dimension.

In Infinity Inc. #44 (October, 1987), a second-generation superhero named The Silver Scarab (no relation) (Hector Hall, son of Hawkman and Hawkgirl) was killed off, but (as is often the case with comic book characters) it didn't stick. He turned up again five issues later, wearing the same costume as this Sandman — he'd been resurrected by Brute and Glob to fill that role, following Sanford's off-stage death. He was de-resurrected a couple of years later, when it turned out Brute and Glob were tied in with an entirely new character called The Sandman, and their Dream Dimension was merely a subset of this new Sandman's dream realm, where they'd tried, ultimately unsuccessfully, to set up a freelance operation.

Hector Hall was later resurrected again, as a latter-day incarnation of Doctor Fate. Garret Sanford remains dead, as does this version of The Sandman.


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Text ©2003-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.