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Character Spotlight: Golden Age Sandman

Written by BKThomson aka Brad Thomson on Thursday, November 24 2011 and posted in Features
Golden Age SandmanRead about one of the Outhousers' favorite characters in the weekly Character Spotlight! This week, we look at D.C. Comics' Golden Age Sandman!

In an Internet filled with overwhelming negativity and pointless hatred of frivolous stuff, it's sometimes necessary to take a step back, take a deep breath and remember why we enjoy comics in the first place. Character Spotlight is a weekly feature showcasing some of the Outhouse's favorite characters that epitomize why we read comics. Maybe you'll learn something, maybe you won't, but regardless we hope you enjoy the Outhouse's Character Spotlight!

Golden Age Sandman

Origin Story

Wesley Dodds suffered from vivid dreams of criminal activities that would not allow him to rest.  These visions came from Dream of the Endless who was imprisoned on Earth and was planted into Dodds soul where he fed Wesley these visions.  Dressed in a business suit, fedora and World War One-era gas mask, Dodd's pursued the criminals of his dreams as the crime fighter, the Sandman.

Character Appeal
What makes Wesley Dodds a positive role model for readers is, like Batman and Mr. Terrific; he has no true super powers.  Yes, Wesley does receive visions of crimes but they came to him as cryptic, ambiguous.  It is still up to his intelligence to interpret the message from the visions and piece together an answer before things become worse.  For Dodds, it is a race against time to stop a criminal from taking another life of a person he does not know.


Wesley Dodds' portrayal by regular Sandman Mystery Theatre artist Guy Davis is that of a slightly overweight, not very athletic, bespectacled man.  Yes, Dodds was written as a smart man but he was not the supreme detective that is Batman, more of an amateur detective and in more cases than not he would walk away from a fight with more cuts and bruises than his opponent.  When in a confrontation with the criminal element, Dodds does try to avoid a fight by using his gas gun to put his opponents to sleep.

Mystery Theater

First appearance: New York World's Fair Comics (Volume 1) #1
Character Created By: Gardner Fox, Bert Christman

Notable appearances

All Star Comics #3 (All-American Comics 1940) the first appearance of the Justice Society of America for which Dodds is a founding member of the team.

Sandman Mystery Theatre (D.C./Vertigo Comics 1993 to 1999, 70 issues) this noir series by writers Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle brought readers to the 1930's New York with grim murder mysteries that Wesley Dodds tries to solve thanks to the visions he receives.

Sandman Midnight Theatre (D.C./Vertigo 1995) established the relationship between Dream of the Endless and Wesley Dodds' visions.

JSA Secret Files and Origins #1 (August, 1999) Wesley Dodds commits suicide rather than allow the location of Doctor Fate to be taken from his mind by the villain Mordru.

Golden Age Sandman Can Even Beat Superman
Simply put: no, Wesley Dodds could not beat Superman.  As pointed out before, Dodds is just a man with a gas gun who receives hints of crimes from visions.

So a punch to Superman—caught by the man of steel or his fist would be shattered on Clark's jaw.
Gas Gun attack on Superman – Super-Breath to blow it away from the area, or he just holds his breath and with a Super-Flick of a Super-Finger, knock Dodds unconscious.

Even with a vision showing the fight with Superman, it would not do Dodds much good unless it was telling him to not get into a fight with Superman.

Though if push came to shove, if the Golden Age Sandman is pushed into a corner to take on the Man of Steel, I would say that he could do it with his wallet.  The Sandman of the 1930's, as I explained, would not be able to take on Superman; he would be just out of his league.  However, the retired hero in his twilight years could buy the means to take on Superman.  By this time, Kryptonite would have been available.  Using his monetary resources, he could buy some of the alien ore and grind it up to a fine power and place it into his gas gun. 

It would just take a couple shots from the gun to get it into Superman respiratory system.  Even with Wesley's first shot of gas deflected by Superman's Super-Breath, eventually that breath will cause Superman to take in some air.  That is the moment when the second shot would need to be taken, a small window to get Superman to inhale the kryptonite gas.   Once in his lungs, the kryptionite will be absorbed into Superman's bloodstream.  Over time, Superman will start to weaken and that's when Wesely will need to throw every punch and kick that he knows, never letting up and never backing down.  It will be a dual physical assault from the inside and outside of Superman's body wearing him down until unconsciousness.   It would be a brutal fight for an older man and much luck would be needed for Wesley Dodds to win, but it could be possible.

Currently can be found
Since his death, in Dodds has made a few appearances in the last decade.

Sandman Mystery Theatre: Sleep of Reason, (D.C./Vertigo 2006) limited series as part of a flashback scene.

Madame Xanadu (Volume 2.) #11-15 (D.C./Vertigo 2009) Dodds appears in the Exodus Noir arc. The story takes place in 1940.

Blackest Night: JSA #1 – 3 (D.C. 2010). Dodds briefly returns as a Black Lantern in this company wide crossover.

Written or Contributed by: BKThomson aka Brad Thomson


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About the Author - bkthomson

Brad Thompson is, well, no one really knows.  Remember, in the old Marvel G.I. Joe comics, that pilot everyone knew but could never remember what he looked like or his name?  That’s who…wait, who am I talking about?  Oh, right, that is who Brad Thompson is.  We think, or he’s DB Cooper, maybe JD Salinger, or even Jimmy Hoffa.  All we know for sure is…

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