Sandman Poster # 2 Adventure Comics #40 (1939) by Creig Fiessel


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Sandman (Wesley Dodds), is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The first of several DC characters to bear the name, he was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Bert Christman. Attired in a green business suit, fedora, and gas mask, the Sandman used a gun emitting a sleeping gas to sedate criminals. He was originally one of the mystery men to appear in comic books and other types of adventure fiction in the 1930s but later developed into a proper superhero, acquiring sidekick Sandy, and founding the Justice Society of America. Like most DC Golden Age superheroes, the Sandman fell into obscurity in the 1940s and eventually other DC characters took his name. During the 1990s, when writer Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (featuring Morpheus, the anthropomorphic embodiment of dreams) was popular, DC revived Dodds in Sandman Mystery Theatre, a pulp/noir series set in the 1930s. Wizard Magazine ranked Wesley Dodds among the Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time. “The Sandman slowly presses one of the triggers of his strange gun-a sweet-smelling gas emanates, and fills the room….” With these evocative words of narration begins the incredible legend of the Sandman, one of DC’s oldest and most durable heroes. Sandman has appeared in a variety of guises over the course of almost eight decades. In this, his official debut (a first appearance in a New York World’s Fair omnibus may or may not have hit newstands a few weeks earlier, although this story was drawn first), Sandman is the crime-fighting alter ego of wealthy Wesley Dodds (here called Dodd). He wears a World War I-vintage gas mask and subdues miscreants, like this issue’s high-society kidnapper, the Tarantula, with a special gun filled with sleeping gas. The missing link between the days of pulp magazine detectives and the new era of superpowered heroes, Sandman likely would have been lost in the mists of the Golden Age had not so many writers and artist worked so hard to reinvent him. In the early 1990s, the gas mask was back- but little else about his back story remained the same, as the venerable vigilante took center stage once more in the acclaimed Vertigo series Sandman Mytery Theatre. Adventure Comics was an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1938 to 1983 and revived from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues (472 of those after the title changed from New Adventure Comics), making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman. The series’ focus gradually shifted to superhero stories starting with the debut of the Sandman in issue #40. Creig Valentine Flessel (February 2, 1912 – July 17, 2008) was an American comic book artist and an illustrator and cartoonist for magazines ranging from Boys’ Life to Playboy. One of the earliest comic book illustrators, he was a 2006 nominee for induction into the comics industry’s Will Eisner Hall of Fame. Concentrating his attention on the fledgling comics medium, Flessel drew the covers of many of the first American comic books, including the pre-Batman Detective Comics #2-19 (April 1937 – Sept. 1938). Flessel, who drew many early adventures of the Golden Age Sandman and is closely associated with that character, has sometimes been credited as the character’s co-creator.