The Sandman was created in 1939 and was one of the first in the big glut riding the new "Superman Craze". He made his official debut in Adventure Comics #40, but just weeks before a Sandman adventure had appeared as part of the big "New York's World's Fair 1939" comic, which also featured Superman and a bunch of DC?Nationals features from "Action Comics".
Being this early on in the super hero output (even beating The Batman by a few months), originally The Sandman was strongly modeled after the pulp heroes of the '30's and even The Green Hornet of radio, more than the colorfully suited-tight wearing guys that would soon hog the scene.
The Sandman was Wesley Dodds, bored wealthy playboy, who was originally wrongfully accused of a crime and was "sought by both the police and the underworld" just like "The Green Hornet" but he slowly became a more straight-forward crime-stopper and was even a charter member of "The Justice Society of America". Only his girlfriend Dian Belmont knew hsi dual identity and shared in his adventures as he donned a green double-breasted suit, a subdued purple cape and a gas mask. Armed with his gas gun which fired a gas that both put criminals to sleep, or sedated them enough to open their minds and give up information, he was a dark figure of the night and skurge of bad guys everywhere.
Here's Adventure Comics #67 and a very typical Sandman story of that era...
By issue #69, the powers that be at DC/National decided the old suit and fedora look was too old-fashioned for the bustling days of colorfully garbed mystery men, and put forth a story in which Dian Belmont is killed (a horrible tradgedy for Dodds, to be sure) and the wealthy playby adopted as his ward, her nephew Sandy Hawkins.
Now following in the tradion begun by Batman's Robin, he gained a kid side-kick "Sandy, the Golden Boy" and squeezed himself and his ward into flashy purple & gold and red & gold suits! NOW they could flex their muscles!
That's right, just a couple issues later, the dynamic team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby came on board the National payroll, and they took on The Sandman & Sandy as their first assignment!
Here's a little dash of the dash of Simon/Kirby Sandman from Adventure Comics #91! That my friend is some swash-buckling derring do!
Zap! Bang! Kazowie!
I'll be back for more "A 'Slight' History of Golden Age Comics Book Super Heroes" and more of the heroes of Adveenture Comics next Tuesday. Until then, I hope you keep coming back to see what else is in my head for "OTR Friday with Vic & Sade", "Unca Jeffy's Toy Box Saturday", "Sunday Funnies" now in glorious full color! and "Mad COMIC BOOK Monday".
Talk to you soon.