Thursday, May 19, 2011

Adventure Comics - "The Sandman and Sandy, the Golden Boy"!

Continuing my "A 'Slight' History of Golden Age Comic Book Super Heroes" look into the lineups of the great anthology comics, we move from "Action Comics" to "Adventure Comics" and it's first super hero star, Gardner Fox's "The Sandman"!

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.


Runs.with.Ferals said...

I'll bet that skanky Red-Haired Angel talks like two-packs of cigarettes a day !

Unca Jeffy said...

More like 4...but perish the thought, that's no Angel, that's Rusty. You know her, there's a Rusty in every bar in North America, just sometimes (surprisingly seldom) they have different names.

Runs.with.Ferals said...

Doh ! How could I make such a mistake ! The nipple protruding through the HALTER TOP & the mug of beer were dead givaways ! (Sorry, Angels. Can you ever forgive me ?)

Unca Jeffy said...

The Angels always forgive.

KW said...

You're drawings are really entertaining. The friendship between the characters seems age-old.

Unca Jeffy said...

Have I mentioned lately how much I dig doing this? The discipline of a scheudle (granted, self-enforced) and the comments I get from you guys is funner than fun could be!

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

this is great! I only just discovered your blog I can't believe how great it is. i don't see how you get away with putting up DC stuff. I always assumed the reason for the explosion in public domain heroes is that you can't use copyrighted ones or get sued and DC is apt to sue people's pants off. Not that I want you to stop. after a couple of years of reading golden age Ace, Centaur, MLJ, Dell, Better, ect ect (which I enjoyed learning about a lot) I am thrilled to see Golden age DC.

can you do some All Star with the JSA?

Unca Jeffy said...

Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for finding my blog. I'm taking a brief break right now (I hope very brief) to get some personal stuff taken care of, but I'll be back! I assume I'm able to get away with DC stuff because no one at DC has noticed. I also am holding that, this is a review blog and all's fair use because of that. Not sure...hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Dave Peterson said...

Hi Jeff, I'm pretty sure the Sandman story in Adventure #91 (despite "by Simon & Kirby") is drawn by Gil Kane. There are some telltale signs: angles, architecture, swing and hit lines. Kirby's art is a bit muddlier than this, although I'm sure Gil did his best to emulate it. Look at page 4, panel 4. There's no way Kirby drew that face.

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