THE JSA FACT FILE

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Sandman


Wesley Dodds


Residence: New York City
Occupation: Independently Wealthy

First Appearance (Golden Age): Adventure Comics #40 (July 1939)
First Appearance (Silver Age): Justice League of America #46 (July 1966)

 


Character History

Wesley Dodds was most likely born in the early 1910s. Little is known of Dodds's early life until, in 1939, he adopted an identity for himself, the Sandman, in which to pursue the criminals that haunted his dreams, first confronting the Tarantula (Adventure Comics #40).  Later that year, Dodds met socialite Dian Belmont, daughter of District Attorney Larry Belmont, at local ball ( Adventure Comics #47). The two became lovers and, by year's end, Dodds had shared the knowledge of his dual life with her. Each time, he left the defeated criminal with a poem enclosed in a bit of origami. A common one read:


     There is no land beyond the law

     Where tyrants rule with unshakable power!

     'Tis but a dream from which the evil wake

     To face their fate, their terrifying hour!


Sandman then began a series of cases involving a macabre array of criminals from murderers to mad scientists.  These included;  The Unseen Man, a criminal with an invisibility potion who may have actually been The Mist,  The Face a murderous masters of disguise and Dr, Doombie, a scientist who developed a shrinking potion to commit crimes in miniature.  While initially suspected by the police, he eventually became recognize as a potent ally of the law, most likely due to the influence of Dian Belmont on her father, a high-ranking district attorney.

    
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In late 1940, the Sandman was selected by Doctor Fate to join the struggle against Nazi invasion forces at Dover, England, alongside several other American mystery-men. The culmination of this encounter was the formation of the Justice Society of America, of which the Sandman was a charter member. In mid-1941, he also took part in the case in which the JSA prevented Ian Karkull from murdering individuals destined to occupy the White House over the next 50 years. The culmination of this case was the destruction of Karkull and the exposure of the assembled heroes to the chronal energy stored in Karkull's body. As a result, the Sandman has aged much more slowly than normal humans (All-Star Squadron Annual #3).


Dian Belmont played an important role as Sandman's assistant throughout the early part of his career, including occasionally assuming his identity (Adventure #56).  In late 1941, during a time when Dodds was away on business, Dian Belmont disguised herself as the Sandman and pursued some local Nazi agents in New York City. As she raced toward them in her car, shots were fired and forced her to crash. Belmont was seriously injured minutes before the Sandman himself arrived on the scene. Belmont was later reported dead (All-Star Squadron #18).  Shortly afterward, the Sandman began to sport a new gold and purple costume, one he bought for a costume ball earlier  but which had been modified by Belmont. While little is known of Dian's life after this point on Earth-Two, she was likely not dead as she appeared in 1943 in case involving the Justice Society and the Brain Wave in which she again assumed Sandman's identity. He also took over the guardianship of Dian's nephew, Sandy Hawkins (Adventure Comics #69), who became his costumed sidekick as Sandy the Golden Boy.

    
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Sometime prior to 1951, the Sandman was plying his novice scientific acumen with his partner Sandy Hawkins in an attempt to make a weapon using silicon derived from sand. The weapon exploded during the experiment, and Sandy was transformed into a silicoid monster. Terrified at Sandy's initial raving delirium, the Sandman caught him in a moment of weakness and sedated him. Unable to treat him and fearing that an misunderstanding public would demand his destruction, the Sandman kept Sandy sedated in a large chamber in a basement of his home (revealed in Justice League of America #113). Shortly after this, Dodds gave up the role of the Sandman completely and spent the intervening years in retirement with the rest of his Justice Society comrades.


In the later 1960s, the Sandman emerged from retirement (Justice League of America #47) wearing the original gas mask and trench coat garb on his early days, to prevent himself from being reminded of Sandy's fate. The Sandman was semi-active as a member of the Justice Society. In 1974, an interruption in the gas sedation of Sandy allowed him to escape his chamber. Sandy's silicoid body was now sensitive to seismic variation in the earth, and an impending earthquake had driven him on a rampage because of the intense pain the seismic variations generated in him. The combined might of the JLA and JSA subdued Sandy, and he revealed that he was not only lucid, but also had been conscious for all the years that the Sandman had kept him imprisoned (Justice League of America #113). Sandy was then sent to series of research labs and hospitals in an attempt to find a treatment for his condition.


The Sandman was nearly crushed by the shame of his pride and ignorance in not seeking other help for Sandy, and retired some time later. During this time, the weight of his guilt (and the probable loss of the intense dreams that drove his early career) led Dodds to seek psychiatric help from Dr. Raymond Baxter. With Baxter's help, Dodds was able to forget that he had ever been the Sandman. He spent years in blissful forgetfulness, until a gangster named "Snooze" Simpson sought revenge on the Sandman, with knowledge of Dodds obtained from Baxter's daughter. A pre-programmed code phrase, "Sandy Hawkins," reawakened Dodds's knowledge of his heroic identity. Simpson and his gang were sent back to jail, and the Sandman returned to his costumed activities (DC Comics Presents #42).

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Some weeks later, the Sandman discovered that a disgruntled former scientist (now known as the Shatterer) had kidnapped Sandy from the research facility where he had been under observation. The Shatterer was using his own technology and the seismic "focusing" properties of Sandy's silicoid body to generate enormous seismic currents and wreak vengeance on his former colleagues. Using a carbon-based ray similar to the silicon-based ray that originally transformed him, the Sandman reverted Sandy to his carbon based form. The Shatterer was enraged at the loss of this resource, but a final seismic tremor in Sandy's body opened the ground beneath the Shatterer and then closed it upon him when he fell inside. The Shatterer presumably died as a result. Because his silicoid body had been immune to aging, Sandy was the same age he had been when he was originally transformed. Together Sandy and the Sandman resumed a life of at least semi-active crime-fighting (DC Comics Presents #47).


The Sandman has a medical history of cardiovascular disease; as a result, he suffered a stroke in the early 1980s (revealed in Infinity Inc. #1). Although this stroke forced the Sandman to restrict his activities, he participated to a limited degree in the Crisis on Infinite Earths but his final fate on Earth-Two remains unknown.

    
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Power and Abilities

The Sandman's powers depend on chemical weaponry of his own design and a gas gun. The weapons tend to be various forms of anesthetics and sedatives that render his victims unconscious or at least immobile. These were disguised in various compartments of his uniform.

Weakness and Limitations

The Sandman, like many of his comrades, was limited to his weaponry. Without it, he was as defenseless as any other human of his age and condition

Golden Age Appearances of  Sandman
 Post-Golden Age Appearances of the Sandman of Earth-Two
Multiversity