One of DC Comics' first superheroes, he was created by Gardner F. Fox and Bernard Christman and made his debut in "Adventure Comics" #40 in April of 1940.

Wesley Dodds was born rich, bookish, and frightened of his stern and aloof father. After his mother died, Wesley was sent to live abroad, mostly staying with people his dad did business with--mainly in the Far East, where he learned yoga and a number of languages and martial arts techniques.

He graduated from Princeton with honors, but he began to have bizarre nightmares about criminals, injustice, and an imprisoned man in a strange helmet. Though Wesley didn't know it, the man was Morpheus, the Sandman himself, whose imprisonment by Roderick Burgess was causing bizarre dreams and sleep disorders worldwide. Fearing that his nightmares would drive him mad, Wesley took his dreams as inspiration to start working against injustice and crime.

He bought a number of gas masks similar to Morpheus' helmet and developed a green gas that functioned as both a truth serum and a sleep gas. Wearing the gas masks, a trenchcoat, and a fedora, and firing his sleep gas through a specially-designed gas gun, Wesley became the Sandman in 1938 and began fighting crime in New York City.

Wesley later met and fell in love with Dian Belmont, the daughter of a district attorney. Dian discovered the Sandman's secret identity and began assisting him on some of his cases. He later became a founding member of the Justice Society of America (and started wearing more stereotypically superheroish costumes, which I never ever liked--that original retro gas-mask-and-fedora look was cool) and even acquired a sidekick--Sandy Hawkins, who was known as Sandy, the Golden Boy. Sandy eventually became the ward of Dian Belmont, and since Dian and Wesley had been shacking up together long enough to become common-law husband and wife, Sandy became the equivalent of Wesley's son.

The Sandman later joined the All-Star Squadron, but began to curtail his superheroing activities after suffering a heart attack. Sandy was also gravely injured when a "silicon gun" he was working on exploded and mutated him into a giant sand monster. Wesley placed Sandy into a state of suspended animation and worked for nearly fifty years trying to cure him. During this time, Wesley was also using his fortune to better society, and Dian became a best-selling author, even winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Sandy was eventually captured and cured, completely by accident, by a supervillain--since he hadn't aged in the time that he'd been transformed, he is still in his early-to-mid-twenties. He has become a silicon-based life form and adventures as Sand with the current incarnation of the JSA. Wesley, however, had suffered a stroke and finally retired from crimefighting. However, retirements in comic books are never completely permanent, and the Sandman was cast, along with the rest of the old Justice Society, into an alternate reality, where they had to battle the Norse gods for two whole years! After they got out of that, Wesley immediately had another stroke, and after that, he was aged to over 80 years old by the villain Extant in DC's Zero Hour crossover.

After Dian died, Wesley was stalked and attacked by a supernatural menace called the Dark Lord. Fearing that the Dark Lord wanted to use him to gain more power, Wesley threw himself off a cliff and died.

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"The Sandman" was started back in 1989 by Neil Gaiman, and at first glance it was merely a graphic, messy, dark comic book put out by DC Comics to appeal to the more gorey- and occult-minded reader. And for the first few issues, it continued to look that way.

But the attentive reader soon knew better. By the second issue, Gaiman was already introducing Cain and Abel (yes, the Biblical ones) as regular characters in this series; Lucifer Morningstar and the rest of Hell were introduced not long after. The three Fates of Greek mythology showed up early on as well. The first "normal" characters were something else, too: a young lesbian, a druggie ex-girlfriend, an ex-cultist who met the wrong kind of woman. The main character, Dream, was a brooding and vaguely scary gentleman, but his sister Death was downright perky and enjoyable, along with dressing like a Brit goth and keeping goldfish as pets. Clearly, things weren't going to be usual comic-book fare in Gaiman's universe.

Gaiman was using "The Sandman" to tell a complicated story, one piece at a time, and simply chose to use comic books as his medium. Since comic books were and are perceived as "kiddie" entertainment in the United States (in contrast, manga was already a long-established way of doing this in Japan), this took some getting used to. It wasn't until an issue of "The Sandman" featuring William Shakespeare and the entire cast of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" won a World Fantasy Award for short fiction in 1991 that everyone realized what was really going on.

"The Sandman" ran for seventy-five issues, plus a special, coming to an end in 1997. As a whole, it tells a tragic story about a nearly omnipotent "man", a cosmic king, who was limited by who he was, his sense of responsibility and propriety. His pride, long ago, caused him to make certain decisions, and centuries later these decisions came together to cause his unfortunate downfall, even after they had been reconciled for and his aloofness considerably moderated. The tragedy is all the sadder because we know, without a doubt, that if he were put in the same circumstances again he would still make the same decisions.

But it was the characters that made "The Sandman" what it was, and not just the main ones. Gaiman had, and still has, a deep fascination with religion and mythology throughout human history, and just about every major one worked its respectful way into "The Sandman" at one time or another. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the "ordinary people" -- humans who get caught up in the events surrounding Dream and his family, who live through those extraordinary circumstances, and still come out just as human on the other side -- but perhaps a little wiser for the experience. The parity reminds the reader that Dream and his kind are remarkably human in their ways, and that humans can be secretly magical in others.

Together with all of this, Gaiman created an entirely new mythology, one which has lived on long after he has stopped writing "The Sandman" and moved on to other projects. That alone is a testimony to the depth and intricacy of his creation, a proof of how real and alive his people and places were in the minds of his readers.

It's still possible to buy "The Sandman" collected in ten trade paperbacks; the interested reader is encouraged to start at the beginning and go through the series, book by book, with long pauses in between to mull over what has been uncovered so far. I still pick up my favorite "Sandman" stories from time to time, and every time I do I see some other subtlety that I never picked up before. These stories are definitely the sort that are worth keeping.

The Sandman was a comic book series from 1989 to 1997 written by Neil Gaiman with a host of talented artists throughout its run. Lasting seventy-five issues in total, it has spun off two mini-series about Death, the legendary older sister of Morpheus, King of Dream and also other series like The Dreaming. The Sandman told the story of The Endless' existence, focusing on the life and times of Dream himself. It was a melodramatic epic tragedy of macabre environs and universe shattering proportions, where Morpheus was forced to come to terms with his own faults and frailties despite his near god-like status. His actions led to the death of his own offspring, due to a complex set of events which included the fall of Rome, the exodus of Hell, a murder of crows, and far more elements to detail here. A breathtaking tale both visually and for the mind, which took the reader everywhere from the distant past to the uncertain future at the end of the universe as we know it. Quite enchanting. Should be a classic praised among Mark Twain and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but even though it has recieved many awards and positive criticism, it's just a comic book so most dismiss it without proper consideration.

Sandman was originally a two-bit costumed vigilante in comic books back during World War Two. Neil Gaiman was asked by DC Comics to revitalize the character because they stilled owned the copyright and wanted to modernize it to make it a financial commodity, and he took it in a completely different direction which led to it being more rewarding than they had originally anticipated. Even though Gaiman has not worked directly on anything Sandman-oriented in years, the story's popularity is still strong and other talents have carried on the tradition of storytelling as rekindled from Gaiman's work.

Neil Gaiman explained the original Sandman DC character in Preludes and Nocturnes. Amongst the people afflicted with the sleepy sickness when Morpheus (the original Morpheus, which is the name for The Sandman, not the matrix character) was captured, one named Wesley Dodds found salvation by putting criminals to sleep, and sprinkling them with sand.

The Sandman is a 75 issue comic by Neil Gaiman written from 1988 to 1996. The title character is also known as Dream, one of The Endless along with his siblings Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delerium (formerly Delight) and Destruction.

These 75 issues are available in ten graphic novels:

  1. Preludes and Nocturnes issues 1 to 8
  2. The Doll's House issues 9 to 16
  3. Dream Country issues 17 to 20
  4. Season of Mists issues 21 to 28
  5. A Game of You issues 32 to 37
  6. Fables & Reflections issues 29, 30, 31, 38, 39, 40, 50, Vertigo Preview #1 and Sandman Special #1
  7. Brief Lives issues 41 to 49
  8. World's End issues 51 to 56
  9. The Kindly Ones issues 57 to 69
  10. The Wake issues 70 to 75.

Other books about Morpheus and his family include

Here are some of the many names that Dream of The Endless has collected over time.

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