The Sandman (DC Comics)

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, and he is the oldest superhero in terms of continuity to appear on the list.

Publication information

Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo Comics
First appearance: Adventure Comics #40 (July 1939)
Appearance of Death: JSA Secret Files and Origins #1 (August, 1999)
Created by: Gardner Fox, Bert Christman

In-story information

Alter ego: Wesley Bernard "Wes" Dodds
Phonetic: ðə sǽndmæ̀n
Notable aliases: Grainy Gladiator, Wesley Dodds, Wesley Dodd

Relatives: Edward Dodds (father, deceased); Marina Dodds (mother, deceased); Gerald Dodds (brother)

Affiliations: Sandy the Golden Boy, Albert Pratt, Black Canary, The Crimson Avenger, Dian Belmont, Doctor Fate, Kent Nelson, Hector Hall, Hangman, Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders, Hawkman, Queen Hippolyta, Jack Knight, Jay Garrick, Jesse Quick, Johnny Quick, Superman (Earth-Two), Matthew Tyler, Norman McCay, Robert Crane, Shining Knight, Spectre, Speed Saunders

Team affiliations: All-Star Squadron, Justice Society of America, Black Lantern Corps
Enemies: Black Barax (Earth-Two), Black Barax, Thor (Earth-Two), Hawk, Joar Mahkent, Icicle, Mist, Nash, Mordru, NoBody, Per Degaton, Phantom of the Fair, Ramulus, Sportsmaster, Crossart (Earth-Two), Face (Earth-Two), Face, Thinker, The Ultra-Humanite, Roger Goldman

Abilities: Brilliant inventor and chemist, Prophetic dreams, Highly honed detective skills, Has a fair knowledge of the martial arts

Base Of Operations: Formerly Manhattan, New York City


Alignment: Good
Identity Secret: Secret
Citizenship: American
Marital Status: Single; cohabiting with Dian Belmont
Occupation: Financier, Socialite, crime-fighter
Religion: Jewish Catholic


Gender: Male
Height: 180.34 cm
 78 kg
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown, later Grey
Unusual Features:


Universe: Earth-Two, New Earth
Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York City
Place of Death: Mt. Kailash, Western Tibet


Wesley Dodds born a “Jewish-Catholic” in the 1910’s to wealthy investor Edward Dodds and his wife Marina. In 1917, when he was still a child, his mother died and Wes spent his youth in the Orient and there learned herbalism, martial arts, and origami. With his father he travelled from Europe to Asia. After college and his father's death, Dodds became the manager of a vast estate and an investor in his own right.

The Dreamer

Sometime before 1938 Dream of the Endless was imprisoned on Earth and prevented from performing his duties. The universe, in an attempt to right itself, put a bit of Dream's soul into Wesley Dodds. Dodds became plagued by extremely vivid dreams of criminal activities in dreams that would not allow him rest. Dodds used his fortune to finance a lab and developed a formula for sedative and hypnotic gasses. He then bought several kinds of gas masks and set up an identity for himself, the Sandman, in which to pursue the criminals that haunted his dreams. In an early case, he encountered Lee Travis, a college chum, in his guise of the Crimson Avenger. The two initially fought but eventually joined forces against the Phantom of the Fair, who haunted the 1938 World's Fair. Travis gave Dodds a gun design that the Sandman ultimately perfected as his gas gun. The Sandman then started his career in earnest, first confronting the Tarantula, a serial murderer. Later that year, Dodds met socialite Dian Belmont, daughter of District Attorney Larry Belmont, at a local ball. The two became lovers and, by year's end, Dodds had shared the knowledge of his dual life with her. The Sandman's dreams often compelled him to pursue the most violent of criminals, such as the Scorpion, Dr. Death, and the Butcher. Each time, he left the defeated criminal with a poem enclosed in a bit of origami.

World War II

At the start of world war two President Roosevelt organized the mystery men to band together and create the Justice Society of America Wesley was a founding member and later the All-Star Squadron, 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.

Change of imagery

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. As she raced toward them in her car, shots were fired and she was forced to crash. She was seriously injured minutes before the Sandman himself arrived on the scene, and was later reported dead, though it was later discovered that she had survived. He also took over the guardianship of Dian's orphan nephew, Sandy Hawkins, who became his costumed sidekick as Sandy the Golden Boy. Sandy convinced him to take up a more friendly costume to relate with the people so the Sandman began to sport a new gold and purple costume, that he bought for a costume ball earlier but which Dian had modified.


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 a misunderstanding public would demand his destruction, the Sandman kept him sedated in a large chamber in a basement of his home.


Shortly after Sandy‘s Accident, Dodds gave up the role of the Sandman completely and spent the intervening years in retirement with the rest of his Justice Society comrades who retired when they were betrayed by the American government who tried to force them to remove their masks to them and work for them. Wesley spent his life as a businessman with his love Dian and trying full time to cure Sandy as well.

Time Travel

Sandman couldn't sleep, and visited the townhouse where he kept Sandy in a glass cell. He again apologized to the boy for turning him into a monster. The time-travelling Sand, the future version of Sandy, revealed himself to Sandman. He promised Sandman he’d one day find a cure for Sandy’s condition, and told him he had to return to action to stop Per Degaton from altering history and ending the Justice Society legacy. Sand and Sandman met up with the rest of the reformed Justice Society and the time-travelling JSA at the Justice Society brownstone. Hourman informed them Per Degaton was going to assassinate the President. The Justice Society and JSA went to Washington to warn Truman that his life was in danger. Degaton and the Red Morgue attacked Washington, but the teams were ready for him. Degaton used a time-disc to speed up Atom's metabolism and turn him into a nuclear bomb ready to go off. If he exploded millions would die, but J.J. Thunder and Johnny Thunder summoned the Thunderolt to turn Atom back to normal. Sandman and the other heroes defeated Degaton, who fled into the timestream. The resulting time distortion caused Sandman and the other Society members to forget their adventure with the JSA.

Out Of Retirement

In the 1960s, the Sandman emerged from retirement 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 the mid-1970s, an interruption in Sandy's gas sedation allowed him to escape his chamber. His 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 , 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. then was sent to a 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 , 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' knowledge of his heroic identity. Simpson and his gang were sent back to jail, and the Sandman returned to his costumed activities. 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 Hawkin'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, Sandy reverted 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, he 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.


The Sandman has a medical history of cardiovascular disease; as a result, he suffered a stroke in the early 1980s. Although this stroke forced the Sandman to restrict his activities, he participated to a limited degree in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and joined the rest of the JSA in Limbo as they fought to forestall Ragnarok. When the JSA returned from Limbo.

Bad Health & Part Time Heroics

Dodds had another stroke. The Sandman recovered in time to stop the murder of a visiting dignitary in the same hospital. He later returned to a quiet life, where it was revealed that the dreams of his early career had ceased to plague him. The Sandman joined the JSA in its assault on Extant during Zero Hour. Along with the rest of the JSA, he was aged to extreme senescence. He did, however, survive Zero Hour.

Last Day’s & Death

Reawakened Dodds had the desire to have more than a quiet retired life, He and Dian liquidated their assets and resolved to the spend their last days traveling the world one last time. Dian Belmont died shortly after their arrival in the Orient, presumably from a degenerative disease. Shortly thereafter, Wesley Dodds became aware of a growing mystic threat, a being known as the Dark Lord who would attempt to prevent the arrival of Dr. Fate in the land of the living. Wes had a prophetic dream predicting his life would soon end. He climbed Mt. Kailash with Speed Saunders, and once they reached the top they contacted the Gray Man. The Gray Man gave them information about where the next Dr. Fate would be born, and Wesley told Speed to pass the information on
to his old JSA allies. Mordru then appeared and threatened Wesley with everlasting agony if he didn't reveal what he knew about the coming of the Fate-Child. Wesley jumped off the mountaintop rather than tell Mordru anything.
He was laid to rest alongside Dian in Valhalla, a cemetery where many superheroes were laid to rest. Sentinel, Wildcat I, Star-Spangled Kid II, Starman I and VII, Hippolyta, Flash I, Black Canary II, Atom Smasher and Johnny Thunder attended the funeral, and Sandman's former sidekick Sandy read the eulogy.

Blackest Night

Wesley's body was later reanimated by Black Hand as a Black Lantern. Like all Black Lanterns, he was sent out to kill the person who his death most affected. After the crisis was over, Wes’s corpse was returned to Valhalla.


In an effort to save his mother's life from the Reverse-Flash, Barry Allen unknowingly changes reality, creating a new world in which his friends' lives are drastically different.
In this reality is alive and well, he is still operating as Sandman. Wesley is one of the many heroes recruited by Batman and Cyborg to
deal with the war between Emperor Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Sandman states "I Dreamt this back in 1937, or '38, I should've written it down, but dreams on paper are never as good as the real thing, with Batman here...So am I."

Powers and Abilities


  • Prophetic Dreams: Due to an encounter with the entity known as Dream, Wesley Dodds possessed the power of prophetic dreaming. His dreams often came to him as cryptic, ambiguous visions, but Wes' keen intellect enabled him to properly interpret them. Through an unknown process, Wes passed on this power to his former ward, Sanderson Hawkins upon the moment of his own death.
  • Decelerated Aging: He also gained incredible youth and vitality after the battle with Ian Karkull.


  • Genius Intellect
  • Martial Artist
  • Criminology: Wesley Dodds possessed a sharp intellect and was a brilliant detective.
  • Chemistry: He was also a talented chemist, creating the sedative vapours in his weaponry as well the sand-like substance used to transform Sandy the Golden Boy
  • Inventor: Wes was also a talented inventor. Creating his wirepoon and the Silicoid Gun - a weapon ultimately responsible for transforming Sandy the Golden Boy into a Silicon-based lifeform.
As a hobby, Wes enjoyed reading, writing, poetry, origami and philosophy.

Strength level

In the early years of his career, Wesley Dodds possessed the strength level of a man who engaged in moderate regular exercise. By 1942, he realized that the threats he faced demanded more physical discipline, and he became an able-bodied hand-to-hand combatant. As he grew older, his strength level diminished in relative proportion to his age.




  • WWI Gas Mask: The Sandman used a World War I era gas mask to protect himself from the effects of his own sleeping gas.
  • Wirepoon: He also made use of a specially designed wire-poon gun, which fired a length of thin, steel cable.


In the early days of his career, the Sandman drove a black 1938 Plymouth Coupe. The car was enhanced with various features to aid Wes in his crusade against crime. Should an adversary attempt to pursue the Sandman, Wes could pull a switch on the dashboard of his car, which released the detachable rear bumper. The interior of the bumper was lined with barbed spikes - ideal for tearing the tires of any vehicle attempting to follow him.


  • Gas Gun: The Sandman's only known weapon was his gas gun, a handheld device fitted with cartridges containing concentrated sleeping gas. Pressing the trigger on the gun released a cloud of green dust rendering all within the Sandman's immediate vicinity unconscious. An upgraded cannister dispenser for the gun was provided for him by his close friend and confidante, Lee Travis. Wes was also known to conceal smaller knockout gas capsules in a hollow heel on his shoe. These proved ideal when placed in situations where his gas gun was not readily available.