Out of all the DC heroes in history, there is no doubt that only one had lasted the test of time. That hero is Wesley Dodds, better known as the original Sandman. Known for his gas mask and fedora hat (like Indian Jones) the Sandman character had survived many decades of comics. There is a lot to explore about this intriguing vigilante, from practical weapons to supernatural abilities.
One of the most interesting things about Wesley Dodds is his weapon of choice. Like his character name, Sandman, he put his culprits to sleep using a special gun that gives off a sleeping gas. This also explains the gas mask covering his face, which also conveniently hides his identity. The gun shoots the gas out quickly, as fast as a regular gun, but still in a cloud of smoke. It seems to serve more like a tranquilizer gun than a gas weapon. Since it is treated and used in exactly the same way as an actual gun in early stories to attack criminals, one could speculate that the use of gas was merely an excuse to have him shoot people in stories without killing them. His green business suit, fedora hat and gloves successfully obscure his body from being revealed. This is similar to Green Hornet, who also donned green and had a comparable outfit. All of these characters are reminiscent of The Lone Ranger.
What is even more interesting, though, is his prophetic abilities. Through dreams, he is able to see criminal activity, which leads to insomnia. He is a self-taught herbalist, able to create his own sedatives in a basement lab. Dodds is actually a millionaire steel magnate and detective, which makes him similar to other heroes like Bruce Wayne as Batman. But what use is there of a millionaire detective without a socialite girlfriend? Dian Belmont in Adventure Comics 47 makes an ironic first appearance as not only a safe cracker thief, but a dangerous woman who knows Dodds’ identity as Sandman. She even gets punched in the face while obscured in the darkness for breaking into his home. But by the end of the story, she embraces him in a kiss, leaving the future of their relationship open for interpretation.
What’s interesting is that The Justice Society (which is sort of like The Justice League, but created during the World War 2 time period) had Wesley Dodds as one of the original members. This is interesting because he doesn’t have any special powers per se (except for nightmarish dreams) yet the other people on the team are heavy-weights like Flash, Green Lantern, Spectre and Dr Fate. If you are interested in reading All-Star Comics, I highly recommend purchasing the DC Archive Editions (Affiliate Link), since they are more accessible than the real comics and look awesome on your shelf.
What is your opinion on Sandman?