Thursday, May 5, 2016

Oddball Super Heroes: Simon Says...Dream a Little Dream of Me

Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the little blog that dreams of being the Huffington Post. I've Dave-El and I dream of being Arianna Huffington

This weekend is the American debut of Captain America: Civil War. So far in international release, CA:CW has a earned a gazillion dollars, causing dozens of national economies to fall into ruin. After this weekend, Disney will have all our money and we will be forced to hunt for food in the wild. Thank you, Captain America: Civil War

Leading up to the release of this mega blockbuster, I have been using this series of Oddball Super Hero posts to look back some of the works of Captain America co-creator Joe Simon that he developed for DC Comics in the early 1970s. 

Back in 1940, Joe Simon first teamed up with artist Jack Kirby to create Captain America. For the next decade plus, Joe and Jack collaborated on a lot of comic books for different publishers and in a variety of genres: super heroes, horror comics, crime stories, even romance comics.  But comic book work began to dry up for the team of Simon and Kirby and by the early 1950s, the two moved on in different directions. 

Ironically enough, while Joe Simon was at DC Comics in the late 1960s & early 1970s, Jack Kirby made an historic move back to DC after nearly 15 years at Marvel Comics. While both of the creators of Captain America were at the same comic book company at the same time for the first time in years, Joe and Jack collaborated only once during that period together at DC.  This was when Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created the Sandman.  

Back in the 1940s, Simon and Kirby produced stories for an earlier version of the Sandman, one Wesley Dodds who originally appeared in a suit, purple cape and gas mask. Simon and Kirby gave Sandman a more traditional super hero outfit and a kid sidekick named Sandy. 

The Sandman that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created for DC in the 1970s was a different sort of character, the actual Sandman of myth and legend who watches over our dreams. Even so, this Sandman dressed like a super hero and had wild super hero adventures.  

Assisted by Brute and Glob, a pair of living nightmares, Sandman enters the Dream Stream to protect children (particularly this one kid named Jed) from nightmare monsters including the Nightmare Wizard, an entity that creates nightmares so intense, they can kill.   

In one sense, The Sandman was Joe Simon's most long lived title that he created at DC Comics. Sandman lasted 6 issues with the story planned for a Sandman#7 (a team up with Santa Claus against the menace of the Seal Men) appearing in The Best of DC#22

However, Joe only wrote Sandman#1. Michael Fleischer wrote all of the other Sandman scripts. Meanwhile, after drawing issue #1, Jack Kirby left the book as well to be replaced by penciller Ernie Chua. However, Kirby returned with issue #4 and pencilled the rest of the Sandman stories. 

This Sandman went unused until appearing in Wonder Woman #300 where writer Roy Thomas reveals that Sandman is actually Dr. Garrett Sanford, a UCLA psychology professor who became trapped in the Dream Dimension. Later, Roy Thomas would have Infinity Inc. member Hector Hall take over the role of Sandman. 

The Sandman also appeared in Justice League of America Annual #1 in which Dr. Sanford helps the JLA battle Doctor Destiny.  

Finally, Sandman, Brute and Glob appear in a single panel of Swamp Thing #62.   

With the launch of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, the adventures of the Simon/Kirby Sandman were revealed to be constructs in the mind of a young boy manipulated by Brute and Glob. 

That was weird. 

And that was also that for Joe Simon at DC. In addition to Brother Power, Prez, Green Team, Outsiders and Sandman, Simon also created with artist Jerry Grandinetti a sports anthology comic book called Champion Sports which ran for three issues. Simon also took over editorial duties on DC's romance comics for a period of time.   


Thank you for indulging me on this series of Oddball Super Heroes as we reviewed some really strange creations from Captain America's co-creator, Joe Simon. 

Speaking of Captain America, next Wednesday's post of Oddball Super Heroes will take a look at one of the strangest, most off beat runs in the history of Marvel's star spangled adventurer. 

Thanks for dropping by today. There's a new post coming up tomorrow. Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

And sweet dreams. 

One more thing: here is the epic double page spread from Sandman#1 illustrated by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer

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