DC Database

Wesley Dodds was the Sandman, a Golden Age mystery man. With a gas gun, he could put his enemies to sleep. He was a member of the Justice Society of America and had a sidekick, Sandy the Golden Boy.

Wesley Dodds was 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 while his father was away fighting in the First World War. Wes spent his youth with his father travelling the Orient and there learned herbalism, martial arts, and origami. After college he wished to become a writer but with his father's death Wesley inherited his vast estate, and to manage and maintain it he became an investor and businessman. It worked out well; Wesley Dodds lived in a mansion on Park Drive.[1]

In the early 1930s, Wes Dodds served in the U.S. Navy as a pilot,[2]

The Dreams

Wesley Dodds 001

Sandman in action.

Some time before 1938 Dream of the Endless was imprisoned on Earth and prevented from performing his duties. The universe, in an attempt to right itself, gifted many with portions of Dream's power, including Wesley Dodds, who became plagued by extremely vivid dreams of murder and criminal activities that would not allow him rest. Dodds built a laboratory in his townhouse basement, accessed behind a bookcase door, there he revised his "Oriental Teaching" of Martial Arts, and most importantly herbalism, by developing a formula for sedative and hypnotic gasses. He then bought several kinds of gas masks and created the identity of "the Sandman" for himself, and pursued the criminals that haunted his dreams. 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.

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.[3] Travis gave Dodds a gun design, that the Sandman ultimately perfected as his own gas gun. The Sandman then started his career in earnest, first confronting the Tarantula, a serial murderer.

Later that year, Wesley met socialite Dian Belmont daughter of District Attorney Larry Belmont, at a local ball and the two became lovers and by the end of the year she deduced and discovered his dual life. At first it dampened their relationship, but she soon accepted it and partnered him in his mission by providing information stolen from her father and even being a "get away driver". The two remained together until the end of their lives.

World War II

At the start of America's involvement in the Second World War, President Franklin Roosevelt wished to rally the greatest "Mystery Men" together to protect America's home front and raise public spirit while the government focused on the war. This team came to be named the Justice Society of America.[4] Taking notice of the Sandman, he asked Dodds to be a founding father (Wesley was also, the following year, a founder and charter member of the All-Star Squadron).

In mid-1941, he took part in the case that the JSA prevented Ian Karkull from murdering individuals destined to occupy the White House over the next 50 years.[5] The culmination of this case was the destruction of Karkull and the exposure of the assembled heroes to the chrono-energy stored in Karkull's body. As a result, the Sandman aged much more slowly than normal humans.

Change of image

Dodds 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 which Dian modified.


The Sandman was working with his partner Sandy Hawkins on an experimental weapon, using silicon derived from sand. The weapon exploded during the experiment, and Sandy was infused with radioactive particle, which transformed him 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 second 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 had retired when they were betrayed by the American government, which had 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.

Out of Retirement

In modern times 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 for several years as a member of the Justice Society. When an interruption in Sandy's gas sedation allowed him to escape his chamber driven on a mad rampage because of the intense pain the seismic variations generated in him, the combined might of the Justice League of America and JSA subdued him 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 he 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 this revelation, and retired shortly 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.

Sometime 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, and the Shatterer was using his own technology and the seismic "focusing" properties of Sandy Hawkin's powers, 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. Because his silicoid body had been immune to aging he was the same age he had been when he was originally transformed, and together Sandy and Wesley briefly teamed up again.


The Sandman had a medical history of cardiovascular disease, and as a result he suffered a stroke. Although this stroke forced the Sandman to restrict his activities, he still joined the rest of the JSA, in Limbo, as they fought to forestall Ragnarok, from which the JSA eventually returned and Wesley went back to life with Dian and Sandy.[6]

Bad Health and Part Time Heroics

Dodds had another stroke and 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 and along with the rest of the JSA he was temporally aged to his true age and nearly died though he did pull through.

Last Days and Death

When it was discovered that Dian had terminal cancer, they decided to liquidated their assets and spend the last of her time traveling the world. In the Middle East Wesley was noticed by criminals as "rich man" who beat Wesley and kidnapped Dian. Knowing that as soon as he paid the ransom she would be killed, he donned the Sandman guise for the last time, and hunted them down to their secret bunker, and took them all down with a formula he had never used before, a "Permanent coma inducing gas". After recuperating from this adventure, the couple set of to Asia.

Dian Belmont died shortly after their arrival in Tibet. Shortly after Wesley became aware of a growing mystic threat, a being known as the Dark Lord who would attempt to prevent the arrival of Doctor Fate in the land of the living. Wes had a prophetic dream predicting his life would soon end. He climbed Mount 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 Doctor 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 did not reveal what he knew about the coming of the Fate-Child. Wesley jumped off the mountaintop killing himself rather than tell Mordru anything.

He was laid to rest alongside Dian in Valhalla, a cemetery for superheroes. His surviving friends all attended attended the funeral, and Sandy read the eulogy.

Wesley Dodds funeral

Honoring a Hero

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, his corpse was returned to Valhalla.


  • 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: Like many members of the All-Star Squadron, Wes Dodds also gained incredible youth and vitality after a 1942 battle with Ian Karkull.[7]


  • Artistry: (origami, writing)
  • Aviation
  • Criminology: Wesley Dodds was a brilliant detective.
  • Driving
  • Safe Cracking: The Sandman was renowned for his safecracking skills.[8]
  • Genius Level Intellect
    • Tactical Analysis
    • Mechanical Aptitude: Wes was also a talented inventor, and created his wirepoon, along with continuously upgrading his gas-gun.
    • Multilingualism: He spoke Spanish.
    • Science:
      • Chemistry: He was also a talented chemist, creating the sedative vapors in his weaponry.
      • Shortly before WWII, Wes Dodds invented a ray gun, and turned it over to the U.S. government.[9]
      • Much later in his career, Dodds invented a Silicoid Gun which could produce and control sand in any form or state. It could create walls of cement and glass handcuffs.[10] Tragically, the prototype exploded, and bombarded his partner Sandy Hawkins with radioactive silica particles, which mutated Hawkins into a monstrous form.[11]
      • Dodds also invented or adapted a transparent chamber, in which he contained Hawkins, seemingly in an induced coma, for several years.
  • Marksmanship
  • Martial Arts: Dodds was a practitioner of jiu-jitsu.
  • Swimming [12]


  • Weak heart


  • WWI Gas Mask: At first the Sandman used a World War I era gas mask to protect himself from the effects of his own sleeping gas. Over the years he upgraded and refined his gas masks. The best known, which was flatter, was used in underwater operations.[13]
  • Wirepoon Gun: He also made use of a specially designed "wirepoon gun," which fired a length of thin, steel cable that he used to scale walls and swing between buildings.


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 like the interior of the bumper was lined with barbed spikes that detached with pull of a switch on the dashboard. He kept the car in his basement laboratory and could drive it out the false floor of a garage on the other side of his city block.


  • Gas Gun: The Sandman's trademark 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 dust rendering all within the Sandman's immediate vicinity unconscious.
    • A variant of the gas can sedate and act as an "Truth Serum" so the incapacitated (but conscious) victims tell a interrogating Wesley all he needs to know before falling asleep.
    • A form of the gas appears to have been designed to cause "sleep terror" in deserving opponents.
    • During a dark time in his life, Wesley created a gas that would put its victims in a permanent coma. He only used it once in his old age, as a last resort. [citation needed]
    • 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.
  • Silicoid Gun: Sandman briefly used this weapon to create sand and glass in different forms, as walls and handcuffs.[10]

  • Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
  • In the Pre-Crisis stories, Sandman's hair was black[14][11][15], and his origin was never revealed. In Sandman Mystery Theatre, his hair is retconned as brown and he wears glasses.
  • In many of his Golden Age appearances, the Sandman's true name was given as Wes Dodd. In later stories, his surname was firmly established as Dodds.
  • In 1999, Wes was 86 years old.[16] Combined with his birthday from the 1976 Super DC Calendar, this would make his birthdate November 3rd, 1913.
  • Although Dian Belmont is often thought of as Wesley Dodds' wife, the two of them have never been married, though he wanted to and once proposed. Dian, who was naturally rebellious, wished to live in a domestic partnership, which was highly unconventional for their generation.
  • The Sandman was also known as the Grainy Gladiator.
  • Wes' hobbies included: reading, writing, poetry, origami and philosophy.
  • An upgraded gas canister dispenser for the Sandman's gas gun was provided for him by his close friend and confidante, Lee Travis.
  • In the 1930s, Wes Dodds employed a butler, also a confidant, Mr. Leslie Humphries.
  • In Sandman Mystery Theatre Wesley Dodds is depicted as out of shape, although he is wiry and muscular in other magazines. In this title, the gold and purple outfit was worn only once [17] and only as his fictional costume in a comic book. He also didn't wear glasses during his original Pre-Crisis stories.



Dream of the Endless
Wesley Dodds
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