TITLE: The Sandman – Master of Nightmares vol. 2, Issue #4
YEAR: August – September 1975
COMPANY: DC Comics
Art by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer
Editor: Joe Orlando
Script by Michael Fleischer
Many years before Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” and years after DC Comics created the Sandman (Wesley Dodds) of Justice Society of America sporting a green business suit, fedora and gas mask, in the ’70s a new Sandman was born.
Originally intended to be a one-shot issue by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the goal was to create a Sandman of the popular myth, “Eternal and Immortal”, this Sandman along with his two living nightmare assistants Brute and Glob would monitor dreams with monitoring devices and he could enter the “Dream Stream” and “Reality Stream” and he carries a pouch of dust which he can cause people to sleep or dream. And most of the stories revolves around protecting children from nightmare monsters within their dreams.
One of those children featured in the series is a young boy named Jed who lives with his grandfather Ezra Paulsen.
The primary antagonist was Nightmare Wizard, who creates extreme nightmares that sometimes can chill children who dream them.
The series would only last six issues and the character would receive a major retcon by Roy Thomas in the ’80s (Wonder Woman #300 – 1983), revealing that the character is a UCLA psychology professor named Dr. Garrett Sanford, who became trapped in the Dream Dimension while saving a person with major significance. This would be important as it has a connection to the 80s “All-Star Squadron” and “Infinity Inc.” comic books with the character, Hector Hall (son of the Golden Age, Hawkman and Hawkgirl).
In issue #4 of “The Sandman – Master of Nightmares”, an alien race has been observing the Earth, specifically the boy named Jed. They observe Jed sleeping and then watching his dreams.
The aliens feel they can find a way to conquer Earth by invading Jed’s dreams and then find a way to enter the real Earth Dimension through dreams.
As Sandman gives his assistants Brute and Glob the day off, the aliens manipulate the Nightmare Wizard and tie him up and then use his sanctuary to control every creature in the Dream Dimension.
As Sandman sees what the aliens are up to, he goes to Nightmare Wizard’s lair but is bonked in the head and both he and the Nightmare Wizard are tied up. With quick thinking, the Sandman must depend on his special whistle and Jed’s assistance to defeat the aliens.
For the most part, the story does have the ’70s cheesiness that I grew up reading. Jack Kirby’s artwork is awesome as always but a person that was involved in the comic book series and its story was Michael Fleischer, the author who wrote “The Encyclopedia of Great Comic Book Heroes”. With a Ph.D. in English and was an assistant editor, who was also co-author of “Little Orphan Annie”, it was great to read Fleischer’s work with “The Sandman”.
Despite having a comic book collection and as Fleischer would say he “matured”, in 1956, he sold his comic books to a junk dealer on New York’s third avenue for $20, not realizing that those comics would be worth much later. But he asked DC Comics editor Joe Orlando if he could write comic book stories and he would eventually start writing for “House of Mystery” and “House of Secrets”. He wrote so many scripts that piled up that his friend Cary Bates made a comment that Michael could be dead for three years and the readers of DC’s mystery titles would still think he was alive and writing.
But this issue was a first for Michael Fleischer as he said that writing for the Sandman is a Fleischer first because the Sandman does not go around killing people.
So, “The Sandman” is a fascinating, fun, yes often cheesy at times comic book series from the ’70s, you get to read Michael Fleischer’s stories (I found him to be creative, vibrant despite the unfortunate situations that transpired in the late ’70s, if he worked in today’s comic book industry that would be awesome to read) and enjoy the artwork by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer.
Check it out!