THE SANDMAN by Simon and Kirby

DC has done a heroic job of reprinting Jack Kirby’s works. The four volumes of the Fourth World Omnibus’ are nirvana, the Demon and Omac a pleasure to read, and the Losers was a book I’ve been hoping for.

This August 12th THE SANDMAN by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby is to be released. Another beautiful hardcover collecting all the Simon Kirby classic Sandman tales of the golden age, and a bonus tale from the 70’s re-imagining of the character. it weighs in at 304 pages boasting 24 stories, and has an introduction from John Morrow, publisher of Two Morrows publishing who does a magazine devoted to Kirby. There is also a really nice afterward by comics scholar and all around cool guy Mark Evanier.

When Simon and Kirby cam eto Sandman he had already lost the gas mask and fedora which reagined popularity later under Matt Wagner’s watchful eye. Instead Wesley Dodds was more of a typical hero, in great shape wearing tights and less mysterious looking. At the time I’m sure it made sense, but it really wasn’t the best of costumes. Yellow and Purple with a generic cowl/head piece. Not really awe inspiring, nor threatening to villains I would imagine. Also added to the mix, Sandy Hawkins, ward and side kick. Sandy would go on to have his own trouble years later , first as a monster in JLA and then gaining weird powers and joining the latest Justice Society. It seemed like a character ready for failure. But the magic of Simon and Kirby made it not only work, they made it sing.

I’d read a few of these years ago in 100 page super spectaculars from DC in the seventies, but sitting down with this collection and really taking it in I have to say that it is amazing. Kirby’s layout is incredible. The panels are curved, round and the characters have feet hanging over from one to another. One great panel has a guy getting punched and going ass over tea kettle up into the frame above the action. It’s over sixty years old and it feels so fresh and innovative I just stared at the pages with a smile. Sleek lines on cars and great colors, and an almost art deco look make this a real piece of art.

Joe Simon wasn’t too shabby with the writing either. The bad guys had almost a pulp feel to them and they all seemed larger than life. What could very easily be dismissed as a Batman and Robin clone really was unique with it’s own voice.

There have been a lot of different Sandmen running around the DC universe, and honestly, I enjoy them all. But this second coming of Wesley Dodds is really something special. If you have any appreciation for the history of comics, you need this book.

Buy Sandman by Kirby and Simon