Thursday, June 28, 2018

100-Page FAKES! presents: THE SANDMAN # 1

100-Page FAKES! imagines mid-1970s DC 100-Page Super Spectaculars that never were...but should have been!

What an odd series this was. The Sandman # 1 was intended to be a one-shot special in 1974, reuniting the legendary creative team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby on a brand-new creation, the first time this mighty duo had worked together in years. It was also their final collaboration, and was perhaps not quite the equal of such previous creations as Boys' Ranch, the Golden Age Sandman, Boy Commandos, the romance comics genre, and some obscure superhero called Captain America. Hmmm. Wonder whatever happened to that guy...?

The Sandman was a quaint throwback to Simon & Kirby's glory days, and it was decidedly out of step with the comics scene of the '70s. It never had a chance, and it wasn't really supposed to have a chance--it was a one-shot. But some glitch in sales reports led DC Comics' management to believe The Sandman # 1 was an unexpected breakout hit, prompting the decision to continue the series. Neither Simon nor Kirby was available for that, though Kirby did continue as cover artist. Michael Fleisher took over as the writer with The Sandman # 2, with Ernie Chua as penciller and frequent Kirby collaborator Mike Royer returning to provide continuity on inks. Kirby came back to pencil The Sandman # 4-6, plus an originally unpublished seventh issue. That was it for the master of dreams.

So now it's our turn to dream. What if that one-shot Simon & Kirby Sandman had been a 100-Page Super Spectacular? If that had happened, the obvious choice would have been to fill in the reprint selections with some classic Simon & Kirby.

At the time of The Sandman # 1, DC was already reprinting stories from S & K's 1950s horror series Black Magic as a separate title, so it makes sense to include a Black Magic piece in this 100-page Simon & Kirby Super Spectacular. It also makes sense to include some Golden Age exploits of the original Sandman, a character I first knew from appearances in Justice League-Justice Society team-ups, but whose 1940s Simon & Kirby adventures I experienced via reprints in Kirby's Forever People. What else? Oh, The Boy Commandos (familiar to me from reprints in Kirby's Mister Miracle) and The Newsboy Legion (which had been reprinted in some Kirby issues of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen). Manhunter (fresh from reprints in Kirby's New Gods) would have been a natural fit, but I wanted to save room for a Golden Age Simon & Kirby artifact DC wasn't reprinting at the time.

And that would be the original Captain Marvel.

Now, S & K's lone stab at chronicling the exploits of the World's Mightiest Mortal would not be among the all-time greats of Captain Marvel stories or Simon & Kirby stories. It was, after all, just a quickly-executed task that Joe 'n' Jack pulled off when Fawcett Comics needed material fast to capitalize on the bourgeoning popularity of the star of Whiz Comics and fill a new all-Cap title, Captain Marvel Adventures # 1. But man, it's comics history, and I woulda just ached to see it reprinted when I was 14.

I considered a lot of other material, too. In this fanciful Boppinverse, we could have imagined DC licensing Simon & Kirby's Boys' Ranch to include the story "Mother Delilah" in this Super Spec, and I would have bumped one of the Golden Age Sandman stories if I had a Boys' Ranch scan handy. I also considered two series Kirby worked on without Simon--Green Arrow and Challengers Of The Unknown--but I didn't have a scan of the former and I thought the latter took up too much space. No; I'm good with the choices I made.

The Black Magic and Captain Marvel Adventures stories are in the public domain, so those can be shared publicly. The rest can only be hinted at here via sample pages, though I share the complete contents with my subscribers. Here's what we have:

The Sandman (untitled), The Sandman # 1 (Winter 1974)
Golden Age Sandman and Sandy in "Courage A La Carte," Adventure Comics # 91 (April-May 1944)
"Dead Man's Load!," Black Magic Volume 2 # 4 (March 1952)
The Newsboy Legion in "Playmates Of Peril!," Star Spangled Comics # 15 (December 1942)
Captain Marvel (untitled), Captain Marvel Adventures # 1 (March 1941)
The Boy Commandos in "The Siege Of Troy!," Boy Commandos # 3 (Summer 1943)
Golden Age Sandman and Sandy in "The Man Who Knew All The Answers!," Adventure Comics # 74 (May 1942)

And now: don't dream it; be it. Sweet dreams are made of this. Here's a 100-Page Super Spectacular version of The Sandman # 1.


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  1. I remember reading once upon a time that this was on the stands right as a big blizzard hit parts of the country. This slowed down distribution of new comics, so not only was this on the stands a bit longer than intended, but there were fewer alternatives for kids to pick from if they wanted some comics to read during the snow holiday. It was, yes, literally a perfect storm to goose the sales figures of that one-off issue.

    Now I say that knowing that I bought that issue willingly as soon as I found it, and read it to pieces. But I also bought Kirby's various series and as many of Simon's odd (very odd) DC books as I could find. I may be the only person who has fond memories of the Kirby and Simon tryouts in First Issue Special.

  2. Yep, I snapped it right off the spinner rack myself, and bought all the subsequent issues, too.