The Sandman. Let’s not waste this character anymore.

14 10 2009

OR “The coolest damned thing I’ve read all week.”

I love The Sandman. Not the song, not the mythical character, not the ECW wrestler, but DC comic’s Sandman. There are several versions, but two which stand out. One is the 90’s Neil Gaiman version, all pale and goth and eternal and powerful and emo…well, maybe not emo so much. A great character, and an amazing series.

The other is the classic Sandman, Wesley Dodds, who was at his best also in the 90’s under the careful hands of Matt Wagner. Wesley Dodds is a pulp hero, donning a fedora and trenchcoat, and a little advanced (for the 30’s) technology to fight crime.

Gaiman’s Sandman has powers galore. He’s basically the creator of dreams. Wagner’s Sandman has no powers save to nightmares portending real crimes, that will torture him until he intervenes.

But both those Sandmen are dead. The one we have now is…well, he’s okay for what he is, but he’s underused. He’s got an interesting character design. He’s back to the hat and coat, but it’s a very superheroish hat and coat. He’s got Dodds’ nightmares and gas gun (sorta), but from what I’ve seen so far, none of the drive to do anything with them. He also has sand-based powers from a decades old continuity misstep. He fights evil so he can get a good night’s sleep. Dodds at least had a sense of justice about him. Now, this isn’t to dog Sandy Hawkins, but he’s underutilized, and a mishmash of continuity mistakes. Basically, the DC universe has been crumpled into a ball so many times, that flakes flutter out, and Sandy Hawkins is one of those. A flake. All due respect to Sandy Hawkins, but The Sandman deserves a fresh start.

    My Idea

This man.

This man the new Sandman?

Do you recognize this man? Have you ever dreamed of him?

If you have, you’re not alone. This site asserts that every night hundreds of people around the world find this guy in their dreams. Does he just have one of those faces? Is he a psychological archetype? Is he the face of God?

Who cares? I mean, it’s an awesome theory, but the whole thing could be bunk for all I know. But what I do know is OMG IT IS AN AWESOME IDEA!

So my idea, real quick, is to have the Sandman be an unwilling agent of Daniel (Gaiman’s new Dream) who’s job it is to hunt down and capture rogue dreams. Just like how Gaiman’s Sandman had to track down the Corinthian, and Fiddler’s Green, so does this Sandman have to find a new breed of escapees (and throw in the Corinthian too. Everyone needs an arch-nemesis).

The character design is based on that guy above, which is nice because he’s got such an every-man quality that Dodds had (for a multi-millionaire). Keep the hat and the trenchcoat and the gasmask. Update his tech, but not by too much. Give him a “works out of his garage” feel. It should remain a noir comic of a sort.

And update his powers. The gas gun is standard, as are the nightmares, but I would add “sleepwalking” to the mix. Allow him to travel from point A to point B through people’s dreams. Like, say he had to get to Denver, so he finds a person dreaming of a picnic with their family. He manipulates it slightly to make them dream of camping. He then leaps to someone dreaming of buying camping supplies in an REI with a climbing wall, which leads to mountain climbing, which leads to skiing in Colorado, which leads to Denver. Like 6 degrees to destination, or something.

I don’t know. Maybe that’s overly-complicated. But you only have to explain it once or twice, then him popping into someone’s head in Minneapolis, and popping out in Tibet is sort of as-read. The point, though, is it gives him a global angle, which also lets him stay under the radar. Even if the people of the world (and some of the readers, possibly) will recognize him from their dreams, he’ll remain a very underground character, which means he wouldn’t even have to replace Sandy Hawkins. He could just be a Vertigo title.

Anyway, I had to get that out. Somebody forward it to DC Comics.

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