Monday, 9 December 2013

From Simplistic To Substantial

Serious scriptwriters incorporate simplistic superheroes into substantial storylines. Thus, when Alan Moore wrote Marvelman, Michael Moran remembered the absurd adventures that he had had when he was written by Mick Anglo but now learned that those adventures had been simulated in a "para-reality program" with which a secret government department had tested the reactions of enhanced human beings while contemplating their megadeath potential.

The original Golden Age Sandman was a gas-gun wielding, gas-masked vigilante. Then, Jack Kirby created a Sandman who really controlled dreams and nightmares from his "dream dome." In Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, the Golden Age and Kirby versions existed only because Dream of the Endless was imprisoned for seventy years. Wesley Dodds has nightmares about a man in a strange helmet until he dons the gas-mask...

The dream dome-dwelling Sandman, who turns out to be the successor of Kirby's version, boasts that he saved the tooth fairy from the Jovian fish-men, stopped the big bad wolf from huffing down the Chrysler Building and fought the skeleton men from Pluto. Thus, he lives inside a pre-school children's comic strip. However, his adventures are simulated for their own self-aggrandizing ends by dangerous
escapees from the Dreaming, so his position is similar to that of Moore's Marvelman.

(Edgar Rice Burroughs had Skeleton Men from Jupiter whereas Gaiman has skeleton men from Pluto and fish-men from Jupiter. It would have been good to catch a glimpse of ERB's Jovians here.)

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