The Sandman Saga (Superman)

"The Sandman Saga" is a Superman story arc published in 1971 in Superman (Vol. 1) #233 - 235, #237 - 238 and #240 - 242. This is the first Superman storyline under editor Julius Schwartz and the first Bronze Age-era Superman story.

"The Sandman Saga"
Cover of Superman vol. 1, #233 (Jan. 1971) Art by Neal Adams.
PublisherDC Comics
Publication dateJanuary – September 1971
Title(s)Superman #233-235, #237-238, #240-242
Main character(s)Superman
Creative team
Writer(s)Denny O'Neil
Penciller(s)Curt Swan
Inker(s)Murphy Anderson
Editor(s)Julius Schwartz


In 1971, DC attempted to revamp and streamline the Superman universe. Many of the concepts introduced during this time, such as a powered-down Superman, Intergang, the Cadmus Project, the Guardian and Darkseid, would later be used in the Post-Crisis incarnation of Superman that first appeared in John Byrne's The Man of Steel.

Mort Weisinger, the editor on the Superman titles, retired from his 30-year career at DC at the end of 1970. A prolific editor, DC replaced him with four people: Mike Sekowsky (Adventure Comics and Supergirl), Murray Boltinoff (Superboy, Action Comics and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen), E. Nelson Bridwell (Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane) and Julius Schwartz (World's Finest and Superman). The new editors streamlined the Superman mythos: kryptonite, imaginary stories, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Bizarro, Krypto, Jimmy Olsen's Elastic Lad stories, Lois Lane's Reptile Girls stories and Titano would all be removed and forgotten.

After a series of house ads including two-page center-spreads, DC published Superman #233 in January 1971. With the tagline The Amazing New Adventures of above the Superman title, and the displayed "1" which was actually part of the slogan "Number 1 Best-Selling Comics Magazine", it led some to believe that the book was actually called The Amazing New Adventures of Superman #1. Writer Denny O'Neil, known from his memorable runs on the Batman books and Green Lantern/Green Arrow and artists Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson began the "Sandman Saga" in this issue. The story would open up with an archetypal situation where a scientist is trying to create an engine powered by kryptonite when the experiment goes awry. However, because of this "freak accident", all kryptonite on Earth becomes nothing more than harmless iron.[1] Following this development, Clark Kent is reassigned by his new boss, Morgan Edge, as a television reporter of WGBS, and O'Neil dumps the wimpy-Clark Kent persona.


After the conclusion of the storyline, DC pulled the plug on this "new" incarnation and Cary Bates came in to script Superman #243. It is considered that DC was competing with its past and followed the advice of those fans who were more interested in seeing cosmic conflicts. While the "new" Superman still occasionally popped up, O'Neil's vision of Superman disappeared after the final "Sandman Saga" issue. In 1992, Walt Simonson wrote and drew a Post-Crisis version of the "Sandman Saga" in Superman Special #1.


On January 8, 2009, the storyline was collected as Volume 1 of the DC Comics Classics Library and titled Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore (ISBN 978-1401220853).


  1. McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. New editor Julius Schwartz, new scripter Denny O'Neil, and regular artist Curt Swan removed the Man of Steel's greatest weakness from the face of the Earth.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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