Jed Walker

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Jed Walker
Jed Walker with his Aunt Clarice, her mouth stuffed with food.
art by Jack Kirby and Wally Wood
First appearanceThe Sandman (vol. 1) #1 (Winter 1974)
Last appearanceThe Sandman (vol. 2) #72 (November 1995)
Created byJoe Simon (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
FamilyEzra Paulsen, Burt Paulsen, Uncle Barnaby, Aunt Clarice, Cousin Susan, Cousin Bruce, Rose Walker, Miranda Walker (his mother), Unity Kincaid, Desire of the Endless

Jed Walker is a DC Comics character. He appeared in Jack Kirby and Joe Simon's short-lived series The Sandman, where he was protected from nightmare monsters by the titular hero. He lived with his grandfather, Ezra Paulsen, a fisherman on Dolphin Island, and, after his grandfather's death, with a tyrannical aunt and uncle. This change occurred in issue #5. Uncle Barnaby and Aunt Clarice come to Dolphin Island in that issue, intending to take Jed away from Paulsen, and realizing that Paulsen is dead (he was drowned by a sea monster early in the issue, and the Sandman was unable to save him), have no one to fight for him. He is bullied by his brutish cousins, Bruce and Susan, and forced to do most of the household chores and gardening work, while not being allowed to partake of the food that everyone else eats. Originally, the character had no stated surname, and he was sometimes referred to as "Jed Paulsen," the surname of his father and his paternal grandfather Ezra.

Neil Gaiman's revisionist version of The Sandman showed the somewhat Cinderella-like tyranny of Jed's guardians as genuine abusive behaviour. It was also revealed that they were being paid by social services (with Desire lurking in the background), $800 a month to keep him alive. Jed's father was named as Burt Paulsen in Gaiman's storyline "The Doll's House," (part 2) which explained that Burt had died in a car accident when Jed was eight years old, shortly before he went to live with his grandfather. It also explained that Jed's personal dreamscape was being used by the "Sandman's" supposed assistants in an attempt to take over the Dreaming. The power of Jed's dreams is presumably connected to his being the brother of Rose Walker and the grandson of Unity Kinkaid. Clarice and Barnaby, who appeared briefly in issue #12, were revealed to have died in issue #14.

Jed is then kidnapped by the "ultimate nightmare", the Corinthian, who throws him in the trunk of a car and intends to eat him. The Corinthian is delayed by a visit to a serial killer convention; Rose rescues Jed and gets him to a hospital.

"Walker" is presumably the surname of Jed's mother Miranda's adoptive parents, or conceivably the name of someone she married after divorcing Burt Paulsen.

In Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2, Kirby revealed that he is the Earth-1 equivalent of Kamandi, although in the current continuity, Kamandi has been identified with Tommy Tomorrow.