The Sandman/Characters

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Some or all of these characters need descriptions. A list of tropes is not a description.

This is the character sheet for The Sandman, in all its Loads and Loads of Characters glory.

WARNING! There are unmarked Spoilers ahead. Beware.

The Sandman/Dream

Dream of the Endless. The Lord Shaper (one name of many he's acquired). The personification of dreams and creativity, and his realm helps shape its opposite - reality. He can change his appearance; while he is always male, people may see him differently, usually as a member of their own ethnic group; their own race (in the case of Fairies); or their own species, for example with cats. Note that this is not always a physical change: different characters observing him at once may perceive different forms (Martian Manhunter and Scott Free for example), implying that he primarily exists as part of the mind. The third of the Endless.

Morpheus

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The protagonist of the series - thin and pale-skinned with black hair and black eyes that mirror eternity; gloomy and melodramatic, has great belief in duty and rules. All-powerful ruler in his domain of dreams, less powerful outside. Had love affairs with several women (including a witch, a goddess, and the queen of the realm of Fairie) over the eons, but all except the most brief affairs ended badly. Fathered a son, Orpheus, with the Muse Calliope. Sentenced his lover Nada to an eternity of imprisonment in Hell for hurting his Pride, and finally forgave her only after 10,000 years.

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Nuala: "You ... you want them to punish you, don't you? You want to be punished for Orpheus's death?"
Dream: "..."

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Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Dream is perceived differently by everyone who sees him, appearing literally as whatever they would be most comfortable with. Interestingly, this is not an application of some shapeshifting ability; he simply appears differently to each person who sees him. [1]
  • Aloof Big Brother
  • Anti-Hero
  • Black Eyes Of What The Hell Hero: His eyes are starfields, usually rendered as plain black or black with one white or red star where a pupil would normally go.
  • Blue and Orange Morality
  • Byronic Hero/Tragic Hero
  • Captain Ersatz: Dream has many similarities to Doctor Strange's foe Nightmare (who came first) except Dream is more neutral than evil. Marvel even tried to reinvent Nightmare (in a miniseries) to resemble Dream after the latter became a hit, though it didn't really take. They are seen walking together in Top Ten.
  • The Comically Serious: While Dream is capable of pointed observations, his sense of humour is very nearly non-existent. Something Gaiman milked for all its worth in moments of levity, usually by putting him in silly situations, making him interact with Delirium, or having another character make fun of him for being overly dramatic. Standing alone in the endless rain is a nice pose for a love-lorn sulk, but when Dream does it the entire Dreaming and all its inhabitants get wet. And have their dwellings flooded. And complain. And of course, the rain's only there because he wants it to be.
  • The Chessmaster: Almost from page one.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The guy gives out a lot of Fates Worse Than Death.
  • Dream Weaver: He's the page image for the trope, and sometimes is referred to as "Dream-Weaver", though usually derisively.
  • Driven to Suicide: This is the most common interpretation of the series' plot.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
  • Fatal Flaw: Implied to be his Lack of Empathy.
    • Or, more precisely, his sense of duty and tradition (remember all true Fatal Flaws are admirable to some extent). As Neil Gaiman summarized the series, "The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision."/spoiler
  • The Fettered: He's utterly devoted to his responsibilities to the Dreaming.
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Death: Destruction simply left. Took down his sigil, said he wasn't responsible for the realm of destruction any more, that it was no longer his affair, and took off into the forever. You could have done that.
Morpheus: No. I could not.
Death: No, you couldn't, could you?

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  • Good Is Not Nice: Dream takes his responsibilities very seriously - and rightly so, since he does things like routinely prevent the world's collapse - but they include some necessary cruelties. He creates nightmares right alongside pleasant dreams (the Corinthian, for example, is definitely supposed to be terrifying and murderous, just not in the way he chose to be), and said collapse-prevention involved taking the life of an otherwise pleasant person who had no inkling of the danger they posed. And these are the necessary cruelties - he's also stunningly vindictive and holds long, long grudges while not quite comprehending how his actions might hurt anyone else.
  • The Gump: Was involved in the careers of William Shakespeare and Joshua Norton, among others.
  • The Hero Dies
  • I Have Many Names: Even by the Endless's standards he has a lot of names. His bio says that he collects names "like others make friends; but he permits himself few friends".
  • Immortal Immaturity: Not above standing in the rain like a lovesick teenager after the end of an affair - and that's when he's being nice.
  • Jerkass: He gets better after escaping imprisonment, but he still not the most pleasant Endless to be around.
  • Killed Off for Real
  • Lack of Empathy: While he doesn't have a lack of morals, he often either doesn't notice or doesn't care about the hurt he causes to other people until someone actively calls him out on it. Once he is called out, he'll do his best to rectify the error with all due haste, but it may take a long time for the penny to drop - especially since he's immortal.
  • Looks Like Cesare
  • Messy Hair: Sleep-tussled.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: His word balloons are black with white lettering.
  • The Stoic: Most of the time.
  • What the Hell, Hero?

Daniel

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The second incarnation of Dream; looks exactly like Morpheus, but clothed all in white, with white hair. While still obsessed with rules and duty, Daniel is a lot less gloomy than his predecessor, and has a weak spot for his mortal parents, who he eventually gave permanent positions in the Dreaming. He is the series' strongest connection to the main DCU, as his parents are Hector and Lyta Hall, formerly Dr. Fate and Fury of the Justice Society of America and Infinity, Inc.. He also had a notable guest role in a Justice League of America story.

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Daniel: "Sometimes I suspect that we build our traps ourselves, then we back into them, pretending amazement all the while."

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Tropes exhibited by this character include:



The Endless

Dream is one of seven siblings that represent omnipresent concepts; they appear as co-stars frequently. The following Tropes apply to all of the Endless.

Common tropes exhibited by these characters include:
  • Above Good and Evil: Some of them are nicer than others, but in the long run, terms like Good and Evil don't mean much to them, as the concepts they embody are omni-universal apply to everyone. Everyone has a Destiny to fulfill, everyone has Desires, all mortals face Death eventually, and so on.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Of the concepts indicated by their names.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: While all of them can assume any form they choose, they each have a preferred human-like shape that they assume in front of mortals.
  • Divine Parentage: Supposedly they are all offspring of Time, with Night being the mother of Dream, at least.
  • Fisher King: Each has a domain, and within it, he or she is the only power that matters, and that power is complete. While some do indeed have a Sacred Hospitality policy, it is wise for a guest to also observe it.
  • No Name Given: Morpheus is the only one who uses a name other than his title.
  • Power Limiter: While nearly omnipotent and omniscient, there is a set of ancient rules that each must follow, although nobody knows who imposed them or enforces them. An Endless cannot spill the blood of another Endless, and doing so causes the offender to forfeit the protection of his/her other siblings. Also, they are forbidden from entering a crypt within the Necropolis Litharge where their funeral garbs are kept; exactly why, only they know.
    • Some rules seem to be unique to only one of them. For instance, some beings are above Death's jurisdiction and cannot be taken by her; the only named being is Lucifer Morningstar, but there may be others.
  • The Powers That Be: Possibly far more powerful than other beings in the DC universe who are called gods.
  • The Problem with Fighting Death: The Endless can be harmed, captured, and sometimes even killed by those with enough power and motivation, but the consequences would be cataclysmic. In the first story, a cult attempts to imprison Death but manages to capture Dream instead, causing all sorts of disasters - from weird to horrendous - to occur all over the world. When he frees himself, he tells them "The entire freaking world should count itself lucky you blew it and got me instead."
  • Rule of Seven: There are seven Endless.
  • Time Abyss: Much like the concepts they embody, they have always existed.
  • The Shadow Knows: All of them except Death (the most approachable) and Destruction (who is retired) have odd eerie shadows, hinting that they are hiding a darker form.
  • Theme Initials: D, obviously. They have other aliases known by different cultures and societies that do not follow this pattern, but thusfar only Dream has been seen using them.

Destiny

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He knows all, and only does what destiny says. A Deus Ex Machina for the series, he intervenes only when his Book of Destiny says he should. Usually, this involves shaking up his family. Of The Endless, he is the eldest, in that he has existed since the beginning of existence itself; he is fated to die when the universe ends.

Destiny is the only one of the Endless not created by Neil Gaiman (he was a horror anthology host from the '70s), and as such is the only one of them free to appear in The DCU without his permission.

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Destiny continues to walk ... He is holding a book. Inside the book is the universe.

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Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • All Powerful Bystander
  • Because Destiny Says So: Very literal. If he says something will happen, it will.
  • Blind Seer: Perhaps. He definitely looks blind ... but there are those who say that far from being sightless, Destiny's eyes can see everything all at once, in every time and place. He just doesn't limit his vision to a single where and when.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Sort of. He dislikes getting involved in people's troubles, but will if it's in his book.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: He has a book chained to his arm that has infinite pages, the binding of which is made from the hide of a beast that never existed. It details every event in the universe, everything that is happening, everything that has happened, and everything that will happen.
  • In the Hood
  • Non-Linear Character: On occasion, he'll mention in advance he's going to say something "in error" several minutes before he proceeds to do so, and then act like he didn't mean to say it. Don't think about that too hard, it'll make your head explode.
  • The Omniscient: Everything that is, was, and could possibly be.
  • Prophet Eyes
  • The Watcher
  • You Can't Fight Fate: His Book is never wrong.

Death

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The Grim Reaper and a Perky Goth. A generally kind and upbeat woman, though not always - billions of years ago she was rather coldly pragmatic. Everyone meets her twice: at birth she gives the breath of life, and everyone, from stars to gods, sees her once more. At the end of time, when the universe dies, she'll put up the chairs, turn off the lights, and leave. One of the series' most popular characters - so it seems deliberate that she's not overused.

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Death: "It always ends. That's what gives it value."

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She was the star of the short (20 minute) animated film DC Showcase Presents: Death, where she consoles an unappreciated artist haunted by inner demons.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • And I Must Scream: Possibly her eventual fate, as it is prophesied she will be the last living being alive, suggesting that eventually, she will spend eternity completely alone. She doesn't seem all-too concerned about it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: It never explicitly comes up in the series, but it's hinted more than once that pissing off Death is not a good idea.
  • Breakout Character: One often forgets she's not the main protagonist of the series.
  • Cameo: She's made lots of them, often in works not owned by DC Comics. Some examples:
    • Appeared briefly in the Avengers/JLA crossover, which also had cameos of Deadman and Marvel's version of Death.
    • Appeared at Rick Jones' and Marlo Chandler's wedding in The Incredible Hulk #418, where she handed Marlo a hair brush, a visual pun referencing her recent 'brush with death'.
    • She made a brief cameo in Nodwick #33, greeting Yaeger during a near-death experience and asking where Nodwick is, claiming she "keeps missing" him.
  • Complete Immortality: More than any of the other Endless, to the point an aspect of her becomes mortal for one day each century to keep her in touch with the lives she collects.
  • Cool Big Sis
  • Dark Is Not Evil
  • Deuteragonist: Quickly evolved into this role, often surpassing Morpheus in Popularity Power.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: Really, she is exactly the sort of person you need to see at a stressful moment such as death; comforting, gentle, and easy to get along with while holding a quiet and firm authority.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Her demeanour isn't eerie at all, but she is the incarnation of death. And, like most of the Endless, she has bone-white skin and jet-black hair.
  • Friend to All Living Things: And to Life itself, ironically.
  • The Grim Reaper: She was grim once, but got over it. As for the reaper part, she complained to her brother Destiny, "Next you'll be wanting me to carry a scythe!"
  • Iconic Item: Her ankh necklace, the ancient symbol of Life. This reflects her approach to helping those at the end of theirs.
  • Just Following Orders: Death has no say in who has to die and who gets to live; every mortal's fate is written in the Book of Destiny, and she has no choice but to abide by it.
  • The Messiah: She loves everyone, with the kind of deep and abiding compassion that comes only from knowing them very well.
  • Mama Bear: When Desire gloats over upsetting Dream, Death quickly calls Desire to heel.
  • Messy Hair
  • Nice Girl: Probably the nicest one in all of comic book history.
  • Nice Hat: Wears a very snazzy top hat in Death: The High Cost of Living.
  • Non-Linear Character: This comes with being there whenever someone or something in the universe dies, be it planets, persons, or concepts. She's not omniscient, though.
    • This contrasts sharply with Dream, who can definitely only be in one place at once.
  • Now What?: What will happen when she finally is the last living being in the universe? She has an answer, one that's somewhat cryptic: "I'll put the chairs on the tables, turn out the lights and lock the universe behind me when I leave."
  • Perky Goth: Arguably an Ur Example.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Nearly everyone in and out of universe agrees that Death is the most attractive woman in the series.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Meta example. Death was mentioned several times before actually appearing, and Gaiman's writing at first seemed to suggest he intended readers to assume the character was male and menacing... until she actually appeared.
  • The Scottish Trope: Death's siblings never address her by name, or even refer to her by name. Never.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules: Much like any version of the Reaper, it is impossible to bribe her; no mortal has anything she needs or wants. As she told Lex Luthor (in The Black Ring) he was far from the first to try it.
  • The Shrink: Dying is likely the most traumatic, most stressful event anyone will ever go through, and she knows it. She considers offering grief counselling and condolence part of her job, and always has time for everyone.
  • When She Smiles: Just look at her smile. Makes you wanna fall in love with her, doesn't it?
  • Woman in Black: Completely subverted.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Truthfully, if you did make her angry, it would be the worst - and last - mistake you'd ever make. At least, that's what her brother claims.

Destruction

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Prefers to think of himself as the personification of change; he abandoned his realm and is now on the run from his family. A Warrior Poet, he likes to try his hand at creating various forms of art, none of which are very good , and things that he's involved with never seem to work out properly. Character design based on Brian Blessed.

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Destruction: "The Endless? The Endless are merely patterns. The Endless are ideas. The Endless are wave functions. The Endless are repeating motifs. The Endless are echoes of darkness, and nothing more. We have no right to play with their lives, to order their dreams and their desires. And even our existences are brief and bounded. None of us will last longer than this version of the universe."
Delirium: "Except our sister."

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Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Desire

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The personification of longing and lust. An androgynous shapeshifter, it can be male, female, or both, but always who the viewer would find the most attractive. Above all selfish and manipulative (naturally), and held a long-running rivalry with Morpheus that eventually (in a roundabout way) led to Morpheus' death in the war with the three Fates (the Kindly Ones) and Dream's evolution to Daniel. Grandparent of recurring human character Rose Walker.

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Rose: Are you going to hurt me? Kill me? Mess me up?
Desire: No more than usually; No; And perhaps a little. But only with Love.

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Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Ambiguous Gender/Hermaphrodite: Desire has never been satisfied with just one of anything.
  • The Beautiful Elite: It's said Desire is the most stunningly beautiful being in the universe.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Mercilessly subverted.
  • The Casanova/The Vamp: Is both at the same time.
  • Depraved Bisexual/Anything That Moves: Desire doesn't give a shit about your gender. If it wants to have its way with you, it will just adjust itself to your own tastes.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
  • Even Selfishly Amoral has Loved-ish Ones: In The Kindly Ones s/he appears before Rose and seems to be attempting to connect with or communicate with her, though Rose is in no state to appreciate it. Rose later comments that she had a dream where she missed out on an opportunity to learn learn many important things. S/he may have helped Rose snap out of it, though.
  • Eyes of Gold
  • Heel Realization: Desire spent much of the series attempting to trick Dream into spilling family blood, so that he would provoke the Furies' wrath. When Dream does so voluntarily and without its influence in any way, it's suddenly afraid of what will be coming next.
  • Jerkass: Billions of years ago, Dream and Desire used to be extremely close friends. It then, without shame or any pretence of hiding its involvement, made Dream's then-girlfriend cheat on him.
  • Karma Houdini
  • Lack of Empathy: In the vast majority of cases. Exceptions, like giving a coat to a naked woman, are very few and far between.
  • Lust: Be it for love, for power or sex, Desire commands them all.
  • Manipulative Bastard or Manipulative Bitch: Depends on the mood and the person it's manipulating - whatever would work better.
  • Not So Stoic: Desire is usually pretty controlled ... except for the time Joshua Norton refused its offer. Then Desire got pissed.
    • Desire seems to react this way whenever it finds someone capable of resisting its temptations. One of the short stories in Book of Dreams centers around a man who thwarts Desire by pointing out that it can be beaten by true love. Desire, of course, claims they are the same thing. This is odd because in another story Desire does point out that they are different.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: The dialogue in Desire's word balloons is in sharp-edged letters.
  • The Pornomancer Male of female, no matter what race, mortals cannot help but fall in love just upon seeing him.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin
  • Smoking Is Cool
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Just... see the Ambiguous Gender entrance above.
  • Threw My Bike on the Roof: Desire often torments people just because he/she/it can.

Despair

The First Despair

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Not much is known about her, except that she was murdered roughly 80,000 years ago by someone whom she afflicted. Taller than the second Despair, with more color in her skin and red tattoos. Notable for convincing Rao, the Anthropomorphic Personification of the Kryptonian sun, to create life on an unstable planet, even though it would be doomed to destruction. However, it didn't turn out as she'd planned; she intended for there to be a single survivor, "to remember, to mourn, to despair" ... except that single survivor grew up to be Superman, who isn't particularly noted for giving in to despair.

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Daniel: "The person who was responsible for the death of the first Despair will take the rest of eternity to die. Only then will his pain cease ... and he had better cause for what he did than you."

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Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Due To The Dead: The Endless once had a pact with the original Necropolis that let them inter deceased members on their grounds, but when they attempted to hold Despair's funeral there, they violated the pact and refused to supply Despair's cerements and the book of rituals. Suffice to say, this is why the original Necropolis is not the current one.
  • Posthumous Character
  • Riddle for the Ages: It has never been revealed how she was killed or who was responsible.

The Second Despair

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Short, fat and ugly, gray skinned, with sullen eyes, goes around naked. Impulsively tears her skin with a hooked ring, the sign of her office. It has been speculated that this incarnation of Despair was the punishment of the person who killed the first one. However, it is stated that one of the Endless formed her from an aspect of themselves. Since she and Desire are 'twins', he/she/it seems a likely candidate.

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Despair: "Today he's sitting in their family room, realizing that his life is over, wondering if he has the courage to physically end it. He doesn't. Isn't it beautiful?"

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Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Delirium

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The youngest of the Endless. Used to be Delight, the personification of joy and happiness, but changed to Delirium long before the onset of the story for reasons unclear (possibly to assert freedom from Destiny). Has differently-colored eyes and hair continually changing in color and style. Can create anything she imagines and warp reality, including a person's memories. It is implied that her delirium is partly a defensive mechanism from knowing too damn much (more than anyone, including her siblings). Also implied (in Endless Nights) that there may be relationship trouble involved.

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Delirium: "Not knowing everything is all that makes it okay, sometimes."

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Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Bald Women: She's never completely bald, but a couple times she has very short hair or she's bald on one side of her head.
  • Break the Cutie: Delirium was originally Delight, until something caused her to change. Most likely when she realized that she's older than the universe, but she's forever the youngest of the Endless.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: She's the embodiment of Delirium; no surprise here.
  • Dark and Troubled Past
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After being pulled over, she makes the cop believe that he is covered with invisible bugs. FOREVER. He ends up in an asylum, strapped down day and night.
  • Drives Like Crazy: "I'm a good driver!"
  • Fashionable Asymmetry
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Sometimes rivals with Morpheus in this subject. See Disproportionate Retribution above.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: It's heavily implied this is pretty much what happened to Delight.
  • Humanoid Abomination: While all of the Endless are this technically (they're not human, just aspects of humanity), Delirium betrays her frightening and incomprehensible nature more often than any of her siblings.
  • Immortal Immaturity: She's forever the youngest sibling. And also crazy, which doesn't help.
  • Madness Makeover: It happened before the story started, but we can see how Delight looked from flashbacks.
  • Mad Oracle/Oracular Urchin: Apparently knows secrets even the other Endless don't know. For example, while Destiny knows everything that was, is, could or will be, Delirium knows everything else; everything that wasn't, isn't, couldn't or won't be. It's unwise to ignore what she says - nearly as unwise as listening too closely.
  • Messy Hair: It's ... very lively.
  • Mind Rape: Both something she may have been a victim of and one of her powers.
  • Mismatched Eyes: They switch sides, as do the sparkles in one of them.
  • Multicolored Hair: And it changes colors, too.
  • The Ophelia
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Delirium's speech balloons are oddly-shaped and rainbow-colored, and her lettering is warped and smeared.
  • Pettanko: Her breasts, including nipples, are sometimes visible but never of adult proportions.
  • Quirky Curls: When she has curls. She doesn't always. (But she seems to like curlicues.)
  • Reality Warper: Technically, all of the Endless can presumably do this, but she uses it the most by far.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Not very good at matched clothing, even from one moment to the next. Fishnet stockings do recur.
  • Talkative Loon: She's prone to incoherent rambling. Although it's downright straightforward by Talkative Loon standards, i.e. she never dissolves into complete word salad.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Delirium's clothes often expose her nipples, and nobody ever finds this surprising or worthy of comment.
  • Vague Age: She looks like she could be anywhere from about ten to fourteen or fifteen, depending on the artist and the outfit. (Or maybe her physical age fluctuates along with her clothing and hairstyle. It's hard to be sure.)

Dreams and Nightmares

Matthew

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Dream's companion, a raven who was once a man who died in his dreams, and was given the chance to become a servant of Dream. Matthew often questions Dream, pointing out the holes in his plans and keeping his perspective in check. Is the spirit of Matt Cable, a supporting character in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Lucien

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A tall thin bookish man who serves as Dream's librarian, maintaining all the books that have ever been dreamt of. He was once a mortal man, and after his death he became Dream's first raven before his promotion to librarian.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Badass Bookworm: When the Dreaming starts becoming even more chaotic than usual, dangerous things that Morpheus imprisoned can get out. Lucien, however, is on hand to deal with them. And he does.
  • Hidden Depths: Aside from being a former raven, Lucien takes Mervyn's death surprisingly hard, to the point of chastising Morpheus for allowing it to happen.
  • Magic Librarian: But it is quite a library.
  • Noodle People: He's taller than Dream, who's pretty noodley himself, and at least as thin.
  • The Reliable One: Was the only dream not to flee Dream's castle as it fell apart. Because of this Dream came to rely on him heavily and all but made Lucien his Number Two.
  • Word of Gay: Zig-zagged. When discussing Dumbledore's outing, Gaiman mentioned that he strongly suspected Lucien was gay, but also thought he had a minor thing for Nuala. As it never mattered to the story, not even he knows for sure.

Cain and Abel

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Two brothers who both live in the Dreaming. Cain is a violent abusive man prone to murdering Abel, who is a meek shy man who often stutters. Abel always recovers after a few hours. And yes, they are that Cain and Abel. Cain is the keeper of the House of Mystery and Abel of the House of Secrets; they entertain dreamers who visit their homes with stories. Both originally appeared as hosts of DC Comics horror anthologies and figured in a Swamp Thing story that helped inspire the Dreaming.

Tropes exhibited by these characters include:

Eve

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A woman who lives in a cave in the Dreaming. Cain and Abel consider her their mother, though whether she is the Biblical Eve is unknown. She has a close friendship with ravens, including Matthew. Originally, she was the host of the DC horror comics, Secrets of Sinister House and Weird Mystery Tales.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

The Corinthian

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A nightmare with tiny teeth-filled mouths for eyes.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Fiddler's Green/Gilbert

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A place in Dream, said to be the land all travelers dream of someday finding. He usually takes the form of a human, resembling G. K. Chesterton, and sometimes wanders the earth for his amusement.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Nuala

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A member of the faerie folk who was given to Dream by her brother, and assumes the role of a housekeeper in Dream's mansion.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • All Love Is Unrequited: With Morpheus.
  • Break the Cutie: She was sent by Oberon and Titania as a gift to Dream as part of a diplomatic mission to keep Hell closed (Long Story). No one expected this mission to be successful, and Nuala was allowed to believe she'd be returning to Faerie when it was done. Cluracan reluctantly informs her when he leaves that Titania will not allow the gift to be rejected win or lose, and so she would not be welcomed back to her home. When Dream accepts her into his employ, he strips her of her beautiful and dignified Glamour, returning her to her gawky, awkward and mousey natural appearance. She spends a lot of time afterwards miserable. Dream doesn't even give her a position in his court - she begins acting as a housekeeper out of a need for something to do.
  • The Fair Folk: A benign example. She's neither threatening nor ambitious; mostly meek and polite.
  • Glamour: When she first appears, she's apparently a tall, beautiful blonde woman. Until Dream strips her of the glamour and she turns out to be very short, skinny and mousey haired.

Mervyn Pumpkinhead

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A comical pumpkin-headed dream who performs odd jobs in the Dreaming, such as bus driver and janitor. Although a simple-minded slob, he helps keep Dream grounded.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: "Eumenides this!"
  • Expressive Jack O'Lantern
  • Plucky Comic Relief: His job in the series is to point out when Dream is being ridiculous (although as Dream himself points put, just because Mervyn has the occasional sharp insight doesn't mean he's any less a doofus or that Dream is any less fearsome or powerful).



Denizens of Hell

Lucifer

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Breakout Character: Got his own comic book series, Lucifer.
  • Deal with the Devil: He has no idea where humans got this idea from, and considers it a feeble attempt to avoid responsibility for their actions. What would he do with a soul, even if he could "own" one, anyway?
  • Fallen Angel
  • I Have Many Names: Lucifer Morningstar, Prince of Hell, the Devil, Prince of the East...
  • New Era Speech: When he learns that Dream is coming to free Nada, he promises everyone in Hell that they will remember this day forever.
  • Royal We: He starts referring to himself in the singular to show that he really has quit being King of Hell.
  • Satan: Well, yes.
  • Seen It All: One of the main reasons he gives up Hell. He got bored.
  • Time Abyss: Along with all other angels, fallen or not.
  • Villain Protagonist: He's the Devil; he had his own series. Self-explanatory.

Azazel

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Choronzon

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A description of the character goes here.


Remiel and Duma

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by these characters include:
  • Break the Haughty: Remiel is not altogether happy about being ordered to maintain Hell.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners
  • Jerkass: Remiel. He blusters a lot.
  • Our Angels Are Different
  • The Voiceless: Duma, as an angel of silence.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: When Remiel and Duma are handed Hell's reigns, Remiel decides to retool it all - they're not punishing the damned, they're redeeming them! ... Using exactly the same methods as they used when punishing them, just with less taunting and more moralising. The damned are astounded that he found a way to make Hell even less fun than before.



Other Supernaturals

Calliope

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Cluracan

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Prominent figure of Irish folklore, Adventurer, Raconteur and personal messenger of Queen Titiania herself. Brother of Nuala.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Loki

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

The Presence

A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • The Ghost: Never manifests in person (uh, sort of, we're talking an omnipotent omnipresent omniscient deity here, just roll with it), but is obviously spoken of and performs offscreen actions that shake the foundations of the universe.
  • God

Puck

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

The Three

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by these characters include:
  • The Hecate Sisters
    • Legacy Character: Played with. Every time exactly three female characters appear together, or three and a character who's rendered distinct from the other three, the three women each represent an aspect of The Three in some way. Over the course of the series, several characters come to represent one or more of them. Lyta Hall, of course, comes to embody all three at once.
  • The Kindly Ones/Furies
    • Aspects of Revenge.
    • To call the furies on someone, the victim must first have killed a member of his or her own family.

Titania

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:



Humans

Barbie

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Creepy Child: The Cuckoo, the child version of Barbie who has become the evil ruler of her dream land and suffers severely from Not Growing Up Sucks.
  • Magical Girl: In her dreams.
  • Meaningful Name: And her (ex)-husband is called Ken. Taking it further, we're told Ken left her for a girl called Sindy; this being the name of the bestselling British fashion doll.

Foxglove and Hazel McNamara

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by these characters include:

Hob Gadling

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A man from the Middle Ages, a contemporary of William Shakespeare, who had the uncanny luck to be overheard giving a rant about the subject of immortality by two of the Endless; Death and Dream. Amused, Dream approached Hob and, with Death's permission, offered to give him immortal life if he would only come back to this very inn once a century. Hob accepted, believing it was all a joke. One hundred years later, he realised it was very real.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Complete Immortality: He can die, if he chooses, and under no other circumstance. He's been offered the choice but refused it time after time, even when suffering horribly.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: No matter how bad things have gotten for him during the course of centuries, Hob has never accepted the offer to tell Dream to take back his immortality during their once-a-century meetings. Even when Dream, the closest thing he has to a permanent friend, dies and Death gently offers to break the deal, he refuses.
  • Politically-Correct History: Averted, he was involved in the slave trade, and whilst he feels really guilty about it afterwards, he didn't feel that way at the time.
    • Plus, he lampshades it left and right in one of the wrap-up issues when his (black) girlfriend convinces him to go with her to a Renaissance Faire. His dialogue from that issue currently provides page quotes for The Renaissance and The Dung Ages.
  • Wandering Jew: At least thematically, though Hob isn't Jewish. His meetings with Dream have actually given rise to the legend that the Devil and the Wandering Jew meet in that tavern once a century.

Jed Walker

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

John Dee/Doctor Destiny

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Lyta Hall/The Fury

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Maisie Hill

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Crazy Homeless Person: A subversion. Whatever craziness she's shown was a result of her phobia of dogs.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Barbie only survived the destruction of the apartment building because Maisie shielded her body.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Had a grandson who was pre-op transgender (she refers to him as male, but mentions he loved dresses) and, somewhat unexpectedly, explains to Wanda that both his mom and herself adored him and encouraged him to express himself. Unfortunately, when he reached adulthood he ran away and was found beaten to death, his killer never identified. Word of God is that he may well have been one of the Connoisseur's eight victims.
  • Sassy Black Woman
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She doesn't like dogs. When pressed into why, she replies "...I just don't."

Norton I, Emperor of the United States

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Orpheus

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Ancient Greece
  • Death Seeker
  • Despair Event Horizon: And even that doesn't stop his situation from getting exponentially worse.
  • Driven to Suicide: Eventually. It doesn't kill him. Nor does it help.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you know your Greek myths, you know how his quest to bring his wife back is going to end.
  • Magic Music: A very, very old example.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Not only is he the archetypal example (when he played his lyre to lull Cerberus), his song for his lost love touched the heart of Hades and made the Furies weep. Unfortunately, neither of those things end well for him.
  • Oracular Head: Reduced to one in the end.
  • To Hell and Back/Orphean Rescue: Again, Older Than Feudalism (and the Trope Namer).
  • Trauma Conga Line: Wife killed at their wedding reception. His father fails utterly to be any help (though his aunt grants him immortality against her own better judgement). Ventures into the underworld to retrieve his wife's soul and succeeds, but then loses her forever moments before she would have lived again. Becomes so mired in grief that he lets himself be torn apart and eaten by the Bacchae. Even then, he doesn't die - he becomes a head without a body, drifting on the ocean. When he washes up on the shore, his own father tells him he's been an idiot, feels no sympathy at all, disowns him and walks off. It takes millennia for them to reconcile (during which time Orpheus remains an immobile Oracular Head), and only then does he finally die.

Rose Walker

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Prez Rickard

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Canon Immigrant: From a short-lived DC title that supposed an 18-year-old would get elected President. Prez cameoed in an issue of Supergirl, which established him as a character proper in the DCU.
  • The Messiah: A fairly silly version.
  • The Sixties: He mimics a lot of the counterculture fashion and behaviors from the late 1960s, although the series itself was printed during The Seventies.

Roderick Burgess

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Or rather, did you just imprison the Dream King in your basement? (He did, and it was a terrible, terrible idea.)
  • Expy: Of real-life mystic Aleister Crowley (who is mentioned in-universe as Burgess's rival).
  • Visionary Villain: He wanted to imprison Death to ensure that no one would ever die. When he captures Dream instead (maybe his aim was off), Dream says that Burgess cannot comprehend how lucky he is that he didn't succeed.

Thessaly

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Ancient Greece
  • Dissonant Serenity: She's really very matter-of-fact about cutting a guy's face off and pulling his tongue out with her teeth, before nailing the lot to the wall. He was a bad guy (and she'd already killed him) but...yeek.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul
  • Ice Queen
  • Jerkass
  • Really Thousands Of Years Old: When she gives her birth date it sounds Neolithic, but she's still truckin' and plans to for as long as she can.
  • Temporary Love Interest: For Dream.
  • The Unfettered: Thessaly doesn't care one whit about the cost of ensuring her personal survival, and deals briskly and brutally with anyone or anything that poses a threat to her. She's not evil, but Gaiman describes her actions as teaching everyone who knows her, in these exact words, the lesson "Don't fuck with Thessaly."

Wanda

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Bittersweet Ending: After Wanda's death, her parents have her buried under her original name, Alvin. But, Barbie sees Wanda one last time in a dream, with the most gorgeous and anatomically correct female body, with Death. Death and Wanda wave goodbye to Barbie before she wakes up.
  • Deadpan Snarker: So very, very much.
  • Fiery Redhead
  • Killed Off for Real: Wanda dies along with Maisie Hill when Hurricane Lisa destroys the apartment building.
  • Transgender: Pre-op, because she's deathly afraid of surgery, but she's taking hormones and has had electrolysis.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Needless to say, Wanda's parents are quite ashamed of her for her "sinful ways".

William Shakespeare

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A description of the character goes here.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Author Avatar
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Endless might overhear, and "the price of getting what you want is getting what once you wanted."
  • Deal with the Devil: But somewhat more benign that most examples, since his deal is with Dream. In return for inspiration and unlocking the true potential of his literary gift, Shakespeare would write two commissioned plays for the Dream King with plots specified (A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest, if you're curious). Shakespeare muses towards the end of his life that the price he paid may not have been what Dream requested, but what Shakespeare himself received.
  • It Will Never Catch On: He's a contemporary of Hob Gadling, who didn't think much of his literary efforts at the time.



Other Sandmen and Related Characters

In addition to Neil Gaiman's character, the name of the Sandman has also been used for numerous other DC Comics characters.

Sandman I

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AKA: Wesley Dodds

First appeared in "Adventure Comics" #40 (July, 1939), created by Gardner Fox and Bert Christman. One of the first superheroes of the 20th century, Wesley Dodds was plagued with prophetic dreams that impelled him to fight crime. He invented a sleeping-gas gun and "wirepoon" (a gun-mounted grappling hook) to help him in his cause and became a founding member of the Justice Society of America. Shortly before the refounding of the modern JSA, Wesley Dodds committed suicide to prevent the Evil Sorcerer Mordru from extracting important information from him; his funeral set the stage for the JSA's rebirth.

Gaiman's Sandman revealed that as a result of Dream's imprisonment during the 20th century, some mortals were affected by the cosmic imbalance. Dodds held a piece of the Dreaming inside him, and this was the cause of his prophetic dreams. Dodds also had his own, 1930s-set Vertigo series Sandman Mystery Theatre.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Big Applesauce: Dodds originally operated out of "York City". This was later retconned into the actual New York City.
  • Badass Normal
  • Blessed with Suck: His prophetic nightmares.
  • Catch Phrase: The short poem he left at the scene of every crime he stopped—"There is no land beyond the law where tyrants rule with unshakable power! 'Tis but a dream from which the evil wake to face their fate... their terrifying hour!"
  • My Greatest Failure: Turning his sidekick, Sandy, into a rock monster in the 1950s. (He got better.)

Sandman II

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AKA: Garrett Sanford

First appeared in "Sandman" vol. 1 #1 (Winter, 1974), created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. Originally supposed to be the Sandman of legend, this bizarre character patrolled the "Dream Stream" to fight nightmares with the aid of two dreams named Brute and Glob, often helping out a young boy named Jed. After his short-lived series ended, it was Retconned that he was actually a psychologist named Garrett Sanford whose mind was trapped in a "Dream Dimension" while his physical body was in a coma. An appearance in Infinity, Inc. revealed that Sanford had gone insane after his last appearance and committed suicide. Gaiman's Sandman, finally, revealed that Brute and Glob were rogue nightmares from the Dreaming who were running amok in Morpheus's absence, the Dream Dimension was a pocket universe they created inside the mind of Jed Walker, and Sanford was just a plaything for them.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

Sandman III

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AKA: Hector Hall

First appeared as Silver Scarab in "All-Star Squadron" #25 (September, 1983). Became the Sandman in "Infinity, Inc.'" #49 (May, 1988). After Garrett Sanford's death, DC superhero Silver Scarab--the son of the Golden Age Hawkman--had his soul stuck in Sanford's body (long story) and his mind filling the same role under Brute and Glob. His wife, Lyta "the Fury" Hall, went to live with him in the Dream Dimension, and there they conceived Daniel Hall, who would later replace Morpheus as Dream. After Morpheus escaped his captivity, he destroyed the Dream Dimension, causing Hector's spirit to depart the mortal plane.

Hector Hall was later reincarnated as the new Doctor Fate and joined the JSA, only to be killed again by The Spectre. His soul now resides in the Dreaming alongside his once-son, Dream/Daniel.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Twice.
  • Took a Level In Dumbass: Was completely oblivious to the fact that his wife had been pregnant for about two years, and when it was finally brought to his attention, he didn't really give much thought to it. Really, Hall's mentality had slightly devolved as his wife drifted away from reality. He went from a competent superhero to one who fought rather nonsensical battles against bizarrely weak villains.

Sandy the Golden Boy / Sand / Sandman IV

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AKA: Sanderson Hawkins

First appeared in "Adventure Comics" #69 (December, 1941), created by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris. Assumed the Sandman mantle in "Justice Society of America'" vol. 3 #1 (February, 2007). The original "Sandy the Golden Boy", nephew of Wesley Dodds. Grew up into the first chairman of the modern incarnation of the Justice Society of America, leading the team through many adventures. He gained super-powers and, after Wesley's death, inherited his prophetic dreams, but eventually got written out as the writer-switch between David Goyer & Geoff Johns went underway, disappearing into the Earth for a while, and losing his leadership position to Mr. Terrific. Eventually changed his name to the Sandman like his mentor.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Badass Abnormal: Sandy started out a normal human, but gained his earth-manipulation powers as a result of getting turned into a rock-monster by a Freak Lab Accident.
  • Blessed with Suck: His power of having nightmares about crimes in the future means that he can't sleep several nights, and sees some truly horrific things.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Gains these powers after the first arc thanks to his past as a silica-based creature, thus becoming decent in a fight rather than a Badass Normal.
  • Legacy Character: Of the original Sandman, Wesley Dodds.
  • Out of Focus: Heavily out of focus. People tend to forget that he was even on the JSA. He shows up to have a fortuitous dream, but rarely gets involved in any fights. And he was once the leader and main character of the book.
  • Put on a Bus: He disappeared into the Earth to save the world, and was gone for a couple arcs in JSA, including the big one, Black Reign.

Dian Belmont

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Wesley Dodds's Love Interest. Became a major character in Sandman Mystery Theatre.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:



Back to The Sandman
  1. He appears to Scott Free as a tall pale man in black robes while at the same time appearing to the Martian Manhunter (who was in the same room) as the Martian god L'Zoril, a black Martian skull wreathed in flames.