List of The Sandman characters
This is a list of characters appearing in The Sandman comic book, published by DC Comics' Vertigo imprint. This page discusses not only events which occur in The Sandman (1989–94), but also some occurring in spinoffs of The Sandman (such as The Dreaming [1996–2001] and Lucifer [1999–2007]) and in earlier stories that The Sandman was based on. These stories occur in the DC Universe, but are generally tangential to the mainstream DC stories.
- 1 The Endless
- 2 Dreams and nightmares
- 3 Gods, demigods, and major personifications
- 4 Angels, fallen angels, and devils
- 5 Fair folk
- 6 Immortals, witches, and long-lived humans
- 7 Mortals
- 7.1 Alex Burgess
- 7.2 Roderick Burgess
- 7.3 Johanna Constantine
- 7.4 John Constantine
- 7.5 Ethel Cripps
- 7.6 Doctor Dee
- 7.7 Wesley Dodds
- 7.8 Foxglove
- 7.9 Daniel Hall
- 7.10 Lyta Hall
- 7.11 John Hathaway
- 7.12 Hazel McNamara
- 7.13 Unity Kinkaid
- 7.14 Prez Rickard
- 7.15 Ruthven Sykes
- 7.16 Jed Walker
- 7.17 Rose Walker
- 7.18 Clarice and Barnaby
- 7.19 Historical figures
- 7.20 Minor mortals
- 7.21 Superheroes
- 8 Other
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The Endless are a family of seven anthropomorphic personifications of universal concepts, around whom much of the series revolves. From eldest to youngest, they are:
- Dream (formerly Morpheus, succeeded by Daniel)
- Destruction ("The Prodigal")
- Delirium (formerly Delight)
All débuted in the Sandman series, except Destiny, who was created by Marv Wolfman and Berni Wrightson in Weird Mystery Tales #1 (1972). A more traditional version of Death had appeared in various previous stories, however.
Dreams and nightmares
These inhabitants of the Dreaming are often former gods, myths, and even ordinary human beings who later became dreams.
Cain and Abel
Cain and Abel are based on the Biblical Cain and Abel adapted by editor Joe Orlando with Bob Haney (writer) and Jack Sparling (artist) (Cain), and Mark Hannerfeld (writer) and Bill Draut (artist) (Abel). They were depicted together in Abel's first appearance, and they parted to their respective Houses at the end of the story, the House of Secrets having been recently moved, with Cain promising things not to go the way they happened before. Although Cain would abuse Abel, he was not shown killing him until Swamp Thing vol. 2 #33. In Elvira's House of Mystery #11, Cain expresses shock at having killed his brother in recent times. In the same issue, a contest-winning letter establishes that Cain and the House exist both in the dream world and the real world, and that only the dream world Cain continues to harm Abel. In The Sandman, Cain is shown to kill Abel quite often. Even then, in issue #2, Lucien says that the pair recently got stranger, which is followed immediately by panels of disagreement and murder.
- Before The Sandman
Originally they were the respective "hosts" of the EC-style horror comic anthologies House of Mystery and House of Secrets, which ran from the 1950s through 1983—Cain debuting in House of Mystery #175 (1968) and Abel in DC Special #4 and House of Secrets #81 (both 1969). During the 1970s, they also co-hosted the horror/humor anthology Plop! They were also both recurring characters in DC's Elvira's House of Mystery (1986–88).
In 1985, the characters were revived by writer Alan Moore, who introduced them into his Swamp Thing series in issue #33, retelling the Swamp Thing's original origin story from a 1971 issue of House of Secrets. Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin included them in the pages of Blue Devil in 1986. Jamie Delano also occasionally used them in a cameo role in his title Hellblazer.
- In The Sandman
In Gaiman's Sandman universe, the biblical Cain and Abel come to live in the Dreaming at Dream's invitation. This is based on the verse in the Bible which says that Cain was sent to live in the Land of Nod.
They live as neighbours in two houses near a graveyard, Cain in the broad House of Mystery and Abel in the tall House of Secrets. According to their appearance in Swamp Thing, the difference is that a mystery may be shared, but a secret must be forgotten if one tries to tell it.
Gaiman's Cain is an aggressive, overbearing character. He is a thin, long-limbed man with an angular, drawn face, glasses, a tufty beard, and hair drawn into two points above his ears. He has been described by other characters as sounding "just like Vincent Price."
Gaiman's Abel is a nervous, stammering, kind-hearted man. Abel is somewhat similar in appearance to Cain, with a tufty beard and hair that comes to points above his ears, though his hair is black rather than brown. He is shorter and fatter than Cain, with a more open face. It is eventually learned that the only time he does not stutter is when he is telling a story or when he is dead.
Cain frequently kills Abel in a kind of macabre form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, re-enacting the first murder. In the Dreaming, Abel's death is temporary, and he recovers after a few hours. Cain seems unable to control his frequent murders of Abel, and occasionally expresses remorse over them; there is a genuine bond between the two, beneath the surface contempt. Abel remains dedicated to Cain, and frequently dreams of a more harmonious relationship between the two.
Cain and Abel own a large green draconic gargoyle named Gregory, who also made his debut in House of Mystery #175. In the first appearance of the characters in Sandman, issue #2, Cain gives Abel an egg that soon hatches into another gargoyle, a small golden one. Abel is delighted and names the gargoyle "Irving," but Cain forcefully insists that the names of gargoyles must always begin with a "G." When Abel resists, Cain murders him. After Abel revives, he renames the gargoyle "Goldie", after a friend of his who "went away." Goldie was an invisible/imaginary friend to whom Abel told his early House of Secrets stories, but the idea was eventually dropped. A letter in issue #91 was attributed to Goldie, who claimed that it was her depicted on the cover of issue #88.
The main function of Cain and Abel throughout The Sandman is as comic relief. However, the two play significant (though not key) roles at several points in the series; it is they who take Dream in until his strength is restored following his 72-year-long imprisonment. In the fourth story arc, Season of Mists, Cain is sent to Hell to give a message to Lucifer because the Mark of Cain protects him from all harm. Cain and Abel also aid The Corinthian with the child Daniel during The Kindly Ones, the penultimate story arc of the series. Abel is also one of the victims of the Furies in this series, and is brought back to life by the new Dream.
The Corinthian is a nightmare created by Dream, of human appearance but with two small additional mouths where his eyes should be. The first version of The Corinthian is destroyed for spending several unsupervised decades on Earth as a serial killer (in Dream's view, a criminal waste of potential). Near the end of the series he creates a second Corinthian, altering his personality to be obedient and useful rather than homicidal.
Eve is based on the biblical Eve, the mother of humanity and wife of Adam.
Eve originally occurred in Secrets of Sinister House #6 (August–September 1972); she was the series' principal host, often in stock images, usually with her raven. After issue 15, in which Eve reveals in the letter column that her raven, Edgar Allen [sic], is an enchanted deceased human, editor Joe Orlando departed from the series and so did she, the series focusing on "sinister house"s. That month (December 1973), she started hosting one story per month in Weird Mystery Tales.
She became the principal host of Weird Mystery Tales with issue #15, Destiny having moved to Secrets of Haunted House as principal host. In Plop!, Eve, Cain, and Abel each tell one story per issue. She also makes a few appearances in House of Mystery and House of Secrets. In her early appearances, she appears only as a crone, is often referred to as a witch, and has a tendency to be snappy and mean. In her first appearance, she scares Cain and Abel, and shouts at them, "Get out of the kitchen when it gets too hot, you cowardly mortals! Old Eve doesn't care..." Her letter column, which was answered in character, was called "Witch's Tales". She appeared as a principal character in stories in Secrets of Sinister House #9 and #11 and Weird Mystery Tales #18. In issue #9, she stays in an apartment building under an assumed name (she denies it is her in the letters column of issue #13), where the smell of her cooking causes her neighbor to report her to the superintendent, so she curses the neighbor to repeat a day—which begins wonderfully and ends in two deaths—over and over again.
In Weird Mystery Tales #3 (November–December 1972), Destiny insisted that Eve, Cain, and Abel are not their Biblical counterparts, whom he says he prefers. When she is shown in Sandman #2, Lucien's comment about her addresses her unfriendly nature prior to Dream's return, stating that she confines herself to nightmares.
She is one of the many representations in The Sandman of the triple nature of womankind (maiden, mother and crone), based on the three distinct "Eves" in some versions of the Genesis story: Lilith, who was created as Adam's equal; a nameless one created of flesh and blood; and Eve, fashioned from Adam's rib. As such, while she is an individual with her own personality, she is also one another representation of The Three, along with the Fates, Graces, Gorgons, and Furies. This is comparable to the way the series' protagonist, Dream, is on one level a character in his own right, and on another level merely a symbol or representation of the larger concept of dreams.
Eve lives in a cave in the Dreaming, and is often accompanied by Dream's raven. The first Raven, Lucien, taught her how to bury Abel after Cain murdered him and she has been accompanied by a Raven ever since. She is kind and has a maternal nature, though she retains her assertiveness that might have been seen more as snappiness in her old stories. Most of the time she appears as a black-haired woman of indeterminate age. However, her appearance also mirrors her triple nature; she sometimes shifts between being a young, attractive maiden, a middle aged mother, and an elderly crone. When we first see her in The Sandman #2, she looks little different from her original appearances. Next, in, #24, she has put on much weight, has a friendlier face, and shows her ability to de-age as she embraces Matthew for the first time. Her largest appearance is in #40, where, storyteller once more, she appears young and beautiful for the first time.
In The Sandman vol. 1 #4, the Nightmare Wizard is shown as a conjurer of children's nightmares that Garrett Sanford believes are excessive, stating that they cause the deaths of the dreamer. Although implicitly male, the character looks like the crone Eve as she appears in The Sandman. A more likely association is the witch Hepzibah in Supergirl vol. 1 #10, who looks identical to Eve's 1970s appearances, and using dolls, tries to use Supergirl to kill Prez Rickard.
Fiddler's Green is a place in the Dreaming which all travellers (specifically sailors) apparently dream of someday finding. It sometimes likes to take human form and go wandering, using the alias Gilbert during one of these trips. His most common form is as a kind, portly man who strongly resembles G. K. Chesterton, not only in his physical appearance but also in his love of paradoxes (which give Rose Walker headaches). He was killed by The Three in The Kindly Ones; Dream attempted to resurrect him but the almost-alive Gilbert stated that if he did "my death would have no meaning." Acquiescing, the new Dream stopped the process. He also accompanied Rose Walker on her journey to find her brother Jed, and gave her the means by which to summon Dream to rescue her when she was assaulted. At the end of the series it is implied, though not outright stated, that he was "in love, a little" with Rose.
A wyvern, a griffin and a hippogriff are the guardians of Dream's castle. The hippogriff has a horse's head instead of the traditional eagle's head. They derive all their power and authority from Dream, so when Dream was captured and lost his power, they could no longer guard or protect the Dreaming.
After the griffin was destroyed by the Furies, the new Dream did not remake him, but asked the gryphons of Greek myth to send one of their own. (#71)
A large green gargoyle, the pet of Cain. Gregory communicates in 'grunts' which inhabitants of the Dreaming appear to understand. He is also a good friend of Goldie, and helps Goldie put Abel back together every time Cain kills him. He first appeared as the baby of two stone gargoyles in House of Mystery #175. His parents perched on the House of Mystery until they were able to kill their sculptor, a boarder in the house who had murdered their designer, and left without their egg. He later appears during the Blackest Night crossover, defending Scandal Savage, the new owner of the House of Mystery, from members of the Suicide Squad.
Goldie is Abel's pet gargoyle.
- In The Sandman
Goldie is a pet (baby) gargoyle, given to Abel by his brother Cain in Sandman#2. Abel originally intended to name him "Irving", but Cain insisted that gargoyles' names must all begin with a "G." Cain then proceeded to murder Abel over this, after which Abel names the gargoyle Goldie, after a friend who went away (in fact Abel's "imaginary" girlfriend, who appeared on the cover of The House of Secrets #88, and to whom he addressed many of his stories).
- After The Sandman
Goldie takes centre stage in The Dreaming, a Sandman spin-off series not written by Gaiman. In "The Goldie Factor," Goldie leaves the Dreaming and ends up in the Garden of Eden.
Lucien is the chief librarian in The Dreaming, and is a tall thin, bookish man. He first appeared in Weird Mystery Tales #18 (May 1975) and was apparently killed in Secrets of Haunted House #44 (January 1982).
Like Cain and Abel, Lucien, created by Paul Levitz, Nestor Redondo, and Joe Orlando, was originally the host of a 1970s "weird tales" comic, specifically the three-issue Tales of Ghost Castle (May/June–October 1975). In that series, he is portrayed as the guardian of a castle in Transylvania abandoned by both sides during World War II, watching over its forgotten library with his companion, a werewolf named Rover. In his first appearance in Preludes and Nocturnes (issue #2) this is retroactively revealed to be Dream's castle.
Lucien is the effective keeper of the Dreaming in Dream's absence, and becomes one of Dream's most faithful and trusted servants after proving his loyalty by never abandoning his post during that period. His primary function is to protect the Library, wherein are contained all the books that have ever been dreamt of, including the ones that have never been written. The titles of some of these books, many of which are sequels to real works, are visible. He is, despite his frail appearance, apparently quite capable in combat, "[dealing] with" several unpleasant creatures who escape imprisonment during the events of The Kindly Ones.
In issue #68, it is revealed that Lucien's existence in the Dreaming began as serving the role of Dream's first raven. When writing The Sandman Companion, author Hy Bender interpreted this as meaning that Lucien was also the first man. An allusion to "Mr. Raven", the ghostly librarian in George MacDonald's novel Lilith, may be intended.
Matthew was originally Matthew Cable, a long-time supporting character in the Swamp Thing series, but because he died while asleep in the Dreaming, he was offered the chance to become a dream raven and serve Dream if he wished, and he accepted.
Matthew is not the first of Morpheus' ravens. Former ravens include Aristeas of Marmora, who returned to his life as a man for one year at one point, and Lucien, the first of the ravens. The purpose of the ravens is debatable. Morpheus seems to keep the ravens around out of some sort of unspoken need for companionship, though he also sends them on occasional missions.
Matthew's word balloons and font style are scratchy and uneven, probably to represent a hoarse, cawing voice, and perhaps as an indicator of his crude, smart-aleck personality. Underneath his frequently irreverent manner, Matthew is actually very loyal to Dream, and he is one of the characters who takes it the hardest when Dream perishes, initially seeking release from his service, but eventually coming to terms with his loss and choosing to remain as Daniel's raven.
Mervyn Pumpkinhead is Dream's jaded, wise-cracking, cigar-smoking janitor. As his name implies, he has a pumpkin for a head, and his overall appearance is similar to that of a scarecrow combined with a jack-o'-lantern. He resembles Jack Pumpkinhead of L. Frank Baum's Oz books.
Mervyn apparently drove a bus in dreams for a time during Dream's extended absence, and is first seen in Preludes and Nocturnes when Dream hitches a ride with him and chats for a while. Merv is in charge of the construction, maintenance and demolition work in the Dreaming, though he sometimes complains that his job is superfluous since Dream can change any of it at will. One issue of the "Dreaming" spin-off comic focuses on a dreamer who enjoys working under Merv's supervision.
- Brute and Glob: A pair of troublemaking nightmares who try to gain power during Dream's absence. They originally appeared in Jack Kirby's 1974 Sandman series, as sidekicks to the title character, and continued to serve that role when Hector Hall became the Sandman in Infinity Inc.. In the original comics, Brute was similar to The Thing, shouted "It's clobberin' time!" and often brought up his Uncle Harry. In The Doll's House, it is revealed that they were manipulating the Sandmen in order to have a new Lord of the Dreaming under their control. Dream punished Brute and Glob for fleeing his realm by casting them into "the darkness" (a place of imprisonment and, presumably, torture, within the Dreaming). Near the end of The Kindly Ones, the Furies tell Dream that they have released his prisoners from the darkness, but Brute and Glob are neither mentioned nor seen in this volume or in The Wake. They next appear in The Dreaming #57–60, The Sandman Presents: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Dreams...But Were Afraid to Ask, and Lucifer #15. They subsequently reappear in JSA #64, again trying to manipulate a human connected to the Dreaming (Sandy Hawkins) into their own "Sandman". Daniel returns them to the darkness. The two entities claim this area of darkness is filled with pleasing childhood dreams, which they despise. First appearance: The Sandman vol. 1, #1. Brute and Glob also make an appearance in the Sandman spinoff Lucifer where they attempt to kidnap Elaine Belloc and fail.
- The Cuckoo: A parasitic dream who lives in Barbie's dreamworld and eventually takes over there. She assumes the form of a childhood version of Barbie until she successfully escapes from Barbie's world, at which point she transforms into a beautiful black-feathered bird.
- The Fashion Thing: A minor character whose form changes based on popular fads. She is based on The Mad Mod Witch, created by Dave Wood and Jack Sparling as the host of The Unexpected, another DC horror title. At the time of her first appearance in Sandman, however, she is a "Mad Yuppie Witch". First appearance: The Unexpected #108. Most of her appearances are relegated to a few panels. She is shown flying on her broom as a Yuppie briefly in issue #2, shown riding her broom in a top hat and tails with bare legs and feet in issue #22, and shown topless serving a meal to Delirium and Dream in issue #42. She also appears in The Kindly Ones.
- Ruthven: A minor character, a vampiric rabbit who is often seen in the background of the Dreaming and occasionally talked to by the other characters. His speech is written in a demonic font as if his voice is very dark and powerful. He is killed by the Kindly Ones, but resurrected by Daniel in The Wake. He is named from Lord Ruthven, the vampiric character based on Lord Byron and created by his secretary.
- Taramis: The head of the kitchen staff, Taramis is a tall skinny man with a large head, an exceptionally long Fu Manchu moustache, pink eyes and vampire teeth. He wears a red matador vest, a white shirt, and a black bow tie, with a sash for a belt.
- Judge Gallows appears in several issues of The Dreaming including the Special, "Trial and Error." Introduced in The Unexpected #113 (June–July 1969), he is one of the few DC "mystery" hosts not used by Gaiman.
Gods, demigods, and major personifications
The Basanos is a living Tarot deck created by the seraph Meleos to duplicate the divining power of Destiny's book. They are incredibly powerful due to the fact that they control probability, making whatever outcome they desire not only likely, but inevitable.
When Lucifer creates his new universe, the Basanos move to take control of it so that they can breed (something that is impossible in The Creator's cosmos). Though initially successful in their plan, forming an alliance with Lucifer's enemies, their ability to control random chance is severely limited by Lucifer's creation, and Lucifer is able to outmaneuver them. Lucifer finally gives them an ultimatum: destroy themselves or risk letting the egg they laid in Jill Presto die. The Basanos choose death and extinguish themselves.
Basanos is Greek for touchstone. Such a touchstone may be a piece of slate used to test gold, or it may be a metaphor for torture or torment to test truthfulness. Why Meleos chose this name for his creation is unknown.
She was once a major goddess, but the loss of her believers over time has significantly reduced her powers. She is quite flirtatious with Dream, and seems to have previously developed a mutual attraction with him which ultimately came to nothing. He sometimes goes to her for advice or companionship. Dream is almost affectionate with her, and in her own words she adores him.
The Presence/The Creator
The Presence is the Sandman universe's equivalent of a Supreme Being figure, and he shares many characteristics with the standard Abrahamic God, such as almost never taking a physical form, being a Creator deity and having unmatched power.
However, despite these indications that all the mythologies in the Sandman are ultimately subordinate to the Judeo-Christian God, Gaiman has on several occasions stated that he never intended the Creator to be any specific religion's god, just as he makes it clear in the first appearance of the abode of the angels, the Silver City, that it "is not Paradise. It is not Heaven. It is the Silver City, that is not part of the order of created things." However, the Silver City is very often referred to as "Heaven" in the Lucifer comic book series.
In that series, one of the critical turning points is The Presence's abandonment of his Creation, which leads to a large number of problems, including struggles to claim the power that the Creator has abandoned, to make the destruction of the universe inevitable and to the slow unraveling of the universe due to the disappearance of the Name of the Creator written on every atom in existence. This is an ongoing storyline in Lucifer.
- In The Sandman
He is temporarily freed from his punishment by Odin to help with their negotiations for the rulership of Hell. He manages to deceive Odin and Thor into taking another ambassador in his place using his illusionary powers, but fails to fool Dream. Dream says that although his victim must be freed, he allows Loki to go free, placing a dream-illusion in Loki's place. In exchange, however, Loki will be indebted to Dream.
Loki returns in The Kindly Ones. Still resentful of the debt he owes, he works with Puck to kidnap Daniel, a child under Dream's protection. The Corinthian and Matthew eventually find Daniel, and Loki attempts to fool them by taking the form of Dream. The Corinthian is not fooled, and strangles Loki who then assumes the form of a monstrous dragon, then that of The Corinthian himself, then Daniel, and finally his own. Undaunted by the god's deceptions, the Corinthian breaks Loki's neck and consumes his eyes. Loki, now blind, is taken by Odin and Thor back to his punishment. He attempts to goad Thor into killing him, but Odin prevents this, leaving Loki to his fate worse than death.
- After The Sandman
Loki reappears in Lucifer. Lucifer comes to Loki in order to take his ship for his own universe. Lucifer not only promises that he will free him at Ragnarok, He also burns the snake that drips the poison on his face. Loki lets him take his ship and comments that "The All Father going to be hugely pissed about his snake". To which Lucifer replies "If I were you, I'd keep screaming from time to time. He may never notice the difference".
When in his own form, Loki is a tall, thin man with yellow eyes and long red hair that resembles flames.
Odin appears as an old man wearing a wide-brimmed hat and cloak and carrying a staff. He is usually depicted as a dark, mysterious figure, missing one eye and accompanied with his two ravens, Hugin and Munin ("thought" and "memory"), and two wolves, Geri and Freki.
The Three is an entity unique to The Sandman, something like a god and something like a dream and completely mutable in appearance, seeming to exist as a sentient concept or symbol in the form of any group of three women, particularly when they represent the Mother, the Maiden and the Crone, the three aspects of the Triple Goddess in many mythologies. Sometimes they appear in the form of the three witches from DC's horror anthology, The Witching Hour: Mildred, Mordred, and Cynthia. As these witches, they also appeared in a prestige format limited series of the same title, and two standard limited series, Witchcraft and Witchcraft: Le Terreur.
- In The Sandman
The Three repeatedly appear throughout The Sandman for many different reasons and fulfilling different functions at different points in the story. Their first appearance is in The Sandman #2, where they appear as the three witches, Mildred (mother), Mordred (crone), and Cynthia (maiden) from the DC horror anthology The Witching Hour. They later take many different forms over the course of the series, and the "three women" symbol remains an extremely common one, often blurring the lines between when characters are supposed to be merely themselves and when they are supposed to be representations of the Three.
The Three represent the female principle, prophecy, and mystery, and they are often a vaguely menacing and enigmatic presence in the series. As a three-in-one mystical being, they can be seen as contrasting with the commonly-used triple-male Trinity. Indeed, legend and mythology play a much larger role throughout the series than religion does, though some segments suggest a supreme monotheistic God at work behind the scenes.
Common incarnations of the Three include the Erinyes (Furies) in their vengeful aspect and the Moirai (Fates) or Weird Sisters in their divinatory aspect. They also sometimes subtly appear in the form of other characters (such as Eve) or groups of characters.
- After The Sandman
The Three later appeared in a graphic novel named WitchCraft, in which one of their priestesses in ancient Rome, Ursula, is set upon and raped by barbarians. She is then reincarnated three times, followed by the witches, and wronged again by reincarnations of the barbarian leader until the modern age, when she comes back as his elderly mother-in-law and manages to defeat him.
The Three are then able to exact their own suitable punishment for the barbarian: that he would be reincarnated as each of the priestesses he had raped, in order, with the exception of Ursula. He would never know what was happening until the moment of death, at which point it would start all over again.
The Three are satisfied, and in the end decide that Ursula will live another twenty years and become an accomplished and respected witch in her twilight years, and her grandchild will be beautiful, demonstrating a rare instance of apparent empathy.
- Ishtar: An exotic dancer who happens to be the goddess Ishtar. She is revealed to be a former lover of Destruction, and kills herself after speaking with Dream when the latter traveled with Delirium in search of his lost brother.
- Pharamond: a former god, last of his pantheon, and friend of Dream. At Dream's suggestion that he change with the times or fade like many other gods, he became somewhat of a God of Travel ("in his own little way"). Pharamond now runs a travel agency in Dublin, under the alias 'Mr Farell'. He helps Dream and Delirium find their brother. Pharamond later provided assistance to Lucifer in his own series revealing that the two are on friendly terms.
- Thor: The Norse god Thor, a ridiculously muscular and dim-witted redhead drunkard who likes to brag about how big he can make his hammer grow. Thor first appeared in DC Comics in Tales of the Unexpected #16 (August 1957), "The Magic Hammer," illustrated by Jack Kirby. In another story attributed to Kirby and George Papp, "The Magic Stick" in House of Mystery #68 (November 1957), he looked like a traditional Viking with red hair, and his hammer looked identical to the way Kirby would draw it for Marvel Comics. That story was reprinted in DC Special #4 (July 1969), which also contains Abel's debut. in Kirby also pitted Wesley Dodds against someone claiming to be Thor in Adventure Comics #75 (June 1942). Later, a museum worker handled Thor's hammer and briefly became Thor in Batman #127 (October 1959). Thor also appears in War of the Gods and Jack Kirby's Fourth World. (The Thor seen in The Sandman does not resemble the one seen in the other DC comics.)
Angels, fallen angels, and devils
Azazel is a former ruler of Hell, reigning for a time alongside Lucifer and Beelzebub. Based on a statement from Agony and Ecstasy in Hellblazer #12, he may have usurped his position from Belial (whom they stated at the time was the third member of the trinity). He appears as a twisting, torn mass of black flame, like a window into space, filled with numerous eyes and mouths.
He was cast out after Lucifer abandoned Hell, and made the mistake of threatening and attacking Dream in his own house to try to gain ownership of it. Dream keeps him in a bottle in a chest of trinkets and mementos.
He is based on the demon Azazel.
Azazel first appeared in DC Comics battling Madame Xanadu in the story intended for Doorway to Nightmare #6 (it was cancelled after #5) that was eventually published in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 and The Unexpected #190. As with Lucifer's appearance in The Brave and the Bold, he looked more like a traditional devil, but was referred to as an incubus, which in the story, was a creature who steals people's dreams and imprints them on to tapestries that give him power and cannot be destroyed without killing the victims.
Along with Lucifer and Azazel, Beelzebub was the third King of Hell. He often appears as either a gigantic green fly, or a fly's head on two short human legs. Sometimes a human face can be seen between the fly's eyes. His constant buzzing slurs his speech (for example, 'Bbbbut nooo. Itzzz a Triummmvirate.') He is based on the demon Beelzebub.
Choronzon is a former duke of Hell who served under Beelzebub. He has pink skin and two mouths, one under the other.
He had possession of Dream's helm, but lost it in a challenge. He later reappeared briefly as one of Azazel's tactics to gain ownership of Hell.
He is based on the demon Choronzon.
Choronzon appears in 52 #25 (Late October 2006).
- Before The Sandman
Duma's name means "silence", and he is based on the angel Duma from Jewish mythology. In those tales, he is the angel of silence and death's stillness. According to these same stories, he is the guardian of Egypt and the prince of vindication. Based on this, one could speculate that he was the angel who killed the firstborn Egyptians in Moses' time. Some sources also name him a "Prince of Hell," which would mean that at some unknown point in time he displeased God and fell from grace.
The Zohar, a book of Jewish mysticism, describes his position in Hell as such that he had "tens of thousands of angels of destruction" under him, and that he was "chief of demons in Gehinnon with 12,000 myriads of attendants, all charged with the punishment of the souls of sinners."
Dumah is also the name given to the guardian of the 14th gate, through which the goddess Ishtar passed on her journey to the underworld in Babylonian mythology. Dumah may or may not be related to Duma.
- In The Sandman
It is unknown how much of Duma's background from Jewish mythology was actually incorporated into the character by Gaiman. Many theories and interpretations have been put forward, but nothing is concrete.
In Season of Mists, we find that Lucifer has closed down Hell in frustration, handing off the key to the bemused Dream. Eventually, after much squabbling between various gods, Duma and Remiel receive a message saying that they are to watch over Hell. Remiel immediately rejects it, but Duma silently accepts the key, and the guilt-stricken Remiel joins him in ruling Hell. Remiel subsequently attempts to redesign Hell, transforming it from a place of punishment to a place of rehabilitation for lost souls, but Duma's interest in these changes is unknown, as is his true opinion on many things.
- After The Sandman
Following the end of The Sandman series, Remiel and Duma lose ownership of Hell in a complex sequence of events in the Lucifer spin-off series. Duma eventually allies with Lucifer and Elaine Belloc in the battle to save creation. It is he who persuades Hell's new ruler Christopher Rudd to bring his army to Heaven's aid at the Battle of Armageddon plain.
Lucifer is the ruler and then former ruler of Hell, a charming, intelligent, and utterly ruthless fallen angel.
He is one of the most powerful beings in existence, said at one point to be surpassed only by his Creator.
Neil Gaiman also used the character Lucifer in his short story 'Murder Mysteries'. In this format, Lucifer was a captain of the Silver City, with Azazel as his protégé.
From the book, "Hanging out with the Dream King" (a book consisting of interviews with Gaiman's collaborators), one of Gaiman's artists, Kelley Jones, states that Lucifer is based on David Bowie, image-wise. In the interview, Jones states the following:
"...Neil was adamant that the Devil was David Bowie. He just said, 'He is. You must draw David Bowie. Find David Bowie, or I'll send you David Bowie. Because if it isn't David Bowie, you're going to have to redo it until it is David Bowie.' So I said, 'Okay, it's David Bowie.'..."
Lucifer made at least three previous appearances in DC Comics (Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #65, Weird Mystery Tales #4, and DC Special Series/The Brave and the Bold Special #8), but his appearance was more traditional. Lucifer as he appeared in The Sandman also appeared in stories of Etrigan the Demon, The Spectre, and Stanley and His Monster.
- In The Sandman
Mazikeen first appeared in The Sandman, where she was Lucifer's consort while he reigned in Hell. At the time, half of her face was normal, but the other half was horribly misshapen and skeletal, causing her speech to be nearly unintelligible. (Gaiman wrote Mazikeen's dialogue by trying to speak using only half of his mouth, and writing down phonetically what came out.)
When Lucifer resigned, Mazikeen left Hell and ended up following her master, becoming part of the staff at the "Lux" (Latin for light, and the first root word in "Lucifer"), an elite Los Angeles bar that Lucifer had opened and played piano at. To conceal her demonic nature, she covered the deformed half of her face with a white mask and rarely spoke.
- After The Sandman
In the ongoing comic book series Lucifer, Mazikeen is a devoted ally of Lucifer Morningstar and the war leader of the Lilin, a race descended from Lilith. A fearsome warrior and a respected leader, Mazikeen is a prominent character in the Lucifer comics. She has the appearance of a human female with long black hair.
In Lucifer, Mazikeen's face was turned fully human when she was resuscitated by the Basanos following the destruction of the Lux in a fire. This was because the vessel of the Basanos, Jill Presto, did not realize that Mazikeen's face was naturally deformed, and assumed that it was burned in the fire.
When Lucifer refused to assist her in restoring her face to its former state, she defected to her family, the Lilim-in-Exile. As their war leader, she led their army against Lucifer's cosmos, allying herself briefly with the Basanos. However, this was a ruse; after a desperate gamble, she bought Lucifer enough time to destroy the Basanos and regain control of his creation. Lucifer then accepted her into his service once more and made the Lilim-in-Exile the standing army of his universe.
Lucifer ultimately restores Mazikeen's half-skeletal face shortly before departing the known universes, gifting Mazikeen with his celestial fire.
- In The Sandman
Remiel, along with Duma, is sent to observe when Dream is given the key to Hell. Dream ends up offering the key to Remiel and Duma, making them the new rulers of Hell, but Remiel refuses to accept it, wishing to return to the Silver City. In doing so, Remiel disobeys the Creator, and as a result can never return to the Silver City anyway. Duma accepts the key, however, and the two angels descend to Hell to rule over the countless sinners and demons there. Whether Remiel is a fallen angel or not (he is described as having tripped or stumbled more than fallen), and whether he truly has the free will to ultimately disobey the Creator's wishes, is left somewhat ambiguous.
While reigning in Hell, Remiel attempts to organize the domain into a great soul-cleansing machine. However Remiel never fully gets over his fall from the Silver City and tries to return the keys to Lucifer, in The Kindly Ones.
- After The Sandman
Following the end of the Sandman series, Remiel and Duma lose ownership of Hell in a complex sequence of events in the Lucifer spin-off series. At the end of the series, Remiel tries to rebel against Elaine Belloc, refusing to accept her as God's successor. When he tries to kill Gaudium and Spera, friends of Elaine's, she steps in and puts him in his own Hell until he gets his act together.
Minor angels and demons
- Merkin, Mother of Spiders: First appeared in Season of Mists, as an envoy with Azazel. A lumpen, hideous, vaguely feminine figure, whose womb produces spiders. The Merkin's facial form was almost certainly based upon a photograph by the artist Joel-Peter Witkin entitled "Amour, New Mexico, 1987", showing a naked female figure wearing a spider-like horned mask.
- Squatterbloat: Squatterbloat was a demon of Hell and guardian of the Gates of Hell. He was short, stooped, with a battle-axe in place of his left hand and no discernible bottom jaw. Squatterbloat was a rhyming demon and addressed as a demon Lord by the disembodied heads that decorated the front gates. Whether Squatterbloat was a true Lord of Hell or whether this was just an honorarium bestowed upon him by lesser denizens is unknown. In March 1989, Dream of the Endless approached the Gates of Hell in search of his missing helm. Squatterbloat proved difficult, referring to the Dream Lord as a clown. Regardless, he opened the gates, and Dream repaid the demon's rudeness by flipping him onto his back.
- Etrigan: The demon/superhero appears in a cameo in Preludes and Nocturnes (specifically in Sandman #4: "A Hope in Hell"), escorting Dream from the front gate of Hell to meet Lucifer. During their journey, Dream comments on Etrigan speaking in rhyme as a result of a promotion (see Etrigan – Character History). In Season of Mists episode 1, Lucifer makes a passing reference to a recent event where "one of the minor demons—some little yellow rhymer—thought to declare himself a king of hell." This is a reference to vol. 3 Issues #6 and #7 of The Demon.
Inhabitants of Faerie.
The Cluracan is a courtier of the Queen of Faerie and the brother to Nuala, the Dream King's fairy servant. An amoral, gay (in both the literal and modern sense of the word) rogue, Cluracan features in Season of Mists, Worlds' End, The Kindly Ones, and The Wake. He is strongly reminiscent of the "trickster" archetype also associated with Loki. Following the events of The Kindly Ones, Cluracan manages to offend his queen so badly that she sends him to the court of Llinor, where tradition demands that he marry a lady of the royal house. Fortunately, Cluracan's nemesis – who is identical to the faerie in every way except his sexual orientation – had grown weary enough of solitude to take Cluracan's place.
Nuala is a faerie gift to Dream at the end of Season of Mists. She appears initially as a beautiful woman, but this is the result of her faerie glamour. When Dream removes the glamour, her true appearance—a small, brown-haired, plain-looking girl—is revealed.
From this point on, Nuala takes on the housekeeping duties of the Dreaming, only stopping when her brother Cluracan brings her back to Faerie in The Kindly Ones. When she leaves, Dream grants her with a boon as a reward for her years of servitude, allowing her to call on him if she needs to. Nuala had been nursing a crush on Dream for some time, so she finally calls him, asking him to love her. Dream is unable to do this, but he says that he can at least "send you a dream of my love." Nuala responds, "I already have that, my lord."
She subsequently appears in the Sandman spinoff series, The Dreaming.
Auberon is a character in the comic book series The Sandman and The Books of Magic. He is seen for the first time in Sandman#19 as Auberon of Dom-Daniel, and again in several issues of The Books of Magic and in the Books of Faerie miniseries.
- In The Sandman
The character was inspired by Shakespeare's Titania (Fairy Queen) in the play A Midsummer Night's Dream. There is some speculation that she in the past was a lover of Dream's, although this is never explicitly stated.
- After The Sandman
In the latter series, it is revealed that she is not a fay, but a human girl who crossed over into the fay realm and was then adopted by the current queen of the fay. She appears to be a fay due to an enchanted circlet she stole when the last queen was transformed into a tree by her husband. She is also the most powerful human sorceress alive, which simply aids in her deception. Despite this arcane power, it was revealed that she is illiterate, and so regularly uses Dream's library because its special properties allow its users to read books in any language, including those they cannot speak. There are conflicting accounts that she may be the mother of the series' main protagonist, Timothy Hunter.
Puck is a brown-furred trickster and hobgoblin also called Robin Goodfellow who appears several times in The Sandman. Puck aids the Norse God Loki in kidnapping Daniel, playing a small role in the death of the Sandman and Daniel's subsequent assuming of the title. Puck later appeared in an issue of The Books of Magic, hiding as a gangster called Mr Robbins in Brighton whose true nature is discovered—but not exposed—by Timothy Hunter.
Immortals, witches, and long-lived humans
Robert "Hob" Gadling is a human who was granted immortality and meets with Dream once every hundred years.
Hob's was granted immortality in a pub named the White Horse in 1389 when he simply declared that he "had decided never to die." Death agrees, at Dream's request, to forego her responsibilities in Gadling's case, so that Dream can meet him every century to hear about his experiences. At their 20th Century meeting, Dream finally admits – after initially rejecting the idea violently – that the purpose of the exercise was simply for him to have a friend.
Hob is originally a callous man, a soldier of fortune with no respect for anyone else's well-being. He takes to a variety of occupations over the centuries, including slaving, and periodically reinvents himself as a descendant of his previous persona. Gradually, he acquires a conscience, and by the 20th Century has become a thoughtful and caring man, full of remorse at his past deeds.
In The Wake, Death meets Gadling at a Renaissance Fair; out of respect for her late brother Dream she offers to end his six-hundred-year life, but Gadling refuses.
In "The Song of Orpheus", the Endless attend Orpheus's wedding to Eurydice. Eurydice dies on the same night, and Orpheus asks his father retrieve her from Hades. Dream refuses, but Orpheus gets help from Destruction and Death. As in the legend, Orpheus travels to Hades, plays his sad music, loses Eurydice again, and gets torn apart by the Bacchanae (the beloved madwomen of Dionysus) but because of his immortality survives as a disembodied head. Dream establishes a priesthood to take care of his son, saying that they will never meet again.
In "Thermidor", Johanna Constantine is asked by Dream to rescue Orpheus from Revolutionary France. Orpheus's singing stuns Robespierre and Louis de Saint-Just, leading to the Thermidorian Reaction. Orpheus misses his father, who still has not visited him.
In Brief Lives, Dream has to talk to Orpheus in order to find Destruction. In return, Orpheus is granted his wish of death.
Thessaly is the last of the millennia-old witches of Thessaly. She makes her first appearance in A Game of You. She has a bookish appearance with straight hair and thick glasses that belie her personality: amoral, cold-blooded, proud, and ruthless, though not malicious. She will kill people who are potential threats with no hesitation or remorse.
Neil Gaiman named this character after the land of witches, Thessaly, in Greece. Later in the series, Thessaly changes her name to Larissa, which is the capital of Thessaly. Larissa was actually the local fountain nymph, after whom the town was named. It is suggested however that Thessaly is even older than this civilization and may date from Neolithic times.
Thessaly returns in the later volumes, where she is Dream's lover for a time, but this relationship ends unhappily for both and is never actually shown in the series. When it is alluded to in Brief Lives Thessaly is never mentioned by name, so only in The Kindly Ones is this romance revealed. Also in The Kindly Ones, Thessaly provides Lyta Hall with protection and sanctuary from Dream, who is being targeted for death by the Furies, using Hall as a vessel.
In The Wake she attends Dream's wake and funeral. She speaks with two of Dream's lovers and recalls her relationship with Dream. She remarks that part of his attraction to her was that she was not intimidated by him. To her surprise she later would dream of Morpheus, and the two kindled a romance, with Dream madly in love with Thessaly (though this affection was not mutual). When Morpheus ended his courtship and resumed working Thessaly realized she did not love Morpheus and left the Dreaming.
When Lyta wakes up after Dream's death, Thessaly calmly advises her to leave. Thessaly suggests that many people, including herself, would be more than happy to murder Lyta for her part in Morpheus' destruction.
Thessaly also is the star of two spin-off comic series, The Thessaliad and Thessaly, Witch for Hire written by Bill Willingham. In the spin-offs, Thessaly (under that name) and her companion, a ghost named Fetch, first set out to tackle various gods of the underworld who want her dead. Later she is unwillingly pressured into a monster-killing contract.
She is alluded to in the Faction Paradox series, in the character Thessalia and her protégé Larissa.
A London tramp born in 1741. At the time of Sandman #3, she was 247 years old. She appears frequently in other DC comics such as Hellblazer, first appearing in #9. She also had a large role in Death: The High Cost of Living, where she is shown to be rude, miserly and constantly complains about the lack of knowledge that present day youths have. She has been accused of being a witch, and also appears to have abilities as a haruspex, however she merely states that "you don't get to your two hundred and fiftieth without learning a few tricks".
The Silk Man
Appearing for the first time in Lucifer: Nirvana, The Silk Man is an immortal sorcerer, described by Lucifer as "..a fossil remnant from an earlier, cruder creation. His body is a weaving that has to be renewed constantly. His spirit too, come to that. A messy form of immortality, but it seems to do the job." In earlier days he was the leader of the Arao Jinn. He appears as a mercenary, hired by the angel Perdissa to kill Lucifer. He seems to need to consume living things to stay alive, weaving them into himself. He is severely damaged by Perdissa and eventually killed by Lucifer.
In The Hunt, Vassily appears as an old man telling his teen-aged granddaughter a tale from "the old country", medieval Russia. A youth raised in a remote forest has a series of adventures, including meeting with Lucien (to whom he gives a book) and Baba Yaga, and marrying a fellow shape-changing wolf. At the end of the story, it is revealed that the grandfather is the youth in his own story.
Alex Burgess is the son of Roderick Burgess, mother unknown (but probably Ethel Cripps, and therefore half-brother of Doctor Destiny). He is taught by his father, and takes part in his rituals. Upon Roderick Burgess' death, Alex inherits his estate, including his magical order. He keeps Dream imprisoned, as his father did, trying to bargain for power and immortality in exchange for Dream's release.
The Order of the Ancient Mysteries enjoys a resurgence in popularity in the 1960s, but by the 1970s it is in decline again. Alex passes ownership of the Order on to his boyfriend, Paul McGuire, and becomes obsessed with his prisoner and with his father. Finally, in 1988, Dream escapes and puts Alex into a nightmare of "eternal waking," in which he is forever dreaming he is waking up, and each waking degenerates into another horrible nightmare. This nightmare lasts for years, ending only with Dream's death in The Kindly Ones.
Alex is quite tall and near-sighted. He has brown hair which he wears in a variety of styles throughout his life, but by old age he is bald and has come to resemble his father very closely. His relationship with McGuire is deep and heartfelt, but his obsessions with his father and with Dream eventually come to rule his life. In The Wake, he appears again as the child that we see in his first appearance.
Alex is in many ways a tragic figure, perhaps the first statement of the theme that Desire explores in The Wake : "The bonds of family bind both ways". Had Alex not been born the son of his father, inheriting the imprisoned Dream, his life might have been much happier. However, he is finally able to find some measure of fulfillment in his old age, following Dream's death.
His name almost certainly derives from Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, the protagonist of which is named Alex, but could also be a nod to Aleister Crowley, whose original middle name was Alexander and who was mentioned in the first issue.
Roderick Burgess (1863–1947) was the Lord Magus of The Order of the Ancient Mysteries. Born Morris Burgess Brocklesby and known also as The Daemon King, his magical fraternity was based in "Fawney Rig" in Sussex, and was initially funded by his inherited industrial wealth. Burgess is a magician rather in the vein of the real Aleister Crowley, and within the DC world is Crowley's rival.
The series begins with Burgess' attempt to capture and bind Death, which fails, capturing Dream instead. Burgess keeps Dream trapped in a glass globe for the rest of his (Burgess') life, attempting to bargain with Dream, but Dream remains silent. Burgess dies of old age still attempting to get a response out of Dream. His order passes on to his son Alex.
Burgess is a bald-headed, slightly pot-bellied man with a large hook nose and something of the look of a gypsy about him. He is ultimately self-centred; his sole purpose for the Order is to bring money and power to himself, and he is consumed by his desire to achieve immortality. His relationship with his son is only briefly touched on, though it is implied that it is unhealthy, with Burgess pushing his son to spend his life pursuing his father's dreams.
Lady Johanna Constantine is an 18th-century supernatural adventuress. Dream encounters her several times, once to ask her to recover the head of his son, Orpheus – a mission she performed so successfully that part of its after-effects was the ending of the French Revolution's Reign of Terror.
In the Hellblazer Special: Lady Constantine graphic novel, an ancient evil refers to Johanna Constantine as 'the Constantine', the 'laughing magician', and the 'constant one', all titles that have been used (usually by other ancient evils) to describe John Constantine. The evil taunts her, saying "did you think to trick us with a new form?" There is the implication that throughout all times there have been recurring incarnations of Constantine who contain the spark of magic. In the story Johanna Constantine learns that "the Devil and the Wandering Jew" meet once every hundred years in a London pub; this meeting is actually between Dream and Hob Gadling, as she discovers when she interrupts the meeting. The story's conclusion shows Johanna Constantine inheriting a property she calls "Fawney Rig", after the con job wherein a gilded ring is sold as though it were solid gold... the implication being that she attained the property through trickery. This property was later owned by Roderick Burgess, the mage who captured Dream in the beginning of The Sandman story.
- After The Sandman
In her middle age, Johanna Constantine is charged by persons unknown with the key to a box containing the sigil of America, allegedly created by Destiny. This is stolen and hidden in the future by the wanderer, Mad Hettie. Hettie both blackmails ('I knows about you and the little Corsican') and bribes Johanna for her silence, promising her that she would live to age 99. This promise proves true, with Johanna dying at age 99 while getting out of her wheelchair when she hears the song of her old companion, Orpheus.
Johanna is presumably intended as an ancestor of John Constantine, although this has not been explicitly stated.
John Constantine has his own series, John Constantine: Hellblazer, which occasionally has guest appearances by Cain and Abel. He is also prominently featured in another series, Swamp Thing, from which he originated.
Her last joy was her son, John Dee, whom she sought for 10 years. She discovered that he had become a living corpse, which happened because of his use of the Sandman's Ruby.
At this time, she was 90 years old, and it was alluded that she had been kept alive by an amulet in the shape of an eye which granted its user protection, the amulet that Ruthven Sykes had been given by the demon Choronzon in exchange for Dream's helmet. Sykes, who had been second in command in The Order of Ancient Mysteries, needed protection from Roderick Burgess who was seeking retribution for Sykes' treachery of the theft of the ₤200,000 and Dream's magical items, which were in possession of the Order at the time he fled with Ethel Cripps to San Francisco in 1930. "Magical War" was declared upon them, and Ruthven knew he would need a way to protect himself from the hexes Burgess sought to put upon him.
In 1936, Ethel walked out on Ruthven, taking with her the amulet of protection and Dream's Ruby. While in his possession, the amulet protected Sykes from Burgess' hexes, but without it, he died a messy and painful death, with his insides exploding out of him. The amulet continued to protect Ethel while Choronzon was still in possession of Dream's helmet.
After Dream escaped and sought to regain his items, he descended to hell to find his helmet. He had to battle Choronzon to regain it, and after his victory, the compact was withdrawn and the power of protection the amulet possessed ended, which also ended the life of Ethel Dee.
John Dee, also known as Doctor Destiny, is a DC Comics villain whose powers were derived from his use of Dream's Ruby. His name is almost certainly a reference to the real-life John Dee. He was incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, with other Batman villains such as The Scarecrow and The Joker, until freed by the amulet given to him by his mother, Ethel Dee, former mistress to Roderick Burgess. He had previously fought the Sandman (Garrett Sanford) alongside the Justice League.
John originally named himself 'Doctor Destiny' to protect his mother's surname, but after her death changed it back. The Ruby had drained away his mental and physical state until he was no longer able to sleep or dream without it. This had the unpleasant effect of turning him into a browned, living corpse.
Being able to control dreams, he used the ruby to bring out the 'darkness' and 'bestiality' of many people across the world. He originally sought power, money and mostly the restoration of his human body, but the madness brought about by overuse of the relic drove him to savage, monstruous acts of depravity using the ruby. To quote: 'I think I'll dismember the world and then I'll dance in the wreckage.'
While doing this, over a period of 24 hours he focused the energy of the ruby on several people in a cafe, one of them a friend of Rose Walker and an ex-lover of Foxglove. He used them as puppets, horribly having them murder and degrade each other as if toys, until all were dead.
Dream double-bluffed him into destroying the ruby, which Dee believed to be Dream's life. It actually only stored some of his energy, and with it released Dream instead became even more powerful than before. Easily overpowering Dee, Dream decided not to destroy him, and instead returned him to Arkham. Dee was finally able to sleep, and his sadism and depravity faded as he now could again dream.
He has since appeared in Justice League and Justice Society stories, having retained some residual power from the ruby. Even worse, since he has managed to replicate its power perfectly, though the second ruby is now out of his grasp. However, since the new Ruby is attuned to him, he has since not regressed to his previous vicious persona, mostly seeking the dominion of dreams or the waking world through dreams.
Wesley Dodds, also known as Sandman, is the original costumed crimefighter who used the name. According to Gaiman, he was merely filling a hole in the universe in a similar way to a process of evolution, in which animals fill up a niche—for instance, what should fly. He is first seen in The Sandman series in a two-panel cameo in issue #1, and another cameo in issue #26. Dream occasionally appeared in dream sequences in Dodds's own series, Sandman Mystery Theatre. The two finally met for real in Gaiman's Sandman Midnight Theatre. Dodds appeared out of costume during The Sandman: The Wake (#72). The reason for his prophetic visions is explained as him being embodied with a small portion of Dream's essence. His reasoning for assuming his role as The Sandman is given as nightmares of Dream in his helmet that plague him, until he begins his career as a crimefighter after which; "Wesley Dodds sleeps the sleep of the Just."
Foxglove (Donna Cavanagh) is a lesbian writer and musician who first appears in A Game of You.
She is mentioned in Preludes and Nocturnes as the girlfriend of Judy, one of the patrons at the diner who dies in the story concerning John Dee, titled "24 Hours." In A Game of You, Foxglove is going out with Hazel McNamara, and the two help Thessaly rescue Barbie.
- After The Sandman
In Death: The Time of Your Life, Foxglove has become a pop superstar after being seen by a promoter in Death: The High Cost of Living. She is raising a child with Hazel named Alvie. Alvie dies of cot death, leading Hazel to make a deal with Death. However, even in the world of the Endless there's no such thing as a free lunch, and another character's life has to be sacrificed for the child's.
Hippolyta "Lyta" Hall is a major character, the mother of Daniel.
John Hathaway is the senior curator of the Royal Museum. He steals the Magdalene Grimoire from the museum's collection to aid Roderick Burgess in his attempt to gain immortality after his son, Edmund, dies. He commits suicide in 1920 using a dagger from the museum after a stock taking reveals his theft. His suicide note, implicating Roderick Burgess in a multitude of crimes, is never found.
She has a son, Alvie, from her one heterosexual encounter. It is likely that Alvie is named after Wanda (see below). In Death: The Time of Your Life Alvie dies of cot death and Hazel makes a deal with Death to bring him back.
Unity Kinkaid first appears as one of the victims of the sleepy sickness that follows Dream's capture in the first collection of issues in the series, Preludes and Nocturnes. Following his capture, she sleeps until he escapes. While asleep, she is raped and gives birth to a daughter, Miranda Walker.
It is later learned that the father of this child was Desire. Unity was supposed to be a "vortex of Dream," a special entity that appears only very rarely, with the ability to connect the dreams of other beings, a dangerous ability that can eventually cause the destruction of The Dreaming. The only time Dream is allowed to take a human life is to kill a vortex. Desire's intervention confuses the issue, and eventually Unity's granddaughter, Rose Walker, becomes the vortex. Desire does this so that Dream will be forced to kill a person of family blood, thus bringing the vengeance of the Furies on him.
However, just before Dream can kill Rose, Unity appears, explaining that she should have been the vortex, and asks for Rose's heart. The heart is a red glass one (remniscient of the green heart-shaped piece of glass that appears in the opening tale of this series). Taking the heart, Unity becomes the vortex, and dies.
Unity is of medium height, with reddish-brown hair that she wears long and loose in the self-image she uses in the final dream-meeting between herself, Rose, and Dream; as the old woman we meet at the start of The Doll's House, she has grey hair and wears a curiously old-fashioned dress. She seems kind and smiles a lot.
Prez Rickard is a fictional character who first appeared in Prez #1 (December 1973). He is the subject of the story "The Golden Boy", in Sandman #54, where he is the first 19-year-old to be elected President of the United States.
Ruthven Sykes is a bespectacled Afro-Caribbean man with short hair.
He is Roderick Burgess' second-in-command of the Order of the Ancient Mysteries until November 1930, when he steals a number of treasures (including Dream's helmet, ruby and pouch of sand) and £200,000 in cash from the order and flees to San Francisco with Roderick's mistress, Ethel Cripps. In December 1930, he trades the helmet to the demon Choronzon for an amulet that looks like an eyeball on a chain. This amulet protects him from the magics of Burgess until 1936, when Ethel Cripps leaves him, taking the amulet with her. He is then killed.
Jed Walker, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, first appeared in The Sandman, vol. 1, #1, where he was protected from nightmare monsters by the titular hero. In Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2, he was revealed to be the Earth-1 equivalent of Kirby's Kamandi. In Neil Gaiman's revisionist version of The Sandman, Jed is the brother of Rose Walker and the grandson of Unity Kinkaid and Desire. He was raised by his grandfather, Ezra Paulsen, then taken and imprisoned by his aunt and uncle at the behest of Desire. Once Rose rescues him, he is revealed in The Wake to have become close to her.
Rose Walker is a fictional character from the Sandman series written by Neil Gaiman. She makes her first appearance in issue #10, part one of The Doll's House story arc. She is a young blonde with red- and purple-dyed streaks in her hair. In later issues, she is shown as having red hair with a blonde streak. In The Kindly Ones, several characters remark that Rose looks much younger than her actual age; Rose's responses to these comments imply that while she may not be a true immortal, she is aware that she is aging more slowly than normal.
Clarice and Barnaby
Clarice and Barnaby, aunt and uncle of Jed and Rose, were introduced in The Sandman vol. 1, #5, created by Michael Fleisher and Jack Kirby. The pair mysteriously show up on Dolphin Island a few hours after the drowning death of Jed's grandfather, fisherman Ezra Paulsen. They take him to live with their own children, Bruce and Susie. They treat him as a personal slave not unlike Cinderella, with minimal food even as he does all the cooking. Eventually, their treatment of him is revealed to have become much more abusive—after he runs away from home, they place him in a basement dungeon with no toilet. This is told in issues 5 and 6 of the first series, The Best of DC #22, and recapped in Rose's diary in issue #11 of the Gaiman series. In issue #12, their mysterious appearance is revealed to have been because they were being paid an $800 monthly stipend by social services. In issue #14, they are revealed to have been killed.
- Haroun al-Raschid: The King of Baghdad during the time that Sindbad the Sailor was written/set. Worrying about his beloved city, he sells the city to Dream to keep it alive forever, but with a catch; the city lives only in dreams, and never existed except in the famous stories, the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.
- Zubayda bint Ja'far: The wife of Haroun al-Raschid.
- Jafar the Barmakid: The Vizier of Haroun al-Raschid.
- Caesar Augustus: The first emperor of Rome. In The Sandman he is revealed to carry psychological scars from being continually raped by his uncle, Julius Caesar. Dream gives him a way to deal with it without the gods ('The Divine Julius' is suspected to be one of their number after his death) finding out.
- Livia: The aloof wife of Augustus.
- Julius Caesar: The last Dictator of the Roman Republic.
- Lycius: A dwarf, born of the Roman nobility, who lived in the time of Caesar Augustus. Augustus had banned the nobility from working as actors upon the stage, but he made an exception for Lycius, who had few other opportunities.
- Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, the other emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, appear briefly in the memories of the dwarf Lycius.
- Joshua A. Norton: An English-American believing himself to be Emperor of the United States in "Three Septembers and a January." Dream gives him his delusion as part of a challenge issued by his three younger siblings: Despair, who tries to make him fall into her realm by making his life increasingly difficult; Delirium, who makes a half-attempt to actually send him into insanity, but is refuted by the fact that 'his madness keeps him sane'; and Desire, who uses The King of Pain to tempt him with a real palace and a Queen. In the end, however, Joshua Norton remains delusional, but lives a happy and dignified life. He is so well-liked and respected that, when he dies, thousands come to see him off.
- The King of Pain: The King of Pain was an itinerant healer and, liniment salesman in 19th century San Francisco who made a fortune peddling his "medicine" (An aconite liniment) from a pitch at Third, and Mission streets. A habitue of Martin, and Horton's (An old San Francisco saloon), and an occasional visitor at the Cobweb Palace, was probably the most ornate personage in the San Francisco of his time. He told those who bought the liniment he sold outside the Pacific Clinical Infirmary that if they covered their bodies with the ointment as he did, they would have no need for clothes. As he grew wealthier from the sales of his aconite ointment, he bought himself a coal-black coach and six snow-white horses to draw it. He himself wore a bright red union suit, a heavy velour robe, an ostrich-feathered plug hat, and a heavy sword. He once gave the Emperor Norton a new suit. He lost it all at the gaming tables, and ended his life a suicide. In the comic book The Sandman, issue 31 ("Three Septembers and a January", reprinted in Fables and Reflections), the King of Pain is one of Desire's undead minions. He tried to tempt Emperor Norton into betraying his dignity for his desires (in the form of Worldly Power, Wealth, An Estate, and Noble Wife). Norton retains his dignity, and refuses the offers, saying he is content ruling his city, that he has all he needs.
- Mark Twain: American writer who shares his story about a jumping frog with Emperor Norton.
- Thomas Paine: American radical who, after participating in the French Revolution, is imprisoned in the Luxembourg Palace and briefly encounters Johanna Constantine.
- Louis de Saint-Just: Orator of the French Revolution and supporter of the Terror, he is deposed after Orpheus sings a song that saps his ability to articulate.
- Maximilien Robespierre: Leader of the Committee of Public Safety and instigator of the Reign of Terror. An extreme dreamer, he seeks to destroy the head of Orpheus due to his wish to destroy all myths, but is in turn destroyed by it.
- Marco Polo: The famous 13th-century explorer and trader. He is lost in a part of the Dreaming that connects to the real world, and encounters Rusticello, a friend of his future self, Fiddler's Green, and Dream, shortly after he had escaped from his prison. Marco offers him water. In return, Dream uses up the last of his energy in granting an otherwise forbidden passage home (explaining why he collapsed upon entering the House of Secrets). Upon waking Marco is unable to remember any of his encounters.
- Rustichello da Pisa: The publisher of Marco, he encounters a younger self of his friend in a dream in the Desert of Lop.
- William Shakespeare: The famous 16/17th-century English playwright. Dream gives him the inspiration for many of his plays in exchange for Shakespeare writing two plays for him: A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest.
- Hamnet Shakespeare: The son of William, he is often overlooked by his father. It is implied that Titania may have taken him into the realm of Faerie (this is confirmed in a brief cameo in The Books of Magic).
- Christopher Marlowe: A famous 16th-century playwright who is depicted discussing Shakespeare's terrible writing and Marlowe's Faust. Shakespeare tells Marlowe, "God's wounds! If only I could write like you!"
- Geoffrey Chaucer: The famous 14th-century poet and author of The Canterbury Tales is seen in the White Horse Tavern in 1389 A.D. in part four of The Doll's House, where Dream first meets Hob Gadling. It is mentioned in the tavern that people don't want, "filthy tales in rhyme about pilgrims" a reference to The Canterbury Tales.
- John Belushi: Appears briefly in the Samurai Delicatessen skit when Prez hosts Saturday Night Live. In this timeline, the encounter so affects him that he stops doing drugs and lives to old age.
- Richard Nixon: Visits Prez in his sleep to give him advice on the Presidency.
- Rod Serling: Appears on the TV when Lyta Hall watches reruns of The Twilight Zone.
- Montel Williams: Appears on TV when Rose Walker watches The Montel Williams Show.
- Anne Hathaway: The wife of William Shakespeare.
- Susanna Shakespeare: Older daughter of William and Anne Shakespeare.
- Judith Shakespeare: Younger daughter of William and Anne Shakespeare.
- Thomas Quiney: Pub waiter and future husband of Judith.
- Ben Jonson: Poet and friend of William Shakespeare.
- David Letterman: Appears briefly in Death: The Time of Your Life.
- Daniel Bustamonte: A victim of the 'sleepy sickness' that results from Dream's capture. He falls asleep in 1926, then wakes up sometime before 1955, staying awake much of the time but unable to speak. He recovers fully on September 14, 1988 when Dream escapes.
- Chantal and Zelda: Apparently lesbian roommates in the house Rose Walker was staying at in The Doll's House. They dress in white and collect dead spiders. Of the two, Zelda relies on Chantal for strength, and she rarely if ever speaks. In The Doll's House, it was unknown if they were lovers, friends, or related because they hardly ever socialized. When they dream, Zelda dreams of her childhood, where it is implied that she collected bones. Chantal's dreams are self-repeating loops, trying to explain something of nothing. In a later issue Zelda is dying from AIDS which she contracted from Chantal, who has already died, having originally contracted it from an organ transplant.
- Francis "Chas" Chandler: a cab driver and friend of John Constantine's, who drives him and Dream to Rachel's father's house so that Dream can retrieve his pouch. Chas takes his nickname from Jimi Hendrix's manager, and is a recurring character in the comic Hellblazer.
- Compton: Roderick Burgess' butler.
- Nurse Edmund: Alex Burgess' caretaker at the time he is put under Dream's curse.
- Ernie and Frederick: Two of the men guarding Dream when he escapes from his imprisonment.
- Doctor "Piggy" Huntoon: a doctor in Arkham Asylum and former schoolmate of Constantine's. He used to perform electro-shock therapy on Constantine, back when he was institutionalized.
- Leigh: A man who works in "Easy Diner," an American-style diner in London.
- Richard Madoc: An author, director and playwright who imprisoned and repeatedly raped Dream's ex-lover Calliope, a Muse, as a source of inspiration for his works. Dream punishes Madoc for this abuse by inflicting upon him an overwhelming flood of ideas; he destroys his fingers trying to record them in his own blood. His imagination goes blank entirely the moment Calliope is released from imprisonment. In The Wake he is seen attending Morpheus' funeral whilst dreaming, and it is inferred that after Morpheus' death, Madoc's blank mind is slowly healing.
- Ellie Marsten: A victim of the 'sleepy sickness' that occurs during Dream's capture. She sleeps continuously for decades, awaking only four or five times a year, and recovers in an insane asylum on September 14, 1988 when Morpheus escapes. Her waking memory is basically founded on the book Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. Present whereabouts unknown.
- Paul McGuire: Good friend and lover of Alex Burgess. Originally a gardener at the estate, Paul eventually takes over the Order of Ancient Mysteries.
- Rachel: An ex-girlfriend of Constantine's who stole Dream's pouch of sand from Constantine and became addicted to its effects.
- Stefan Wasserman: A victim of the 'sleepy sickness' that results from Dream's capture. Joins the army during the First World War at 14, and goes over the trenches shortly before he catches the sickness. Commits suicide in 1918 at age 16 because he cannot sleep. He was inhabited by the dormant spirit of the Corinthian.
- The Scarecrow (Dr. Jonathan Crane): In a cameo, the Arkham inmate attempts to dissuade his friend Doctor Destiny from escaping (albeit not forcefully), saying Arkham is a better home for their kind than the outside world. Unlike other incarnations, he is portrayed as a nervous, paranoid, babbling academic, trying to make April fools jokes to psychologically test his prison guards, and unable to sleep for fear of rats.
- Judy, a young lesbian who is one of the victims of John Dee using Dream's ruby in Preludes and Nocturnes. At the time of her forced suicide, she was trying to reconcile with her girlfriend Donna (Foxglove). In The Doll's House, she was revealed to be the best friend of Rose Walker.
- Wanda: A transsexual woman featured in A Game of You who is Barbie's best friend. She dies in the freak storm caused by Thessaly's magic and is buried as Alvin (her parents dress her as a man), though Barbie rectifies this by crossing out Alvin on her gravestone with lipstick and writing Wanda. Wanda is later seen in Barbie's dream, now apparently with a biologically female body, and waves goodbye to Barbie with Death.
- Nada: A beautiful African queen, Nada is cast into hell by the Dream King (known to her as Kai'ckul) when she refuses to stay with him and become his queen because "It is not for mortals to love the Endless". She was asked three times, but refused each time. Nada first appears in "Preludes and Nocturnes" when Dream is escorted to Dis. Her story is revealed in the beginning of "A Doll's House". An argument over her unfair punishment prompts Dream's initial actions in "Seasons of Mist," and eventually Dream begs her forgiveness and lets her choose her own fate. Nada chooses to be reincarnated as a baby boy in Hong Kong, and Dream comes to her cradle, holds her new form, and promises that she will always be welcome in the Dreaming, no matter what form or body her soul is in.
- Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) are shown briefly in a flashback in issue #2 (Preludes and Nocturnes) capturing Doctor Destiny, representing the Justice League, who defeated him. In issue #8, a comedian tells a joke about Batman that is clearly in-universe, as the comedian makes speculations about Batman's out of costume life that are far from correct. He also makes a brief appearance in issue #71 (The Wake).
- Phantom Stranger and Doctor Occult appear briefly in The Wake, chatting with John Constantine. Constantine says "Nice trench coat", a reference to the similar design of the three characters, who are unofficially known as The Trenchcoat Brigade and initially appeared together in Gaiman's The Books of Magic, which occurred before Brief Lives and had Rose Psychic introducing Timothy Hunter to Dream.
- Mister Miracle (Scott Free) informs Dream that his ruby is no longer kept at Justice League headquarters. (#7, Preludes and Nocturnes)
- Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onnz), last member of the original Justice League lineup, gives Dream the details of the storage unit where the JLA's old trophies, including the ruby, are kept. (#7, Preludes and Nocturnes). Also makes an appearance alongside Batman, as does Clark Kent, in issue #71 (The Wake). Darkseid is also seen at the wake.
- The Sandman (Hector Hall): The walking dead father of Daniel Hall and successor to Garrett Sanford, whose death is noted. Hall's only previous appearances as The Sandman were in Infinity Inc. #49–51. (#11–12, The Doll's House)
- Element Girl (Urania Blackwell): Death, coming for an upstairs neighbour who has fallen off a ladder, visits her, sensing her longing to die, but is unable to take her, though she informs her that Ra (the sun) can take her power back so she can die. (#20, Dream Country)
- Hawkman: Along with Wesley Dodds (The Sandman), he is offered to Dream by Odin in a repeating Ragnarok in which the Justice Society of America is trapped (Crisis on Infinite Earths Special "Last Days of the Justice Society"). Odin says that one of them contains some of his essence. As Hall is the grandfather of Daniel, it is deliberately obscure just which of the two he means. (#26, Season of Mists)
- Wildcat (Ted Grant), appears in #54, "The Golden Boy;" however, in Prez Rickard's world, he is merely a professional wrestler rather than a member of the Justice Society of America.
Barnabas is a talking, wise-cracking dog who belonged to Destruction and was assigned to guard Delirium. It is unclear if Barnabas is a real dog with speech capabilities or if he's a reincarnated human like Matthew.
Charles Rowland and Edwin Paine
Charles Rowland was the only boy left at his boarding school during the holidays when Lucifer closed Hell, sending its former inhabitants back to Earth. While the adults of the school are preoccupied with the dead spirits who came back into their own lives, Charles is tortured and killed by three dead boys who used to go to the same school. Edwin Paine is a previous victim of the trio, his body still trapped on the grounds. He befriends Charles, but is unable to keep him from dying. When Death shows up, Charles refuses to go with her, and she lets him go, preferring to focus on all the other trouble Hell's closure has brought her. They later appeared in other books as the Dead Boy Detectives.
Eblis O'Shaughnessy was one of the final secondary characters to be introduced in the Sandman series.
Eblis was the envoy created by the Endless to enter into the room that contained the Cerements and the Book of Ritual for the funeral rites of their brother Dream. Each of the Endless gave a part of themselves in the creation of Eblis O'Shaughnessy. Delirium chose the building material and gave Eblis his name, Destiny helped mold him, Desire gave him a heart, Despair gave him sight and finally Death breathed life into him. Destiny sets Eblis O'Shaughnessy on his path and tells him "..You can neither dream nor, ultimately, destroy, and that shall be your triumph and that shall be your tragedy." What Destiny means by this has, as of this time, not been revealed.
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "The host that was first presented in a framing sequence by scribe Marv Wolfman and artist Bernie Wrightson would provide endless creative material for Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series decades later."
- e.g. by the raven Matthew in Sandman #40, p9.
- Secrets of Sinister House #16
- Page introducing Lucien (Tales of Ghost Castle)
- There is a story from Tales of the Unexpected #16 in DC Special #4, but it is not the Thor story.
- Hogan, Peter (September 1997), The Dreaming #16: "Ice", Vertigo/DC Comics
- Gross, Peter (August 1998), The Books of Magic: A Thousand Worlds of Tim (51), DC Comics
- Hogan, Peter (August 1999), The Books of Magic: The Good Fella (63), DC Comics
- Irvine, Alex (2008), "Death", in Dougall, Alastair, The Vertigo Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 54–56, ISBN 0-7566-4122-5, OCLC 213309015
- The Sandman #29
- The Sandman #13
- The Dreaming #4–7