Neil Gaiman's 'The Sandman'

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Sandman Comic Books

The Sandman is a 75-part comic book series written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by various artists.
There are seven brothers and sisters that have been since the beginning of time, the Endless. They are Destiny, Death, Dream, Desire, Despair, Delirium who was once Delight, and Destruction, the one who turned his back on his duties. Their names describe their function and the realms that they are in charge of. Several years ago, a coven of wizards attempted to end death by taking Death captive, but captured Dream instead. When he finally escapes he must face the changes that have gone on in his realm, and the changes in himself.

There are seven beings that are not Gods,
that existed before humanity dreamed of Gods,
that will exist after the last God is dead.
There are seven beings that exist because,
deep in our hearts, we know that they exist.

There are seven beings that are called the Endless.
They are, in order of age, Destiny, Death, Dream,
Destruction, Desire and Despair, and Delirium,
who was once Delight.


The ruler of the Dreaming, he is also known as Morpheus, Lord Shaper, The King of Dreams and The Sandman. Dream accumulates names to himself like others make friends; but he permits himself few friends. If he is closest to anyone, it is to his elder sister (Death), whom he sees but rarely.

It is hard to say anything at this time about Dream.

The previous Dream was a cold follower of rules, a collector of names, a breaker of his own heart. He was also a prince of stories, a friend to few, and an enemy to some. This is neither the place nor the time though, to tell his story.

The current Dream seems more compassionate than his predecessor, more caring, more concerned.

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The divider of the living from all that has come before, and all that must come after. Death accompanies each mortal twice in life. At birth, she speaks to them, but since no one remembers what she says, it is not known why. When they die, she guides them to what lies beyond their mortal years.

Mortals fear Death. They fear the sunless lands to which she guides them. They feebly attempt to placate her. They do not love her.

One day in every century, Death takes on mortal flesh, to better comprehend what the lives she takes must feel like, to taste the bitter tang of mortality: this is the price she must pay for being the divider of the living from all that has gone before and all that must come after.

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It is unlikely that any portrait will ever do Desire justice. Its skin is as pale as smoke. Its eyes are tawney and sharp as yellow wine. Desire is everything you have ever wanted. To see her (or him) is to love him (or her), passionately, painfully, to the exclusion of all else.

Desire smiles in brief flashes, like sunlight glinting from a knife-edge. And there is much else that is knife-like about Desire.

Never a possession, always the possessor.


Desire's twin sister is queen of her own bleak realm where a multitude of tiny windows hang in the void. Sometimes you will feel the eyes of Despair upon you, feel her hook catch and snag your heart.

Her skin is cold, and clammy; her eyes are the colour of sky, on the grey, wet days that leach the world of colour and meaning; her voice is little more than a whisper, and while she has no odour, her shadow smells musky and pungent, like the skin of a snake.

Despair says little, and is patient.


The youngest sibling, she smells of sweat, sour wine, late nights and old leather.

Her realm is close and can be visited; but, human minds were not made to comprehend her domain, and those few who have made the journey have been incapable of reporting more than the tiniest fragments.

Her appearance is the most variable of all the Endless, who, at best, are ideas cloaked in the semblance of flesh. She has a tendency to turn into butterflies or goldfish every now and then.

Delirium was once Delight, but that was long ago even as the Endless reckon, and only Delirium herself knows why she changed. Through her mismatched eyes, one green and one blue, she sees the world in her own unique way.


The oldest of the Endless and the tallest to mortal eyes, he leaves no footprints and casts no shadow.

In the Beginning was the Word, and it was traced by his hand on the first page of his book, before ever it was spoken aloud.

There are some who believe him to be blind; whilst others, perhaps with more reason, claim that he has travelled far beyond blindness, that indeed, he can do nothing but see: that he sees the fine traceries the galaxies make as they spiral through the void, that he watches the intricate patterns living things make on their journey through time.


He abdicated his domain and responsibilities several centuries ago. Their search for him in Brief Lives is both a quest and a catalyst for events that change the Endless forever.

Approximately 300 years ago, Destruction abandoned his realm. His sigil has been taken down, and he can no longer be reached. He is not dead, for if that was so, another aspect of Destruction would have taken his place. He simply choose not to be responsible for destruction and all other facets of his domain anymore. There is still destruction and change, it is just no longer controlled.

Destruction can no longer be reached, but should you ever you meet a tall, red-haired man, carrying a knapsack, you might want to offer him some bread and cheese. He tells good stories.

Thanks to The Wake and Vertigo
* The Sandman, Vertigo, all characters, the distinctive likenesses thereof and all related indicia are trademarks of DC Comics. All rights reserved. *