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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.
The main 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.
Nuala: "You ... you want them to punish you, don't you? You want to be punished for Orpheus's death?"
- 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. 
- Aloof Big Brother
- 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.
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?
- 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?
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.
Daniel: "Sometimes I suspect that we build our traps ourselves, then we back into them, pretending amazement all the while."
- Black Eyes: He has the same eyes as Morpheus.
- Dream Weaver
- Man in White: In contrast to Morpheus' dark clothing (and hair).
- Nice Guy: Something that separates him from Morpheus. Daniel is instinctively kind, polite and forgiving. It's possible this is why Morpheus chose him as a successor.
- Now I Know What to Name Him: Morpheus tells Lyta that her son's name is Daniel.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy
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 continues to walk ... He is holding a book. Inside the book is the universe.
- All Powerful Bystander
- 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.
- 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
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.
Death: "It always ends. That's what gives it value."
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!"
- 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.
- 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.
- The Scottish Trope: Death's siblings never address her by name, or even refer to her by name. Never.
- When She Smiles: Just look at her smile. Makes you wanna fall in love with her, doesn't it?
- Woman in Black: Completely subverted.
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.
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."
- The Atoner
- Awesomeness By Analysis: Thanks to his domain, he can see patterns everywhere.
- Black Sheep
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose In Life
- Fiery Redhead
- Giftedly Bad: He's tried every form of art and been lousy at them all. (As least according to his talking dog.)
- The Gump: Averted, he usually takes anonymous roles. For example, he helped dig the Panama Canal, fought in a few wars, etc.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Inverted. He was the only member of the family that every one of the Endless (except maybe Desire) loved. When he decided to leave anyway, it broke them in two, the elders and the youngers. It hit Delirium and Despair the worst, since they seemed the closest with him.
- My Greatest Failure: The other Endless seem to hold letting him leave to be this, to varying degrees. Destruction himself regrets abandoning his family, but it was a matter of conscience.
- Nice Guy: He's the only person who ever kissed his sister Despair.
- Not to mention his friendship with Rachel the archaeologist in Endless Nights.
- The Scottish Trope: His siblings never, ever refer to him as "Destruction", simply as "the Prodigal" or "our lost brother". Reason being, the Endless' names describe their domains and functions, which Destruction has abandoned without passing the mantle to another aspect of himself. Ergo, he should no longer be referred to as "Destruction".
- Walking The Universe
- Warrior Poet
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.
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.
- Ambiguous Gender/Hermaphrodite: Desire has never been satisfied with just one of anything.
- Everybody Wants the Hermaphrodite: Milks this for all its worth to that end.
- 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
- 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.
The First Despair
Not much is known about her, except that she was murdered 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.
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."
The Second Despair
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.
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?"
- Animal Motifs: Rats.
- Cannot Spit It Out/He Is Not My Boyfriend: Her relationship with the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe.
- Similarly, her desire to see Destruction again.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Right, she is the personification of all decadence and hopelessness in the universe, but still displays authentic feelings for her loved ones, misses her older brother and generally behaves in a quite polite and refined way. When she's not tearing her own skin with her hook, of course.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Eye Scream
- Fangs Are Evil
- Fat Girl
- Full-Frontal Assault: The only thing Despair wears is her ring (and something to tie up her ponytail, presumably, since that's how she wears her hair).
- Generic Cuteness: Inverted and defied. She looks exactly like what most women in fiction couldn't even bear to look like.
- Magic Mirror: Well, they aren't exactly magic, since they're the other sides of all mirrors in the universe (and presumably not all mirrors in the universe are magical). See below.
- Messy Hair
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: She can see through any mirror in the universe.
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.
Delirium: "Not knowing everything is all that makes it okay, sometimes."
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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
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.
- Big Brother Bully
- Blessed with Suck: Abel's immortality. It just allows him to be killed again... and again...
- Cain and Abel: Duh.
- Cursed with Awesome: Nothing can harm Cain without incurring the wrath of God.
- Deadpan Snarker: What Cain does when he isn't killing his brother.
- Haunted House: Their respective homes.
- Horned Hairdo
- Narrator: In their original horror comic appearances.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Cain is described as sounding just like Vincent Price.
- Magic Librarian
- Older Than They Look: Granted, they've never looked YOUNG, but if one considers where they come from...
- Those Two Guys
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Their first appearance in the Sandman has Cain trying desperately to articulate that he really does love his brother, but he cannot defy his own nature.
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.
- Friend to All Living Things: Mainly ravens.
- Mama Bear
- The Three Faces of Eve: She shifts back and forth between "maid", "mother", and "crone" forms.
A nightmare with tiny teeth-filled mouths for eyes.
- Anti-Hero: The second Corinthian.
- Eye Scream
- Eyeless Face: Technically speaking, since his eye sockets are full of teeth.
- More Teeth Than the Osmond Family: He has three mouths, although each mouth has a normal number of teeth.
- Serial Killer: The Corinthian makes his first appearance at a serial killers' convention. It's implied that he inspired the modern serial killer - that it was how he interpreted his stated purpose as revealing the dark side of humanity. He's wrong, and Dream unmakes him for it, to try again another day.
- Sunglasses At Night: Although they do serve a practical purpose.
- Too Many Mouths: Where his eyes should be.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy
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.
- Antiquated Linguistics: Mildly, but still noticeable.
- Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: His suit wouldn't be out of place in the 19th century.
- Big Fun
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Cane Fu
- Cloudcuckoolander: The first time he's described doing anything (in Rose's letter), he's requesting that the landlord bring him a six-foot-long pencil so he can draw on the ceiling from his bed. Which he has decided to stay in all week. Normally he's more grounded, though.
- Genius Loci
- Sharp-Dressed Man
- Unwanted Revival: When "Daniel" / the new Dream attempts to bring him back, he refuses.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- Living Shadow: Perhaps. The art is a little unclear.
- More Teeth Than the Osmond Family: Pretty much all teeth - sharp sets of them floating in an amorphous void.
- Too Dumb to Live: It's expressly stated in the series that even in Hell and in a weakened state, Morpheus is more than capable of dealing with any threat short of Lucifer himself. Azazel later picks a fight with a fully empowered Morpheus on his home turf, and gets thoroughly and effortlessly crushed for his trouble.
Remiel and Duma
- 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.
- Ancient Greece
- And I Must Scream: Until Dream finally, finally saves her.
- The Muse: One of the nine.
- Time Abyss
Prominent figure of Irish folklore, Adventurer, Raconteur and personal messenger of Queen Titiania herself. Brother of Nuala.
- The Alcoholic
- All Gays Are Promiscuous: But he is from a race that more or less devotes itself to eternal partying.
- The Fair Folk: A fairly benign example. He's just not all that bright.
- The Hedonist
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: With a shout-out to The Farmer and the Viper from Odin; it's in Loki's nature to lash out at those who help him, as much as it's in Cain's to attack his brother.
- Debt Detester / Disproportionate Retribution: His behavior in The Kindly Ones is due to owing a debt to Morpheus.
- Master of Illusion
- Trickster Archetype: He is Loki.
- 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.
- The Fair Folk: A very traditional example. He is not a pleasant creature.
- For the Evulz / It Amused Me: His motivation for everything.
- Those Two Guys: Acts like this when he pals around with Loki for a while, until he gets bored and leaves.
- Trickster Archetype
- 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
- 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
- A man from the Middle Ages, a contempary of William Shakespear, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
John Dee/Doctor Destiny
- A God Am I: When he attempts to take over the dream-world.
- Ax Crazy: So very much.
- Body Horror: His current appearance is not the most pleasant thing to behold.
- Karma Houdini: Sure he went back to Arkham, which is what Batman would have done, but still.
- The Mad Hatter: Arguably an extremely dark take on this.
- Mind Rape: Big time. Over all the world.
- My Beloved Smother: Not him personally, but his mother is really hinted to be one.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
Lyta Hall/The Fury
- 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 a pre-op transsexual (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
- Nice Hat: Death likes it, at least.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Yes, boys and girls, the United States did have an emperor... and he was Crazy Awesome.
- 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.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Big Sister Instinct: Towards Jed, of course.
- Dude Magnet: Rose appears to be supernaturally attractive without realizing it. At one point a pedophile becomes attracted to her (seeing her as much, much younger). She also seduces a gay man (without realizing he was gay), briefly attracts (or at least flusters) another gay guy, and possibly also had Gilbert falling for her (he mentions falling in love, and that he treasured her kiss on his cheek). This is probably due to being Desire's granddaughter.
- Looking for Love In All the Wrong Places
- Multicolored Hair
- Older Than They Look: Again, due to her parentage.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- And becomes a Defrosting Ice Queen when Morpheus dies.
- 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."
- 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.
- Transsexual: 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".
- 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
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.
- 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.)
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.
- Cerebus Retcon: A victim of it, over and over again.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: All in all, he got a very unceremonious death, considering he was created by the King of Comics.
- Unwitting Pawn
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.
- 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
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.
- 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.