With Netflix’s release of the first look into Sandman’s live-action adaptation, the series came back to the public eye. The comic book epic was first issued in 1989 by DC comics, later being placed under Vertigo imprint. Through the course of its run until 1996, the comic about Sandman’s Endless was critically acclaimed. It attracted a massive following and gathered cult status.
Written by Neil Gaiman, part of the so-called British invasion (a reunion of new writers at DC to bring wild and diverse ideas to the publisher), the series expanded the possibilities for comics at the time. It created a rich and enthralling mythos that would cause repercussions to the pages of comic books even after the end of its 75-issue run.
The Netflix adaptation of our dreams
The teaser to Netflix’s adaptation of Sandman indicated that the series seems to be following the events of the comic book very closely. Released footage and posters, as well as the approval of the comic’s creator, Neil Gaiman, left fans extremely excited about what’s to come.
The premise sees an occultist group of people trying to capture Death, but instead, they manage to capture her brother, Dream, which causes dire consequences for humanity at large. The first season will adapt the very first two comic book arcs, “Preludes and Nocturnes” and “The Doll’s House.”
To understand the mythology of Sandman, we have to talk about The Endless.Sandman’s Endless are 7 powerful beings, children of the cosmic entities Night and Time. Although some could think of them as gods, that is actually not true. Each of these beings is an abstraction. An embodiment of the concepts they represent.
According to what they embody, they possess certain personality traits and fulfill a specific role in the greater scheme of things in the Universe. Therefore, whenever they don’t do their part, the consequences can be chaotic, to say the least.
Also known as Morpheus, Kai’ckul, Oneiros, and Sandman, Dream is the protagonist of the comic book. He is the lord of all dreams and all of the things which are outside reality. Like all of his siblings, he possesses his own realm (The Dreaming), where he lives and rules.
He is portrayed as a thin, tall man, with black messy hair and a bony facial structure. However, his clothes and appearance may change depending on his location. It is unknown whether it is a byproduct of other people’s perception or an actual physical manifestation.
Though he is the hero of the narrative, his flaws are very prominent in the comic book pages. His difficulty to understand sarcasm can make him seem crude and humorless. All the while he can be self-obsessed, unforgiving, and insensitive. He also has a particularly disastrous romantic track record and intense feelings about it.
Sandman is a tale about many things, and one of its main features is its focus on the lead character. Throughout the run we see Dream struggling to understand himself better and those around him, while atoning for his past mistakes. His development is an integral part of the series and a wonderful thing to read and watch.
The eldest sister to Dream, Death is personified by a young goth girl with a bubbly personality. Her kindness and joyful attitude weren’t always a part of her demeanor. Previously death was cold and pragmatic. She didn’t like her role of life-taker, and once she even stopped doing her job for a while.
When nothing died, chaos ensued, but a young man convinced Death to resume her job and she became once again unhappy. It wasn’t until she began living as a mortal for a while that she changed her view on life, and achieved the happy personality we see in the comic.
Death and Dream are very close, and she often gives him advice. She is arguably the most powerful of The Endless and her abilities include Omnipresence, Omniscience, and Immortality. Despite her immense power, she’s the one among her siblings who connects the most with humanity.
The first of The Endless to come into existence, Destiny holds the outcomes of all live beings in his hand. The book he holds and is chained to his right arm contains all that will ever come to be. He is blind but is somehow able to perceive reality and “read” his book.
His realm is a great garden, where lies his castle. He appears in a long cloak, and it is much closer to the image of death portrayed in media than his younger sister.
Destiny is shown to be stoic. He merely observes events unfold, unless something worrying comes along to make him exceed his normal limits. Though he is depicted as the wisest amongSandman’s Endless, even he doesn’t know everything. A fact that creates a margin for surprises and questioning throughout the series.
Also known as Olethros, Destruction is the representation not only of his name but of his opposite, creation. He is probably one who encapsulates the most duality of his nature. His physical appearance is of a strong man with long red hair and beard. Though he used to appear in military garments, in the present day he uses casual clothes.
Like Death, Destruction left his job, but instead of returning like his older sister, he abdicated his responsibilities for good. After realizing that humans would use science as a great means of destruction, he decided to remove his responsibility in the matter and dedicate himself to other endeavors like painting writing poetry.
Destruction encapsulates a powerful statement about the destructive nature of human beings. Even without his influence, humans continue to destroy everything in their wake. Therefore, Destruction feels there is no need for his interference, and that his time is much more well spent in the pursuit of self-knowledge and beauty.
Desire is the oldest and genderless twin to despair. They can appear as whatever it is one most desires, and is considered to be extremely beautiful. Despite its beauty, there is a nod to the ugly nature desire can have in the form of the two shadows they cast. One is beautiful, translucent, and wavering while the other is sharp, black, and menacing.
The dark side of desire is also displayed in the character’s personality. They are the cruelest among the siblings and they have a hostile relationship with Dream. However, their relationship with younger siblings Despair and Delirium is much more amicable.
Desire’s extremely capricious and self-centered nature along with their aforementioned cruel attributes can be read as a commentary on the concept of desire at large. This is a feeling that can make people simply follow their pleasure with no regard to ethics or other people’s emotions.
Despair is shown with physical traits society deems unattractive. Her appearance is of a naked obese woman with pointy teeth. She is somber and monotone and is fed by misery, unhappiness, and tragedy.
Her realm is filled with infinite floating mirrors, through which she can look at human faces as they look at themselves in despair. This idea is an interesting statement about how despair lurks in everyone’s lives. Every time you look at yourself, it is looking back at you, waiting to feed on your misery and unhappiness.
The youngest and most chaotic of the siblings, Delirium was formerly known as Delight. For unknown reasons, the concept of her personification simply changed out of the blue. Though to some degree all of the siblings represent change, she is the one who visibly states it the most, with her changing hair and appearance according to her mood.
Her only physical trait is that one of her eyes is blue, while the other is green. Moreover, her skin color can also change depending on whether she’s around humans or her siblings.
Regarding her personality, she is mad, forgetful, and easily distracted. Though she is generally playful and positive, she can be vengeful towards people who behave in a rude manner. Often, she offers surprising statements that prove she knows some things theSandman’s Endless don’t know, even Destiny.
Delirium’s surprising knowledge of things can be seen as a statement that there are hidden truths in madness you can’t find anywhere else. All the while, her mysterious transformation raises the matter of if unbounded delight can lead to madness.
Sandman’s Endless Conclusion
Sandman’s Endless are some of the most intriguing entities in the DC Universe. Since they have been sparingly used after the end of Sandman, and some of them weren’t as developed in the series, there is much which is discussed about them to this day.
While the Netflix adaptation seems to be following events of the comics closely, maybe it can spare some time to shed some light on unexplored facets of these characters. After all, these abstractions are ever-present in human society, and revealing more about them can reveal more about us.
Are you aSandman’s Endless fan or are you hearing about it just now? Are you excited about the Netflix adaptation?
Let us know in the comments down below!