Being an immortal being, the Sandman has encountered more than his fair share of characters and famous people from history. In the Netflix series alone, Dream meets Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Marlowe before her story with Hob Gadling even begins. In the grand scheme of the comics, this is just a small sample.
During the original run and the Expanded Universe, Dream and the rest of the Endless have all rubbed shoulders with a cast of famous characters. From writers to explorers to emperors, the immortal beings who lead the forces of the universe certainly have more than a few historical connections.
9 Geoffrey Chaucer
The “Men of Good Fortune” issue is one of the first time travel stories featured in sand man, and Morpheus and Death meet one of the most widespread writers in Europe from the first issues of The dolls house. Even before Hob Gadling enters the scene, the tavern is visited by a young Geoffrey Chaucer.
For those who haven’t followed English 101, Chaucer was the author of the Canterbury Tales, one of the earliest forms of literature in the English language. These tales were a collection of poems centering on a group of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury. Many of the tales were bawdy, full of jokes and all written in verse. Given Neil Gaiman’s literary background, it’s fitting that the authors play a part in the Sandman’s world.
8 Christopher Marlowe
The Renaissance was a time when many famous thinkers existed at the same time, and the era of Elizabethan theater was fertile ground for a number of great writers and playwrights. One of the newcomers Morpheus and Hob Gadling meet in the comics is Christopher Marlowe.
While a young Williams Shakespeare was still in his early drafts, Marlowe had already brought his variation of the Faustian tale to life on stage. This reference to the authorship of Dr. Faustus is meant to reflect the relationship between Dream and Hob, using immortality in exchange for the favor of a supernatural entity. Luckily, the Endless are far nicer than the typical demon.
seven william shakespeare
William Shakespeare is one of the most famous dreamers that Morpheus encounters in his travels through the cosmos of existence. It’s not because he becomes one of the most iconic and successful writers in history, but because Dream itself asks him to create two of its most timeless stories, Dream of a summer night and Storm.
Given that Morpheus has often been called “The Prince of Stories”, seeing him help Shakespeare write two of his greatest fantasies seems very much in character. The price the bard pays for such wondrous stories, however, could be anyone’s guess.
6 Marco Polo
Appearing in the “Soft Places” storyline, the famed explorer encounters the Dream Lord while lost in the Lop Desert when separated from his family’s caravan. Dazed, confused, and consumed by the swirling sands, Marco Polo is caught up in something of a vision quest when he encounters a strange man in a vision.
What happens is a psychedelic trip to Fiddler’s Green with reflections on the explorer’s past and even an encounter with Rusticello da Pisa. Eventually, Dream appears to lead Marco Polo back to his trailer before he returns to his throne in the Dreaming.
5 Caesar Augustus
“August” is a brutal and disturbing entry into The Sandman: Fables and Reflections, as it weaves a tragic story of Caesar Augustus and his plans for ancient Rome inspired by a set of history-altering prophecies. Disguised as a beggar, the emperor tells his tragic story to his dwarf companion.
The plot provides insight into one of Rome’s most famous rulers, his traumatic abuse at the hands of his uncle, Julius Caesar, and how his decisions defined both the rise and fall of the ‘Roman Empire. He draws the curtain on one of the pillars of ancient civilization in a story worthy of a Greco-Roman tragedy.
4 Harun Al-Rashid Caliph of Baghdad
In a kind of narrative sent up 1001 Nights, “Ramadan” sees the Caliph of Baghdad make a devastating deal with Dream that comes at the expense of his beloved kingdom. Like so many stories in The Sandman comics, this one follows the motifs of “be careful what you wish for”, and the ruler soon comes to regret meeting him.
The central storyline is that the caliph, disenchanted with the temporary status of his perfect city, makes a deal with Morpheus to keep Baghdad in a perpetual state of perfection in exchange for the kingdom itself. The Dream Lord grants her request but does so by erasing Baghdad’s stellar reputation, leaving her only in legend and literature, making her immortal in the minds of the collected culture.
3 Joshua A. Norton and Mark Twain
“Three Septembers and a January” is a curious story, to say the least, because it concerns not only two historical characters, but also four of the Endless. The narrative itself focuses on Joshua A. Norton, a man who labored under the illusion of being the first Emperor of the United States, but also how the forces of despair, delirium, death and dreams interact with it.
One of Norton’s only friends in the story is a young newspaper editor named Sam, who becomes engrossed in the man’s story. By decree of Norton, Samuel Clements becomes the “official storyteller” to the Emperor of the United States. Therefore, his encounter and contact with the Endless affects Mark Twain’s career.
2 Wesley Dodd
Although not a character in human history, Wesley Dodds is a crucial figure in the story of the Sandman himself. Before Neil Gaiman created the Dream Lord, DC Comics’ Sandman was a vigilante detective with prophetic dreams, a purple suit, a mask, and a gun that fired sleeping gas.
In Sandman Mystery Theater, Dodds meets Dream while still imprisoned by Roderick Burgess and his mages. This meeting of worlds is almost paradoxical since two variations of the same character are only separated by a sheet of glass. Luckily for Dodds, Dream makes sure this encounter is quickly forgotten.
1 The Presence/The Creator
Few comic book characters have the opportunity to rub shoulders with God, but The Presence is the supreme divine creator encountered in the DC Universe, and The sand man the series also represents it. Logic dictates that if Lucifer exists in this world, God must also exist.
Written as The Presence or The Creator, the Supreme Being appears in avatar form whenever he encounters any of the main cast, including the Infinite. Although his main appearances are in the Lucifer series, its connection to infinity binds it to the realms of dreams, delirium and desires.
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