Mr. Sandman is a comic book series by Neil Gaiman and is not to be taken seriously. In publication since 1952, Mr. Sandman chronicles the day to day life of Dream, the anthropomorphic personification of the concept of dreams. Dream, though immortal and existing since the beginning of time, is your standard everyday teenager from the 50s. He enjoys such activities as going on dates with Calliope and Nada (rivals for his affection), meeting up with his old friend Jughead (a mortal granted everlasting life) at the same soda jerk every 100 years, and bringing into existence desirable new teenagers at the request of existing ones.
The Endless are a family of seven immortal siblings, each anthropomorphic personifications of his or her own unique universal concept. Dream is the third oldest of the Endless.
- Destiny is the oldest of the Endless, in the sense that he existed since the beginning of time first. He is the most responsible of the Endless, and is always watching out for his younger siblings, but he is also a prankster and will pick on them given the chance. He carries around with him a book that lists everything that will ever happen ever, and uses it to play tricks on his siblings and their friends. Destiny is blind, the result of an amusing incident involving Destruction and a football.
- Death, the second oldest of the Endless, is a fun-loving girl who enjoys the life of a personable socialite. This beautiful, intelligent, and witty high school senior is the class president and the Grim Reaper, and is much sought after by guys. Her closest friend in the world is her younger brother Dream.
- Dream is the Sandman. A little on the dorky side, he gets along well with his peers and is well liked, but is not as popular as Death. While he never hesitates to do someone a favor, he can be a little undependable and isn't the best at reading people.
- Destruction is a nice fellow, but a notorious klutz. He is a redhead and fancies himself an artist (He had a beard once, but shaved it off during a failed attempt to make the football team.) He is quite accident prone, which earned him the nickname Destruction the Bumbling Fool. Destruction dropped out of high school and ran away from home at the young age of infinity because he felt his little accidents were causing too many problems at home.
- Desire is a dickgirl.
- Despair is a fatty who wishes she were a dickgirl.
- Delirium, formerly Delight, is the youngest of the Endless. Feeling overshadowed by her older siblings, she became a rebel and began to dye her hair crazy colors and act out, spontaneously creating butterflies and the like at inappropriate times. She is a sweet girl though, and all the other Endless love her and nurture her. She was perhaps most hurt when Destruction left, because the two of them shared a special bond, which necessitated Destruction's escape from the United States, as he will be arrested if he ever returns.
- Calliope is a perky young blond muse who goes to school with Dream. She is the mother of Dream's son, Orpheus, who lived in Greece a long time ago.
- Nada is a Nubian princess and a wealthy socialite. She's best friends with Calliope, but all bets are off when they're fighting for Dream.
- The Corinthian is one of Dream's creations. She likes to dress in bikinis, and has mouths where her eyes should be. She is very attractive and will eat people. Nothing like that eye themed serial killer in Swamp Thing.
- Jughead is Dream's dorky friend. He is dating The Corinthian.
- Luci is a blond prettyboy and a recent graduate from a rival high school. Because he was the captain of the crew team, and the crew team has ridiculously early morning practices, he is nicknamed Lucifer, The Morning Star. He now owns the diner "Hell's Milkshakes" and the spinoff nightclub "Hell's Milkshakers".
- Bast is the lead singer of the band Bast and the Pussycats. She is the Egyptian goddess of pussycats.
- Cain and Abel are two brothers who go to school with Dream. Abel is on the football team, but is rather shy and stammering. Cain is in the knitting club, but can and does beat up and kill Abel on a regular basis. Neither appeared previously in Swamp Thing.
- "Neil Gaiman" shamelessly writes himself into the comic book at every possible turn. He can't keep continuity straight and has been killed by Death on three separate occasions. Originally, Neil Gaiman intended for the Endless to encounter a new character coincidentally named "Neil Gaiman" in every story, but that fell through when he ran out of character designs. "Neil Gaiman" was then revconed into one guy. A night partying with "Neil Gaiman" was what turned Delight into Delirium.
- Batman, aka The Goddamn Batman saves the day whenever the Endless get in over their heads.
The Mr. Sandman Collections
The Mr. Sandman series has been collected into 11 volumes, which may be read as self-contained works.
- Volume 1: Preludes and Summer Nights When a gang from a rival high school attempts to kidnap Death the night before the big game, they accidentally break into the wrong bedroom and kidnap Dream instead! Not knowing what to do with him, they lock him in their basement for 50 years. When he escapes, he discovers that most of his stuff has been stolen, several of his dreams have escaped and are causing problems, and Death has been worried sick about him.
- Volume 2: A Doll's House After returning to school, Dream meets the new girl Rose, who is a dream vertex and a total doll. He attempts to court her, and unwittingly attracts the affection of her grandmother, Unity.
- Volume 3: Dream Beach Over summer vacation, Dream reminisces about the summer years ago he and Willy Shakespeare would write and perform plays at the beach to amuse girls.
- Volume 4: Season of Misses Out of a sense of duty and friendship, Dream sets out to rescue Nada from the clutches of Luci, owner of "Hell's Milkshakes", a popular diner among creeps and demons. Calliope, of course, gets jealous.
- Volume 5: The Big Game of You Barbie, a classmate of Dream's, begins dreaming up a string of jocks one after another in an attempt to give the school an edge in the upcoming football game. Dream is willing to help at first, but later begins to feel used and believes Barbie is abusing his powers and his friendship.
- Volume 6: Fables and Recess Dream volunteers at a local elementary school, watching over kids during their breaks. When they discover his powers, they encourage him to indulge their whims - and they do have quite the imagination.
- Volume 7: Brief Drives Over spring break, Dream (equipped with new car and driver's license) and Delirium head out on a road trip to find Destruction. When they find him, they are relieved to find he is doing quite well for himself, working as an architect. He is, however, afraid to go near any of his own creations, and has only seen them in pictures.
- Volume 8: Schoolyear's End On the last day of school, Dream and his friends get blocked from leaving by a severe hurricane warning. They sit around in the school cafeteria and tell stories to each other.
- Volume 9: The Kinky Ones Luci sells "Hell's Milkshakes" to Dream without really asking, and opens up a nightclub down the street. Dream struggles to figure out what to do with his new diner and eventually ends up selling it. Desire starts a petition to shut down Luci's club, citing that it is not exclusive enough to the pretty people.
- Volume 10: The Prom Death, a shoe in for Prom Queen, gets sick in the weeks leading up to Prom. Then she gets better, and Dream catches what she had. The afterparty involves lots of toasts to the sick friend.
- Volume 11: Sunny Days and Endless Nights The gang goes to the beach for summer vacation again. Each chapter tells the story of a different Endless on the last night of the Summer Carnival.
- Death: The High Cost of Dating Death signs up for a charity date auction, and the resulting bidding war takes up the entire day.
- Death: The Time of the Night In an attempt to teach her sister organizational skills, Death allows Delirium to manage her schedule for a week. Delirium fills up the schedule with rapidfire social obligations that Death finds impossible to break and difficult to keep.
- The Chibi Endless Storybook A story from when the Endless were younger. Delirium loses the dog Destruction left in her care while he was at the beach with some friends. She sets off to find the dog and gets lost herself. The dog comes back the next day.
- The Maxx: Spun off from Sam Kieth, the artist from the first story arc, the Maxx is like Sandman, but purple homeless and beefy with yellow claws. The Maxx is from a lower income side of the dreamscape and has a more steady girlfriend. If Sandman is like a ebony and horn gated community, the Maxx is like the inner city, or an aboriginal reservation, looking less like a series of stodgy mansions and abstract paintings and more like the infinite expanses of the primitive mind.
- Promethea: A bisexual book worm in the far off year 1999 discovers the magical world of unbound imagination at the local college library while doing a paper, discovering the power to transform into a statuesque ancient Egyptian fashion model, like if Captain Marvel was a hot black woman. She walks through an inter dimensional park full of tarot cards, art movements, esoteric religion, and with one long bibliography at the end, a sort of Alice in library land. Promethea has more citations and allusions than most comparative religion term papers.
- Swamp Thing: Spun off several years before Sandman, it tells the story of a godlike swamp monster who loses his power to some C rank villain, only to regain it in the first arc, and they eventually witness the restructuring of hell. You'll recognize some familiar faces and plot lines, but with more of the lower income blue collar horror creatures like zombies, ghosts and werewolves, not seen in the many high end country clubs for wizards and gods that Dream frequents. Unlike most heroes dream never seems to exercise, he rarely fights an enemy, he never goes on an extended walk like Gandalf, nor even just a brief dramatic run like Dr. Who, it's no wonder he doesn't look very healthy, even the Spectre knew the importance of physical fitness.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Also about a mansion of imaginary things, but with more humanity and better looking monsters.