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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – The Cast of Sandman

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

An announcement of sorts. This will be the last weekly When We First Met for the foreseeable future. It will likely still pop up as an occasional feature, but not every week. Next year you’ll see what takes it place in the weekly rotation!

We send the feature out with a whopper of a column! The debuts of the various cast members of Neil Gaiman’s groundbreaking series, Sandman! Well, not ALL of them, of course, as that’d be nuts, but as many notable ones as I can think of!

We’ll begin with the Endless, the family that really drives the series (well, specifically, Dream of the Endless).

Dream is the star of Sandman, and he naturally debuted in the first issue. We first see him as he is captured by some occultists in the beginning of the issue…

Here he is, freed, at the end of the issue…

Death, Dream’s older sister, makes her debut in Sandman #8…

Destiny, the eldest of the Endless, is the only one who debuted before Sandman. He first showed up in Weird Mystery Tales #1, drawn by Berni Wrightson as he introduces an old Jack Kirby horror story…

Desire and Despair both showed up in Sandman #10…

Delirium showed up in Sandman #21, where the siblings all meet up, save for the missing Destruction.

We finally meet Destruction (in a flashback) in the excellent Sandman Special #1 in 1991…

Cain and Abel are two of the more notable inhabitants of the Dreaming.

We first meet Cain in House of Mystery #175 in 1968…

His brother, Abel, eventually took over the House of Secrets, but first we meet him in this 1969 story in DC Special #4…

Lucien the Librarian appeared in an ad in Weird Mystery Tales #18, but his proper first appearance was in the first issue of Tales of Ghost Castle (we learn in Sandman that the Ghost Castle is owned by Dream)…

I didn’t know Paul Levitz created him. That’s pretty cool for Paul to see his character become such a major supporting character in Sandman.

Lucifer became a major character after Gaiman introduced his version on the character in Sandman #4…

Mike Carey did a great series starring Lucifer after Sandman finished.

Another major character in Carey’s series was Lucifer’s greatest ally, Mazikeen, who debuted in Sandman #22…

(The whole “half her skull exposed” bit was eventually dropped via the use of a face mask, like the guy on Boardwalk Empire)

Matthew Cable was a longtime Swamp Thing supporting character who made his debut in Swamp Thing #1 as the guy in charge of security for Alec and Linda Holland (suffice to say that Matt did not do his job too well).

After his death, he became Matthew the Raven in the Dreaming. He debuted in Sandman #11…

Merv Pumpkinhead is, in my opinion, all that is great about comics. He showed up as a throwaway gag in Sandman #5….

and yet eventually became a prominent enough supporting character that he got his own one-shot special!!! I love that unpredictability. Sort of like how you never know if that scrappy little Canadian guy fighting the Hulk might become one of the most famous comic book characters ever.

Gregory the Gargoyle made his first appearance in the same issue that Cain debuted, House of Mystery #175. He is the child of two gargoyles…

In Sandman #2, we meet Gregory all grown…

In that same issue, Gregory gets a friend when Cain gives Abel a pet gargoyle…

Abel names it Goldie later in the issue…

The immortal Hob Gadling first showed up in Sandman #13, where he talked smack about Death at just the wrong time…

Fimally, here’s Thessaly, the witch who Dream fell for big time. She made her bow in Sandman #32, and you’d never guess how big of a role she’d end up playing from this first appearance…

There’s obviously other great characters, but well, haven’t you had enough already, you greedy people you?


Great list and “tour” of Sandman. Good memories!

Some of the scans are in the wrong order: Lucifer, Mazikeen, Thessaly.

GREAT series

Thanks, Kabe, I forgot I moved one of the pieces around. Fixed now!

It seems like Gaiman made use of pretty much all the old DC horror narrators: the three witches from The Witching Hour showed up in Sandman too, albeit less prominently than these others, and of course Mr. E from Secrets of Haunted Hourse in The Books of Magic.

Some preexisting characters that were more prominent in the series but don’t show up here are Fury, the Kirby Sandman, Brute & Glob, and of course Doctor Destiny. Maybe fodder for part two?


Judge Gallows and the Mad Mod Witch are completely new to me.

Perfect article! Let me contribute a little bit:
Matthew became a raven already in Swamp Thing #84 (there is even the cameo of Morpheus!)
As a sidenote in The Witching Hour we got the three famous witches: Morded, Mildred, and Cynthia
Also if someone cares: The Prez from Sandman #54 got his own solo mini-series and appeared in Supergirl #10

and something that might be of interest.

Here’s an ongoing blog of portraits of EVERY character in the Sandman Universe…even the super obscure background characters that nobody pays attention to.


buttler- “less prominently”? Morded, Mildred, and Cynthia turned out to be aspects of The Kindly Ones (or were The Kindly Ones aspects of The Three Witches?) who drove much of the narrative for the third “act” of the series.

ultron- Prez wasn’t really a mini-series (such animals hadn’t been invented yet), it just got canceled after four issues.

Chaim Mattis Keller

December 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Great article – perhaps Starman’s cast in a future article? If nothing else, it will complete the “horror hosts become actual DCU characters” list, with the fortune-teller Charity.

With all the DC/Vertigo crossover hullabaloo that was going on awhile back, I guess the fact that Gregory showed up in a few issues of Secret Six went under everyone’s radar.

Wasn’t Goldie–or “a” Goldie–Abel’s imaginary friend long before that?

Strangely, Mike Grell had featured an appearance by Death and Despair in his Warlord series, specifically Warlord#46.

As embodiments of Death appear quite frequently, I would not otherwise note this situation had an embodiment of Despair not appeared as well, since only does not often encounter embodiments of Despair.

Wonder Woman#2 (1942) featured General Destruction as an associate of Mars. However, whether one considers that as the embodiment of Destruction stands as unclear. (Mars also employed Lord Conquest, the Duke of Deception and the Earl of Greed).

It is worth mentioning that Matt Cable had a role in another series between Swamp Thing volumes.

December 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Strangely, Mike Grell had featured an appearance by Death and Despair in his Warlord series, specifically Warlord#46.

As embodiments of Death appear quite frequently, I would not otherwise note this situation had an embodiment of Despair not appeared as well, since one does not often encounter embodiments of Despair.

That kid in DC Special #4 shouting about “Egor”–is that Archie?

Especially nice to see the characters debuting elsewhere than actual Sandman run, those I pretty much knew already, though I admit Mervyn Pumpkinhead’s first appearance was a bit blink-and-you-missed-it.

Speaking of which, the character I’d like to see explored more, e.g. in a mini, is Dog Soup, and she was in, what, three panels in one issue?

Well, the Six were established in the House of Secrets, so Gregory should have been there. Put it with Constantine showing up at Superman’s funeral as one of those things where DC actually admitted Vertigo was part of their world.

Michael M Jones

January 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm

And yet Gaiman apparently missed at least one of the old horror narrators. Charity, who hosted Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion, didn’t resurface until James Robinson brought her into the Starman series.

Let’s not forget how Cain and Abel and Gregory showed up in Blue Devil, along with the lesser-known House of Weirdness…

So much great art, both in the actual “Sandman” pieces, and the stuff from the earlier series. Who did the art in that “DC Special” story? That first panel looks so modern. Definitely ahead of its time for cartooning in 1969.

I love this series so much. Read it all the first time through in one Summer vacation during high school. Changed my life, and that’s not an exaggeration.

And yet Gaiman apparently missed at least one of the old horror narrators. Charity, who hosted Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion, didn’t resurface until James Robinson brought her into the Starman series.

He left Elvira out too (from Elvira’s House of Mystery), though I suppose there was a reason for that. An insufficient reason, say I.

Even Eve (Secrets of Sinister Hourse) and the Mad Mod Witch (The Unexpected) put in brief appearances, but where were Squire Shade (Ghosts), Judge Gallows (The Unexpected) and Dr. E. Leopold Maas (Spirit World, Weird Mystery Tales)?

And that’s not even getting into Fawcett’s Dr. Death (This Magazine is Haunted) and the Mummy (Beware, Terror Tales) and Quality’s Old Witch (Hit Comics), whom I’m not sure if DC even owns. (Did they only snag the superhero line?) And Charlton had a LOT of them, but the same question applies.

[…] via CBR – Enjoy the title page from the first issue of Sandman, since I felt like it was cheating to post […]

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