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Contributed by Melony Mazur

The Corinthian is a nightmare character created by Morpheus, King of Dreams in Neil Gaiman’s “SANDMAN” series, his first appearance in story #10, “The Doll’s House.”

The Corinthian is a mirror, meant to show the ills of mankind and the darkness that they will not face in the waking world. He is characterized by his stark-white hair and sunglasses, which hide two mouths in his eye sockets. He uses all of these mouths to talk, yet his eye mouths are mainly used to ingest eyeballs of his choosing. Though he has no trouble seeing despite his lack of eyes, when he eats the eyeballs of his victims he is granted the ability to see their memories. His other ability is to possess the bodies of mortals, turning their hair white and replacing their eyes with teeth.

There are actually two Corinthians: the first was uncreated by Morpheus when the Dream King deemed him unworthy of existence due to his excessive violence in the human realm. Morpheus then re-created Corinthian from a separate skull in issue #57, “The Kindly Ones,” and charged him with finding Daniel, the child who would be his successor. Despite being a re-creation, the second Corinthian admits that it is in his nature to be a killer, and that the memories of the old Corinthian are “all he has.”

In “The Sandman Companion,” and on Neil Gaiman’s blog, Gaiman has stated that the Corinthian is gay, because even though he is not shown having sexual relations with anyone, he only takes the eyeballs of boys.

In Caitlin R. Kiernan’s “The Dreaming,” the Corinthian appears with an apparent boyfriend. The Corinthian also received a 3-issue spinoff series, “Corinthian: Death in Venice,” which sheds light on how Corinthian I became a killer. He also makes an appearance in “The Dreaming,” where Corinthian II is made human for a brief time, and he finally begins to understand human compassion and fear, traits he had always seemed to lack.

The Corinthian was created by Neil Gaiman and Mike Dringenberg. Art by Dringenberg from Sandman #14.

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