Corinthian (comics)

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The Corinthian is a fictional character in Neil Gaiman's comic book series The Sandman. His first appearance is in The Sandman #10 (October 1989), which is part of the second story arc, The Doll's House. The Corinthian is a nightmare created by Dream, who destroys him in the same collection for going rogue and failing to fulfill his original design. Dream later recreates him with "some changes", though the exact nature of these changes is not explicit. His most notable physical feature, aside from his white hair, is his lack of eyes: in their place, two rows of small, jagged teeth line each eye socket, which he often covers with sunglasses. He can speak, eat and even respire through these mouths. The Corinthian is an impeccable dresser and will often wear only white clothing. This has earned him the nickname "Man in White" in some circles.



The Corinthian does not appear to suffer in any way from his lack of eyes, and indeed claims to be able to see perfectly well: he is shown driving adequately even while wearing sunglasses at night. He is however fond of taking the eyeballs of his victims and eating them with his own socket/mouths. Consuming the eyes of his victims allows him to view what they have viewed in their lives and even see the future in some cases. The Corinthian is also able to possess human beings. When the Corinthian assumes control of a new host, the eyes are consumed and replaced by teeth and the hair of the victim turns white. During the process, the eye sockets bleed profusely. All other physical characteristics remain the same for the host. This lets the Corinthian jump between bodies and even pass himself off as his victims if he is able to hide or explain the physical changes.

The second Corinthian is very skilled at hand-to-hand combat. He is extremely resistant to damage and appears completely fearless. During his search for Daniel Hall in the Norse land of Swartalfheim, the Corinthian, with little apparent effort, snaps the neck of a supernatural wolf with his bare hands, and later sees through the deceptions of the Norse god Loki and defeats the deity in single combat.

Neil Gaiman has stated that the Corinthian is gay in The Sandman Companion in that the first Corinthian consumed eyes only from boys. The second Corinthian is featured with a boyfriend as written by Caitlin R. Kiernan in The Dreaming.[1]


The Sandman

The Corinthian is AWOL from the dreamscape following Morpheus' escape from capture; however, Dream eventually catches up to him shortly after saving Rose Walker from harm. The Corinthian was meant to be Morpheus' masterpiece: "A nightmare created to be the darkness, and the fear of darkness in every human heart. A black mirror, made to reflect everything about itself that humanity will not confront." Instead, Dream finds his creation has walked the earth for about 40 years, playing the role of a serial killer who removes his victims' eyes. Dream had created the Corinthian as a nightmare that would show humanity its own dark nature. Dream judged him a failure, however, because in 40 years time, the Corinthian did nothing other than commit gruesome murders, which fell far short of Dream's original, much grander intent. As punishment, Dream "uncreates" him, leaving a skull and some sand. He then remarks that the next time he creates the Corinthian, he "shall not be so flawed and petty."

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