The Sandman costume guide
This week, the long-awaited prequel to Neil Gaiman's graphic-novel masterpiece The Sandman debuts its first issue the day before Halloween. So in honor of the holiday, and our Gaiman fanaticism, we put together a how-to for those of you who want to show off your comic-book knowledge on the sly. Depending on your commitment to dressing up, you can go all in, or just add a little Sandman-inspired flair to your wardrobe.
Tatiana Craine Delirium, Death, Dream, and Destiny from The Sandman.
Here's your guide to becoming one of the Endless.
Even though Gaiman has time and time again said that he's not the basis for Dream, it's not a stretch to start your costume off of his all-black aesthetic, and that mop of unruly hair. No matter what Dream-y look you're going for, you'll definitely need a jet-black wig as well as some carbon-black eye makeup to smear around your lids. The rest, is up to you. For Dream's traditional look, start out with the hair and the raccoon eyes, then envelope yourself in a long, black robe. For his more modern look, a black t-shirt and some black jeans will do the trick.
With Desire, you'll want to make sure you're doing your best Tilda Swinton impression in the style department. Since Desire is neither male nor female, try a mix of Annie Lennox and David Bowie's androgynous glam. Fitted suits or even a silk robe work, but what really makes the look will be the way you do your makeup. Paint a thin line of liquid eyeliner on your top lid (or go for a slight cat eye), swipe some red lipstick on, and if you're feeling really true-to-form pop in some gold-colored contacts.
The eldest of the Endless, Destiny waits for events to unfold in his garden maze while his siblings wreak havoc. You'll need a brown robe with a serious hood and cowl to cover up your face. Next, get a fake chain -- easy to find in the seasonal Halloween section -- and secure one end to a large book, the other to your right wrist.
Despair is a bummer, but that's no reason to ignore her. Since she's pretty much always sans-clothes, get yourself a flesh-colored bodysuit and do a rumpled topknot for your hair. Emulate her pointed gnashers with some faux teeth on your bottom gum line. She also carries around her two pet rats, but you can opt for a rubber version.
Tatiana Craine Death and Dream
Death is patron saint of goth-chic, and one of the more stylish of the Endless. From her many days visiting mortals on Earth, she's got a whole slew of outfits that will satisfy any sartorial desires. Death's most easy-breezy look can be achieved with a tank top, jeans, a studded belt, some boots, and an umbrella. Sometimes, she even springs for a top hat. Remember, like Dream, her outfits are all black. (Duh.) Don't forget to pile on the carbon-black liquid eyeliner, and draw her signature curlicue underneath your right eye. Finish off your look with an ankh necklace, and you're good to go.
You'll need a long, red wig that you can pull back into a low ponytail. You'll also need a white, button-down shirt and jeans. To finish off Destruction's wayward, wandering artist-type look, make yourself a bindle (that's fancy-speak for a stick and a handkerchief with stuff in it) with, well... a long stick with a red handkerchief tied to the end. Remember to stuff something light and soft inside to give it a fuller look.
It used to be that most of the guys and girls that went to Gaiman signings looked like Dream and Death, but nowadays Delirium's look is going mainstream. The undercut is back, and so are bright, neon locks. You can emulate Delirium's hair with a rainbow wig (or by getting a blonde wig and dying various sections shades of bright red-orange). Her eyes are two different colors -- one green and the other blue with silver flecks -- so go crazy with some eye shadow. Or if you're feeling ambitious: color contacts. She's often seen in a mesh shirt and a leather jacket, but anything delightfully distressed will work. (After all, she used to be known as Delight once upon a time...) Last thing, if you can find a fish-shaped mylar balloon, tie it around your wrist, and you're ready to spread some macabre cheer.
Click through to see how to dress up as other characters from The Sandman...