Everything You Need To Know About Corinthian From The Sandman

Spoilers for "The Sandman" comics follow.

What do your nightmares look like? Dreams are strange, often abstract things, but the Corinthian is definitely the stuff nightmares are made of. While the world of "The Sandman" is populated by a host of unforgettable characters, he is probably the most terrifying. This creature looks human, but behind his sunglasses are two rows of teeth where each of his eyes should be. And if that wasn't enough, the Corinthian's viciousness is unmatched. He was created by Neil Gaiman and Mike Dringenberg, making his first appearance in "The Sandman" #10 in 1989 during "The Doll's House" arc.

The Corinthian will be prominently featured in Netflix's upcoming adaptation of "The Sandman," which will hit the steaming platform August 5. In fact, based on the trailer, it looks as though he'll play an even more significant role than he does in the comics. The living nightmare was voiced by Riz Ahmed in the excellent audio version of "The Sandman" and will be portrayed by Boyd Holbrook ("Logan") in the Netflix series.

So, who exactly is the Corinthian? Don't worry, we're here to answer that exact question for you.

Nightmares made flesh

The Corinthian was created by Morpheus, aka the central character of "The Sandman," who goes by many names, such as Kai'ckul, Oneiros, and Dream. He and his siblings comprise the seven Endless: the living embodiments of Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. Morpheus is the Prince of Stories, responsible not only for dreams, but nightmares as well. His realm is known as the Dreaming.

Dream called the Corinthian "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." But this living nightmare struggled to mind the boundaries between dreams and reality — a crime for which Dream planned to unmake him. However, before he could do so, Dream was captured and held prisoner in 1916 until he escaped in 1988 — in the Netflix series the timeline will be longer. Not only did Dream's realm fall into disrepair, but his absence left the waking world vulnerable to the Corinthian, who fled the Dreaming. As you might expect, those who encountered him wished they had not.

The Corinthian is terrifying not only in appearance, but also in appetite. He can use his extra mouths to consume the eyeballs of his victims and greatly relishes the process. This nightmare can also see things through the eyes of those victims. Over the decades he managed to hide himself behind those trademark shades and built up quite a reputation amongst frighteningly like-minded people. He didn't just torture and kill, but also empowered others to do the same. This led to him speaking at a serial killer convention, where Dream finally tracked him down.

A nightmare reborn

Dream had a long journey ahead of him after escaping his captors, but was terribly disappointed in his creation when he was finally able to confront him. He told the Corinthian that after walking the earth for 40 years, all he'd done was show humanity that this type of evil exists, a fact that people are already all too well acquainted with. Dream took the blame, feeling that the ultimate failing was his own for doing a poor job constructing the creature. The Corinthian challenged his creator, but was swiftly unmade. However, that wasn't the end for this living nightmare.

A few years later during the climactic arc of "The Sandman," "The Kindly Ones," Dream would find himself in need of the Corinthian again for a very important mission. You might not think searching for a lost child vital to the Dreaming would be in the Corinthian's wheelhouse, but it proved to be a task he was uniquely suited for. Dream remade the nightmare, but with a few key differences. This version of the Corinthian was a distinct creature, but retained his predecessor's memories. He was far more loyal this time around, though perhaps this was because he hoped to avoid the fate of the first Corinthian. Over time, this iteration of the Nightmare would prove unstable as well.

What's he up to these days?

Aside from those major story arcs in "The Sandman," the Corinthian would also appear in spinoff books, "The Dreaming," and "The Sandman Presents: The Corinthian." Most recently, he headlines his own story in "The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country." The book comes from one of the best writers currently in comics, James Tynion IV. Tynion is well-versed in horror, having written both "The Nice House on the Lake" and "Something is Killing the Children." The comic has incredible art from Lisandro Estherren, as well as guest artists, including the amazing Yannick Paquette. While this new Corinthian-centric book is certainly worth picking up at your local comic shop, it's a great time to also begin the seminal series that started it all, "The Sandman." Just remember, while you might want Morpheus to follow you into your dreams, be careful that the Corinthian doesn't find his way into your nightmares!