In Season of Mists - Prologue (Sandman #21), when Destiny invites all the Endless for a family meeting, Death appears in her usual Goth Chick Avatar. She is then asked by Destiny to be more appropriately attired, to which she replies:

Aw, C'mon. You know how much I hate wearing that stuff...

...Next thing you're going to be moaning that I ought to get a Scythe...

Also, in Death - At Death's Door (by Jill Thompson), when mocked by a "Dead" that she does not look like death but like "my other goth chicks who choked on their own vomit".

To which Death replied in this way:

Death - by Jill Thompson

You can see in the image that she is carrying something scythe-like.

Does it mean that Death of the Endless is supposed to carry a Scythe, or was just some sort of joke on Death's part.

Authoritative canon references needed.

  • 4
    Not knowing the answer in universe, I will mention that the traditional image of death with a Scythe is fairly logical; a Scythe is a Reaping tool, and, at least in western cultures, death is often imagined to be reaping human lives in bulk with it, especially in time of plague or war. This actually puts death more into the Psychopomp role than the villian; (s)he's a harvester of souls that are ready to move on.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 13:53
  • @KHW: The character of Death in Sandman has never been shown to carry a scythe in the long 25 year history of comic. Scythe is pretty "Standard Issue" issue with other death characters but not in sandman, which brings this question.
    – kmdhrm
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 14:00
  • 1
    Oh, sure -- my point was more that Death in the traditional, historical/mythological sense is more of a force of nature; death reaps mankind the way a farmer reaps wheat. I believe Sandman's death is what's called a Psychopomp; that is to say, a spirit or other being who, usually on a one-to-one basis, escorts the dead to their next life / judgement / etc. Such beings often take an appearance to comfort/relax/whatever those they take away.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 15:59
  • Related for historical context: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/39423/…
    – JohnP
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


"Does it mean that Death of the Endless is supposed to carry a Scythe, or was just some sort of joke on Death's part."

What about dying single-celled life-forms that would not even be able to recognize a scythe?

I know you want canon answers only, but if you've read Sandman you know she's not merely the Dante version or the Egyptian version or the Greek version. She wears whatever façade helps put you at rest at the moment of your death. Forget the scythe, her most death-defining feature is the sound of wings as you are spirited away.

She would not say "Is THIS what you were expecting?" if that was her everyday appearance. She tries to present herself according to expectations to minimize the trauma.

The best way to think of / understand this is: The Endless (Death, Dream, Desire, Delight/Delirium, Destruction, Despair, Destiny) existed before humans. Before human shape, and much before human tools like a scythe. They look like they need to look for us to understand them. Mostly though, we only meet her. Once. And her everyday look is usually very casual with an ankh necklace (it's seemingly incongruous at first thought, but makes perfect sense once you settle into the narrative and understand that the human forms they inhabit are only temporary). They were here before us. They'll be here after us.

From issue 8, "The Sound of Her Wings":

You get what anybody gets - you get a lifetime.”

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    Very good answer. My only addition is that we all meet Death twice, according to Destruction in "The Song of Orpheus." Commented May 10, 2016 at 0:30
  • All of the Endless have the ability/tendency to appear howsoever they are traditionally portrayed by the viewer. What seems clear is that Death has chosen to disregard that ability, at least in part. We see how Morpheus is viewed many, many times, but he is not alone. Desire also clearly changes his/her aspect on viewing. Delirium changes aspects at a whim. Death simply can't be bothered with all that jazz.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 21:59

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