The Sandman & 9 other franchises where death is a major character

In August, Netflix released the long-awaited adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved comic book series. The sand man. The series follows the Seven Endless – a family of immortal, god-like beings who rule natural forces. While the franchise’s main character is the titular Dream, his sister Death also plays an important role in comic book and streaming series.



Played by Kirby Howell-Baptiste, The Sandman the personification of death follows in the footsteps of many inventive iterations. From children’s cartoons and anime to satirical fantasy and horror, these reimagined reapers are important characters in their respective franchises.

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ten The sand man

Contrary to popular presentations of Death as imposing or intimidating, The Sandman Death is cute, pleasant and warm. Instead of approaching the dying with a scythe, she comes with kind words, a smile, and a gentle hand.

RELATED: 10 Best Kirby Howell-Baptiste Roles, According To IMDb

In an interview for WIRED, Sand seller Creator Neil Gaiman explained that he created the kind of death he would like to meet at the end of his life: “a death that is above all kind”. In the comics and in the Netflix series, Death is a strong supporter of her brother, Dream.

9 The Sinister Adventures of Billy and Mandy

One of Cartoon Network’s best series, The Sinister Adventures of Billy and Mandy, takes malicious pleasure in scaling the personification of Death. After losing a game in Limbo to kids Billy and Mandy (in a nod to Ingmar Bergman’s chess game The Seventh Seal)the Grim Reaper, “Grim”, is forced into servitude as his best friend forever.

Supernatural diversions ensue as Billy and Mandy use their new friend to visit otherworldly locations and battle mythical monsters. The Sinister Adventures of Billy and Mandy revels in the twisted friendship between the characters and the involuntary bondage of death.

8 Discworld

The late Sir Terry Pratchett created, in the Discworld novels, a satirical fantasy realm filled with vampires, witches, gods and more. Naturally, Discworld has his own caricature of the Grim Reaper, a psychopomp who serves the greatest deity of death Azrael. Present in many Discworld novels, Death has also made appearances in screen adaptations, such as the animated version of Wyrd Sisters (voiced by Christopher Lee), and the live action Hogpere.

He even serves as the horseman of the apocalypse in the Pratchett/Gaiman collab. good omens. Physically, Death resembles the conventional Grim Reaper, complete with black robes and a scythe. He’s a nuanced character, with an endless fascination with humanity, a love of cats, and an unwavering adherence to duty.

seven Castlevania

Although he wears the face of Varney the Vampire for most of his screen time in the Netflix series, Death is the ultimate villain and final boss of Castlevania’s fourth season. Also a major Konami video game villain that inspired the anime, he is one of the pilots in the plot to resurrect Dracula.

RELATED: 10 Castlevania characters and their historical or literary inspirations

Skeleton, of monumental size, and bearing a natural bony crown, Castlevania’s Death is physically about as terrifying as it comes. However, during the final confrontation with Trevor Belmont, it is revealed that this elemental spirit is not so much the personification of death as a vampiric creature that feeds on living energy at the time of death.

6 family guy

Death is a recurring character in the irreverent animated comedy family guy; he even debuted in the pilot episode “Death Has a Shadow”. Voiced first by the late Norm MacDonald and later by Adam Carolla, The family guy Grim Reaper’s vision may resemble the classic interpretation, but it is tinged with satire.

Shown to be opportunistic, mean-spirited, and insecure around women, Death sometimes joins Peter and the gang’s shenanigans. In the It’s a wonderful life-episode inspired “Friends of Peter G”, Death proves to be more than a tongue-in-cheek vehicle for comedy, showing Peter’s versions of his life with and without heavy drinking.

5 Death threat

An entire, ubiquitous race rather than a single character, Death Note The Shinigami are modeled after the gods of death from Japanese mythology, cowardly counterparts to the Western Grim Reaper. In the anime, they are extra-dimensional entities that kill humans to extend their own life through the Death Note. Although in the Death threat manga, Shinigami isn’t present when every human being dies, the 2017 Netflix adaptation revamps the race to function more like the grim reaper.

RELATED: The 10 Most Powerful Characters In The Sandman, Ranked

The Shinigami serve a higher being, the Death King or Shinigami King. It is characterized as an incomprehensible force of immeasurable power and therefore remains invisible in Death threat.

4 Supernatural

Like the long term Supernatural delved deeper into biblical cosmology, it’s no surprise that death, a horseman of the apocalypse, makes a recurring appearance. Commander of legions of reapers, Death is an ambiguous force within the series. He is bound to the natural order, caring little about the emotional or moral impact of his actions; thus, sometimes he lands on the side of the heroes, and other times he is a major antagonist.

Wherever the chips fall, death is one of the the supernatural best secondary characters. For most of the series, Death is portrayed by Julian Richings. In later seasons, however, the grim reaper Billie (played by Lisa Berry) takes over as the scythe. As a new death, she harbors more ill will towards the Winchesters, which develops into a more complex relationship throughout the series.

3 dead like me

It’s not a spoiler to say that the underrated HBO series dead like me begins with the death of its main character Georgia “George” Lass. She soon joins the ranks of the Reapers, a team of undead who collect the souls of the dying and escort them to the afterlife. George and his fellow reapers retain a normal human appearance, though they are unrecognizable to the living. Their role functions as a desk job, despite the stakes of life and death, and all reapers conform to the demands of a dark, unknowable death.

Because George and the Reapers are once living humans, they find it difficult to let go of attachments to life; George, in particular, feels a lack of closure in his family relationships. dead like me explores his own complex afterlife mythology through this character tension.

2 american horror story

The second season of the anthology series, american horror story: Asylum features recurring cast member Frances Conroy as Shachath, the Angel of Death. She functions as a traditional Grim Reaper, bestowing the kiss of death on dying souls, but she appears as an older woman dressed for mourning. Shachath is usually a comforting presence for the dying, offering words of comfort instead of judgment.

Because the autonomous seasons of american horror story is connected in the same logical universe with a consistent internal lore, it can be assumed that, although invisible, Shachath is present at every death in every season.

1 The Bill & Ted Franchise

After the delightful historical frolic of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the following Bill and Ted’s fake trip takes a hard left into the underworld. The eponymous duo die and journey through a surreal afterlife before facing death itself. To be inspired by The seventh sealBill and Ted challenge the pale-faced reaper to a series of games to win back their souls: Battleship, Twister, and Clue among them.

Finally, they seduce Death, who accompanies them on their adventures and even joins their group, Wyld Stallyns. The death of William Sadler reappeared in the Bill and Ted legacy sequel, Bill and Ted face the music (2021), proving he’s essential to the franchise’s secret sauce.

NEXT: 10 Best Takeaways From The Sandman Season 1

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