Cinamon Hadley, the original inspiration for the character of Death in the Sandman comics, passed away on Jan. 6 from cancer-related complications. The character was created by writer Neil Gaiman and artist Mike Dringenberg, who was friends with Hadley. Nevertheless, Gaiman gives sole credit to Dringenberg for coming up with Death's visual appearance.
Speaking to SYFY WIRE over email, the artist provided a touching tribute to his muse:
"My relationship with Cinamon was subtly complex. ... You could say that's an innate aspect of the unwritten exchange that exists between artists and their muses ... that for their inspiration, we return to them a kind of immortality. My muse has passed. How I feel about that is inscribed in the work she inspired. So it is for artists; we express non-verbal complexities through our work in ways that define themselves, that become a language unto themselves. In death, in our collective memories, Cinamon is much more than herself, more than the charming, beautiful woman she was while living; muse or mirage, she's a resonating wave within our cultural Dreamtime: Cinamon has passed; long live Cinamon."
The character of Death became a Sandman fan favorite thanks to Dringenberg and Gaiman's subversive take on the physical incarnation of the end of life. Her goth-like sense of fashion and levelheaded attitude are what make this iteration of Death unique and multifaceted. Dringenberg feels that Cinamon's profound influence will forever impact the character.
"In death, her image will likely cement that particular version of Death (the character) as the one most probably to be used in any future adaptation in other media. The fans, certainly the Goths would be disappointed otherwise," he wrote. "Cinamon was one of the nicest people I've ever known; everyone took an immediate liking toward her."