Cinamon Hadley, the Woman Who Inspired the Look of Death, Has Died

Neil Gaiman once described the design of the character Death from Sandman and Death: The High Cost Of Living, thus:

Death is the only major character whose visuals didn’t spring from me; that credit goes to Mike Dringenberg. In my original Sandman outline, I suggested Death look like rock star Nico in 1968, with the perfect cheekbones and perfect face she has on the cover of her Chelsea Girl album.But Mike Dringenberg had his own ideas, so he sent me a drawing based on a woman he knew named Cinamon Hadley — the drawing that was later printed in Sandman 11 — and I looked at it and had the immediate reaction of, “Wow. That’s really cool.” Later that day, Dave McKean and I went to dinner in Chelsea at the My Old Dutch Pancake House and the waitress who served us was a kind of vision. She was American, had long black hair, was dressed entirely in black — black jeans, T-shirt, etc. — and wore a big silver ankh on a silver necklace. And she looked exactly like Mike Dringenberg’s drawing of Death.

Photo of Mike Dringenberg and Cinamon Hadley by Dmcgauley

Sadly, the woman who gave Mike Dringenberg that iconic look has passed away, after being diagnosed with cancer of the colon, which went into remission, but returned. The friends of designer Cinamon Hadley have been celebrating her life and mourning her passing.

And there are the nascent plans for something more, as a tribute.

Our condolences and thoughts to all those who knew her. And our support for anyone looking to put such a tribute together.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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