Cinamon Hadley—The Inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s Death

You get what anyone gets…
You get a lifetime…

Cinamon Hadley, the inspiration for the character design of Neil Gaiman’s Death of The Endless featured in his Sandman comics, passed away from a long battle with cancer on January 6th, 2018.

Previously, she had been diagnosed with the advanced stages of small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the colon but raised money for treatment causing her to go into remission.

Sadly, her cancer returned, and despite raising money for a new round of treatments via crowdfunding, she succumbed to the cancer’s spread.

Cinamon’s influence on Goth Fashion and culture cannot be overstated.

“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.”-Neil Gaiman

In an interview originally published in part in her book Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s, our Editor Andi Harriman interviewed Cinamon on what her style inspirations were, and on how Mike Dringenberg utilized her for his design of Death.

Read an excerpt from an unreleased interview published for the first time below:

When did you first enter the scene? What attracted you to it?

“I was a ballerina and grew up on the stage. What attracted me to the deathrock scene was, it was like theatre–make-up, costumes…..oh and dancing! You could be so creative with hair, makeup and clothes. And I’m a very creative individual.

I designed and made most of my clothes-not only was I poor, but I had specific ideas of what I wanted to wear

I didn’t enter the scene until late ’87. I was 18. I dyed my hair black, bought black liquid eye liner, and bought my first pack of cigarettes-camel lights hard pack. Lol.
I heard about a dance club in Salt Lake called the Palladium. I put my ballet stage make-up on, my little black outfit and teased my hair as big as I could get it and went to the club. I was in awe. I felt so at home, everyone was nice to me and I thought everyone was so “cool”. I decided this was the world I wanted to be in.

I copied Patricia Morrison’s hair from Sisters of Mercy!”

Who inspired your look? Was there a specific person?

“I wasn’t really influenced by any specific person-except my big hair-it was more; I saw people in lots of black and lots of eyeliner- . I would just start out with my Maybeline liquid eye liner and just start drawing. I often didn’t know what I was going to do. I really like the Egyptian makeup, I guess actually I was influenced by King Tutankhamen -a photo used in the comic has this makeup. But, there really isn’t anything original- someone somewhere has done it or thought about doing it. I thought I was so creative, drawing a big spiderweb on my face and gluing a little plastic spider in the center—yeah-well, it had already been done. Now for the infamous swirl under Death’s eye. That was a result of one of my little drawing sessions on my face. Now I see it everywhere. It’s kind of neat.”

How did you get involved with Neil Gaiman?

“Mike Dringenberg, the original artist for the Sandman, was a good friend of mine. He asked me one day if he could use me as a character for a comic book. I said sure. I didn’t know anything about comics and I didn’t know it was even anything special. I certainly had no idea it would be what it is now.
Funny story-About three years after Mike asked me if he could use my likeness, I was living in Houston, having moved from Salt Lake City, and I was at a friend’s house. My friend told me his favorite comic was the Sandman and showed me an issue. When I opened it I saw a picture of myself staring back at me. (It was one of the 2 photographs actually used and just inked over). i said, ” oh my God, that’s me”. I had no idea I was in the Sandman, and I had even forgotten about being asked by Mike to use me as the model.”

Cinamon Hadley with Mike Dringenberg

post-punk.com

From the Editor at Post-Punk.com

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