Born Delight, she transformed into Delirium long before the advent of humanity. She can be seen as a very young Delight in Endless Nights, a collection of stories about the Endless; a statue of an older Delight can be seen in Destiny's garden in Brief Lives. Most of the time, she is scatterbrained; she often forgets the thread of her conversations, and comes out with offbeat and seemingly inconsequential observations. Todd Klein, the series' letterer, draws her speech as letters which do not quite match in height or line up neatly, against a multi-colored background. Very occasionally she is able, with an effort, to become more controlled in thought and speech, at which point her speech is drawn more neatly and the background fades to near-white. This effort, as she says later, causes her pain. Her speech as Delight in Endless Nights takes the same form, with somewhat orderly lettering and a faint rainbow background.
Most of the other Endless (particularly Death and Destruction) seem to be fond of Delirium to varying degrees, and protective of her. She in turn is affectionate towards them, particularly Destruction.
Delirium features in many of the most inventive sequences of the series, particularly in the seventh collection, Brief Lives, in which she and Morpheus attempt to track down Destruction. One of the most striking frames of the whole series features Delirium lying on a hotel bed with a bottle of bubble-blowing liquid, blowing bubbles in a variety of impossible shapes — diamonds, crosses, cats, and what appears to be Totoro from the Japanese animated feature My Neighbor Totoro (this is probably a visual joke on the part of artist Jill Thompson). Also, in a very important moment in the story, Destiny imparts upon Dream the information and the means by which he may find Destruction. Due to Dream's distress at this revelation, Delirium is forced to collect herself so much that her usual mis-matched appearance disappears, and she becomes a very symmetrical creature, reflecting perhaps that in delirium, delight still exists, no matter how painful.
It may be noted that Delirium once exhibited a very deep form of order. Towards the end of Brief Lives, as she recounts to Destruction the steps she and Dream undertook to find him, her appearance - hairstyle, clothing, et cetera - recapitulates in almost the exact order it had originally appeared. Her long and rambling recollection seemed nonsensical, but readers noticed that it more or less accurately described everything that had happened - just not very clearly. This suggests that Delirium may be less crazy than she looks and merely has trouble expressing herself.
Delirium also seems to know many things none of the other Endless know. She says so when she is teased by Desire during the family meeting in Season of Mists. At the end of Brief Lives, Destruction describes a situation in which Death told him that everybody knows everything and they just pretend they don't, but neither he nor Dream really understand or believe this. Delirium, however, says, "She is. um. Right. Kind of. Not knowing everything is all that makes it okay, sometimes." ("One who knows too much eventually goes insane." "One who knows truth as truth and nothing else can't comprehend this world of lies.")
It is said that Delirium knows pathways outside of Destiny's garden, which only she may travel.
Delirium, like her siblings, has also exhibited a form of prophetic knowledge; however, her prophecies rarely make sense until it is too late to do anything about them, and no other character recognizes them. In Brief Lives, she persuades a man to give the dancer Tiffany money, when Tiffany would later be the only mortal to survive the explosion of the building she was dancing; in The Kindly Ones, she knows full well that her brother is in trouble and unsuccessfully tries to persuade him to help her find Barnabas; also, when read the quote 'Quoth the Raven', from Edgar Allan Poe's poem, 'The Raven', she says 'Whatever', which, down to the pronounced 'ev' had been and would be said by Matthew the Raven throughout the book.
It has been suggested that Delight was once engaged to be married, which may have caused part of her change. In Endless Nights, in the story "On the Peninsula", when Destruction is talking to the female archaeologist, she notes that Delirium might have had her heart broken. This could relate to Delirium saying she was sick - but time and The Endless are in a confused state, and we don't know when she was sick, so the illness she refers to could well have been when she changed from Delight to Delirium.
More likely, however, is that that sickness was depicted in another Endless Nights story, "Going Inside", in which Delirium has retreated into her realm so deeply that no one can retrieve her, save five insane human individuals gathered together by Daniel, Matthew and Barnabas, as only those who are already deeply insane can enter her realm unscathed.
Personification of Delirium: One of the seven Endless, inconceivably powerful beings, Delirium is both lord and personification of all Delirium and Sanity, She had god-like powers and absolute power over her realm, which is a chaotic, constantly changing mass of colors and strange objects and shapes. She is capable of bringing sanity or madness to any and all within her scope.
Omnipresence: Being Delirium, she is everywhere on Earth at any moment, but not in a form visible to humans, usually.
Shapeshifting: Her features constantly change depending on her mood and various mental state.
Teleportation: She can travel instantly anywhere in the mortal realm that people die and live, and, so long as she shows proper respect, she can easily enter and transit most magical realms too.
Immortal: Delirium was ageless and virtually immortal.
Sorcery: Nigh-Omnipotent mastery of magic.
Ancient Rules: Despite her great powers Delirium, like the rest of the Endless, was bound to a complex set of rules and customs.
- One which requires her not to spill the blood of family or she is no longer protected as the personification of Delirium from other Personifications
- Another is that she cannot fall in love with a mortal or the mortals downfall is assured.
- She has a pet dog on indefinite loan from her brother Destruction, named Barnabas.
- 18 Appearances of Delirium (New Earth)
- 4 Images featuring Delirium (New Earth)
- 2 Quotations by or about Delirium (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Delirium (New Earth)
This character exists under the Vertigo Imprint which is intended for Mature Readers. Vertigo titles although they may cross over into regular DC continuity.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Vertigo Characters."