Home | Comics | wishlist | Impressum | Datenschutzerklärung | 54.159.44.54



			The Books of Magic
	          Book I: The Invisible Labyrinth
		  By Neil Gaiman and John Bolton
		  Not yet reprinted in any other form
		    Annotations by David Goldfarb

p.1	panel 2: John Constantine was created by Alan Moore, 
Steve Bissette, John Totleben, Jamie Delano, and John Ridgeway (whew!).
His first appearance was in _Swamp Thing_ #37 (1985). He
currently stars in the series _John Constantine: Hellblazer_.
	panel 3: Dr. Occult first appeared in _More Fun Comics_ #6 (1935).
He was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
	panel 4: Mr. E first appeared in _Secrets of the Haunted House_
#31 (1980). He was created by Bob Rozakis and Dan Spiegle.
	panel 5: This character is trademarked as "The Phantom Stranger".
Alan Moore (and Gaiman after him) treats "phantom stranger" as a 
description rather than a name or title, however. Note that Dr. Occult
consistently calls him "my friend" rather than "stranger". He first
appeared in _Phantom Stranger_ (first series) #1 (195?). 
	panel 6: This is the first appearance of Timothy Hunter.

p.2     panel 1: Are there any earlier references to the "Cold Flame"
or did Gaiman invent them?

p.4 	panel 3: This is a reference to the famous poem "The Charge
of the Light Brigade", by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

p.9	panel 1: In _Hellblazer_ #8, Constantine received a blood
transfusion from the demon Nergal.

p.10	panel 3: "The fields we know" as a synonym for "the mundane
world" was a favorite phrase of Lord Dunsany, one of the best fantasy
writers of the early twentieth century.
	panel 5: Name-magic is a popular device in modern fantasy novels.
It seems odd that everyone in the series knows Tim's name. It's possible
that "Timothy Hunter" is not Tim's "true name" that has power over
him, but is just a tag from his childhood.

p.17 	panel 1: The Silver City is an abode of angels, separate
from the realms of Heaven where blessed souls reside. It seems to be 
Gaiman's invention. It first appeared either here or in _The Season
of Mists_, chapter 3 (_Sandman_ #24). Further information on the city
can be found there and in the short story "Murder Mysteries", by Gaiman,
which appears in the anthology _Midnight Graffitti_.
	panel 2: The Phantom Stranger has no definitely established
origin. _Secret Origins_ #10 has four conflicting stories; the one
by Alan Moore, which Gaiman seems to be treating as correct, posited
that the stranger was an angel who didn't choose a side in the
Revolt of the Angels. Thus he was banished from Heaven but not damned
to Hell, and was permitted to walk the earth. (The stranger's comment
here at least seems most consistent with this story.)

p.18	panel 1: This is of course the Revolt of the Angels, and the
fall of Lucifer. The best-known account of this may be Milton's
_Paradise Lost_.

p.19	panel 1: Francis Uy (fau@po.cwru.edu), quoting
Gustav Davidson's _A Dictionary of Angels_ has this to say
about the various angels mentioned here:

"Lucifer -- erroneously equated with the fallen angel (Satan) due
 to a misreading of Isaiah 14:12: "How art thou fallen from
 Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning," an apostrophe which
 applied to Nebuchadnezzar...
 The name Lucifer was applied to Satan by St. Jerome...

Uriel -- regent of the sun, flame of God, angel of the presence,
 presider over Tartarus, archangel of salvation, etc... [not
 specifically titled as 'ruler of the worlds']

Raphael -- [numerous titles, many of which taken together would
 comprise an 'overseer of humanity']

Michael -- [numerous titles, including angel set over chaos]

Saraquel -- prince of ministering angels, set over the children
 of men whose spirits have sinned...

Gabriel -- [numerous titles, including lord of the cherubim and
 the seraphim]

Raguel -- "takes vengeance on the world of luminaries [other
 angels]"...

I found it very strange that Gaiman showed only six angels.  It
is clear that groups of angels are almost exclusively seven or
four in number.  One is led to wonder who the missing angel is.
[Presumably it was Lucifer?  DG]
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael + Uriel are often listed as the chief
four-team of angels.  Raguel is often in the top 7.  Saraquel,
however, is a decidedly lesser entity."

	In book II, Tim comments that the Spectre looks like these
angels. We may speculate that the Spectre is some kind of avatar
of Raguel, and that therefore Raguel is the one in the green hood.

Edward T. Gulane (edgulane@cas.uap.edu.ph) adds:
Recent issues of the Spectre identify him as the Vengeance of the Lord -
the force , maybe angel if you will - that is responsible for punishing
those who have incurred the Lords anger.  In Spectre No. 0 (Third series,
part of the Zero Hour No. 0 series), the Spectre is said to have been the
one who afflicted Pharaohs household with frogs and brought down the
walls of Jericho when Joshua blew his horn.  The Spectre was banished
when Christ was born as vengeance could not co-exist with hope but later
bonded with an Indian man seeking vengeance.


pp.23-24 The idea that demons are not all fallen angels seems to
be original to Gaiman. The idea that some people's gods are actually
demonic, however, dates back at least to the ancient Hebrews.

p.25	panel 1: We are never told for certain, but presumably this
mage-lord is Arion, who starred in the now-defunct series _Arion,
Lord of Atlantis_, and the mini-series _Arion the Immortal_.

p.26	panel 2: Avalon is an island in the western sea where King Arthur
lies. Lyonesse was a land near Cornwall in the Arthurian cycles, that
sank. Hy-Brasail (or -Brasil or Brazil) is also from Celtic legends, an
island in the Atlantic. Its inhabitants (according to some sources)
became so morally pure that that the island severed its gross earthly
connections, and could be seen only by those free of worldly desires.

p.29 	panel 1: The dog-faced god is Anubis, eater of the dead. At death,
the Egyptians believed that the Ka (the soul) flew to a judgment call
presided over by Osiris (the more proper God of the Dead).  There, the
supplicants heart was weighed against the feather of maat (justice) and
if found wanting, the heart was consumed by Anubis. 
Any references on "tall shadow women"? This may refer to the Sphinx.
	panel 2: According to the inside back cover of book 4, this
story is taken from Chinese poems translated by Arthur Waley. I checked
a Japanese and a Chinese character dictionary for the characters here
and could find only the third. (The second could mean "thought" if the
diagonal stroke at the very top were absent.) Many possible meanings
were given for it; the ones that seem relevant are "technique", "art",
or "rite". The letters in the box at the bottom right look like 
Chinese or Japanese at first glance but actually they say "Bolton".

p.30 	The "twice-born boy" is the god Dionysus (also known, among
many other names, as Bacchus). His mother, Semele, asked his father,
Zeus, to reveal his true form to her. The sight of that form killed
her. So Zeus took Dionysus from her womb (the first birth) and sewed
him into his thigh, where he finished gestation. Just after his second
birth, Hera ordered the Titans to sieze him and tear him to pieces.
They boiled the pieces in a cauldron, while a pomegranate tree sprouted
from the soil where his blood had fallen. The goddess Rhea rescued and
reconstituted him.
	Dionysus was the god of wine, and thus of grapes. Greek drama
originated from Dionysian religious ceremonies in which playwrights
competed to win a sacred goat. Thus, "Drama, vines, and goat feet
follow him into the world."
	The "witch-queen" is the goddess Hecate, who had three faces
and was associated with the moon. The "triple Goddess" is a favorite
theme of Gaiman's and shows up many times in _The Sandman_.

p.31 	The statue at the top of the page is obviously Mesopotamian 
(separate period from the earlier Sumerians or the later Assyrians),
and the one just below it is Assyrian. Can anyone identify the one just to
Tim's left in panel 1?

p.32	panel 4: "Devoir" is French for "duty" and can be used to mean
"homework".

p.33	panel 3: Many sources have Merlin as the son of a devil. In
the DC universe, it is specifically the demon Belial.
	panel 4: The inscription on the sword probably ends "sword from
this stone and anvil is rightwise King of all Britain".

p. 34 	panel 3: "Myrddin" is a Welsh version of "Merlin". "Myrddyn",
"Myrddin" or "Merlyn" was one of the three great Bards of Wales. He
came into the British tradition as a seer/prophet, notably in the
work of Geoffrey of Monmouth; though Geoffrey is primarily noted for
his "History of the Kings of Britain", which was the work that first
linked Merlyn with Arthur, he also wrote a longish "Prophecies of Merlyn".
It was after Geoffrey's time that Merlyn became known as a wizard, and
acquired his odd parentage, but by that time nobody would have referred
to him as "Myrddin".
	Though we can't tell it from this artwork, it's revealed in
book II that this is Jason Blood, whom Merlin used as a living prison
for his half-brother, the demon Etrigan. (Jason Blood and Etrigan were
created by Jack Kirby, and first appeared in _The Demon_ (first series)
#1 (1972).)

p. 35	panel 2: The Star of David probably comes from some Kabalistic
text. (The Kabala is a form of Jewish mysticism.) The picture with the
seven steps is from alchemy; the words are, as near as I can tell, 
"calcination", "sublimation", "solution", "putrefaction", "distillation",
"coagulation", and "tincture". These are various operations used in 
alchemy; it's possible that those particular ones in that order are
the so-called Great Work which could turn lead into gold.

Darryl Greensill  says:
I am reasonably sure these various symbols and diagrams are
excerpted from a book by John Dee (the wizard of Elizabeth I).

p.36	panel 1: Any references on the big red figure? The green diagram
looks like astrology, but it would be nice to know for sure.

Darryl Greensill  says:
The red figure may be Leviathan.  The diagram appears to be a
Platonic circle, showing the various astro(nom/log)ical symbols for the
planets rotating about one another and about the Earth (circle in the
middle).  The Z4 symbol to the upper right of Earth is Jupiter.

Edward T. Gulane (edgulane@cas.uap.edu.ph) adds:
It looks alchemical to me.  The symbols represent certain elements, I
recognize the one for mercury.

pp.37-38 These are various images associated with witchcraft and the
hunting of witchcraft: A woman consorts with a goat-headed demon;
a woman keeps a black cat, perhaps as a familiar; a woman accused 
of witchcraft is poked with a sharp pin to test for the numb "witch's
teat" and gets up bleeding from numerous small wounds; a woman is led
to the stake and burned at it; a woman is hung above a river  
(If the accused were to sink, then she was innocent.  If she floated 
then the Devil must be guarding one of his own.  Figures.); a witch
flies on a broomstick; a woman goes into the woods alone to meet with
her coven and worship a horned god.
	The images are in the style of medieval prints, but they are 
most probably not actual prints but the modern work of John Bolton.

p.40	panel 4: Dr. Fate was created by Howard Sherman and first
appeared in _More Fun Comics_ #52 (1940).  Nabu was one of the
"Lords of Order", who were opposed by "Lords of Chaos". At the time
that this story was written, Kent Nelson was dead, and his body inhabited
by Nabu. A later writer brought Kent and his wife Inza back.
The statue is that of Horus, son of Osiris and Isis.

p.41	panel 1: When this book came out, the _Dr. Fate_ series was
still ongoing (it has now been cancelled). 
	panel 2: Zatara first appeared in _Action Comics_ #1 (1938). 
Zatanna first appeared in _Hawkman_ #4 and was created by Gardner Fox 
and Murphy Anderson.

p.43	panel 2: Sargon the Sorcerer appeared first in _All American 
Comics_ #26 (1941).

p.44 	panel 1: The deaths of Zatara and Sargon took place in
_Swamp Thing_ #50, the conclusion of the "American Gothic" storyline.

Credits:

Greg "elmo" Morrow (morrow@physics.rice.edu) did and does the _Sandman_
annotations, whose format and style I have imitated. He also sent the
letter on angels which I have excerpted.
Lance Smith (lsmith@cs.umn.edu) suggested someone annotate _The Books of
Magic_, corrected the culture of the statue on page 31, and provided
the issue number for John Constantine's demon blood.
Dan'l Danehy-Oakes (djdaneh@pbhyc.pacbell.com) corrected the inscription
and commented on Merlin's history.
Abhijit Khale (akhale@pollux.usc.edu) provided first appearances for
Doctor Occult, Dr. Fate, Mr. E, the Phantom Stranger, Sargon the Sorcerer,
Zatanna, and Zatara, as well as creator credits for Mr. E and Zatanna.
Michael Bowman (bvmi@odin.cc.pdx.edu) provided creator credits and first
appearance for John Constantine, Mr. E, the Phantom Stranger, Dr. Fate,
and the Demon, as well as the story of how Dionysus rose from the dead.
Chris Jarocha-Ernst (cje@gandalf.rutgers.edu) provided creator credits
for Doctor Occult.
Andrew S. Troth (ast2r@faraday.clas.virginia.edu) provided creator credit
on Dr. Fate.
Shannon Appel (appel@xcf.berkeley.edu) commented on Lyonesse.
Thanatos (tgt33358@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu) quoted from "The Encyclopedia of
Things that Never Were" on Hy-Brasail.

© by Ralf Hildebrandt
This document contains links to external information sources that I do neither monitor nor control. I explicitly disclaim any liabilities in respect to external references.
You are getting this document without any guarantees. Any methods shown above are meant as demonstration and may be wrong in some place. You may damage your system if you try to follow my hints and instructions. You do this at your own risk!

This file was last modified 17. Jan 2007 by root