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                          The Annotated Sandman

                Edited by Ralf Hildebrandt and largely written by Greg Morrow

                       Issue 12:  "Playing House"
            Neil Gaiman, Chris Bachalo, and Malcolm Jones III

              Third part of long storyline _The Doll's House_
        Fifth story reprinted in trade paperback _The Doll's House_

Page 1 panel 1:  Lyta Hall.  See previous annotations.

        Panel 3:  The images here are much clearer in the original comic than
in the trade paperback reprint.  Images on the tv screens include the smiley
face button from "Watchmen"; the Beatles, from the cover of their second album,
titled "Meet the Beatles" in the US, and "With the Beatles" in the UK; a
Jack-o'Lantern, which is a carved pumpkin, associated in the United States with
Halloween and a version of the supernatural;  the hand (with a 28 on the palm)
and arm of the character Takashi from the Japanese comic "Akira;" above
Takashi, a fetus, possibly from some famous picture; a skull; above the skull,
someone possibly eating a Twinkie, or performing fellatio (it's hard to tell);
to the right of the skull, a miniature of this very panel; Mount Rushmore;  an
unidentified face, possibly one of the artists;  an unidentified figure with a
knife or sword, possibly on the moon (note craters?); an atomic explosion;
Batman, with a giant "Ha Ha" behind, possibly from the tv series.

        Panel 4:  The buttocks and upper thighs of a woman wearing lingerie; a
stegosaurus; Albert Einstein; Groo the Wanderer (from the comic book); an
op-art piece; the Statue of Liberty; Friedrich Nietzche; Sigmund Freud; Neil
Gaiman (no, it's not Ric Ocasek); an unidentified hand and arm; an unidentified
woman; Judge Dredd (from the English comic book); another unidentified person;
a possibly Satanic figure.
Hand and arm remind vaguely of detail in Picasso's _Guernica_.

	Panel 6: An unidentified eye V for Vendetta?); an unidentified
person; upside down Venus of Willendorf (primitive "Venus" sculpture, noted
by Aaron V. Humphrey); Tom Baker as Dr. Who (from the English television
series); an unidentified face (below Baker); a Joker playing card
(particularly resembling the Batman villain). To Joker's right, zoom-out of
someone performing fellatio as seen in panel 3.

Page 2 panel 1:  Hector (Sandman) Hall and Brute and Glob.  See previous

Page 3 panel 6:  This is indeed what the 1970s Sandman's HQ looked like.

Page 4 panel 4:  Hector has regressed to childhood.  This is why he and Lyta no
longer make love (page 1 panel 3).  This may metaphorically represent the
difference between comics as they were (Hall) and comics as they are now

Page 6 panel 1:  The last few issues of the 1970's _Sandman_ (not writted by
Jack Kirby) had Jed's grandfather dying, and the boy moving in with an abusive
aunt and uncle, and their even lower children.  So the first appearance of
Barnaby and Clarice would be in that _Sandman_, #5 or #6.

Page 7 panel 3:  Dream cannot kill a dreamer, except in one circumstance which
is explicated later.  From issue 9, we learned that an Endless cannot love a
mortal without severe consequences.  We will learn several other constraints on
the Endless in this storyline.

Page 9 panel 3:  The other, more typical, meaning of "come out of the closet"
is, of course, to declare one's homosexuality.
	Panel 4:  Gaiman may be obliquely referring to the fact the Fury's
mother was original the Golden Age Wonder Woman, who was retconned out of
existence by Crisis.  Or he may be referring to the patch Roy Thomas did by
creating the Golden Age Fury in The Young All-Stars.  GA Fury mothered Lyta and
then vanished, although this was never made particularly clear.

Page 11 panel 3:  "Cereal" ain't exactly the right spelling for _these_
	Panel 8:  The guest list reads:  The Bone [squiggle], Brother Chip, the
California Widow, The Candyman, Christian, Cincinnati Oyster (Oyster may be a
synonym for testicle here), The Corinthian, the Devil (Kentucky), the Devil
(Oregon), Dog Soup, The Dutch Uncle, The Faggoteer, The Family Man (about
whom more in a later issue), and the Fl*sher (almost any vowel, "a" and "e"
most probable, followed by "u").  Later, we will meet Dog Soup in person.  A
Dutch Uncle is someone who speaks frankly, usually offering unwanted advice in
a brutally truthful manner, implying naivete on the part of the recipient.
"Rocky Mountain Oysters," also "Kansas City Oysters," refer to testicles,
usually obtained as a result of castration to improve an animal as a meat
source.  The Cincinnati Oyster may very well remove or eat the testicles of his

Page 12 panels 4-5:  If you squint really hard, the wall reads "Who Watches the
Watchmen?", which was the tagline for Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbons's
_Watchmen_ series, an extremely important series about superhumans and the Cold
War. This phrase was originally coined by Platon.

Page 13 panel 3:  The Corinthian has hungry eyes.  What's going on here will
become more clear later.

Page 16 panel 4:  I believe that the ultra-sonic whistle was in fact a weapon
of the original 1970s Sandman.  Hey, it was Kirby.  You want sense, read a
newspaper.  You want thunder and fury, read Kirby.

Page 19 panel 2: Is it the door reversely put, compared to previous
panels or is it my idea?! 

        panel 3:  It's not really clear here, but this is the tragic and
lamentable death of Barnaby and Clarice.

Page 20 panel 9:  Note that Jed is younger, like he is in his dreams
(see Issue #11). 

Page 21 panel 4:  Hippolyta:  When Fury was the daughter of the original Wonder
Woman, being named for the queen of the Amazons made sense.  Post-Crisis, of
course, nothing made sense.

Page 24:  Oopsy.  Jed's fled, and soon he'll be dead, 'cause that's the
Corinthian who picked him up.  Big coincidence?  Not really; there's a vortex
wandering around totally screwing up causality, and both Jed and the Corinthian
are directly linked to her.

Contributors include:
	William Sherman (sherman@oak.math.ucla.edu) reminded me to look at the
screens on page 1 and identified most of them.  Shannon D. Appel
(appel@soda.Berkeley.EDU) also helped.  William also saw the graffiti on page
	CHARLES JORDAN (jordan@castor.cs.uga.edu) suggested the interpretation
of Lyta and Hector no longer making love.
	Steve Simmons (scs@lokkur.dexter.mi.us) explicated the euphemistic use
of "oysters."
	Tom White (twhite@mozart.amd.com) and David Goldfarb
(goldfarb@ocf.berkeley.edu) confirmed Barnaby and Clarice's earlier existence.
David cited _Amazing Heroes_ magazine as his source.
	Volker Sorge, via 
>whew!< identified Nietzsche.
	Joel Tscherne (ac985@cleveland.Freenet.edu) corrected the Beatles'
album chronology, fully explicated here:

    Meet The Beatles/With The Beatles was not their first album.  The first
    British album was called "Please, Please Me" and was released in the
    U.S. as "Introducing The Beatles" on Vee-Jay records.  Meet The Beatles
    was the first Beatles record in the U.S. on Capitol Records.  With The
    Beatles was their second British album.  The two albums share the same
    covers, but the tracks do not match exactly.

	Ed (The Anti-Dave) (Dave Stobbe ) explained the
metaphorical significance of a Dutch Uncle.

© by Ralf Hildebrandt
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This file was last modified 27. Jan 2007 by root