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                         The Annotated Sandman

               Edited by Ralf Hildebrandt and largely written by Greg Morrow

                                Issue 25
            Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner, and Malcolm Jones III

                       Season of Mists Chapter 4

                       In which the dead return;
              and Charles Rowland concludes his education.

                  Not yet reprinted in any other form

Page 1 panel 1:  We are in the attic of a British boarding school.  Visible are
a deer head, a sporting team picture, a soccer ball [football], a cricket bat,
golf clubs, and a bust.  What Americans call soccer, the rest of the world
calls football (Fussball in Germany); In Australia, soccer is soccer and "football" is
Australian Rules Football. I think that in New Zealand "football" is rugby, but it 
may be wise to confirm with a New Zealander; cricket (according to Douglas Adams 
the most stupid game in the universe) is a British game with some 
superficial resemblance to American baseball game.  We have not met Charles Rowland before.

	Panel 2:  Nor have we met Paine, whose name may be symbolic.  "Paine"
is his surname, by the way.

Page 3 panel 3:  It should probably be noted that boarding school students are
typically required to wear school uniforms, such as Paine's in this panel.

Page 4 panel 1:  A headmaster is the rough equivalent of an American principal.

Page 5 panel 1-3:  In August 1990, Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait,
taking the many foreign citizens there hostage, including Charles Rowland's
father, apparently.  However, by December, which is the date of this story,
most of the hostages had been released, although I don't remember the exact
time when the last healthy males were freed.
	Panel 5:  San.:  Sanatorium.  Perhaps the infirmary for sick students.
>From context, "natter" = "chat".

Page 6 panel 1:  St. Hilarion was a follower of St. Antony, born in the 4th
century in Tabatha, near Gaza and educated in Alexandria.  After his
conversion, he returned home (after his parents' death), gave away all his
possessions, and became a hermit.  He was very austere.  He gained renown, and
performed many acts of healing.  He died in Cyprus at the age of 80.  In the
Roman Catholic Church, possibly the Church of England as well, his day is
21 October.

Page 7 panel 1-2:  _The Scarlet Pimpernel_ (by Baroness Orczy) was an 
adventure tale featuring a masked hero, a master of disguise, who helped 
spirit French nobles to England during the French Revolution.  
The titular charcter was one of the
earliest examples of a hero with a secret identity; as such, it is historically
important to comic books.  As the Pimpernel's secret identity was a foppish
nobleman, the book almost certainly helped Bill Finger create the "playboy
Bruce Wayne" image for Batman.  A scarlet pimpernel is, incidentally, a small
red flower.
	Panel 3:  Lights-out:  mandatory bedtime for students and soldiers.
Spit-spot:  British interjection full of sound and rhythm, meaning nothing.
Exemplified for Americans by the title character in the movie _Mary Poppins_.

Page 9 panel 2:  American cookies are British biscuits; the digestive biscuit
is a thin, tan cracker resembling a Graham cracker.  Some folks think they're
	Panel 3:  At least two of the names on the memorial will shortly become
relevant.  However, the others do not ring any bells.

Page 10 panel 2:  Hunnish:  German.  I could not say, however, exactly what
allegedly deviant or barbarous acts Germans are wont to perform.  The prejudice
probably stems from anti-German propaganda or folklore during the World Wars, a
period during which "Mother" is likely to have been alive, and young enough to
be impressionable.
	Panel 4:  Wagner draws all dead persons with blank eyeballs; this does
not necessarily indicate that "Mother" is blind from cataracts.  See page 3
panel 3 for another example.

Page 11 panel 4:  German measles, or rubella, will cause birth defects if
contracted during pregnancy.

Page 13 panel 1:  Bug:  probably not significant slang.
	Panel 5:  The names of Cheeseman and Barrow were on the war memorial,
page 9.

Page 14 panel 2:  This is evidently the death of Paine, as recounted on page
	Panel 5:  There is allegedly a Chinese curse, "May you live in
interesting times":  the curse being that interesting times are not safe times.

Page 15 panel 10:  The headmaster is referring to a Latin proverb, "Mens sana
in corpore sano":  A sound mind in a sound body.  Note the boy between Paine
and Charles; he looks like a live boy, and he's not in uniform.

Page 16 panel 1:  Carpe diem:  Seize the day (also Latin).  It may be noted
that this aphorism is the main theme of _Dead Poets Society_, a film set in an
American boarding school.

Page 17 panel 3:  World War I (1914-1918) was the archetype of trench warfare.
Opposing armies would dig themselves in across the battlefield from each other
and shoot; occasionally one or the other would get up out of the trenches and
rush toward the other army, who would shoot them down in vast quantities.
Diphtheria, however, is just a nasty disease.
	Panel 4-5:  This hearkens back to _Sandman_ #23, where Lucifer
disclaimed responsibility for sinners.

Page 18 panel 2-4:  Skinner (I believe) is taking a meat fork and is apparently
piercing or cutting off Charles' right nipple.  Note that they are also burning
his back against the grill.

Page 19 panel 5:  We learn Paine's full name.
	Panel 6:  Puss should be spelled pus.  It's a yellow-white slime found
in wounds that aren't healing well.

Page 20 panel 9, page 21:  This is Death in easily her oddest outfit ever.

Page 23 panel 1:  Mother's relationship with the headmaster is quite
reminiscent of the background of many fictional serial killers.
	Panel 2:  British public schools have a tradition of "fagging" in which
the elder boys, 16-18 or so, would select a younger boy to be his "fag" or
personal servant.  The fag would fetch and carry for the elder, and clean his
room and uniform.  The elder boy would often beat or otherwise treat the
younger in a sadistic manner.  This was supposed to be "character-building."
(As Calvin the comic-strip star says, mimicking his father:  "Calvin, go do
something you hate.  Being miserable builds character.")
	We may also note that standard British usage uses "fag" or "faggot" to
mean cigarettes, breadsticks, lumber, and fireplace logs, as well as
"homosexual".  American usage of "fag" is derogatory and is exactly limited to
"homosexual".  British "faggot" formerly referred to a wretched old woman,
whence "fag": to copulate with a whore, another obsolete usage.  Much
information on the world may be gathered from the British slang dictionary,
_The Faber Dictionary of Euphemisms_.
	Panel 3:  Cogito ergo sum:  I think, therefore I am (Latin), first
stated by Descartes, a seventeenth century AD French philosopher and
mathematician.  Protagoras was a fifth century BC classical Greek philosopher.
My source credits him as the first Sophist; Werner Jaeger's _Paideia_, however,
denies him this, calling him only one of the most prominent.
	Note that Charles and Edwin's conversation on this page should probably
be considered the theme of the issue.

Contributors include:
	Rick Jones  added information about the
Scarlet Pimpernel and mentioned _Dead Poets Society_.
	Mark A Biggar (mab%wdl39@wdl1.wdl.loral.com), Michael Bowman
, and Jeffrey Klein (klein@kira.egr.msu.edu)
explained the nature of digestive biscuits.
        Michael also researched St. Hilarion.
	Sarah Trombley  contributed bits on Descartes
and Protagoras.
	Phil "Dreddhead" Birmingham (BIRMINGH@FNAL.FNAL.GOV) and Mike Collins,
The One and Only Killans, (mcollins@isis.cs.du.edu) commented on Hunnish
        David Goldfarb (goldfarb@ocf.berkeley.edu) corrected my Latin, and he
and Mike, and Jim  Cowling (jcowling@butterfly.UVic.CA) corrected my
misapprehension of 'fagging'.

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