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                         The Annotated Sandman

               Edited by Ralf Hildebrandt and largely written by Greg Morrow

                                Issue 28
            Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg, and George Pratt

                        Season of Mists Epilogue

              In which we bid farewell to absent friends,
             lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists;
                and in which we give the devil his due.

                  Not yet reprinted in any other form

Cover:  Note the four characters in the lower right.  They are Chinese and mean:
	1. "new"   (xin)   
	2. "life"  (sheng) 
	3. "baby"  (ying)  
	4. "child" (er)    

The third & fourth character are to be read together to mean "baby", all four
characters together mean "newborn" (noun).

Title:  The phrase "give the devil his due" is a cliche.  It appears in
Cervantes' _Don Quixote_ I.iii.3, but that may not be the original source.

Page 1 panel 2:  The central figure, the most humanoid of the demons, is
probably Choronzon.  The fish have a number of symbolic meanings in
Christianity.  Jesus and his followers were known as "fishers of men" (see
Matthew 4:19), symbolizing human souls as fish; the fish was also a symbol of
the early Christian church, and, by extension, of Jesus himself.
	Panel 3:  We may have seen the big slug-like demon before.

Page 2 panel 3:  Note that Duma has no genitals, though he does have nipples.
Does he have a navel?  See below.  That's the key to Hell lying on his stomach.

Page 3 panel 7:  Dream appears in his Kai'ckul guise for his dinner with Nada.
	Note also the amazing appearing/disappearing candelabra, which may be
seen in page 4 panels 3 and 4 and page 5 panel 3, but which is missing in this
panel, page 4 panel 5, page 5 panel 5, page 7 panel 5 and page 8 panel 5.

Page 4 panel 5: The Chinese characters mean:                                                                        
lake (hu)                                                                                           
dragon (long) [albeit not very accurately written]                                                  
painting (hua)                                                                                      

Of course, lakes figure quite largely in Chinese landscape paintings,                               
and the dragon is a prominant symbol in Chinese culture, but they seem                              
inconsonant with the painting of the birds.                                                         

The other characters in the square block are the artist's                                    
signature, conventionally stamped with a Chinese seal, but I can't quite                            
make them out.                                                                                      
The birds are a crane and a raven, perhaps?

Page 5 panel 5:  Hint, boys'n'girls.  This is NOT how to apologize to anyone.
Dream, as we have long recognized, ain't terribly bright.  Jim Lai speculates:

    Of course Dream isn't good at expressing himself in words.  He
    belongs to the preliterate era, the subconscious, which is seldom
    direct (except perhaps in action), preferring symbolic meaning.

We may also note that this panel has a different angle on the room; the room is
not changing decor (except for the candelabra).

Page 6 panel 2:  "Kissed it all better" sounds peculiarly modern, and
idiomatic, for a queen of milennia-past Australia.
	Panel 3:  Oubliette:  "Forgotten-small", from French, meaning a hidden
prison such as found in certain old castles, accessible only from above.  Note
that this contradicts the image of Nada's cell as seen in both _Sandman_ #4 and
#23.

Page 7 panel 5:  Another print, but of what?  Probably a photostat.  Is there a
horse figure in the center?

Page 8 panel 4:  This is the most definite statement that Dream could quit that
I have seen, although we have seen strong indications that he could die or be
removed.  He would be replaced in any event by another incarnation of Dream.

Page 9 panel 1-2:  These are drawn in the classical Japanese "Ukiyo-E" (or
"Floating World") style.  Westerners might be familiar with this style from
the cover of the album _The Best of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer_.
	Panel 6:  Floating Bridge of Heaven:  Probably the rainbow, which
Izanagi and Izanami stood on when they created the island Onogoro.

Page 10 panel 3:  The Floating Kingdom is probably the divine home on the
island Onogoro.
	Panel 7:  Loki, of course, has a long enmity with storm god Thor.  We
may note that he is the "fire-bringer" archetype in Norse myth, which explains
his unusual coiffure.

Page 11 panel 4:  Dream has never explicitly carried out his stated intention
here.  May we assume that he did it off panel?

Page 12 panel 2:  Cluracan is making reference to Egyptian hieroglyphics here,
which are indeed pictographic in form.
	Panel 9:  Unseely Court:  One of the courts of Faerie, based on Celtic
myth, often written "Unseelie".  This is the court of the dark fairies, with
the Seelie Court being the court of the light fairies.  There is some
correspondence between dark and evil, and light and good, but it is not exact.

Page 14 panel 1:  Why forbid the small glamour when it clearly provides relief
to Nuala?  All visitors to Dream's realm cloak themselves in small illusions of
whatever sort, but those illusions are generally the product of their dreams.
In any case, Dream has shown himself before to be autocratic in his own realm,
and has put his dignity before the concerns of others.  Nuala's glamour affords
her control over her own image; Dream allows no one else control of any sort in
his realm; compare the difficulty of "lucid dreaming".  Additionally, the
forbiddance will serve to remind Nuala that she is a servant, not a guest.

Page 15 panel 1:  The first choice would probably be to go on to Heaven or the
equivalent afterlife--that "undiscover'd country from whose bourne no traveler
returns", ignorance of which makes that choice harder.

Page 16-17:  Nada is being reincarnated (as a boy, as we see in page 16 panel
5).  Is Dream promising the new him a lifetime of good dreams?

Page 18 panel 1:  This is our old friend, Lucifer, ex-ruler of Hell.
	Panel 3:  "Crack a tube":  Open a can of beer.  "Sheila" is fairly
uncouth slang for girl, roughly equivalent to Americans' "chick" or "babe".
Never-you-minds:  rhyming slang for "behinds".  Rhyming slang is a form of
Australian (arising from Cockney) slang in which a word or phrase is replaced
by a word or phrase which rhymes with it and whose literal meaning somehow
resonates with the meaning of the replaced word or phrase.  Thus, "trouble and
strife" means "wife".

Page 19 panel 3:  "Worse for wear":  Drunk.
	Panel 5:  " `Strewth":  Long-time _Hellblazer_ readers recognize this
as "God's truth", a minor expletive.  The shortening occured because of a
general reluctance to use the word "God".  Similar examples include the
obsolete " `sblood"; "geez", from Jesus; and "zounds", from "Christ's wounds"
via " `swounds".

Page 20 panel 1:  "Pom":  slang meaning British.  Of uncertain origin, with
many proposed acronymic histories, from "Prisoner of Mother England"
(Australia's colonization was originally for the purposes of serving as a penal
colony; English newcomers would therefore be "pommies").  It may also somehow
arise from "pomegranate".  Folk etymologies are notoriously unreliable,
however.  The short version of the OED labels the etymology unknown.
	Why, though, is Lucifer identifiably British?  Probably he has a
British accent, but why?  (Note that his teeth in panel 4 seem to be quite
white and straight, indications that he's not a victim of the British
orthodontal industry (or lack thereof), although he might have a nasty overbite
in panel 3.  Smilies where appropriate :-)  Obviously, Lucifer is a pog
(Prisoner of God); Australia was Britain's Hell.
Kevin Higgins ponders: I believe it may have something to do with the basis 
for the character: David Bowie.  I always assumed we were to imagine that 
Lucifer's lines were being read by the Thin White Duke himself. If you 
haven't tried it, please do.  i think it enhances the character.

	Panel 3-5:  Lucifer's talking to the Creator, here.

Page 21 panel 3:  Remiel refers to the perfection of the name of God.  Note
that Duma does appear to have a navel.
	Panel 4:  Remiel seems to be indicating an unexpected affection for
Duma.

Page 23:  One is tempted to say "the Road to Hell is paved with good
intentions" in response to Remiel's musings.
	Panel 2:  This hearkens back to part one of the tale, where Hell is
introduced as a place that couldn't get any worse.  It's an ironic contrast.
	Panel 5:  "All is for the best, in this best of all possible worlds"
is a theme made vicious and repeated fun of in Voltaire's magnificent and
successful satire, _Candide_.
	Panel 6:  Irony:  Nothing can end happily, in Hell.  The demon shown
here was also seen in the beginning of this tale, as hard at work then as now.

Page 24:  This is Destiny, in his Garden of Forking Paths.  See _Sandman_ #21
for more detail.
	Panel 2-3:  Is Destiny deliberately walking along a joint in the stone
floor of his garden?
	Panel 4:  We saw this book shelved in Lucien's library in _Sandman_
#22.  Others more familiar with Chesterton than I have said that the quote is
typically Chestertonian, although it does not seem to be closer to the
corresponding work, _The Man Who Was Thursday_, than it does to the rest of the
Chesterton oeuvre.

Contributors include:
	Jim W Lai  identified the kanji characters,
then later helped with other elements of Japanese culture, speculated on
Dream's treatment of Nuala, spotted Destiny's path, spoke on Christian myth and
addressed Dream's nonverbal nature.
 	Michael Bowman  checked out dead fish,
aspects of Shinto, and the Unseely Court.
	"Bellicose" Bill Sherman  gave lots of thematic
content, thought he saw Choronzon, identified Japanese art styles, gave more
background on Loki and was the first to correct me on "pom".
	Lance "Cogsworth" Smith  searched for "devil's due"
quotes, also corrected me on "pom", and questioned other listed Australian
usages.
	Dennis C Hwang  corrected me on "pom".
	Michael S. Schiffer (mss2@quads.uchicago.edu) corrected "pom" and
contemplated the deeper meaning thereto, wrote about the faerie courts,
and criticized Gaiman's pastiche of Chesterton.
	Martin Terman (mfterman@phoenix.Princeton.EDU) looked at dead fish,
recalled the faerie courts, and mused about Nuala's enchantment.
	Jeffrey Klein (klein@kira.egr.msu.edu), Gerson V Koenig
(gmkoenig@acsu.buffalo.edu), Ted Faber (faber@loon.cs.wisc.edu), Kevin Scott
McGuire (metropol@leland.Stanford.EDU), John Bickers (a Kiwi)
(jbickers@templar.actrix.gen.nz), and Zoz (an actual Aussie!)
 pontificated on pommies.
	David Goldfarb (goldfarb@ocf.berkeley.edu) recalled a previous poster's
translation of the cover, and pointed out the circular ironic contrast with the
first part of the story.
	Terry Dawson (terry@edsi.plexus.COM) identified the Cervantes quote.
	Col. G. L. Sicherman (gls@windmill.att.com) spoke on the vagaries of
Australian slang.
	Mike "Killans" Collins (mcollins@isis.cs.du.edu) addressed the usage of
'strewth and pom.  Nathan D. Johnson (ndj20710@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu), Zoz,
Shaun (shaun@iris.mincom.oz.au), Aamod Sane (sane@cs.uiuc.ed), and Pete Hartman
(pwh@bradley.bradley.edu) followed up with clarifications on 'strewth's use.

© 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 27. Jan 2007 by root