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                           The Annotated Sandman

              Edited by Ralf Hildebrandt and largely written by David Goldfarb

                         Issue 54: "The Golden Boy"
       Neil Gaiman, Michael Allred, Bryan Talbot, Mark Buckingham

                  Fourth story in anthology, "Worlds' End"

Page 2 panel 1: These are the Emperor, the Empress, and their Fool, from
issue four of the "Books of Magic" miniseries.  Based on cards in the Tarot
deck, they were archetypes, composites of many souls. They lived in a castle
so far in the future that time itself had nearly ended. Sort of appropriate 
that they would turn up at the Inn of the Worlds' End.

Page 3 panel 1: Note the bright star visible through the window, reminiscent
of the Star of Bethlehem. I haven't had the opportunity to read _Prez_ #1;
I've been told that the many parallels between Prez and Jesus were present
in the original comic, rather than being Gaiman's invention.
	Perhaps here is the place to note that in Joe Simon and
Jerry Grandenetti's original _Prez_ series, Prez was a fool who managed
to be simultaneously naive and paranoid. The series was a savage parody
of the '60s youth movements, quite unlike Gaiman's portrayal of the
character.
           panel 3:
"With all his heart and mind and soul..." This is reminiscent of Jesus'                               
description of the greatest commandment: "Love the Lord with all your                                 
heart, and all your mind, and all your strength." (Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27, 
Matthew @22:37).
This continues the religious theme in this issue.                                                     

           panel 4: The quote is from Kennedy's inaugural speech, given on
January 20, 1961. Prez's birth would then be in 1954.

Page 4 panel 3: This parallels a traditional story of Jesus' boyhood, which
had him discussing the Torah with the rabbis of Nazareth.
       	   panel 6: "Prince of This World" is a medieval title for Satan -- as
opposed to Jesus, the prince of the next.

Page 5 panel 4-page 6 panel 5: This parallels a story in which Satan tempts
Jesus, found in chapter 4 of Matthew and Luke.

Page 7 panel 2: The posters on the wall are rock star David Bowie and
Lon Chaney Jr. (in "The Wolf Man"). On the bookcase is a "Magic 8 Ball", which
would give ambiguous answers to questions, and several Aurora brand horror
model kits, including "The Creature From the Black Lagoon" and "The Forgotten
Prisoner". Aurora was a frequent advertiser in DC comics during the late
'60s and early '70s.
 	  panel 7: Warren Harding's administration was rocked by scandal; it
was perhaps the most corrupt until, well, Nixon's.

Page 8 panel 3: When Nixon's tape recordings of office conversations were
transcribed for the Watergate hearings, the frequently-used swear words
were all replaced with "[expletive deleted]".

Page 9 panel 5: This panel is essentially the cover of _Prez_ #1. This would
seem to be the 1972 election. The caption here is inconsistent with the one
on 3:4; either this one should read "nineteenth" or that one should read 
"seven".
I think this panel is actually a reference to the
various miracles performed by Jesus during His time on Earth. (E.g.
giving sight to the blind, giving hearing to the deaf, curing disease,
etc.)

Page 10 panel 2: At this time in the real world, of course, the price of 
gasoline, the federal deficit, and the national debt all skyrocketed.
        panel 3: "Samurai Deli" was a real sketch on "Saturday Night Live"; 
in our world, Buck Henry was the host of that show.
        panel 4: In our world John Belushi died young of a drug overdose.
        panel 7: The robot on the floor seems to be the same one on Prez' 
                 bookshelf on page 7.

Page 13 panel 3: Reportedly, President WIlliam McKinley, on being shot,
said of his assassin, "Let no one hurt him."
	    panel 4: John Hinckley, who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan
in 1981, did so in order to impress actress Jodie Foster. This is a clear
parallel. In the DC Universe proper, Ted Grant is a member of the Justice
Society of America, with the superhero name "Wildcat", as seen on the
assassin's t-shirt. Reportedly, Gaiman simply wanted to use someone famous;
he chose Wildcat because Michael Allred liked Wildcat's costume.

Page 14 panel 1: The woman is the Vice President. There's some disagreement
about whether or not she is Prez's mother. In the original series she had a 
penchant for speaking in rhyme.
             panel 6: These "wafflestomper" hiking boots were popular in the
mid-'70s. (I had a pair myself.)

Page 15 panel 3: A Constitutional Amendment limits Presidents to two terms
of office.
             panel 6: When Satan tempted Jesus in the high place, Jesus replied:
"It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and only him shalt thou
serve." (Luke 4:8)

Page 16 panel 1: No, no, that's Prez Rickard, not Norton.

Page 17 panels 1-3: This seems to be adapted from a Taoist story.
 From  _CHUANG TZU: Basic writings_ (Columbia Press, 1964, Trans:Burton Watson):

    Once, when Chuang Tzu was fishing in the P'u River, the king of Ch'u
  sent two officials to go and announce to him: "I would like to trouble
  you with the administration of my realm."
    Chuang Tzu held on to the fishing pole and, without turning his head,
  said, "I have heard that there is a sacred tortoise in Ch'u that has
  been dead for three thousand years. The king keeps it wrapped in cloth
  and boxed, and stores it in the ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise
  rather be dead and have its bones left behind and honored? Or would it
  rather be alive and dragging its tail in the mud?"
    "It would rather be alive and dragging its tail in the mud," said the
  two officials.
    Chuang Tzu said, "Go away! I'll drag my tail in the mud!"

        panel 8: I seem to remember seeing a picture of Jesus standing 
on a mountain-top, in a similar pose. That this panel might be a 
reference to that picture is confirmed by Prez' beard & hair, which is 
very similar to Roman Catholic pictures of Jesus.  

Page 18 panel 3: Given all the smiley faces, this visual reference to _Watchmen_
was surely inevitable.
        panel 4: The assassin looks like Abraham Lincoln (or is wearing an Abe 
mask). Lincoln was also shot & killed, but that was in a theatre, not outside. 
Also, the blood coming out of Prez' body resembles the red & white stripes on the 
US flag.

Page 19 panel 5: As was mentioned in the "Orpheus" special, we all meet Death
when we are born. 

Page 20 panel 4: A reference to the "Blind Watchmaker" theory: just as the 
existance of a watch implies the existance of a watchmaker, so does the 
existance of complex human beings imply the existance of a divine Creator. 
Again, continuing the religious overtones of this story.
        panel 9: Note the smiley face over the gate.

Page 21 panel 2: A reference to the parable of the talents; specifically 
Matthew 25:21.

Page 24 panel 1: Among the contents of the chest in 27:20:1 was a pocket watch.
Perhaps the same one?
        panel 5: "...and that this time he will not come to just one America, 
but to all of them." An allusion to Jesus, perhaps, who was to become a saviour 
to the *world*, and not just of *Israel*, as the Jews once thought.
"Others say that he waits to be born once more..." (A little more
uncertain, this one.) King Arthur is said to be waiting on the Isle of
Avalon, to come again when Britain most needs him. Considering that
Arthur lived in *Camelot*, might this be a tangential reference to the
Kennedys (who are often referred to as living in Camelot)?

Acknowledgements to:
- Timothy Hock Seng Tan <083285@bud.cc.swin.edu.au>
  who really knows his way around the Bible.

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