Thursday, 14 February 2019

"The Serpent That Never Dies Is Dead"

"I took her THREE THOUSAND YEARS AGO! The never-ending battle ENDED..."
-Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Dream Country (New York, 1995), "Facade," p. 21, panel 7, p. 109 of the collection.

Thus, a battle that could have been a maxi-series is disposed of in a single speech balloon. However, The Sandman does cover some other major events:

the career of William Shakespeare through whom the great stories will live for an age of man as his words echo down through time (The Sandman: Dream Country, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," p. 19/81);

regime change in Hell;

the Furies' war on the Dreaming, during which Rose Walker flies back from the UK to the US;

regime change in the Dreaming, causing a reality storm.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Jeweled Waterfalls

Hy Bender (scroll down) comments that the jeweled waterfalls resemble Krypton as drawn by Wayne Boring. It is also noticeable that Destruction wears a headband like a male Kryptonian and a cape like Kal-El.

These two panels are in The Sandman: Brief Lives.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Various Comics Converging On The Sandman

Cain hosted The House of Mystery.
Abel hosted The House of Secrets.
Lucien hosted Tales of Ghost Castle.
An unnamed woman with a raven hosted Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love.
Eve with a raven appeared in Secrets of Sinister House, Secrets of Haunted House and Plop!
The Three Witches hosted The Witching Hour.
Matt Cable, Cain and Abel appeared in Swamp Thing. 
A tall man in a frock coat was Adam and becomes a raven in Lilith by George MacDonald.

Thus, nine comics and one novel with Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel all present.

Cain and Abel and their Houses are in the Dreaming.
Lucien wears a frock coat and was Morpheus' first raven.
Ghost Castle was Morpheus' castle during his imprisonment.
The unnamed woman is Eve who lives in a cave in the Dreaming.
Matthew, Morpheus' current raven, was Matt Cable.

Thus, Neil Gaiman weaves diverse strands together.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Thor In The Ultimates

Thor: I am God made man...the living incarnation of a Norse thunder deity sent here by my father in Valhalla to purify the Earth again.
-Mark Millar, The Ultimates: Vol 1 Super-Human (New York, 2005), Chapter Six, p. 14.

Norse Mythology
a Norse thunder deity

God made man
living incarnation
sent by my father

Thus, a superhero comic synthesizes Norse mythology and Christianity, as did a superhero film: in the first Superman film, Jor-El says, "I sent them you, my only son."

The original Aesir wanted war, not "purification," on Earth.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019


Stieg Larsson's "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" (here) survives one very light bullet in the brain. It is possible. Some Gazans have survived multiple bullet wounds. One man, interviewed by Joe Sacco for Footnotes In Gaza, was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier standing directly above him while he lay on the ground. The man claims that he survived thirty six bullets in the head although Sacco does not believe that number.

Telling The Tale

In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Worlds' End and Joe Sacco's Footprints In Gaza, characters tell stories. In Footprints In Gaza, the drawn characters are real people describing real events. I am unfamiliar with Chaucer although we know that the Tales is a literary template for stories told in an inn and that Gaiman follows Chaucer.

It is possible for the reader to become at least as interested in the narrators' setting as in the stories that they recount. Joe Sacco and his friends are in present day Gaza when they are told about incidents in Gaza in 1956. (The "present" is the period of the Iraq War.) We need to know about the events researched by Sacco but we also appreciate his drawings of present day Iraq and its inhabitants. The pictures starkly depict social interactions, division, oppression and physical dereliction. We see an Israeli settlement in the distance but do not see inside it.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Hard Rain

Joe Sacco, Footnotes In Gaza.

"A hard rain has begun as everyone hoped.
"While Israeli bombers roar low and unseen overhead, it washes the blood from the streets." (p. 145)

He means the blood of bulls slaughtered for the feast of Abraham's sacrifice but maybe this passage also expresses an aspiration for a future without the shedding of human blood?

Bob Dylan used the phrase, "a hard rain," with a completely different meaning.