Saturday, 7 December 2013

Desire And Despair

When rereading graphic fiction, always look for details, particularly in the visuals, that you missed before. By the time we start reading The Sandman, Volume 2, The Doll's House, we already know that the Endless include Desire and Despair but now, on pp. 40-44, we see both for the first time and learn:

that they are twins;
that Destiny, Death and Dream are the elder three;
that there is a masculine prodigal who is still missing.

We also already know that there are at least seven Endless. If we assume that the prodigal is one, then there is at least one other that has not been directly referred to yet.

Desire considers the sigils of Death (an ankh), Destiny (a book), Dream (a helmet) and Despair (a hooked ring). S/he contacts Despair by standing in his/her gallery, holding his/her twin's sigil and requesting conversation.

Before that, there is a line of four panels in which:

Desire says, "Big brother...";
we see the helmet;
Desire says, "...I'm watching you.";
Desire kisses the helmet. (p. 43)

I admit that, because "Big brother...I'm watching you" was split between two panels with a silent panel between them, I previously missed the reference to 1984. Just one letter is different: "'m" instead of "s".

This time, I spotted the significance of "Big brother..." but initially thought of 1984 and The Prisoner because of the similarity between "...I'm watching you" and "Be seeing you."

Sandman is certainly comparable to The Prisoner in terms of high production values. The interior of Desire's fortress, the Threshold, on p. 42, gives the impression of a Village interior in The Prisoner.

We are beginning to see the conflicts within the Endless.

Judy phoned a friend called "Rose" in Volume 1 and a Rose's mother wakes her as they approach England by plane immediately after the exchange between Desire and Despair in Volume 2. The reader has not yet noticed the introduction of an important character called "Rose."

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