Comic Book Canon: The Sandman. Issues 54-56

Welcome to a series that I am continuing. I am going to go through Neil Gaiman’s now-classic series The Sandman


Issue # 54

Title: The Golden Boy

Artist: Bryan Talbot & Mark Buckingham (framing story) Michael Allred (main story)

Collected in: World’s End

Plot: Brant Tucker encounters a man who tells him yet another tale of a man from one of many different Americas. In an alternate workd, Congress voted to allow 18-year-olds the vote, and then lowered the age limit for the presidency to 18 years old as well. One day, a strange man named Boss Smiley appeared to Prez Rickard, and offered him the presidency in exchange for his servitude. Prez declined, vowing to win the presidency on his own.


Prez was elected to the presidency just shy of his twentieth birthday. In his new position of power, he made many changes and did a lot of good. Prez became engaged to his high school sweetheart. Unfortunately, she was assassinated by a woman who had been obsessed with Wildcat. One night, much later, Prez has another encounter with Boss Smiley, who offered to bring back Prez’s murdered bride-to-be in exchange for servitude. Again, Prez refused


The man pauses in his story, and offers the next portion to be what he believes happened after Prez died: Death came and took him to Heaven, commenting that this is merely one heaven of many, and it is run by one who is not necessarily the creator. After passing through the gates, Prez found himself face to face again with Boss Smiley, who ruled this version of Heaven as well. Prez decided that he would rather simply travel between worlds for eternity. Boss Smiley attempted to prevent this, but suddenly, Dream appeared, and offered his protection, allowing Prez to spend the rest of time moving between worlds and offering help to those in need.


DC characters Prez Rickard, Boss Smiley, 1 Wildcat, 2 Eagle Free 3

Historical references Richard Nixon, John Belushi

Keep an eye on: Prez’s watch is one of the items in Dream’s chest


 Issue # 55

Title: Cerements

Artist: Bryan Talbot & Mark Buckingham (framing story) Shea Anton Pensa & Vincent Locke (main story)

Collected in: World’s End

Plot: Brant Tucker wanders downstairs at the World’s End Inn to hear a tale from Petrefax, a denizen of the Necropolis. Petrefax is kearning the different types of burials and he is assigned to provide an account of an air-burial for the class. Afterwards, Petrefax’s new companions traded stories.


One of them told a tale of how he met a traveller in the Necropolis 4 who had claimed that the Necropolis that Scroyle knew was not the first one to exist. The old Necropolis had lost its respect for the dead. One day, six strangers 5 appeared there and complained of their dead sister. 6 Seeing the lack of respect for the dead occurring there, the eldest of the strangers 7 brought about the destruction of the Necropolis, and a new one was built in its place. Hermas told his own tale of how he and Klaproth had Prenticed to Mistress Veltis. She had explained to them that she found a room where she was greeted by a booming voice asking “Which of them is dead?”


Petrefax had no story of his own to tell. But since then, he has learned much more. Before he can tell more, Klaproth orders him to be quiet. Brant Tucker complains that they must all be dead, so the story won’t matter. None of the others believe his theory that they are dead, and one person claims to have a story of how they have come to be at the World’s End Inn.

Keep an eye on: We’re going to revisit the Necropolis near the end of the run.


Issue # 56

Title: World’s End

Artist: Bryan Talbot & Mark Buckingham (framing story) Gary Amaro (Funeral)

Collected in: World’s End

Plot: The assembled demand to know of the innkeeper what the nature of the place is. She explains that it is merely a place between worlds. It is not a dream, nor a real place. They have all come there because there has been some massive event, resulting in a reality storm. Charlene Mooney complains that all of the stories that were told were stories of men for men, in which women played small roles. When challenged to tell her own tale, she comments that her life has been a shambles lately, and she feels she has no story of her own. Depressed, she storms off.


Soon, someone calls everyone to the window to see something interesting going on. Beyond the storm, they all see the images of giants in procession across a starry plane. First, a tall man with a book, then pallbearers, and then grievers. At the end of the funeral procession are two women. One makes shuffling steps and appears confused. The other seems profoundly sad. Brant Tucker thinks that she appears very familiar, and instantly falls in love with her. She makes eye contact with him briefly before the procession disappears. With the end of the procession comes the end of the storm.


Each of the patrons of the Inn takes their leave, however, Charlene chooses to stay behind, earning her keep by working at the Inn. She kisses Brant on the cheek as he returns to earth. Brant finds himself in the parking lot of a McDonalds in what he remembers as Charlene’s car. However, he finds the license and registration to be in his own name. It is as though Charlene never existed.


Keep an eye on: The characters in the funeral: Destiny, Lucien, Nuala, Abel, Mervyn Pumpkinhead, Cain, Luz, Wilkinson, Queen Titania, Matthew the raven, Bast, Despair, an angel (perhaps Remiel), Odin, Thor, Emperor Norton, Gregory the Gargoyle, Gilbert/Fiddler’s Green, Martin Tenbones, Delirium and Death.


My take What I like about the Prez story is that it mixes the Jesus story with Arthurian legend. At the time there was speculation as to who was in the coffin. Some thought it was Orpheus since he died in issue #49, but if course it is Dream. Only the death of one of the Endless could create a reality storm