Largely written by Greg Morrow
Edited by Greg Morrow and Dylan Verheul

Issue 1: Sleep of the Just (Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg)

First part of first storyline, More than Rubies
First story reprinted in Preludes and Nocturnes

Last updated July 25, 1998


The collection Preludes and Nocturnes gives this biblical reference:

"But where shall wisdom be found? And where is
the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the
price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the
living... for the price of wisdom is above rubies."

THE BOOK OF JOB, Chapter 28, verses 12,13,18


"Sleep of the Just" is the title of an Elvis Costello song from his King of America album. Gaiman will use a line from another Costello song ("I woke up and one of us was crying", taken from "I Want You") for the title of issue 37.

Page 1

Panel 1

First appearance of Fawney Rig, a mansion that will appear several times in the series. Wych Cross is a real town in East Sussex, about 50 km southeast of London.

Panel 2

First known appearance of Dr. John Hathaway, who we will shortly find out is senior curator of the Royal Museum.

Page 2

Panel 1

First known appearance of Roderick Burgess, who we will shortly find out is "Lord Magus" (Magus being a Latinized singular of mage, equivalent to wizard or magician) of the "Order of Ancient Mysteries".

Panel 6

Only known appearance of the Magdalene Grimoire. This is not a DC equivalent to Marvel's Darkhold. A grimoire is a fancy word for a (magical) book. According to Neil Gaiman, Magdalene is "marginally more likely to be the university than to refer to [the biblical] Mary Magdalene." Magdalene is a college in Cambridge, Magdalen a college in Oxford. Both are pronounced "maudlin" in British usage.

Page 3

Panels 1-4

First known appearances of Ellie Marsten, Daniel Bustamonte, Stefan Wasserman, and Unity Kincaid. Ellie Marsten is being read Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, a book about dreams. Stefan Wasserman is fighting in World War I.

Page 4

Panel 1

First known appearance of Alex Burgess, Roderick's son. Alex's mother remains unknown; note that if his mother is Ethel Cripps, Alex is the half-brother of John Dee (who we will meet later).

Panel 4

"Aleister" is Aleister Crowley, the most widely known demonologist and occultist of that era (and probably still today). Roderick Burgess is essentially only Aleister Crowley renamed. If you want to see a picture of Aleister Crowley, check your music collection for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Crowley is the second figure from the left on the top row (between Sri Yukteswar (guru) and Mae West).

Pages 5-7

Let's look at the materials in the summoning ritual. On page five, the materials are fairly mundane, except in panel 7: A feather pulled from an angel's wing. This would appear to be fairly difficult, and worth a story in its own. The coin, stick, song, and knife may correspond to the Disk, Wand, Cup, and Sword suits of the Tarot cards. Disks are analogous to modern diamonds, and represent earth and business. Wands became clubs, and represent fire and energy. Cups became hearts, and represent water and emotions, and are a feminine suit. Swords became spades, and represent air and intellect, and are a masculine suit.

Page 6

Panel 4:

Burgess gives the name of "old lords": Namtar, Allatu, Morax, Naberius, Klesh, Vepar, Maymon.

Namtar is an evil god of ancient Mesopotamia, a servant of Ereshkigal (see Allatu), the personification of fate and the bringer of disease and death, and a negative aspect of fate.

Allatu - also called Ereshkigal - is the Sumerian/Akkadian goddess of the underworld. Allatu is the consort of Nergal and the sister of Ishtar, who is introduced later in the series (although no relation to Allatu is mentioned). Every year Ishtar would have to make the trip down to the underworld to talk to Allatu.

Morax (also known as Marax or Forfax) is a Great Earl of the underworld, in command of 36 legions of assorted demons and spirits. People making deals with Morax received skill in astronomy and the liberal arts. He appeared in the form of a heifer, which is where the bull-headed demon in The Demon probably comes from.

Reginald Scot (c. 1538-1599) mentions Naberius and Vepar as devils in his book Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), a sceptical and free-thinking book on Witchcraft and demonology, the first of its kind written in English instead of Latin. From Chapter 2, which is "An inventarie of the names, shapes, powers, government, and effects of divels and spirits, of their severall segniories and degrees: a strange discourse woorth the reading":

Naberius, alias Cerbus, is a valiant marquesse, shewing himselfe in the forme of a crowe, when he speaketh with a hoarse voice: he maketh a man amiable and cunning in all arts, and speciallie in rhetorike, he procureth the losse of prelacies and dignities: nineteen legions heare and obeie him.

Vepar, alias Separ, a great duke and a strong, he is like a mermaid, he is the guide of the waters, and of ships laden with armour; he bringeth to passe (at the commandement of his master) that the sea shalbe rough and stormie, and shall appeare full of shippes; he killeth men in three daies, with putrifieng their wounds, and producing maggots into them; howbeit, they maie be all healed with diligence, he ruleth nine and twentie legions.

Klesh means "snake" in Navajo.

There is an angel called Maymon. He is the chief angel of the air and the ruler of Saturday. He is subject to the south wind and king of the Saturday angels of the air. This seems rather strange, since all the other "old lords" appear to be evil. Mammon is very similar to Maymon and makes more sense, since Mammon is known as a fallen angel (in Paradise Lost and other sources) and a pagan god in the Middle East, from the time of the old testament. Mammon is also a Greek word for riches. In the bible Mammon is used in contrast to the Christian god, much in the same way as Baal. In the Key of Solomon is the line "one cannot serve God and Mammon".

Panel 5

More names: Ashema-Deva, Maborym, Horvendile. Ashema-Deva is Persian, a god or devil in the Zoroastrian pantheon. He is more familiar to Westerners under the name Asmodeus. Horvendile is a name that appears in both Lord Dunsany and James Branch Cabell. In Dunsany (an early fantasist and playwright, active in the early decades of this century, best known work perhaps The King of Elfland's Daughter), Horvendile is a god. In Cabell's "Poictesme" cycle, he is referred to as a demiurge, a being who, though walking through the story, is above it, and possibly pulling the strings. He also keeps swine that feed on human flesh. Aleister Crowley adored Cabell's work and thought he was a genius. High (or low) praise indeed, coming from the self-proclaimed Antichrist. Hence perhaps the inclusion of Horvendile in the litany of Burgess. Horvendile is also a king in Scandinavian myths. His story is similar to that of Hamlet (he ruled in Jutland which no doubt included most of what is now Denmark). In one story his toe froze and Thor threw it into the heavens where it became part of the constellation we call Orion. Orion's belt might be equivalent to Horvendile's toe.

Page 7

Panel 6

First known appearance of Morpheus, the Sandman. Morpheus has many different names, since every culture has known of him in some form. Morpheus is fairly rarely referred to directly as the Sandman, with the major exception being issue #3. In this shot, he is wearing a helmet; that is not his head.

Pages 8-9

We clearly see here the removal of the helmet, ruby, and pouch of sand, whose recovery will occupy most of More than Rubies.

Page 10

Panel 1

Ellie is holding a copy of Through the Looking Glass, and her appearance bears some resemblance to Alice, the heroine of that book.

Page 11

Panel 2

The word "morphine" is derived from the name "Morpheus".

Page 14

Panel 2

First known appearance of Ethel Cripps, of whom we will learn more later.

Panel 3-4

The mansion is first named as "Fawney Rig".
"Sleepy sickness" or encephalitis lethargica epidemica as it is called in Latin was a real epidemic in Europe during 1916-1920. It is an inflammation of the brain caused by a virus. In its most acute stage it caused fever, headache, paralysis of the musculature around the eyes and sleep disorders. Mortality was high. Some of the survivors later suffered from Parkinson's disease. It has an African equivalent called "encefelitisis africana" that is caused by by a blood parasite rather than a virus. However, the symptoms are the same. African sleepy sickness is still loose in some parts of Africa. Sleepy sickness can also be seen in the Williams-De Niro movie Awakenings (based on the book Awakenings by Oliver Sacks) and various texts.

Page 15

Panel 3

First known appearance of the Paginarum Fulvarum. According to Neil Gaiman, fulvous is reddish yellow, dull yellowish brown, golden, or tawny. The Paginarum Fulvarum is thus a bad joke, the "Yellow Pages". The "Yellow Pages" is a business phone directory arranged by category of service in a lot of western countries. Note that the colorist doesn't know Latin. The Paginarum Fulvarum joke is also used in Good Omens.

Panel 4:

Who or what are the Endless? They include Death, Destiny, Desire, and Dream. We will find out more in later issues. Note that the gentleman is looking at a picture of a woman (the text reads "Roddy, your slave in love - Ethel"), when Desire is mentioned.

Panel 5

First identification of Morpheus as the "Kinge of Dremes".

Panel 6

First identification as such of Ruthven Sykes, second in command of the Order. This issue is his first known appearance. We have seen him in several earlier shots; we see here indications of why he did what he does on the next page.

Page 16

Panel 1-2

First identification of Ethel Cripps; she will appear in later issues. Sykes betrays his mentor Burgess. Aleister Crowley also had a pupil, MacGregor Mathers, who became his archenemy. Crowley and Mathers eventually did have the same bizarre kind of "mystic war" waged by Sykes and Burgess, with Mathers fleeing to France. Note that if Desire has something to do with the affair between Cripps and Sykes, it would also be responsible for the disappearance for the pouch, the helm and the ruby.

Panel 4-6

First known appearance of a demon we will see again. The amulet will also appear again.

Page 17

Panel 3-4

This is sometime between 1930 and 1939. They both seem to have aged considerably since 1926 (page 15).

Page 18

Panel 3

Unity's child will become important later.

Panel 4-6

Wesley Dodds was the Golden Age Sandman. The dreams are a retcon. The costume is correct; it is Dodds' first costume. Later he will don a purple and gold outfit and acquire a sidekick, Sandy. Dodds will appear later in the series.

Page 20

Panel 1

The newspaper article (page 14, panel 3) says Burgess was born in 1872. His gravestone reads "1863-1947". Aleister Crowley lived 1875-1947.

Page 21

Panel 2

First known appearance of Paul McGuire, new second in command of the Order. We will meet him again in (much) later issues.

Page 23

Panel 6

"Do what thou wilt", on the t-shirt, is the first half of a statement made famous by Aleister Crowley: "Do what thou wilt, and that shall be the whole of the Law." It is traceable back to Rabelais, and was the motto of the Hellfire Club. Crowley also used, with this motto, another Rabelais statement, "Love is the Law, Love under Will." Some modern groups use a slightly different version: "An ye harm none, do what ye will." ("an" in the archaic meaning of "if").

Page 24

Panel 3

"Not dead, only sleeping" may be an allusion to the episode in the gospels where Jesus brings a girl who has just died back to life, saying "She is not dead, but sleeping" (Matthew 9.24, Luke 8.52).

Panel 4

"Paul doesn't believe in magic." - this is a major theme of the Books of Magic limited series.

Panel 7

Here the text is named the Liber Fulvarum Paginarum. "Liber" translates as "book", and word order is quite flexible in Latin, so this is clearly the same as the text on page 15.

Panel 8

Note that the illustration of the "Kinge of Dremes" is now on the right side, while it was on the left on page 15. The illustration might be a separate document however.

Page 25

Panel 3-4

Stephen King's It never gets boring; the guard is reading it in 1982 and in 1988. This is anachronistic, as the book was written in 1986. The book returns in issue 65, page 6, panel 1.

Page 26

Panels 2-3:

Note that the wheelchair breaks the magic circle, making it possible for Morpheus to use his power on the guards.

Panel 5

The guard is reading a newspaper called The Sun. For non-UK readers, this is (sadly) England's best-selling national daily newspaper and was the first tabloid to go really down-market in its drive for sales. It was also the first to feature a daily nude picture, always on page 3. The terms "Page 3" and "Page 3 girls" are now British institutions. The headline is (as far as I know) not one that the Sun ever actually used, but is reminiscent of one of its most famous headlines: "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster!" (Starr is a very popular UK comedian.)

The Sun gives us the exact date of Morpheus' escape: September 14, 1988.

Page 27

Panel 6-7

Morpheus reaches into his guard's dream (daydream?) and grabs a handful of sand. This is a power he will manifest many times.

Page 29

Panel 7

Morpheus uses the sand to put his captors to sleep. This is a traditional power of the children's-tale Sandman.

Page 31

Panel 4

We are seeing Mort Notkin's dream, in which he is dressed as a clown at a party which is not a costume party after all (a common dream). The people pictured are, left to right, Marilyn Monroe, an American film actress; Jimmy Durante, an American film actor; Mort himself (note dismayed expression); Elvis Presley, an American rock musician; the small face is probably Bela Lugosi, an actor famous for his Dracula roles; John Wayne, American film actor; unknown (Jane Fonda?).

Panel 5

Colonel Harlan Sanders, American fast food entrepreneur. The bucket he is holding contains his famous fried chicken.

Panel 6

On the left, Marilyn again; on the right, we can see Mort's left rear.

Page 31-32

Morpheus uses two different methods to acquire food and clothing. It is unclear why, except that perhaps Gaiman is showing us the extent of his powers. It might also be that he is too weak to create food himself, and has to take it from the dreams of mortals.

Page 32

Panel 6

We will see that Morpheus craves revenge in the short term, but repents of it in the long term, as a general facet of his personality.

Page 33

Panel 1-3

This is, of course, a quotation from chapter 4 of Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. The sleeping king is referred to as the Red King. There is of course an analogy between the Red King waking up and Dream breaking free.

Page 34

Panel 10

This is Dream's first appearance as a cat. Why he should like to appear as a cat becomes clearer later.

Page 36

Panel 7

"Lord, what fools these mortals be" is from Shakespeare's A Midsummer-Night's Dream. This play is evidently a favorite of Gaiman's, as he often uses it as a source, and bases an entire later issue around the play.

Page 40

Panel 5

"And I have showed him fear..." is probably allusion to T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (1922) part I. "The Burial of the Dead": "I will show you fear in a handful of dust". DC published Sandman ads with this same text when the series started. The text balloon was accidentally left white in the original comic.

Contributors include:

Greg Morrow, [email protected] (Convincing simulation), Andrew David Weiland, Connie Hirsch, Dani Zweig, Col. Sicherman, Jim W Lai, Thomas White, Dan Holzman, Neil Gaiman, via Tanaqui C. Weaver and Andrew Sigel. Michael Bowman referenced Namtar and Allatu. Ron Dippold also referenced Namtar, and gave information about page 3 of The Sun. Robert Martin provided information about Aleister Crowley and his pupil, and the link between James Branch Cabell and Crowley. Lance "Squiddie" Smith referenced several of the old lords and noticed the wheelchair breaking the circle. Nils Helge Kielland Brobakk referenced Mammon, noticed the different dates of birth for Roderick Burgess and the fact that both Burgess and Crowley died in 1947. He also noted that It was being read before it was published, and a few other facts. Wendell T. Hicken mentioned the Paginarum Fulvarum in Good Omens. Bill Turkel noted the allusion to the T.S. Eliot poem. Brodie H Brockie referenced Mammon, gave information about Through the Looking-Glass, and identified Bela Lugosi. David Hawkins noticed the return of It in Sandman #65. David Hicks noticed the possible influence of Desire on Ruthven Sykes and Ethel Cripps. Dylan Verheul provided some additional information about the old lords and corrected some references to future appearances of characters, referenced the Books of Magic, and noted Aleister Crowley on Sgt. Pepper's, and the date on The Sun. Katie Schwarz provided the information about the book Awakenings, corrected a some errors and my English, and mentioned the biblical reference for Burgess' epitaph. She also mentioned the DC ads with the T.S. Eliot quote. Mattias Pettersson referenced Naberius, Klesh and Vepar, and gave more information about "sleepy sickness". Alasdair Montgomery noticed the change in location of the illustration of the "Kinge of Dremes", and gave information about The Sun. Martin Hagstrøm and David Roel corrected some errors. Neil Gaiman corrected a big error. Bob Riedel identified "Sleep of the Just" as an Elvis Costello song.