Collectors (Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones III)
Fifth part of second storyline, The Doll's House
Seventh story reprinted in The Doll's House
Last updated August 4, 1998
We are back to the real storyline after last issue's side trip, in Dodge County, Georgia.
The song is "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" as sung by Groucho Marx in one of the Marx Brothers movies.
Panel 1, and others
Notice how the bits of con-goer talk always includes some slangy reference to death: "Journey was a real killer." "Wouldn't be seen dead here." And so on.
The song is "These Boots Were Made for Walking", sung by Nancy Sinatra.
More about the Family Man on page 9.
The "I am John's coathanger" routine probably referes to a series of articles Reader's Digest once did, in the 50's, with titles like "I Am John's Kidneys", "I Am John's Liver" and so on. They were narrated from the point of view of the parts of a human body, and gave an informal introduction to what these organs were about, what was harmful to them, and so on. The coathanger very likely refers to the titular method of back alley abortionists. Scarlett O'Hara was the heroine of the novel/movie Gone with the Wind and the reprehensible sequel Scarlett.
This is the manager, who is unimportant. The nebbishy guy that's been running around with the clipboard is "Nimrod", named after a great Biblical hunter. Notice that the manager displays and is reading bondage pornography in contrast with his "I run a clean place" speech.
G.K. Chesterton, after whom Gilbert is modeled, was fond of paradoxes.
Confirmation that Barnaby and Clarice were killed in Sandman #12.
Gilbert's claim about Perrault is essentially correct. The story here and the discussion of its history come from The Great Cat Massacre by Robert Darnton.
Similarly grotesque versions of the story can be found in Italo Calvino's Italian Folktales (notably, #26, "The Wolf and the Three Girls," and #116, "The False Grandmother"). For still more variety, see The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood by Jack Zipes, a collection of 31 versions from Perrault in 1697 to twentieth-century parodies and feminist revisions, with an introduction tracing the changes in the story and its cultural significance.
The Corinthian. We'll find out what happened to Jed later.
First known appearance of Fun Land, whose story we get later this issue.
The Family Man can't make it because he is busy with John Constantine in Hellblazer about this time. We may note that he did not even get an invitation, due to John's interference with his contact.
By now, it should be very clear that this is a convention of serial killers. With the exception of the Corinthian, none of these killers have appeared before or since. The convention itself is a parody, of sorts, of genre conventions, such as comic or SF cons.
The American flag design resembles the cover of Swamp Thing #44, where the Bogeyman appeared (see page 14, panel 5-7). I cannot identify any of these pictures. I suspect that they include famous serial killers of the past.
"A mighty hunter before the Lord" is how Nimrod is described in Genesis 10:9.
"Definitely not women": Most serial killers are white males, most of whom kill women, because of sexual hangups. The inference is that Nimrod "collects" women.
And evidently he keeps their bodies. Yuck.
The list reads:
The Collector is a book by John Fowles, made into a movie directed by William Wyler. It is the story of a butterfly collector who abducts a young woman and imprisons her in his basement.
The Bogeyman appeared, and was killed, in Swamp Thing #44. His shtick was as described here.
The inference is that he makes the neckties out of human skin, which would tend to make them the same pale color (assuming he restricts himself to his own race, as serial killers are wont to do).
The name broken across two panels is "Hello Little Girl", the inference being that his obsession is young girls.
The Corinthian is correct regarding the Bogeyman's fate.
Gilbert recognizes the Corinthian. Hmm.
The inference is that Gilbert has written the name of Dream.
Many serial killers claim to be motivated by God.
"Needs must, when the devil drives" is a quote. Rabelais may have it in this particular form. It appears slightly altered in Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, Act I, Scene 3, Lines 27-30:
COUNTESS Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
LAVATCH My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven on by the flesh, and he must needs go that the devil drives.
It has often appeared in comics, notably in one of Swamp Thing ##25-27, when Etrigan appeared.
This is the Corinthian's car, and there's something in the trunk.
Fun Land's remark: many serial killers have unusual or parasitic relationships with single mothers. Neil Gaiman says the song is Timbuk 3's "Standard White Jesus" from the Edge of Allegiance album.
The inference is that this is Disney World, or some similar theme park. Conspiracy nuts love the idea that Disney hushes up murder at its parks.
The song is "Venus in Furs", by the Velvet Underground.
Notice how Fun Land's hat makes him look like a wolf? And his t-shirt has a wolf as well. This is in reference to the "Red Riding Hood" story. His hat is also a parody of the famous Disney mouse ears.
"Moon River" probably refers to the song of that title, made famous by Andy Williams.
The inference here is that Fun Land wants to hunt.
The inference is that the preoperative transsexuals are male-to-female only. Preoperative transsexuals of this sort take female hormones so that their breasts enlarge and their bodies become more female in appearance, but they retain their male genitals. Many such, in fact, finance their last operations by appearing in specialty, so-called "she-male", pornography. In panel 7, the victim's "left-lean" penis appears in silhouette.
The song is "Wild Thing", by the Troggs.
A "grass widow" is a divorced woman or a woman who is separated or often separated from her husband.
"There is no sanity clause" is a pun. Santa Claus is an American mythic figure associated with Christmas, and American and British common law make special provisions for insane criminals. Most serial killers are adjudged insane, of course. The Candy Man's statement is, of course, ironic in the extreme, since he's ignoring the slight abnormality of killing.
Fans of "there is no sanity clause" are advised to look at the Marx Brothers film A Night at the Opera, as well as in Walt Kelly's comic strip Pogo. We may note that Neil Gaiman is alleged to have a Groucho bust in his office, and likes to work with late night movies on, so it's a good bet that he was inspired by Opera.
It is probably not a coincidence that the disturbed young man refers to cats as "pussies", that also being a slang term for the vagina.
Middle top. Of course women are naked under their clothes.
In the original comic edition, some speech balloons fell off the original art. They were restored in the trade paperback reprint. The young man with Fun Land is talking, and the missing balloons read:
I dunno. I thought maybe if I came here, I'd meet some other people with the same problem. People I could talk to, who'd understand. Who'd help me. But no one else has really been interested.
Thus revealing great irony in Fun Land's subsequent absconding.
Fun Land decided to go hunting after all.
"It's a Small World" is a very annoying song played over and over again at Disneyland and Disney World.
Funland's dream has points in common with Oscar Wilde's story "The Selfish Giant".
These incidents and variations of them have actually taken place in the US and possibly elsewhere.
We may recall that the Corinthian's mouth-eyes were seen in Sandman #10 when Lucien is giving Dream the census results.
Gilbert has found Jed, who is what was hidden in the Corinthian's trunk. Boot is British for trunk.
Greg Morrow wrote the first version of the Annotations. Tom White found the issue of Swamp Thing with the Bogeyman and checked Hellblazer for the Family Man. He also identified In Cold Blood. And noted a part of the origin of Fun Land's hat. Stop this man before he annotes again! Paul N Watts identified the partial movie titles and the song on page 22. Dennis C Hwang identified Don't Look Now. Col. G.L. Sicherman and Theresa Martin identified "Lydia". Theresa also recalled the census results of issue #10. Subrata Sircar explained the significance of the manager's hobby and also found the All's Well That Ends Well quote. Steve Simmons, Marcus Brazil, and Hannu Pajunen identified The Collector. The Colonel, Alex (Chaffee?) and Paul Lee found various incarnations of the motoring devil quote. The Colonel and Tom Galloway found citations for the sanity clause. Tom also recalled the incidents the Corinthian remarks on. Jim W Lai scrutinized page 23 to find those hidden genitals. Where is that Waldo, anyway? He also checked "grass widow" out. Neil Gaiman himself, as relayed by Tanaqui C. Weaver identified the Timbuk 3 song, and pointed out the literary antecedents of Fun Land's dream. William Sherman chimed in with a late identification of "Lydia"; identified the coathanger routine; corrected the Capote reference; and sang "Moon River" for us. Scott Martin noticed the information from The Great Cat Massacre. Katie Schwarz mentioned the Italian Folktales and The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood, and she noted the Swamp Thing connection on page 11 and the Genesis quote on page 12.