Ten Cent Takes

Mike Thompson & Jessika Frazer

A podcast looking at comics, pop culture, and how the two connect. Come for the history, stay for the swearing.

Issue 33: DC’s Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (History of DND, Part 3)Issue 32: The Dragonlance Saga (History of DND, Part 2)Issue 31:The Realm (History of DND, Part 1)Issue 30: Aquaman (vol. 2)Issue 29: The Saga of the Sub-MarinerIssue 28: Debbie Does DallasIssue 27: Chuck Norris’s Karate KommandosIssue 26: NFL SuperProIssue 25: The Sandman Book Club (Part 6)Issue 24: Marvel’s Alterniverse (w/special guests Dear Watchers!)Issue 23: The Sandman Book Club (Part 5)Issue 22: The Marvel Holiday SpecialsIssue 21: The Sandman Book Club (Part 4)
Things are starting to come to a head in our penultimate episode for The Sandman Book Club! Brief Lives follows the story of Dream and Delirium as they search the world for Destruction, their missing brother. Meanwhile, the next volume (The World's End) brings us another anthology with hints at what to expect in the final two volumes of the series.  ----more---- Jessika: I feel like I'm very straight passing recently. So I went out and ordered by self some doc Martins, just work there. These are my doc Martins. I am bisexual. *laughs*  Hello! Welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcast where we seek to find Destruction one issue at a time. My name is Jessika Frasier, and I'm joined by my cohost, the fountain of facts, Mike Thompson.  Mike: Hello. Hello. Hello. Jessika: Hello, Mike. And if you, listener, are new around here, the purpose of this podcast is to study comic books in ways that are both fun and informative. We want to look at their coolest, weirdest and silliest moments, as well as examine how they're woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history.  This episode, we're continuing on with the fourth episode of our book club as we discuss volume seven and eight of the Sandman series, if you haven't already listened to our previous episodes on the Sandman and want to catch up, which by the way, we highly recommend we're discussing two volumes at a time. So go check out episode 15 for volumes one and two episode 17 for volumes three and four, and episode 19 for volumes five and a six,  And if you're thinking "These guys are great. I would love to show my support for this amazing podcast, but how?" Well friends I'll tell you. It really helps us. If you rate and review us on the platform you're listening through, especially apple pod pass and pod chaser, it really helps with discoverability and in helping us reach other nerdlings that just might enjoy the show. Plus it gives us that validation boost that Mike and I both being generally anxious, so need. So show us some love wherever you listen, please. And thank you. You can also tell your friends how awesome we are so they can join in on this fun.  Mike: Yeah. Uh, I definitely thrive on words of affirmation as pointed out by Comic Book Couples Counseling in our last episode. Jessika: Yes, please give us all the affirmation. But before we jump into our main conversation about volume seven and eight of the same. what is one cool thing you've read or watched lately?  Mike: I recently learned that the Books of Magic, which is a bit of a spin-off to the Sandman and a bit of sequel and a bit of something totally original, is getting the omnibus treatment. So this was actually really exciting for me because I read all the trades when I was in high school and college. And I was disappointed at how it felt like the series ended halfway through the story. And then I learned way later that DC only collected the first 50 of like 75 total issues into trades, which is why the series felt like it ended the way it did, I guess. Didn't sell that well. And so DC stopped putting them out, but DC put out an omnibus late last year, and then they're going to release another one in a couple of months. And it's going to contain the rest of the series as well as all of the different tie in books. And I wound up getting it for over half off from Target during this big deal they had on books where it was like, buy two, get one free. And they also weirdly had it for over half off. So yeah, I snapped that fucker up. Jessika: Hey hey tar-get.  Mike: I know. Right. It was great. but yeah, we've been having a lot of rainstorms here in the bay area lately, and it's kind of the perfect weather to read an oversized book, featuring the adventures of Tim hunter, who is this British teenager who's due to become the most powerful magician in the current age of man and...It's a really good read still. It's one of those books from the nineties that was originally a mini series by Neil Gaiman, and then other authors picked it up and put their own spin on it, you know? And we saw that with Lucifer as well. the books of magic had a couple of different authors, but they had prolonged runs and then they had a rotating cast of artists meanwhile Lucifer had Mike Carey at the helm guiding everything for all 75 issues. And then Neil Gaiman wrote the original miniseries for the books of magic, but then, you can still feel his fingerprints all over it, which is really cool. Jessika: Yeah, that's neat.  Mike: Yeah. There's some cool little Easter eggs in it. Like I think I mentioned in last episode during the brain wrinkles about how we actually see Hamnet, who was in the Midsummer Night's Dream issue of Sandman show up in the Books of Magic as the page of Titania, the queen of fairies. Jessika: Yeah, totally validated me.  Mike: I remember, you and I talking about that and you were like, I don't know. Did he go with Titania? And I was sitting there going, I don't know, maybe . , you know, he could have it's left open-ended no, he went with Titania, so... Jessika: yeah.  Mike: yeah. Jessika: that.  Mike: But yeah. What about you? What have you been scoping out? Jessika: Well, my good friend and a listener Noel -hey- gave me a reprint of a one-shot Image comic called Aria: The Heavenly Creatures, which was written by  Brian Holguin, illustrated by Jay Anacleto with Brian Haberlin, colored by Drew Passata Raymond Lee and Brian Haeberlin and letter by Francis Taka Naga. And I, I wanted to call them all out because the illustration, this comic is absolutely phenomenal. It's gorgeous. It's just, it's a veritable work Bart on every page and it's done in a really soft and hazy almost Dreamlike way.  Mike: Hm. Jessika: And there aren't any harsh outlines it's detailed and very lifelike and all of the fabric just looks so like rich and realistic. Noel was telling me that the character Lady Kildare was actually in another longstanding series, but this one had the rights removed to use the character. I believe, I'm not sure why. but it was set in the smokestack that was Victorian London. Hence some of the reasons for the haze, the story follows Kildare, who is from the fairy realm as she stumbles upon and subsequently sets to saving a fallen angel who was being held active by a man who runs a sideshow.  And it gives off extreme queer vibes and has an absolutely strong, and bad-ass leading lady, which, you know, I'm absolutely here for. Mike: What.  Jessika: yeah. what? Who's heard of this?  Mike: nobody told me this. Jessika: what she's a feminist who would have known.  Mike: I can't believe you're telling me this now. It's like 20 episodes. We're all alive. Jessika: This is 21. I got ya.  Mike: I'm quitting! I'm quitting right now! How dare you? Jessika: You know what, Mike? Let's move on to our next topic. Our main topic.  Mike: that series does sound rad though. I haven't heard of it before, so I'm gonna have to check it out. Jessika: Yeah, you should. It's definitely, it's very interest.  Mike: All right. Now we can move on. Jessika: Okay, let's go. Oh, right. So we are moving on to volume seven and eight of the Sandman series. So volume seven is titled Brief Lives and was published 1992 and 93 and comprises volumes 41, through 49 of the Sandman series written of course, by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Jill Thompson and Vince Locke. Mike: Yeah. And we've seen both of these artists before in the series, like Vince Locke helps with, the short story about the Wolf people.  Jessika: That's right.  Mike: and then Jill Thompson, Jill Thompson did the, the Chibi story that we saw  Jessika: Oh, that's right.  Mike: in the parliament of Rooks issue. Her chili style drawings of Death and Dream wound up becoming their own thing. It's called the Little Endless  Jessika: Aw.  Mike: and they did them as kind of like storybooks. Jessika: That's so cute.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: Oh, obviously I'm going to have to go down a Jill Thompson rabbit hole.  This volume in particular is chunked into chapters. So I'm going to break down the story in that way.  so we begin chapter one with an older man making a long arduous Trek to put flowers on a Memorial for Johannah Constantine. We find Orpheus living his endless life of being just a head, not ahead of the game, Just, a literal head. He's been there. for so long that he uses his current helper for the helper's grandfather, as the task of Orpheus's care has been passed down the familial line. We cut to Delirium who is lost on and living on the streets because she cannot find her realm and is obsessively talking about her quote unquote lost brother. She has what can probably be best described as an anxiety or panic attack after wandering into a club and mistaking a cute goth woman for being her sister, Death. Desire, swoops in and takes her to her realm, but refuses to help her in the search for their brother, but suggests that Delirium visit Despair in her realm And ask if she will help. Despair also refuses to assist, but we get a glance into the brother whose identity has been kept vague up to this point, which is Destruction. We get to see a brief interaction during the black plague where Despair and Destruction for both out admiring their work. Despair then ignores a mirror page, quote, unquote from her twin Desire who wanted to talk about her and their brother and the fact that Delirium is looking for him. Mike: Yeah. And I think this is the first time that we actually see Destruction as a person. Before that he showed up in the issue where we saw Orpheus his wedding, but he was like fully clad in armor and he had like a giant helm. So it was obscuring his face. Jessika: Yeah. And we didn't ever really get introduced necessarily. We just knew that he just was like, there. Mike: Yeah. I can't remember if they out and out named him, you know, it probably would help if I went back and re-read the issue right now, but I think they, identified him as part of the family  Jessika: Yeah. That's what I think it was vague.  Mike: because he has, he has a whole, he has a whole conversation with Orpheus, after, after Eurydice dies, where he kind of consoles him. I think, right, like I'm not misremembering. Jessika: I don't remember now that was too many issues ago,  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: But he's definitely there. He definitely was there and I, and I think it was just like vague as to his ties. Like he was family, but.  Mike: Yeah. And then when he's going through the town with Despair during the black plague, he's like very gregarious and like actually much more human seeming than honestly all of the other endless, he's one of those people where he's not going about his duty somberly but he's not like delighting in it either. He's just kind of like, you know, he's just a dude. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. He like has a job and he's doing his job, but he's he still sees what effect that takes on others?  Mike: Yeah. He feels like a much more human member of the endless than most of his siblings. Jessika: Yeah, yeah. Say so. So chapter two brings us to Dream and his realm. Where he is once again, moping over a woman who has left him instead of dealing with the grief of his lost love interest, whom he'd only known for a scant couple months. He instead orders Lucien to have her quarters in the castle be dismantled and he's causing constant rain in the Dream realm, as well as in the Dreams of mortals and Delirium shows up and is at first identified as an intruder by the gargoyles outside of Dream's castle.  Mike: I mean, does it really surprise us? That Dream is just the mopiest moper whoever moped? I know that Neil Gaiman wanted the characters designed to be like a mix of him when he was in his late twenties, cause he was this tall kind of gangly guy, crossed with Robert Smith from The Cure. Which, I mean, like, it feels like something from a cure Song where it's like, my woman left me and so I'm, causing it to rain all over my realm  Jessika: Oh my gosh, causing it to flood.  Mike: It's very much that that kind of like new wave emo vibe that I keep getting from Dream. So, you know, spot on. Jessika: Oh, it totally is though. So Delirium shows up and is again, is at first identified as an intruder by the gargoyles outside of Dream's castle. And Dream invites Delirium inside and offers her a meal and then asks her what he can help with. And it took Delirium some time to get her request out and Dream being the super patient guy he is -just kidding, he's not- was starting to get frustrated, but Delirium finally got out her request or Dream to help her find their lost brother admitting that she had already asked Desire and Despair. Dream become suspicious that Desire had something to do with Delirium, getting that idea, but Desire swears that she had nothing to do with it and urges Dream to just kick her out and refuse to help. We get a flashback from when Delirium was still Delight and her own relationship with Destruction. When Dream returns, he ends up offering to help Delirium try to locate Destruction through some of Destruction's friends. When told of this, Lucien tries to coax him out of going, but Dream admits that he just needs something to take his mind off his current malady and could use the distraction. Dramatics. He also leaves on a literal, "this is straight forward, What could possibly go wrong?" note. Which why, why set yourself up in that way?  Anyway.  Mike: I thought that was great. Jessika: We begin chapter three with a man named Ernie CapEx, who has had a Dream where he is remembering the smell of wooly mammoths, recalling that he had lived for innumerable years, yet passing a construction zone. He is hit with an entire brick wall slash building itself that accidentally fell from overhead from an active, construction zone he was passing. As CapEx emerges from the rubble. He believed himself to have gotten out of the situation unscathed yet Death, comes, and collect him, pointing to his body, buried beneath the rebel and state that he got, what everybody gets a lifetime back. The waking world Dream has brought the leery into a travel agency in Dublin, looking for an acquaintance of Dreams after much back and forth with the woman working at the front desk. Dream finally sent the message about drinking wine in Babylon before Pharamond -now called Mr. Farrell- finally came to meet them. I love that while they were waiting in the lobby, Delirium was like making frogs, like actual animate frogs.  Mike: Yeah. And I think that was called out where Ferrell is sitting there and he's like, what are they doing? And the receptionist is like, they're making frogs. like she's making them appear out of thin air. It was. Jessika: So chaotic. During their meeting, Fairmont agrees to assist Dream after recalling our Dream and help them in the past, by suggesting a different profession, they asked Delirium about the list she had mentioned of their brother's friends, and she went and bought it and included the Lawyer, the Alderman, Etain of the Second Look and the Dancing Woman. we get a glimpse of a Etain who has had a Dream about a poem. She goes to write, but it escapes her. She also narrowly escaped from her apartment as it explodes from ignited gasoline.  Mike: Yeah. She, has like a moment where she figures out that something is wrong and just needs to get out like as soon as possible. Jessika: yeah, she had the forethought to grab her purse and then held it in front of her as she broke through the window with the force of her running body, shielding herself with purse. So bad-ass. And she was just in her underwear and a tank top at the time. So lucky for her She had her purse with her and he'd go off into Kmart, some clothes and shoes. We then pan to a man who looked suspiciously like Destruction with no facial hair. And he is trying to paint. His dog, Barnabas, comes to advise him that he is hearing an odd noise from inside a room where they find a round churning pool surrounded by framed portraits. He falls at the family room and states it is an early warning system.  Dream and Delirium fly on a plane in first-class and then are picked up by a chauffeur in a classic convertible on their way to see apex chapter four begins with an alderman who was nervously perceiving an out of season Northern lights display, knowing that is an negative omen. He does a ritual and changes itself into a bear with a human shadow bites off the human shadow and the shadow takes the man's clothes and his name and identity, and goes back into the world. The bear remains a bear and forgets he was anything else prior. Meanwhile, back in the waking world, Dream and Delirium are being driven around What looks like a suburban neighborhood. And Dream is clearly looking for something or someone they roll up to Bernie Cape axes house, where they're informed by a son that his father is dead. Dream gets really pushy with the chauffeur who insists that she needs to stop to rest for the night before they start driving the 12 to 14 hours, you know, like mortals need sleep and all Mike: What was the chauffeur's name again? Ruby, right? Jessika: it was Ruby. Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: Yup. Mike: Yeah. She was rad. I actually really liked that. She was, she was a. Just a cool character, but then she also like actively pushed back on Dream and she's like, I don't give a fuck who you are. I don't care that my boss is calling in a favor. This is not how this works. Jessika: Exactly. Exactly. It's like, yeah, she definitely had solid boundaries. It was awesome. So it was going to take 12 to 14 hours to get to their next destination, which per Deliriums list is Etain of the Second Look in Ohio. Dream, finally concedes to stop and they go to a motel to Russ for the night. And in the motel, we get background on Ruby, the chauffer, who is a polyglot and all around badass. As we said, Delirium is letting herself go in order to find another one of the characters on their lists. The scene cuts to an exotic nightclub where one of the dancers is sick prior to going. While looking in the mirror. One of the other dancers who was assisting the sick dancer sees Delirium, who verifies that she is the Dancing Lady that is on the list and tells her that they will see her soon. So Dream goes back to his own realm and speaks with Lucien asking for assistance and finding some of the information they need to find their brother. Dream also recollects a situation and conversation with Destruction and the Corinthian in the 17 hundreds. But at the time Dream didn't realize that Destruction was telling him that he was going to be leaving.  Mike: Yeah. And the Corinthian, this is the same Corinthian who we saw basically as the celebrity at the serial killer convention back in the Doll's House, right?  Jessika: Yeah. it was the Doll's House. Mike: Yeah. But it was before he had really gone off the deep end, but I really dug the character design where he's kind of dressed as a French dandy and he's still rocking sunglasses, like, but he's got, he's got like the giant puffy wig and I thought that was great. Jessika: yeah, it was a nice little, a nice little.  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Back in the motel Dream returns to his body, to firefighters, trying to get him out. Ruby fell asleep with a lit cigarette and the motel burned down, killing Ruby in the process, or so we're made to believe.  Mike: Yeah, but at the same time, it's implied that someone or something is taking out all of the leads on Destruction. And they're not sure if the Endless themselves were being targeted as well. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.  Mike: So there's that, there's that ominous tease. Jessika: Chapter five brings us to the search for the Dancing Lady. As well as some driving lessons for Delirium. So irresponsible.  Mike: which we should note, they bring Matthew the Raven in to teach Delirium how to drive and Matthew is basically having a panic attack the entire time, trying to teach her the rules of the road because teaching Delirium, the rules of anything is not going to work. Jessika: Yeah. Well, because she tried like, initially Dream was just like, yeah, go for it. And she's like all over the road, she's like swerving in and out of stuff. She's not on the correct side. And it was just a whole thing.  Mike: no, it was, it was very good watching Matthew, just panic. And he's like sitting there squawking and flapping his wings, like crazy. It was good. I loved it. Jessika: Oh, well. And before that, I mean, they had a... the reason the Matthew out called in was because they had a run in with highway patrol and that ended with the man being plagued with feeling like bugs were crawling on him, like forever. Forever. He always was just going to feel like that.  Mike: Yeah. That was like, and that was basically Delirium. Just does it as a hand wave thing, which you know, I have that as something to talk about later on. But. Yeah. It's the first instance where we see Delirium being just as casually cruel as the rest of her siblings. Jessika: Yeah. Yup. Without really realizing it, you know, it's almost like it's not even a thought, which is even worse.  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So they get to the exotic dance club and Tiffany -whom Delirium had been using as a conduit- and Ishtar, who we find out as a former goddess of love. So she, at one point tells Tiffany that nobody comes to really see her dance just for TNA, but after Dream and Delirium and Matthew pay a visit with Dream, extracting nothing from who we find out is Destruction's former lover, but also warning her that she might be in danger. Ishtar goes out to the stage to dance and literally goes atomic dancing her true dance. The whole club explodes with a naked, Tiffany barely making it out alive. Desire, shows up and gives Tiffany their coat and talks about how Ishtar was thinking about her desire for Destruction up until her final moment. Mike: Yeah. Well, something that was interesting about Tiffany is that Ishtar, we've gotten glimpses of her, where Ishtar is like taking care of her. And it's very clear that she has some mental issues going on as well as possibly a drug addiction. She had a drug addiction, right? Cause at one point she was trying to eat some eggs and stuff that Ishtar made for her and then she wound up puking it up. And then she winds up stumbling out of the club and surviving while Desire gives her the jacket. And then I think that kind of becomes sort of like one of those revelatory moments that we always hear about with born again, Christians, which, you know, we see later on at the very end. Anyway. Moving on. Jessika: Well, chapter six brings us back to Destruction who is trying his hand at yet another artistic endeavor. And once again, producing lackluster results, he mentions to Barnabas that now is not the time for him to Dream or else he might give up too much. Back with Dream and Delirium Dream has had enough of his sister's bullshit and basically tells her that he's fucking back off to his own realm and she needs to go back to hers. He refuses to help her any further. Mike: he's really a Dick about it too. There's a very cold delivery to it. And it's very, again, it's very cruel, where he really talks down to her and treats her like a lesser rather than an equal. Jessika: Yeah. It would be one thing to put up a boundary, which I would absolutely respect if you said, you know what I, for XYZ reason, I really can't help you at this point. Here's what I can do for you. Or I can support you in this way, but it's not even like that. He's just like middle fingers in the air. Like here I go back to my realm, like Mike: Basically just fire both middle fingers off and go deuces I'm out! Jessika: Exactly. So Delirium is very upset obviously by this treatment from her brother and his response and sulks off to her own realm. And Dream is very salty when he gets back and tells him while at a stopped dancing, which, sorry, you're no fun, but stop stomping on everybody else's rose garden. He lets Pharamond know about Ruby's demise and then Dream creates a realm for bast to come and talk. And even though he's told everyone that he is no longer looking for his brother, that is the exact question he is going to ask a very flirty Bast. Mike: right. And this is because back in Season of the Mists, when all the different gods were vying for Hell, the gods of Egypt didn't exactly have a lot to offer, but Bast said, I do know where your brother is. Jessika: Which I didn't really put two and two together, obviously. Mike: No, I mean, well, I mean, here's the thing is like back then, like, you know, and that one they hinted at at where I think they had a curtains drawn over Destruction's portrait. This was something that was a very tangentially hinted at if even that much. But it's kind of interesting to see how Neil Gaiman clearly had an idea of what he wanted to do. Like, even that far back, like we're talking at this point years back.  Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. It's definitely the long game for the plot line.  Mike: which, anything that you read by him, He always has these small seeds that he plants that wind up growing into something bigger. Like if you read American gods, which is, a dense tome of a book, and I guess there's the, the director's cut version that they released a couple of years ago, which is even longer, there's a number of small things that he has his like kind of tangental side stories, and then they wind up building into something much bigger towards the end. Jessika: Oh, it's always so cool. It's such a good story teller.  Mike: Yeah. It's just, sometimes you sit there and view people's talent and you're like, that's not fair. Jessika: No, right? So when Dream appears back in the main part of his castle, Lucien lets him know that there is some trouble in the portrait gallery and when they get there, he discovers that one of the portrait has gone black. Dun dun dun! Mike: Yeah, like solid black, like that's, that's all there is.  Jessika: Solid black. Incommunicado. Death comes to see Dream and asks him what he did to Delirium. explained there so far failed by. And Death basically told him he needed to go make up with the sister.  Mike: Yeah. I mean, like, it's basically like a smack on the back of the head. Like she is like, talking about people tired of other people's bullshit. Death is about done with dreams at this point. I think. Jessika: Yeah. She's like stopping douche and just make up with her. Good Lord. And so Dream falls into Delirium's chaotic world, which is filled with color and random pictures and words. And you find her crying, having cut off all of her already short multicolored hair. He apologizes to her admitting the he had had ulterior motives for wanting to travel in the waking world. As there was a woman, he knew that he wanted to try to look up while they were in that world.  Mike: And it's implied that it's the woman that left him at the beginning who were not actually ever told who that is, right?  Jessika: No, she gets no name. She just, she's just a plot point. You know? I love that. Yeah. No, we never, we never see her. We never interact with her. She doesn't get a name. So... too bad or not feminist on this show.  Mike: What, what was the quote that Lisa gave us in the last episode? It was like, uh...  Jessika: Oh, which one? God, we are, she was talking about nothing. There's nothing better than a woman who was empty.  That was one of them.  Mike: Yeah, that was exactly what I was thinking of. Like what better purpose for a woman than to be empty and waiting for a man to fill her hole or something? I was like, ah, god damn it Lisa. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. Oh, yup. That's just a welcome to the patriarchy. Front row seat: Every woman. Or female identifying person. So dream tells Delirium that he will help her find their brother, but in earnest. chapter seven begins with Destruction trying out yet another fine art. And this time it's the culinary arts. He is somewhere in proximity to an actual town, as he goes and picks up supplies from there and feeds the dog, Barnabas some chocolate, which don't do that, do not do that to your actual dog.  This is a special, magical dog.  Mike: I'm still not sure if that was done intentionally to show that Barnabas was like something else or if it was because Neil Gaiman didn't have a dog and didn't know what you are supposed to and supposed to not feed them. Jessika: I hope it's the former. If it's the former, it's pretty cheeky. Let's just say.  Mike: But yeah, like I legit tensed up when I read that again. I'm like...  Jessika: I did too.  My dog was sitting right next to me and I literally out loud was Like. no, no, no, no.  So. Barnabas, is it on some chocolate as he and Destruction discuss Destruction's other artistic endeavors, like sculpting, which by the way, all of these have been done with varying degrees of mediocrity so far.  Mike: And Barnabas calls it out. Like, he is blunt and it's kinda great. Jessika: Yup. He's a, no nonsense kind of guy for sure. back with dream of Delirium dream, besides that they must get their older brother involved and notified destiny. They have to find his realm using amaze or labyrinth. And he is of course expecting their arrival. The only advice a destiny can offer dream is something that he had already realized, but doesn't seem to want to be true: That he had to see a certain "oracle." Destiny also told him that the woman he loves has never and will never love him. And you will see her one more time, but that you will not like the outcome. Delirium sees Dream's distress and comes to his aid. Speaking very coherently. And with her eyes the same color when bustin, she said that she was able to do that if she wanted, but that it hurt to do it for very long and that she felt like she needed to step up for him when he was down.  Mike: I kind of love that. I thought it was great. I thought it also showed that she's actually a better quote unquote "person" than he is in a lot of ways because she did that kind of like naturally, without anyone telling her she had to. Jessika: Yeah, it was very, it was instantaneous and it was very selfless. We then get to jump into Destiny's recollection of a story in his book of destruction, calling a family meeting, where he says he's leaving and that he does not want to be found and is no longer going to be associated with the family. Each family member reacts a little bit differently to the news, but Delirium seems to be the most visually upset. So the Oracle in question turns out to be Orpheus. So Dream ends up going there, to Orpheus's island, and in exchange for destruction's location. Dream now owes Orpheus a boon. So they've very easily traversed to destruction's location by boat, where they meet Barnabas and the formal eternal being himself. Destruction meets them with literal open arms and invites them inside with beast that he has made himself, which by the way, they were just sticks about that. They didn't even want It that  Mike: It looked really good too. Like it looked like a really good meal.  Jessika: It looked like the one thing he was actually able to do well,  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: like he finally figured it out. Hey, I can cook.  Mike: Well, I mean, speaking of someone who, you know, bakes enthusiastically people generally don't care so much about how your food looks as much as they do about how it tastes. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. So chapter eight brings us to Destruction's decision. He speaks with Delirium and Dream about the reason he had left family and the fact that he was going to exit existence s Barnabas to stay with Delirium and watch over her.  Mike: Yeah. And then he reveals during this conversation that the reason that so many people that knew him have been dying was because of certain safeguards I think is how we phrased it. which, I mean, it's fine. I guess it also kind of, it drives home that the endless are not actually people and they don't feel things like guilt or shame, but I don't know. I was kind of hoping the first time that I read this, that we would get some third agent involved. Someone who is actively trying to hunt down destruction or something like that, but we didn't get it. Jessika: Nope.  Mike: It kind of got hand-waved away.  Jessika: Yeah. Yep. Just all right. Well that was because I didn't want anybody to find me, so I just gotta to make sure nobody finds me regardless of, you know, who gets in my way. And if  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: trying, it's gonna  Mike: Cool. Cool bro. Cool. Jessika: Yeah. Pretty rough. Destruction torches the portraits and the gallery. He shrinks his sword and pool, which was rad by the way. And he puts them in, he puts them on a stick in a polka-dot handkerchief and walks literally into the stars.  Mike: Yeah. It's that like hobo stick from turn of the century artwork. Whereas the people who were just wandering the rails and stuff and they have a stick and then they have their belongings in, you know, in this little kind of sack tied to the end. Jessika: Yeah. You could tell, he was like, oh, this is what this is supposed to look like. You could tell it was like an affectation, which was kind of adorable. He's been trying this whole time to be someone else, You know, and, and even when he left, he was trying to be someone else. So it's like, man, I hope you find yourself out there.  Mike: Well, yeah, it... he's been trying to be human and this is another affectation that he's put on. To seem human. Jessika: Dream then tells Delirium that he has to go see his son. Oh. And also that dream needed to kill Orpheus.  Mike: That was such a great cliffhanger moment. Jessika: I know. I actually, I literally gasped. It's like, whoa. We begin chapter nine back to Orpheus's home island where after a bit of back and forth re dream allows Delirium to accompany him, to see his son. She says her chaotic hello, and then Death double-checks with Orpheus that this is what I wanted. They have a very meaningful conversation about their relationship and life and change. And then Dream kills  Orpheus. Dream meets up with Delirium outside where Despair has entered the scene. She shows regret and not going with delirium to find and ultimately see destruction for one final time. Delirium pieces out with Barnabas and Despair meets up with Desire who should be happy as it had accomplished what it wanted to have happen... to have Dream spill the blood of one of the family, but she is somehow still lacking proper fulfillment from the situation. Dream returns to his own realm and is unusually empathetic to everyone around them, wanting to know how people are and speaking with soft vendor, standing, leaving every person he interacts with in a state of poodle. He visits Adros who was one of the Island's caretakers and asks him to bury Orpheus in an unmarked grave. He also starts making plans to let people know that they are no longer in danger and generally thinking about the well-being of others. And that is that they're no longer in danger of being harmed by Destruction's safeguards. Dream washes his hands of the blood of his son, literally. And he remembers a flashback advice given after the Death of Eurydice. Throughout this volume, different characters have told dream in different ways that he is changing, evolving as a person, but he fought this notion up until the end of this chapter, where he seems to have made peace with his decision and accepting the fact that maybe has the capacity for change after all. So, Mike, what did you think about this volume? And do you have a favorite story or event? Mike: Yeah. I'm of two minds on this. Like the plot itself feels like this very necessary one. And it's one that moves the story of Dream and his siblings forward in a pretty meaningful way. But I also found myself continuing to realize that the Endless are these very alien beings who just happened to look human. And oftentimes they're not very kind to each other or to anyone else. And I don't really think I like most of them to be honest. I keep thinking about that moment in the club where Desire basically forces two women to fall in love and then reveals it's going to lead to obsession and stalking and I think maybe a murder. And there's just this casual cruelty that they generally seem to possess, like even Delirium. Like we talked about how she gets irritated with the highway patrolman. And then was like, you're going to think that you have bugs crawling onto your skin for the rest of your life. We see that at the end of this volume, like how it's played out. And it's really rough. He's like in a sanitarium. And, that said I will say, I think Delirium is the most human of the endless, except maybe Death, because she feels all the same things that we do. And it's somehow driven her to her current state. Like we never actually see, I don't think what caused her to go from Delight to Delirium.  Jessika: Oh, interesting. Okay.  Mike: I think it's one of those things that, that game and kind of teases out, but then just leaves us to, let us wonder about afterwards.  Jessika: Well, damn Mike: Yeah. And that said, I think my favorite thing about this volume was honestly, was Barnabas. Like I really enjoyed how he had that brutal honesty and was really funny. Whenever destruction would ask him to critique whatever piece of art he just attempted and then he agrees to go with delirium as I don't quite know how to describe this new role for him, I guess like a sanity check dog, as opposed to a seeing eye dog. Jessika: Yeah. Like maybe an emotional support dog.  Mike: Yeah. Like he, he's a cosmic emotional support dog, I guess.   Jessika: Yeah. You gotta ramp it up and you've got like cosmic powers. You have to, like, there has to be a safeguard for that kind of a, it takes a special service dog.  Mike: Yeah. But I felt like he was the best character throughout the whole story. He's funny. And he's weird. And he's also the companion that we all want our dogs to be. I'm not going to lie. Like I'm probably projecting onto him, but I've recently left a job that was incredibly stressful and was actually causing me to start having anxiety attacks. And my dog, Iggy, would clue into when I was freaking out and he would just hop into my lap and calm me down. don't think we deserve dogs and Barnabas is kind of the manifestation of why that's the case.  Jessika: Yeah.  Mike: And on that note, I know that Jill Thompson, who was the main artists for this volume based Barnabas on a real life dog who belonged to a neighbor who she said was quote, "unkind to the animal." And so she decided to like memorialize them in a comic, which kind of adds that extra emotional punch to it.  Jessika: yeah, which I'm sorry. Are we obsessed with Jill Thompson answer? Yes, we are.  Mike: A hundred percent. Jessika: Jill hit us up.  Mike: What about you? Was there anything that really stuck out to you? Jessika: I was really struck with the part where delirium is at dinner and asks. "Have you got any little milk chocolate people, about three inches, high men and women. I'd like some of them filled with raspberries and cream." She makes them kiss throughout the scene. And after a dream and delirium have left, there is one frame of the last two chocolate people, a man and a woman, which is described as such: "touched by her fingers, the two surviving chocolate people populate desperately losing themselves in a melting frenzy of lust spending. The last of their brief borrowed lives in a spasm of raspberry cream and fear." Something about the fact that delirium was both animating and then eating little candy people is just so intense and horrifying.  Mike: Yup. Jessika: And for how much of a throwaway frame it was, it really said a lot about Delirium in just that one situation, you know, even bringing it back to what you had mentioned, just that casual, like she's created a life and she doesn't even care what happens to it? She's just going to destroy it. She'll just leave it to just melt. It doesn't matter to her.  Mike: Yeah. And I mean, that's, I think part of the thing with the Endless is that they're older than gods and galaxies. At some point, when you were these beings that kind of surpass already cosmic things, I don't know, maybe. you just have that perspective where you're like, Hm, you're less than an ant and it's not because I don't like you... It's just, Hmm. Jessika: Yeah, totally. Well. We're bringing it back to the art. Do you have a favorite panel or illustration that caught your eye? Mike: Yeah. The scene where destruction is talking with dream and delirium under that starry sky, like right before he pieces out. It's one of those things where every panel feels like this legit work of art. And in the moment when he actually pieces out, it just feels simultaneously strange and surreal and totally ordinary. And I loved it. It's now one of the sequences that I think about when I think about Sandman, like I've got a couple of moments from, different stories that I've talked about in the past. Like in Men of Good Fortune and there's that three panel sequence with Hob Gadling and his face. And then, this is another one. it felt like there were a bunch of different emotions wrapped up in the entire scene. And I really liked how I just, it left me feeling satisfied at the end, which, you know, you want good art to do. And then it's not exactly a favorite art moment. But one detail that I really liked was how after Orpheus dies, which by the way, the moment that he dies is kind of cool because we don't actually see what dream did, but we see the symbol of death. And then, Orpheus is dead. But one detail that I've really liked was how after Orpheus dies and dream has blood dripping from his hands, there's a trail of red flowers, blooming where the blood hits the ground. Jessika: Yeah. That's really sweet. It was those same red flowers that he had that Orpheus had been sending up to Johanna, Constantine's memorial Mike: Yeah. Yeah. so I'm curious, like what about you? What was your favorite art moment? Jessika: Well, I actually have a tie, so you're just gonna have to hear both.  Mike: that's kind of funny because normally I'm the one where I'm like, I have two, maybe three. Jessika: I couldn't decide this time, usually very decisive, but you know. Sandman's got me like... so in chapter five they visit the exotic dance club and the illustration was super neat. They didn't have any heavy outlines. It was lit differently, you know, the, the drawing style and it just had like shapes, comprising most of the forms, which was neat. And it was a good way to show the distorting light that neon and other lights. You know, give off the appearance. And it also gives the vibe for the place they were in. The customers are also not looking at details and the reader won't get any, you know, the stage lights were also different from the backstage lighting, but the line work was the same, which was also an interesting choice. It made it feel like the club was just a world of its own, with its own visual rules.  Mike: Yeah. And the moment where Ishtar takes the stage and she kind of goes nuclear, the art style is very distinct and the way that she's drawn compared to everything else, it's like, she's no longer a concrete form. It's kind of like, she is the idea of a woman in the midst of a very real world, which I thought was a really cool way to do it. Jessika: Yeah. I think so too. Yeah, I think so.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: And my other favorite art moment is when Dream goes into Delirium's round  Mike: Mm.  Jessika: it's so colorful and it's a chaotic and it's hard to know where to look, to take everything in. And I found myself kind of looking at the pages far away and then up close because the little details come out when you're close, but the distance lets you see the whole big chaotic picture. So it was really neat to portray like a really neat way to portray that vibe.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: so Mike, do you have any final thoughts about this volume before we move on?  Mike: Yeah, I was kind of entertained at how dream threw a giant tantrum because his latest girlfriend bounced and it sort of just drove home how he's still very much a mediocre white guy in his thirties. But, but I also, I will say I did appreciate how this volume brought closure to Orpheus's story and, and how we saw some genuine emotion and regrets from Morpheus at the end of it. There's that moment where after he's having that, recollection of telling Orpheus to live, you can see him in his, I guess his throne or his personal chair or whatever it was. And he looks really sorrowful and that's, I think, the first time that we've seen. Express any true emotion other than anger? Jessika: Yeah. Yeah.  Mike: No. Jessika: Well, let's move along to volume eight and this is titled Worlds End. And was originally published in single magazine farm as the Sandman issues, 51 through 56 in 1993, written as always by our boy, Neil Gaiman illustrated by Brian Talbot, Alex Stevens, John Watkiss, Michael Zuli, Michael Alfred, Shaya Anson Pensa and Gary Amarro. This volume is another anthology. The first story is titled the tale of two cities, and it begins with a car accident where a man named Brant Tucker was behind the wheel with the car's owner, Charlene Mooney in the passenger seat. A large black-horned animal, bigger than a car was in the middle of the road, causing him to veer off and hit a tree Brant bulls Charlene from the wreckage and carries her to find help, winding up at a place called the World's End Inn. Where there are many very curious characters, similarly waiting out the storm, but this isn't a snowstorm like brand had initially thought it is a reality storm, a centaur who is touted to be a prolific healer, tends to Charlene and after drinking a very comforting honey flavored liquid Brant falls into a short coma of 15 hours and awakens to find everyone around a table, trading stories. One of the men at the table, Mr. Geharris goes on to tell a story about a man who enjoyed wandering around the city until the night that he fell or more accurately rode a train into the dreams of his city. After catching a glimpse of a silver gleaming path during his daily lunchtime walk, the man spaces out at work and leaves late missing his usual train. The train he catches is not the right one at all, as Dream as the only other passenger. And it doesn't make the usual stops instead, quickly zipping to an unknown destination when he arrives, all of the landmarks are familiar, but not quite recognizable. He comes upon another older man who tells him his theory that this is the dream of a city. He finds his way out through a familiar doorway where he was later able to read out the tail to Mr. Harris stating that he's not afraid of the dreams of the cities. He's more worried about what might happen if they wake up and decide to take over.  Mike: Yeah. And that last bit, gives, everything kind of this weird Lovecraftian kind of vibe where it's painting cities to kind of seem like they are these eldritch beings that we just happened to be living in. And I kind of dug that Jessika: Yeah. Well, I don't know. I am of the opinion that a city is a living, breathing organism in a way. I mean, there are definite veins and arteries of traffic and, there's different inner workings that make the whole thing rent. I don't know. It just, it feels alive.  Mike: what was that like the mortal engine series, like Peter Jackson produced a movie. That they based on the books about how after effectively, like a giant world war cities become these mobile entities and they wind up like roaming the world and harvesting smaller towns and villages for resources. Jessika: Oh, I Like, that.  Mike: it's a cool idea. It's one where I, I haven't read the book. I've only, I've only seen the trailers, but it looked cool. I don't know. I think it did not actually get that great a review. So I'm waiting for it to come to Netflix before I watch it Jessika: yeah. Fair. So moving on to the second story, which is titled Cluracan's Tale, and it's told by its namesake who is similarly waiting out the store. And this is the very same thorough can who was the brother to Nuala the quote unquote gift given to dream by the Fey after all the underworld drama?  Mike: right in season of the miss. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. His story takes place in the land of Fae where Cluracan is being told by her majesty the queen that he must act as an ambassador on her behalf and intervene in a dealing in Australia of the Plains. Evidently he had been planning to visit Nuala, but would have to set that aside to go on a mission for the queen. She gives him some instructional scrolls, which he was like, yeah, cool. I'll read those later and sets on his way. He's guided to the palace where he meets the psychopomp, who is basically trying to gain power of all the realms tax people and make himself wealthy and powerful. don't know if that sounds familiar.  Mike: Neil Gaiman, continuing to be oddly prescient. Jessika: Man. Cluracan bursts out an uncontrollable prediction, which lands him in jail with iron cuffs and chains. He falls into the dream realm where he sees Nuala. And when he awakes Dream is there and undoes his chains and lets him out as a favor to Nuala. Once out Cluracan spreads rumors throughout the town about the psychopomp causing the town to riot the psychopomp and his adviser. Hide out in the crypt where he is mocking. The former leaders Cluracan comes to face the psychopomp, but before he's able to do. One of the dead bodies comes back the life and fucks up the oily little man by sending them both out of a stained glass window from way high up. Cluracan was on his way back to give his queen the news when he was caught in the storm and absolutely admits to embellishing his story. Mike: Which I mean, that's kind of in keeping with Cluracan's character. He's very much the grandiose storyteller. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. So the next story is called Hob's Leviathan and is told by a young person who goes only by the name, Jim, while Brant and Charlene have come from June, 1993, Jim and the rest of the ship's crew came from September, 1914.  Mike: I actually really liked that detail because it shows the fluid nature of time throughout all of these stories that we're reading. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. Not only time, but other realms, like, you know, we had reality budding up against the Fey realm and budding up against wherever the hell centaurs come from and all that good stuff, Jim had worked on several other ships and had finally started working on the Sea Witch. The captain reluctantly took on a passenger who we find out to be Hob Gadling during their merchant voyage and also find a stowaway. The stowaway is named Gunga Din, who told a very sexist story about how all women cheat and along the way they encounter a sea serpent. When Jim asks Bob, why nobody is talking about the sea serpent, Hob states that some things just go unsaid and who would believe that story anyway, and then reveals that he knows that Jim is actually a girl in the end. Jim says that there is only so much more time that this disguise will work, but for now they can still be called Jim. Mike: Yeah. And Gunga Din I think that's a Rudyard Kipling poem from like the late 1900s... Jessika: Oh, hence the sexism  Mike: yeah. I mean, I don't remember the details about that. I think we read that in junior year English for high school. but Rudyard Kipling stuff it has that, unmistakable whiff of colonialism. Jessika: Yeah. Colonialism is a thing. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Golden Boy is the title of our next story and starts with Brant being a very sleepy guy. He wakens to a sandwich and miraculously hot coffee that had been left for him starts looking around the inn. He runs into another guest who states he is a seeker and follower quote, unquote, and tells the story of the one he follows. In another reality, we follow the growth of a boy named Prez Rickard who becomes the 19-year-old president of the United States with a pension for fixing broken timepieces. Now, Mike, off recording, we've talked about Prez before, I know this is a passion of yours. Would you like to give us some background on the character.  Mike: Oh man. Pres. Okay. yeah, we haven't actually talked about them on this show before, and we probably should at some point, but I, but the funny thing is we did talk about him when we were spinning up the podcast that eventually morphed into Ten Cent Takes. So there's like a last episode out there with some of this info. Prez was this comic that DC did back in the early 1970s. It was following the passage of the 26th amendment, which lowered the voting age. And basically the idea was what would happen if a followup amendment allowed teenagers to get elected to office. And the core concept was there's a kid named Prez who is named so because his mom wants him to be president one day, he becomes this local hero after getting all the clocks in his town to run on time and winds up, getting elected president after kind of thwarting, a convoluted scheme by the shady political fixer named boss smiley and Boss Smiley is a weird guy. Like I think, I think if I remember him, he's like a human person, but then he's got like a smiley face button for a face.  Jessika: Yeah. It's weird.  Mike: the problem is, is it's been a while since I read the original issues and I may be mixing it up with what's in here. And then also the followup reboot they did back in 2015, which we'll talk about that in a minute. But the seventies comic only lasted for four issues and it had some really wild stories. Like one of my favorites is he fights a legless vampire on a skateboard and he goes toe to toe with this distant descendant of George Washington, who was leading an extremist militia group. He survives it and assassination attempt on him after he comes out as pro gun control. And I need to show you that comic cover with the vampire, because he's got like, he's got a werewolf as an assistant, just like a torso and then...  Jessika: Sounds a lot like terror. Shout out to DG Chichester.  Mike: Oh man. All right. Take a look at this. Jessika: No, it's on a wheelie cart.  Mike: Uh, yeah. Jessika: I was not. Oh no, there, there, are problems.  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Oh no. Okay. Let me just paint a picture for everyone. So we have the DC logo in the corner. It says in the middle of the cover Vampire in the wWite House! Prez: First Teen President 20 cents number for March. It's got the comics code authority, of course, which we love. So the door is being opened by what looks like, uh, some militia men, as well as a native American person. Who's very little stereotypically drawn, Mike: I believe that's character name is Eagle free.  Jessika: Oh no, I'm  Mike: Hold on.  Jessika: not loving it.  Mike: Yeah, I mean, it was, it was the early 1970s. They, uh, they weren't very politically correct.  Jessika: can't see my head shaking. It's shaking. I don't love it. Mike: It looks like the Native American mascot that you see when a team is named the Indians. Jessika: Yes, exactly. It's a little rough. you saying "We're too late, that creature's found the president!" and just as... he says Prez who, by the way, is wearing a red sweater, which has the presidential logo with Prez USA around it. So that's already funny. He seems to be in the oval office. Papers are flying everywhere and there's half a vampire on a rolly cart who by the looks of it has flown in and is now trying to bite his neck or strangle him or bite his shoulder and strangle him is what it looks like. Not entirely sure what he's going to do here. So Yeah. Mike: And that's like the final issue of Prez as well, I believe. Jessika: It would escalate into vampirism and be like, oh, where do we go from here?  Pres and a vampire.  Mike: Yeah. pres everything that I love about comics and the press books are why I collect where you just find these weird, strange, silly moments, and then you can bust it out to show to people. And they just want to know all about it. And then you guys get to talk about it for awhile. Jessika: it's the concept itself is so laughable that even if it were an option to like elect an 18 year old, like most of us would be like, I remember what I was 18. This sounds like an awful idea. This sounds like a terrible idea.  Mike: I remember what I was like when I was 30. Good Lord. I wouldn't want me when I was 30 as president. Jessika: That's what I'm saying? Yeah. I'm 35. I'm oh, Hey. I'm just now of presidential age. So nobody vote for me. Nobody vote for me. I don't want that job, but I thought my job was stressful.  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: I have like seven employees. Like I don't, I don't want to have like the country as my, as my dealings with that's a lot.  Mike: Yeah. But the other thing is that in 2015, DC did a mini series revival slash reboot of Prez. Where instead of Prez Rickard... Rickard still shows up and he's kind of like this wildly congressmen, and he's a lot of fun, the idea it's updated for the modern age, where basically you can vote via Twitter. And... Jessika: Oh, no.  Mike: and this girl who goes viral because of like a humiliating video at our fast food job, winds up getting elected president. And it's very funny and very smart. And I can't remember who wrote it, but Ben Caldwell did the art who has this wonderful style. That's kind of a mix of cartoony and then more traditional. And it it's really good. And it's also very affordable. You can find it very easily for not much money. In fact it might be on Hoopla.  Jessika: Ooh, we love Hoopla.  Mike: Yeah, let's see if it's on Hoopla. Jessika: Hey everyone. I would like to take this time to remind everyone to support your local library, to support your local comic book. You're a local small bookstore, small artists.  Mike: We are recording this on small business Saturday. Jessika: We are  Mike: So  Jessika: that's right.  Mike: press volume, one from 2015, by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell and Mark Morales is available on Hoopla. Highly recommend it. It's a great read. Jessika: Yes. Well, thank you. So back within, the story, so that was a nice background on Prez, but back to what happened within this anthology story. So press has many trials where he's tempted by that character Boss Smiley that you had mentioned, but he declined each time wanting to work for his people instead of selling out so that he could receive the rewards offered by the creepy smiling guy. Even after his fiancé is killed and he's injured by a shooter, he still does not give into temptation after finishing his second term of office and denying want change laws so he could continue through a third, Prez hit the road and beyond some Elvis level sightings, he disappeared into the sunset. When Prez died, despite the lack of news on the subject, collectively the nation knew the tragedy that had befallen them. When Death came to retrieve Prez, he was led to gold gates in the clouds and was met by Boss Smiley. Who explains that there are other Americas, other realities that are unknown to most when Prez explains that he wants to leave to the afterlife of broken watches he was told about. Boss smiley says he will not let him leave that he has to stay with the boss. Dream shows up and puts the kibosh on Boss Smiley's plan, taking Prez out of the situation and literally disappearing in front of the boss's angry visage. Dream explains that Death was the one to call attention to this plight and that he had her the thank for his rescue. Before dream sends him off to the real afterlife, Prez gives dream a pocket watch. And the narrator mentioned that he could be out there spreading his good word or waiting to hop back into reality, but we may never know.  Mike: Yeah. And I really liked that one because it was, the Neil Gaiman spin on a classic obscure character. But I liked the idea of. this person who was in the DC universe, like, you know, a real in quotes character becoming an urban legend. And by that becoming a dream of a nation. And I liked the idea of Morpheus stepping in and being like, nah, he's, he's mine. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. exactly. So our next story is called Cerements and begins of course, back at the World's End In. And the storyteller for this tale is named Petrefax an apprentice and Stacy has a true story about another member of the party he has with his master BlackRock. Both are from necropolis. We begin in a glass where clap Roth is teaching ways to get rid of a body and quizzes at daydreaming Petrefax Petrefax is assigned by black broth to go see an air burial that was scheduled. The party members of this gathering tell their own stories of the lore of death and the ceremony surrounding it. There was a tale about a prior city that was not showing enough respect for it that ended up being destroyed and reestablished and another that followed the search for hidden place in the city that holds a book that knows many things about death and the departed Brent becomes convinced that the end is actually just them in death, but one of the other people at the end states that they can explain the Inn and magic.  Mike: yeah, and I don't think we've seen Necropolis before now, but I know it shows up later on in the series. Jessika: this is the first time that I had. The final story is called world's end, which shows the storm breaking and the different patrons departing to their respective homes and realms. Well sort of Charlene decided that she didn't really care for her reality anyway, and wants to stay on working at the Inn. Although Brant absolutely tries to talk her into going back with him in vain. Petrefax decided that he hadn't seen enough realms and decides to leave and go venturing with Chiron the centaur. When Brant gets back, the car is in one piece without a scratch on it. And it is registered in his name. All signs of Charlene's existence have been erased from the reality in which he lives with Brant being the only person on earth to remember Charlene.  Mike: Yeah. And then it's revealed that he was telling the story to a bartender. And that basically when he got to their final destination, he called his work and said, I'm not coming back. Like everything has changed. And then he stays out there and, yeah, it was just, it was kinda, it was one of those ones that ended in a way that was kinda weirdly bittersweet it felt a little sad, even though most everybody got what they wanted. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. Well, Mike, was there a scene or event in this volume that stood out to you?  Mike: I mean, there's a lot, actually, this is one of the volumes that I really do. Like, but the one that I always really find myself going back to is the story about Prez, which, you know, I mean, based on our prior conversation, probably shouldn't surprise anyone. I really loved how Gaiman created something that was very true to the character, but also was a totally different spin at the same time. And it really felt fun and thoughtful. And I enjoyed how biblical it felt in a lot of ways with Prez being this kind of Christ-like figure. And then Boss Smiley being the adversary. Like they even have the moment where Boss Smiley is trying to tempt him on top of a mountain. Yeah, like I just, I think that is one of my favorite of the Sandman short stories. Jessika: Yeah. That doesn't surprise me about you.  Absolutely.  Mike: What about you? Jessika: No, I really liked the part where Charlene went on a rampage about how there weren't any women in their stories except to further the plot line or be decoration.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: It was like, yes, girl.  Mike: I mean, even with the one about Prez it's like he has a fiancé who gets shot and that's about it.  Jessika: Yep, totally fridged.  Mike: Yup. Jessika: Yeah. And it also, I also appreciated Gaiman for actually taking the time to point this out in the narratives.  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: I mean, it would have been nice if there actually had been women in the narratives instead of him just pointing it out. You know, something to think about. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: But that is one of the things that I like about this series in general, while there are some really, really violent things that do happen to women. There are female characters who take charge and step up and act as main characters and have more of a presence. Is it the whole series? No, but I do feel that this is at least trying to be somewhat inclusive. You know, in the way cis male author. And do so. What was your favorite art moment in this. Mike: I think it was the funeral procession that we see towards the end, it's shown across several two page spreads and it's really striking and knowing what I know, it's really interesting with all the foreshadowing that the wake provides us with, but the way that it's presented, we don't know what's going on yet. Like if it's, if we were first-time readers and I really enjoyed that, I enjoy the foreshadowing. Jessika: Oh, so I'll have to wait and see, I guess.  Mike: Yeah. it's funny. I always think that I know what you're going to say for a favorite moment or a favorite art sequence and... I think we've had one actual like Venn diagram moment and that's about it. So I'm curious to hear what yours is. Jessika: Yeah, that is really nice that we do always have something a little bit different that we've of gravitated towards.  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Well, I really thought the dream sequence in a Tale of Two Cities was interesting. I love how the frames real long gated on that white background instead of what we have as like mostly a black background for this graphic novel. And none of the objects are scenery were lined out. I'm sure you're getting a, any, any kind of style that's different. I really gravitate towards, none of the objects or scenery were like lined out. It was all more basic shapes of figures in big places and less detailed, but it really upped the dreaminess factor. And it made me feel the same kind of hazy confusion that the character was describing. Things were. You couldn't possibly recognize that place because it's so vague, but it looked very familiar because we've all seen a place that looks kind of like that. And I think that was done very well. If you've ever been to a city, you, that could have been any city that you've been to.  Mike: Right.  Jessika: And it was just like a cool combination of like the story in the illustration vibe.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: Yeah. Well, would you like to move on to brain wrinkles? Mike: yeah. I guess I can be tempted. Jessika: Okay. Well that's good. Cause we're going to mosey anyway. So brain wrinkles are that one thing, comics or comics adjacent that just cannot get out of our heads since the last time we talked. Mike, what is it for you?  Mike: Oh, it's actually. It's tied to our last episode of the book club, where we talked about the problematic trans representation in that book of a game of you. And, you know, I spent a long time being mad about how the promotional copy on the back of the book or in the descriptive page of Hoopla in this case, was making it seem like Wanda was a quote drag queen, which is why I thought that Wanda was actually Hal from The Doll's House. And I wound up kind of like, irately tweeting about it and it got picked up and, and it turns out it apparently got in front of some of the right eyes, because it sounds like based on what I've heard through the grapevine, that DC comics is actually going to be adjusting that. And it turns out that the promo text for the 30th anniversary book doesn't actually have that copy, but on the pages of Amazon for ComiXology and on Hoopla for those books, the promo text on those pages themselves shows the wrong promo text and like Neil Gaiman actually chimed in on the Twitter thread. And seemed a little salty, which I get. But, but yeah, so it hasn't changed yet, but, it sounds like it's going to, and that was actually a really big moment. It felt like one of those things where I was just like, you know, we are not a big podcast, but we managed to make things a little bit better. And, and that was a really validating feeling. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. It was super neat to have something that we had kind of noticed and discussed and found a flaw in and you know, something that was, maybe it was unintentional, but it was, it's damaging, it's still damaging regardless. And so to be able to help fix that and help me be, get rid of some fusion or transphobia surrounding the way that these things are worded, you know, regardless of the intention, you know, moving forward the right way.  Mike: Yeah. And I mean, I've mentioned this numerous times, like I'm a cis white guy. life is on easy mode for me, comparatively, but actually when I was a referee with roller Derby, I got to know a number of people that were trans it gave me an awareness of just how fucking hard those people have it. And so, you know, if anything that I do makes things better for them, I can die happy. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. So I feel about two.  Mike: Yeah. Um, what about you? Jessika: Well, this is going to loop into something I said earlier, just a PSA to support artists. If you're able to, support the people that make the things that you enjoy, whether That's music or visual art or books or comics, whatever you consume, please remember to support the people that are making those things for us. The pandemic has hit us all really hard, especially the people who use social gatherings or events to sell their wares. Like here locally. I used to go to the Dickens fair every year. And in fact, the last couple of years prior to the pandemic, I went almost, if not every weekend, they were open and that's like an hour plus drive for me to get there. So, I mean, that's some commitment. I love that place.  Mike: That's at the Cow Palace, right?  Jessika: It is. Yeah. And they are doing an event this year for me, again, I'm over an hour away. It's a drive-thru event. And I know that I will not be able to go drive an hour, sit through however long the line is going to be, and then sit through a drive through and then driving home. I don't have that kind of car stamina, the way I was able to go to Dickinson because I would literally get there. I would stay all day. I made it worth my time.  Mike: you know, it's funny cause I never did Dickens really, but I worked at the Ren Faire for a number of years and the original Renaissance Faire was started by the same people as Dickens.  I still have some of the pewter mugs and stuff that I got from there. And, there's some really talented artists selling their stuff at those places. And I can't even imagine how rough the pandemic has been for them. Jessika: Yeah. I use my steampunk top hat that I got from Dickens. I use that as. My tip hat or my trivia that I do. So I actually use it a couple times a week. Yeah, but you know, that being said, I know that it's, it's difficult right now, but if you do have the ability, go online, a lot of folks have Patreon accounts that let you support artists monthly. A lot of folks have, you know, Etsy shops, other things like that, any way support, just support art in whatever form you consume it in. We need to help artists so they can continue to create beauty in the world. Mike: Yeah, especially right now during the holidays, because this episode is going to drop a couple of weeks before Christmas.  Jessika: Depression is a thing we all need escapes. Thank you.  Mike: Man the holidays are rough anyway.   Jessika: Yeah. Yeah, mine's been pretty cool this year. Luckily, so I, hope the same for you.  Mike: mine's going to be busy because.  Jessika: Hm. Hm.  Mike: I mean, we didn't, we didn't buy anything black Friday from Amazon, but we bought a house, so...  Jessika: Which I mean, bwam bwam bwam. Congratulations.  Mike: yeah. Thank you. But as a result, it's a, the next month is going to be extremely chaotic. And I think we're moving in like a day or two before Christmas. it's going to be busy, new job, new house. Jessika: Ooh, that's exciting. Gets you a tiny tree. Can you just plunk it on the table of the new place? Christmas.  Mike: Yeah. I'm trying to like, what are we covering next time? I can't remember are we talking about holidays in comics,  Jessika: I don't know, Mike, what are we covering?  Mike: and Comics. That's what  we're covering.  Jessika: Yeah,  Mike: I'm making the call. Jessika: I  guess we're covering holidays in comics.  Yeah. That's what Mike says. Well, what's happening.  His episode is the next step. Oh,  Mike: I better start writing that, I guess. Jessika: wait. Aren't we supposed to record that in like two days? Mike: Listen, I don't tell you how to live your life. Jessika: I say that like, I've read the rest of the Sandman series,  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: which I haven't. But I midway through nine, which is a chunky beast, by the way.  Mike: Yeah. A lot of the sand man, it's, it's interesting how, how the length of the stories varies, you know, between for better or worse. I think, some of the stories I'm like, I don't know, like, I feel like volume seven was overly long, but at the same time, I don't know what I would have cut from it. It all felt pretty crucial, but I was like, I. I don't know, I found myself like kind of just getting fatigued, reading through it.  Jessika: Yeah, sure. That's how Nine's feeling so, far, we'll get there though.  Mike: So in two weeks we'll be back and I will be leading the discussion on holiday comics  Jessika: Awesome.  Mike: it'll probably go in directions that we weren't expecting as they always do. Jessika: Well, I guess until then, we'll see it in the stacks.  Mike: Thanks for listening to Tencent takes accessibility is important to us. So text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our web. Jessika: This episode was hosted by Jessika Frazier and Mike Thompson written by Jessika Frazier and edited by Mike Thompson. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area Sound, our credits and transition music is Pursuit of Life by Evan McDonald and was purchased with a standard license from premium beat. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who goes by Lookmomdraws on Instagram.  Mike: If you'd like to get in touch with us, ask us questions or tell us about how we got something wrong. Please head over to ten cent takes.com or shoot an email to Tencent takes at gmail.com. You can also find us on Twitter. The official podcast is Tencenttakes all one word. Jessika is Jessikawitha, and Jessika is spelled with a K and Mike has van Sao, V a N S a U Jessika: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen  Mike: Stay safe out there. Jessika: and support your local comic shop.
Dec 9 2021
1 hr 19 mins
Issue 20: Deathmate (w/special guests Comic Book Couples Counseling!)Issue 19: The Sandman Book Club (part 3)
Once again, we're walking the moonlit path of dreams and discussing The Sandman. In this episode, we're talking about the fifth and sixth volumes: A Game of You and Fables & Reflections.  ----more---- Mike: I don't think I'm getting a birthday present. I am relatively certain that they want to fire me out of a cannon into the sun Jessika: Hello. And welcome to Ten cent takes the podcast where we cause whiplash from rapid time leaps, one issue at a time. My name is Jessica Frasier and I'm joined by my cohost, the curious collector, Mike Thompson. Mike: Man, my collection has been growing by leaps And bounds lately. Yeah. COVID has not been kind to my closet free space.  Jessika: Oh, well, and you recently gave me my first short box, So  thing. So  Mike: I'm not sorry.  Jessika: no, don't be, I needed a place for the, my, I looked over at my, at my bookshelf one day and went, oh no, I have a lot of single issues that are just kind of sitting on a shelf. Mike: you know, you're a collector when you just have the random piles of single issues hanging out,  Jessika: I just have random piles of trade paperbacks. And just like, my counter is literally covered. Not only do I have every one of the Sandman series, just like chilling on my counter. I got, um, moon girl and, uh,  um, devil devil dinosaur, and that's just chilling. So I've just got all this stuff, like all over. Mike: Yeah, it's a, it's insidious. It takes over. your life. One issue at a time.  Jessika: Well, what better way to fill a tiny house shaped like a pirate ship than with comics. Mike: Hm. Fair.  Jessika: If you haven't listened before the purpose of our podcast is to study comic books in ways that are both fun and informative. We want to look at their coolest weirdness and silliest moments, as well as examine how they're woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history. This episode, we are returning to our book club and we will be looking at volumes five and six of the Sandman series. If you haven't checked out the first couple episodes of the series, I highly recommend you go back and take a lesson. It's episodes 15 and 17. Mike: Yeah. And we're covering two volumes at a time.  Jessika: Yes, we are. So 15 was one and two and 17 was three and four. So you're joining us for five and six. So welcome aboard. Mike: Welcome to the deep end of the pool children. you don't get an inner tube and we don't have any water wings. Sorry.  Jessika: There's absolutely no lifeguard on duty. We are not responsible Dulce at this time. Mike: If You are enjoying our podcast, please go ahead and rate and review on whatever platform you're listening on. If that's an option it's especially helpful. If you can rate us on apple podcasts, there's a lot of discoverability, , or if you have overcast, you can always do a star for the episode and that'll push promotion as well. Or if you're a comic fan and you're liking what we're talking about, and you've got some friends who you think would actually enjoy it? as Well, please let them know any little bit helps. We really appreciate all of you who are spending your time with us. Jessika Audio: We also want to support other podcasts that we really like in this space. So this week spotlight is on the last comic shop podcast. Here's a quick review of what to expect from them. If you want us to feature your show, go ahead and drop us off.   Jessika:  before we leave into our main main topic, Mike, what is one cool thing you've read or watched? Mike: I was on hooplah the other day and I came across a new series by Jeff Lemire, who is the guy who wrote Sweet Tooth along with a bunch of other excellent. But it's called Gideon Falls and they have the first five volumes on there. it's a really interesting series. It starts off feeling kind of like a horror supernatural thriller involving a Catholic priest who comes to this town and he's very quickly wrapped up in nefarious things going on and it's really creepy. And then there's a B- story involving a guy who is in this kind of weird dystopian, urban environment, far away from the small town of Gideon falls. as the story continues, it morphs from being a, , supernatural horror murder mystery into a bit more science fiction and mad science while still keeping those original vibes. , and also there's a lot of personal tragedy involved with the main characters. That's really cool to read too, which I mean, that's what Jeff Lemire does is he writes these things that just, they make you a lot of times feel like you need to watch Schindler's list for a pick me up. They're excellent, but they are brutal at times. so after I read that, I then proceeded to read through the, what if omnibus that they had on hooplah and I needed something a little bit lighter to cleanse by.  Jessika: That's very relatable. Definitely been in that situation myself. Mike: but what about you?  Jessika: Well, I have, I recently purchased the book herding cats, which is a black and white anthology comic by Sarah Anderson Mike: like this is the woman who did hyperbole and a half, right?  Jessika: yes. Yeah. And also the one that I've spoken about before fangs. Mike: Yeah. The love story between the vampire and the werewolf.  Jessika: Aha. Aha.  Mike: Yes, I listen.  Jessika: you do, you're very good, probably multiple times because we record and then edit and relisten relisten. And this style of comic is definitely way different than the fangs one. , it's more of a simple design and it's just, it's a really fun time to begin with. I highly recommend her stuff to begin with. So hurting is a part of her Sarah scribbles collection. And if you've seen some of those strips floating around online, they're pretty cute. each page of the book is showing like a small relatable instance about daily. And it's definitely a mood booster. If you're looking for a different palette cleanser, this is definitely it, it kept me giggling the whole way through. And despite it's title, it's definitely not a whole book of cat Comics. I promise. Cause I'm not necessarily a cat person per se. I mean, they're fine, but I'm, I'm not a cat person,  but you will see some in there.  Mike: I'm more of a cat person  than you are  Jessika: You've truly are you are with your little dog  cat.  Mike: the Duchess Sprocket fonts adipose.  Jessika: Oh goodness. The names we give our pets. I swear. I think the most fun part about this book though, is that there's also a section at the back. , and it has advice to young artists and it's complete with Comics to go with the advice, which is super cute.  Mike: Oh, that's awesome. That's really cute.  Jessika: Yeah. That's really sweet. All right. Now onto the meat of our episode, this one's going to be a chunker buckle up everyone. So volume five of the Sandman series is titled a game of you and was published in 1991 and 92 it's composed of issues. 32 through 37 of the Sandman series and was written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Sean McManus. Colleen Duran, Brian Talbot and Stan.  We begin our tail in somewhere called the land and voices stadium may needed to find help and that the lane was in great peril and that they were waiting for the person, destined, to save them. Ultimately, one of the voices states their decision to go find the person that is supposed to save them. Meanwhile, Barbie, which was a surprise for me to see her again, is a woken by her neighbor, Wanda. And it's revealed that even though she sleeps, Barbie is unable to dream.  Mike: And we should note who Barbie and Wanda are, because the last time that we saw them was in the doll's house and Barbie at the time had been married to a yuppie named Ken who, when the dream, the vortex, was that what it was the dream for techs.  Jessika: Yeah, it was the dream vortex caused by Rosewall. Mike: Yeah. So when the dream vortex hit and. Ripping everybody's dreams into one another. There's this weird kind of overlap. Ken and Barbie had some sort of a fight. We don't know exactly what about, but it was basically, I think it was tied to the fact that Ken was, he was an eighties, yuppy, Wallstreet, wannabe, and his fantasies involved, things that Barbie found kind of testable. And then Wanda was the landlord, right?  Jessika: No, actually that was a different person,  but, um, Wanda. Yeah, Wanda's a new, person and she's in the new place. The Barbie moves to, Mike: Okay. Like I totally read that wrong. I have spent, I've spent decades thinking that Wanda was the same person as,  Jessika: I  Mike: uh,  Jessika: name now,  Mike: yeah.  Jessika: but he was, he was queer in the sense that he was like cross-dressing, but not necessarily like, he wasn't necessarily trans from my understanding. Mike: Yeah. but the other thing is that on the back of the book, I think they sit there and they refer to the drag queen. for, for this volume,  Jessika: oh, well that's just rude.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: That's just transphobic. Mike: yeah. Hold on. Let's, let's take a look at this now.  Jessika: Well, I am going to yell about the transphobia, so we'll , just wrap it up now. We'll get started here. Mike: Yeah, so it's literally the promo text on the back is taken apartment house, add in a drag queen, a lesbian couple, some talking animals, talking severed, head, a confused heroine and a deadly Kuku. So I don't think that's on Neil Gaiman. I think that's more DC comics than anything else,  Jessika: I agree. That was whoever was writing the cover script. Mike: but that is something that, because I read that description, I thought it was the landlord Hal from doll's house, because Hal was someone who clearly was like tight with Barbie and also had a drag persona?  Jessika: there was a one-off statement about how pal gave her be addressed to the landlord for this place where she moved to New York.  Mike: I missed that. Okay.  Jessika: It's again, one of those, you know, I'm glad I could catch something you didn't. Cause it's usually the other way round. Mike: Yeah. No,, but honestly between that and, the, uh, the promo text on the back, I thought that one had moved on from her assigned gender and was now living in her actual identity. But that was clearly not the case. And that was a little confusing to me. But the other thing is that, you know, the art style had changed. And so I wasn't sure if it was just a new artist rendering an old character. So on me.  Jessika: that's caught me a few times though, where I'm like, wait, the art's a little bit different.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: Am I like, is this the same character? And I had to kind of suss out who the character was , which is fine. It was easy enough,  Mike: That's kind of shocking that they sit there and still identify Wanda as a drag queen. Like these days  Jessika: yeah.  Mike: anniversary book.  Jessika: Yeah. That was very disappointing to me. didn't realize that. And that just Mike: Not great.  Jessika: Neil, that one probably wasn't Neal.  Awesome. It was God dammit.  Mike: I doubt it was like, I don't, that, reeks of marketing .  Jessika: Well, there are absolutely people who write the, the covers and whatevers. Mike: yeah.  Jessika: So Barbie is living once again, an eclectic type living situation, but has moved to New York. Like we were saying beside Wanda, her neighbors include a lesbian couple named Hazel and Foxglove and a seemingly square bear of a young woman named Thessaly and a middle-aged man named George, who seems to keep to himself for the most part. Barbie also gets very creative with her makeup for the day, painting a black and white checkerboard onto half of her face. And Wanda has decided that spite their lack of money, they should go shopping and at Tiffany's even, Mike: Yeah, I really liked Arby's makeup because it felt very much like what you see on Tech-Talk these days, which is all optical illusions and cool stuff like that. So, Neil Gaiman, oddly prescient, or the 1990s. Jessika: He's doing us good right now. So we quickly cut to the dream realm where Dream is talking with Matthew, the Raven and his son, something happening in a far part of the dream realm, that there was some sort of transition. We zip back to Barbie and Wanda who are on the subway. A woman approaches them for change and Wanda brushes her off. While Barbie throws a of quarters in her cup, the woman becomes very upset when she sees that she is sharing the subway car with a puppy and starts yelling and panicking saying that she doesn't like dogs. The dogs scare her and she exits the car. The first available stop then up the stairs and out of the subway onto the main road, still yelling about not liking dogs. She is immediately face to face with what looks like a giant yellow dog with a large mustache that had to be bigger than a bus. This thing was huge. Mike: Yes,  Jessika: And it didn't even really look like a dog, but that was probably the closest approximation to what you could call it,  Mike: it's kind of this weird amalgamation between a Saint Bernard and a lion.  Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. That's a good way to say it.  Mike: as we learn we have seen him before in Barbie's very kind of like Alison Wonderland meets Lord of the rings dreams that she was having before the events of adult's house.  Jessika: Yes. And we will definitely be talking about those  Mike: No.  Jessika: and the woman upon seeing this huge dog what's herself and then faints meanwhile, Wanda and Barbie have made it to their stop and go forward breakfast prior to their shopping spree. After being asked about the subject, Barbie explains that she hasn't been able to dream after a weird night back where she used to live. And after that point, things fell apart with her relationship with Ken, she said she stopped communicating with him anymore and they weren't really being intimate. And then Ken found another woman and was like bringing the other woman over, even though Barbie was there. It was super wack. Mike: Yeah, And I mean, I dunno, good for her for, knowing right out of that situation. Jessika: Yeah, exactly. She didn't deserve that.  Mike: No,  Jessika: So pan back to giant dog thing who is looking super rough, it. Mike: uh,  Jessika: He's still trying to complete his quest, even though he's limping along, the police are trying to cordon off the area and Barbie and Wanda are passing along that same way. Barbie recognizes her friend calls him by name Martin. And as he's trying to make his way towards her, the police fire on him from multiple angles, he falls in a heap to Barbie's feet and tells her that she needs to go back. The land needs her and gives her the serpentine, which appears to be a large pink stone in an ornate fitting on a necklace, one a pulls away as Martin dies from his injuries. She gets Barbie home and helps her into her apartment. And Barbie realizes that the necklace was from her dreams. And then her whole room fills with blackbirds who turn white, which was, that was a wild thing. And outside the door, George seems very interested in the situation and tries to ask Wanda, but she just brushes him off.  Mike: Right. And it's , kind of creepy, like his demeanor is that he seems like that weird sorta infatuated in cell who's uncomfortably interested in one of his neighbors.  Jessika: yeah, he's like at the door with his head down. He's like post Barbie.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: I wish you could see me, everyone. Cause I'm just like girl. then he goes and grabs a whole ass Raven and puts it in his mouth and swallows it whole and grinning the whole time and mentioned the. Mike: Yeah, by that point in time, it's not surprising that he is off in a creepy, supernatural way. there've been enough weird little hints about them throughout the issue.  Jessika: Yeah. He's just kind of a lurking most of the time, which is very strange.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: There's a whole lot of other apartment drama, of course. And , Hazel was taken advantage of while drunk and is now pregnant, but hasn't told her partner Fox glove. she's also pretty naive about how reproduction works in the first place, which is super depressing. Like she didn't know basic things. Mike: It felt like she was written to be unbelievably dumb about this one topic, even though she's in a queer relationship in New York, she works as a chef. And when we're first introduced to her, she seems very no bullshit because when we first meet her, it's Wanda trying to get milked for Barbie and Hazel is like, kind of. Antagonistic towards Wanda. And you're not sure if it's because she's possibly transphobic or if she's just not a morning person, because they let Wanda come in and grab some milk and it just seems like they're kind of cranky people who are not thrilled to be woken up in the morning.  Jessika: Yeah.  Yeah.  Mike: But then like later on, she has these moments that are just, literally unbelievably naive and I don't think her character was written like she should have been. I don't know. I, I'm curious if, when they do an audio book of this, if they ever get around to it, how Gaiman's going to rewrite her.  Jessika: Yeah. Same as I, I just think, yeah, there was a lot missing from this character. Just didn't feel like you said believable as a character, just in all of these different pieces to her. So Barbie is still waking out a bit about her experience and with the birds and everything else, and Martin 10 bones, all that stuff, and tries to decompress while watching TV. And she starts drifting in and out of sleep. And by extension in and out of the dream realm, Nuala actually does show up again. I know we had said prior that we weren't sure if she does, but she does, Mike: yeah. And new Allah was the ferry who had been given to Dream as a gift in volume four without her consent, by the way, it was kind of like surprise you now serve the dream Lord,  Jessika: Yeah. You're not coming home with me. Sorry. This is now your problem.  Ugh.  Mike: which, I mean like, admittedly, we all kind of wish that we could do that with our siblings at one point or another,  Jessika: well, Mike: I mean,  Jessika: my brother doesn't listen to this anymore, so it's fine. Oh goodness. So Nuala does show up and she tries to warn Barbie. That shit is about to get complicated at which point Barbie does fall asleep and passes into the dream. cut to creepy George, who is cutting himself open. He pulls open his chest, exposing his ribs, where a bunch of blackbirds had evidently been waiting and subsequently fly out of him. The other members of the apartment complex start having weird and awful dreams and the birds visit each sleeping individually individual thusly catches the bird, trying to harass her and with a glance at ignites in her hand, which affects George. This is the first real glimpse of the idea that thusly may not be the quiet innocuous individual that she first seemed to be. And she then goes to see George at his apartment wielding a kitchen knife. Mike: Yeah, I thought that was really cool. And the thing is, is that that's actually a really good example of kind of game and doing , some misdirection because he doesn't drop any hints about her. All you get the idea of is that she's extremely straight-laced and kind of nebbish for lack of a better term. Jessika: Yeah,  Mike: yeah, and then she just busts out powers and she's really not featured much before this either, which was kinda.  Jessika: yeah, And back in the. Barbie is having to reacclimate herself to her own dream character as she has only the fleeting memories of the night she spent there. And everybody in the building starts to awaken and the birds disappear. They're all shaken after their nightmares. And one by one thusly visits, the apartments of the other residents starting with Hazel and Fox glove followed by Wanda. Leslie already knew the Barbie was in trouble and Wanda used her spare key to get into Barbie's apartment at Besley's urging and Barbie was out hold still in the dream room. Leslie asked Wanda to carry Barbie to George's apartment since Wanda was quote unquote the strongest and then Hazel who I'm sorry, is just dumber than a rock points to Wanda's genitals and says, Hey, you have a thingy, which firstly, take a step back, captain obvious. And secondly, so the fuck what? Mike: Yeah. And it goes back to that thing that we were talking about with Hazelwood. It's like, she is suddenly this very, almost childlike person, even though she is a grown ass adult and a queer relationship in New York city. Like, I dunno, it's, it's not great. It feels. Very clumsy. Jessika: It sure did. And I think childlike is, is probably the best way to put it because it did feel that way. Like she was seeing something for the first time and it's like, girl, Mike: it's like you're pregnant. This isn't the first time you seen one  Jessika: seriously,  Mike: anyway.  Jessika: goodness. The party, Firenze, Georges gross poster size picture of Barbie that he has framed up on his wall  Mike: Yup.  Jessika: and is informed that Thessaly has killed George and he is in the bathtub. So Wanda's freaked out by all of this. Of course, I would also be very freaked out at this. not going to lie to you. Mike: Also we need to, we need to Go back. for a second and it's not that George is dead and in the bathtub it's oh no. George is in the bathtub and they go, oh, is he taking a shower? It's weird that he's taking a shower at 2:00 AM. And she's like, no, no, no, no. I killed him. And his body is in the bathtub and that's when the freaking out happens. Jessika: Yeah,  Mike: I thought that was great. I loved it. Jessika: I did too. Cause definitely left the door open to George's house and everyone's like, George. Hello. Mike: Yeah. No.  Jessika: Oh, of course one is freaked out and she says that she's going to leave and she physically cannot. As if by magic, Leslie also says that she is going to get George to talk and starts the disgusting process of doing so she has to remove his eyes, his face skin, and his tongue, this, she actually bid out, which was fucking as fuck. Mike: Yeah, after it looks like she's kissing his skinless face.  Jessika: Uh, yeah, was horrifying and nails these to the wall and then tells George that it's time to come back and horrifyingly. He does come back and WordStar coming from the face nail to the wall and it's gross. So thusly starts to interrogate him about his plans and he begins to tell the group the CU. Wanda is disgusted and runs to the bathroom where she vomits and the rest of the group seemingly is surprisingly calm about the whole thing. I don't know that I would be personally, so Thessaly who is now out for revenge against the cuckoo for, you know, trying to fuck with her in her sleep states that she needs some menstrual blood and asks Fox glove. And when she asks, why she has to with Besley reveals that she has not been straight in a long time, And that Hazel is pregnant, which they definitely do not have time to deal with at the moment. But hill was obviously shocked and upset by the news. And Wanda is told that she can't go onto the next part of their journey because she needs to watch Barbie. But there seems to be an underlying reason after conversing with a being that seemed to be made of light stating that she needs to seek entry into the dream realm. Mike: Oh so it's actually, um, it's the threefold goddess who the fates basically who keep on showing up throughout. So it's, it's that, mother maiden crone, who normally, when we see them, it's, they're different phases, but they're all kind of part of the same amorphous black shape. So , depending on the artist, it's like, one being, but with like, you know, the three different identities at the same time, but it's also the.  Jessika: Yeah. And I didn't get that. It was those three again, so thank you for, Mike: That's something I caught, like on my second or third read through  Jessika: Okay. Well, I feel better about a thumb. Mike: it's. I mean, it's a fleeting moment. They only show up for like a page maybe.  Jessika: Yeah, yeah. Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: meanwhile, on the street, our friend, the I don't like dogs, lady is pointing out to a passer-by that the moon is acting strange, that it had disappeared from the sky. He states that it must be an eclipse, but she says that it just left. It was not like it gradually blacked out like normal eclipse. So Wanda watches us the three women walk into the light and disappear out of the room and the moon reappears in the sky for our friend on the street, Wanda starts questioning her womanhood because she vomited during the interrogation that somehow has makes her less of a woman. But I would argue that I would do the same. That whole situation was so gnarly. Mike: Yeah. it's very pagan ritually. it feels like, old school kind of like druidic, I'm sure that someone's going to get mad at me for saying this, but , it's very pagan, a cult. I don't know the rituals, but it feels like a lot of those things that you read about and fantasy novels that are set in, like our theory and times.  Jessika: Totally. So the head then starts talking to. back in the dream realm, RB and company are making their way to their destination and have some near misses and find some other dead friends along the way the land has suffered since she has been gone, they talk about the cuckoo and how the bird lays its eggs and the nest of others. And once hatch, the young cuckoos push out the other eggs or young of the bird who initially built the nest while also fesses up to Morpheus about having warned Barbie. But he agrees that she did the right thing, princess, Barbara, and party, get to their destination, the sea and send, lose the parrot to get help. Mike: Yeah. And at this point there's only one other companion left. Who's like a, like an aardvark or an anteater.  Oh, is it okay? That was some  Jessika: It's a rat. It's like a, yeah, some rodent where it like  Mike: and a trench  Jessika: a order. Yeah.  It looks like a reporter of a pie. Mike: Yeah. And, as their journey has been going on, it's kind of like, , the group of friends in the horror movie who are slowly getting picked off one by one. and the one That always gets me is the monkey. And I can't remember his name. But he would scout ahead and then he didn't come back and Barbie at one point asks if they think that he's okay and one of them just goes no, and then they go and find his body and it's like, Hmm. Hmm. Jessika: Yeah. That was really. And back at the apartment, this was a very web flashy, one where it's very back and forth. Uh, back at the apartment, Wanda is talking to George's face and she asks him why she was left behind. He says it's because she's a man stating that the moon Magic that was used can only be used by biological women, which yikes. No, no, no, no, I don't. I don't like that one bed. And George also offhandedly states that they should be concerned about the weather. So back in the dream realm, Luiz has betrayed Barbie and brings armed guards to their hiding place on the lift. And they also killed the last remaining member of the party. So Barbie is dragged away by the guards and then is paraded through the town into a small pink house. Mike: Which is the house that she grew up.  Jessika: It is, yeah. It turns out to be a replica of her childhood home. she is also confronted by someone who appears to be her as a child, which is strange. child Barbie starts explaining that she had basically possessed her dreams and was taking over. Barbie becomes more and more visibly weak from being , in the house and around the young doppelganger. Ann Young Barbie leaves the house with her entourage of large dark plaid guards. Mike: While dragging older Barbie with her.  Jessika: Yeah. So back in New York things have started to get wild. A hurricane that had just left, turned around and heads back into town. The women walk a path of Moonlight to the dream realm where thusly fesses up that she's been around a pretty long time and starts in on her plan for revenge. I would not want to cross this lady. It did not take much for her to get pissed off enough to want to kill people. Mike: I mean, I found it pretty relatable.  Jessika: So they run across one of Barbie's failed companions who tells them that the cuckoo Barbie  Mike: Well, they come across the body and then facily resurrects them in a similar manager that she did to George.  Jessika: Correct. Mike: Yeah. And that's how they're able to get him to talk.  Jessika: So during the walk Fox glove and Hazel discuss their future and Fox glove decides to raise the child as theirs and they make up in a sense. in New York, the storm is raging. George is making terrible transphobic jokes from the wall and the woman outside has been caught in the storm. So one helps a woman get inside out of the storm, in the dream realm, young Barbie, as an acting and plan, and has gone out to the most ancient point of the land. The higher gram that's land her two companions start making their way over, but are met by young Barbie who points them over to the threat quote, unquote, stating that lose is the cuckoo and loses a parrot. I might add. So the fact that she's saying the para did it is actually kind of a good assumption to make a Kuku. Fastly goes over confirms with the bird that she is in fact, the cuckoo and strangles her and snaps her neck. when Hazel asks why she did it, she says that the bird had to be taught a lesson. The lesson was that you don't get a second chance, which yeah. Mike: Yeah, Nestle is, uh, the epitome of don't fuck around.  Jessika: yeah. found out. then young Barbie explains to Barbie and the others that the time has come to do what she had been brought here for. Back in New York are I don't like dogs. Friend is named Maisie and she is rightfully creeped out by George's face on the wall siding, bad vibes, which agreed more transphobic questions on some stories from Maisie about another trans family member she had, . It was just bad news bears. Barbie does a, she is told by young Barbie back in the dream realm and slams the porpoise teen into the large stone HIRA gram. And there's a great explosion at which point it's revealed the young Barbie is actually the cuckoo and that her goal, the whole time had been to get Barbie, to destroy the Portland teen and the high program. And then the cuckoo wouldn't be held in the land any longer breaking the spell and the land would subsequently be destroyed. So the necklace also disappears right off of Barbie's sleeping chest back in. Morphine's appears and Stacy, he created the land and puts Barbie back in control of her own mind as she had been Bewitched by the cuckoo and all of the characters of the land start filing past, ending with one dark haired and scarred woman in white, who clearly had history with dream, like every other fucking woman in here. So vessel, he tries to claim the life of the cuckoo. But dream is like, Nope. And states that he's displeased, that she's caused some major shit. Mike: Yeah, he was. If I remember, right. Dream was upset that she had trespassed into the dream realm without his permission.  Jessika: Correct? Yeah. Mike: And it's also implied that her getting the goddess to grant her and foxglove and Hazel passage to the dream realm resulted in the hurricane.  Jessika: Oh no, that was absolutely implied. Yeah. The implication was that if you pull the moon out of the sky,  you're going to fuck with the tides. Yeah. Yeah. so we turn again to New York where that storm is even fiercer than before. And then there is an explosion of weather from outside and the world starts to. In the dream realm, dream states that he owes Barbie a boon and also reveals that Rose Walker, from , our doll's house volume had partially caused this mess. During that fateful night of converging dreams. Barbie asks that she and the other three women get back safe and sound, and they are sent back and we end volume five with a funeral Wanda's funeral. Barbie was pulled from the wreckage and was able to recover, but Wanda amazi did not make it. The funeral was similarly depressing and not just because Wanda had passed away, but because they were using Wanda's dead name and it cut her hair and had put her in men's clothing. And she was buried by her family who clearly had no idea who she really was nor cared to listen to find out. And even the headstone had her dead name listed. So Barbie took out a bright shade of lipstick and wrote Wanda on the headstone Barbie dreams that she sees Wanda with a smiling pale woman wearing black. And she finally seems happy. Mike: do we ever find out where the funeral is being held? It's just, it's implied that it's vaguely south Midwest.  Jessika: She had to travel.  And it did kind of seem in the south. I don't know that we got an exact location.  Mike: Yeah. It was, it. was somewhere, very God-fearing and intolerance of people that are the least bit different.  Jessika: Yeah. Well, what were your overall impressions of this story and who are your favorite least very characters or events of the fifth? Mike: Uh, you know, this volume is a really, it's an interesting change of pace because up until now, we've gotten stories where even if dream wasn't the main character, he played a really prominent role in the narrative, even if he was sitting in the background and this time around, he really doesn't show up a lot. And when he does, it's kind of just a bookend, the story. It's funny because whenever I talk about something that Neil Gaiman wrote and I'm like, oh, it's not my favorite thing. It's still better than 95% of things that I've read. this is not one of my favorite Sandman stories. Part of it is just because it's, it does provide that, that whiplash that you get where we're pivoting back and forth between the dream realm and New York. And there is a clumsiness too, to a lot of the characters, like we've already talked about Hazel. I feel like new Haven was trying to provide a narrative where someone who is trans is human, because he has several scenes with Wanda where Wanda talks about it and is very adamant that she is a woman and the story, the narrative doesn't judge or mocker for that. But , as you said, George is gross and transphobic, which makes sense. And, Maisie that the homeless lady is kinder. but you know, there, there is still that moment of are you a man or a woman? and then she relates the story about her grandson. it's not explained if he was just very femininely gay or if he was trans. Um, but she sounds like she was supportive of him, but then , he got killed during some sort of hotel hookup, which, I mean, that was a real risk with gay culture. Like, you know, especially during that time. I think it's one of the Columbia, your stories of the overall Sandman series. I don't think it's bad, but viewed through a 20, 21 lens, I think he could stand some revision. I don't know. I, my, my opinion is pretty much my opinion, I think, has the least value in, in any conversation about gender identity, because I'm a CIS white guy.  Back on track, uh, did it, did it, uh, you know, I, I did actually really enjoy how we got to see some of the characters from the doll's house return, especially Barbie. it's really frustrating that I kept on thinking that we had seen Wanda in the doll's house. And it turns out that that was some misleading copy. That kind of made me think that like, oh, sorry. I liked how we got to see more of a strange fairies hill of a dream from that book and how it was spun out into a larger story that had a bunch of twists and turns. I don't know if I had a least favorite character, honestly, like, yeah, the Kuku is a hateful character, but I also thought it was kind of interesting that, that she was trying to kill Barbie so that she could exist. And then I don't think the cuckoo shows up again. I think the cuckoo just like bounces after this, when she flies off. I for some reason, like, I remember when I thought the KUKA was going to come back and be an even bigger batter nastier villain, but I don't think that happens. I could be wrong. It's been awhile, but I don't think it does. I thought was a really great character. Like we already talked about how, the way that they actually reveal that there's a lot more to where character and also how she is just straight out of Fox all the way through the story. and then, I guess, I guess my least favorite character is Hazel's character and it's not because of anything that was really wrong with her role in the story. It was just, she was very clumsily writ.  Jessika: Yeah, Mike: like I said, I think she just comes across as dumb at the most convenient and unbelievable times. It's just, it's too coincidental where at one point she's asking about like, oh, well, don't, you have to kill a rabbit to like, what, what was it like she was asking about like to perform an abortion or,  or  Jessika: see if you're pregnant. Cause that  Mike: yeah. Like, come on, okay.  Jessika: Yeah, actual most ridiculous thing. I know. Mike: , I don't know. Like, do you agree to disagree? Like, I feel like I might be reading too much into this just with my own thoughts, but  Jessika: Oh no I was, I was pretty disappointed in how this whole thing was written. I'm not gonna lie to you. I was disappointed in the transphobia. Let's start there.  Mike: yeah.  Jessika: It just felt like the entire volume, it may have been done with the intention of bringing to light some of the challenges that trans women face like deadnaming or of constantly being told that genitalia is what makes one, a woman or the idea that to do trans correctly, you need to get surgery or the blatant violence against trans people. But I don't think enough was done to highlight someone doing the right thing and giving example of allowing someone to just live their life genuinely. And Barbie is a good example of a somewhat decent advocate, but I wish that the lesbians in the building had done more to be open or even just not completely stupid about the situation. It just felt really TERF-y  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: Which, you know, to, to explain for any of you who don't know a turf as it's trans exclusionary, radical feminist, which is just a way to say you don't want trans women in your fucking woman club for some fucking odd reason. Mike: Yeah, And I mean, back in 1991, when this was written, that wasn't really a thing like, gender queerness, wasn't really a known thing. It was your transsexual  like, did you ever see the movie soap dish with Sally field and Whoopi Goldberg and Elizabeth shoe and Kevin Klein?  Jessika: No.  Mike: It's a really funny movie up until the last 10 minutes, uh, where it's, it's about the cast of a soap opera and how the behind the scenes stuff is even more ridiculous than what's going on in the soap opera. It's great. But then the last 10 minutes or so it's revealed that the villain who's been pulling everyone's puppet strings, , she's , publicly humiliated by being outed on live television as a trans woman. And that's the punchline. in, 1991, This was considered wildly funny. this is an example of how our views have changed in the past 30 years. for the better where we can look at this and say, this is, this is not great.  Jessika: Yeah. I mean, it's still happening though. And that's it, it's still a very real problem within the, you know, the LGBTQ plus community.  Mike: a hundred percent.  Jessika: Yeah. It's just in the end, I felt like there were no lessons learned by the people who had been the most transphobic. Mike: Yeah, I mean, cause George, we knew was going to be terrible. , and then Hazel and Fox glove, there was no. resolution on that because by the time that they get back, Wanda's dead.  Jessika: Yeah. Yup. And which that also felt refrigerators. Like you're going to kill off the one trans person, like okay. Mike: Yeah. And there's the, the happy ending of, we see Wanda perfect. And in this amazing dress with death, waving goodbye to say farewell to Barbie, which is it's. I mean it's  Jessika: But she, but my problem with that is she looks a little bit different. Like she looks more feminine and  she looks more in it's. That's not necessarily what, and I mean, I'm not trans, so I can't speak to this experience, but to me ha, having known people and talk to their experience, that's not necessarily what they want. They don't want to be a totally different person. They just want to be them genuinely. Mike: Yeah. I mean, I certainly can't speak for people who are trans or gender fluid, or, or anything in that realm. Like that is well outside my wheelhouse. I can just say, I agree with you. It feels achy.  Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and yeah, since, no real lessons , were learned. I mean, maybe that's the real message that people don't fucking learn. And if so, thank you. That's goddamn. Depressing. Mike: Yeah. The one nice moment was when Barbie wrote Wanda's name on her tombstone and the bright lipstick, that was nice because you know, it was loud and it was flamboyant and it was very much everything about Wanda's personality, but it was really dissatisfying as an ending.  Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. Did you have a favorite art moment in this volume? Mike: I'm not sure that I had a favorite art moment, but I was really affected every time one of Barbie's friends died or where she found their bodies. like it, it genuinely made me sad. You know, I've already talked about how, when they found per natto, the monkeys corpse and how it was really sad, but Martin 10 bones and his expression right before the cop shot him, because he just looked, it was that look of, oh, I found my friend , and I've got the message, but like, it, uh, it reminded me of the time that I'd take my dog into the vet to put them down.  Jessika: Mm. Hmm. Mike: you know, and that's, it's, it's that moment where you, uh, when you're holding the dog and it's like, oh, everything's okay. And then they give him the shot and he gives you this look just fucking rips you apart every time. So not really, uh, not really a favorite moment, but definitely in effecting one.  Jessika: Oh, you're trying to get me go on to, Mike: Yeah. Um, I dunno. What about you?  Jessika: well, I really enjoyed how they did the color and line work and the moon.  Mike: Yeah, those were cool. Jessika: Yeah, it was neat to see how they use the negative space and implied shapes using lions. And it also made me feel like I was a part of the scene. There was almost like I had to shield my own eyes from the full white pages. Mike: Yeah. that was, that was neat. Jessika: any final thoughts about this volume before we move on? Mike: like I said, it's not really my favorite. I keep thinking about Hazel and Fox glove. And it's interesting because like Fox glove was, , the girlfriend of the woman who put out her own eyes with the forks or , the, the skewers and the diner,  Jessika: Yeah. Yeah. I figured you were going to bring that up. I was, I was like, how can I condense this  crazy story? Mike: Yeah. And so that, I, that was kind of a neat throwback because I remember Fox glove is like a very, it's like a throwaway name or something like that. And then I think her name is Julie shows up in the jacket that she was wearing and her eyes , are not visible during the nightmares when everyone's being plagued by the Cuckoo's Binion's. I will say that moment where Hazel and Fox glove are first in the dreaming and Fox lava sitting there and basically screaming at Hazel about getting pregnant and it feels like it's going to get real ugly. And she's like, when we get back, I'm gonna , call you all sorts of names and tell you how dumb you are and do you know how much it's going to cost for us to raise a baby. and she's like, we're going to have to buy one of those stupid expensive books to name the kid. And I was like, oh, Okay. , and then they're holding hands by the end of that page. And it's, it's sweet. that story continues actually in a couple of mini series about death, that, that game in road. And they're really good. they've got their own sense of tragedy and everything, but they're, they're solid, I don't know, it's not my favorite , but it does a lot of things that are really interesting. And I also think that it leads to some really cool stuff down the road.  Jessika: Let's move on to volume six, Mike: Okay.  Jessika: titled fables . And flections. This was originally published in single magazine form as the Sandman 29 through 31 38 through 40 50 Sandman special one and vertigo preview one between 1991 and 1993. So very much a true compilation written by Neil Gaiman illustrated by Brian Talbot, Stan wool, Craig Russell, Sean McManus, Jon Watkiss, Jill Thompson, Duncan Eagleson and Kent Williams. And this was very much a, an anthology of a bunch of different stories that didn't necessarily tie together as a, an overarching plot like previous volume did. Mike: Yeah. it's very much like dream country just with about double the cost.  Jessika: Yeah, Yeah, exactly. The first story is fear of falling. A musical theater writer and director who is wanting to give up right before his show. While sleeping. He is visited by Morpheus who ends up inspiring him to take the leap of courage. It took to finish his project to completion. Next up was destined mirrors, three Septembers and a January the story of the emperor of the United States. Here's the scene. San Francisco, 1859. Dream is drawn into a contest with his siblings, desire to spare and delirium, to see who could push a man to his death, each trying different tactics to try to lure him into one of those emotions. When Morpheus entered the scene, he basically just gave the man his exact dream. He wanted to be king and Morpheus stated that he was the emperor of the USA. He starts making proclamations about his claim to the throne and starts gaining popularity and the charity of the town around him. And he actually becomes famous for being the emperor and is even sought after, by tourists, visiting San Francisco. He has called crazy at times, but does not fall prey to madness desires, unable to tempt him as he already has everything he dreams of and despair was never in the picture. After his dreams came true. He was truly content and dream had won the contest death swoops in looking stylish as ever and leads. Mike: Yeah. And emperor Norton is actually someone who really existed in San Francisco. Like he's a part of our local history and  Jessika: I  didn't know that. Mike: yeah, no he's emperor, Joshua Norton, the imaginary emperor. he's a really cool part of San Francisco lore and I highly recommend, , reading up on him if he ever get the chance. he's one of my favorite stories about the city that. I grew up in.  Jessika: Oh, I'm definitely gonna look into that now. Cause I mean, I love just a Stone's throw away and I can't believe I've never heard that before. Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: The next story is mirrors Thermador said in England in 1794 with Morpheus, just swooping into the home of Johanna Constantine. And I'm sure that name sounds familiar in the middle of the nights and I'm not going to lie. It was really creepy when he was just like Nabu, all your people are asleep, just you and I. Sugar was like big. Nope. Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: And then he's like, Hey, I have this super dangerous mission. UN she's all, but what's in it for me. And apparently she just believes in vague promises and agrees to help with him and with his family matter that he needs a mortal to intercede in. And it. Then it is post the French revolution. The reign of terror is in full swing and Johannah gets caught sneaking through the town late at night with a decapitated head in a bag, you know, casual Mike: who hasn't been out on a Saturday night with a human head and their satchel come on.  Jessika: Mr. Al of late God. Once you got my bag, nothing you'd be interested in. So She ultimately gets picked up by the law sands head and as kept as a prisoner under a further threat, if she does not tell them where the head is, this whole thing about like her spreading superstitions or some bullshit. Mike: , Yeah, because robes Pierre was all about reason and eliminating superstition and religion. If I remember my high school history,  Jessika: you are correct. Is that whole logic piece, which he was just going off about. So she dreams a little dream and visits, Morpheus and reveals that the head is Morpheus, a son Orpheus,  so Joe had a basically says, this is your fight, but I'm in the ring little hope over here, Hugh the extra creep factor where the law rightfully figures out that she probably hit the head with all the other heads and go tell her to fetch the one they're looking for. Johanna gets the head, props it up, covers her ears. And tells Orpheus to sing. It drives the map, puts them in a trance unclear, but she is able to get away and get Orpheus to a little island paradise where he has previously been. We also come to find out that Morpheus is quite the absentee parent. , it was so sad. There was this part where Orpheus asks Johannah basically does this mean he cares about me and she's like, dunno. Mike: Yeah, it's a, anyone that's grown up with with strained relationships to their parents, like can just feel that gut.  Jessika: Yeah. The fourth story is convergence. The hunt. So we find ourselves this time in a story within a story. Uh, grandfather tells his begrudging granddaughter, a tale about a man named Vaseline who becomes obsessed with finding a Duke's daughter based on a measure painting that was given to him by a Romani peddler, as he goes off in search of this woman, he has never met. He first encounters, the Romani peddler that had given him the miniature she is dead on the forest path, that he just swoops her bag of items and moves off through the forest. He meets several characters along the way, including Baba Yaga and a tall slender librarian, each particularly interested in one of the stolen items. He was peddling one night while hunting a dearest his target is taken out by a woman of the forest who factors into the story a little bit later upon reaching the Duke's mansion. He is led to a dungeon to rot, but is saved by the tall librarian who really, really, really wanted that book because it turns out the book is from the dream realm and Morpheus would be  very, very,  displeased. Should it not be returned? Mike: We've met the librarian before in passing, he's Lucy in the librarian of the dream realm. Like he's the first one that Morpheus basically reintroduces himself to once he gets back to the dream realm preludes and Nocturnes, but like he doesn't show up a lot. , it's one of those things where he's kind of like a central figure to the dreaming, but he doesn't show up a lot in the stories. , I don't remember. I think he may have appeared in passing in season of the mists. I can't remember, but anyway, sorry. His name is Lucien. Like that's, That's all I was trying to,  right?  Jessika: So in exchange for the book, Morpheus takes Vasily to the woman's room, but when he gets there, vastly simply looks at her and gives her the necklace back saying this belongs to you later on in his life. He runs back into the woman who took down the deer while there are both in Wolf form. And at the end of the story, the granddaughter assumes that her grandfather has made up the story to assuage her from dating her current boyfriend. But an ending comment, lets the reader know that the story may have some truth after all. Mike: that was one of my favorite closing modes. I I'm not gonna lie.  Jessika: It was sweet. So our next tale distant mirrors. focuses on Julius. Caesar's next of Ken Augustus, who after a dream decides that he must live one day in the life of a beggar. So he calls upon an actor who happens to be a , little person to assist him in getting into the role for the day and show him the ropes. They start by making artificial boils on their faces and arms. They dress and rags and take to the streets in a dream, he was approached by Morpheus who knew about his troubled past being brutalized by the man. He looked up to the man, a whole empire looked up to, there was also this whole situation with there being two different futures. Augustus had read the prophecies, edited some destroyed others so that that overall people wouldn't know what was truly predicted. And so that he could make his own course of choosing by being a baker one day a year, he was not being watched by Julius and the other gods and therefore could plan without them watching after Augustus's death, the actor who had accompanied him that day wrote the story of his day with the emperor. However, the harsh details of Augustus's life remained a mystery that he himself took to. Next up. We once again, go back in time with convergence. Soft places. If you don't have whiplash yet, just wait. You will get it by the end of this episode. But this time we go to see Marco polo who was lost in the desert and having the most odd dream. He runs into a person who says his cellmate is named Marco polo and they that run into our buddy Fiddler's green or Gilbert, who we saw in the doll's house who tries to impart a lesson on Marco polo. Marco thinks that he is going to be stuck in the dreaming, but when he emerges, he is back with his father and was only a few hundred feet away from the party upon waking Marco forgets the dream. He was just a part of the Seventh story is the song of Orpheus we again, meet Orpheus this time, his head is still firmly attached to his neck and he is going to be married that day. His friend, is also at the wedding along with Morpheus and all of Morpheus as sibling. The bride reminds, era status of his long dead wife. And during the wedding, he requests a private meeting with Eurydice fading, a need for assistance. He states his intention to rape her and goes to grab her, but she needs him and runs off where she steps on and is bitten by a poisonous snake and dies right there. Orpheus realizes that she is no longer around and panics asking if something has happened to her grieving, the loss of his bride Orpheus seeks help from berserk his father than his aunt death, demanding that she bring her back death states that she cannot, that Euridice is any underworld now, and that he is unable to go and come back as he is a mortal after more prompting, she does state that she is able to just not collect him basically. And he would survive coming back from the underworld, but she also tells him that this is not what he wants and that he should go home. Or if he is however, it does the exact opposite and begins his journey to the gate death had described. So he makes his way to the underworld where he's buried across the river sticks and makes his way past Cerberus the three headed dog and through the endless amount of people in the underworld, he gets to Hades and Persephone who asked him for a song. And he asks for his wife back and plays a haunting melody that brings the underworld to a halt. Hades states that he could have his wife back, but that she will follow him as a shadow up and out of the underworld. The one rule was that he could not look behind him before he reached the exit of the underworld, or she would go back down. He made it almost all the way there, but started doubting thinking that he was the butt of Hades, this joke. But when he turned around, he saw Eurydice just before she was dragged back into the other world. Orpheus broke the surface alone and screamed understanding that he had just bought his only chance to have his bride back. Time-lapse Orpheus as many years older and living in solitude, he is visited by his mother, Kelly OB, who had a falling out with Morpheus after he would not assist Orpheus with his quest to bring back your IDC is not interested in talking with her, but she wants him. The picante are on their way and that he should leave as soon as possible. So she disappears and soon after the forest breaks out and cries, a crowd of naked women covered in wine and blood are running right towards him and ask that he take part in their rituals of sex, wine, and eating raw flesh. He states that he cannot participate as his heart belongs to someone else. And they basically say, yeah, we weren't asking. And they literally rip him apart. And eventually decapitate him, sending his head, flying into a river. He, of course can't die. So he's just stuck, literally rolling on a river. Mike: Yeah. It's very much the stories that Orpheus is known for. Everybody knows him from the story of him and URI dicey, but, surprise. There is actually a major part of Greek mythology where he gets ripped apart by boxes, insane followers  and yeah. You're I find you don't want to take part in the ritual. we're going to turn you into one of the ritual supplies and just eat. Yeah,  Jessika: Yeah, pretty much. So Orpheus the head washes a shore and Morpheus comes to see him. He wants to say, goodbye has arranged for Orpheus to be taken care of, but says the he'll never see Orpheus again. His life is his own next is convergence parliament of Rooks.. We visit Daniel and Hippolyta again, she puts Daniel down to nap and he wanders into the dream realm where he goes to the house of secrets and is with Matthew Eve and Abel Eve tells the story of Adam's three wives and Abel after Kane interrupts of course tells a very optimistic and happy version of their story, where everybody got along after all. And after all was said and done, Hippolyta has no idea that Daniel has gone anywhere while he was napping. Mike: we keep getting hints dropped about Daniel and it's gonna play out in a very big way later on.  Jessika: I'm excited. So our last story distant mirrors, Ramadan is about the king of Baghdad, who has everything. Anyone could want ruling over a prosperous city. However, something still feels wrong to him. So he goes down into the secret depths of the palace where numerous wonders were kept. You procures a ball, which holds multitudes of basically like bad vibe entities. He summons Morpheus stating that he would break the ball, therefore releasing all of the bad vibes if Morpheus didn't appear. And when he actually follows through and drops the ball, Morpheus catches, it takes it and asks, why have you summoned me in, what the fuck do you want? The king wanted to trade control of his city in order to ensure that it was going to last forever. Morpheus agreed, but in true Morpheus fashion, he put the city in a jar and left the man to be the king of a city in shambles. So Mike overall impressions of a story, favorite characters or. Mike: Yeah. like I said, this one is a lot like dream country and there's one more volume later on where we get the one-shot stories to provide us with breathers, , , from the overall narrative. They were printed, as they were in, in various orders, but then DC collected them into the different volumes in ways. That makes more sense. but it's interesting because in this case we got a collection of stories without another prolonged round of like soul crushing horror and dark fantasy. I think the anthology volumes actually do a lot to move Sandman from the realm of horror and more into the realm of fantasy, because a lot of the times the individual stories aren't as dark or, as, as brutal. like a lot of times they're a little bit more philosophical or meditative, but I liked them a lot, but I mean, I only own, two issues of Sandman like individual. and one of them is issue number eight, which is the first appearance of death. And the other one is issue 31, which is the one that features three Septembers in a January. The story about . I love that story about Norden. I think that one's great. We already talked about how he was a real person and, he is this really interesting character out of history who is both the epitome , of kind of the magic of a dream and also what you can achieve even when you're faced with a ton of tragedy, because he was actually almost, I think he was basically completely wiped out due to a bad rice shipment and he did die penniless. And at the same time, San Francisco fucking loved him. Like they kept standing, box tickets for him at the symphony on opening night He was arrested once by an officer and the judge actually did immediately dismiss him when he was brought before him. And basically said like, , as an emperor, he is never declared war. He's never tried to invade anyone. He hasn't done terrible things. Other emperors should be like him. And I loved, how desire tried to tempt him with the ghost of a, dead snake oil salesman and the other bit where it turns out he had, like a Chinese information network, , where it turns out that the Chinese populace of San Francisco, which was hugely prevalent at the time, because of the gold rush and. Other things. , I loved the idea that he actually did have , this amazing fantastical life that was already fantastical, but then there were even more elements of fantasy woven into it. and then the other one is, , the parliament of ropes. It's , the story of Cain and Abel and Eve, you know, the purlin or Rooks hits me in a personal way because the bit we're able tells the story about him and Kane and, it's what this person who, who just idolized his brother wanted from the relationship, even though they do have their own strange in certain ways loving relationship, but also Cain murders able on a regular basis throughout the series. And it made me think about, how I stopped talking to my brother a number of years ago, but I still think about him a lot. And I wish that things were different between us, like. I often wonder what things would have been like if we had wound up being slightly different people and I construct those fantasies in my head still sometimes, but yeah. honestly I like this a lot better than I like that. I like the previous volume, because it gives me a lot more to think about, um, I don't know. How do you feel about it?  Jessika: Yeah, I, you know, it's funny as I actually really liked the story of Joshua, the emperor of the United States,  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: I really like how they kept the narrative bag, leaving the reader wavering between believing that he really had been successful in his reign as the legitimate emperor of the U S or if he was just some sweet old man who was really well-liked well-respected and generally taken care of by this town of other really eccentric. Mike: Yeah. And it turns out the truth is a little bit of both.  Jessika: Yeah, Yeah, I guess so. I mean, he did get out of, out of a core thing, huh? Mike: Well, and when he died, basically, he was going to be put in a Popper's grave. And I believe like the merchants association basically paid for a really Swank funeral and of people  came to the viewing like, you know, but thousands of people turned out for.  Jessika: what I'm going to research this  so sweet.  Mike: Hmm,  Jessika: Yeah. I thought it was really wholesome that he was just so content to have the title of emperor. He didn't have some weird power trip about colonizing or being otherwise oppressive. I would say that that was genuinely refreshing to see him just so content to be valued and validated. Oh shit. That's all I want, Mike: that's all, any of us want. Also, I liked that he hung out with mark Twain and the story, and I don't know if he and mark Twain were friends in real life, but mark Twain was a reporter in San Francisco. after he got run out of the state of Nevada,  Jessika: maybe we'll have to specifically look at up. Well, did you have a favorite art moment in this volume? Mike: I had to, I really liked the art of the hunt, which is the story of the grandfather. Cause it felt really like, it felt really scratchy and you're kind of reminded me of those old European crosshatched wood prints. And then that actually makes sense because I realized it was inked by this guy named Vince Locke. And he's this guy who he actually illustrated a bunch of tabletop role-playing games for white Wolf games in the 1990s. And then he also created the comic that the movie, a history of violence was based off of. If you remember that. Jessika: I do. Mike: but like, I always really liked his style. Like I thought it was really cool and really unique. He's done a lot of other cool stuff as well. He had a comic series called dead world that was a zombie apocalypse kind of comic. If I remember right , well, before the walking dead ever came along like, you know, 30 years. , and then there's the whole issue of Ramadan, which is the story set in Baghdad. so Ramadan was illustrated by P Craig Russell and Russell was a, the first openly gay comic creator. and he's still working today in his art style. It's just, it's one of the most fucking beautiful things you'll ever see. And it's really adaptable into a bunch of different settings. Like he did a really cool series for DC called Robin 3000, which is kind of like a weird blend of those old Tom swift scifi stories, but set in this weird, extreme far future, we're Batman and Robin are solo thing and it's got that whole retro futurism vibe to it. It's great.  Jessika: Nice. Mike: but it's funny because when I was reading the story, I realized that a year later he had done illustrations in the same style for a comic that we've talked about in the past called acts from dark horse comics, where he provides this fantasy scenario that kids are basically being brainwashed with a very fantasize version of like that. Uh, oh, like it's, you know, it's like that extreme Muslim terrorist fantasy of like, oh, well they're promised, you know, I haven't full of versions or whatever. And he did a stylized version of that, which it sounds gross. And tactless it's actually, it works really well in the narrative because it does. But yeah, I, when I showed you those, I, I sent screenshots over. Cause I was like, oh, this is funny. I wonder if, if his issue of Ramadan, which came out a year earlier was the reason that this got published,  Jessika: Yeah. And I actually had to look at, I was looking at what you sent me trying to figure out if it was also in what we were reading, because it did have a very, very similar vibe to everything that's going on with us  this year.  Mike: Well, Russell style is very unique and it's really identifiable. And he has worked on some of the coolest stuff. Like he illustrated what is widely considered to be the first interracial kiss in mainstream comics as well from the seventies? He's, he's really cool. And if you're looking for some cool stuff, Check him out. He has worked with Neil Gaiman on several things as well, if I remember. Right.  Jessika: Nice.  Mike: so anyway, that is the long-winded way of saying that I've loved a lot of the art in this volume. like how about you, like, what I'm curious about is because you liked the emperor Norton story, I'm wondering if he liked the same things that I did.  Jessika: Well, what's funny is I actually liked the difference in how Abel story was drawn. Just Abel's story in particular, it was done in this cute little anime style of drawing that was completely unique  so far to the series.  Mike: was, Chibi style.  Jessika: Yeah, exactly, exactly. And I just thought it was so refreshing. It was just such a surprise to see that kind of illustration, when you're seeing all of this other kind of heavy fantasy different stuff.  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: I thought that was really cute and it was such a small section, but I really admire the creativity of making the animation of the story matched the cheery note of how Abel was trying to spin the tale into something positive  and maybe trying just a bit too hard. Mike: yeah, it's, it's a kid friendly story for a child that he's talking to.  Jessika: Um Mike: Which like at that point in time, like has contrasted , very much with Eve story and, Kane story talking about , the parliament of Rooks or whatever. , which are  Jessika: Hm,  Mike: bit darker. The,  Jessika: exactly. Well, when you say we wrap up this and mosey on to our final topic of the evening,  Mike: yeah.  Okay. Yeah, I think this sounds fine. Okay.  Jessika: well, let's move on to our brain Regals, which is the one thing comics or comics adjacent bed is just stuck within the recesses of the wrinkles of your brain. Mike, what is it? Mike: So this week, or this past week, I was watching the latest episode of what F and my stepson suddenly got interested.    And so we went back and we started to watch through all of the one-off episodes from the first one on. And that led to him getting very interested. I should preface this by saying he is scary smart, or an 11 year old. And he loves watching videos about theoretical physics. And, mechanical engineering and all sorts of stuff like that. I don't know what he's going to do in life, but it's, I, I suspect he is going to do something that requires a lot more intellect than what I got. And so he got really interested in the multi-verse and then he had questions about the multi-verse and how that came about. So I was telling him about Loki, and then , we've started to watch that which have led to conversations about, string theory and quantum physics and other things like that. And, the theory of time being cyclical and he suddenly has gotten interested in superheroes, which is not something that he's been interested in before. And it's a lot of fun for me to sit and talk with him about it? while also trying to sound smart to an 11 year old, which is a new experience. Um, but Yeah, it, um, it's one of those things where I keep thinking about how, when I was growing up, people really were very dismissive of Comics and even until now, like I remember I would have dates with people where, when they heard that I read comic books, they would make very shitty comments about it. But, yeah, it just, it's one of those things where these days Comics are not just for kids and They can lead you down a number of paths, you have a multi-verse of choices if, if you will,  Mike Audio: So on a related note, the podcast, dear Watchers is a really wonderful show that focuses on different. What if Comics from across Marvel's history? And if the multi-verse gets your engine going, you should check that out.  Jessika: Nice  Mike: So Jessika: Yeah, Mike: this is something that I'm thinking about, um, and how, how silly comic books, uh, have helped me bond with my steps on a little bit more.  Yeah.  Jessika: sweet. Mike: Yeah. It's all right. Um,  what about you? what, what can't you let go of?  Jessika: Well, we're really gonna, and this thing on a downer, because apparently we're running out of paper to make comic books. I'm so depressed.  Mike: Like, as in like,  Jessika: Just the world.  Mike: oh man. Well,  Jessika: Yeah, I know. Yeah. , it's difficult to get paper right now. I think from what I've, read an article or two about it. all the paper companies are like sold out, like oversold through 20, 22 at this point. Mike: so is this a supply issue? Is this like a logistics thing? Is this.  Jessika: It's I think it's a little bit of a lot of things. Cause they're also having supply issues with not being able to get freight. Mike: I mean, that's, that's partially due to COVID that's also the longstanding ripple effect from the Suez canal. like you and I have had trouble getting bags and boards for our comics.  Jessika: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And actually that is another one of the things that they're having trouble getting is the boards. Obviously that was one of the things they'd mentioned. So yeah, it's just, it's rough right now. Everything is terrible. And I have a hard time reading comics on a screen. I really liked that. It's an option. My eyes get really tired and quite frankly, I'm on a screen all day for my real big girl job. Like I don't, I don't need to be sitting, reading a screen for other pastimes.  Mike: relatable.  Jessika: Yeah. So that's that's me. Just that everything's awful. Mike: Everything is terrible. And we'll see you in two weeks.  Jessika: Yes, that being said. Thank you all for being here. We really appreciate you listening. We'll see you again in two weeks, Mike, we'll be hosting some mystery, something or other. Mike: Yeah. Oh yeah. Actually the episode after this, I'm really excited about, I believe that is going to be our. I believe that's going to be our comic book couples counseling episode.  Jessika: It is, I think you're right about that. I was trying to remember what order we were doing things in, but yeah, I think you're right  about that.  Mike: We're recording everything out of order, but yeah, it's no  I'm  Jessika: are. We are. Mike: I'm really excited about that because, um, I'm just going to say, I'm gonna really excited about it. don't want to spoil it  Jessika: Yeah, no, they're an amazing podcast. if you want to go listen to them, comic book couples counseling, it's there. They're great. I love them.  Mike: Yeah,  Jessika: So that's all I'm going to say. Mike: yeah,  Jessika: Well, in that case, we'll see in two weeks, Mike: yeah. Take care of guys.  Thanks for listening to Tencent takes accessibility is important to us. So text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our website.  Jessika: This episode was hosted by Jessica Frazier and Mike Thompson written by Jessica Frazier and edited by Mike Thompson. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area Sound, our credits and transition music is pursuit of life by Evan McDonald and was purchased with a standard license from BMI. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who goes by, look, mom draws on Instagram. Mike: If you'd like to get in touch with us, ask us questions or tell us about how we got something wrong. Please head over to 10 cent takes.com or shoot an email to Tencent takes gmail.com. You can also find us on Twitter. The official podcast account is 10 cent takes. Jessica is Jessica with a and Jessica has a K in it. and Mike is van Sao, V a N S a U.  Jessika: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen Mike: Stay safe.  Jessika: and support your local comic shop.
Nov 11 2021
1 hr 17 mins
Issue 18: Horror Comics & Terror, Inc.