In the comic book The Sandman, issue 31 ("Three Septembers and a January", reprinted in Fables and Reflections), the King of Pain is one of Desire's cronies. He tried to tempt Emperor Norton into betraying his dignity for his desire (in the form of nubile, young, Victorian chicks). He is unsuccessful.

In reality, the King of Pain was a liniment salesman in 19-th century San Francisco who made a fortune peddling his "medicine", but lost it all gambling. He once gave the Emperor Norton a new suit. Eventually, he committed suicide.