Annotated 1963 Annotations
Version 2.0 - 2002.03.14
|V1.0 (30KB) 1994.06:||
Created by Abhijit Khale on Usenet.|
|V1.5 (40KB) 2002.01:||
Edited by Enjolras from the Usenet's thread.|
|V2.0 (70KB) 2002.03:||
Augmented by Holon.|
|See full credits at the end of file.|
Welcome, traveler! Errors? Of course you'll find flaws, Sahib! How could you win an Anti-Award, else?
Litigious LARRY FEIN says: All 1963 characters are copyrights and trademarks of their respective owners. All Marvel and DC characters mentions are copyrights and trademarks of Marvel and DC respectively. Oh, and "Marvel" and "DC" are respective copyrights and trademarks of the
1963 : General comments
0) All links between "exploding brackets" like >Source< open, in a new browser window, some reference document or additional information, on another site.
1) Alan Moore is known to do a lot of research on his subject matter. Thus, when
he makes a seemingly casual comment, it may be just that, or it may have deeper
meaning. This annotation tries to find out cross-references, if any.
2) The annotations do NOT cover things like : Who is the Wasp ? Who are the FF ?
Some minimal knowledge of Marvel (and DC) is assumed.
3) Most early 1960s Marvel comics (especially Iron man and the Hulk) were
crudely anti-communist. Alan Moore parodies that heavily.
4) Early Marvel was also quite sexist. Most female characters (Wasp, Invisible
Girl) were shown as frivolous, air-headed, dependent on their male colleagues
and occasionally flirtatious. This is something Moore parodies heavily. Also,
note the comments in the lettercol about how the only comics girls should be
reading are romance comics. More Moore parody.
5) The alliterative style and hype is very reminiscent of Stan Lee, and shows
Moore's brilliant dialogue skills. Moore skewers Stan pretty heavily throughout
6) Alan Moore also hypes lots of real (and very good) comics, but does so in
7) The annotations are in order as you flip through the comic and include ads,
text pages and lettercols.
8) Despite the purposely outdated look of the series, it discreetly uses some modern sequential art techniques, and turns them into a slap in the face of poor graphic storytelling. Most noticeable, smooth transitions crafted so as to avoid the dreadful "Meanwhile..." captions, will STILL be marked with such redundant and useless captions, underlining how they could ALWAYS be avoided. (Alan Moore had already used a similar trick in the tenth chapter of his Captain Britain run, introducing the far more mature storytelling in the next chapter.)
9) About the nicknames in the credits (aping a fad in Marvel 1960's credits, "smilin' Stan", etc.): « "Everyone had a nickname," says Don [Simpson]. "Affable Al, Roarin' Rick, Sturdy Steve, and so on. Alan recommended Dubious Don, but I requested 'Dandy Don'." Alan's response, in a trans-Atlantic phone call, was, "You can call yourself whatever you want--you're the letterer!" »
- Book One : Mystery Incorporated
"Mayhem on Mystery Mile!"
by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch and Dave Gibbons.
Mystery Inc are obviously the Fantastic Four homages.
Planet === Thing, Ben Grimm.
Crystalman === Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards.
Infra Girl === Invisible Girl/Woman, Susan Storm Richards.
Kid Dynamo === Human Torch, Johnny Storm.
The characters behave like their counterparts as well : Crystalman is a
scientist, Kid Dynamo is short tempered. Differences : Kid Dynamo and the Planet
are brothers [FF:Human Torch and Invisible Girl are brother/sister],
and Kid Dynamo is interested romantically in Neon Queen
[FF:Mr. Fantastic is married to Invisible Girl].
(Their new persona may also be partially derived from their original names: the two Storm become clouds and bolts; Grimm becomes a grim green. Richards become a rich hard gem.)
Cover : "America's most exciting comic book",
a variation of the FF's title "World's Greatest comic magazine",
which it actually used to be at one time.
Page 1 : Mystery Mile === Baxter Building, FF HQ. The title "Mayhem on Mystery
Mile" seems to be a play on the marriage of Reed and Sue, which was labeled
"Bedlam at the Baxter Building".
Page 1, panel 1: notice "?" logo on uniforms and everything (FF: "4" logo).
Page 3, panel 4: dialogues can be seen as meta-comments, "friendly criticism" about the 1963's process and "boredom" about the mimicked comics.
Page 5, panel 4: the cheese-like look of the Planet's face may allude to those sci-fi jokes about "the Moon being made of (green) cheese"; and it's indeed a cheesy look for a character.
Page 6, panel 1 : "Amazona" === Thundra, an old Marvel character who came from a world dominated by women.
Note the equivalent of the Human Torch talking about "carrying a TORCH".
Page 6-7 : Note the similarities and difference to the FF's origin. The Planet
is referred to as an astronaut (Ben Grimm was a test pilot).
Page 8 : An early FF story had the FF read mail. One topic of the mail was the
uselessness of Sue in the FF. Some of the blatant sexism displayed here is very
similar to that in early FF. Panel 4 : More on Infra Girl in book 6
Page 8, panel 1: first use of a useless transitional caption.
Page 8, panel 2: actual cover of 1963 Book 3 (but wrong back cover ad).
Page 8, panel 5: "The Maybe Machine" = FF:the Negative Zone portal. More page 21.
Page 9, panel 1 : Reverse Magic :-).
Page 11, footnote: comics (at least up to the 80's) had those silly footnotes before ads.
Text Page :|
Item 1 : Warhol and Dali references are obvious gags.
The two doesn't seem to be chosen innocently vs. Marvel: both were real artists that wouldn't visit that 'funny papers factory', but also both made outrageous use of merchandising/hyping their art.
Blue box : hyping the 80 page annual which [should have] ended the series.
Shopping List : Each issue will be covered separately.
"the Imprint of Inspiration" = "the House of Ideas", Marvel.
Orange box : Chester Brown writes and draws Yummy Fur.
"Dirty Plotte" (Canadian for 'dirty cunt') was Julie Doucet's own underground comix (later collected in trades by D&Q).
All the other comics mentioned are real.
Yellow box : Stan Lee would sometimes indulge in hype about how comics could get
rid of racial troubles, bring peace etc., although not to this level. I think
Moore's wife is called Phyllis (at least, Big Numbers mentions research done by
Phyllis Moore). No idea where the name Wilma for Affable Al's wife came from.
-I don't think relevant to look at Moore's wife, since Affable Al is impersonating/mocking Stan Lee's history, not his. Stan Lee's wife was at the time (and is still) Joan B. Lee.
Stan Lee married a local Newcastle girl who was modeling in America.
-"Kooky Kandi DeVine" may be a compound of actresses Cookie Mueller, Candy Darling and Divine, all related to transvestite/transsexual/bisexual movies from Andy Warhol and John Waters. (Maybe also some joke about Andy Devine, while I fail to see how a 50's western/cowboys flicks actor would fit here.)
Stan used to sign off with Excelsior, Moore does so with Excalibur, which is
also the name of a Marvel title that uses characters that Moore worked on.
Similarly, most typical recurring expressions of Stan Lee's speech are translated here, "Sixty-Three-ites" for "Marvelites", "Say no more!" for "'Nuff Said!", "traveller" for "true believer", "wayfarer" for "pilgrim", "the sweatshop" for "the bullpen", etc.
Page 12, panel 1 : Doc Apocalypse === Doc Doom. The reference to Kid Dynamo's
dad disappearing may be a comment about Johnny and Sue's father, who was jailed
as a criminal.
Page 12, panel 2 : King Zero may be the Submariner. More on this in letter 2 then book 6.
Page 12, panel 3: bold words maybe allude to Jim Jarmush's "MYSTERY TRAIN" (1989 movie), settled in "the COUNTRY" (Memphis, Tennessee), "KABOOM"
referring to the gunshot that starts the first "CROSS" of storylines.
Page 14, panel 1 : More on the Fury and this plotline in book 2.
Page 15, panel 1 : N-Man === Hulk, more in book 4
Page 15, panel 3: the robot's head antenna reminds of Black Bolt's one (FF vs. the Inhumans) and due to his bolt-shaped body (and his mechanical nature) he's another kind of black bolt.
Page 15, panel 4-5 : ROBBIE the robot, from "Forbidden PLANET" movie.
T-shirt ad : Reminiscent of T-shirt ads in 60s Marvel comics. This is probably a
real ad. It runs thru the whole series, only the bottom-right villain changes.
Page 17, panel 1: the infamous "Meanwhile" caption, totally useless here.
Page 19, panel 4: Kid Dynamo's dialogue may remind of Watchmen #12, Doc Manhattan to Ozymandias ("What's that in your hand, Veidt? Another ultimate weapon?").
Page 20, panel 1: he's lost into "Big Numbers" (there's a direct allusion to BN in letter 5 of book 6).
Page 20, panels 4-6: 'modern' use of a single image broken into three temporal panels. Last panel introduces a little Watchmen-like smooth transition with the first panel of next page (guy in front of a square motif).
Page 21 : There is no real equivalent for the "Maybe Machine" in early FF,
although Reed did build Negative Zone portals and use Doom's time machine. The
Maybe machine is used in the same way the negative zone portal was used in
numerous Fantastic Four stories. They have done several stories over the
years where someone falls into the negative zone and has to be rescued....or
something dangerous comes out of the zone.
Also, the name may possibly refer to the Legion's Miracle Machine?
Page 21, panel 1: another display of useless transitional caption over a self-sufficient smooth transition. The "lecture room", indeed.
Page 22 : Crystal Man is as smart as Reed. Although Marvel has parallel Earths,
the use here bears a stronger resemblance to DC's parallel Earth mythos.
Page 22, panel 1: note the timescale starting in 1993.
Page 22, panel 2: this comes from actual physics theories (such as anti-electrons being actually electrons moving backwards in time, etc.). Alan Moore's deep interest in hard sciences flourished in Tomorrow Stories' "Jack B. Quick".
Page 23, panel 5 : The early Reed was often jealous when Sue showed attention to
another male like the Submariner.
Letter Page :|
Letter 1 : More on Sky Solo in book 2. "Dixie's Dates" may be a reference to
Marvel romance and Archie comics like Hedy and Patsy, but most probably Marvel 60's Millie series (Millie the Model, Modeling with Millie, Life with Millie, Mad about Millie, Millie the Loveable Monster, plus the annuals).
"Tombstone Kid" may be a reference to an old Marvel Western comic called "Two
Gun Kid". N-Man === Hulk. The Hulk and the Thing fought several times. Note the
sexist comments about Neon Queen.
Letter 2 : King Zero is mentioned as having reappeared in an early issue of
Mystery Inc and also as having appeared in the Golden Age. So he's probably the
Submariner, who re-appeared in early FF. Also notice the eyebrows in book 6...
Roy Thomas also had a character called Jack Frost as a member of the Liberty
Legion. Jack bore a more than passing resemblance to King Zero, so it's
possible there's a blending there. Perhaps more relevantly, a Jack Frost story
may have been the first comics story written by Stan Lee. If so, that'd make
even more sense for Moore to use a similar character.
Pink Box : Murphy Anderson is a very respected Silver Age penciller and inker
who now does color production work.
Letter 3: "Underman" = FF's villain the Mole Man (also appears in book 6 in relation to the pseudo-Avengers).
Letter 4 : A gag and a pointed comment about Marvel's work-for-hire practices. Note how that Ralph J. Hutty and the always-following Owen Bowels will pop up again as regulars in the two next issues lettercols.
Letter 5 : Anti-Award === No-Prize.
When a Marvel letter column was publishing a comment spotting an error/inconsistency, the answer was playfully saying "Congratulation, you just won a No-Prize". At some point, Marvel was receiving loads of letters or calls asking "Boo-Hoo, I have still not received my No-Prize in the mail". Thus Marvel has since then been actually sending the No-Prizes, as empty
>See a No-Prize<
Letter 6 : More on N-Man, Horus, Infra-Man later.
Yellow box : "Rarebit Fiends" is a Rick Veitch strip which appears in the back
of Maximortal (and in Cerebus). More on this later.
Neon Queen pin-up: homage to Will Eisner's "architexture". (A blue box in book 3 will specify it was drawn by Melinda Gebbie.)
Inside back cover : Moondog's is a comic store chain.
The middle pic refers to "Make Mine Marvel".
Note that Larry Marder directed "1963" 's marketing campaign (kinda freelance, he incorporated Image later) while still being marketing director for Moondog, and was the one who asked Steve Bissette to talk Alan Moore into doing some Image comics.
Back Cover : This is a parody of an ad by Don Bolander, Director of Career
Institute, which promised to teach English. The picture, the questions et. al.
are similar, although the garbled language is obviously a joke.
The garbled language often looks like Latin (verb sent to the end of sentence) that would have been translated literally, word for word (Latin 'verbatim'): hence under the photo, "University of VERBATIM, B.S." (B.S. probably being for 'bullshit'.)
- Book Two : No One Escapes... the Fury
"When Wakes the Warbeast!"
by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and Dave Gibbons.
Fury === Spiderman, of course. He seems to have some Daredevil elements too: the
way he throws those discs around is very reminiscent of Daredevil's billy club.
Also, the fact that there was a golden age Fury parallels the fact that there
was a golden age daredevil -- of course, he was not Matt Murdock's father...
The fact that he doesn't have powers (as stated in 2:18:2) also supports the Daredevil part in his mix. The Fury's secret ID, Rick *Judge* (given in letter 1), may also refer to DD as *attorney* Matt Murdock.
(Superficially, his discus may also remind a bit of Captain America's shield.)
The Fury is also a name of a character created by Alan Moore in the Captain
Britain strip. Marvel aren't allowed to use the character because of copyright
reasons. Alan Davis used the visual likeness of Fury in Excalibur however. Alan
Moore seems to have used the name in return. In Captain Britain, the Fury's
recurrent slogan was "The Fury never gives up". And indeed, no one escaped The Fury.
And in both cases, "The Fury" was also a reference to the classic relentless goddesses of Vengeance tracking their victims (ancient
Greek "the Erinyes", adapted in Latin as "the Furies").
Cover : "RoofRunner". Spidey is called the "WallCrawler".
Page 1 : U.S.A = Captain America. More on him later. LASER = SHIELD, right down
to the similar acronym. Commander Solo = Nick Fury, and the "solo" is a
reference that Nick Fury is a man from uncle swipe. Note that Spiderman rarely
worked with SHIELD in his early days.
Page 2 : Solo even smokes like Nick. Spiderman's father was not a superhero, so
there's another difference with Marvel.
Page 4, panel 2: another sumptuous example of useless "Meanwhile" caption sadistically slapped over a panel already doing all the job.
Page 5 : Fury even talks and swings around like Spidey.
Page 7, panel 1 : Voidoid may be the Green Goblin. More on this later. Dune ===
The Sandman, an early Spiderman foe. "Threatening Three" : Spidey once fought 6
of his enemies who called themselves the Sinister Six. Pyroman : could well be
electo which would be consistent with the "Sinister Six" idea.
The Voidoid could be seen as a metaphor for the vacuum of uncharacterized super-villains, just here to be evil and then beaten to a pulp.
Sub Ad : Derived from old ads for toy subs and a parody of Anti-Sovietism.
Page 9, last panel : "Screaming Skydogs" : Nick Fury used to head a group called
the Howling Commandos in WW-II. More on this later.
Page 11, panel 6: on-screen "MYXPTLKZ" alludes to DC's imp Mr. MXYZPTLK (sic).
Page 12, panel 2: "laser-lantern" name already used in book 1:13:3, but device had another effect.
Page 13 : The Dinosaur may be a play on old Spidey Foes the Lizard and Stegron.
Stegron even used intelligent dinosaurs in some of his stories.
At least, the dinosaur is Bissette giving a taste of his upcoming Tyrant series (also hyped in the lettercol's pink box). Also probably a reference to Jurassic Park and its induced dinosaurs fad (movie was released one year earlier).
Page 14, panel 2: British Alan Moore playfully makes the dinosaur "confirm" the
Darwinian evolutionist theory (which is still not fully accepted in the USA).
Page 15, panel 1: Horus = Thor, more on him in book 5.
Page 17, panel 6 : The Fury's mother is the Aunt May equivalent.
Text Page :|
Item 1 in Yellow Box : Both Kim and Gary (unfortunately) are real people. All
the comics mentioned are real as are the people like Bagge, Clowes, Los Bros
Item 2 : Hyping the annual again.
Yellow Box : "Sky Solo and her Screaming Sky Dogs" = "Sgt. Fury and his Howling
Commandos", an old Marvel war comic. Moore appears to be parodying the sometimes
crude anti-German nature of the comic.
Page 18 : Spidey's parents were killed by the Red Skull [who'll appear as "Red Brain" in book 3:6:2], not in the manner shown
here. The Fury's dad is the Golden Age hero known as the Fighting Fury (more on
him in book 6).
"Sinister Squid" may be Dr. Octopus, who was also a nuclear scientist.
Or more probably "Doc Centipede" = Doc Octopus, as "Sinister Squid" reminds of the "Sinister Six".
Page 18, panel 3-5: big mix, Fury's father has Daredevil's horns, the two look like Batman and Robin (but it's not Robin being killed), and the scene can also remind of the murder of young Batman's parents.
Page 21 : Voidoid's identity is secret.
Page 23, last panel : Dr. Kent Kane === Hank Pym, Ant Man.
Miss Mason === Janet van Dyne, the Wasp.
More on these two in book 6.
[ This may also be a side reference to Dr. Curt Connors, a scientist and a
friend of Spidey's. ]
Page 24, panel 2 : The Wasp would make comments like that in her early days.
Page 24, panel 7: the horned cast shadow (his father's outfit) is another proof of the Daredevil part in the Fury.
Ad : Moondog's Ad again.
Letter Page :|
(Its title is probably a joke with the famous "Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers" underground comic. Cf. also letter 4.)
Letter 1 : The various speculations about the Voidoid's id lead me to believe he
may be a Green Goblin copy. The Green Goblin's id was originally secret and was
revealed in an early Spiderman storyline. However, as the letter-writer
speculates, the Voidoid may be "Bash Brannigan," the Fury's high school football
coach, and the shot of an unmasked Voidoid on page 21, panel 7 may support this.
Bash Brannigan seems to be the counterpart of Flash Thompson, the athlete who
harassed Peter Parker (although Flash was a fellow student, not a coach).
However, Flash was Spider-Man's #1 fan, not his archenemy; though years later he
was framed for being the Hobgoblin.
-Since the Fury is Spidey with a Daredevil twist, that Brash Brannigan may be Spidey's Flash Thompson mixed with DD's "coach Donahue" (from Miller's DD #183).
-Maybe a reference to "Brash Brannigan, secret agent", the cartoon drawn by the protagonist of the movie "How to murder your wife". Name also remind of the later "Splash Brannigan" in Tomorrow Stories.
Letter 2 : "Sspral" and "Vapoor" : Marvel used to publish Monster comics in the
50s. These are probably references to old Marvel monsters, although I don't have
"Mut-Ants" : The Hulk fought the Toad men and Tyrannus in an early issues, but I
don't remember his fighting any intelligent insects till much later.
"Behemoth Bugs from Mystery Inc. " : I don't remember the FF fighting such bugs
or anything similar, but the point of that comment is likely that marvel stories
in the very early days were sometimes using duplicate villains and stories.
"Journey into Unearthly" : Old Marvel title "Journey Into Mystery", most notable
for the first appearance of Thor. The other two titles covered later.
"Rul Rax Rhoom" : Fin Fang Foom, a Marvel monster, appeared in Strange Tales
89(?) which was in the early 1960's I believe. Thor today still has the
numbering from Journey into Mystery....just as Hulk and Captain America continue
the numbering from Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense.
"Yolk" : no reference.
Moore is also parodying Marvel's litigiousness, which caused the change of the
name of Marvelman to Miracleman.
Duane Simpson and the comments about misspelling : Any references ?
The adjective provided by the letter confirms that "the Unbelievable N-Man" = "the Incredible Hulk".
Letter 2 answer:
"Fifty-Eight comics": Oversimplification: originally was 1939's Timely Publications, then there was 1947's Atlas-Seabord -- 1958 is when Atlas was about to close and Kirby proposed to re-introduce superheroes (creating Hulk and Spider-Man, maybe with Lee), leading to 1961's "Marvel Comics Group" and the FF.
Yellow box : Morrie is probably a real guy. But the comment about his being Al's
uncle is meant to parody the fact that Stan Lee got his job at Marvel only
because he is Martin Goodman's wife's nephew.
"...maestro of magazine management...": Martin Goodman's main company was precisely named "Magazine Management", umbrella for his dozens of imprints and publishing subcompanies in all genres, Timely (later Marvel) being one. He also indeed owned a paper company, as well as a nephew who entered Timely in 1941 as the 17 year old coffee-boy Stanley Lieber until eventually becoming scribe/editor Stan "the Man from Uncle" Lee.
Letter 3 : Either of Sinister Squid or Dr. Centipede is probably Dr. Octopus.
"Art-Boy" : There were several early marvel stories that involved painters
bringing images to life. Strange Tales 109 (Human Torch) features a
painter character that might have been art boy. The painter would paint
things that came to life.
Letter 4: that mention of "Furry with an extra R" may reinforce the note about the lettercol's title.
Letter 5 : Parodying Stan's hucksterism. "Cosmax" is Galactus
(more on this in book 3).
"Arcturian Ulti-mind" may be a reference to the Kree Supreme
Intelligence, an adversary of the Fantastic Four. More on Johnny Beyond
in book 4.
Pink Box : Hyping Stephen Bissette's work in Taboo and his upcoming Tyrant.
Sky Solo pin-up : "Lady from L.A.S.E.R" may be a play on "Man from U.N.C.L.E",
an old TV show.
Signature "Gebbienko" = Melinda GEBBIE, SteraNKO-style ("Nick Fury vs. SHIELD").
Also another homage to Will Eisner's "architexture", a taste shared with her companion Alan Moore.
The Fury pin-up: "5th AVE" may be another plug of Alan Moore's "5/V" recurring motif (either scripted by him, or playfully added by the artist). But of course it also refers to DC's "666 Fifth Ave" old address, see also note for "Ad for US Government Surplus" in book 4.
Ad : Parodying certain artists' tendency to swipe art. "Ruckler products ..
Kirby Street" : Rich Buckler is an artist known for swiping Jack Kirby's work. [
Maybe they should have named it Riefeld Products ? ] This same ad is a reference
to the Dr. Strange cover swiping an Amy Grant photo.
Inside Back Cover : Another T-shirt ad.
Back Cover : Looks like a parody of hair loss ads, but I don't have a direct
reference for it.
The bad ad "must I lose my mind" is a parody of a "must I lose my hair" ad that
ran at some point in Marvel books.
In green box, "M & M Warp" may remotely allude to Mike Moran & Miracle Man and the Warpsmiths.
- Book Three : Tales of the Uncanny
Cover : The title is probably based on old Marvel comic "Tales of Suspense".
As well as parodying the "Uncanny" adjective in Marvel's spinoff titles.
Ultimate Special Agent : "Double Deal in Dallas!"
by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch and Don Simpson.
Ultimate Special Agent === Captain America. Also a play on US Agent, which id
Cap took on once when he couldn't become Captain America. Alan Moore will re-use this name trick with "U.S. Angel" in Tomorrow Stories.
Page 1-2 : USA is stopping the assassination of JFK. Moore knows his JFK
assassination lore. Observe...
Page 1 : In the background, you can see two bystanders: a man holding
an umbrella, and a man with a movie camera. They correspond to the
real-life "Black Umbrella Man," and to Abraham Zapruder. The Umbrella Man opened
a black umbrella shortly before Kennedy was shot; some speculate that he was
part of a conspiracy. Abe Zapruder recorded the whole shooting on his home movie
camera. The woman standing next to them, holding a baby, seems significant
but I'm not sure if she corresponds to any particular onlooker.
Other details are accurate: the gunshot has driven a flock of birds to
flight; a Jackie Kennedy look-alike sits next to USA while a John Connolly
look-alike sits in front; and while the gunman is behind USA, the shots came from
the *front.* :-)
One wrong detail: the gunman is on the fourth floor, not the sixth.
But hey, it's only a comic. :)
This superhero replacing JFK may reverse-remind of that Superman story when JFK replaces Clark Kent (who needed to be simultaneously seen somewhere as Kent AND Superman).
Page 2, panel 3: yet another example of useless caption.
Page 3, panel 1 : "Leo Harley Osborne" : Lee Harvey Oswald was the name of JFK's
Did I mention the use of useless captions already? (OK, no more -- until book 6.)
Page 3, panel 2 : Note the grassy knoll reference.
Page 3, panel 4 : JFK mentions that his father saw USA in action in the 1920s. In
the 1920s, Joseph Kennedy was a bootlegger, so if he saw USA in action, he may
well have been on or near the receiving end of USA's action!
Page 3, panel 5: note how U.S.A. physically looks like The Comedian in Watchmen (while being an obsequious opposite). More on 1963/Watchmen in book 6.
Page 4, panel 2 : "Vitamin Omega" : Cap obtained his powers through the Super
Soldier serum. After he took the Serum, he was bathed in "vita-rays" which could
give a hint on the name.
Page 4, panel 5 : "Osborne's trip to Russia" : Oswald defected to Russia and then came
Page 4, panel 7 : The Carousel Club was Jack Ruby's nightclub.
Page 4-6 : "Brian Ruby" : In the real word, Jack Ruby was the guy who killed Lee
Harvey Oswald in a manner similar to that shown here.
Page 6 : "Red Brain" === "Red Skull", an old Cap villain. The Red Skull doesn't
have all these powers though.
Page 9, panel 1: "abominable Ammonite" = ? (discussed below and in book 6 but inconclusively).
Page 9, panel 3: image may be reminiscent of Galactus' eye-rays stripping Silver Surfer of his powers.
Page 11-12 : The man from the future ties into the Image 80 pg annual, probably.
Olfactory fighting Ad : Parody of Karate ads which claimed to make you a master
of karate. Yuck...
This looks like a paraphrase of a real ad with only a few words modified, basically turning "with your BARE ARMS" into "with your BARE ARMPITS" and other minor changes accordingly. The
checklist at bottom of first column kept some original points such as "27 vital body points that disable".
Text Page :|
Item 1 (in Pink Box) : Four Color Images is a real art gallery in New York which
exhibits comics art. I presume the exhibition of Mystery Inc. art was for real.
Item 2 (in Pink Box) : I believe all the characters mentioned are real.
Another allusion to Andy Warhol: Valerie Solonas (founder of the feminist SCUM, Society for Cutting Up Men) shot him because he wouldn't publish her "SCUM Manifesto".
Yellow Box : Moore is poking fun at the collector mentality.
Item 3 : Hyping the annual. The name change for the VOIDOID is based on reality
-- WILDCATS has a character named the Void.
(OTOH, later, Marvel won't see a problem in using a "the Void" villain in the Sentry miniseries...)
The Hypernaut : It Came From... Higher Space!
by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and Chester Brown.
Hypernaut : There is no direct correspondence to a Marvel character. Instead,
Hypernaut seems to be drawn on Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan and Iron Man but also
has several individual characteristics.
Note that Moore wrote three Green Lantern stories for DC.
(Don't you think the Hypernaut is very Silver Surfery?)
Page 1 : Many of the text panels seem to be about numbers and four in
And about dimensions 3 and 4 or in-between (fractal dimension). Particularly: "Fourth law" text. "Fourth dimension" dict entry. "3/4" music sheet. "Dimension" dict entry. Math formula. "Fractal" dict entry. "Four constituents of DNA" text.
-The complete Mark Twain quote is "If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. That is the principal difference between a dog and man.", but it is actually quoted from the "fourth law: money is a nightmare" section of "The Seven Laws of Money" by Michael Phillips... whose most profound law is the 5th ;)
-The "When the stars threw down their spears..." quote balloon is excerpted from William Blake's poem "The Tyger" (already quoted with "Fearful Symmetry" in Watchmen #5's title and epilogue) and is seen as referring to the devils, the fallen angels throwing their spears after losing the battle for Heaven.
-The "Love your ennemies..." quote balloon is from the Bible's New Testament, Matthew 5:44 (that "44" may be relevant to the 'four' motif).
-The "Joy is not in things..." quote is actually attributed to various people, the usual one being Wagner (but then when first name is given it's Richard, or also Charles or Robert), or sometimes to Benjamin Franklin like here.
Page 2 : Queep : This seems to be a parody of various silly sidekicks that DC
characters like J'onn and the Space Ranger had. Tony Stark never had such a
sidekick, and Hal picked one up only in the 70s (Itty the Starfish). Queep also
bears some resemblance to the Monkey King, a very frightening demon that Moore
and Bissette created in Swamp Thing #25 (first appearance).
Also, the dumb Queep may be an anti-reference to the very smart "original" Monkey King (famous hero of traditional
Page 2, panel 1: this "Intelligence tank" reminds of Veidt's immersions in multi-screens TVs in Watchmen. More on 1963/Watchmen in book 6.
Page 2, panel 2 : Tomorrow Syndicate = Avengers, more on them and Infra-Man in book 6.
"Ammonite" : according to the OT, Moab
and Ammon were the sons of Lot via incest with his daughters after the pillar of
Salt thing. Their descendants, the Ammonites, lived in Transjordan. Well,
that's the story, anyway, but there was a group called the Ammonites that at
various and sundry times gave the Israelites a hard time in the Iron Age.
Probably, Amman, the modern capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is named
after them. They got whacked real hard by the Assyrian king Sargon the
Great in 713 BC and then pretty much got wiped out by Ashurbanipal around 650
BC. You knew you were close to Ninevah when you passed the immense mounds
of skulls on either side of the road, to which the Ammonites had contributed a
great many. >B^) But apparently, they made a come-back, 'cuz Babylonian Bad Boy
Nebudchadnezzar also says he beat up on 'em, in uh, 594 BC, I think. But
the Assyrians were pretty thorough, so we don't really believe him all that
Page 2, panel 3 : "Molemoth" : no reference, could be Mole Man, but more probably a
Green Lantern reference. The Mole man would not be chewing through the
side of a space ship.
(Besides we've already seen that more probably "Underman" = Mole Man.)
-The paradoxical triangle is probably yet another occasion to plug BTW Moore's "V and 5" motif.
Page 2, panel 6 : Hal Jordan was a test pilot
Page 3 : The idea that the Hypernaut needs his cybernetic receptacle to survive
is similar to early Iron Man, in which he needed his armor's chest devices to
keep his heart beating. The reference to a guild, though, is very similar to the
Green Lantern mythos (which itself derives from the Lensmen).
-Additionally, his being included in the not-the-Avengers team of book 6 definitely confirms the Iron Man side.
-The way the Hypernaut refers to his former Dan Stevens self as "He..." instead of "I..." replays a duality concept already used by Moore in Swamp Thing #21 (the nature of Swamp Thing vs. Alec Holland) and in Watchmen #12 (Doc Manhattan saying "It didn't killed Osterman, did you think it would kill ME?"). It is accented by the "Dan Stevens died" just like in Swamp Thing.
Page 3, panel 3: the actual process may remind of the movie Tron, or of cyberpunk sci-fi ideas.
Page 3, panel 4: Not that it necessarily refer to it, but I've already seen that exact "rescued at the point of death" idea, but can't precise (it was sci-fi book involving time-travel so as to grab people or things that won't miss, thus avoiding paradox). Anyone?
Page 4, panel 2: Flatland is a classic novel by Edwin Abbott about dimensions, whose main story is in a 2-D world (triangles, squares, etc. inhabitants) visited by a creature of "higher space" (3-D). Moore replays the story one dimension further (3-D visited by 4-D) and
acknowledges it here.
BTW this brilliant 1884's novel is still heavily recommended nowadays and since it is public domain it is fully available online on various of sites, e.g. complete as a 200KB page with all of its illustrations
or with TOC an broken into its 22 chapters
Page 4, panel 4: Werner Heisenberg was one of the key founders of Quantum Physics, famous for his "Uncertainty Principle".
Page 5, panel 1: "Cubelander" is the 3-D version of the 2-D "Flatlanders".
Page 6: while it looks as weird as other stories of this kind, all the 3-D/4-D stuff here and in this issue is actually mathematically and physically perfectly consistent, Moore knows the topic.
Page 7 : The being is a 4-D creature. This may be a parody of a silly 50s Marvel
character called the 3-D man, who returned to fight the Hulk later. Marvel
actually has a 4-D man, a sort of alien that had one side of his body on fire
and the other side frozen. The general comment is probably on the tendency
of comics to invent n-dimensional characters and concepts -- "the creature
from the 7th dimension" and the like.
Page 12 : This switching between body suits is very reminiscent of LSH member
Wildfire. The face on the chest has been done by Kirby on a couple of occasions.
Once in Thor (for the Enchanters) and for Arem(sp) Zola from his '77 run on
Captain America. Also, it could be NoMan from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.
Page 12, panel 6: maybe a drawing error, but the box at Hypernaut's belt now bears, instead of a triangle, a "V" -- also reminds of Veidt's ubiquitous logo in Watchmen.
Letter page :|
Letter 1 : "NumberJack": no references.
"Piface": Tom "Pieface" Kalmaku was Green Lantern's sidekick.
"The Chess Set" : Iron Man did fight a Black Knight in his early days. He also fought
some Chessmen, but that was much later, in the 1980s. May also be a play on old
JLA villains called The Royal Flush Gang, who would dress up as playing cards.
"Achtung Spitfier", "Kid Swastika" : no references.
Moore is also parodying Marvel's refusal to let Cap age.
Letter 2 : "Cosmax" eats suns. He must be hungrier than Galactus, who eats
USA may have a thing for Sky Solo : Cap had one for a Shield agent called
Letter 3 : Both DC and Marvel were known to be careless about their artists
original artwork back in the 1960s. Joe Kubert once came in to find DC staffers
about to shred his artwork. Jack Kirby had a very hard time getting Marvel to
give some of his art back. It was Marvel and DC policy to take possession of the
physical art done for them and dispose of it as they pleased. DC used to
routinely shred art. Marvel dumped it all in a dusty old warehouse in a really
bad neighborhood. Sometimes in the case of Marvel, the art was given away to
people who visited the office. Marvel kept the art because of the ambiguous
status of people working on comics. For benefit purposes, Marvel wanted
employees to be considered "freelancers". For copyright purposes, they wanted
everyone to be considered "direct employees". The 1978 copyright laws created
work-for-hire as a solid concept.....and Marvel therefore really had no legal
right to keep the art. When they started giving it back, Marvel went through the
vault and handed physical possession of all the art (except Kirby's) back to the
artists. They kept Kirby's art because Marvel was in a difficult legal situation
as far as Kirby challenging their copyrights. Joe Simon came close to taking
Captain America away from Marvel in 1969 based on the legal ambiguities of the
comic creation process.
Letter 4 : Ed "Emperor" Evans === Jack "King" Kirby. Jack Kirby co-created
Captain America, as Evans did with USA. Much of this letter and the response is
a fairly obvious indictment of Marvel's and Stan's treatment of Jack. The
"sold rights .. for thirty-eight dollars" comment, though is closer to the story
of Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, who sold Superman to DC for a very small sum.
As noted in book 1, authors of letters 3 and 4 are pseudo-regulars of the three first issues.
Letter 6 : "Amputo" : Could be the Mandarin, although he fought Iron Man, not
"Professor Scwheppes" : no reference.
Blue Box : All the comics mentioned are for real.
Inside Back Cover : Another T-shirt ad.
Back Cover : Another anti-communist parody, as well as a parody of ads in comics
which sold life-size monsters and skeletons.
- Book Four : Tales from Beyond
Cover : The Hulk appeared for a while in an old Marvel comic called Tales To Astonish.
He was in TTA for 40 issues and Hulk has the numbering of TTA. Not a brief
run. Note the (19)63/93 car plate.
The Unbelievable N-Man : "Showdown in the Shimmering Zone!"
by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben.
The Unbelievable N-Man === the Incredible Hulk, obviously...
Page 1: ...including Hulk's teared pants (and "affected personality", next page).
Page 2, panel 2: "Dr. Chambers" = Dr. (Bruce) Banner, Hulk's secret ID.
Page 2, panel 3 : The N-Man only rates a Colonel, while the Hulk gets General Ross. Tsk. Tsk.
(But in letter 4 both question and answer refer to N-Man's "General".)
Page 5 : Kokarovitch may be a play on old Hulk villain the Abomination. The
Abomination was also a Soviet spy who exposed himself to gamma rays and became a
monster with Hulk level powers.
Page 5, panel 3: this "Cockroach" (as named on cover and page 8) may also allude to his namesake in Cerebus, which satirizes various superheroes thru the series and is also addressed to as "the bug", like here.
Page 6, panel 6: the detail about glass is authentic (as well as most scientific references by Moore).
Ad for US Government Surplus : Parodying catalogue ads seen in Marvel comics.
...but the ad's address (in pink box) was DC's one -- "666 Fifth Ave, NY" is a building hosting several publishers such as Doubleday, Bantam, and DC Comics Inc, as printed in the indicia of their comics (they've now moved elsewhere).
The ad is full of gags like "Senators : 5 for 99 cents", "VD training film", "Guatemala: $2.75". ...and a bit less funny authentic ones like "Anthrax", "Single Bullet Theory", or "Coffee plantations". (Remember Moore did Brought To Light about the CIA.)
-Images in yellow box: the truck with a Nazi swastika probably allude to all
Nazi scientists/criminals/material grabbed in Germany after WW2 and brought back to USA (for rocket science research or as CIA agents). Also note how the USA themselves are displayed for sale in the middle of the box.
Page 12 : Sally Stevens === Betty Ross. Betty was never Bruce Banner's assistant
in the early Marvel Universe.
Page 12, panel 6 : more on Infra-Man in book 6.
Monster Ad : More anti-communist parodies.
The monster wielding a shoe in front a U.N. podium (that looks like a shoebox) alludes to the infamous U.N. "shoe incident": on October 12, 1960, angered of a discussion about Soviet Union's imperialism and colonialism, Nikita Khrushchev bangs his U.N. desk with his fist then with his own shoe, so as to get attention. Note that the event is often misdated, and then usually to year 1963 (after the Cuba Missiles crisis).
Johnny Beyond : Flipsville!
by Alan Moore, Jim Valentino and Steve Bissette.
Johnny Beyond === Dr. Strange. However, the dialogue used here is more
reminiscent of the dialogue used in some late 60s DC comics (most notably the
Teen Titans) to attract teenagers because it was "hip". It's a sixties
comic using 50s dialogue and culture to attract a "youth" audience mistakenly. A
great example of this is the early X-Men by Lee and Kirby.
(Note similarity in name and flipping-house idea with the later Johnny Future in Tom Strong #14 then Jonni Future in Tom Strong Terrific Tales #1.)
Page 5 : The house bears a resemblance to Dr. Strange's abode.
Page 8, panel 4 : "Garab Dorje" is an equivalent of the Ancient One, Dr. Strange's
teacher. (The name is of an actual quasi-mythic Tibetan Buddhist master/guru of Dzogchen from 2000 years ago.)
Text Page :|
Item 1 : A very funny Alice Cooper gag.
Pink Box : Moore is obviously working in some jokes about Stan's past.
("Twelve years old": exaggerating on Stanley being 17yo at the time.)
Stan did indeed get the job at Marvel/Timely only because his uncle was the publisher. [ Did he really marry a heiress ? ].
("Modern Magazines Ltd": Martin Goodman's "Magazine Management Ltd" and probably also a wordplay with Modern/Timely. Cf. also yellow box of book 2.)
("Ed 'The Emperor' Evans" = Jack "The King" Kirby.) The relationship between Stan and Jack as collaborators is also parodied.
This seems to be saying that Jack Kirby did most of the work on the comics
the two collaborated on.
Item 2 : I assume the reference to the auction of 1963 art at Christies is
Page 9, panel 1: "the diabolical Dugpa" = maybe "the dreaded Dormammu"?
Note that in Buddhic terminology, "a dugpa" is originally "any person who makes mischief or does harm", but it has other meanings.
Page 9, panel 4 : In his early stories, Dr. Strange would separate his astral body from
his physical one often.
Page 10, panel 4 : The comments about reversed molecules are accurate.
Page 11, panel 1 : A very Steve Ditkoish landscape. (Ditko was artist/co-creator of Dr. Strange, with Stan Lee)
Letter page :|
Letter 1 : "Warsaw Pack" : No obvious match. The Soviets had several
super villains in early Marvel comics, but no super villain group. If you go
forward far enough, there was the Titanic three (Radioactive man, Titanium Man,
Crimson Dynamo) and later the Soviet Super Soldiers.
"Moscow Dynamo" : Crimson Dynamo, an old armored Soviet super villain. Moscow
Dynamo is also one of the top Russian ice hockey teams.
"Komissar Kremlin" : no reference
"Diabolical Dugpa" : may be Baron Mordo, old Dr. Strange enemy. Or the Dread
"Cubist Creature" : no reference. Could be Man Thing, although he first appeared
"Weerd-O the Hot-Rod Rot-God", "the Beastnik" : no reference.
Moore is also making a pointed comment about the Comics Code authority's refusal
to allow zombies in comics in the 1960s, as well as their banning the showing of
Letter 2 : A gag about the ad on the back of book 1.
From its content (and the reference to Image instead of Sixty-Three), this letter may be the first real one, received from an humourous fan (and possibly edited/rewritten). OTOH, the answer to last letter in book 5 (a real one) could mean that this one is still a fake. Note there's a real "Chris Woodard", musician on the "Orchard Park" label...
Letter 4 : Yeah, the lettercols are fiction (Surprise, Surprise). There is
bitter irony here in that many early marvel letters were fiction as well.
Generated inside marvel.
Blue box : Murphy Anderson won an award at Ithacon. Note the comments about the
lawsuit if the Planet were orange (like the Thing) or N-Man were green (like the
Letter 5 : Parodying sexism at Marvel as well as the fact that some female fans
are worried about getting junk mail if their full addresses are printed in comic
This "Dydie Schutz" playfully portrays a young Diana Schutz (indeed living in Portland, Oregon -- home of loads of creators and alternative publishers) discovering her vocation. In an interview she said having been reading romance comics before discovering superheroes, precisely naming Ditko's Dr. Strange; she later became assistant editor at Marvel in 1985 for... 4 days, before quitting ;) The end of the answer of course refers to Dark Horse comics, where Diana Schutz got her "superior station" as editor.
Note that according to an item in book 6, those letters from famous names could have been written by their real authors!
Letter 6 : Part of this is obviously a parody on Marvel UK, for which Moore
worked at one time. Marvel comics were reprinted in black and white considerably, in weekly magazines prior to the coming of Marvel UK. [ Exact
references, anyone ? Is the writer a real person ? ]
Yellow Box : Hyping Bissette's Tyrant.
Blue Box : Hyping Valentino's Shadowhawk.
Garab Dorje pinup: signature "Gebko" = Melinda GEBbie à la DitKO.
Inside Back Cover : Another T-shirt ad.
Back Cover : Parodying the Sea Monkeys ads in old comics.
- Book Five : Horus, Lord of Light
Twelve Hours to Dawn!
by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch and John Totleben.
Horus === Thor, obviously. This replaces Norse myths with Egyptian myths. But
the correspondence to actual myths here is much stronger than in Thor.
Page 1 : "Termagant", and his brother "Typhon" : Thor used to fight giants quite
often in his early days. These two could be the equivalent of Ymir and Surtur,
two regular opponents of Thor and Odin or they could be Frost Giants.
Page 1, footnote: "Brothers Grim" are Termagant and Typhon in the comic, but the name of course alludes to the Brothers Grimm, ethnologists who collected and studied German folktales and fairytales in early XIXth century, and are acknowledged as having opened the way for a similar enterprise in Norway a few decades later with collections and revival of folk stories about... Thor and his pantheon.
Page 2, panel 2: the Solar Staff = Thor's Hammer.
Page 3, panel 2 : "Professor Whittaker Falcon": Thor's human id used to be Dr. Don Blake.
Egyptian god Horus was falcon-headed (instead of a falcon helmet as here).
Page 3, panel 4-5 : Thor had a nurse called Jane Foster. Janet is a Jane Foster copy.
Page 4, panel 5: refers to events in book 2.
Page 7, panel 5 : Thor's adversary was his half brother Loki. Horus's adversary is the
Egyptian god Seth.
Page 8, panel 4: about Isis, an interview of colorist Marvin Kilroy had: " --TF: You're not referring to Kooky Kandi [DeVine] are you? --MK: I suspect she might be the reincarnation of Isis. --TF: Sounds like a new series. --MK: You should be reading Horus a little closer my friend. "
Ad : more anti-communism parody.
And more Moore CIA-bashing, à la "Brought To Light". Don't miss to read the three side coupons.
Text Page :|
Item 1 : John Totleben is an artist who's done lots of work with Alan Moore.
He's been known to have problems with his eyesight recently. "Hellhead" is a
project he's doing with Rick Veitch.
Item 2 : ANIA is a comic book publisher. Heru is presumably a real comic.
Green Box : This is a fairly obvious attack on Stan Lee.
"Origins of Sixty Three part two : how I created everything all by myself .." is
probably meant to be a parody of Stan Lee's Origins of the Marvel superheroes,
which says basically that he created Marvel all by himself. Its also true that
most Stan Lee collaborators such as Kirby and Ditko were later to fall-out with
him. Kirby even created a character (for DC) called Funky Flashman, the ultimate
con man, as a Stan Lee parody. According to Lance Visser: Kirby sold any
potential rights to Captain America he may have had to marvel "in perpetuity"
for a small amount of money in 1969. He cooperated with Goodman fully in
fighting Joe Simon's attempt to claim the copyright on Captain America.
Goodman cheated Kirby out of much of the money he was supposed to get for
signing over the rights in the end anyway. Stan Lee is a bubbleheaded moron.
The villains at Marvel have always been the faceless people behind the scenes
like Jim Galton or Martin Goodman. Stan Lee or Jim Shooter are put up for
the fans as having a greater role in the company than they ever did.
-Stan Lee's book is actually "Origins of Marvel Comics" (later followed by "Son Of Origins Of Marvel Comics", "Grandson of Origins of Marvel Comics", etc.)
-The "Elephantine Books" publisher is playfully dummy. ("Elephantine: Heavy and ungainly, like an elephant. In Rome, the registers of the senate, magistrates, generals, and emperors were called elephantine books, because they were made of ivory.")
Page 9 : The mythological references to the death of Osiris are accurate.
As all Egyptian pantheon names and references in the book, besides.
Ad Page : Parodies of old Sea Monkeys ads again. Note the reference to "Yummy
Decals : "King Hell" is the imprint under which Veitch publishes some of is
work. "Mad Love" is the imprint under which Alan Moore's Big Numbers was being
published. "Spiderbaby Grafix" is the imprint under which Steve Bissette
publishes some of his work, like Tyrant.
Page 15, panel 4 : Astarte is an Egyptian mythical character : using her may also be a
tip of the hat to the use of Hela, Norse Goddess of Death as a Thor and Odin
Page 16, panel 3-4: this Egyptian cross is an "ankh", hence the footnote and the "ankhor chain".
Page 18, panel 3: possibly looking like a pre-rape scene, casting another light on the "don't let them TAKE me!" cry. Reference to light sexual innuendo in some comics?
Page 19, panel 1: the process of weighing the heart against a feather is true mythos, as at least 99% of the issue's
Egyptian references. The whole read a bit like the later Promethea.
Page 23 : The whole storyline bears a minor resemblance to a pivotal Thor
storyline which culminated in Thor #136. In that story, Thor took Jane Foster to
Asgard and asked to marry her. Odin tested her and found her unworthy to be a
goddess and sent her back to Earth.
Letter Page :|
Letter 1 : "Crisis in Cloudland" : no reference to any early Thor, although DC
used to label their annual JLA/JSA team-ups as "Crisis .." as well.
"Tales of Heliopolis" : Marvel used to run "Tales of Asgard strips as a backup
"Alligator" : No Thor reference, but there is an Egyptian connection.
"Brothers Grim" : Termagant and Typhon from page 1-2.
Letter 2 answer: Moore has often been an activist for sexual freedom (cf. his collaboration to the AARGH anthology for gay rights); his point here isn't to advocate incest but sexual tolerance.
Letter 3 : Neil Gaiman is a real person :-).
[Note that according to an item in book 6, those letters from famous names may have been written by their real authors!]
More parody of poor writing of Brits by American
authors and of Marvel's litigiousness.
According to Rich Johnston: The Neil Gaiman letter is also one which I thought about sending to various Marvel titles when they set their stories in "Merrie Englande" when I was about 8, and I bet Neil did too.
"spikey-haired Sultan of Sleep" = Gaiman's Dream, the Sandman.
"Delerium, duke of dreadful dreams", foe of Johnny Beyond is probably a
reference to Dr. Strange foe Nightmare. There is actually a strong surface
similarity between Nightmare and Gaiman's Dream : they look somewhat alike, and
their powers are dream-based.
Letter 4 answer: in 1993, Moore had decided to become a "practicing magician".
Letter 5 : A real letter ? Hallelujah !!
Inside Back Cover : Another T-shirt ad.
Back Cover : Parodying ads which claim to get rid of zits and pimples.
Also mean that this sort of book's target audience is a little kid not even old enough to have genuine teen zits ;) Marvel's early audience was indeed pre-teens.
- Book Six : the Tomorrow Syndicate
From Here to Alternity!
by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch and Dave Gibbons.
Tomorrow Syndicate === Avengers.
But on another level, Tomorrow Syndicate also = the Watchmen:
-Hypernaut = Veidt/Ozymandias (smart, think tank=TVs immersion)
-USA = The Comedian (mask/gloves/hairs, working for government)
-N-Man = Rorschach (creepy freak, right-wing patriot)
-Horus = Doc Manhattan (a god or almost, weird language)
-Infra-Man = Nite Owl (goggles, tech geek, swell boy-scout)
-Infra-Girl = Silk Spectre (a bit airhead, Nite Owl's GF)
Some more hints of that in notes below.
Cover : "Earth's mightiest heroes" is a tag used for the Avengers as well.
The title probably refers to "From here to alternity and beyond" from controversial Dr. John C. Lilly
Page 1 : Duty Roster : The Avengers' original membership was a match with this,
i.e. Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp as members. Cap joined in Avengers
#4, but by that time the Hulk had left, and Ant-man was Giant Man. Infra Man ===
Ant Man, Infra Girl === Wasp.
Page 2: here and later, Infra-Man is partly reminiscent of Watchmen's Nite Owl.
Page 2, panel 3 : The Hulk would often argue with Thor or Iron Man.
Page 2, panel 4 : The Wasp would often comment on how dreamy Thor looked.
Page 3, panel 4: "both in Manhattan": maybe a comment about how almost everything always seems to conveniently happen in NY.
Page 3, panel 5 : "Tomorrobile" === Quinjet, which the Avengers used for
traveling. It is also highly reminiscent of the second edition Fantasti-car (not
the flying bathtub, but the one where everyone rode in separate sections of the
Page 4, panel 1: this kind of cross-section view is typical of Marvel (the FF's Baxter building, DD's brownstone...), the kids love 'em.
Page 4, panel 3 : More Wasp airheadedness parodied.
Page 5, panel 1: a particularly delicious example of useless caption. The two on previous page weren't that bad, either.
Page 5, last panel : "Underman" : might be an old underground villain called
Tyrannus or even the Mole Man. In the case of Avengers, it would be Mole Man.
"Brothers of the Kraken" may be a reference to racist Avengers foes called "The
Sons of the Serpent".
Page 6, panel 4: out of artistic licence, the molecules are here inaccurately rendered as mere chemistry models with "bars".
Page 6, panel 5 : "FBI surveillance photographs" : may be a veiled comment by
Moore about J. Edgar Hoover's penchant for surveillance.
Page 7, panel 2: Infra-Man's thinking pose is typical of Watchmen's Nite Owl.
Page 7, panel 2-3: Moore probably later re-used that Infra-Girl as a base for the shrinking coroner in Top Ten.
Page 7, panel 3: alliterative "Craig Crandall" (Crystal Man from book 1) = Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic).
Ad : This is a parody of an ad which used to say "We're looking for people who
like to draw". The layout and the use of the artistic image is similar (the
original ad would use Norman Rockwell). This is also an ad for Rick Veitch's comic "Rare Bit Fiends" (three words, plural). As the ad says, this is a tribute to the great comic strip
artist Winsor McCay, who used to do a strip about dreams called "Dreams of the Welsh Rarebit Fiend" (two words, singular)
and later did the famous Little Nemo in Slumberland strips.
Page 9 : 1963's Golden Age heroes appear. They bear a resemblance to Marvel's
Invaders and also to some other Golden Age heroes:
Frosty Guy : King Zero. As mentioned in the annotation for book 1, this may be the Submariner.
Hero with Blue Mask and Horns : The Fighting Fury, the Fury's father.
American Beauty : No real match at Marvel, unless it's the Miss America who was
married to the Whizzer and in 1970's continuity was the Scarlet Witch's mother.
Also might be Phantom Lady, Wonder Woman, Miss America or Liberty Belle.
Also, a younger version of USA and the original Hypernaut.
Page 9, panel 1: "Uncle Adolf" = old slang for Adolf Hitler.
Another Watchmen reference possibility: the younger U.S.A. is the only one present in both the old and the modern teams, just like the young Comedian was the only Minutemen member still present in the modern Watchmen cast.
Page 10, last panel : Note the comment by the original Hypernaut that he had
never heard of the guild of Hypernauts. The Golden Age Green Lantern was not
originally empowered by the Guardians as the Silver Age Green Lantern was,
although his history has changed many times since then.
Page 11, panel 3 : "Blur of Earth-Alpha" === Flash of Earth-2.
"Blur and Blur Boy of Earth-Beta" === Flash and Kid Flash of Earth-1.
The use of the Flashes is significant, since it was the Flash of Earth-1 who
first met the Flash of Earth-2 in the classic "Flash of two Earth's" story.
Page 11, panel 4 : The JLA and JSA used to hold annual team-ups at one time, before DC,
in their infinite wisdom, decided to get rid of them.
Page 11, panel 5 : Superman in front (left-hand line), with his death certificate (round about the time of
the Return of Superman storyline).
Alan Moore also did a Superman's death story in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.
Swamp Thing in back (right-hand line), a character Alan Moore
and Rick Veitch have more than a passing familiarity with.
Lastly, Moore did the Superman/Swamp Thing issue of Action Comics.
Page 12, panel 2 : "Infinite Crisis" : Clearly a reference to the Crisis on
Infinite Earths at DC.
Page 12, panel 4 : The guy sitting on the sofa next to the Blur of Earth-Alpha is the
character he was based on : Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash. The guy with the
pointy ears with his back to us is the Batman and the character next to him is
probably the Catwoman. These may be the Earth-2 versions of Batman and Catwoman,
who were married and were wiped out of existence by the Crisis on Infinite
Earths. [ An outside chance is that it could be the male Wildcat, character who
was involved in some hard to place Brave and Bold Team-ups with Batman : but the
Batman wouldn't have his arm around Wildcat.]
Or this may be Catgirl, female replacement for Robin.
Page 12, panel 5 : The maintenance staff, who are referred to as "omniscient," bear a
slight resemblance to the Watchers.
Note how "the son of Great Osiris is forever in the debt of"... a mop-guy ;)
Page 13-14 : A parallel Earth inhabited by villainous doubles of superheroes.
This bears a resemblance to Earth-3, an old DC Earth which had exactly the same
situation, i.e. villainous doubles of the Justice League called the Crime
Text page :|
Item 1 : More sexism parody.
"Mutant-Addled Recycled Vigilante Enterprise, Limited" = MARVEL, and not just the acronym :)
Item 2 : All of these are real comics. Look at page 21-22 to get a glimpse at
their characters, or better still, look at their comics.
Yellow Box : So Moore "got a couple of big ones" out of this. Good. Moore seems
to be saying that if the demand is strong enough, he'll do more of this beyond
the Image annual.
Item 3 (blue box) : Hype for 1963 1/2 and there's more in the comic later.
"pataphysical": the 'Pataphysics (sic) is the science of exceptions and imaginary solutions, usually
referred to in its French literary college, but Moore may have found it in the
Item 4 : Almost all of these are real folk.
Page 18, panel 3: note how Hypernaut hesitates and almost betrays he doesn't have a body any more (cf. book 3:6:2). Even here, Moore cares about his characters' background.
Page 18, panel 4 : Moore seems to think that the most likely consequence of the Cuban
Missiles Crisis would have been nuclear war. Note the "Planet of the Apes" classic reference.
Page 19 : The world of 1963 1/2.
See also back cover pseudo-ad: from its "100 assassins" title and picture, one may imagine an Alan Moore-esque story binding together all theories/culprits allegedly linked to JFK. Hence the various JFK-theories glances we see here:
Page 19, panel 1: David Ferrie, mind-reader at Jack Ruby's Carousel, involved in some JFK theories (such as hypnotizing Oswald...)
Page 19, panel 4: "Alec Hidell" was one alias used by Lee Harvey Oswald.
Page 20-21 : Text page covers all these characters pretty thoroughly.
Page 22 : Note how the coloring is changing as the heroes enter the future.
Page 22, panel 4: group view of the Watchmen cast, 1963-style.
Page 23 : The guy from book 1
Page 24 : The background screens contain a number of both 1963 characters such
as N-Man, Fury, Mystery Inc. members, Johnny Beyond, the Tomorrow Syndicate as
well as other Image characters such as Shadowhawk, the Savage Dragon, Supreme,
WildC.A.T.S and Spawn. The red and white costumed archer is Shaft, the leader of
Rob Liefield's New Tee-- er, Youngblood.
Letter Page :|
Letter 1 : "Ammonite" sounds like he may be a Rama-Tut type figure. He's
referred to as a "fossilized fiend," and Ammon might be another name for the
Egyptian god Amen-Ra -- it's a possible variant (according to the Who's Who in Egyptian Mythology), though *really* misspelled, probably a variant made by one or more of the numerous cultures to invade Egypt. :-) Way back
when it occasionally got spelled Amon or rarely Amun (the ancient Egyptians
didn't write shorts vowels, we get them via the semitic inscriptions, but they
would've written the double consonant), the French still spell it Amoun. Amen
and Re were originally distinct deities, Amen was the sun god of Thebes, and Re
was the sun god of Heliopolis/On. They got syncretized when the capital moved to
Thebes in the 18th Dynasty. An "Amenite" in Egypt was someone in Thebes who
opposed the Atenism of Akhenaten in Amarna. They won, sent them nasty heretics
packin'. :-) Thebes, incidentally, got sacked by Ashurbanipal in 667/666 BC, and
Egypt lost it's independence for the first time ever.
"Ammonite" also refers to a kind of fossil (sort of a fossilized trilobite), so
Moore's naming may have nothing to to with Egypt or the Bible! (The
Ammonite could also be a takeoff of Avengers foe Kang, who I believe *is*
Rama-Tut. Mike Norwitz doesn't think The Ammonite is Rama-Tut. There was a
letter stating that we had to find out whether Doctor Apocalypse is really the
"freaky pharoah, Tutses." Doc Apoc, Mystery Inc's arch-enemy, is an
obvious counterpart to Doc Doom; the latter was a reference to an old story
where it was suggested that Doom and Rama-Tut may be the same person (later
revealed to have been a bluff on the part of Rama-Tut in order to gain Doom's
"Iron Curtain", "Berlin Wally", "Amputo" : no immediate reference. Iron Curtain
may be the Titanium Man, an old communist villain. The other characters
mentioned have already been covered before.
Letter 3 :
Yes! At least THIS one (and some others in this last issue probably) is a real letter. Its author is a regular of the
>Alan Moore list<
and had commented about his letter in a Usenet
"Indian Rubber Sam" and all the mathematical villains mentioned : a reference to
"Indian Rubber Man", which was Jack Cole's original name for Plastic Man, and
"Plastic Sam", which was the MAD COMICS parody of Plastic Man.
" a whole guild of heroes, each from a different world ..." is not an original
concept, of course.
"mans a lens " : a reference to EE "Doc" Smith's Lensmen, which also had the
"colors his lantern green" : sound familiar ?
"gets drunk on a Black Planet Cocktail ... " : Only reference I can think of for
this one is in an old SF story called QUR by Anthony Boucher. Much of the plot
of the story revolves around getting a certain type of cocktail (Three Planets
Cocktail). Black Sun cocktail... and, of course, a Black Sun would be a Darkstar...
another comic using the "original" idea of an interstellar corps. Black
Sun cocktail is a Cerebus reference. In one of the early issues, Elrod
shows up at the Temple of the Black Sun, under the mistaken impression that the
unholy rite about to be performed there is a festival devoted to Black Sun
Cocktails (one of his favorite drinks). I don't know how this relates to the
Hypernaut; probably there's some other Black Sun that's the direct reference,
and the Cocktail was just an obscure way to get into the sentence.
"Warps into a smithy" : Maybe the Warpsmiths from Alan Moore's
Marvelman/Miracleman? Like the Hypernaut, they had some kind of secret
satellite up at one point. WARPs into a SMITHy. A very sharp jab at some
of the problems surrounding Marvelman/Miracleman.
Green Box : Hyping Miller and Gibbons' Give Me Liberty as well as Gibbons'
Letter 5 :
Doc Apocalypse, as mentioned before, is a Dr Doom equivalent. "Doc A can switch
shapes with someone .. a trick he learned from the Eg'eads". Dr. Doom learned
this ability from aliens called the Ovoids in an early FF story. He used it in
the mid-80s in Byrne's FF stories. The letter asks if "Doc Apoc" and the "freaky
Pharaoh Tutses" are the same. The reference here is to an old Dr. Doom storyline
in which he met the villainous Egyptian Pharaon Rama Tut. Rama Tut hinted in one
of his early appearances that he may be the same person as Doom.
"comic based on numbers" : A reference to Alan Moore's comic Big Numbers which
is only up to #2 so far. Moore is pretty open about why he's doing this.
(BN had to be cancelled after #2 mid-1990; after giving up on it, Moore continued From Hell but had to do
pot boiling works for Image at the same time.)
Letter 6 : Ho'd Win is a constant matter of debate.
(Between geeks and zombies.)
Red box: confirming the end of the series (beyond the annual).
Letter 7 : Doug Winter : any reference ? Is he just imaginary ?
"Havana Tim" : no reference
"Red Flag, Hammer and Sickle" : could be a Soviet character called the
Vindicator, but he appeared much later.
Letter 8 : Moore is parodying some of the titles that Marvel handed out like
Marvel Zombie, or FOOM (the Friends Of Ol' Marvel, geeky fan club.).
Letter 9 : More anti-communist parody. The reference is to the CIA's attempted
assassinations of Fidel Castro back in the 60s ... with poison cigars no less !!
(The poisoned cigars is one of his favorite CIA tales, he already used it in Brought To Light, and it also pops up in interviews when discussing the book or the CIA.) "The Boleo way" in book 1 the ad back cover refers to.
Yellow Box : "All this and Earth Two" : a pun and a reference to DC's Earth-2.
It's also a reference to "All This and World War II", a 1970s film which
consisted of wartime clips accompanied by cover versions of Beatles songs.
This was done a few years before the more-successful "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts
Club Band" movie that had all sorts of then-popular groups recording Beatles
cover songs. Roy Thomas said in the letter column of "All Star Squadron"
that it combined two of his favorite interests: WWII and the Beatles. "All
This and World War II" is itself a reference to an earlier title, "All This and
Modern Mystery comics cover : no reference. Probably a Golden Age comic cover.
Probably Marvel Mystery #1.
This kind of cover is obviously intended for the F.F.F.F. (cf. letter 8)
Tomorrow Syndicate cover : A copy of the cover of FF #1, which is itself a copy
of the cover of Brave and Bold #28 (First Justice League).
Note the Image logo and its "1961" (creation of "Marvel Comics" and FF#1).
Snap-Shot: Signature "Gebwood" = Melinda GEBbie à la Wallace WOOD (whose sig used that blackletter font).
Inside Back Cover : Ad for Tyrant. (Title is a pun on "growns own tail".)
Back Cover : Ad for 1963 1/2 ... again.
Note the accurate detail of Jackie Kennedy in pink, crawling so as to catch a bit of JFK's shot brain. Unlike the 1963 annual, this one hype is probably a joke:
-Alex Cox is a movie director. He authored a comic ("Repo man") after his own movie, tho.
-Paul Mavrides is an illustrator and comics artist, who contributed a 2-page comic to Brought To Light (crediting him as "the Director of the LIES Project, devoted to exposing propaganda") and is also listed in the JFK-related literature (maybe simply as illustrator). He did some posters/artwork for Alex Cox movies.
-Dick Rude is a movie actor who co-scripted an Alex Cox movie, "Straight to Hell".
Note the slogan: since this comic was never published, "THEY" succeeded ;)
Why, wayfarer, since you made it down to there, yoke yourself to an unreasonably unpublished bonus: the hilarious nine interviews of the whole 1963 crew, "performed" in the same 1963-style as the comics' items, available only online in Moore's booth, on the site co-founded by Rick Veitch:
>The 1963 interviews<
>Backstory of those interviews<
>Genesis of the 1963 project<
>About the 1963 annual<
Say No More!
- Credits and history
V1.0 (30KB) 1994.06: created by Abhijit Khale <Abhijit_Khale@transarc.com> and posted on Usenet, it remains the core of the file for encyclopedic translations of 1963 to Marvel and DC's continuities.
Subject: 1963 annotations
Date: Sun, 5 Jun 1994 17:02:21 -0400
I've written up some annotations for 1963. Originally I was going to
wait to finish the series up till the Image annual came out. But since
it keeps on getting delayed, here are the annotations as is :
Post comments or send them to me directly. Enjoy !!
The annotated 1963
V1.5 (40KB) 2002.01: the former was extensively edited by Enjolras <www.enjolrasworld.com> so as to insert/merge all additions collected from the
follow-ups in the
>long Usenet thread<.
Big thanks for their significant contributions, in posting order, to:
Ken Arromdee <email@example.com>
James Langdell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jon Knutson <email@example.com>
Don Porges <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mean Mister Mustard <email@example.com>
Glenn Carnagey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lance Visser <email@example.com>
David Goldfarb <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jerry Franke <email@example.com>
Tom Galloway <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jim Murdoch <email@example.com>
Carl Muckenhoupt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Rich Johnston <R.J.Johnston@newcastle.ac.uk>
Mikel Norwitz <email@example.com>
V2.0 (70KB) 2002.03: since 1963 is more than a Marvel parody and a fascinating Alan Moore piece, Holon <HOLON@free.fr> augmented it mostly with non-continuity annotations, senseless Googling, some HTML revamping, and a bit of shameless third-person impersonation.