George MacDonald wrote Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women in 1905
Here is the entire text with illustrations
To quote from the George MacDonald Society
George MacDonald (1824-1905) was one of the most original of nineteenth century thinkers. His writing and lecturing brought him wide recognition in his own day, and into the company of many of the leading Victorians of the time.
MacDonald's writing has an outstanding imaginative power, largely influenced by the German and English Romantics. It is in the realms of fantasy and children's literature, along with his visionary theology, that has made his greatest contribution.
Phantastes is recognised as a seminal classic of adult fantasy writing.
In hospital Barbara's condition is worsening so her soul goes to talk to the other previous Prometheas in the Immateria. Sophie and Stacia go to the library to do some research on Promethea where Sophie reads the life story of Charlton Sennet, author of A Faerie Romance. Sennet's inspiration for Promethea was his servant girl Anna which ruined his marriage when his wife discovered they were having an affair. Anna has a child but it turns out to be only half real and she dies in childbirth leaving Sennet alone. At the library Jack Faust makes contact with Sophie/Promethea but is interrupted by Stacia.
"Your mom is a vast whore. I sort of admire her..." - Stacia, pg 4
"I am alone" - Charlton Sennet, pgs 8, 15
"Words bring me through" - Promethea, pg 12
"It was not Anna that I loved. It was the fantasy I spun about her" - Charlton Sennet, pg. 15
"How did it get so dark?"
"Where did everybody go?"
"Either phrase would work nicely on a tombstone, wouldn't it?" - Jack Faust, pg. 16
"Can't we just go into college and do something normal?" - Sophie
"Going into college is normal?" - Stacia, pg. 23
"I'm the only person here that being Promethea hasn't killed" - Barbara, pg. 24
Notes and Annotations
As noted in the credits on Page 3 in this issue pages 8-15 (the flashback to Charlton Sennets' story) are drawn by Charles Vess instead of JHW3
Page 1 Panel 1: Claire Jordan points out that
There's actually a medical error here. There's no good reason why giving Barbara antibiotics should both improve her chances of keeping the graft and increase the risk of infection: giving antibiotics would only increase her chances of keeping the graft if it was an infection which was causing her to lose it, in which case the antibiotics would be reducing the risk of infection.
[In the long term antibiotics can increase the risk of a fungal infection of the skin by killing the bacteria which combat it, or excessive use of antibiotics over a period of years can increase the risk of infection in the general population, by breeding more resistant bugs - but neither seems to be relevant here.]
From the context it seems clear this is a slippage of the brain - it should have been "I'm going to have to give her immunosuppressants...." which would, indeed, check the rejection process, whilst grossly increasing the risk of infection.
Page 1 Panel 4:
I haven't been across to visit in a while...
Presumably after her husbands' death Barbara lost interest in becoming Promethea.
Page 1, Panel 5: Disembodied eyes once again. Note how the edges of the panel start to go wobbly.
Pages 2-3, top panel: This is the first time we see all 5 previous
Prometheas together. From left to right we can see Barbara [Promethea(5)]
closing the door behind her and Anna [Promethea(1)] with her back to us on pg. 2
then Grace Brannagh [Promethea(3)], floating in the air is Margaret Taylor Case
[Promethea(2)] and lying on the ground is Bill Woolcott [Promethea(4)] with little Margie
holding a rag doll behind her.
Apart from Barbara each of the Prometheas is holding a goblet or cup.
Note the disembodied eyes and the frogs with wings.
Page 2, Panel 1: Harebell and Meadowsweet. According to the Victorian Language of Flowers site Harebell signifies submission or grief and Meadowsweet signifies uselessness.
Panel 3: Sophie is still holding the pen Barbara gave her.
Page 5, Panel 1: Les Miserable takes his name from the famous Victor Hugo novel. There has also been a musical based on the book.
Page 5, Panel 2: I couldn't find anything on the net about Pamela Andursen. All the searches I did only found Pamela Andersen.
There was a Professor Anderson in Boston doing magic tricks in 1852. Does anyone know anything about a Pamela Andursen?
Panels 4 and 6: Achocalypse Pops look like peas. Presumably they are named "Achocalypse" rather than "Apocalypse" because they contain some form of chocolate.
Free inside you can find one of the 4 horsemen of Doom. The one depicted on the packet is obviously Death.
Page 6, Panel 2: Nice statue on top of the library of a boy and girl standing on an open book.
Page 6, Panel 3: Cafe Khadaffi - no doubt a reference to Mu'ammar Gadhafi
Also note that cafe and khadaffi sound very similar.
The Hezbollah can provide a few surprises.
Page 6, Panel 4: Our first view of Jack Faust or rather his glamour. Here is some small information about a glamour spell (scroll down about 6 spells).
Note the hovering platform being used to reach the higher bookshelves.
Page 7, Panel 2: Jack Faust's glamour seen once again.br> Panel
3: A Faerie Romance not only appears to be the title of Charlton Sennet's
poem but also of his biography subtitled The Life and Works of Charlton
Page 8 Panel 2: The style of a different artist is apparent as soon as
you turn the page. Behind Sennet a spinning wheel is in obvious disrepair and
cobwebs and all those pages on the floor show that the broom has not been used
for quite a while. The impish fairies around him appear to be a musical band
tormenting him as he drinks to cure his loneliness.
Page 9 Panel 1: The yellow and blue imps are now literally in his hair
Panel 5: Nice picture on the frame on the wall.
Page 10 Panels 2-4: We have already read the Promethea part of this poem back in issue 1 in the Promethea Puzzle but it's also nice to see it in handwritten script here as well.
Panel 3: Promethea(1) is visible just over the Queen's shoulder.
Page 11, Panel 1: June 7th, 1779. The only event I could find that occured on this day was the death of William Warburton. Can anyone find anything else of importance that occured on this day?
Page 12 Panel 1: Promethea(1) now appears in her full glory combined with the mortal Anna.
Page 13 Panel 1: Note the sun and various stages of the moon appearing above the lovers denoting the passage of time.
Panel 3: The dour looking coachman and Sennet's wife on the carriage remind me of some of Eddie Campbells' images in From Hell.
Page 14 Panel 1: A rather beautiful image of a terrible death. Note the eye in the triangle and the upside down view of Anna's head within a circle. Two other magical eyes perpendicular to her nose complement her real eyes which are open although she lies dead or dying.
Panel 2: The half real baby seems to be mostly composed of 2 dimensional triangles. Perhaps a nod to Edwin Abbot's Flatland which Moore has cited in some of his other works.
Panel 3: The smoke and the triangles vanish leaving Sennet alone with Anna's corpse.
Page 15: Panel 2 harks back to the first image in this section Page 8 Panel 1 as we see a bottle and cup from Charlton's point of view as he sits alone at his table.
Panel 4: A very nice final panel completes Charles Vess' work on Promethea. The sunlike circle with wings and an ankh underneath and an eye at its' centre looks familiar but I can't place it.
Page 17, Panels 1-2: Jack Faust in his glamorous mode sings the opening lines to this song. If you can play guitar here are the chords.
Panel 2: In case you were wondering the gluteus is 'any one of 3 muscles of the buttocks'.
Panels 3 and 5: Note the various rings on Faust's fingers and compare them to the rings worn by Alan Moore in Issue 15.
Pages 18-19: Sophie and Jack's glamor sit in a trance whilst their better selves are seen hovering above them. The Sun in the middle separates the two complementary pages.
Page 19 Panel 4: Part of Issue 1 Page 3 Panel 3 is repeated within the flashback image.
Page 20, Panel 5: I don't know if libraries in America are very lenient but most libraries I know of wouldn't allow anyone to eat inside the library itself.
Page 21, Panel 2: Another hovering craft overhead and it also looks like the chairs are hovering above the ground without legs.
Page 21, Panel 4: Does anyone know what ATL stands for apart from Accelerated Testing Laboratories and Association (for) Tropical Lepidoptera?
Both of which I found on the Acronym Database.
Maybe it stands for American Technology for Libraries or something similar.
There really is a Promethea Moth (scientific name Callosamia Promethea) but there is no actual Promethea Myth (unless you count the one Alan Moore has written) although there is a PrometheUS myth. Basically Prometheus stole fire from the gods to give to man and as a punishment the goods chained him to a rock where an Eagle would pick out and eat his liver which would grow back overnight so that the eagle could go on eating his liver eternally. The ancient greeks seemed to have a thing for eternal punishment. See also Sisyphus and Tantalus.
Page 22, Panel 1 : For Set's sake. Here's some information about Set and here's a wall plaque of him.
Page 22, Panel 5 : We will learn the French lesbian writers' name in the next issue.
The Black Metal Band Hecate Enthroned have their own website
Promethea-The Darkest Mask of Surreality can be found on their 1995 album Upon Promethean Shores.
Page 23 Panel 2: Claire Jordan points out that
Jack's reference to the beanstalk kingdom refers back to something that happened in Little Margie in Mystic Magic Land - according to The Promethea Puzzle, Jack was running the beanstalk kingdom as a tyranny and had to be heaved out. Either Jack Faust is really a story like Promethea who has managed to become real, or he has lived so much in the astral that he became part of Promethea's story in the Immateria and lived in it.
Jack and the Beanstalk.
In this panel especially Jack Faust remind me of the actor who told Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard it was Time to die in Blade Runner.
Panel 6: The large statue seen in the background reminds me of some of the statues seen in Top Ten.
Page 24 Panel 7: Looks like a Grecian statue from around the time of the Trojan War on top of a stick surrounded by circular barbed wire.
Claire Jordan points out that
the helmet on a stick is Margaret-as-Promethea's helmet