Annotations to the Black Dossier
Updated 2 February 12:11 p.m. CST.
Updates in blue.
The text here, except where otherwise
quoted, is copyright © Jess Nevins 2008. It may not
be reproduced in part or in full without credit being given
The book version of these annotations will be
Territories and will be published by MonkeyBrain Books
in July, 2008. The book will have greatly expanded annotations
(I'll give context to things that I mention in passing here), interviews
with Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, and whatever other goodies and
extras I can manage to put in to it.
Warning: There are some Bad Words used
in these annotations. If you’re under 18 or have a delicate
disposition, look away.
In order to avoid spoiling some reveals
and surprises, some things will not be explained on their
References are explained the first time
they appear, and not thereafter.
Moving clockwise unless otherwise noted.
If you have any additions, corrections,
or suggestions, please send them to me at email@example.com.
But, as a favor to me, please phrase your e-mails politely.
Also: remember W.H. Auden's words:
Judging a work of art is virtually the same mental operation as
judging human beings, and requires the same aptitudes: first, a real love
of works of art, an inclination to praise rather than blame, and regret
when a complete rejection is required; second, a vast experience of
all artistic activities; and last, an awareness, openly and happily accepted,
of one’s own prejudices. Some critics fail because they are pedants
whose ideal of perfection is always offended by a concrete realization.
Others fail because they are insular and hostile to what is alien to
them; these critics, yielding to their prejudices without knowing they
have them and sincerely offering judgments they believe to be objective,
are more excusable than those who, aware of their prejudices, lack the
courage to enter the lists to defend their personal tastes.
Front Cover. If the
sword is a reference to anything, I’m unaware of it. Philip & Emily Graves write, "Looks like some Martian
on the sword's blade, so could it be Gullivar's or Carter's.....?"
Stu Shiffman writes, "I had wondered whether the sword was supposed
to be Orlando’s Durendal, but John Carter’s might be as possible (tho as
a Virginian gentleman, Carter would be more likely to leave it to the Smithsonian
or perhaps the Jeffersonian Institution of TV’s “Bones” series)." But see
I believe the quartet of men wearing owl
masks and Elizabethan clothing are from a penny dreadful,
but I’ve been unable to place it. Stu Shiffman believes they are
from the Blazing World.
I don’t know what the rocket refers to,
if anything. It’s similar to the one seen on Page 142. Kevin
O'Neill says that it's from the movie Flight to Mars.
I’m not sure what that thing to the right
of the rocket is. Possibly one of the Martians wearing gasmasks
from the first issue of League v2?
The blonde woman is Mina Murray, from
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). The man running with
her is Allan Quatermain, from H. Rider Haggard’s series of
books. He is young because he was rejuvenated in the Fires of Life
as described in the text pages of League v2.
I'm not sure what the spiral-tipped
stone statue is. Shawn Garrett notes that it appears on Page 30, Panel
The painting is of the 1898 League, featuring
H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain, Robert Louis Stevenson’s
Edward Hyde, Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo, and H.G. Wells’
Page 1. Kevin
O'Neill identifies this logo as a riff on the Festival of Britain
Page 2. “Keep Calm and
Carry On” was one of the phrases used by British government
during World War Two to encourage the British people to keep a
stiff upper lip, especially during the Battle of the Blitz, when
London was being pounded by nightly bombings. However, the original
poster with “Keep Calm and Carry On” looked like this:
The gate, chains, and jagged lightning
bolts replacing the crown gives another indication about
what England has become in the alternate history of Black
Pádraig Ó Méalóid
writes, "This poster was apparently never actually issued, but was
held in reserve in case Britain got invaded. You can read all about
where, amongst other things, it says But the 'Keep Calm' posters were
held in reserve, intended for use only in times of crisis or invasion.
Although some may have found there way onto Government office walls,
the poster was never officially issued and so remained virtually unseen
by the public - unseen, that is, until a copy turned up more than fifty
years later in a box of dusty old books bought in auction. You can buy a
copy of the poster here,
if you want, and there's all sorts of other stuff with it on, like
t-shirts, to be found here."
Page 4. The Daily
Brute is a reference to Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop (1938).
Scoop, routinely voted one of the best novels of the
20th century, is a scathing savaging of the English sensationalist
press. In Scoop the newspaper for which the protagonist
works is the Daily Beast. Its main rival, even more base
and yellow, is the Daily Brute. (For modern British readers,
think Daily Mail, only even worse).
Page 5. Philip & Emily Graves write, "Can't place the
letters "AIHD" (an acronym?), but '84' is obvious enough, while
July 1948 is when Orwell returned to Jura and re-commenced work on
his novel, after having been delayed through illness."
Guy Lawley writes, "The ID card carries the initials AIHD which when
rendered into numbers (as per position in the alphabet) = 1984"
Tristan Sargent writes,
I'm surprised no British readers have
commented that this doubles as a very contemporary reference, like the
surveillance cameras/telescreens referred to later. Currently there
is an ongoing campaign by the Labour government to bring in Identity
Cards, supposedly as a counter-terrorism measure - though this argument
has essentially bitten the dust and the government are pressing on with
the argument that it's all to save the people from the scourge of Identity
Theft. Either way, ID Cards are enormously controversial in Britain
right now, especially as, once introduced, it would in theory be a legal
requirement to carry them at all times (a measure popularly cited as part
of the progress toward a 'Big Brother state'). Britain previously
had ID cards during the Second World War, and afterwards, but they were
finally withdrawn in the 1950s, somewhat consistent with the fall of
the IngSoc regime depicted in this comic. An additional irony worth
considering is that 'George Orwell', the famous British socialist who envisioned
the tyranny of 1984, of course was a pseudonym for a man named 'Blair'...
Ian Gould writes, "I'm reasonably sure the
identity card is based on the cards initially issued for the British Nation
Health Service – which commenced in July 1948. Calling a government bureaucracy
responsible for treating illness the National Health Service is in the
finest traditions of Newspeak."
Anyway, the ID card is in keeping with Orwell, but I'd say it's
also a contemporary reference, without question.
Andrew Hickey wrote, "The identity Card here is
obviously a reference to the current British controversy over the planned
introduction of ID cards, but is also a reference
to the 'this book belongs to' pages that used to appear in children's annuals
in the UK (whose format the Black Dossier is aping). Also, it's probably
a coincidence, but the look of this page reminds me of "The Goodies' Book
Of (Criminal) Records", one of three books put out by the British comedy
team The Goodies (contemporaries of the Monty Python team) in the 1970s.
The three books ( "The Goodies File", "The Goodies' Book Of Criminal Records"
and "The Making Of The Goodies' Disaster Movie") were all done in the same
style as the Black Dossier, comprising lots of different bits meant to be
clippings from magazines, notes etc, and the first two were even meant to
be secret dossiers on the Goodies..."
“If found return to MiniLuv.”
“MiniLuv” is an example of newspeak, which
appears in George Orwell’s 1984 (1949). 1984,
a classic of dystopian fiction, describes life under the rule
of the totalitarian government of “Oceania.” One of Oceania’s
malign innovations is to impose newspeak on its citizens. Newspeak
is an artificially constructed language designed to remove as many
words and meanings as possible from conversation, with the intention
being to leave speakers capable of describing, and conceiving of, concepts
in only simplistic dichotomies: black and white, good and evil, and
so on. Toward this end words are merged together and shortened, so that
“English Socialism” becomes “IngSoc.” “MiniLuv” stands for the “Ministry
of Love,” the government department which uses fear, brainwashing,
and torture to enforce loyalty to and love of Big Brother, the leader
Pages 6-7. This is a
parody of that classic of graphic design, the map of the London
Tube. David A. Simpson writes, "This may also
reference The Great Bear,
an artwork by Simon Patterson in which he replaced the station names on the
London Underground diagram with the names of philosophers, actors, politicians
and other celebrated figures."
Philip & Emily Graves
write, "Many puns here: Maida Jump, Court Short, Turnham Blue,
Colouring Inn, Tooting Bottom, Eating Broadly, Rothernot, Pen
Stroke Newington, Upper Etching, H.B. Row, Ink Staines, Whiteout
City, etc. Also no wonder than Mr Moore's line would include "Chin
Topiary" "Barking" and "Very Cross"...
Many of these are clearly riffs
on actual underground stations (while Pen Stroke Newington and Ink Staines
allude to the areas of London named Stoke Newington and Staines
respectively). Some of these include:
Steve Daldry writes to correct one
part of the preceding: "Eating Broadly is more than likely a reference
to Ealing Broadway rather than Fulham." James Parry pointed that out
Maida Jump (Maida Vale),
(Earl's) Court Short,
Dunbiers Wood (Colliers
Tooting Bottom (Tooting
Parsons Nose (Parsons Green)
Eating Broadly (Fulham Broadway)
East Team (East Ham),
Arson Elbow (Arsenal),
Whiteout City (White City),
Very Cross (Charing/New
More subtlely, 'Umber' could
play on "Burnt Oak" and 'Chin Topiary' allude to the "Barbican".
(Interesting that "Moorgate", "Moor Park" and "Bond Street" didn't
make it onto the map.)
"(John Nee) - Extension
delayed subject to mood" and "(ABC) - Closed for the duration"
are both legends the like of which appear in Underground stations
from time to time, and whose associated double meanings are obvious
"Monument" Station also
serves as one for Bill Oakley (1964-2004), to whom this volume
"teamy teamy" writes, "Arson Elbow is obviously 'Arse and Elbow' two pieces
of anatomy which are only ever used together in Britain in the phrase "Doesn't
know his/her arse from his elbow." meaning someone who doesn't know what
they are doing. Also Parson's Nose is the part of a roast chicken that is
what's left of what would have been the anus. Is this a reference to someone
being an arsehole?"
“If experiencing nausea while in the nether
regions, keep hat firmly on, lay back, and think of England.”
“Lie back and think of England” is the
advice supposedly given to daughters, by mothers, during the
Victorian era about how to survive the wedding night and the
loss of virginity, since (supposedly) Victorian women couldn’t conceive
of a proper woman enjoying sex. This is ahistorical nonsense, of
course, and “lie back and think of England” was not standard advice,
or even widely said. The quote attributed to "Lady Hillingdon" is
spurious, and Gathorne-Hardy, the source of the Lady Hillingdon quote,
himself says that the quote is "somewhat suspect." I repeat: "lie back
and think of England" was not standard advice or even widely said, if
“The Blazing World” is a reference to
Observations upon Experimental Philosophy. To which is
added the Description of a New Blazing World. Written by the
Thrice Noble, Illustrious and Excellent Princess, The Duchess of
Newcastle (1666), by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle.
The Blazing World is a classic of the Imaginary Voyage genre
and was referred to in League v2.
“Ray Zone” is a reference to Ray Zone, who did the 3D art for
Pádraig Ó Méalóid
Various things can be seen or inferred
here, although no doubt some of this is entirely in my imagination.
Benjamin Wood writes, "The stop 'Spent' at the
end of the pink line is a reference to the BBC radio series 'The League
of Gentlemen' which was set in the fictional town of Spent, when it moved
to TV the towns name was changed to Royston Vasey."
There are two real stations mentioned, Barking and Monument.
Alan Moore: Black line (Northern)
Black is probably appropriate for Moore, as he's usually photographed
dressed in black.
Moore's line has junctions with O'Neill, Dimagmaliw, Oakley and
Klein, but, perhaps signigficantly, not with Dunbier or Quinn. (There
is some sort of unidentified link from Dunbier's line to Moore's, which
may indicate some link between them personally.)
East Buttock & West Buttock: This may indicate Moore having
to figuratively 'bend over and spread 'em' for DC.
In general Moore's stations seem to be him poking fun at his
own public image, like Rumour mill, Barking and Very Cross. Pi is also
interesting, as the irrational number Pi(3.1415 etc) is the number he
ascribes to the 'imaginary' sphere, Daath, in issue #20 of Promethea.
E=mc2 is *almost* MCC, the home of English Cricket.
Kevin O'Neill: Red line(Central)
The fact that O'Neill has the red line might be a play on the
banking meaning of being 'in the red,' that is being 'overdrawn.' O'Neill
is also 'Subject to delay at all times.' I'm fairly sure there was some
reference to his slow progress with the art in the early pages of one
of the other LoEG volumes.
Staines is where Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G comes from.
Conté make crayons.
Crazy Town was a 1932 Betty Boop movie.
Various interesting people come from Stoke Newington, including
Daniel Defoe, and more particularly Stewart Lee, stand-up comedian and
good friend of Alan Moore.
Page 8. The
two ads on the right side of this page are legitimate.
The cartoon on the lower left is done
in the style of New Yorker cartoons from the 1950s
and 1960s. The cartoon’s artist, “Arnie Packer,” is a reference
to the “Winged Avenger” episode of the British tv series The
Avengers. In “The Winged Avenger” an evil cartoonist named “Arnie
Packer” is responsible for a series of murders.
Méalóid says, "the artwork for the comic strip
was actually done by UK comics artist Frank Bellamy," and points
us to this
site, which has samples of the comic art.
Page 9. Panel 1.
If the Malibu Hotel is a reference to something, I’m unaware
The headline in lower center, “Melchester
Rovers Scandal,” is a reference to the British comic Roy
of the Rovers (1954-1993), in which the hero Roy Race plays
football for the Melchester Rovers.
The headline on the right, “Knightsbridge
Ape-Men,” is a reference to “Quatermass and the Pit” (1958),
the third Professor Quatermass BBC serial. In it, the bones of
ape-men, unearthed in Knightsbridge, lead to the revelation of the
Martian influence on the evolution of humanity.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid
There is a large head on a flat-bed truck
in the top left-hand corner, possibly from a statue of Big Brother?
Tristan Sargent writes, regarding the truck
with the statue, "This is a reference to the photograph used as the cover
Glenny's The Rebirth of History...it's a picture from the late
80s after the fall of Communism in Europe - the head being Stalin's, and
the vehicle clearly being the same as the one in the comic. I'm
sure your other contributer is correct, therefore, about the head being
Big Brother's. It makes a nice partner to the fallen statue later
on that echoes the statue of Saddam Hussein pulled down in 2003."
Is it possible that the blond-haired man in the lower left-hand
corner is a young John Constantine? Well, now that I look him up, obviously
not, as he's meant to have been born in 1953. Some searching around
leads me to guess that this might be a character from Colin McInnes's
Absolute Beginners, which is set in 1958. Not sure who exactly, but
someone will probably know more about this. It's possibly the nameless
Presumably the man with the briefcase in the front middle is
someone, but I've no idea who. Likewise the two men speaking at the
very front middle.
Panel 3. “Will Wilson return
for Olympics?” reference is to Wilson, the mysterious, superhuman
teenaged athlete from the British comics Wizard, Hotspur,
and Hornet (1943-1963). Wilson, born in 1806, achieved
longevity and athletic prowess from special breathing exercises and
a diet of gruel, nuts, berries, and wild roots. In one episode
he breaks the world long jump record while running a three-minute
Damian Gordon notes
that Wilson was brought back as “the Man in Black” in the British
comic Spike in 1983.
Panels 4-6. Jack & Annie Walker
were characters on the long-running British soap Coronation
Street. The Walkers were landlords of the Rovers Return Inn.
(Hence the comment in Panel 6 that “our rovin’ days are over”).
Panel 4. Pádraig Ó
Méalóid writes "You can see a pen in JB's top pocket..."
Panel 5. “Straight after election
she ‘ad all cameras took out, the lot.”
The England of 1984 was of course
under constant observation from the government of Oceania,
but I think this is also an allusion by Moore to England as it
is now, with over four million cameras watching the British at
Panel 6. “Victory Gin is Doubleplus
Good For You.”
“Victory Gin” is the only authorized alcohol
in Orwell’s 1984. “Doubleplus” is another use of newspeak
(see Page 5). I will refrain from noting the use of newspeak
from this point on—suffice it to say that there’s a lot of it
Ken Shinn adds, "This is also a parody of
a long-standing advertising slogan for the famous Guinness stout (which
ran throughout the 50s and 60s - maybe later) which ran, "Guinness
Is Good For You". It's been memorably parodied by Gilbert Shelton in
his Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers saga "The Idiots Abroad", where a London
advertising hoarding boldly proclaims that "HEDGEHOG STOUT WON'T KILL YOU"."
Pádraig Ó Méalóid
adds, "Victory Gin: It's Doubleplus Good For You. This echoes the famous
advertising slogan 'Guinness is Good For You,' said to have been written
by Britrish crime novelist Dorothy L Sayers when she worked as a copywriter
for Benson's Advertising."
The “V” cigarettes that the blonde woman
is smoking here are likely “Victory cigarettes,” also from
Richardthinks notes that
Victory Cigarettes were a real brand, as seen here. Damian
Gordon adds, "Victory Cigarettes are featured as a central plot point in
"Columbo: Caution - Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health" with George Hamilton
(fake orange tan and all) injecting posion into the cigarettes." Pádraig
Ó Méalóid adds, "If I remember rightly, victory Cigarettes
were so badly made that they needed to be held in a horizontal position
to prevent the tobacco from falling out."
Panel 7. “I’ll have a vodka martini
over ice…and stir that, if you would. Otherwise it bruises
“Shaken, not stirred” is the cliched quote
from Ian Fleming’s James Bond (who as will be seen is the
speaker here). However, Bond never said, “shaken, not stirred.”
His stated preference for martinis appears in the first Bond novel,
"A dry martini," he said. "One.
In a deep champagne goblet."
The bruising of the alcohol comes when
a martini is shaken. Shaking a martini during its preparation
adds air into the drink and “bruises” the alcohol, making the
drink taste too bitter. Greg Terry writes, "The
thing is from everything I have ever read about alcohol, bruising only
happens with a gin martini, with vodka it is not a concern. Although with
shaking you melt more of the ice and you end up with a more watered down
drink. Though you might be interested in this bit of information. I found
link about martinis if you want more info."
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's,
one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very
well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel.
Philip & Emily Graves write, "I'm fairly
sure I read somewhere that the iconic phrase was "Stirred, not
shaken" in early film drafts, but that (Cubby Broccoli?) had it
switched more for aesthetic reasons than anything else." And "Note the similarity
between Bond's appearance here and the drawing
commissioned to help the Daily Express artists for his
newspaper strip, from 1957 onwards." Tim Chapman adds that Bond
particularly remembers Hoagy Carmichael here. (See Page 155).
writes, "the black comma of hair over the eye is standard in every description
of Bond, e. g.: Opening lines of Casino Royale:
It was a dark, clean-cut face, with a three-inch
scar showing whitely down the sunburned skin of the right cheek. The
eyes were wide and level under straight, rather long black brows. The
hair was black, parted on the left, and carelessly brushed so that a thick
black comma fell down over the right eyebrow. The longish straight nose
ran down to a short upper lip below which was a wide and finely drawn
but cruel mouth. The line of jaw was straight and firm. A section of
dark suit, white shirt and black knitted tie completed the picture.
"ASDF FDSA" writes, "James Bond does say "shaken,
not stirred" in the Ian Fleming novels. The phrase is used variously in
them, sometimes not said by him, but from Doctor No:
And I would like a medium Vodka dry
Martini - with a slice of lemon peel. Shaken and not stirred, please. I would
prefer Russian or Polish vodka.
The general consensus is that gin martinis be
stirred, but the same is not true for Vodka martinis which need to be colder,
and are shaken. Though cocktail experts tend to agree that the vodka martini
is a horrible abominable drink not fit for consumption, only enjoyed by the
uncultured. Also, only an idiot would ask for his martini to be served in
a "deep champagne goblet," like Bond requests in Casino Royale."
Patrick Gillen writes, "In Kevin O'Neil's illustrations of James Bond,
you can see the scar on his right cheek as described in Casino Royale. It's
subtle, but it's definitely there."
Page 10. Panel
1. Apparently in the world of League Britain went
to a U.K./U.S. monetary system, with 10 shillings equaling 1
dollar rather than (or in addition to) 20 shillings equalling
1 pound. Also, the face on the shilling note is Britannia, the
personification of the British Empire. Modern pound notes have
the Queen’s face on them, but the 1948 pound note had Britannia
on it. Nevin Zehr corrects the preceding: "The
British use of the dollar is not an invention of Alan Moore, but is
in fact in accordance with how things are portrayed in "Nineteen Eighty-Four",
in which dollars are the currency used in Airstrip One, and presumably
all of Oceana."
Panel 4. "I'm Jimmy, by the way."
Philip & Emily Graves note that ""Jimmy Bond"
was also the name used in the 1954 'Climax!' TVM version of Casino
Royale, for its Americanised main character."
Peter Sanderson writes, "Moore makes his version
of James Bond look even more foolish by giving him the same name
as Jimmy Bond, James's nephew in the 1967 "Casino Royale" film,
played by Woody Allen. Note that in the 1967 movie, Jimmy turns
out to be the villain, albeit an incompetent one."
John Andrews writes,
"Fleming was a member of the British Secret Service himself and wrote
fictionalised accounts of his and other agents adventures to cope with
his depression. However in James Bond: The Authorised Biography
by John Pearson, Fleming writes the Bond stories as an ellaborate way
of conving Soviet agents that he doesn't really exist. Therefore everyone
has heard of James Bond in the real world. Perhaps in the world of the
League something similar happened which is why Bond uses the name "Jimmy"
rather than James?"
Myles Lobdell writes,
"James Bond was actually referred
to as Jimmy Bond on the back cover of the first American paperback edition
of Casino Royale, retitled You Asked For It, and released
“Bash Street,” “Rampaging Yobs,” and the picture
are a reference to the British comic strip “Bash Street Kids,”
created by British comics great Leo Baxendale (originally as
“When the Bell Rings”) and appearing in Beano from 1954
to the present. The Bash Street Kids are a bunch of mischievous
and ill-behaved children at the Bash Street School. Pádraig Ó Méalóid adds,
The two Bash Street Kids pictured are Danny and Wilfrid. I have a drawing
of Wilfrid, done by Leo Baxendale, you know! 'Yob' is back-slang for
The “Asian Flu” may be a specific literary/cultural
reference or just an allusion to the Asian flu epidemic in
Britain during late 1950s. (And which, appropriately enough,
killed Sax Rohmer, the creator of Fu Manchu).
Panel 8. Captain Morgan is a reference
to Jet Morgan, who starred in the British radio serial Journey
Into Space (1953-1958). Set in the distant future of 1965
(and in later series the early 1970s), Journey Into Space
is about Captain Jet Morgan, “Doc” Matthews, “Mitch” Mitchell,
and Lemmy Barnett, and their trip to the Moon and then to Mars.
Captain Dare is a reference to Dan Dare,
the archetypal British comic science fiction hero. Created
by Frank Hampson, Dan Dare has been appearing in various media
since his debut in the comic Eagle in 1950. In the 1990s
Dan Dare, chief pilot of the Interplanet Space Fleet, has adventures
across the solar system, repeatedly coming into conflict with the
Mekon, the evil ruler of the Treens of northern Venus.
Damian Gordon notes
that Dan Dare is a Colonel, not a Captain, in his original
Captain Logan is a reference to Jet-Ace
Logan, who appeared in the British comics Comet (1956-1959)
and Tiger (1959-1968). Royal Air Force Space Cadet Jim
“Jet-Ace” Logan is a part of the R.A.F. Space Patrol and cruises
about the solar system, fighting iniquitous aliens and finding adventure.
David A. Simpson adds, "Jet-Ace Logan also appeared
in Thriller Picture Library in the early sixties, with several of these being
reprinted in the mid-seventies in Space Library Holiday Special."
Ed Berridge and Guy Lawley undo my ignorance about the
man Bond pushes aside here and who rubs his head in panel 9: "the
chap Jimmy pushes aside would appear to be L. Miller Watt's Pop, a
newspaper strip that ran in the Daily Sketch from 1921-1960 (though Gordon
Hogg took over as writer/artist from 1949)."
Panel 9. “Fighter ace dies” is
presumably a reference to something, but the accompanying
picture could refer to a number of characters. But see Page
16, Panel 8.
Page 11. Panel 4. Philip & Emily Graves write,
"Jimmy has acquired the Harlequin-emblazoned cigarette case from his
Grandfather, seen way back at the beginning, in V1I1P1.2."
Panel 5. Peter Sanderson writes, "Actually,
I'm a secret agent": the way that Bond lights his cigarette
with an eerie glow reminds me of the Cigarette-Smoking Man
in The X-Files."
Panel 6. Meccania is a reference to Gregory
Owen's Meccania, the Super-State (1918). Meccania is
the ultimate in totalitarian dystopias, a state completely regimented
and controlled by the government. For a Big Brother-ruled England,
Meccania would be a natural enemy.
Panel 7. Kian Ross, Rich Weaver,
and Jeff Patterson, among others, point out what I should have
gotten: that the statue is of Mr. Hyde, as mentioned at the end
of League v2. Adam J.B. Lane writes, "the
semi-abstract quality of the hyde memorial statue makes me wonder
if k.o. isn't referencing the work of british sculptor henry moore
(1898-1986)." Damian Gordon writes, "In LoEG V2 it states that the artist
who created the Hyde sculpture is Sir Jacob Epstein, and the Hyde statue
definitely looks like his
Page 12. Panel 3. “O’Dette
‘Oodles’ O’Quim” is a riff on the salacious, single-entendre
names Bond women and Bond’s female enemies usually have.
I'd assumed that "quim" was
commonly-known, but obviously note. Peter Sanderson, among others,
writes: ""Oodles O'Quim": until I looked it up, I didn't
know that "quim" is British slang for female genitalia.
I suspect I'm not the only American reader who didn't know that.
So "Oodles O'Quim" is the equivalent of "Pussy Galore." Mario
di Giacomo writes "Oodles O'Quim is a better match to Plenty O'Toole,
from Diamonds Are Forever." Peter Sanderson
responds, "No, I don't think so. "Quim" and "Pussy" both refer
to female genitalia. But when Plenty O'Toole introduces herself
to Bond in the "Diamonds Are Forever" movie, he comments, "Named after
your father, perhaps?""
Panel 7. There is a reference to
a statue of Big Brother in 1984: “in Victory Square...near
the statue of Big Brother on the tall fluted column with the
lions at the foot.” The statue here doesn’t appear to be it, though.
Peter Sanderson writes, "This
indicates that in "1984" Trafalgar Square was renamed Victory
Square, and Nelson's statue was replaced by a statue of Big Brother."
Philip & Emily Graves write, "perhaps that *is* the
statue of BB, which could indeed have replaced the statue of
Hornblower in Trafalgar Square (as per Prospectus of London, 1901,
p106), but it's now being torn down, and so may not fit the description
from 1984 exactly."
Schexnayder writes, "The removal of the statue seems particularly reminiscent
of the efforts by the US forces to take down the statue of Saddam Hussein
after taking Baghdad in 2003. I don't think this is an accident since
the way the statue leans is in direct opposition to the way the ropes are
draped upon it for removal." Pádraig Ó Méalóid
noted this as well. Peter Gilham further compared
it to Soviet-era statues being pulled down in former Soviet bloc countries.
Giles Cresswell writes, "I
believe this is meant to be Piccadilly Square with the statue of Eros replaced
with the one in the panel. Piccadilly Square is where all of the big billboards
are and the road layout seems more fitting. Please see these
The statue to Eros is barely visible off to the left of the image. Compare
this with Trafalgar
Square - a statue on a tall column surrounded by large fountains."
Drake writes, Confirmed that
the statue is Big Brother. In the novel 1984, Orwell says that the
statue's hand is raised to 'point to where BB won the Battle of Airstrip
One.' Note here, the statue indeed gestures to the sky."
Wow! was a British comic which
appeared in 1982 and 1983, but I don’t believe the bus advert
is a reference to that.
Maplins is a holiday camp in the British
tv sitcom Hi-de-Hi! (1980-1988). Maplins is in the coastal
town of Crimpton-on-Sea in Essex. As far as I know there’s no
“Bluepool” in Hi-de-Hi!. Damian Gordon points out that Maplins
is based on a real series of camps called Butlin’s Holiday Camps.
James Parry writes, "About the
'Bluepool' reference on page 12, panel 7 of the Black Dossier. I'm sure
someone has already suggested this but, similar to the pun underground
station names earlier on, it could simply be a play on the traditional
British seaside resort of Blackpool.
While it's seen better days, its heyday as a tourist destination did just
about stretch to the timeframe of the events in the 'Dossier."
“--is watching you” is the second half
of the classic phrase “Big Brother is Watching You” from 1984.
John Dorrian writes,
Anyway, in a wide shot of a street scene in this section, we
see an old lady, dressed in a black coat, wearing glasses and
a hat with flowers on it, looking pissed off at a passing car. This
woman is the Grandmother from the weekly Giles cartoons that ran
in the Daily Express. Giles mostly did political cartoons, but he
alternated between politics and domestic cartoons about an unnamed
Family cast of characters he'd created. His work was extremely popular.
Grandma was a fairly bad tempered old thing & was the basis for an
even more violent character in Cerebus the Aardvark. (Dave Sim was a
Giles fan, and his version of the character wasn't so much a 'homage'
as it was Sim simply lifting the character wholesale from Giles and plopping
her down in Cerebus.)
Philip & Emily
Graves write, "That's Grandma, head of the Giles family berating
a rather rude flat-capped individual." Michael Norwitz says the
Tim Chapman writes, "is that Tony Hancock in bottom
left with arm raised? Eyebrows and jowels certainly look like him."
"teamy teamy" writes, "In between grandma Giles
and the possible Tony Handcock there's a bald man with a moustache shouting
at a black man and white girl. It's definitely Alf Garnett, Warren
Clarke's bigoted alter ego from 'Til Death Us Do Part." It seems rather obvious
why he'd be shouting at a white girl linking arms with a black man."
Page 13. Panel 1. “Airstrip
One” is is what the British Isles are called in 1984.
Airstrip One is part of Oceania (the Americas, Southern Africa,
The “Anti-Sex League” is a reference to
the government-backed organization, in 1984, which
is devoted to eliminating the pleasurable aspect of sex. Members
of the League are encouraged to have sex, but only once a week,
and “for the good of the party.”
Panel 2. In 1984 O’Brien
is a member of the Inner Party, the ruling class of Oceania.
In the novel O’Brien is responsible for torturing Winston Smith,
the protagonist, into accepting Big Brother.
Panel 4. Jeff Wilson, among others,
corrects me: “Freedom is Slavery” is not newspeak, but is one of the
slogans of Oceania's ruling class. As Jeff says, "It cannot be newspeak,
as Sime explains about 50 pages in, because newspeak will eliminate the
concept of freedom." Tony Whitt adds that it is "an example of "doublethink",
the ability to hold two contrary notions in one's head and to believe
both of them. "Newspeak" would refer only to words like "doubleplusgood",
"crimethink", and, for that matter, "doublethink"." Pádraig Ó
Méalóid noted this as well.
The shell marks on the Ministry of Love
may seem unusual, but much of London was not fully rebuilt,
following World War Two, until the mid- to late-1950s.
Page 14. Panel 1. The
poster in the upper left is a combination of the “Big Brother
Is Watching You” poster from 1956 British film version of 1984,
and the mustached Big Brother from the 1984 American film version
of 1984. Devin Cambridge notes, "The
big brother poster makes reference to another British TV series: The Prisoner.
“Be Watching You” is a variation of “Be Seeing You”, the common “goodby”
given on the Prisoner Island. The full caption is truncated (with “brother”
prominently removed yet we see the 1984 slogan in full in a future panel),
thus giving us the prisoner reference."
The bust in the lower left is of Professor
Moriarty (I think), replacing the bust of Napoleon which Moriarty
kept when he was in charge of British Intelligence in League
The symbol above the doors is the Masonic
compass and right angle which was a recurring symbol in
earlier League volumes. In Masonic lore the compass
and right angle symbolize the instruments of both the Masons
and God. Pádraig Ó Méalóid
adds, "The Masonic symbol over the door in Panel 1 also echoes the letters
M and W, which are made much play of throughout the book. And of course
Mina's initials would be WM."
If the pith helmet and the sheathed sword
are references to anything, I’m unaware of it. Damian Gordon
suggests that they may be Quatermain’s. But I think Myles Lobdell
has the truth of it:
if you are willing to give yourself eyestrain you can barely
make out on the dark-blue tag attached to the bat, the words "Clicky-Ba".
The letters 'Cl-' on the first row and 'Ba' on the second row
of the tag are the most legible, the other letters seem a scrawl.
Thus, this apparent cricket bat, is none other than the 'club' of
Chung, servant to the Wolf of Kabul, Bill Samson. To explain the
pith helmet, Samson was often described thus: "He walked with his hands
thrust deep into his pockets, and a battered sun-helmet stuck on the back
of his head". A sun-helmet is a common synonym for pith helmet.
For some reason, however, we all missed what Guy Lawley
got, which is that both the pith hemet and cricket bat belong to William
Samson of the 1940s League--see the notes to Page 148.
The bust with the question mark
may be the bust of Baron von Münchhausen seen in the
first League series. Jason Adams disagrees:
"I don't think the bust is Baron Munnchausen, but rather it is the
same bust of Britannia with the question mark helmet, as seen on the
Cover and the stylized compass rose/union jack emblem from the inside
cover flap and first few pages of the book. Along with the masonic compass
and capital M (both seen, incidentally, on the door to the building on
Page 13. Panel 4 and Panel 6), this depiction of Britannia is one of
the main symbols of the League."
I’m unsure what the glass ball might be.
Philip & Emily Graves write, "The glass ball (helmet)
and 's' shirt are definitely connected, and look very similar indeed
cover to Tom Swift and his Space Solartron." Terry Jones clears this one up: "the helmet and square
tank and the red shirt with the 's' are definitely linked. They come
from Swift Morgan and the Flying Saucers' worn by the hero. This strip was
illustrated (please get this right matey!) by the great Denis McLoughlin.
It's from the New Spaceways Comic Annual 1954, pub by The Popular Press.
McLoughlin with whom I corresponded for a time, was also the creator of Roy
Carson who is also referenced later in the BD in the first panel of the page
when Allan and Mina are boarding the bus to Birmingham (in the poster for
The Daily Post 'Roy Carson Horror'.) Clearly Mr Moore has jolly good taste!
The 's' is is so small because the publisher feared litigation from DC comcis
by the way!"
The giant skull is the Brobdingnagian
skull, from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726),
seen in League v1.
I’m not sure what the shirt with the “s”
emblem is referring to. Andrew Kunka writes,
"I think that the glass ball and the "s" shirt go together, as an underwater
breating suit. Not sure what it references, though. Perhaps
I’m not sure who the portrait of the man
in the bow-tie is a reference to. Michael Norwitz wonders if it might the Dorian Gray.
Adam J.B. Lane writes, "I suspect the portrait is that of dorian grey,
returned to normal now that its subject is deceased." Peter Sanderson
writes, "The Picture of Dorian Gray was a full-length portrait, whereas
the picture in this panel only shows its subject's head and upper chest."
John Andrews writes, "I believe the portrait
on page 14 panel 1 is in fact Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond,
rather than Dorian Gray. Fleming often wore a bow tie and an expressition
of of distain, just like the portrait here." Pádraig Ó Méalóid concurs
and provides a link to
On the bulletin board, the painting/picture,
“Pacific Ocean July 1949,” and “Iron Fish?” are references
to “Iron Fish,” from the British comic Beano from 1949-1968.
The Iron Fish’s creator, Jimmy Grey, appeared in League
v2. “The Iron Fish” is about two twins, Danny and Penny Gray, who
pilot two “Iron Fish” submarines, both of which are built by their
father, Professor Gray, who is the subject of the “Professor Gray Feared
Lost” headline on the lower left of the board.
Stu Shiffman sends this
news article along.
“Bla- Sapp-“ is a reference to the titular
character of the comic strip “The Black Sapper,” who appeared
in the British comcs Rover and Hotspur for decades,
beginning with The Rover #384 (Aug. 24, 1929). The Black
Sapper is a costumed inventor/thief who uses The Earthworm, an enormous
burrowing machine, to commit crimes. He reforms in the face of a Yellow
Peril invasion of England. (Thanks to David A. Simpson for correcting me
Panel 2. The painting in the upper
left is based on this:
This is Sir Francis Walsingham (c. 1532-1590),
the spymaster for Queen Elizabeth I in our world. However,
as can be seen on Page 53, Walsingham has been replaced by someone
else in the world of League. For who, see the notes to Page
Panel 4. In 1984 Room 101
is “the worst thing in the world,” a torture chamber in the
Ministry of Love where prisoners are subjected to their worst
Panel 5. Ed Berridge writes, "the wicker chair here
might well be supposed to suggest the similar object used as part
of an (inadvertantly) homoerotic, testicular-oriented method or torture
in Ian Fleming's Casino Royale."
Pádraig Ó Méalóid
writes, "there is a cane behind the door. This is the kind of cane that
is regularly used, largely by school teachers, to punish children - mainly
male children, it must be said - in British comics, and was that common
that I seem to recall that it would have made an appearance in pretty much
every comic I read in my youth. Certainly deserving of a room that contains
what people fear most."
Charles Cunyus notes, "You can also make out the rat torture
mask used on Winston Smith by O'Brein in room 101." Joyce Cunyus adds, "The 'Ratmask' here isn't identical
to what you see used on Winston in 'Pornsec SexJane' Page 8, I believe
what you see here is taken directly from the '1984' film with John Hurt
and Richard Burton."
Panel 6. “Special village in Wales”
a reference to the British tv series The Prisoner (1967),
in which retired spies who too dangerous to their former employers
are confined in a village. The location of the village was never
specified, but the series was filmed in Portmeirion, which is
Page 15. Panels 1-4.
Bond is this hatefully misogynistic in the Ian Fleming books,
if not in the films. And for them what don't believe
me, or haven't read the Fleming books in a while, or at all, read Scott Lynch's take
on the subject.
Regarding this, Pádraig Ó Méalóid
usefully points out "AM's 1986 introduction to Frank Miller's Dark
Knight Returns, where he says "As our political and social consciousness
continues to evolve, Alan Quartermain stands revealed as just another
white imperialist out to exploit the natives and we begin to see that
the overriding factor in James Bond's psychological makeup is his utter
hatred and contempt for women.""
Panel 8. Pádraig Ó Méalóid
writes, "Considering that Jimmy is beaten by a woman in Room 101, could
this be what he is most afraid of? Would fear of women be what's behind
him appalling misogyny? Moore doesn't do things by accident, so I think
this happening to Bond in Room 101 is deliberate on Moore's part."
Panel 9. I believe that James Bond
was once described as a “nasty little thug” but I’ve been
unable to find the reference. David Alexander McDonald notes that
in the most recent film version of Casino Royale M uses the
word "thug" in describing Bond. Patrick Reumann
gets it: "John Steed of the Avenger Show fight and beats Bond in
a fight at school and then call him a A "Nasty little Thug" in John
Steed- An Authorized Biography: Vol 1, Jealous in Honour by Tim Heald
Page 16. Panel 3. Keith
Kole writes, "Here's a meeting of two characters - James Bond and Allan
Quatermain - both played by Sean Connery in the movies.
I have to wonder about Allan and Mina's clothing choices: Allan
in the trench coat reminds me of the hard boiled detectives of film
noir and Mina is dressed like one of that genres femme fatales."
Panel 4. “Just like your grandfather.”
This is confirmation that Campion Bond,
seen in the previous volumes of League, is James Bond’s
Panel 5. “Is this what it’s come
to? The British adventure hero? Pathetic.”
While it is logical that a 19th century
British adventure hero (Mina) would find the 20th century
British adventure hero (Bond) unsavory and pathetic, the statement
might also be seen as a metatextual comment by Moore on the way
in which 20th century British adventure fiction, certainly of the
first half of the century, overtly displayed biases (see Page 79,
Panel 2, for example) which were mostly hidden during the 19th century.
Jason Powell corrects me: "You
say that this dialogue belongs to Mina, but it looked to me that the
word balloon was attached to Allan. This struck me as more resonant,
since Allan Quatermain is much more the quintessential British adventure
hero, and as such more likely to pass judgment on what the archetype
has "come to.""
Tristan Sargent writes,
"I'm not sure if it's intentional, but this line actually struck me as
alluding back to the first League series. Allan was, after all,
a largely wretched figure in that series, drawing similar comments from
Mina - but in particular Moriarty gives a withering condemnation of Allan
in issue 6, which I felt Allan's comments here directly recalled, perhaps
Panel 7. “If he’d been German,
he’d have been loyal to Hynkel.”
See Page 47.
Panel 8. “Eurasia” is a reference
to 1984. Eurasia, which is Europe, Russia, northern
Africa, and the Middle East, is the enemy of Oceania. (Sometimes the enemy of Oceania, as Pádraig Ó
Méalóid correctly notes).
“Social– Nuclea– by Gust–“ is a reference
to to H.G. Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come (1933),
a future history of the world in which a benevolent dictatorship
emerges following a deadly plague. In The Shape of Things to
Come a Wellsian stand-in, Gustave de Windt, writes a book, Social
was the first exhaustive study of the psychological laws underlying
team play and esprit de corps, disciplines of criminal gangs,
spirit of factory groups, crews, regiments, political parties,
churches, professionalisms, aristocracies, patriotisms, class
consciousness, organized research and constructive cooperation
generally. It did for the first time correlate effectively the increasing
understanding of individual psychology, with new educational methods
and new concepts of political life. In spite of its unattractive
title and a certain wearisomeness in the exposition, his book became
a definite backbone for the constructive effort of the new time.
Titus Cobbet is a reference to Wells’
The Shape of Things to Come. In The Shape of Things
to Come a bicyclist, Titus Cobbett, travels through a ruined
Europe and England observing the desolation. He also reports on
the death of a “European Aviator,” which could be what the headline
on Page 10, Panel 9 is referring to.
I don’t know what “–ipley” might be a
reference to. Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, possibly?
“The Th– Oligarchial Emm–“ is a reference
to The Theory and Practice of Oligarchial Collectivism,
which in 1984 is “a terrible book, a compendium of all
the heresies” and is written by the dissident Emmanuel Goldstein.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid adds,
"I noticed this description of The Book, as Winston Smith refers to Emmanuel
Goldstein's book: "A heavy black volume, amatuerishly bound, with no name
or title on the cover." If you leave aside the "amatuerishly bound" bit,
this is probably a good description of the book I'm looking at with the dustjacket
off, and probably is a good description of the book that Mina and Alan
are reading, too."
Panel 9. “–stasia” is a reference
to Eastasia in 1984. Eastasia, which consists of China,
Japan, Korea, Mongolia, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, and
the Middle East, is the smallest and newest of the three superstates.
“Atrocity Pamphlet” may be a reference
to the J.G. Ballard novel The Atrocity Exhibition (1970).
Chris Nichols, among others, wonders if this is a
reference to Charlie Stross' Atrocity Archives: "The Atrocity
Archives" deals with British Intelligence's use of and battles against
the occult. During the novel, the protaganists visit the Atrocity Archives,
a secret museum in the Hague housing the relics of the Nazis' gruesome
Méalóid corrects us: "According to page 121 of my black Penguin
Classic edition of Ninteen Eighty-Four, "Julia's unit in the Fiction Department
had been taken off the production of novels and was rushing out a series
of atrocity pamphlets." This was all in preparation for the forthcoming
“Manor Farm” is a reference to George
Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945), in which the revolution
of the talking animals takes place at Manor Farm.
I’m not sure what “Harry Blake” might
be a reference to. Jonathan Carter wonders if it might be a reference
to Sexton Blake's ne'er-do-well brother Harry, who was introduced
in a story in either 1905 or 1907. Philip &
Emily Graves agree: "It must be Sexton Blake's elder brother Henry.
From the Blake Bibliography,
which says for 1907: "By far the most important event reported this
year is Blake's encounter with his long-lost elder brother, Henry."
I’m not sure what the folder with the
stylized letter is a reference to. Philip & Emily Graves write, "We think that
the 'stylised letter' could be Martian, and that this is a Martian/English
I think the book below that reads “Moreau,”
which is a reference to H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr.
Moreau (1896). Dr. Moreau appeared in League v2.
“Gustave de Windt” is a reference to H.G.
Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come. (See the note to
Panel 8 above).
I’m not sure what “-oy Cars” might be
a reference to. Philip & Emily Graves
write, "We suspect that "-oy Cars-" is Roy Carson,
a 1940s-50s "square-jawed hardboiled quasi-private eye" created
by prolific detective-fiction cover-artist Denis McLoughlin." Andrew Kunka adds a link to Carson's entry
on the indispensible Thrilling Detective
“St. Merri-- Hospital” is a reference
to John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids (1953). The
Day of the Triffids is a science fiction, horror, post-apocalyptic
novel in which a race of carnivorous plants, the triffids,
cause the downfall of human civilization. The opening of the novel
occurs in St. Merryn’s Hospital.
Page 17. Panel 1. “...how
much vipers like Lime actually know...”
See Page 78, Panel 9 for more on “Lime.”
“Drake” is a reference to John Drake,
the protagonist of the ITC tv (not BBC--thanks to Zoltán
Déry for the correction) series Danger Man (1960-1962).
John Drake is an Irish-American spy for a department of NA.T.O.
who carries out missions for his superiors even though he often
disagrees with them. The Prisoner, which starred Patrick McGoohan
(who played John Drake), is unofficially the sequel to Danger Man.
In David McDaniel’s Who is No. 2? (1968) it is confirmed that
Drake is No. 6, The Prisoner.
David Alexander McDonald
David MacDaniel's novel is ephemeral, and it was repeatedly stated
by McGoohan and various members of the production that The Prisoner
is not, in fact, John Drake (despite the John Drake picture X'd
out at the beginning of the show.) These statements from
the production end (most recently on the 40th Anniversary
DVD release) are hobbled a tiny bit, however, by the appearance of
an actor playing a character named Potter in both Danger Man and
The Prisoner, albeit the character being quite different in each iteration,
by the original reference in the story treatments to the Prisoner as
"Drake" (he was referred to as P as pre-production and production went
on) and by the repurposing of an unused Danger Man script, "The Girl Who
Was Death," in the last four episodes of the series -- and there's that
passing reference there to "Drake." But the official line is that
the Prisoner wasn't Drake. More entertainingly, the producers
have been known to speculate that, given the final episode, the
series actually took place with in a virtual reality, or entirely in
the Prisoner's mind while he was drugged to the gills.
Philp & Emily Graves write:
On the 'Drake as Prisoner' suggestion, it should be noted that,
although McGoohan and others denied that they were the same
character, George Markstein, co-creator of (and script editor
on) The Prisoner stated on several occasions that they WERE. One
suggestion for the purported confusion is that the character (and
name) of John Drake were created and owned by Ralph Smart, so overt
identification of the two was either impossible for legal reasons,
or undesirable as the rights were not McGoohan's.
Win Eckert writes, "in addition to David McDaniel's novel,
the Drake-Prisoner identification was confirmed in the third PRISONER
novel, A DAY IN THE LIFE by Hank Stine."
“Meres” is a reference to Toby Meres, who appeared in the
British tv series Callan (1967-1972). David Callan, the
protagonist, is a bitter, aging assassin for the British S.I.S.
Meres is Callan's partner. Lee Barnett corrects my original description
of Toby Meres and writes that Meres is "not so much less-skilled, as
he is a cold blooded psychopath who enjoys the more violent aspects
of the work, whereas Callan hated it, even though the latter was so
bloody good at it." David Alexander McDonald writes:
I adored Callan -- bitterly cynical, wonderful work from
Edward Woodward. Meres wasn't Callan's superior, though
-- he was his peer (as
Damian Gordon writes, ""Drake and Meres" long shot really
but the two names together remind me that a game not as often played
as "was Number 6 really John Drake?" is "was The Equalizer Robert McCALL
really David CALLan?"
was Cross, after Anthony Valentine left for
a while.) Meres was an arrogant, impulsive, and thoroughly
sociopathic twat, a former public schoolboy and Oxford graduate
who certainly had ambitions beyond his station; he was, however,
unlikely to assume the position of Hunter, which Callan did for
a while. In the initial story, "A Magnum For Schneider" (based
on James Mitchell' stage play, and done as an Armchair Theater
episode) Meres (played by Peter Bowles rather than Valentine) is asigned
to keep an eye on Callan, and then set him up for the police to arrest
once he's completed his mission -- Callan promptly turns the
tables and leaves Meres for the cops instead. As a result
Callan ends up with his dossier assigned to a Red File (hence the novel
version being called A Red File For Callan; the movie adaptation,
with Peter Egan as Meres, is just called Callan.) The series
generally partners Callan and Meres, with Callan as often as not managing
to screw Meres over. All the same, I wouldn't call Meres
less skilled or less adept than Callan -- Callan's conscience often
gets in the way, although he can summon a vicious coldness when he
needs to. If anything, Meres is sometimes a little exciteable
because he enjoys his work. Cross, on the other hand, was
less adept and more vulnerable, which eventually causes his death.
Oh, and after Callan, brainwashed, kills a Hunter at the end of series
two, it's Meres that shoots Callan -- and then proceeds to show concern
and care, which is really rather freaky.
Panel 4. Gadgets
and weapons contained in and concealed by James Bond’s pens
are a recurring part of the Bond canon.
“The Me– Police C– George— Died on t–
Philp & Emily Graves write, "The deceased
Police Constable George D[ ] may very well be the
one killed by Hawley Griffen back in LoEG V1I5. Furthermore (or
alternatively) George D[ ] may be a reference to George
Dixon of Dock Green, played by Jack Warner from 1955-76." Jonathan
Carter and Christopher Reynolds wonder if this is a dedication to
the policeman killed by the Invisible Man in League v2. But I think David A. Simpson has it right: "Jack Warner’s
first appearance as PC George Dixon was in the film The Blue Lamp; since
Dixon was killed in that film, that may be what the plaque refers to."
Panel 7. Philip & Emily Graves write,
"In the 1967 (Actually around 9 years later) film "You Only
Live Twice", Bond has a cigarette with shoots a jet-powered projectile."
Page 18. Panel 2. The
obelisk is Cleopatra’s Needle, the celebratory obelisk originally
constructed for Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, ruler of Egypt’s 18th
Dynasty from 1504-1450 B.C.E.
Martin Campbell writes, "The car is a Vauxhall Victor (F-Type). This would
have new in 1958, as the model was introduced the previous year. It was exported
to North America as a Pontiac. The Glamcabs from Carry on Cabby
were actually Ford Cortina Mark 1."
Panels 2-4. “Glamcabs” is a reference
to the film Carry On Cabby (1963). Glamcabs is a taxi
company in competition with Speedee Taxis, the service operating
by Charlie Hawkins, Carry On Cabby’s protagonist.
It is possible that the driver here is
Anthea, from Carry On Cabby, played in the film by Amanda
Panel 5. Pádraig Ó Méalóid
writes, "The Gentlemen's Lavatory is possibly a reference to Carry On Screaming,
in which Charles Hawtrey plays Dan Dan, a toilet attendant in an underground
toilet like the one in the picture."
Panel 7. “He must meet women with
names like that all the time.” As indeed Bond does.
Page 19. Panel 1. “Birnley
Fabrics” is a reference to the film The Man in the White
Suit (1951). In the film Sidney Stratton invents a fabric,
later called Birnley Fabrics after the mill owner who produces
them, that never gets dirty or wears out.
I’m assuming that the characters in this
panel, as in many others in Black Dossier, are references
to British comics, but I’m unable to place the references.
Panels 3-5. “Mr. Kiss” is
a Michael Moorcock’s Mother London (1988), a novel
about post-WW2 London. One of the main characters is fading theater
performer and professional mind-reader Josef Kiss.
Huw Morgan writes, "Is it just
me, or does 'Mr Kiss', the gentleman that Allan and Mina meet briefly outside
their lodgings, look a very great deal like the actor Robert Morley?"
Page 20. Panels 2-8.
The landlady stumped me, but not you lot. Chris Roberson, usedcarsrus,
and Ian Warren, among others, point out that "The landlady is clearly
Mrs. Cornelius, from Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius stories and elsewhere,
and her children the younger versions of Jerry, Frank, and Catherine
Cornelius, who had the same sort of complicated, incestuous relationship
hinted at here."
Panel 2. Pádraig Ó Méalóid
writes, "In 1984 the landlord of the room that Winston Smith and Julia
are renting is Mr Charrington, so there's the possibility that this Mrs
C is an echo of that, possibly meant to be his wife, nd that by implication
Mina and Alan are possibly renting the same room that Winston and Julia
are in, or at least there are in a parallel to it. Certainly they seem to
be using it for much the same purpose, which is reading the Forbidden Book."
Later, Pádraig added, "In the book, there's a woman hanging
out the washing just below the window of Winston and Julia's room. This
could possibly be Mr Charrington's wife. She is described thus: '... a monstrous
woman, solid as a Norman pillar, with brawny red forearms and a sacking apron
strapped around her middle...' This is also a reasonable description of
Mrs C here."
Panel 3. “Anyroad” is a northern
British variant of “anyway.”
Page 21. Panel 1. The
“Holborn Empire,” a.k.a the Royal Holborn, a.k.a. Weston’s
Music Hall, was a major music hall in Holborn, in central London.
Peter Sanderson notes that "Lewis and Clark"
are a reference to "Al Lewis and Willie Clark, the fictional
vaudeville team in Neil Simon's 1972 play "The Sunshine Boys," which
was made into an MGM film released in 1975. "Lewis and Clark" were
based on the real life vaudeville team of Smith and Dale (Joe Smith
and Charles Dale)."
I’m unable to place the “Professor Donnol”
“Archie Rice” is a reference to the John
Osborne play The Entertainer (1957), later made into
the 1960 film The Entertainer. In the play and film Archie
Rice is an aging, hard-luck vaudevillian entertainer.
If “lifting you on wings of song” is a
reference rather than just an entertainment catchphrase, I’m
unaware of it.
“Fevvers” may be a reference to the protagonist
of Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus (1984). Fevvers
is a Cockney circus aeralist and showgirl who has wings.
Damian Gordon clears up my confusion:
“Mr. J. Stark The Incredible India Rubber Man” is a reference
to Janus Stark, a Victorian superhero who appeared in the
British comics Smash and Valiant (1969-1973). Stark
has very rubbery bones, which gives him superheroic abilities which
he uses to fight crime." Pádraig Ó
Méalóid adds, "Much as it grieves me to disagree with Damian
Gordon, JS actually ran in Valiant until March 1975, and of course gets
a walk-on part in Wildstorm’s Albion, which was plotted by Alan Moore, and
written by Leah Moore & John Reppion. Lots of useful information about
“Comedy of –rthur -e Washboard -tkins
with -er Drawers” is a reference to Paul Whitehouse’s character
Arthur Atkinson, played by Whitehouse on the BBC tv show The
Fast Show (1994-2000). Arthur Atkinson, a parody of real-life
radio comedian Arthur Askey, is a nonsensical comedian, one of
whose catchphrases is “Where’s me washboard?” and one of whose characters
is “Chester Drawers.” Pól Rua corrects my mistake: "Chester
Drawers wasn't a character portrayed by Arthur Atkinson, but rather
his less successful and put-upon second banana."
Tim Anselm adds, "'The Fast Show' book revealed that Arthur
Atkinson was a Nazi sympathiser (The 'Arthur Atkinson' story included
an archive photo of Arthur with "the founding father of National Socialism
himself". So presumably Mina got herself a bargain: the League-verse's
Hynkel-worshipping 'Atkins' was surely unpersoned. Thank Goldstein for
proles and their flea markets."
Pádraig Ó Méalóid
writes that the pink rabbit in the center of the panel, to the right of
the iron, is "Pink Rabbit from the book When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
(1971) by Judith Kerr. This was a semi-autobiographical novel about her
childhood, when they had to leave Germany as her father was a wanted man.
They had to go suddenly, so many things got left behind, including their
toys. Anna, the protagonist of the book, imagines Hitler playing with their
games compendium and with Pink Rabbit."
Panel 4. “Or perhaps his tie-clip’s
really a radio.”
I’m unaware of Bond ever having a radio
transmitter in his tie-clip. However, such a device appeared
in the American tv series Search (1972-1973). John
Soanes and Dennis Walker note that, in "America," Simon and Garfunkel
sang, "I said be careful his bowtie is really a camera."
Page 22. Panel 1. Damian
Gordon corrects my confusion here: “Baz” is a riff on the British
laundry detergent Daz. Philip & Emily Graves and Guy Lawley,
think that it is just Daz, and I'm reading it wrong. (Quite possible.
Me old eyes just ain't what they used to be. And the rheumatiz is killin'
me....) Mark Irons writes, "On pg. 22 p. 1, the laundry soap is definitely
"Daz"; the box is seen in full panel 5 of the preceding page."
Panel 2. In 1984 an “unperson”
is someone who has been killed by the government and had his
existence officially deleted and erased from all records. Pádraig Ó Méalóid writes,
"I'm going to slightly disagree with you on this, only on the basis that
an Unperson does not necessarily have to be dead to have their existence
officially deleted. A bit like now, really..."
Not only a reference to 1984, this also
reminds me of the modern term of nonperson. "A non-person is a person or
a member of a group who lacks, loses, or is forcibly denied social or legal
status, especially basic human rights, or who effectively from a point of
view of traceability, documentation or existence, ceases to have a record
of their existence within a society."
Panel 5. In 1984 “pornosec”
is a section of the Ministry of Truth that produces pornography.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid
writes, "Julia worked for Pornosec at one point, which was a sub-section of
the Fiction Department: "She [Julia] had even (an infallible mark of good
reputation) been picked out to work in Pornosec, the sub-section of the Fiction
Department which turned out cheap pornography for distribution among the proles.
It was nicknamed Muck House by the people who worked there, she remarked.
There she remained for a year, helping to produce booklets in sealed packets
with titles like Spanking Stories or One Night in a Girls' School, to be bought
furtively by proletarian youths who were under the impression that they were
were buying something illegal."
Unfortunately, this is one of several similarities with the Big Brother-era
England of fiction and today's actual Europe (and the Western World in general),
a protagonist on the so called "War on Terrorism" and a "Fortress" guarding
its shores and cities against undesirable elements (immigrants) that the
aforementioned war causes. It's common that such undesirable people may be
abducted, tortured, illegally interrogated or disappear completely; or European
countries may cooperate and abet to such actions taking place (by some other
western power) in their territories.
Panel 6. The “Adventures of Jane”
was the movie version of Norman Pett’s comic strip “Jane,”
which appeared in the British Daily Mirror (1932-1959).
Jane is an ingenue who is often inadvertently disrobed. Also
see the Tijuana Bible at the back of the Black Dossier. Guy
Lawley writes, "The whole sequence of Mina undressing and bathing is
a definite nod to the comic strip Jane, a very close echo of at least one
(and probably several) sequence(s) in the strip; very close to the style
of the strip too."
Pádraig Ó Méalóid
schools us Colonials on Jane:
Norman Pett's "Jane's Journal: The Diary
of a Bright Young Thing" first appeared in the Daily Mirror on December
5th 1932, with his wife as the model. In 1938 Don Freeman came on board
as writer, and in 1939, when his wife decided golf was more interesting
than posing for him, Pett found the model who was to become Jane in most
people's eyes, Christabel Leighton-Porter. C L-P also played the role of
Jane in the 1949 film version of the strip, The Adventures of Jane. In 1948
Pett's assistant Michael Hubbard took over as artist, and the last strip,
when Jane finally married her long-standing boyfriend Georgie, was on October
Panel 7. "You don't seriously imagine Jane's
real? Some chap at Pornsec wrote the lot, I bet."
Jane was revived in a BBC television series, simply called "Jane," starring
Glynis Barber, which ran from August 1982 to September 1984.
As Leighton-Porter's obituary in The Telegraph put it, "Jane was forever
shutting her skirt in doors, reaching for her towel in the bath, or romping
unclad in tropical ponds. Even the slightest breeze could reduce her to
a bra and frilly cami-knickers."
Jane's popularity with the troops during the Second World War is such
that it is said that in 1943, on the first occasion that she lost all her
clothes, the British 36th Division immediately gained six miles.
An anecdote from this site
is worth repeating:
Christabel's favorite moment from the fame of being Jane occurred when
the sexy showgirl, for once demurely dressed, met the then Lord Chamberlain.
"Tell me my dear," asked the head of the royal household, "what do you do
in your act?" "Well," explained Christabel, "at one stage I turn my back
to the audience, take off my bra, and then cover my breasts with my hands
as I turn 'round." There was a momentary silence, before the King's sidekick
replied, "You must have very large hands."
This action is to some extent mirrored by Mina in Page 23, panels 1 &
However, in the world of LoEG, perhaps the Daily Mirror did not actually
run the cartoons, and rather the original appearance was the 1949 film,
which would fit in with the chronology of the story rather well. Presumably
when AQ refers to "that 'Adventures of Jane' series" he is referring to
possibly a collection of Tijuana Bibles (TB) similar to the one bound into
this, based on the film, which would have been produced by Pornsec.
Danny Sichel writes, "notice that, during Mina's one full-frontal-totally-exposed
pose, she's scornfully doubting the premise of the Jane series. "You don't
seriously think Jane's real?"" Pádraig
Ó Méalóid writes, "The fact that Mina's pose is very
similar to some of Jane's poses in the cartoons, while Mina's is simultaneously
denying the likelihood of Jane's existence is well done. There is also a
huge difference between Mina's casualness about her nudity in 1958 and her
extremely prim and proper attitude in 1898."
Panel 8. I realize that that is
probably a tiger on the mug, but it might also be a reference
to Korky the Cat, star of a comic strip in the British comic
The Dandy from 1937 to 2005. Jonathan Carter and Myles Lobdell
think that it's Tony the Tiger. Greg Baldino says,
"yes, that is a box of Frosted Flakes with Tony the Tiger on it. It's
based on the original version of the character drawn by Martin Provensen,
who did the original Kelloggs' character designs." Philip & Emily Graves agree: "After a closer look,
the 'mug' looks more like a box, further implying that this is less
a concealed reference as simply a box of (Tony the Tiger emblazoned) Frosties,
which first appeared in 1952 - although the design was different."
Pádraig Ó Méalóid writes, "In 1984, it turns
out that a picture on the wall - of St Clement Danes Church on the Strand
- was actually a disguised viewing apparatus, leading me to wonder if the
picture here is a reflection of that? Probably not, as it would have a church
on it, rather than a man and a boy... Besides the box of Frosties behind
AQ, the box with SA... SA... on it is probably Saxa Salt, and the sauce bottle
beside that look a bit like it might be YR Sauce."
Page 23. Panel 1. The
“B.B. Years” is a reference to “the Big Brother Years.”
“Cavor” is a reference to "Professor Selwyn
Cavor," from H.G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon
(1901). Cavor appeared in League v1.
Panels 3-4. “...he’d been to Jamaica
earlier this year...apparently he was there sparring with
some mad scientist. Distant relative of our old Limehouse adversary,
This is a reference to Ian Fleming’s Dr.
No (1958). In the novel Bond is sent to Jamaica to recover
from having been poisoned by Rosa Klebb in From Russia With
Love. In Jamaica Bond comes into conflict with Dr. Julius No,
a Chinese-German scientist and Russian agent.
The implication that
Dr. No is related to Fu Manchu is a new one, although, as
Myles Lobdell points out, "Ian Fleming publicly admitted that Dr.
No was directly inspired by his reading Sax Rohmer at Eton. See
John Pearson's 1966 biography The Life of Ian Fleming." Neil
Chester adds, " I was just wondering if the line about Dr No being related
to Fu Manchu isn't, in part, sparked by the fact that Fleming wanted his
cousin Christopher Lee to play Dr No and, of course Lee also played Fu
Panel 5. “I wonder if he’s still
alive? The Devil Doctor?”
“Not in England. The
party purged Limehouse in ’48.”
In The Shadow of Fu Manchu (1948)
Fu Manchu has relocated to New York. He would not be active
in Limehouse for a number of years.
Panels 6-7. "Something's tucked inside have fallen
"Never mind. Probably nothing important."
Steve Higgins writes, "I figured these lines were references to the fact
that Moore originally intended there to be additional supplements included
in the HC, including the vinyl single, which DC nixed."
Panel 7. "God, look at this dust! This hasn't been
opened for ages."
Keith Kole writes, "Call me crazy, but I have to wonder if
the Black Dossier didn't fall backwards through time. The last entries
are dated 1957, one year before the story starts. How much dust can accumulate
in a year?"
Panel 9. “Are you sitting comfortably?
Then we’ll begin.”
“Are you sitting comforably? Then I’ll
begin” was the opening phrase of Listen with Mother
(1950-1982), a BBC radio program for children. Joseph Nevin points out that Moore used this line in V
Jonathan Carter writes, "Mina and Allan reading
the Black Dossier in bed might be a deliberate parallel to 1984's
Winston and Julia reading Goldstein's book in bed."
Page 24. This
is all written in newspeak, with newspeak logic.
Gunnar Harboe writes, "While clearly a joke on
Newspeak, the text here is also poking fun at the legalese found in copyright
notices, legal disclaimers, end-user license agreements (EULAs) and all the
other small print we supposedly agree to whenever we pick up a book, play
a DVD, install software, or take the plastic wrapping off pretty much anything.
There's also a reference here to T.H. White's The Once and Future King,
with the famous dictum "Everything not forbidden is compulsory."
Page 25. For more on
“H.W.” see Page 83.
“Greyfriars” is a reference to Greyfriars
School, from the hundreds (well over a thousand) of British
story paper stories set there and written by “Frank Richards,”
a.k.a. Charles Hamilton. Greyfriars is a British public school
whose students, including Billy Bunter and the Famous Five, have a
wide variety of adventures, from student revolts to attacks by Yellow
Myles Lobdell notes, "Greyfriars
School is most famously and originally from Thackeray's novels
(the Newcomes among others). It was not original to Charles
Hamilton, although Hamilton did move the school from Surrey to
Méalóid writes, "It's probably truer to say that Frank Richards
simply borrowed the name, rather than suggesting it was the same school."
“R.K.C.” See Page 83.
The “Holmes brothers” are a reference
to Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes. Sherlock appeared
in League v1 in flashback. Mycroft has appeared in both
“Bessy.” See the notes to Page 86.
“Gerry O’Brien.” See the notes to Page
13, Panel 2.
“Oliver Haddo” is a reference to W. Somerset
Maugham’s novel The Magician (1907). Haddo was based
on Aleister Crowley, and Crowley later used “Oliver Haddo” as
a pseudonym. In The Magician Haddo (a version of Dr. Moreau)
attempts to use magic to create life.
Méalóid writes, "W Somerset Maugham met Aleister Crowley in
Paris in 1897, and they disliked one another on sight, apparently. Maugham
recollects meeting Crowley in this extract from
A Fragment of Autobiography, written nearly fifty years later, which
was included with later editions of The Magician."
“Trump” See Page 29.
“Prospero” is a reference to William Shakespeare’s
The Tempest (1611). In the play Prospero, a wizard
and the deposed Duke of Milan, gets up to hijinks on an island.
“Fanny Hill” is a reference to John Cleland’s
Fanny Hill, Or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1749).
Fanny Hill, one of the most notable early works of English pornography,
tells of Mistress Hill’s erotic exploits.
I’ve been unable to determine whether
“Humphreys” is a reference to a real-life person or a fictional
one, and to who. Myles Lobdell believes that it is a reference
to "Mrs. Humphrey's, a print shop owner in late Georgian, Regency
England. Made famous in cartoons by Theodore Lane and James
“Les Hommes Mysterieux” means “The Mysterious
Men” in French. “Der Zwielichthelden” means “The Twilight
Heroes” in German.
Eduard Hapsburg writes,
"does it make sense to point out to Alan Moore that the TWILIGHT HEROES
are written wrong in German several times in the BLACK DOSSIER? It is
DIE ZWIELICHT-HELDEN (with a dash, I'm afraid), definitely NOT "DER Zwielicht..."
and much more definitely not "Zweilicht". Except, of course, if Alan
Moore is poking fun at wrong spelling of german in old war comics ("Donner
“Rt. Hon. Bertram Wooster” is a reference
to the immortal Jeeves & Wooster stories of P.G. Wodehouse.
See Page 116 for more.
“Joan Warralson” is a reference to W.E.
Johns’ Worrals, who appeared in a number of stories in Girl’s
Own Paper and eleven novels from 1940 to 1950. She is a
smart, independent, patriotic, and fearless pilot for the Woman’s
Auxiliary Air Force during World War Two. She is a member of the
1946-1947 League. (See Page 148 below).
“Sal Paradyse” is a reference to Sal Paradise,
the narrator of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957). On
the Road, the major novel of the Beat movement, is a stream-of-consciousness
account of Kerouac and his friends traveling across America.
“Dr. Sachs” is a reference the titular
character of Jack Kerouac’s Dr. Sax (1959). Dr. Sax
is a scientist who travels to Lowell, Massachusetts, to destroy
the Great World Snake, a Jörmungandr-like monster.
Page 26/On the Descent of Gods
1. "Haddo is what you'd call a 'black
magician' who worked for us during WWII."
Robert Scott Martin writes, "the specifics of Crowley's
wartime activities are controversial, but a good account is here.
(As trivia, the Ian Fleming connection apparently resulted in
Le Chiffre from Casino Royale being based on this particular
Myles Lobdell notes that "On the Descent of Gods'
is taken from Charles Darwin's paeon to human evolution, the Descent
The “fire at his Staffordshire estate in 1908”
is a reference to the finale of The Magician, in which
Skene, Haddo’s mansion, burns to the ground.
"...finally died destitute
in Hastings a few years ago in 1947."
Robert Scott Martin notes that Haddo shares a death
year with Crowley.
I believe “The Solstice” is a reference
to Aleister Crowley’s magazine The Equinox (1909-1913,
then intermittently). The Equinox is the official magazine
of A:A:, the magic order Crowley established in 1907.
“...my own Liber Logos, dictated by an
unseen presence in Cairo during 1904.” This is a further reference
to things Aleister Crowley-an. “Liber Logos” means “Book of
the Word” and is an analogue for Crowley’s own Liber Al vel
Legis, the “Book of the Law,” which was supposedly dictated
to Crowley by the Egyptian god Horus in Cairo in 1904.
Jamaal White writes, "Liber legis was supposedly dictated
by Aiwass (Crowley's holy guardian angel who in this case served as
a middleman for 3 different gods nuit, hadit and ra hoor khuit (horus)
although it did anounce the aeon of horus."
The “Elohim” are, in Genesis 6:2, a kind
of angel who take the “daughters of men” for wives. Jason
Adams writes, "In several cases in the Hebrew Bible, Elohim seems to
refer to the God of Israel. (It is the third word in the Hebrew text
of Genesis, for example.) In other instances, as you noted, it seems
to refer to a class of angelic beings that came to Earth to mate with
human women. I've read some theories that the use of Elohim, a word that
can be a plural noun, in the early biblical texts is a remnant from even
sacred texts of ancient polytheistic religious traditions of the Middle
East. Additionally, the Raelian Movement (a UFO/sex cult) interprets Elohim
to mean "those who came from the sky"--extraterrestrials that created
life on Earth."
The “Great Old Ones” are a reference to
the works of H.P. Lovecraft. In Lovecraft’s “Cthulhu Mythos”
stories the Great Old Ones are a group of alien god-like beings
of enormous size and power who transcend our understanding of
time and space. They are currently imprisoned or sleeping but can be
awakened by cultist worshipers.
“Johannes Suttle” is a reference to “Subtle,”
from in Ben Jonson’s play The Alchemist (1610). Subtle
is a rogue who poses as an alchemist.
In the fictional literary history of the
Necronomicon (see below) as described by Lovecraft,
the only reference to a 16th century translation is this, in
Lovecraft’s “The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon":
“A still vaguer rumor credits the preservation of a 16th century
Greek text in the Salem family of Pickman; but if it was so preserved,
it vanished with the artist R. U. Pickman , who disappeared early
In the works of Lovecraft “Abdul Alhazred”
is the unfortunate 8th century Arab writer of the Al-Azif,
which later became known as the Necronomicon (see below).
Alhazred is known as the “Mad Arab” in the Lovecraft stories,
and for good reason.
“Necronomicon” is a reference to the Necronomicon,
which in the works of Lovecraft is a tome of forbidden knowledge
so horrifying that it drives those who read it mad.
“Yuggoth” is, in the works of Lovecraft,
another planet. In “The Whisperer in Darkness” Lovecraft describes
Yuggoth in this way:
Yuggoth... is a strange dark orb at the very rim of our solar
system... There are mighty cities on Yuggoth—great tiers
of terraced towers built of black stone... The sun shines there
no brighter than a star, but the beings need no light. They have
other subtler senses, and put no windows in their great houses and
temples... The black rivers of pitch that flow under those mysterious
cyclopean bridges—things built by some elder race extinct and forgotten
before the beings came to Yuggoth from the ultimate voids—ought to
be enough to make any man a Dante or Poe if he can keep sane long enough
to tell what he has seen...
Michael Prior writes, "I always understood that
by "Yuggoth" the then newly discovered planet Pluto was meant, 'appropriately'
named after the Greek god of Hell/the Underworld. (Pluto was discovered
in February 1930, by which time Lovecraft started to write on
"The Whisperer in Darkness".)"
“Kutulu” is a reference to Cthulhu, one of the Lovecraftian Great
Old Ones and a being trapped beneath the Pacific Ocean. “Kutulu”
is one of the variant spellings of Cthulhu.
“A-Tza-Thoth” is a reference to Azathoth,
one of the Lovecraftian Outer Gods (more powerful versions
of the Great Old Ones). Azathoth, the “Blind Idiot God,” is
described in “The Whisperer in Darkness” in this way: “the monstrous
nuclear chaos beyond angled space which the Necronomicon had mercifully
cloaked under the name of Azathoth.”
“Shub-Niggurath,” in the works of Lovecraft,
is an alien being similar to the Great Old Ones. Shug-Niggurath
is the “Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young,” a fecund
being who gives birth to monstrosities.
“N’Yala-Thoth-Ep” is a reference to Nyarlathotep,
one of the Outer Gods in the Lovecraftian mythos. Nyarlathotep,
a.k.a. “The Crawling Chaos” and “The Three-Lobed Burning
Eye,” is an ill-defined and amorphous being who “had risen
up out of the blackness of twenty-seven centuries.”
“The Haunter of the Dark” is a reference
to the Lovecraft story “The Haunter of the Dark” (Weird
Tales, Dec. 1936). In the story a younger writer, Robert
Blake, has an unfortunate encounter with “the Haunter of the Dark,”
an avatar of Nyarlathotep. Micah Harris expands on this: " I didn't notice anyone
pointing out that Robert Blake in the "The Haunter of the Dark" is supposed
to be based on a young Robert Bloch. According to the "Encyclopedia
Cthulhiana," Lovecraft chose "Blake" as Robert's surname as a play on
"Bloch." Robert Bloch had killed a character who was supposed to be Lovecraft
in his story "The Shambler from the Stars" as a tribute of sorts (I believe
he got Lovecraft's permission to do so), so Lovecraft playfully did the
same to Bloch/Blake in "The Haunter of the Dark.""
“Elder Gods” is a reference to a class
of beings in Cthulhu Mythos stories written after Lovecraft’s
death. In Lovecraft’s fiction the Outer Gods and the Great Old
Gods are not deliberately inimical to humanity–rather, they are
simply uncaring, as we are beneath their notice. After Lovecraft’s
death August Derleth, in his story “The Return of Hastur,” proposed
that the Great Old Gods were evil and were opposed by “the Elder
Gods, of cosmic good.”
“R’Lyeh” is a reference to the city of
R’lyeh, submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean and home to Cthulhu,
who is not dead, only sleeping.
“Qlippothic” is a reference to the qlippoth,
the cause of evil and suffering in Jewish mystical traditions,
especially the Kabbalah.
In the Cthulhu Mythos the “‘Tcho-Tcho’
people” are an “abominable” race of short, hairless Burmese.
“Zara’s Kingdom” appears in Gilbert &
Sullivan's Utopia Limited; or, The Flowers of Progress
Page 27/On the Descent of Gods
2. “The Arctic kingdom of Hyperborea” is a reference
to Hyperborea, which in Greek mythology was the land “beyond the
north wind,” far to the North. Myles Lobdell
adds, "I think it would be useful to also touch on the fact that Hyperborea
played an important role as a lost continent in theosophy (starting with
Madame Blatavsky, as touched on by De Camp in his book Lost Continents),
but, more importantly in this context that it was used by Clark Ashton Smith
as a setting for his "Hyperborean cycle" of short fantasy stories that have
become part of the Cthulu mythos; indeed, H.P. Lovecraft incorporated some
of the fantasy elements first introduced here into his later stories."
Peter Gilham noted that Hyperborea also appears in
Robert E. Howard's work.
“Crom” appears in the fantasies of Robert
E. Howard. Crom is the grim, brooding god worshiped by the
barbarian Cimmerians, of whom Conan is one.
The “Melnibonean Empire” is the decadent
empire from which came Elric in the “Elric of Melnibone” books
of Michael Moorcock.
“Lords of Order warring endlessly with
Lords of Chaos” is a reference to the Eternal Champion book
cycle of Michael Moorcock, in which Law and Chaos, represented
by the Lords of both, are in perpetual metaphysical struggle.
Arioch is one of the Lords of Chaos in
the Moorcock books. He is the “Knight of Swords” and is the
patron god of Elric.
Pyaray is another of the Lords of Chaos.
He is an enormous red octopus and is the “Tentacled Whisperer
of Impossible Secrets.”
"...devastation unimagined until last year's
development and demonstration by our allies in America of the Atomic bomb."
Greg Daly writes, "Oliver Haddo's 'On the Descent of Gods' is dated
1941 (Page 25), yet in the article (Page 27) he refers to 'last year's development
and demonstration by our allies in America of the Atomic bomb.' This implies
a nuclear attack and an alliance in 1940. However, considering that we
will later be told that - like in our timeline - the Second World War begins
in 1939 (Page 47, Panel 1)and the British PM is still trying in 1941 to
persuade the Americans to join them in the war (Pages 146-147), this suggests
that there was a typo in the Dossier contents page, and that the date should
instead read as 1946, the year before Haddo's death."
"...just as surely as the Trojan War in the
tenth century B.C...."
Greg Daly writes, "Haddo's dating is far from reliable, though, as
he places the Trojan War in the Tenth Century, whereas Orlando, a participant
in the conflict, puts it in the Twelfth Century (Page 33, Panel 1).
Oberon the First is, in Shakespeare’s
Midsummer Night’s Dream, the consort to Titania, Queen
Page 28/On the Descent of Gods
3. “...the distinctly Faery-blooded Anne Boleyn,
with her protruberant eyes and a sixth finger on each hand...”
In real life Anne Boleyn (c. 1501-1536)
was rumored to have six fingers on her left hand. As Damain
Gordon points out, Boleyn had very large, very dark, very noticeable
eyes. I’m unaware of faeries having “protuberant eyes,” however.
“...reportedly unearthly monarch, Queen
Gloriana the First...”
The world of League is an alternate
history, in which certain elements of our history changed.
One of these elements is the identity of the queen of England
in the 16th century. In our world, that person was Elizabeth I (1533-1603),
who ruled from 1558 until her death. In the world of the League,
that person was Gloriana. She is “unearthly” because she is a true
Faerie Queen. (See Page 43).
Eric Henry astutely notes, "I wonder if Haddo's reference
to Queen Gloriana the First implies that the England of the League has
had more than one Queen Gloriana. Traditionally a monarch is not
referred to as 'the First' until there has been a second of that name
crowned. King Stephen and King John are referred to without number
as they are the only English monarchs of those names."
Myles Lobdell writes,
"Clearly, after the fall of the
Big Brother government, things were put the rights, and the Wyndham family
was restored to royal power. The LOEG equivalent to the monarch
of 1958 and present, Elizabeth II, would of course be Gloriana the Second.
Presumably, she continued reigning until that horrible disaster which
replaced the Wyndhams with King Ralph."
Gabriel Roth writes, "This is
confirmed on p. 88, panel 1: Bunter says "Ever since the first Gloriana was
queen," with a clear stress on the word first."
“...his wife Doll” is a reference to the
prostitute Doll Common in Ben Jonson’s play The Alchemist.
“Edward Face” is a reference to Face,
a crafty butler in The Alchemist. Subtle, Doll Common,
and Face team up in The Alchemist to swindle various
Scott Martin writes, "There's a double joke going on with Face,
since John Dee ("Subtil") was also associated with the "notorious"
fellow alchemist Edward KELLEY. Arguably, Subtil is to Dee as
"John Faust" would be to Cornelius Agrippa."
“John Faust” is a reference to the Faust
myth. There was a real Faust, Georgius Faust, a wandering
German mystic of the early 16th century who claimed to be, variously,
an astrologer, an academic, an expert on magic, and an alchemist.
His legend grew after his death because of his claims to mastery
of magic, which the Lutherans took seriously, leading to stories
that he had sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for advanced knowledge.
Anecdotes began to be told about a “Johannes Faustus,” and eventually
he became a figure of folklore, a man who wandered around Europe with
two familiars, a horse and a dog, and was strangled by the Devil when
his time was up.
The Book of Enoch is not, I believe, a
reference to the various books which are falsely-attributed
to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, but rather to the book
in which Dr. John Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley took dictation
of the angelical language from a set of angels.
Philp & Emily Graves write,
"I think the reference to the Book of Enoch is possibly a double-allusion.
Certainly the apocryphal Enoch talks of various Angelic beings
(and is the reference for the Nephilim and Lilim, which are the
offspring referenced on p26). Likely, therefore that Suttle (Dee)
and Face (Kelley) communicate with the creatures from Apocryphal
Enoch, and would then use such contact to write a LoEG version of Dee's
Greg Strohecker writes,
I think Moore is referencing the actual book "1 Enoch" from
the pseudepigrapha, as well as the writings of John Dee and Edward
Kelly. In 1 Enoch, there is a section where it describes how
some of the "Watchers", who were fallen angels, took human wives
and had children with them. Their descendents were a race of giants
called the Nephillim (not unlike the Titans of Greek Mythology). Here's
the link and quote from Wikipedia:
"The first section of the book depicts the interaction of the
fallen angels with mankind; Sêmîazâz compels
the other 199 fallen angels to take human wives to have children."
In the magical Enochian tradition “aethyrs” are various planes or
worlds which surround and mingle with our own.
Robert Scott Martin writes, "Philip & Emily
Graves are correct. The pseudoepigraphic Enoch is the story of the
watchers and their relations with human women; "Enochian" is the
system of ceremonial language pioneered by Dee & Kelley. Both
Pádraig Ó Méalóid
writes, "When Haddo writes "We may only speculate with regard to the offspring
that may result from such couplings, but it is sufficient to remark upon
the implication of a thriving, viable celestial stock, a divine lineage
with the potential for both evolution or degradation over the successive
aeons, as with earthly and material bloodlines" this is effectively implying
that there is hidden in humans the ability to become more than human, as
many of the members of the League have, in different ways."
The “Thessalian witch-goddess Smarra” is a reference
to Charles Nodier’s “Smarra, ou Les Demons de la Nuit” (1821).
In the story Lorenzo, an Italian, has a series of nightmares
within nightmares, which culminate with Smarra, a Thessalian
demoness, feeding on the lover of one of Lorenzo’s dream selves.
Robert Scott Martin writes,
"Smarra seems to be standing in from the BABALON familiar to Promethea
readers and others and the closing motto subverts Crowley's "Love
is the Law / Love Under Will."
“...or according to some accounts to have
gone into self-imposed exile on a distant island, with his
life prolonged by sorcerous means.” The implication here is
that Johannes Suttle is Prospero.
Robert Scott Martin writes,
"I'm surprised you don't mention the triple identification of Dee
to Subtil to Prospero here, the island exile and daughter Miranda."
“Don Alvaro” and “Biondetta” are references
to Jacques Cazotte’s Le Diable Amoureux (1772). In
Le Diable Amoureux a young Spanish nobleman, Alvaro,
falls in love with the fetching Biondetta. Biondetta takes Alvaro
to bed, where after his declaration of love for her she reveals
herself to be the Devil. Only Alvaro’s faith and confession save him
“Count von Ost” and “the Sicilian” are
a references to Friedrich von Schiller’s “Der Geisterseher:
Eine Gesichte aus den Memoires des Graf en von O” (1787-1789).
In “Der Geisterseher” Graf von O falls under the spell of the Sicilian,
The “Order of the Golden Twilight” is
a reference to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an
English magical organization formed in 1888.
The “Ordo Templi Terra (O.T.T.)” is a
reference to the Ordo Templi Orientis, or “O.T.O.,” a magical
organization formed by Aleister Crowley in 1904. Philip &
Emily Graves write, "We think it quite deliberate that the abbreviation
is "O.T.T.", which is a common (UK?) shorthand for "Over The Top",
and we believe that the name of the 'Ordo Templi Terra' is designed
for precisely this effect, since OTT refers to things that are, well,
outrageously exaggerated, ostentatious and for show!"
Page 29/Trump 1. Panel 1.
The Trump is a riff on the various British story papers
and comics of the 1940s and 1950s, which were visually similar
to this. Pádraig Ó Méalóid
writes, "In the film Hue and Cry (Ealing Studios, 1947), generally
regarded as being the first of the Ealing comedies, the comic the boys
in the film are reading is actually called The Trump. In the
film, the comic is being used to send coded messages to criminals about
jobs they're about to undertake.
Also note that Hue and Cry is one of the London Underground
stations on pages 6 & 7.
Trump is also British slang for a fart, of course..."
Panel 2. “Selwyn Pike and Smiler”
is a reference to the 1947 British crime comedy film Hue
and Cry, in which a group of street boys read, in a story
paper, about the exploits of English detective Selwyn Pike and
his young sidekick Smiler. Pike and Smiler are spoofs on on the English
detective character Sexton Blake. Blake was created in 1893, and
his exploits appeared on a more or less continuous basis until 1968
(which, you’ll note, gives him longevity over that gauche arriviste
Superman). Although the Sherlock Holmes stories were generally better
written than the Sexton Blake stories, it was Blake, not Holmes, who
was more commonly copied in the British story papers and comics. (Blake
was more action-oriented and had a much superior Rogues Gallery). Dozens
of Sexton Blake knockoffs appeared in the story papers in comics, nearly
all following the name format of two syllables/one syllable. So: “Sexton
Blake,” “Selwyn Pike.” “Smiler,” Pike’s young assistant, is a version
of Tinker, Blake’s sidekick and informal ward.
Stu Shiffman adds, "Even P. G. Wodehouse, in his novel
Something Fresh/Something New (those UK and US titles), has the character
of Ashe Marston writing “The Adventures of Gridley Quayle, Investigator”
for the British Pluck Library of the vast newspaper, magazine and comic
paper monolith Mammoth Publishing Company of George Alexander Pyke, Lord
Tilbury (rather obviously based on the Harmsworth empire and Lord Northcliffe)."
Panel 3. “Those Hudson Girls” is
a reference to the film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
(1962), about Blanche and Jane Hudson, two aging sisters and
actresses. In this panel Jane is drawn to resemble Bette Davis,
who played Jane in the film, and Blanch is drawn to resemble Joan
Crawford, who played Blanch in the film.
Panel 4. Philip & Emily Graves
note that one of the men in this panel resembles Charlie Chaplin,
and "maybe Erich von Stroheim directing with riding crop?"
John Dorrian writes, "I kind of liked this new theme Moore is playing
with, where fictional counterparts stand in for real-life figures,
i.e. Gloriana for Elisabeth 1, Prospero for Dr. Dee, Herr Hynkel
for Hitler. But as we see in the Baby Jane sequence, Charlie Chaplin
apparently existed in the League's world, which means both Chaplin
and his fictitious creation (who look exactly alike, mind you, Chaplin
having played Hynkel in the Great Dictator)) were "real"."
Mark Coale wonders if that's not von
Stroheim, but DeMille.
Peter Sanderson writes,
I think that the person people think is Chaplin is really the
cross-eyed silent screen comedian Ben Turpin. Take a look
at his eyes, and that's definitely not Chaplin's "Tramp" hat.
Nor is theman with the riding crop Erich von Stroheim, who was heavier,
had less hair, anda less prominent nose, and whose stern screen personality
as "the man you loveto hate" makes it unlikely he would be depicted grinning
and going "wow."
James Morrison writes, " I think this is Erich
von Stroheim, not as himself, but as the director Max von Mayerling,
later to become dogsbody to Gloria Swanson's Norma Desmond in Sunset
But that is an interesting hypothesis about Chaplin and
Hynkel co-existing in the world of "League." Or is it Chaplin's
famous character the Tramp that exists in the world of "League,"
rather than Chaplin himself? In "The Great Dictator," a barber
(who is essentially the Tramp with clothes in better condition) switches
places with his lookalike, Adenoid Hynkel. The real Hynkel is
imprisoned in a concentration camp, while the benevolent barber takes
his place as ruler of Tomania. Should we assume that this is how
World War II ended in Europe in the world of "League"?
Chris Cooper writes, "They
might indeed by Chaplin and De Mille (Stroheim was bald, had a monocle,
and wore Jodpurs). This makes sense that they'd be making porn since in
the LOEG1 the Parisian tenement in which Dupin, Murray, and Quartermain catch
Hyde listed the writers of the characters living in squalor (perhaps as
Otter writes, "Could the director
be William Desmond Taylor? He had a lurid history with homemade pornography
with his young starlets? The cartoon does resemble him, or even D.W. Griffiths."
“I’ll be jiggered if she hasn’t made a
blue movie.” This is a reference to the pornographic films
Joan Crawford is supposed to have made when she was in her twenties.
Greg Strohecker writes, "There is a picture of Joan Crawford in Kenneth
Anger's book Hollywood Babylon that is in the exact pose of
the picture and with the exact expression on her face (Kevin O'Neill
did a great job of copying it). The only difference is that the picture
is of Joan Crawford with another nude woman."
Panel 5. “Blanch is up to her coat-hanger
japes” is a reference to Crawford’s alleged thrashing of her
daughter, Christina, with wire-hangers.
Myles Lobdell notes the presence
of a Golliwog doll in bed with the children. See Page 166, Panel
1 for why this is relevant.
Panel 6. Richard Dill writes, "Interestingly, in
the panel where Jane runs over Blanche with the Hollywood hills in
the distance and an American style mail-box in the foreground, there
stand a quite obviously out of place British post box. I think this is
a deliberate reference by O'Neill to the inclusion of familiar British
high street items in British comics to make them supposedly more acceptable
to British children. O'Neill himself had a loathsome job at the British
reprint division of Disney comics where he laboriously replaced American
fire hydrants and post boxes with British red pillar boxes and red telephone
Panel 7. Peter Sanderson and Jeff Patterson
note that "little brother Rock" is a reference to Rock Hudson,
and that his "Ladies scare me" comment is a reference to Hudson's
homosexuality and to the homophobia of the British comics and
story papers of the 1950s. Peter also wonders, as I do, if "Daddy"
is a reference to anyone in particular.
Andy Kunka writes, "The "Daddy" poster
on the wall may be referring to the fact that Baby Jane has her
big hit with the song "I'm Writing a Letter to Daddy." I'm not
sure if the picture references anyone in particular, but it looks
a bit like Buster Keaton." Richard Dill writes, "In the movie, Baby
Jane Hudson keeps a huge shrine-like pictue of her father and at on
point sings to it her most successful song as a child star, 'My Daddy'."
Panel 8. The two figures in the
lower right of the panel are Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
Philip & Emily Graves write, "The words "Comic
Cuts" are likely another piece of clever wordplay - Comic Cuts
being the first weekly comic paper (1890), and this clearly being
a 'cut' (censored) comic page." Pádraig
Ó Méalóid writes, "As well as being the first real
weekly comic, Comic Cuts was also a term used to describe comics in general,
now largely defunct, but is still to be heard used as such by elderly people."
"Some suppressed 'comic cuts' for you, regardling Orlando
charlatan. Some dates contradict Almanac. R.K.C. says Orlando 'queer,
and a pathological liar.'"
Keith Kole writes, "Cherry refers to Orlando as a "liar" or
"charlatan" and a "transvestite" several times. I have to wonder why,
out of all the outlandish tales the Black Dossier contains, only Orlando
is singled out so vehemently as a fraud. I wonder if it's the transvestite
part that Cherry is actually objecting to and if he is merely protesting
Greg Daly writes, "The
notes attached to 'Trump' by O'Brien are particularly interesting, not
so much for O'Brien's observations that some dates in Orlando's tale contradict
the Almanac, as for the fact that the notes are attached to a comic dated
22 August 1953, but are addressed to a man who supposedly died in 1952 (Page
83, Panel 6, Page 145, Panel 3). Is Big Brother in fact still alive?"
Page 30/Trump 2. “The
Life of Orlando” is done in the style of the historical stories
which appeared in British comics in the 1950s, down to the summary
in the text of the first panel. Pádraig
Ó Méalóid writes, "The layout and particularly the
colouring of The Life of Orlando here is very reminiscent of the historical
strips that used to appear in Look and Learn, it seems to me, although that
didn't start until 1962. There were also lots of strips of this kind in Eagle,
which started in 1950. In a way the only problem with this strip being similar
to the strips of the time is the fact that it's in colour, which a lot of
them weren't at the time."
The Orlando of the strip is Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the central
character in the Black Dossier. Orlando appeared in Woolf's
Orlando (1928) and is portrayed there as an immortal who
changes sex over the centuries. The text piece in League v2
included her as a latter member of the League. The Dossier greatly
expands her personal history.
Robert Scott Martin writes, "this section is reminiscent
(to me at least) of Phra the Phoenician, a once-popular
"occult adventure story" of an immortal antique. Chapter titles
are similar reminiscent of the intertitles in the film ORLANDO,
although this may be coincidental."
Faithful readers of my work will know
what I think
Panel 1. The robot in this panel
frustrated me, but I think Jack Kessler has it: "The 1937 plate might
be a link to Murray Roberts' "The Raiders of Robot City" (The Latest
Amazing Captain Justice Adventure) in THE BOYS' FRIEND LIBRARY .
London: The Amalgamated Press, May 6, 1937 (number 573)."
Panel 3. The “Seven Against Thebes”
is a Greek myth, most classically described by Aeschylus in
the play Seven Against Thebes (circa. 467 B.C.E.), about
the conflict between Oedipus’ son Polynices and his supporters
(the seven of the title) and Polynices’ brother Eteocles. Herms98
adds, "The sons of the Seven against Thebes who Orlando mentions have not
yet avenged their fathers are the Epigoni, who in Greek mythology do eventually
Panel 4. In Greek myth Tiresias
was the blind prophet of Thebes and was cursed by Hera to
become a woman for seven years.
In Greek myth Manto is the daughter of
Tiresias (later, of Hercules) and became a seer at Delphi.
Panel 5. Keith Kole writes, "Call me nitpicky, but
the blind prophet Tiresias clearly "sees" Bio's male genitalia."
Page 31/Trump 3. Panel
2. “...the Pharaoh Usermattra, called by some Ozymandias.”
“Ozymandias” was one of the names of Pharaoh Ramesses II (c.
1303-1213 B.C.E.). “Ozymandias” is a transliteration of Ramesses’
formal, ruling name, “User-maat-re Setep-en-re.”
Peter Sanderson points out
that for most readers of the Dossier the name "Ozymandias"
is likely to remind them of Ozymandias in Moore's Watchmen.
Panel 3. This panel is a reference
to the Percy Shelley poem, “Ozymandias:”
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said -- "two vast and trunkless legs
Stand in the desert ... near them, on
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose
And wrinkled lips, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless
The hand that mocked them, and the heart
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Panel 4. “Punt” was a land in eastern
Africa which the ancient Egyptians conducted trade with. It
is not known where exactly Punt was.
Page 32/Trump 4. Panel
3. In the Allan Quatermain and Ayesha novels of H. Rider
Haggard Kôr is the capital of a long-dead civilization.
Panel 4. In the Allan Quatermain
and Ayesha novels the Flame of Immortality burns in the caves
beneath Kôr. Those who bathe in them are made immortal.
Panel 5. The “community of others
who had bathed within the pool” is a reference to the City
of the Immortals, which appears in Jorge Luis Borges’ “El Inmortal”
(El Aleph, 1949). I’m unsure if the “oldest [who] had a sullen,
troglodyte demeanor” is a reference to anyone in particular. Peter Svensson writes, "I think that Moore's implying
that the "oldest" refers to a group, not an individual, and that those
are a group of Neandertals or other such proto-humans." Michael Norwitz
writes, "There are numerous immortal Neanderthals ... from King Kull
to Philip Jose Farmer's Old Man Paley to L. Sprague de Camp's "The Gnarly
Man" ... although I may be proven wrong I suspect this line about the troglodytes
was a catchall to include anyone missing." Marcus Ewert writes, "I didn't
think the 'sullen, troglodyte demeanor' meant that the oldest of the
old were literally Neanderthals; in the original Borges story it quite
clearly shows that even the brilliant Homer becomes a gape-mouthed fool
after living all those damn years - he can barely recognize the lines
he once composed- all that immortality just makes you gross and sluggish.
Ursula LeGuin has a very similar depiction of immortality in her recentish
book Changing Planes ("Island of the Immortals)"
Panel 6. In Greek mythology Memnon
was an Ethopian king who fought on the side of Troy during
the Trojan War.
“Ilium” is one of the alternate names
Page 33/Trump 5. Panel 1.
The date of 1184 BC given here for the Trojan War is the one
assigned to it by the Greek scholar Eratosthenes of Cyrene.
The characters described here appeared
in the Greek myths and the Television Without Pity-style recap
of the Trojan War that is Homer’s Iliad.
"In Ilium, as Troy was then called..."
Keith Kole writes, "I would say the most famous line from Christopher
Marlowe's Faust is "Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?" Faust is speaking of Helen of
Troy. Faust's assignation with Helen seals his fate."
Greg Daly writes, "The scene showing the Trojan
War is intriguing in that it raises the notion of hero types. Aeneas and
Orlando are easily identifiable, with Orlando armed in classic Mycenean
fashion, wearing a boar's tusk helmet and carrying a figure-of-eight shield.
The idea that Ajax is a 'confused brute' foreshadows the likes of Hyde,
Caliban, Lancelot, and Beowulf - see below. I think Ajax is the huge crazed
warrior without a helmet another warrior's neck. As for Odysseus as a 'shifty
little swine', that would be a perfect description of any of the Bonds
we see in the series. I'm inclined to think that the warrior with the crestless
helmet in the foreground is Odysseus, not least because his profile rather
resembles that of Campion Bond."
"Ajax a confused brute; Achilles a smug, invulnerable
maniac; Odysseus a shifty little swine."
Pádraig Ó Méalóid writes, "The characters
listed here and their descriptions almost qualify them to be a very early
Panel 3. “...loyal, ageless Bion.”
I’m not sure whether there is a specific
mythological character (Greek or otherwise) named Bion who
I’ve been unable to find, or if this is a backformation from “Albion,”
one of the traditional names for Britain.
Myles Lobdell corrects me
and notes that Bion was the brother of Melampus, a ruler of
Argos in Greek mythology.
Jason Helms adds,
Bios is one of those original puns in Greek Philosophy. Depending
upon where one puts the accent mark, it means variously bow or life.
Heraclitus (frag. 48) says, the name of the bow is life, but it's task
is death. Elsewhere (frag. 51) Heraclitus points to the unity of opposites
and inherent tensions of life, seeing the bow as emblematic of the backturning
(palintropos) characteristic of the unity of opposites which is life.
Taken together, Bion can point to Orlando's own negotiation of the extreme's
of "Fighting and Fucking" as s/he later puts it. It is also notable that
Bion is the neuter form of Bios (which is masculine).
“Aeneas’ great-grandson Brutus banished
for accidentally killing his father”
In the Historia Brittonium (circa
833 C.E.), the “history” of Britain from its founding to the
9th century, Brutus, the grandson (or great-grandson) of Aeneas,
is credited with discovering Britain and being its first king.
As a boy Brutus accidentally shot his father in the eye with an arrow
and was banished for it.
Panel 4. This panel is an accurate
recap of the events described in the Historia Brittonium.
Page 34/Trump 6. Panel
2. In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britannia
(c. 1136 C.E.) Corin (or Corineus), the founder of Cornwall, was
a companion to Brutus during the founding of Britain. Corin wrestled
with the ogre Gogmagog and threw him off a cliff.
I’m unsure what “Gogmageot”
is a reference to. I see, per the redoubtable Ken Hite, that
in at least one translation of the Historia Regum Britannia the
name of the ogre is "Goëmagot," and I can't help but wonder of the
"-geot" is a reference to Beowulf's Geats.
Panel 3. Geoffrey of Monmouth claims
that London’s original name was “Trinovantum.”
Panel 5. King Mu (1001-947 B.C.E.)
is reputed to have dined with Hsi Wang Mu, Queen of the Immortals,
on Mount K’un Lun, the home of the Taoist paradise.
Damian Gordon corrects my initial confusion
here: the “human-headed tiger named Lu Wo” is a reference
to Lu Wu, the god who administers Mount K’un Lun. Lu Wu has
a tiger’s body with nine tails, a human face, and tiger’s claws.
Page 35/Trump 7. Panel
1. “She’d gained immortality by copulating three thousand
men to death”
According to the myths, Hsi Wang Mu gained
immortality by nurturing her “yin essence” through the absorption
of energy from her sex partners. “Every time she had had intercourse
with a man, he would immediately fall ill, but her own face would
remain smooth and transparent.” And as she had no husband, she preferred
sex with young boys.
Shawn Garrett writes, "This panel is a direct reference
by O’Neill to the decadent painter Félicien Rops’ picture La
Pieuvre (Octopus or Beach Polyp):"
"So, Hsi Wang Mu can then be seen, by inference, as a Lovecraftian
Old One masquerading in humanoid diety form."
Panel 2. I’m not sure what “Vita”
is a reference to. (Argh, I should have gotten this). Jason Fliegel
writes, "Virginia Woolf based the novel Orlando on Vita Sackville-West,
Woolf's close friend and lover. As Woolf wrote in her diary: "And
instantly the usual exciting devices enter my mind: a biography
beginning in the year 1500 and continuing to the present day, called
Orlando: Vita; only with a change about from one sex to the other."" Jason adds, "I should have also mentioned
that the name Vita, in addition to being a reference to Vita Sackville-West,
is Latin for "life," just as Bio is Greek for "life." (I don't
remember -- Moore may mention this specifically when Orlando discusses
changing his/her name from Bio/Bion to Vito/Vita). So in
addition to whatever references Moore may be making, it's a straightforward
pun -- the character who is alive throughout the entire history of
mankind is named "life."
Panel 3. In H. Rider Haggard’s
She books--She: A History of Adventure (1886), Ayesha:
The Return of She (1904), She and Allan (1919),
and Wisdom's Daughter: The Life and Love Story of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed
(1922)–Ayesha, a.k.a. “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” is a 2000-year-old
goddess worshiped in the African city of Kôr. In Ayesha:
The Return of She Ayesha reappears in the Asian country of
Hes, a.k.a. Fire Mountain, appears in
Ayesha: The Return of She.
Panel 4. According to Roman myths
Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the priestess Rhea Silvia
and the god Ares, were reared by a wolf and founded Rome. Legend
further states that Romulus slew Remus over a dispute over which
brother was supported by the gods and would give the city his name.
Panel 5. Semiramis is a legendary
queen of Assyria and the wife of Ninus, the founder of Assyria.
According Persica (c. 401 B.C.E.), the history of Persia written
by the Greek historian Ctesias of Cnidus, Semiramis succeeded
Ninus and led an invasion of India.
Page 36/Trump 8. Panel 1.
“...since she tended to execute these the following morning.”
According to some myths Semiramis was
particularly lustful. In Inferno Dante has her on the second
level of Hell, among the lustful.
Panel 2. The Battle of Marathon
(490 B.C.E.) was a major victory for the Smurfs over the forces
of Gargamel, and prevented him from conquering Oz and Wonderland.
Panel 4. The Egyptian city of Alexandria
was founded by Alexander of Macedon in 331 B.C.E., but the
“sea-monster-plagued” and iron leviathans are reference to
Monsters’ Park, mentioned in Maria Savi-Lopez's Leggende del
mare (1920), a collection of myths and legends about the sea.
The “bathysphere” mentioned here is a
reference to the Problemata of Aristotle, in which
Alexander is lowered into the sea in a “very fine barrel made
entirely of white glass.”
Page 37/Trump 9. Panel 2.
Spartacus (c. 120-c.70 B.C.E.) was a gladiator/slave who
led an unsuccessful slave uprising in 73 B.C.E.
“...everyone else apparently being named
This is a reference to the 1960 film version
of Spartacus. In the film (Myles Lobdell notes that this
scene does not appear in the Howard Fast novel the film is based
on), when the centurions come to punish Spartacus, who is a prisoner
along with his men, all of Spartacus’ men stand up and claim they
are Spartacus. (I’m summarizing: go here and you can see
the scene for yourself).
Panel 3. Caesar’s invasion of Britain
was done both as punishment for the Britons supporting the
Gauls against the Romans and as the conquest of a economically
Panels 4-6. The history here is
Page 38/Trump 10. Panel
1. The Roman historian Suetonius (c. 69-c.130 C.E.)
records, in his De Vita Caesarum, that Tiberius indulged
in a wide range of sexually cruel behavior, but Suetonius’ credibility
as a historian is not great. (As a writer, though, he’s great fun
The question of Caligula’s sanity is a
debated one. He was ruthless, certainly, but also popular
with the Roman people. The stories circulated about him, during
his lifetime and afterward, vary in their depiction, from simple
harshness and brutality to insanity (trying to make his horse Incitatus
a consul, for example).
Panel 2. The history here is as
Panel 3. Pliny the Elder’s expedition
to Pompeii was to observe the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius first-hand.
Pliny’s nephew, Pliny the Younger, claims that Pliny was
overcome by the poisonous fumes, but of the several people
with Elder, only Elder died, so it is more likely that Elder, who
was fat, had a heart attack.
Appolonius of Tyana (16-97 C.E.) was a
wandering philosopher and teacher in Cappadocia.
Alexander of Abonoteichus claimed to be
a student of Appolonius of Tyana. Alexander, later called
“Alexander the False Prophet” by the Roman satirist Lucian of
Samosata, spread the worship of the snake-god Glycon, which Alan
Moore also worships.
Mark Elstob writes,
In the front left of the frame is Lurcio, a slave (and leading
character) in the fondly remembered Seventies British sitcom "Up Pompei"
(with one "i"). Drawn here to look like the popular comedian
Frankie Howerd, who played the role. In the same vein, the old
man with the red toga is drawn to look like Max Adrian, who played Lurcio's
owner, the wonderfully named Ludicrus Sextus and the young man to the
right holding the slate is Ludicrus' insipid son, Nausius, who was forever
writing odes of unrequited love, hence the slate. The show was
a bawdy, pun-ridden farce, theoretically based on the plays of Plautus,
but clearly more indebted to "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The
Forum" and more specifically to the dozens of "Carry On" films that
were churned out from the Fifties to the Seventies.
writes, "The panel shows Pliny being attacked by zombies. The mention of "poison
gas" having destroyed the city (in our world, Pompeii was destroyed primarily
by eruptions of ash and rock from Vesuvius) probably means that this is a
reference to Return of the Living Dead, where the poison gas "Trioxin" can
raise the dead."
Panel 4. “...the sage Lucian, with whom I journeyd accidentally
to the Moon, our ship transported by a monstrous waterspout.”
This is a reference to Lucian of Samosata’s
True Story, in which Lucian and his companions are
blown off course by a heavy wind, past the Pillars of Hercules,
and have a series of adventures, one of which involves being propelled
by a water spout to the moon.
The history of the emperors Heliogabalus
and Julian given here is accurate.
Shawn Garrett writes, "I know this may seem like reaching
but I’d like to point out that strangely perfect upright rectangle
in the lunar distance on the far right… 2001?"
Page 39/Trump 11. Panel
1. In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Prophetiae Merlini
(c. 1130? C.E.) and Historia Regum Britannia the wizard
Merlin is called “Ambrosius Merlinus,” a combination of the
legendary Welsh mad prophet Myrddin ap Morfryn/Myrddin Wilt and
the Roman war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus.
Panel 2. According to British myth
Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, was a king of Britain,
although I’m not aware that he was ever specifically associated
with Cornwall except in his liaison with Igraine, the wife of
Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall. From their liaison came King Arthur.
In the early, Latin versions of the Arthurian
mythology King Arthur is referred to as “Arthurus.”
Panel 3. The events described here
are accurate in Arthurian myth. Herms 98 adds, "Lancelot
is described as ‘monstrously ugly’. I think this is specifically
a reference to The Ill-Made Knight, the second book in T.H. White’s
The Once and Future King, where Lancelot is ugly. I believe the
idea of Lancelot being ugly is one of the unique things White added for
his book, like the idea of Merlin living backwards through time." Keith
Kole writes, "Both Lancelot and Caliban closely resemble Hyde."
Greg Daly writes,
Panel 4. According to French myth
and the Song of Roland, the unbreakable, magic sword
of Roland is Durendal (alternatively Durandal).
"1958, the year in which Black Dossier is set, was also the year
in which the Candle in the Wind,
the fourth part of T.H. White's Arthurian epic The Once and Future King, saw print,
detailing the destruction of the dream that was Camelot. It can hardly be
a coincidence then that in describing Arthurian Britain, Orlando refers to
'awesome, monstrously ugly Lancelot', who you can see here, hacking his way
across the battlefield.
White's Lancelot, introduced in 1940's The Ill-Made Knight, is as brave and mighty
as any other take on the character, but unique among Lancelots in being spectacularly
ugly -- White describes him as ape-like. There's no doubt then that this
is meant to be White's take on the hero, not least because, as Keith Kole
rightly observes, there is a marked similarity between Kevin O'Neill's depictions
of Lancelot, Caliban, and Edward Hyde.
On top of that, White's Lancelot is a sadist.
It's not just that he's merely good at beating people up and killing them;
he actively enjoys doing so and takes pleasure in inflicting pain on others.
He's not just monstrously ugly, as Orlando opines, he is -- in effect
-- himself a monster, slaughtering in the service of his queen. But that
shouldn't surprise you, really, considering yesterday's observations on another rather more contemporary
I think it's fair to say that Lancelot's a far more attractive character
than Bond, though. He may be a sadist, but he knows it, and is horrified
by it. Deeply good, rather than ruthlessly amoral, his whole life is dedicated
to controlling the beast that he is, to harnessing his monstrous tendencies
so that his extraordinary abilities can be used for good, rather than
It's rather tempting to consider Lancelot as a sort of proto-Hyde figure,
considering not just his appearance but how Edward Hyde's character developed
over the first two volumes of League.
It's also worth noting in this respect that O'Neill depicts Lancelot
as looking suspiciously reminiscent of Sláine, the Celtic hero of 2000AD. Look at his armlet, and at that
wide and ornate metal belt, and then note that that's pretty much all
he's wearing: everyone else is wearing generic Celtic armour. Why? Well,
the implication must be that that like Sláine and Cúchulainn, the Irish hero upon whom Sláine
is largely based, Moore and O'Neill's Lancelot is warped
, prone to berserker furies that transform him into a creature more like
a beast than a man, and utterly invincible in battle. Echoes of Hyde again,
It's also striking that on the following
page Beowulf (40.1) appears looking more than a little like Mike McMahon's
depiction of Sláine, again complete with armlet and broad ornate metal
belt. Orlando admits to not really having understood what Beowulf
was, which raises that whole hero/monster question again. It's
natural to see Beowulf as being in the same berserker model as Sláine
and Hyde, considering his behaviour in the poem, and I can't help but think
of the line in the new film where Grendel's mother notes that Beowulf is
just as much a monster as her son."
Panel 5. King Hrothgar is a figure
in Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Danish myths and sagas. “Hierot”
is a reference to Hrothgar’s hall Heorot in the epic Beowulf.
Page 40/Trump 12. Panel
1. The events here are as described in Beowulf, including
Beowulf ripping the arm from Grendel’s body.
"I'm still not entirely sure what Beowulf was,
Jorge Serna writes, "I think it refers to the debate concerning the translation
of the poem. The same adjective (aglæca/æglæca) is applied
to Beowulf, Grendel and Grendel's mother, is translated as "hero" for Beowulf
but when applied to Grendel is translated as "monster, demon, fiend". From
'Doreen M.E. Gillam's 1961 essay, "The Use of the Term 'Æglæca'
in Beowulf at Lines 893 and 2592" [...] suggests: "Beowulf, the champion of
men against monsters is almost inhuman himself. [Aglæca/æglæca]
epitomises, in one word, the altogether exceptional nature of the dragon fight.
Beowulf, the champion of good, the 'monster' amongst men, challenges the
traditional incarnation of evil, the Dragon: æglæca meets æglæcan."'
That's why in 'Black Dossier' Orlando isn't sure what Beowulf is."
Panel 2. Siegfried is a hero of
various Scandinavian myths. In the German peom Niebelungelied
(c. 1200?) and in the later operas of Wagner based on the Germanic
myths Siegfried is a dragon-slayer.
Gunnar Harboe corrects me:
"Siegfried is not properly a hero of "various Scandinavian myths". He is
a hero of a legend, believed to have originated in Germany (the action is
set by the Rhine in most versions), which was known throughout the Germanic
world, and is known to us in a number of Scandinavian versions, as well as
later German manuscripts and an Anglo-Saxon one (a short story-within-the-story
Panel 3. In the Norse myth of Ragnarok
the world ends after a final conflict between the giants
and the gods. One of those gods, Thor, can be seen in this panel,
striking his hammer against the head of the serpent Jormungandr.
(And for those of you who’ve always wished that Alan Moore would write
Thor for Marvel Comics, this panel is likely as close as you’ll get).
Panels 3-4. “...a cataclysm mirrored
in the Earthly realm by a collision with a weighty meteoric
rock, its dust veiling the heavens for three years. During this
endless Fimbul-Winter, when it seemed the moon had been devoured....”
In Norse myth the Fimbul-Wiinter was the
three years in which there is no summer, just endless winter
and snow. Historically, there were very cold summers during the
years 536-540 C.E., causing widespread crop failures and starvation.
The prevailing theory for the cause of this was that the impact
of a comet hitting the earth spread debris across the atmosphere
and created a version of “nuclear winter.”
Panel 5. There may have been a
historical person named Roland who died at the Battle of
Roncevaux (August 15, 778 C.E.), but the reference here is to
the fictional battle as described in the Song of Roland, in which
the Saracens slaughter Roland and all of his men.
Page 41/Trump 13. Panel
1. “Orlando” is the Italian version of “Roland.”
Hārūn al-Rashīd (763-809 C.E.) was the
greatest of the Caliphs of the Abbasid dynasty, and his rule
is generally seen as the height of the Persian Golden Age.
Scheharezade (alternatively Scheherazade
and Shahrazad) is the heroine of the One Thousand and One
Nights (c. 850 C.E.) better known as The Arabian Nights.
Sindbad the Sailor appears in The Arabian
Jason Adams writes, "The flying
carpet seen in the skies over Baghdad is probably the magic carpet
of Tangu (aka "Prince Housain's carpet") from One Thousand and
Panel 2. “...’til he left
on that eighth voyage from which he never would return.”
In The Arabian Nights Sindbad sails
on seven voyages. Various sequels have been written ever since
describing Sindbad’s eighth voyage. Chad
Underkoffler, Man Among Men, notes "Edgar Allan Poe wrote a tale called
Thousand and Second Tale of Scheherazade". It depicts the 8th and
final voyage of Sinbad the Sailor, along with the various mysteries Sinbad
and his crew encounter; the anomalies are then described as footnotes to
“...Haroun’s grandson Al Wathik Be’llah...”
Al-Wathiq ibn Mutasim, the Abbasid Caliph
from 842-847 C.E., was the grandson of Hārūn al-Rashīd.
Panel 3. The contents of this panel
are a reference to William Beckford’s novel Vathek
(1786). Vathek, an Arabesque Gothic novel, is about the
downfall and damnation of Vathek, the grandson of Hārūn al-Rashīd.
The events of the novel are as described here.
Panel 4. “Prester John” was a legendary
figure in Europe from the 12th to the 17th century. He was
supposedly the Christian ruler of a nation somewhere in the East.
Panel 5. “...I helped Blondel and
his minstrel underground free Richard, called the Lionheart,
Blondel de Nesle was a 13th century French
troubadour who, according to the Récits d'un Ménestrel
de Reims (c. 1250?), helped rescue Richard the Lionheart,
who had been captured and imprisoned in 1192 by King Leopold
V of Austria.
Page 42/Trump 14. Panel
3. The history of Constantinople is as described here.
Panel 4. “I posed for Leonardo,
even though I was becoming a man at the time. I remember he
kept asking me why I was smirking.”
This is a reference to the mysterious
smile of the Mona Lisa in Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of
Myles Lobdell writes, "the
mixed gender and sexual ambiguity/androgyny of the Mona Lisa is
sometimes seen as one of the most compelling attributes of the portrait,
hence the importance of Orlando's changing genders at this time."
Panel 5. "I was apprenticed to the sorcerer Johannes
Faust, whereby I renewed my acquaintanceship with Helen, whom I had
not seen since Troy."
Shawn Garrett writes, "this linking of Faust and Helen
of Troy is specifically from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s FAUST (Part
One) (1808)." Jason Helms demurs: "As for the connection between Faust
and Helen, I believe Marlowe was the first to make this connection, and
maybe even the most notable since we still use his "Face that launched a
thousand ships" line in reference to her." Tim Toner also pointed this out:
"Actually, Christopher Marlowe did it first--Scene XIII, which gives us
the line of perfect iambic pentameter: Was this the face that launched
a thousand ships?" Janez Grm writes, "the names
Faust and Helen of Troy have been connected many centuries before Marlowe.
I first read this in one of the volumes of "History of Religious Ideas" by
Mircea Eliade. Simon Magus, presumably the first christian heretic, called
himself Faustus ("the favoured one") and he travelled around with a Phoenician
prostitute Helene, who said that she was a reincarnation of Helen of Troy.
There's no really good link on the web for this information, at least there's
no site that includes all of this together so I just suggest everyone to go
look this up in some book."
Page 43/Trump 15. Panel
2. “...Gloriana, England’s Queen, daughter of Henry
VIII and faerie half-breed Nan Bullen.”
Queen Gloriana is a literal faery queen.
She has six fingers on her hand, as Queen Elizabeth was rumored
to have and as Elizabeth’s mother Anne Boleyn was rumored to
have. One explanation bruited about for Boleyn’s six fingers
was that she was half-faerie. “Nan Bullen” is a reference to Anne
Boleyn, with “Nan” being a traditional nickname for “Anne” and “Bullen”
being the original version of “Boleyn.”
Jarett Kobek calls bs on the Boleyn-as-half-faerie
Has anyone sourced the supposed rumor that Anne Boleyn was a fairy?
By no means am I an expert in the field, but I have banged around a bit with
the Tudors, and I've got to say this is a new one on me. From what I gather,
the primary source for the six-fingers of Anne Boleyn is Nicholas Sander's
"On the Origin and Progress of the English Schism", a Catholic work in Latin
which has a pretty salacious description of Boleyn. The text infers that
Boleyn was somehow the daughter of Henry VIII (don't ask me), but no where
does it claim her to be a fairy, or an Elf, or whatever the actual period
phrasing would have been.
Panel 3. See Page 53. Marcus Ewert further
notes that a passage about this appears in the Virginia Woolf novel.
It does, at the beginning of Chapter One:
I tend to the read the idea of Gloriana's mother being
an elf as Moore making a literal connection between the allegory
of Spenser's Fairie Queene and Elizabeth I rather than being sourced
in an old time rumor.
He--for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion
of the time did something to disguise it--was in the act of slicing
at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters. It was the colour
of an old football, and more or less the shape of one, save for the
sunken cheeks and a strand or two of coarse, dry hair, like the hair
on a cocoanut. Orlando's father, or perhaps his grandfather, had struck
it from the shoulders of a vast Pagan who had started up under the moon
in the barbarian fields of Africa; and now it swung, gently, perpetually,
in the breeze which never ceased blowing through the attic rooms of
the gigantic house of the lord who had slain him.
Panel 5. The group seen here
is the first known League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, referred
to in League v2 as “Prospero’s Men.” They are:
So, from left to right, we see: Quixote,
Owemuch, Sprite, Prospero, Caliban, Christian, St. Clair,
- “beloved Spanish aristocrat Quixote,”
a.k.a. Don Quixote, from Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's Don
Quixote de La Mancha (1605-1615).
- “impoverished sea-captain Robert
Owemuch,” from The Floating Island (1673), by “Frank
- “ravishing courtesan Mistress St.
Clair.” I believe this is a reference to Amber St. Clair,
from Kathleen Winsor’s Forever Amber (1944). In the
novel poor country girl St. Clair goes from being a prisoner at
Newgate to the mistress of King Charles II.
- “Christian,” from John Bunyan’s
The Pilgrim's Progress from this World to that Which
is to Come (1678-1684). In Progress Christian,
an Everyman, travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial
City, visiting the Slough of Despond, the House of the Interpreter,
and various other locales on the way.
Page 44/Trump 16. Panel
1. “...the spectral Arctic ‘Blazing World’”
The Blazing World is from Observations
upon Experimental Philosophy. To which is added the Description
of a New Blazing World. Written by the Thrice Noble, Illustrious
and Excellent Princess, The Duchess of Newcastle (1666), by
Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. The Blazing World is an
archipelago of island which extends from the North Pole through the
Greenland and Norwegian Seas almost to the British Islands.
Panel 3. Paul Nestadt writes,
Orlando returns to his immortalizing
pool for no reason other than to carve his new name on the map beside
it. Kevin draws this scene out, along with an image of the map itself,
an elongated map of Africa with 2 x's and the word ORLANDO written next
to the lower x. What could this be a reference to?
Panel 4. This group here is the
18th century League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, first glimpsed
in League v1 and described in more depth in League
v2. They are:
It was a common myth of the 14th to 18th century that somewhere there
existed a Fountain of Youth, that could bestow youth and immortality. Most
famously, Ponce De Leone, then governor of Puerto Rico, was convinced by
local native myth that the Fountain of Youth existed somewhere north of
Puerto Rico and somehow got the idea that this meant midland florida along
the eastern coast. The fountain he ended up deciding on is located in St
Augustine, FL where there is now a themepark type "historical site". If
we see Kevin's map as florida, the peninsula stretching out towards the then
known world of the carribean (not such a stretch), then the 2 x's are perfectly
lined up to be Orlando, FL and St. Augustine, FL respect vely. St. Augustine
is located due north and very slightly east of Orlando in about the same
ratio to on a map of Florida as drawn in Kevin's map. This map alongside an
african fountain of youth could have given someone the idea that the fountain
or a similar one was located in St. Augustine, if that someone was a Carribean
explorer like Ponce de Leon.
Of course, this presupposes that Orlando, FL was known as Orlando
at the time.. but it was actually not named that until 1837... but how
nitpicky can we be? There is no other explanation for this panel being awkwardly
thrust into the narrative.
That is to say: 'Orlando's name inscribed on the map by the fountain
of youth may be a reference to Ponce de Leon's search for a fountain of
youth just north of Orlando, Florida'
For more on “Brobdignag’s giant wars,”
see Page 66.
- “unlucky mariner Lemuel Gulliver,”
from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726).
- “trapper Natty Bumppo,” from from
James Fennimore Cooper's five Leatherstocking novels, the
most famous of which is The Last of the Mohicans (1826).
- “libertine Mistress Hill,” a.k.a.
- “dual-natured clergyman Dr. Syn,”
from Russell Thorndike's Doctor Syn (1915) and
its six prequels. In Doctor Syn the kindly and genial
Reverend Doctor is the vicar of Dymchurch at the turn of the 19th
century. Syn was also the notorious pirate and smuggler Captain
Clegg, who was also known as the Scarecrow.
- “and the resourceful Blakeneys,”
a.k.a. Sir Percy Blakeney and Lady Marguerite Blakeney, from
Baroness Emmuska Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905)
and its ten sequels. Sir Percy Blakeney was a foppish British nobleman
during the years of the French Revolution. His alter ego, the Scarlet
Pimpernel, was a daring hero who rescued many innocent members
of the French royalty from Robespierre and the Terror. Lady Marguerite
Blakeney, his wife, was “the cleverest woman in Europe” and an
able partner to the Pimpernel.
Page 45/Trump 17. Panel
1. For more on “the trio’s annual sojourns through erotic
Europe,” see the text section of League v2 and the Fanny
Hill section (Pages 57-72) of the Dossier.
“Twilit Horselberg” is a reference to
Horselberg, a.k.a. Venusberg, is from Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser
(1845). The more erotic/pornographic elements of Horselberg
were added by Aubrey Beardsley in his Under the Hill (1897).
Panel 2. “...superhuman aesthete
This is a reference to Theophile Gautier’s
Fortunio (1837), in which the gorgeous, aloof aesthete
Fortunio is fruitlessly pursued by the beautiful courtesan
Musidora, who fails to win his love because Fortunio’s tastes are
too refined for drab Europe.
Shawn Garrett writes,
I just wanted to point out that Fortunio is a strange figure,
much more complex and resonant with the upcoming world of LOEG than
may be made apparent by your summation. It’s been a few years since
I’ve read the story but Fortunio’s origins strangely mirror some of Doc
Savage’s,at least in the idea of a child deliberately raised in a controlled
environment by an experimenting parent. Fortunio is denied nothing
he desires as a child and this makes him a “superhuman aesthete” as
the book says but also underlays his horrifying secret – beneath his
house lies a charnel pit filled with the bodies of men who crossed or
vexed him and whom he killed without remorse.
“...or ambiguous Mademoiselle de Maupin...”
This is a reference to Theophile Gautier’s
Mademoiselle de Maupin, double amour (1835), in which
Madeleine de Maupin, always in search of the perfect love, is
Shawn Garrett writes, "de Maupin mirrors
Orlando in being a women who dresses as a man and so becomes romantically
involved with both men and women, so we see “normal” humans mirroring
the “fantastic” through invention and creativity."
Panel 3. “...at the monastery So
Sa Ling, I was captured by Bon sorcerers....”
This is a reference to A Tibetan Tale
of Love and Magic (1938) by Alexandra David-Neel. In the
book, a travelogue, a Tibetan bandit tells Neel the story of
the monastery of the Bon sorcerers.
Tim Anselm writes:
Bon Po (literally "men of Bon"... or "men of Tibet"... the
only people who don't call Tibet something that sounds like "Tibet" are
the Chinese and Tibetans... "Tibet" is from an Arabic cartographer's map
saying 'Tubbat' or "the highlands" or "the high lands of Bon" by way of
Turkish and Persian transliterations.
Panel 4. “...the azure Mount Karakal
and dragon-blazoned Shangri-La....”
Bon is :meant: to be the animist religion that was in Tibet
before Padmasambhava tamed all the pagan deities, but from what little
contact I have had with it, it seems to me that the Buddhists had done
a good job of eradicating almost the whole of it, and the Bon Po were
forced to make stuff up subsequently based on what they could remember.
David-Neel picks up on the boogie-man image of Bon that the
Buddhist clerical authorities put about. (Not that you'd think it now,
but prior to the Chinese invasion the Buddhist schools were very blood-and-thunder,
and scapegoated Tibet's small Muslim and Bon communities endlessly.)
All the Tibetan Buddhist schools have practices involving meditating
on the impermanence of the body using human skin and bones (some times
dressing up in it). There's no top soil in Tibet, hence sky burial
and exhumation burial, and a greater familiarity with human remains
generally. Not heard of people being turned into ointment though.
Orlando being in Tibet in 1906 leaves open the possibility
that he/she was part of Sir Francis Younghusband's British invasion
Depending on the correspondence between our own timeline and
theirs, Quatermaine and Murray's presence in Tibet in 1906 suggests
they may have been monitoring events in Lhasa, given that a power vacuum
had opened up following the Ninth Dalai Lama's escape to Urga, facilitated
by the Tsarist agent Agvan Dorjiev.
It is widely believed that in the previous decade Dorjiev had
received many secret lessons from the Panchen and other lamas on the
Shambala myth. The Shambala myth has now been endlessly analysed due
to its popularisation by the Theosphists and then twentieth century lamas,
especially Chogyam Trungpa, who famously was Allen Ginsberg's teacher.
(I used to live at Samye Ling which Trungpa cofounded. Its
library is a treasure trove of batty Theosphical and counter culture
tomes, including some of the Arthurian and other mythos that Trungpa
read before making his move to the USA. His mission was to try to translate
the concepts of tantra into Western terms, especially that of devotion
to a teacher, which later on involved him getting his female students
to dress up as French maids).
However, at the turn of the twentieth century, teachings of
- and knowledge about - Tibetan Buddhism that are commonplace now took
a lifetime of obedience and prayer for its students to acquire.
Though often interpreted as being a literal, but fragmented,
historical recollection of a real culture - possibly in Siberia, possibly
to the North of the Chang Tang desert, the Ghandaran culture or Sutlej
valley of present-day Pakistan, or the Silk Road cities of East Turkestan,
though some speculate it may even be a fractured memory of the Srivijayan
kingdom of modern-day Sumatra (giant rats anyone?) - the esoteric aspects
of Shambala myth have obvious correspondences with the ideas of the
Specifically, the Kalachakra teaching predicts that - when
the world declines into war and greed - the twenty-fifth Kalki king
will emerge from Shambhala, a literal 'Pure Land' of enlightened beings
to the North of Tibet, with a huge army to vanquish "Dark Forces" and
usher in a worldwide Golden Age.
We can speculate whether Murray, Quatermain and Orlando were
brought together by intelligence pertaining to the balance of temporal
power in Central Asia at the time. Or if in piecing together their
own intelligence from numerous lifetimes of travel, and scraps of
information that may have corresponded with secret Tibetan knowledge
- then travelling back to England by circuitous way of the North Pole
- they were by then pursuing their own lines of inquiry.
Mount Karakal and Shangri-La appear in
James Hilton's Lost Horizon (1933). Marcus Ewert writes,
"Orlando and the 'willing lama' are humping in a very traditional posture
(sitting cross-legged on each other's laps) for Tibetan/Tantric Buddhist
iconography: it's called a yab-yum image. It represents the unification
of esoteric energies that are gendered male and female, so it's very
right-on for Orlando. Plus it's an image of ritual copulation, which
of course Orlando would be intrigued by/conversant in. Furthermore,
Tibetan Buddhism has a lot of Bon-influence, though thankfully
not the "young man ointment" of the preceding panel..."
Panel 5. If the whale in the iceberg
is a reference to anything in particular, I’m unaware of
it. (Moby Dick, maybe?)
Daniel Marks writes,
"do you think it might be one of the 'blazing world' whales that went
astray? If you compare the two, they seem to be of the same genus, sperm
whales. Moby Dick was a Sperm whale (or 'Folio Whale' in Melville's text),
but if the one in the iceberg was Moby, there might have been some reference
to the harpoons that struck him but didn't kill him, as whales who survive
carry them around with them... A whale frozen in ice is perhaps also a fitting
metaphor in Orlando's segment of the text, as s/he isn't going to grow old
Paul Rush writes, "I believe the whale in the
iceberg is a reference to the 1974 film "The Island at the Top of the World",
where explorers go to the north pole in search of the place where whales go
to die, but instead find a paradise inhabited by vikings."
Brad Ricca writes, "the whale
in the iceberg probably is Moby-Dick because of the variety of spears stuck
in his hide (which Melville describes again and again). But in true
League fashion, the whale may also be Mocha-Dick, Moby's supposed real-life
counterpart and inspiration who may have sunk the Essex in 1820. Mocha
is described in Knickerbocker Magazine in 1939 as 'thou famed leviathan, scarred
like an iceberg, who so long did'st lurk in the Oriental straits of that
Page 46/Trump 18. Panel
1. “I strived alongside her, Allan, the thief Raffles,
and occultist Carnacki to avert disaster at King George’s coronation.”
This is a reference to the events of League
“Raffles” is a reference to A.J. Raffles,
the creation of E. W. Hornung. Raffles, who first appeared
in Cassell’s Magazine in 1898, is one of the best known
of the gentleman thieves.
“occultist Carnacki” is a reference to
William Hope Hodgson’s occult detective Thomas Carnacki, who
appeared in six stories in The Idler and The New Magazine
between 1910 and 1912. John Sherman corrects me: "Six stories
were originally collected and published, but when August Derleth’s Arkham
House re-published the stories, he found three others, making a total
of nine stories."
Panel 2. “In 1913, assisting the
team against French counterparts Les Hommes Mysterieux, I
nearly died battling the albino, Zenith, in pounding rain atop
the Paris Opera.”
See Pages 114-115.
“...the albino, Zenith” is a reference
to Monsieur Zenith,
the Albino, one of the arch-enemies of British storypaper detective
Sexton Blake. Created by George Norman Philips, a.k.a. Anthony
Skene, Monsieur Zenith is a world-weary, opium-addicted, danger-loving
Mario di Giacomo writes, "Note that Zenith appears to
be using a black sword. More fuel for the Zenith=Elric flames."
Panel 3. “...penitent bandit A.J.
Raffles, who’d lose his life during the conflict.”
In the original Hornung stories Raffles
did eventually become exposed as a thief and regret his crimes.
He volunteered for action in the Boer War and lost his life in
combat. Naturally, every sequelist has refused to accept that end
“At the Battle of Mons, I was lucky enough
to see Agincourt’s phantom bowmen aiding the English.”
This is a reference to the Angels of Mons.
At the Battle of Mons (Aug. 22-23, 1914) a group of British
troops, though grossly outnumbered, temporarily defeated the
attacking Germans. On Sept. 29, 1914, Arthur Machen published
the story “The Bowmen” in the London Evening News. “The Bowmen”
purports to be the first-hand account of a soldier at Mons who
witnessed English archers, from the Battle of Agincourt, driving off
the Germans. This story was taken to be true, and thanks to the
foibles of human psychology many have claimed that it is and that they
saw the bowmen.
John Dorrian writes,
Amidst the group of soldiers in the left of the panel watching
the phantom archers stands 2 very familiar faces to fans of
British comedy: the WW1 versions of Edmund Blackadder and his
cretinous sidekick, Baldrick. There are a few other soldiers with
them who are (possibly) supposed to be the other characters from
Blackadder Goes Forth, but they don't really resemble the actors
Hugh Laurie or Tim McInnerry, whereas O'Neill got perfect likenesses
for Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson. (One of the other soldiers has
a moustache, and it's possible he's supposed to be Kevin Darling, but
he doesn't particularly look like IcInnerry.)
Peter Sanderson writes, "The presence of Blackadder and
Baldrick is particularly appropriate, since the "Blackadder" TV series
resembles the "League" books in spanning centuries of British history
and working in references to many historical figures and even a literary
character: the Scarlet Pimpernel turns up in "Blackadder the
Stu Shiffman demurs: "I dunno, I don’t
think that the figure next to Captain Blackadder is Baldrick. I think
that it’s the classic British World Wat I cartoon character Old Bill of
“A Better ‘Ole” fame, created by Captain Bruce Bairnsfather. Bruce Bairnsfather's
cartoons were to the British public during World War I what Bill Mauldin's
cartoons were to be in World War II. His "If you know of a better 'ole
- get to it" may be the most famous cartoon of all time. See the Bruce Bairnsfather site."
Ken Shinn writes, "Stu is right about Old
Bill - however, all three of these characters are present at the left
of the panel. At extreme left, with his trademark round spectacles and
beaky, reddened nose (almost all that can be seen of him) is Private Baldrick:
beside him is Captain Edmund Blackadder; and at the right of the trio,
sure enough, is Old Bill."
Panel 4. “Poor Agatha Runcible’s
set” is a reference to Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies (1930),
about the smart London set and Agatha Runcible, who nearly burns
For more on the Woosters, see Page 116.
I know I should get “The Claytons” as
a reference, but I’m drawing a blank. Damian Gordon and
Eric Schaefges wonder if it’s a reference to Jane Clayton, partner
to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan, a.k.a. John Clayton. Vandy Beth writes, "The first Tarzan book was published
in 1914, and was set in the present day. By the end of the book Tarzan had
returned to England, claimed his birthright as John Clayton, Earl of Greystoke,
and married Jane Porter. In subsequent books it was made clear that the
Claytons divided their time between the Greystoke estate in England and
their plantation in Africa (that had been his parents' ambition in the first
place, before the tragic shipwreck that led to John Jr. being raised by
apes). So, Tarzan and Jane would have been young rich marrieds in the 1920s,
in England some of the time, and so they're almost certainly the "Claytons"
referred to by Orlando In Chapter 9, Panel 4 of his life story."
“Jay and Daisy” is a reference to F. Scott
Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) and Jay Gatsby
and Daisy Buchanan.
Chris writes, "the person getting hit by the
car may be Myrtle Wilson, the wife of George Wilson, who was killed in a
hit and run with Daisy (but in that pic it may be Orlando who was the driver)."
Panel 5. Mark Coale points
out the "N" logo on the captain's sleeve. That's Nemo's logo,
but as this is the 1930s this can't be the original Captain Nemo,
but rather his...son? Damian Gordon correctly adds, "...or daughter?"
Page 47/Trump 19. Panel
1. “...the dictator Adenoid Hynkel” is a reference to
Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator (1940), in
which Hitler-analogue Adenoid Hynkel becomes dictator of Tomania.
Peter Sanderson writes, "So does this mean that in the world of
"League" Adenoid Hynkel was the Fuhrer--or as "The Great Dictator" puts
it, "Der Fooey"--of Germany? Or was Germany conquered by Tomania,
Hynkel's country in "The Great Dictator"?"
“...aces such as Bigglesworth” is a reference
to W.E. Johns’ aviator James "Biggles" Bigglesworth, who
appeared in 102 novels and story collections from 1932 to 1970.
Biggles is Britain’s greatest air ace and a most successful
spy, and begins fighting Britain’s enemies at age seventeen during
World War One.
“Hebblethwaite” is a reference to Ginger
Hebblethwaite, Biggles’ wingman.
“Visiting yank G-8 (who seemed, frankly,
This is a reference to Robert J. Hogan’s G-8, who appeared
in 111 stories in G-8 and His Battle Aces and Dare-Devil
Aces from 1933 to 1944. G-8 was the greatest of the pulp air
aces, although in his pulp appearances he was only ever active
during World War One.
Shawn Garrett writes, "I’m sure you’re
quite familiar with Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton stuff and his
controversial theory that G-8 was The Shadow was The Spider (because
he was nuts). I just thought this might be Moore’s sly “tip of the hat”
Patrick Reumann writes, "You
quote from Shawn Garrett about PJF theory that G-8 was latter the Shadow
and also the Spider. Farmer suggested that in his Tarzan Biography, but he
latter Change his mind in his Doc Savage bio. In his Sherlock Holmes book
"The adventure of the Peerless Peer" He has both the Shadow and G-8
as two different people. In the case of G-8, Farmer has someone say that G-8
is a great pilot, but that every so often, he starts reviving about giant
Vampire bats or Giant Cockroachs. I suspect that that what Moore is refering
Myles Lobdell writes, "If you look at the aircraft designs
on Page 47/Trump 19. Panel 1, you can see that many of the craft shown
are clearly jet or rocket powered, not recognizable historic designs
of the time, even though the scene seems to be taking place in 1939,
and jet fighters would not become common until late in the war.
This is a clear demonstration of the futuristic tech of the LOEG universe,
and a bit of foreshadowing on the commonplaceness of rockets shown in the
Not to be contrary but - the German
jet to the left, with the teardrop hull, is the real life Messerschmitt Me
163 - a rocket powered fighter used for bomber intercept. Introduced in 1944
and from what I understand, not very effective.
Page 48/Trump 20. Panel
1. "Trump Traveler's Club."
The German fighter in the rear - the one resembling a V1 flying bomb -
resembles a proposed piloted version that I've heard of but, to best of
my knowledge was never used. I think the Japanese built one as a kamakaze,
that they called the Oka.
In real life both aircraft were desperate measures against an ever growing
Allied air force. Here they seem to be front line, production aircraft
and are both used earlier in the war than in the real world - which I think
takes us right back to this being a display of how the League's world is
There was a children’s comic strip called “Simon
and Sally” in the British comic Robin, beginning in 1953,
and this may be a reference specifically to that, or to the strips
like it that appeared in British comics of the 1950s. Ed Berridge
writes, "the 'Trump Traveller's Club' could be a possible reference to
the 1960's Doctor Who strip that appeared in TV Comic, in which siblings
John and Jillian travelled with their grandfather Dr. Who - probably though
it's just supposed to evoke that period of children's comics."
Argh. Matthew Maxwell points out something
I should have gotten: "Uncle Bernard is Bernard
Quatermass, professor of physics and subjugator of the uncanny in
the trio of Quatermass films, the third of which is QUATERMASS AND
THE PIT (released as FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH in the US.) "
Panel 2. “Blackgang Chine” is an
actual park on the Isle of Wight. Chris
Mirner writes, "you mention that Blackgang Chine is an actual park on
the Isle of Wight (panel 2), which it is, but the reference to an Interplanetary
Zoo is, I believe, a tip of the hat to Dan Dare. Such a Zoo on the
Isle of Wight appear in 'Operation Triceratops' which would appear to be
from the fourth Eagle annual (1954), and is included in the second
volume of Operation Saturn." Peter
Gilham writes, "I thought it worth mentioning that at the real-life amusement
park at Blackgang Chine, one of the attractions is a series of life-sized
model dinosaurs - which I well remember from my childhood holidays there
(and I understand that these now include animatronic ones)."
Panel 3. The “Tralfamadorian” is
a reference to the novels of Kurt Vonnegut, in which an alien
race, the Tralfamadorians, experiences life in four dimensions
and can see all points across time. I’m not sure what the Tralfamadorian
waving means, if anything, or why he “smells of something bad.”
(Myles Lobdell writes that he smells of something bad because "he
is an upright toilet plunger (or at least looks like one)." Chad Underkoffler
corrects us: the Tralfamadorians communciate by farting.
Herms98 writes, "I’m wondering if the
Tralfamadorian in the zoo is a purposeful inversion of Slaughter-House-Five,
where the Tralfamadorians put Billy Pilgrim in their zoo."
Philip Carson II writes, "You say you don't know if the
Tralfamadorian is waving for any reason. It's physical description
describes it as looking like a plunger, with a hand at the top of the
shaft. So it's not really waving, that's just it's head. One
thing though, there is suppose to be an eye in the middle of the palm
that isn't featured in the illustration. But I suppose the eye could
just be closed, or the creature is standing with it's "back" to us. Another
thing is that you say someone told you that Tralfamadorians communicate
by farting. I don't think that is correct, although it seems to be
a common misconception. I've read Slaughter House Five several
times, and I can't recall any reference to that little detail.
In that book, they communicate through telepathy. But a random
alien from the planet Zog, mentioned in another of Vonnegut's novels,
Breakfast of Champions, does communicate through farting and tap dancing,
and I think that is where that particular idea comes from."
Carla DiFonzo writes,
In Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five,"
the protagonist Billy Pilgrim (a time traveler), describes the race of aliens
and their unique perspective of time, noting that they experience the past,
present and future simultaneously. So when they meet someone for the first
time, they say, "Hello, goodbye." In the 1972 film adaptation of "Slaughterhouse-Five,"
Billy repeats the greeting at least three times in front of an audience, waving
each time as he does so. At the moment, I can't remember if Billy, in the
novel, actually waves during his public speech.
The alien to the left of the Tralfamadorian
is one of the Martians from the “Mars Attacks” series of trading
cards. Gabriel Neeb and Jonathan Carter disagree and claim that they
are Metaluna mutants from the film This Island Earth. Jack Kessler
adds, "the time is about right, if you go with the literary source: a
1952 science fiction story by Raymond F. Jones in Thrilling Wonder Stories
magazine. The movie came in 1955."
However, in both the novel and film, Billy tells the audience that he knows
he will killed after his speaking engagement (since he's unstuck in time,
he knows his own future). He tells everyone that unlike most humans, he has
personally experienced the true nature of time, and therefore knows the Tralfamadorian's
perspective is true; the past, present and future occur all at once...time
is not linear as the rest of us experience it. That can only mean that everyone
is always alive and death is not a tragic event.
After that, a sniper shoots Billy, killing him instantly.
Jack Kessler says, "I see what looks like a flying brain with
tentacles of some sort. That made me flash to "Invaders from
Mars", the 1953 movie that had the Martian leader as a disembodied head
with tentacles - but it was just that, a head, not a brain, though it
might have been a bit more brain-like in the 1986 remake."
Edward Rogers writes, "The flying brain
could be the creature from 1957 movie “The Brain from Planet Arous""
Panel 4. The “friendly Lazunes”
is a reference to the Lazoons, from the British tv series Fireball
XL5 (1962-1963). The Lazoons are an alien race, one of
whose members, Zoony, becomes a part of the XL5 crew.
“The Green Man” is a Green Martian from
the John Carter novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Panel 5. “Gorgo’s mother” is a
reference to the film Gorgo (1961), in which the capture
of Gorgo, a Godzilla-type creature, by British sailors leads
Gorgo’s much larger mother to attack London in an attempt to rescue
I’m unable to recognize the big-eared
alien or the two humping aliens. Of
the big-eared alien, Richard Dill can't identify them, but "I know
he was some human kids alien friend on Earth and he was a shape-shifter.
I think he belonged to the younger age-range of comics, such as Playhour
or Teddy Bear." Of the humping aliens, Philip
& Emily Graves write, "The striped, elephant-like aliens must be related
to Stripey, the animal
encountered on Cryptos during Dan Dare's "Rogue Planet" storyline."
Richard Dill wrote again: "I have finally found that little black and
white alien watching the humping elephant-like creatures on panel 5. This
character is Moony who appeared in two British comics for over twenty
years; 'Harold Hare's Own' (1959-64) and 'Playhour' (1964-82). On November
the 14th, 1959, Moony the Moon Man fell off the Moon, slid down a moonbeam
and landed safely on page 10 of issue number 1 of Harold Hare's Own Paper.
By issue 2, he was feeling hungry and seeing a little girl posting a letter
into a pillar-box, thought she was feeding it. So, being a martian, he
promptly turned himself into a pillar box, all be it a black with white
spots pillar-box. Every week, Moony enjoyed shape-changing adventures. The
artist was John Donnelly."
The Metaluna mutants are gesturing at the alien
from the British sf horror film Fiend Without a Face
Panel 5. The Triffid is one of the carnivorous plants
in Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids.
Marcus Ewert writes, "At the end of the novel The
Day of Triffids, after much hard work, the surviving Brits manage
to clear the Isle of Wight of all Triffids...it's where the last words
of the book are penned...the only British colony that really has a chance...bad
luck, then, that a Triffid there has grabbed Simon!"
Shawn Garrett writes, "Upper right corner
of Panel 5 – that looks like a Krynoid from the Dr. Who story “The
Seeds Of Doom” (1976)." Keith Kole writes, "Another connection; it's
said that Seeds of Doom is the most Lovecraftian of the Doctor Who stories."
Peter Gilham demurs: "Although the creature in the
upper right corner does indeed look very much like a Krynoid from Doctor Who,
it’s worth noting that the Krynoid was similar to the fungus creature from
The Quatermass Experiment, both in life-cycle and appearance (the Doctor Who
story, The Seeds of Doom was clearly inspired by Nigel Kneale’s serial). Given
that the good Doctor’s encounter with the Krynoid didn’t take place until
the 1970’s, could the creature in this frame actually be the fungus monster
that Professor Quatermass tracked to Westminster Abbey?"
Page 49/Færie’s Fortunes
Founded 1. “Gloriana” is the titular character
of Edmund Spenser’s epic poem “The Faerie Queen” (1590-1596),
which is an allegory written to celebrate Queen Elizabeth I. “The
Faerie Queen” is about Faerieland and its ruler, the Faerie Queen,
called “Gloriana” because she represents Glory.
Guest_Informant, among others,
notes that Michael Moorcock wrote Gloriana (1978), about
Queen Elizabeth. I'm not sure I see any connection between Moorcock's
Gloriana and Moore's beyond the name, however.
Jason Powell writes, "Although people have noted the connections
in the content between other Shakespeare plays, I don't think anyone's
noted that the title recalls specifically "Love's Labours Lost.""
"Printed by I.R. for B. Bond"
Andres Caicedo writes, "I suspect B. Bond to be Sir Basildon Bond, which
seems to prove that incompetence is a sort of family treat, since it means
that Bond had access to the actual intentions of Queen Gloriana's league,
and not much was done about it. What intrigued me was the identity of I.R.
It is possible that Moore is referencing something else here, but I suspect
I.R. is James Roberts, who printed several works of Shakespeare at the end
of the XVI century and the beginning of the XVII ("A midsummer's night dream",
"Love's labours lost" and "The Merchant of Venice" in 1600, "Hamlet" in 1604,
for example). The only problem with this theory is that I cannot find any
works printed by Roberts as late as 1620, but that may simply mean I haven't
checked hard enough."
Page 50/Færie’s Fortunes
Founded 2. “Master Shytte” and “Master Pysse” are
very Shakespearean names. (Casual readers forget that Shakespeare,
like his contemporaries, didn't hestitate to indulge in scatalogical
and sexual humor).
“Dogrose,” “Gorse,” and “Love-Lies-Bleeding”
are all common names for flowers. Faeries, in Shakespeare,
have flowers’ names. Pádraig Ó
Méalóid writes, "And a list of the meanings of the three Flower
Fairies from Faerie's Fortune Founded. I presume that's meant to be them on
the frontispiece to this on page 49: Dog Rose: Pleasure & Pain; Gorse:
Enduring affection; Love-lies-bleeding: Hopelessness / Desertion.
Page 51/Færie’s Fortunes
Founded 3. "The gates of Nonsuch Palace."
Patrick Gillen writes, "When I read the name "Nonsuch Palace,"
later referred to as "none-such," I instantly though of "The Royal
Nonesuch," the play used by the King and the Duke as part of a con
in "Huck Finn". Not only that, but the characters of Shytte and Pysse
remind me very much of the King and the Duke themselves, especially since
the given illustration fits Mark Twain's description. I'm not sure
what to make of this, since "The Royal Nonesuch" was not a real play,
even within the context of Huck Finn."
John Andrews writes,
"Nonesuch Palace was a real Tudor Palace
built by Henry VIII so that's probably what the reference is to."
Lee Wang writes, "Pysse and Shytte, being
vulgar non-royal commoners, should be speaking in prose and not verse,
as per Shakespearean convention."
“Our right Queen Mary sickened to her crypt”
Queen Mary I (1516-1558) died of what
was likely ovarian cancer.
“Speak not/Her cog, lest like her kin
she come when hailed.”
English folklore had it that it was unwise
to name elves, lest you summon them, so alternative names,
like “The Fair Folk,” were used.
“A will-gill or a child of Herm–“
A “will-gill” is, per the Oxford English
Dictionary, “a hermaphrodite; an effeminate man.” In
the Greek myths the god Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes.
“They jest with me.”
Which is, of course, what Shakespearean
Page 52/Færie’s Fortunes
Founded 4. “Enter Sir John Wilton and Sir Basildon
“Sir John Wilton” is a reference to Thomas
Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveller or the life of Jack Wilton
(1594), a picaresque novel about a wandering English rogue,
Jack Wilton. “Basildon Bond” is a brand of British stationery--but
more importantly, as Paul Cornell notes, "Basildon Bond" is a character,
created by British musician and comedian Russ Abbot, as a spoof
of James Bond.
Although James Bond’s ancestry has been described
in, among others, John Pearson’s James Bond: The Authorized
Biography of 007, Bond's Elizabethan forebears have never been
Greg Daly writes, "The character of Basildon
Bond reminds us of how Broad Arrow Jack had advised Nemo in LOEG Vol. I
to watch out for Campion, as his family had a bad reputation which Jack had
heard about in his travels."
"Sheathe thy stilletos and restrain thy boot."
Philip & Emily Graves see this line as being
inspired by Romeo & Juliet's "Deny thy family, renounce
Peter Svensson writes, "Given that public theatres
did not have curtains, the stage direction implies a private performance,
and hence commission."
Lee Wang writes, "On the subject of Gloriana
in FFF, her lines are uniformly un-Shakespearean as the rhyme schemes are
usually not his simple couplets (aa bb cc etc.). I can't quite place hers
as distinctly Spenserian (e.g. ababbcbcc), but most often her lines are
in the form of abba cddc effe (which I can no longer identify), with some
minor variations in different soliloquies." Danny Sichel writes, "note
that all the mortals speak in blank verse, and the faeries speak in an ABBA
Page 53/Færie’s Fortunes
Founded 5. “Thus should it please me that you now
remain/By London here, at Mortlake to the West.”
Mortlake is a borough of London on the
southern half of the Thames. Its most famous resident is Dr.
John Dee (1527-1609), the occultist, alchemist, and advisor to
Queen Elizabeth. As he did with Elizabeth and Gloriana, Moore seems
to be replacing Dee with Prospero. Jason Powell adds, "There is lots
of good discussion on Moore's drawing a connection between Prospero and
Dee, but I thought it might be worth noting that he's made that connection
before in interviews. Unfortunately I can't find which one, but I THINK
it might be in the interview Moore did with Eddie Campbell in Campbell's
short-lived magazine. Wherever it is, Moore suggests that Shakespeare
specifically based the character of Prospero on the real-life personage
of John Dee. So Moore drawing that connection in "Faerie's Fortunes Founded"
is not at all without precedent."
“As one John Suttle...”
See the note to Page 26.
“...its master my Lord Wilton here: Its
‘M,’ for em’s but double-U disguised.”
In the James Bond books and films “M”
is the code name for the head of MI6, the British Intelligence
Service. The tradition of the heads of the British Secret Service
calling themselves by a single initial dates back at least a
century. Although there are persistent stories within the intelligence
community that Sir Francis Walsingham, a member of Queen Elizabeth’s
Privy Council and the head of her intelligence agency, referred to
himself as “M,” the first documented example of a head of the British
Secret Service being known by a single initial was Captain Sir Mansfield
Cumming, who was appointed director of the British Secret Intelligence
Service, then known as MI1c, in 1909. Captain Sir Cumming’s name was
never officially made public, and he was generally known by the initial
Gloriana replaces Elizabeth.
Prospero replaces John Dee. And Jack Wilton replaces Sir Francis
“It seems like bosoms, or a brace of noughts.
Two ‘0's, within a seven bracketed.”
And so we see the origin of the double-zero
designation for those agents licensed to kill in the James
Bond novels. (More prosaically, Fleming reportedly got the
idea of the double-zero designation from Rudyard Kipling’s “.007"
Chris Roberson notes that
"And supposedly the historical John Dee used the code "007"
as his signature in secret communications to Queen Elizabeth, as
well. (Incidentally, just as Prospero/Suttle is a fictional stand
in for Dee, Edward Face is a stand-in for the historical Edward Kelley,
who assisted Dee in his angelic scrying.)"
Jonathan Carter writes that
this line "might refer to the fact that the Masonic square and
compass symbol looks like a W over an M."
“Hang I as in a saddle-wire, a dee.”
Again quoting the Oxford English Dictionary,
a saddle-wire is “Bookbinding: a wire staple passed through
the back fold of a single gathering.” A dee is “applied to
a D-shaped iron or steel loop used for connecting parts of harness,
or for fastening articles to the saddle.” The connection between
Prospero and John Dee is made more solid here.
"When not employed you may, for all I care, Hack
at a dangled Tartar's head for sport."
As Philip & Emily Graves point out, Orlando
was doing exactly that on Page 43, Panel 3.
Page 54/Færie’s Fortunes
Founded 6. “Why, should I like a cunny-hare to pet,
They are both soft and warm, and likewise
How might I set its velvet ear a-prick
Or make its nose to twitch, so pink and
Then should I have about me, by my troth,
That which is cunny and a-prick the both.”
No, I’m not going to explain this.
Page 56/Færie’s Fortunes
Founded 8. "...a previously undiscovered limited first folio edition
Nick Moon writes,
I believe that the section is incorrect
in stating that it is a "limited first folio edition from 1620". Hopefully
I've managed to include a link to the page on Wikipedia which
listed differences in sizes may make what I'm saying clearer. Simply, I think
this is meant to be what would have actually been a 'quarto', as that is
the format in which individual plays would have been printed. As you may
know, the first *folio* of 36 of Shakespeare's plays wasn't actually published
until 1623. Prior to that, 18 had been published in quarto volumes. This
probably seems like nitpicking, but if you're familiar with the period and
know how things were published, then it really leaps out as error. Folios
were big expensive volumes, and a single play was never published in
that format, only collections, of which Shakespeare's work was one of
the first (it's hard to overestimate just how significant the first folio
is in creating his subsequent reputation).
Peter Svensson writes, "That Shakespeare's
final play (by himself) in our world was the Tempest, which the ending
of Black Dossier harkens back to, makes FFF as the final play in
League quite appropriate. In the world of League, the Tempest and Midsummer's
Night Dream would have been historical plays." Nick Moon disagrees:
I'd like to quibble with what Peter Svensson
has written. I love the idea that The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's
Dream would be historical plays in the world of the league (of course,
they would!), but he says that The Tempest is "traditionally considered
Shakespeare's final work". Well, yes and no. That's actually a product
of Romantic criticism, which obscures the actual conditions Shakespeare's
plays were produced under. Leaving aside the problem of dating plays in
this period, Shakespeare definitely had a hand in two further plays, Two
Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII. Just because he was only a collaborator doesn't
make them any less *his* works. Pericles and Macbeth were both almost certainly
collaborative works, possibly others were too. Shakespeare was something
of an exception given that he didn't collaborate very much in a theatre
culture where collaboration seems to have been the norm. And of course,
he did still collaborate with the actors of his company, tailoring roles
to fit their particular skills (this may be stretching the comparison a bit,
but you could possibly compare that with the collaboration between writer
and artist in a comic if you wanted?).
“...Gloriana’s deeply Christian and deeply resentful
nephew and successor, King Jacob the First.”
Rather than considering Prospero's final epilogue as Shakespeare's
farewell to the Theatre, it's probably more accurate to see it as a traditional
request by the actor for applause. Twelfth Night has a similar epilogue
if you want a comparison. In the spirit of trying to offer a positive
alternative to what someone else has said, this might actually tie in
very nicely with the idea you note at the end that here the author (Alan
Moore) is stepping out from behind the mask of the character and speaking
directly to us readers, just as Ariel's hand is breaking the panel border.
In our world, Queen Elizabeth was succeeded
by King James I (1566-1625), who was careful to maintain
a good relationship with Elizabeth, despite her involvement
in the death of Mary, James’ mother. James was deeply Christian
and would have hated faeries as much as his analogue, King Jacob,
Jason Adams writes, "I just wanted to point out (probably
unnecessarily) that Jacobus is the Latin form of James. The supporters
of that later reigning King James II were known as the Jacobites."
“...as Jacob himself put it at the time
in his book Dæmonologie, ‘That kinde of devils conversing
in the earth may be devided in four different kinds...The fourth
is these kinde of spirites that are called vulgarlie the Fayrie.’
King James wrote a book, Dæmonologie
(1597), in which he described the various kinds of demons,
in which he writes, in Chapter 5, “The description of the fourth
kinde of Spirites called the Phairie.”
Page 58/Fanny Hill 2.
At the end of Fanny Hill Fanny does give up her pleasure-loving
ways to marry Charles, but it’s entirely in keeping with the
tone of Fanny Hill for Charles to stray.
Marc Singer writes, "The infamous Madame St. Clair
appears to be the same courtesan who was a member of Prospero's Men--she
has the same jawline and beauty mark. She would have to be elderly
indeed if she is the former mistress of Charles II; possibly her travels
with the League have extended her life just as they will Fanny's."
Page 59/Fanny Hill 3.
“Mistress Flanders” is Moll Flanders, from Daniel Defoe’s
Moll Flanders (1772). Moll rises from poverty to become
an American plantation-owner, having various adventures, romances,
and becoming an “Artist” among thieves.
Page 60/Fanny Hill 4.
Although there are a variety of English taverns and inns
called “Admiral Benbow,” undoubtedly the reference here is
to the Admiral Benbow of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island
(1883). The Admiral Benbow is the inn in Briston in which
Jim Hawkins lives.
“...the miniature-made garden of the Zipangese
“Zipang” was one of the early English
names for Japan, after Marco Polo recorded the Chinese word
for Japan as “Cipangu.”
“Laputa” appears in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's
Travels (1726). Laputa is a flying island whose culture
is preoccupied with music, mathematics, and astronomy.
Paul Cornell notes, and I
really should have gotten this one, that "Laputa," Spanish for
"The Whore," is fittingly mentioned in the Fanny Hill section.
"He also demonstrated a device from science-crazed Laputa,
to invigorate tired skin, that I found endlessly delightful."
I trust most of my readers understand the eternal tension
between the annotator's desire to make note of everything and
the commenter/critic's desire to leave some things for the reader
to discover for themselves, or to pass over commenting on that which
seems obvious. This is one of those cases where the latter desire won
out over the former. Marcus Ewert writes,
'Invigorate tired skin' was the kind of
promise made on the packaging of ye olde-fashionede vibrators- Since
obviously the manufacturers couldn't straight out say what they were
really for. So a lot of cute circumlocutions were used. Check
out the Antique Vibrator &
Quack Medical Museum for lots of rad info like the following:
"Electromechanical vibrators were first used in medicine in 1878 and
were available as a consumer product by 1900. The vibrator was
the 5th home appliance to be electrified. It was preceded by the
sewing machine, fan, teakettle, and the toaster. It would be another
ten years before the electric vacuum, iron, and frying pan became available
as consumer products."
Page 61/Fanny Hill 5.
“...pirates, captained by one Clegg...”
In Russell Thorndike's Doctor Syn
one of the alternate identities of Dr. Syn is the infamous
pirate and smuggler Captain Clegg.
“Imogene” is indeed the name of Syn’s/Clegg’s
ship, after his faithless Spanish wife.
Martin Allen writes:
"He even offered me a tour of the Malaccan
Straits, suggesting that he take me up the southeast passage..."
Page 62/Fanny Hill 6.
"I came at last to Micromona..."
While the Straits of Malacca are genuine, this has
to be a play on words. In Greek slang, "malacca" is a curseword,
meaning "wanker" or "masturbator", but considered much harsher
in tone. There is also the rhyming "malaka", meaning "asshole",
and invoked in contexts of buggery, which is what I think is actually
being punned on here, given the second part of the cited text.
That page also contains the reference to "solitary
ardour in the rigging," clearly a sideways reference to "frigging
in the rigging," a line from the chorus to the classic sea shanty,
"The Good Ship Venus"; one version of the lyrics (v. bawdy)
are given here.
Micromona was created by Karl Immerman
and appears in the verse satire Tulifäntchen, Ein
Heldengedicht in drei Gesängen (1830).
Page 62/Fanny Hill 7.
Ray Sablack writes, "Venus and her butterflies could be a reference
to the Venus
Page 64/Fanny Hill 8.
“...an illustrator, a Marquis named Dorat...”
Martin Allen corrects my ignorance
on this one:
The reference to "Dorat" of Page 64/Fanny
Hill 8 is a reference to the fictional Jean Baptiste Dorat of
Beardsley's "Under the Hill" (previously ref'd in
the Orlando Section of Page 45/Trump 17. Panel 1). Beardsley
describes Venus' dressing-room as being "panelled with the
gallant paintings of Jean Baptiste Dorat." Later on,
Tannhäuser peruses the paintings, and notes one "showing how
an old marquis practised the five-finger exercise, while in front
of him is mistress offered her warm fesses to a panting poodle…,"
explaining Fanny's references to the Marquis Dorat and his poodle.
George C. Clark writes, "Kevin O'Neill's art on this page
references the erotic illustrations of Austrian artist Marquis Franz
von Bayros (1866-1924)."
If you would like to see for yourself, a version
of the Beardsley text can be downloaded for free as a searchable
Why the poodle is named "Franz", I'm not sure, unless
this is all some obscured reference to Faust, in which Mephistopheles
appears as a poodle (Franz Liszt has a Faust Symphony, as
well as his Mephisto Waltzes). As well, Faust's love is
known as "Marguerite" in the French versions, another name mentioned
by Fanny here. This is a stretch, admittedly.
Page 65/Fanny Hill 9. "...where
we were suffering the quite delicious ministrations of the 'minnows'
Venus kept there for this very purpose..."
John Burt writes, "The minnows are a reference to the emperor
"He had little boys trained as minnows to chase him when he went swimming
and to get between his legs and nibble him.""
Page 66/Fanny Hill 10.
Brobdignag is from Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Pantagruel
is from the anonymously written Le Voyage de navigation que
fist Panurge, disciple de Pantagruel (1538), and François
Rabelais’ Le cinquiesme et dernier livre des faicts et dicts
du bon Pantagruel (1564). Utopia is from Sir Thomas More's
Utopia (1516), with Pantagruel’s time in Utopia portrayed
in François Rabelais' Pantagruel roi des Dipsodes (1532).
I’m not going to explain the joke in this
panel. Paul Rush writes, "I couldn't help but
be struck by how strikingly similar the art is to panels of Dave Sim's comic
Cerebus where the Cockroach (Sim's stand-in for whatever comic hero was
in fashion at the time he was writing the latest issue) underwent a very
similar experience (albeit in a dream). The way the liquid is rendered
is really very Sim-ian in style. I would give you a page reference,
but the unwieldy and un-page-numbered tome that is Cerebus is a little daunting.
It takes place somewhere in the Mothers & Daughters books."
Page 67/Fanny Hill 11.
“...the legionnaires of Roman State ‘neath northern England...”
The Roman State is from Joseph O'Neill's
Land Under England (1935). The Roman State is a fascistic
subterranean nation underneath England, reachable via a trapdoor
at the base of Hadrian's Wall.
“...the strange, stygian civilization
of the Vril people or ‘Vril-ya’ as they called themselves...”
The Vril-ya are from Edward Bulwer-Lytton's
The Coming Race (1871). The Vril-ya are a race which
has constructed a utopia in a ravine deep beneath Newcastle. Michael Norwitz adds,
"The 'coming race' in this context is a truly atrocious pun; however
the Vril-ya were neither so sexually free nor naturally winged as the
Page 69/Fanny Hill 13.
“...the delightful kingdom of Trypheme...”
Tryphême appears in Pierre Louÿs's
Les Aventures du Roi Pausole (1900).
Page 70/Fanny Hill 14.
“Cockaigne, often called Cocaigne or Cuccagna...”
Cockaigne/Cocaigne/Cuccagna is from the
Le Dit de cocagne (13th century C.E.) and then Marc-Antoine
Le Grand's Le Roi de Cocagne (1719). Cocagne, or Cockaigne,
is the French equivalent of Utopia. In the Middle Ages numerous
Cocagne myths were told about "a land of fabled abundance, with
food and drink for the asking."
“...such classic writings as The Thirty-Two
The Thirty-Two Gratifications is
mentioned as one of the manuals of love in James Branch Cabell’s
Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice (1919).
Page 71/Fanny Hill 15.
Martin Allen writes, "the travelogue, and Beardsley, point out
that the unicorn on vol. 3, pp. 71-72/Fanny Hill 14-15, is Venus' steed,
Adolphe, whose complicated relationship with his mistress is
mentioned in a euphemistic manner by Marguerite Blakeney in vol.
2, p. 173. Incidentally, that same page in vol. 2 also gives
Marguerite's version of Fanny's anecdote about seeing the painting
together, from vol. 3, p. 64/Fanny Hill 8."
Page 73. This panel
is drawn in the crude and vigorous style of 18th century
political cartoons. Ed Berridge writes, "though the image is clearly
referencing 18th century political cartooning, it seems most obviously
attempting to ape the style of James Gillray, even down to the subject
matter (Gillray famously lampooned both George III and his son) and
the appearance of the colouring and lettering." Ed also provided this
example of Gillray's work:
If “Billy the Bursar” is a reference,
I’m unaware of it. Philip & Emily Graves write, "I imagine
Billy the Bursar is simply referring to Willam Pitt's role of
“...mentally-weak King George III...”
Later in life George III suffered from
mental illness which may have been porphyria and/or arsenic
The history mentioned in this panel is
accurate as given. Peter Sanderson notes that the historical George
was given to saying "what what."
Philip & Emily Graves
write, "That is quite probably Mrs Miggins (played by Helen Atkinson-Wood)
serving drinks. She ran the coffee shop in Blackadder the Third,
which was set during the reign of George III."
Myles Lobdell writes, "The old lady of Threadneedle
Street most famously appears in 18th century caricature in this
cartoon by Gillray in 1797. As you can see, the name
Humphrey (for Hannah Humphrey, again Gillray's patron and publisher).
Also, Billy Bursar, from O'Neill's cartoon, is a clear reproduction
of the figure herein seen 'wooing' the Old Lady."
Page 76. Panel 6. Cliff
Schexnayder writes, "Could the dentist be Dr. Christian Szell from William
Goldman’s “Marathon Man” or, more precisely, Lawrence Olivier’s depiction
of the character in the 1976 movie?"
Panel 7. “They’ve made you look a bit of a cunt,
haven’t they, old man?”
To quote Warren Ellis, in Crécy:
“Cunt. This is a word that many people do not like. But you
have to understand the English. In England, the word cunt is
Karl Steimel adds, "The phrase
'Old Man' is one commonly used by Harry Lime in the Carol Reed film The
Third Man and as well as in the The Lives of Harry Lime radio
Page 77. Panel 2. I’m
guessing that “Dr. Bre–“ is a reference to Dr. Geoffrey Brent,
star of the British tv series Police Surgeon (1960). Dr.
Brent is a medical doctor working with the police in Bayswater
“Dr. D. Keel” is a reference to Dr. David
Keel, who appeared in the first season of the British tv
series The Avengers in 1961. Keel was originally the
protagonist of The Avengers, but John Steed, originally
a secondary character, stole the show. Actor Ian Hendry played
both Dr. Geoffrey Brent and Dr. David Keel, although there was no
textual link between Police Surgeon and The Avengers.
I believe “One Ten” is a reference to
“One Ten,” Steed’s superior in the second season of The
Panel 3. I believe “George” is
George Smiley, from the John Le Carré novels. In the
novels Smiley is a melancholy spy master. The “George” seen here
has the eyeglasses of which Sir Alec Guinness wore when he portrayed
Smiley, and Smiley drinks a great deal of tea (hence the “cuppa” reference).
Panel 4. Presumably the woman carrying
the file is Moneypenny, the long-suffering secretary to M
in the James Bond novels and books. Russ
Bynum disagrees (and I think he's right):
You assume that M's secretary must be Moneypenny, but I suspect
she's actually Lady Ann Sercomb - George Smiley's beautiful and notoriously
“Drake” is a reference to John Drake–the
Page 17 above. Philip and Emily Graves write, "Moreover, this will
be (assuming the link between the two characters) Drake's file that
will be cancelled after The Prisoner resigns."
Three reasons for this: George's line, ``A cup of tea for
M, please, dear,'' hints at a closer relationship between the two
than just intelligence officer and secretary. Also, the first chapter
of Le Carre's ``Call For the Dead,'' which introduces Smiley, notes
that he met Ann when she was secretary to Smiley's MI5 superior, Steed-Asprey.
Finally, the Lady Ann was an aristocrat whose marriage to
``breathtakingly ordinary'' Smiley stunned the London upper class.
Note how O'Neill depicts M's secretary with white gloves, what appears
to be a ruby necklace, and prominent earrings. Not your typicaly secretary's
Kevin O'Neill identifies the squat man on the
left holding a cigar as Masterspy, from Supercar.
The man on the right in the lab coat is
Q, head of the Q Branch (research and development) of the
British Secret Service in the James Bond novels. Philip and
Emily Graves write, "This will be Quentin Quelch." (See Page
89, Panel 7). David Avallone adds, "Q has his arm
around another old geezer. Perhaps this is just me, but that old
geezer greatly resembles British character actor Lionel Jeffries. In "Chitty
Chitty Bang Bang", Lionel Jeffries played Grandpa Potts, father of Chitty's
inventor but no scientist himself. Perhaps Q is comforting him as
he's being let go from the division, for failing to develop a working prototype.
If that's not enough layers for you, Lionel Jeffries also played Professor
Cavor in the film version of "First Men In The Moon". This stuff just
circles in on itself after a while..." Peter Hardy writes, "my understanding
was that Q stood for Quartermaster, the military officer responsible fro
such things as supplies, barracks and armaments."
Philip & Emily Graves write, "That is the
afore-mentioned Danger Man John Drake in the distance, behind 'Moneypenny'."
Page 78. Panel 6. “Hugo
Drummond” is a reference to Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond,
from the seventeen novels of “Sapper,” a.k.a. Herman Cyril
McNeile, and Gerard Fairlie. Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond is a massive
World War One veteran who killed any number of Germans in one-man
commando raids into the enemy trenches. After the war he finds
peace tedious and begins fighting against those who would do England
dirty. This list includes Jews, Germans, Russians, non-whites, anarchists,
For more on “John Night’s daughter,” see
Page 80 below.
Philip & Emily Graves write, "Note "CB" on
the lighter, and "7" on the cufflinks. "CB" for Commander Bond, his
rank upon leaving the army after WWII." Jason Adams writes, "Perhaps
'CB' on Bond's lighter stands for his grandfather "Campion Bond"
and was handed down along with the cigarette case?" Anthony Padilla
writes, "Wasn't Bond a commander in the Royal Navy?" Actually, he was
a Commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Panel 8. In the final season of
The Avengers Steed & Tara King receive their orders
from “Mother,” a man in a wheelchair.
Panel 9. “But Harry...Harry died
a long time ago, in the sewers under Vienna.”
Harry, in this case, is Harry Lime, from
the film The Third Man (1949). At the end of the film
Lime is shot in the sewers of Vienna. Ed Berridge notes that "the
line, "Harry died a long time ago in the sewers under Vienna" could be
seen as being similar to the opening narration spoken by Orson Welles
in the radio series The Lives of Harry Lime from 1952, which began,
"That was the shot that killed Harry Lime. He died in a sewer beneath Vienna,
as those of you know who saw the movie The Third Man..."
I believe that Kevin O’Neill drew “Harry
Lime” to look like Orson Welles, who played Lime in The
Third Man. John Andrews disagrees: "I know the annotations say that
the character of Harry Lime is drawn to match Orson Welles portrayal, but
personally I think he looks more like a post-Avengers Patrick McNee."
David Avallone writes, "As you note, Moore has identified
M as Harry Lime. What you didn't mention: "in the sewers under
Vienna" Harry Lime kills his last victim before he himself is shot.
His victim is a British soldier named Sergeant Paine, who was portrayed
in the movie by... Bernard Lee. Bernard Lee who, of course,
played "M" in every Bond movie from Dr. No to Moonraker. So if Harry
Lime didn't die in the sewers, did he somehow take the place of poor Sergeant
Paine? Of course, rising from Sergeant to Head of MI6 in about a decade
would seem impossible, but not for Harry Lime...."
Hussamuddin Alromayedh writes, "Harry Lime in
this case is probably based upon the Harry Lime of Graham Greene's novella,
where Harry Lime and Rollo "Holly in the movie" Martins are British rather
than American as they are in the Carol Reed film."
Page 79. Panel 2. Bulldog
Drummond was a reactionary who would glory in strike-breaking.
Panel 4. “Jimmy, you did very well
against our Yellow Peril friend.”
This is another reference to Dr. No.
Panel 5. “Sidney Reilly” is a reference
to Lt. Sidney Reilly (c. 1873-1925), a spy-for-hire used by
the British government, among others, and known as the “Ace of
Spies.” He was one of the models Fleming used for James Bond.
Parr drops some knowledge: "it goes a bit deeper than what is noted:
M's dismissive words to J.B. are a near-verbatim quote from Ian Fleming
about his famous creation, of whom he said "He's no Reilly, you know."
John Andrews pointed this out as well: "James Bond is just a piece
of nonsense I dreamed up. He's not a Sidney Reilly, you know!"
Jason Adams writes, "The "XX" graffiti on the wall is
the symbol of the Adenoid Hynkel "Nazi" Party--the LoEGverse's equivalent
of the swastika." John Sherman writes, "The two Xs may stand for Hynkle’s
Double Cross sign, but they are also a crude form of the Masonic square
and compass, which, considering where they are, makes more sense."
Chris Cooper disagrees: "I'd say the symbol is
a simplified Masonic Compass & T-Square symbol perhaps scribed on
the wall of the room to mark to M which is his temporary office. Alternatively
it could be a very stylised version to point out official party buildings
maybe quasi-legally active during the dangerous 'BB' years."
Panel 6. The illustration in the
background is of one of H.G. Wells’ Martians, from War
of the Worlds, as imagined by Kevin O’Neill.
Page 80. Panel 1.
“Miss Night” is better known as Emma Peel, the best of John
Steed’s partners on The Avengers. Although in The
Avengers she is Mrs. Peel, her birth name is Emma Knight,
as her father is Sir John Knight, which explains the “John Night’s
daughter” reference on Page 78. Peter Sanderson adds "Mrs. Emma
Peel's maiden name and the name of her father were established in the
1966 "Avengers" episode "The House That Jack Built" (The fake newspaper from
the episode should interest you). If we presume that Mrs. Peel
is the same age as Diana Rigg, who played her, she would have been
20 years old in 1958." Philip & Emily Graves write, "Ms Knight
was 21 when her father died, so we can reasonably assume that she is about
a year older than Dame Diana Rigg."
Panel 3. "Scared the life out
of Little Em here, first time she met me."
Keith Kole writes, "this puts the thought in my head that the
current M in the Bond movies must be Dame Emma Knight. By the
way, in one of the Target line of new Doctor Who novels, I can't remember
which one but I bet Paul Cornell knows, (he may have even written it) there
is a very brief reference to Dame Emma Knight." Patrick
On the notes about page 20 panel 3, Keith
Kole ask about the Doctor Who novel that refers to to Dame Emma Knight. He
thinks it one by Paul Cornel. It was instead by Lance Parkin, "The Dying
Days" the last Docter Who novel published by Virgin Publishing. He
has Dame Emma Knight at a party for the return to Mars in the Doctor who Universe
in the 1990's. In the TV show Britian has a space program ( no doubt
because of Quatermass, who is refered to in the show during the episode Remenbrance
of the Daleks, and also in Parkin's Dying Days) which is sending mission
to Mars in the early 70"s or 80's.(This is reveled in the episode of
Ambassidors from Space. It is one of the Unit episode whch are almost impossible
to date. See Lance Parkins' A-History, which explains the dating conflicts
for the Unit episodes of Doctor Who far better than I could) It a shame that
a sceen with Muder and Scully talking to President of the US, about the arivaul
of the Ice Warriors in London was removed by the editor at Virgin.
The bronze bust, with the letters “-os” visible, may
be a reference to Talbot Munday’s Tros of Samothrace (various stories
and novels, 1925-1935). Tros is the son of Perseus and a native
of Samothrace during the reign of Julius Caesar, who is portrayed
as a villain and who Tros fights against.
Panel 7. The car under construction
here is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the flying car from Ian Fleming’s
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car (1964).
Andrew Teheran writes, "Might be out
on a limb here but... John Night is continuously referred to as an industrialist.
What keeps popping into my head is Knight Industries as in "Knight
Industries Two Thousand", our favorite American Trans Am. Is Chitty
Chitty Bang Bang a KITT prototype? There is a British connection with
the Devon Miles character." Andrew Bonia echoes this: "The Night Foundation
- mentioned throughout as designing hi-tech equipment for both the UK
and US could be a double reference to the Knight Foundation, the organization
responsible for building the supercar K.I.T.T . in the television series
Elstob writes, "I think O'Neill has deliberately drawn Chitty Chitty
Bang Bang being tended to by six technicians, as a sly nod to a sequence
in the film, in which Baron Bomburst has six decrepit old codgers
working flat out in the bowels of his castle to create a flying
car he can call his own."
Cliff Schexnayder writes, "The inclusion of Chitty Chitty
Bang Bang seems more than just a casual joke on the part of the authors.
Its plate of “Gen 1” suggests it was the prototype of all the spy cars
that are a staple of the Bond genre – in film at least."
Tristan Sargent writes,
"The Bond relationship extends
beyond just Ian Fleming though. The film was made by Cubby Broccoli,
the script was worked on by Roald Dahl (who also wrote the screenplay
for You Only Live Twice), it featured a heroine with a name that
would fit in a Bond story (Truly Scrumptious) and of course the villain
was played by Gert Frobe - i.e. Goldfinger!"
Page 81. Panel 3.
I believe that “Brookgate” is a reference to Michael Moorcock’s
King of the City (2000). In the novel Brookgate is a
section of London which “under the power of the Hugenot Leases”
is fully autonomous and controlled by its citizens until a vile
Rupert Murdoch-like figure buys up Brookgate and ruins it.
Panel 4. Jason Adams writes,
"The XX symbol can be seen on the wall."
Panel 5. If the statue is a reference
to anything in particular I’m unaware of it.
Page 82. Panel 1.
“Num Yum” candies appear in the British film I’m All Right
Henry Blanco notes that Mina hiking her skirt up
to get a ride is likely a reference to It Happened One Night,
in which Claudette Colbert does this for herself and Clark Gable.
Philip & Emily Graves write, "The runaways
- can't place them yet - and (a/the) raspberry-blowing girl also
appear to make it in Birmingham, p123.3 and 123.4.
Panel 2. For more on “our coloured
chum and his Dutch girls” see Page 166, Panel 1.
For more on “a public school that I know
in Kent,” see the note on Greyfriars on Page 25.
Panel 5. I’ve drawn a blank on
“Whiter Frisko,” “d’etto,” “Dreem,” and “Frim.” Anyone?
(They may be Jack Trevor Story references–see Panel 7 below).
Harrison writes, "I just saw "I'm All Right Jack" on Turner
Classic Movies (Saturday night) and I recognize Frisko and Detto
from that film. In the film, they are identical products but
one is sold at a higher price than the other simply because the packaging
Keith Kole writes, "An easter egg on the DVD of Monty
Python and the Holy Grail starts the film with the first reel of
an altogether different movie: Dentist on the Job (1961). This
movie starts with workmen loading boxes of Dreem onto a truck.
Dreem is a brand of toothpaste made by Proudfoot Industries." L.D. Page
and Dave Amiott also got this one.
Panel 7. “Mr. Callendar”
is a reference to Jack Trevor Story’s Live Now, Pay Later
Page 83. Panel 1. “Albert”
is Albert Argyle, from Jack Trevor Story’s Live Now, Pay
Later, Something For Nothing (1963), and The Urban
District Lover (1964). Argyle is a traveling salesman and ho.
Rory Christie writes, " the
looks car, although 4-wheeled looks suspiciously like the robin reliant from
'Only Fool & Horses', and the character of Uncle Albert. This may be
I don’t believe the “Frampton Overcoat”
is a reference to anything in particular. Ah, but "teamy teamy" correctly disagrees: "The Frampton
Overcoat is a reference to something, possibly something from Viz comic's
Profanasaurus swearing dictionary, but I can't remember for sure. (A quick
look on their website
proves me wrong.)" However, it does give "frampton" as "frampton 1. n. prop.
An overrated seventies singer with a voice like Steven Hawking. 2. n. A
fanny fart" and we can extrapolate "frampton overcoat" from there.
Cian Gill writes, "I'm wondering if the
black car in the middle of the frame of panel 1 on page 83 of the Black
Dossier could possibly be a reference to Jonathan Pryce's Messerschmidt-car
from the film Brazil. Brazil being heavily influenced by
1984 (which is also one of the main inspirations behind the Black Dossier),
the 1950s feel of the movie would also be appropriate aesthetically. The
car looks quite similar, except its missing the large fan at the back."
Panel 2. Philip & Emily Graves write,
"The sign is listing Bradgate and Fircombe, which is the seaside
resort setting for the film Carry on Girls."
Panel 4. “...if you like tally-boys,
getting people into debt for a living.”
A “tally-boy” was a wandering salesman
who sold things to people on installment and then picked up
the weekly payments. Mina doesn’t think much of them, and Jack Trevor
Story didn’t either, as can be seen in Live Now, Pay Later.
Panel 6. “General Sir Harold Wharton”
is a reference Harry Wharton, from the hundreds of short stories,
novels, radio and television programs written by “Frank Richards,”
the pseudonym of Charles Hamilton. Harry Wharton is a spirited
schoolboy at the English public (private) school of Greyfriars.
Wharton is the leader of the “Famous Five,” Frank Nugent, Bob Cherry,
Johnny Bull, and Hurree Jamset Ram Singh, the Nabob of Bhanipur.
(Billy Bunter attends Greyfriars but is not a member of the Five).
Together they get into a wide range of adventures.
The “R.K.C.” mentioned here and on Page
25 is “Bob Cherry.”
Page 84. Panel 1. This
is the Tradesman’s Entrance of Greyfriars, as seen on a map
Panel 2. Richard Hannay was created
by John Buchan and appeared in six novels from 1915 to 1936.
He is a wealthy Scottish mining engineer who gets involved in
a series of espionage adventures.
Panel 3. “Decent sort of chap,
I always thought.” “Absolutely.”
Although Hannay and Buchan are usually
grouped together with Bulldog Drummond and Sapper, and Richard
Chandos/Berry Pleydell/Jonah Mansel and Dornford Yates in the
Clubmen Heroes category, Hannay and Buchan are much different.
Buchan was a far better writer than Sapper or Yates (I particularly
recommend Buchan’s supernatural fiction), and Hannay was much less
bigoted and jingoistic than Drummond et al. Too, there’s a humanistic
and even compassionate streak running through the Hannay novels
which is quite missing from the work of Sapper and Yates. In one
of the Hannay novels there is a conscientious objector to the war, and
where Sapper would have mocked the character or humiliated him, or
shown him to be a spy, Buchan treats the objector fairly.
“...that ‘Thirty-Nine Steps’ Business
Buchan’s first Richard Hannay novel, The
Thirty -Nine Steps, involves a German spy ring, the Black
Stone, which is active in England. The “Thirty-Nine Steps”
lead to a spot on a beach from which a spy with crucial information
is going to leave England.
Peter Sanderson writes, "Nowadays "The 39 Steps" is probably
best known from Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film adaptation In
Hitchcock's film "the 39 Steps" refers to a covert organization,
whereas in the book it refers to a physical series of steps, as in
Panel 4. “What are the thirty-nine
steps?” is a cryptic message given to Hannay by an American
who is killed not long afterward.
Panel 6. Zoltán Déry writes, "The
sign on the ground reading "Trafalgar Lodge Priv(ate) Pr(operty) refers to
"The 39 Steps" page 122: "The house was called Trafalgar Lodge, and belonged
to an old gentleman called Appleton ..." This is the name of the house to
which the 39 steps belong in the novel. The house is located near Bradgate."
Page 85. Panel 2. As
it happens, “Spick” magazine is not a hint by Moore about the
kind of pornography which would develop in the world of League,
but rather a real pin-up magazine which lasted from 1953-1976.
Panel 7. The “-ocke” statue is
of Dr. Locke, the Headmaster of Greyfriars.
Philip & Emily Graves write, "This visually
refers back to Volume 2, where Rupert interrupts a similar display
of affection in a semi-public place." They add: "Specifically, it
seems to be a combination of two panels: V2I4P15.6 and V2I5P7.6. The
scene occurs directly before the couple first meet Rupert/Billy. Both
of whom, entirely coincidentally, wear similar-looking checked trousers."
Page 86. Panel 1. This
sad, grotesque figure is Billy Bunter, the portly Greyfriars
schoolboy. Created by “Frank Richards,” Bunter appeared in over
a thousand short stories, 105 novels, and various radio and television
programs from 1908 to 1982. Bunter is not one of the “Famous Five,”
but he is greedy, cowardly, cunning, foolish, and gluttonous enough
to get into a large number of adventures on his own.
“Six on the bags,” also known as “six
of the best,” is six strokes on the butt with a cane.
Panel 2. “...you chaps wouldn’t
have any buns on you, by any chance?”
Billy Bunter is a glutton and loves sweet
buns above all things.
Panel 4. "I-I was a pupil here, than a beak."
Julian Wan writes, "Beak is British slang for a schoolmaster."
Panel 6. “In fact, I’m expecting
a postal order from my mother...”
In the Greyfriars stories Bunter is forever
poor and forever borrowing money from the other students.
He always promises to pay them back soon, as he is always expecting,
imminently, a postal order from his mother. The postal order
never comes. (It’s the English schoolboy version of Waiting
for Godot, really). But see the notes to Page 121.
Panel 7. “Do you know, the bounder
married my sister?”
Billy Bunter’s sister is Bessie Bunter,
who after being mentioned a few times in the Billy Bunter
stories appeared in a long series of her own stories, set at
Cliff House School, the girls’ school equivalent of Greyfriars.
The relationship between Bessie Bunter
and Harry Wharton is Moore’s invention, and explains the mention
of “Bessy” on Page 25.
Page 87. Panel 1.
“Always a bit of a black sheep, Wharton.”
In the Greyfriars stories Wharton is a
hothead who is forever getting into trouble with “light-hearted”
pranks. (Wharton was beloved by readers in his era. Modern
readers are likely to see Wharton as more deserving of a lobotomy,
or perhaps transportation to the gulag archipelago).
Myles Lobdell writes,
What seems especially interesting to me about the Black Dossier
is the way in which Moore has turned that school-story hothead Harry
Wharton, who was always playing 'pranks', being mischievous, and getting
into trouble (probably at least partly inspired by that other famous
schoolyard Harry; Thomas Hughes' Harry Flashman from Tom Brown's Schooldays,
considered by most readers to be the most interesting character in the
book, also famous for his mischievous pranks, albeit of a more cautionary
nature) into an agent of political intrigue.
“Orphan, you know. Brought up by some
This is an uncanny parallel to the way in which Fraser turned
Harry Flashman into an agent of political and international intrigue,
albeit of a somewhat different nature. Perhaps this parallel
was unintended by Moore, but it is there nonetheless.
Wharton’s parents died, forcing Colonel
Wharton, newly returned from India, to raise Wharton.
“Born leader, though.”
Wharton is the leader of the Famous Five.
Panel 2. “He got mixed up with
communists, an oik named Skinpole from St. Jim’s.”
St. James College, called “St. Jim’s”
by the residents, was another of Charles Hamilton’s creations,
a school much like Greyfriars. It appeared in The Gem
Herbert Skimpole is one of the students
at St. Jim’s students. He is a socialist, and of course a
bad guy in the stories.
Panel 3. I’m not sure what the
“Kra–“ on the bulletin board might be a reference to.
Panel 4. Presumably the portraits
in this panel are of various Famous Five characters. The picture
in the lower right is of Bessie Bunter.
Page 88. Panel 2. Henry
Quelch is one of the masters at Greyfriars. As Bunter says,
he is a “gimlet-eyed old devil.”
Panel 3. “He was watching Wharton
from the start, along with Knight and Cherry and Waverly and
This was one of the traditional methods
by which British Intelligence recruited spies–watch them
from when they are young, and then recruit them before or during
“Knight” is presumably a reference to
Sir John Knight, Emma Peel’s father. (See Page 80 above).
“Cherry” is a reference to Bob Cherry.
“Waverly” is a reference to Alexander
Waverly, the head of U.N.C.L.E. in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
(Thanks to Win Eckert for correcting my mistake here, and to Peter Sanderson,
Brian Joines, and Ian Warren for the Waverly/U.N.C.L.E. link). Waverly
is described thusly: "He runs some spy ring for the United Nations
these days." This is a reference to U.N.C.L.E., which although standing
for "United Network Command for Law Enforcement" was created under the
auspices of the United Nations.
Damian Gordon writes, "just
a thought, Waverly's first name is Francis here because he is also Francis/Frank
Nugent from Greyfriars, and this means that John Knight is really Johnny
Panel 4. Adam Cummins solves the
mystery of the carrot creature: "I think it's more than likely a
reference to "Doctor Carrot", a character who appeared on propaganda
posters during the Second World War. It's one of those "Dig
For Victory" type posters, encouraging people to grow and eat their
own vegetables to supplement rationing:"
Ken Shinn adds, "The Doctor Carrot suggestion seems to be
correct, although it might also be the puppet character Mr Turnip, from
the 1950s BBC children's programme Whirligig."
I don’t know what the animal skull in the background is,
or the...mouse? head. Philip & Emily Graves write, "The creature
behind Bill and Ben *could* be Sooty or Sweep, British TV glove-puppet
characters. However, while the figure looks like Sooty, it is the
colour of Sweep. And while it could be holding a wand (a Sooty trademark),
it's not the correct type of magic wand... " I think they're right--it
looks like Sooty. Ken Shinn says, "The skull might be that of the Beano
comic character, Biffo The Bear, who had a similar set to his profile.
The "mouse" is definitely Sooty, although I think that, rather than his
magic wand, what he's brandishing is one of the "sticks" that he frequently
used to play his xylophone." About the skull,
Steve Kydd disagrees: "I wonder if this might instead be Spotty Dog - "the
biggest spotty dog you ever did see" - from The Woodentops (BBC TV,
1955). This programme is from the same 'Watch with Mother' children's series
as Bill and Ben and Muffin the Mule which would tie it in nicely with the
surrounding characters in this and other panels." Terry Jones writes, "the
big skull behind Bill and Ben is definitely not Biffo the Bear! It's the Pobble
(of course you'll say!) or more properly Willie Willikins Pobble from Brit
comic the Dandy 1952. Look carefully and you'll see it's not just the
skull but the whole body. The four footed pose is consistent with the Pobble
which moved sometimes like a large dog or horse and -squint carefully-was
black with white splodges. Possibly inspired by Edward Lear's Pobble who had
no toes poem (tho' this Pobble did!). Why the Pobble? Because when he
emerged from his spacecraft he greeted young Willie with the word 'Pobble!'
and that was the only word he ever uttered!"
Paul Cornell and David Alexander McDonald rescue
me from a swamp of ignorance and note that the straw-stuffed skeletons
in flower pots are a reference to the British tv puppet show Flower
Pot Men (1952-1954). The "flob" on the plaque is a reference
to the Flower Pot Men's inability to say "flower pot," which they
pronounced as "flobalob."
Steve Kydd adds, "I don't think it has been
noted, but beside Bill and Ben in the lower right of the panel, there
is a yellow blob - this is presumably the side of Little Weed's head,
Little Weed being the dandelion character from every episode of Bill and
“The rum-looking fellow behind her, that’s
Sir Jack Wilton. He was Gloriana’s big chief I-Spy, so I’m
Sir Jack Wilton was mentioned in Faerie’s
Fortunes Founded–see Page 52 above. “Big chief I-Spy”
is a reference to the British “I-Spy” books, a series of books
written for children in the 1950s and 1960s. The idea behind the
books was for children to make note of the planes, trains, fire engines,
and so on, and send their lists into “Big Chief I-Spy” in London.
Panel 5. I’m not sure what the
horse in the upper right is. But the horse on the left is
Steve, created by Roland Davies and appearing in the comic
strip “Come on Steve” (1932-1949) and six cartoons in 1936 and
1937. Steve is a young horse who is exuberant, cheerful, and full
of energy (if not always particularly bright) and is always eager
to investigate (and often imitate) what humans are doing and to
help them out. Jonathan Carter & Philip and Emily Graves disagree
and believes that it's Eeyore. (He may be right. I just like Steve a lot).
Philip & Emily Graves write, "Top right looks
like a rocking horse, which could then be one of any number from
children's books. Perhaps Enid Blyton's "Good Old Rocking Horse"..."
Richard Powell writes, "I believe the horse in the right
hand corner to be Muffin
the mule." Richard Dill writes, "The encased horse in the top
right corner is actually a mule. 'Muffin the Mule' is a childrens television
puppet character from the B.B.C. The programmes were broadcast live
from their Alexandra Palace studios from 1946 and were presented by Annette
Mills,( sister to the actor, Sir John Mills) until 1955, ending mere
days before her untimely death at 61. There is no doubt in my mind that
this is Muffin; even the bit around his head is the same colour." Tim Chapman
also identified him as Muffin. James Morrison
writes, "Though the argument about the rocking-horse being Muffin the mule
does seem convincing, it also looks VERY like the magical rocking-horse
from the movie The Rocking-Horse Winner (from the DH Lawrence story of
the same name) - there's a good summary of the story here."
Richard Dill relieves my ignorance:
The monkey in the bowler hat is from the
PG TIPS advertising campaign. Since 1956, in the longest running advertising
campaign for any brand, PG TIPS often advertised using chimpanzee's
dressed as humans and drinking tea.(This was obviously inspired by
the regular 'Monkey's Tea Party' that British Zoo's used to run everyday
for visitors.) In fact, one of these adverts, called 'MR. SHIFTER' holds
the world record for the advert shown most time on British Television.
In it, the removal man, Mr. Shifter, wears a bowler hat. The adverts
have been voiced by an impressive British comedy cast list over the decades,
consisting of Peter Sellers, Bruce Forsyth, Kenneth Connor, Arthur Lowe,
Irene Handel, Stanley Baxter, Willie Rushton, John Junkin, Kenneth Williams,
Pat Coombes, Miriam Margoles, Andrew Sachs and David Jason.
Panel 6. Oh, for heaven's sake.
I should have gotten this one. Jonathan Carter and Kelly Doran
notes that this is the Psammead, from E. Nesbit's short stories and
Panel 7. “...designing kit for
some Welsh set-up. D-dream inducers. Killer balloons.”
This is a reference to The Prisoner,
which had both dream inducers and killer balloons.
“Yarooh” was one of Bunter’s most typical
Page 89. Panel 7.
“Quelchy’s son, Quentin, worked there before he joined MI5's
technical chappies. Like everybody there, he’s known by an initial.”
This is all Moore’s invention, of course–there
was no “Quentin Quelch” in the Greyfriars stories. Peter Sanderson
adds, "The "Q" character in the James Bond movies is based on a
character in Ian Fleming's Bond novels called Major Boothroyd.
Fleming does refer to a "Q Branch" in British intelligence.
The character played by Desmond Llewelyn in the Bond movies is originally
called Major Boothroyd but later gets dubbed "Q."" Peter Sanderson adds,
"The closing credits for the movie "From Russia with Love" list Desmond
Llewelyn as playing Boothroyd, but his character is renamed Q in the
next Bond movie, "Goldfinger." Wikipedia states that Q is
called "Boothroyd" in dialogue in the movie "The Spy Who Loved Me.""
Philip & Emily Graves not
that Quentin Quelch can be seen on Page 77, Panel 7.
Page 90. Panel 1.
I’m not sure exactly why there’d be a statue of Judah Ben-Hur
at Greyfriars. Judah Ben-Hur appears in Lewis Wallace’s Ben-Hur:
A Tale of the Christ (1880) and is about Judah Ben-Hur,
a Jew alive at the time of Christ who is enslaved, freed, wins a
chariot race against his Roman childhood friend Messala, and eventually
converts to Christianity. Keith Kole writes, "My guess is that Judah
Ben-Hur might be the fictional stand-in for Christ."
I’m not sure what the motorcycle with
the 0211731 plate is a reference to, if anything.
Panel 3. “His father named him
Kim after the famous spy who worked in Afghanistan.”
This is a reference to Rudyard Kipling’s
Kim (1901), with its orphaned Indian child and his
work spywork for the British. Peter Sanderson adds that ""Kim" may
also be an allusion to British agent H. A. R. "Kim" Philby, who
was likewise nicknamed after Kipling's character. So Moore may be
linking the amoral Lime with the traitorous Philby." Peter Sanderson adds, "I found a "Comic Book wire" interview
with Alan Moore (reprinted here) in
which he confirms my speculations about Kim Philby and Harry Lime:
"There are little undercover threads
throughout our story with connections like that," continued Moore. "The
film 'The Third Man' was written by Graham Greene, who based the character
of Harry Lime on his lifelong friend Kim Philby, a very famous
British spy who turned out to be a double agent for the Russians.
And weirdly enough, there had previously been two Russian agents
exposed, Guy Burgess and Anthony MacLean, and there was a rumour
there was a third double agent in MI5. I remember there was a headline
back in the Sixties that said, 'KIM PHILBY IS THE THIRD MAN,' which were
written completely unaware that he was the third man. So he was
the basis for 'The Third Man.' All of these obscure facts are woven into
the fabric of 'The Black Dossier.' It's been very interesting, with
some surprising inclusions."
Robert Scott Martin
"Kim" must be an allusion to Philby.
The pathos of making this kind of connection between the beloved childhood
heroes of "the Famous" five and the older and infinitely more
tarnished "Cambridge" five -- especially given their shared
dormitory context -- would be too tempting for Moore to pass
up much less ignore.
Tristan Sargent writes,
"The BBC TV series 'Cambridge Spies' features a scene in which Philby's
Austrian lover talks about riding the big wheel in Vienna, and looking
down on the people below... rather like the scene in The Third Man, in
fact. And she's saying all this to Philby, the Third Man...
At the risk of pushing it, a third dimension emerges
in the adult relationship between poor old Billy and Harry --
John Le Carre's George Smiley was also related by marriage to
Bill Haydon (a Philby analog), although over there it's Smiley/Bunton
who's married Haydon/Wharton's cousin. Poor old Billy does seem to
have grown up into a sort of Smiley parody, Haydon was indeed
quite the golden boy (and his/Philby's "labour"affiliations are equally
unexpected and disastrous) and the relationships with the "cousins"
were always anguished.
Second, in that series, Philby was played by Toby Stephenson.
Stephenson also played the villain, Gustave Graves, in the Bond film
'Die Another Day', in which he did his level best to kill Bond, as played
by Pearce Brosnan. Years earlier, Pearce Brosnan had played a Russian
agent in 'The Fourth Protocol', in which his first on-screen action is...
to liquidate Kim Philby!"
Page 91. Panel 3. “Conamur Tenues Grandia” is from
the Odes (23-13 B.C.E.) of Horace.
Page 92. Panel 4. If
“Mum’s Plaice” is a reference to anything in particular, I’m
unaware of it. James Coates writes, "The pun 'Plaice' (as in the fish)
to replace the word 'place' is very commonly used in British Fish and
Panel 5. The “William Brown Captured...Outlaws”
headline is a reference to Richmal Crompton’s “Just William”
stories, novels, radio shows, television shows, and films about
an eleven-year-old English mischief-maker. His gang of friends
is the “Outlaws.”
Page 93. Panel 1. A
number of these magazines are made up. (I think). The references
"Views 5/- each. Adults Only."
- Ian Gould
writes, ""Joycamp Harlots" suggests to me a fusion of the German "Joy Division"
military brothels and the British seaside holiday camps. Joycamps for
the proles would fit right in with pornsec."
- Philip & Emily Graves write, "The sign at the top
advertising "Vitamalt Chocolate" is from Keep the Aspidistra Flying
by George Orwell, as is the one beneath it which reads in its
entirety: "Cyprolax Hair Lotion Banishes all Unpleasant Intruders"
(From Chapter 3)." Michael Norwitz writes,
""Cyprolax" is a reference to Orwell's novel "Keep the Aspidistra
Flying" (Cyprolax Hair Lotion and Whiterose Pills for Female Disorders)."
- “New B.B. Bardot Talks!” is a reference to
the actress Brigitte Bardot and “Garbo Talks!” The silent
film actress Greta Garbot was famous for her taciturnity and
carefully cultivated mystique, and the film Anna Christie, which
contained Garbo’s first onscreen words, was billed with the words
“Garbo Talks!” Ian Gould adds, ""B.B. Bardot
speaks" refers not only to Garbo but also to the fact that in 1984
Big Brother (BB) never appeared in public and seldom gave speeches."
- Presumably that is the 1950s Invisible
Man (see Page 148 below) on the cover of The Naked Truth.
Mark Elstob writes, "The magazine "The Naked Truth" is clearly an issue
of the down market gossip magazine featured in the Peter Sellers film
of the same name. In that film, the front cover is repeatedly shown
and O'Neill has faithfully reproduced its design."
- “Hank Janson” is a reference to
“Hank Janson,” the pseudonym of Stephen D. Frances, a British
writer who adopted the pseudonym in order to write hardboiled
novels. (“Hank Janson” sounded suitably American).
- Presumably “–nton –llion” is a reference
to someone or something, but it’s eluding me. Philip &
Emily Graves write, "The "--tom ---llion" is presumably the 'Phantom
Stallion', likely not the books by Terri Farley, but the 1954 film
with Rex Allen."
- Weird Date is very much in
the style of the 1940s spicy pulps, but there wasn’t one
by that name. Michael Norwitz points out that Weird Date
was the name of a comic in Michael Chabon's The Amazing
Adventures of Kavalier and Klay.
- “Bat” is in all likelihood not a
reference to Batman to but to one of the many pulp and British
storypaper characters by that name.
- Regarding “Nick Stacy," Michael
Norwitz writes, "Nick Stacy was the ultra-violent detective
starring in his own newspaper strip created by Hector Ghoul, which
appeared in the July 20, 1947 Spirit newspaper section."
Greg Strohecker notes that Nick Stacy was a satire of Dick Tracy.
- “Phallos,” similar to “phallus”
(look it up, kids–education is fun! I particularly recommend
doing a Google Image search), is a likely title for a 1950s porn
- I’m not sure what “Secret of Paris”
might be a reference to. Philip & Emily Graves write, "Assuming
'Secrets of Paris by night' is an adult product, then it could
be an allusion to the more recent "One Night in Paris", maybe."
- Jelly Result is a reference
to the novel of the same name by eccentric author Jeff Lint.
- “Blackshirt” is a reference to the
cracksman and Gentleman Thief of that name, created by “Bruce
Graeme” (a.k.a. Graham Jeffries) and appearing in dozens of
novels and short story collections from 1924 to 1969. Ian Gould adds, "Oswald's British Legion of Fascists
were known as blackshirts. In the curious fusion of left and right in the
LoEGverse's version of Airstrip One, I can see a pulp hero being modelled
- “Castle Hill Labs VD Scare” is,
as Damian Gordon points out, a reference to the first episode
of the Invisible Man tv series (see Page 148 below), in which
there is an explosion at Castle Hill Labs, where Peter Brady is working.
- I think “Clint” is a reference to
the 1960s injunction, in American comics, against characters
having “Clint” as a first name, on the grounds that, when
drawn as “CLINT,” it might appear as quite a different word to
the casual viewer. A number of readers, including
Robert Scott Martin, Mario di Giacomo, and Michael Norwitz, point
out that this also applies to "Flick" magazine, three spots up on
the magazine rack.
- “The Winged Avenger,” mentioned
above on Page 8, is, in an episode of The Avengers,
a killer vigilante superhero who appears to make the leap from
comic books to real life.
- “Me Con?” is a reference to the
Mekon, Dan Dare’s opponent. The figure is drawn like the
- Christopher Reynolds writes, ""Bradgate Argus": The Argus
is the daily newspaper for Sussex. It is based in Brighton and produces
different editions for different areas of Sussex, the one seen here being
the Bradgate edition."
- “J. Arthur” is British slang for
“masturbation.” (“J. Arthur” from British film producer “J.
Arthur Rank,” “rank” to “wank”).
- “Hand Shandy” is British slang for
- Ian Gould notes, ""True Sweat" magazine:
"true sweat" was another term for the "Men's Adventure" pulps of the 50's
Tim Chapman writes, "The 'Views' notice may be a reference
to Michael Powell's 'Peeping Tom' - the protagonist takes mucky photos
to be sold through a newsagent, and one customer is seen inquiring about
'views for sale'."
Panel 2. Mildly dirty postcards
like this were common in the 1950s, though never sold in respectable
establishments. Damian Gordon points out that in the U.K.
they are known as “French postcards.”
Vanja Miskovic writes, "the
cartoon pictured on the postcard seems reminiscent of Kalo's New Yorker cartoons,
that Seth searches for in "Palookaville"'s It's a good life if you don't weaken
(serialized as Palookaville #4-9). You can make out the artist's signature
even on the
small thumbnail I am sending you the link too, which is very similar to
the "Kano" one in Black dossier (drawn in very similar style)."
Panel 3. Philip & Emily Graves write,
""Bove-" is Bovex from Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying, and
is probably ultimately inspired by 'Bovril'. This poster is described
precisely in Chapter One - "A spectacled rat-faced clerk, with patent-leather
hair, sitting at a cafe table grinning over a white mug of Bovex.
'Corner Table enjoys his meal with Bovex', the legend ran."
Panel 4. If the “Seaview” is a
reference to anything in particular, I’m unaware of it. Paul
Cornell and David Alexander McDonald note that the Seaview
was the name of the submarine in the American tv show Voyage
to the Bottom of the Sea. Richard Dill writes, "'SEAVIEW' was a light-hearted
B.B.C. childrens drama starring Yvette Fielding as Sally Shelton and
Aaron Brown as her brother, George. They lived in Blackpool in their
parents seaside guesthouse by the name of 'Seaview'. It ran from 1983
to 1985, whereby Ms Fielding went on to be a prominent T.V. presenter on
childrens programme, Blue Peter." Andrew Bonia writes, "Seaview is in
fact the name of Alan Moore's house in Northampton. In his case this
is a joke, since there is no sea that I'm aware of anywhere near Northampton,
but in the context of the comic it makes sense."
Page 94. Panel 2. Andrew Bonia writes, "Note the blank
section of wall behind Lime in this scene, as he ponders over a bust
of Moriarty. This was probably an office similar to (or the very same
as) O'Brien's in Nineteen Eighty Four, as the extra large "party
leader" style telescreen has obviously been removed after the fall of
Panel 3. Philip & Emily Graves write, "Although
probably simply one of the Greyfriars Famous Five, the picture
third from the left looks a lot like JCT Jennings from the series
by Anthony Buckeridge. [See here
Page 95. Panel 1. Robtmsnow
points out that the condom wrapper in the bottom right corner
reads "Heros the Spartan," which is the name of another strip
by Frank Bellamy. ("Spartan" rather than "Trojan"). Philip &
Emily Graves point out that the condoms were bought at the vendor's
stand on Page 93, Panel 1, advertised to the proprietor's right.
Page 96. The “Iron Mountains”
around the North Pole are a reference to the Iron Mountains
in the anonymously-written Voyage au Centre de la Terre
If those animals in the upper right are
a reference to anything, I’m unaware of it. Loren Collins
writes, "Those are Blazing World natives like the ones in the 3-D section.
Specifically, they appear to be a Parrot-woman, a Bear-man, a Fox-man,
and a Louse-man. These animal-men are referred to in the bottom-right
prose: "...And here the Blazing Worlde, both ruled by beasts That have
the tongue and semblance yet of men."
The eye-in-the-pyramid, which also appears
on the American dollar bill, represents the All-Seeing Eye
of God and of the Freemasons.
I should know the box-with-parachute below
the eye-in-the-pyramid, but I don’t. (Cyrano's vehicle to
the moon?) Robert McCord writes, "It is from " Histoire des Etats
et Empires du Solel" and is used to reach the Sun, a blazing world
The blinking police box is the TARDIS
time machine from the BBC tv series Doctor Who.
“...is found the Streaming Kingdoms, wherein
transformed spirits of drowned mariners are ruled by an intelligence
called only ‘His Imperial Wetness.’”
The Streaming Kingdom is from Jules Supervielle’s
L'Enfant de la Haute Mer (1931). The Streaming Kingdom
is an aquatic kingdom under the English Channel, near the mouth
of the Seine. It is inhabited by water-breathing humans who
must drown before they can enter the Kingdom. The Kingdom is ruled
by a creature called His Royal Wetness.
“...the much talked of ‘water-babies.’”
The “water-babies” appeared in Charles
Kingsley’s The Water-Babies (1863). The Water-Babies
is about Tom, a chimney sweep, who accidentally falls in a river.
His body dies, but his soul goes is changed into a “water baby”
by a group of faeries.
I believe the man in the glass ball is
a reference to H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (1895).
“The Radiance in these climes is of two
One Red like Mars, the other Venus-green,
With variously glass’d pince-nez required
comprised of ruby and of em’rald both.
Thus furnished, we may fill our eyes and
With lights and musics come from higher
In other words, these extradimensional
places are only visible through the use of 3D glasses. Ian Gould adds, "Hence the red and green eyes of the
I don’t know what the symbols in the lower
left mean. “1666" is the date when Margaret Cavendish’s The
Blazing World was published, but I don’t know what 1695 might
be an allusion to. Damian Gordon speculates that it might be
a reference to the 1695 Treason Act, which specified the rules for
British treason trials. Loren Collins writes, "The '1695' in the lower-left
corner of the map is no allusion. It's the date of the map, as
indicated on the Dossier's table of contents." Keith Kole writes, "The
third symbol is the Masonic compass and right angle broken or dissolved
indicating ordinary geometry does not function in the Blazing World."
Ian Gould writes, "1666
is the Annus Mirabilis (which Betty Windsor referenced when she talked about
her Annus Horribilis). England survived the plague, the Great Fire and
war with the Dutch. It's also the year in which Newton laid the basis for
calculus and modern physics. (Newton is, of course, claimed by the masons
as one of their own.)"
Page 97/Shadows in the Steam 1.
“Meesons and Co. Limited” is a reference to H. Rider Haggard’s
Mr. Meeson’s Will (1888), a crime novel about Mr.
Meeson, an unscrupulous publisher.
Page 98/Shadows in the Steam 2.
“...universally acclaimed professor of mathematics, the
esteemed James Moriarty, since deceased.”
Professor Moriarty is the arch-enemy of
“...the Hunnish ‘Luftpiraten,’ Captain
"Captain Mors" is the lead character of
Der Luftpirat und Sein Lenkbares Luftschiff, a German
dime novel published from 1908-1911. Captain Mors, the "Man with
the Mask," is a Captain Nemo-like character, fleeing from mankind
with a crew of Indians and involved in a prolonged fight against
tyranny and evil, both on Earth and on Venus, Mars, and the rest
of the solar system.
“...his French rival, the repulsive Monsieur
"Robur" is the creation of Jules Verne
and appeared in two books: Robur le Conquerant (1886)
and Maître du Monde (1904). In Robur the Conqueror
Robur, a brilliant engineer and vehement proponent of heavier-than-air
travel, invents a technologically advanced "flying machine,"
the Albatross, and uses it to kidnap several partisans of lighter-than-air
travel and take them around the world. In Master of the World
Robur returns, now a dangerous megalomaniac intent on conquering
Jean-Marc Lofficier notes
that Verne is ambiguous about Robur's nationality, and that he
might well be British or even American.
“...the purchase of heliotropes, imported
from the remote nation of Bengodi...”
Bengodi appears in Giovanni Boccaccio's
Decameron (1353), a very influential collection of
Italian stories, some of which were later used by Chaucer in
his Canterbury Tales. The notion of heliotropes as a source
for the Invisible Man’s invisibility was raised by Moore in League
“...the probably-invented ‘horla’ creature
that the French claimed to have captured in the later 1880s.”
The Horla, an invisible monster, was created
by Guy de Maupassant and appeared in “The Horla” (1885).
writes, "Interesting connection: Vincent Price played Robur in Master
of the World (1961) and Simon Cordier in Diary of a Madman (1963), the latter
film based on "The Horla."
"...unpleasant graveyard desecrations up
in the vicinity of Highgate Cemetery, with decapitated corpses and the
like in evidence."
Tristan Sargent writes, "This is interesting as all of the Cemetery
scenes in Dracula take place in 'Kingstead Cemetery'. Kingstead is
widely taken to be just a fictionalised version of Highgate, but it's very
unusual for Alan Moore to opt for the real rather than the fictional in
this series. Further, the reference to desecrations and a decapitated corpse
is, I suspect, a rather clever double-edged reference. Of course, Van
Helsing and Co. leave Lucy's decapitated corpse in the cemetery, but this
is the extent of their desecrations. However, in the 1970s there was
an infamous spate of vandalism in Highgate Cemetery, which included various
desecrations, most notably the decapitation of a corpse which was then left
in the driving seat of a parked car. This vandalism coincided with
the 'Highgate Vampire' scare. Admittedly, there's a lot of apocraphal
accounts surrounding the Highgate Vampire, making the facts difficult to
verify - but I think Moore is happily referencing the popular mythology
here, so it hardly matters."
Page 99/Shadows in the Steam 3.
Greg Daly astutely notes, "Campion Bond's
first meeting with Mina plays out one of the cliches of cold war fiction:
he meets her while feeding the ducks at Saint James's Park (99). You'll
find this memorably commented on in Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good
The ducks in St James's Park are so
used to being fed bread by secret agents meeting clandestinely that they
have developed their own Pavlovian reaction. Put a St James's Park duck in
a laboratory cage and show it a picture of two men -- one usually wearing
a coat with a fur collar, the other something sombre with a scarf -- and
it'll look up expectantly.
“...the group of islands called the Riallaro Archipelago...
The Riallaro Archipelago appears in John
Macmillan Brown's Riallaro, the Archipelago of Exiles
(1901) and Limanora, the Island of Progress (1903), both
about island utopias near the Antarctic.
Page 100/Shadows in the Steam
4. “One, I think, was a Malay, another being
a tall Negro with the elegant bone-structure and near-indigo
complexion that I most associate with Africa’s Ivory Coast.”
Shame on me for not getting these. I mean, honestly,
how did I miss this? Robert Todd Bruce writes,
I wondered if these might not be two of the three harpooners from
“There was an older man that I assumed
to be an American whose voice had a New England twang about
Queequeg was Ishmael's close companion and a
prince from the South Seas. Tashtego was an Gay Head Indian from
Martha's Vineyard, and Daggoo is an extremely tall, imposing African.
All three are supposed to have died when Moby Dick destroys the
Pequod at the end of the novel (after all, Ishmael says that he was
the only survivor and was picked up by another whaler, the Rachel,
which was cruising the area searching for one her whaleboats.
The lost whaleboat had the youngest son of the Rachel's captain on board),
but who knows, right?
As seen in League v1 & v2,
Ishmael, from Herman Melville's Moby Dick (1851), is
one of Captain Nemo’s crewmen.
“...and a fellow similarly aged, dressed
up in what appeared to be an ancient, threadbare uniform such
as were common during the Sepoy Rebellion.”
Perhaps this is Nemo himself?
“...a young and rather well-built Englishman
whose name, I later learned, was Jack.”
As seen in League v1 & v2,
Broad Arrow Jack, from the E. Harcourt Burrage 1886 serial
of the same name, is a member of Nemo’s crew.
“...a lovely Indian woman in a kind of
turquoise skirt or wrapping...”
Presumably this is Nemo’s wife.
Page 101/Shadows in the Steam
5. Panel 1. The writing on the paper is Hindi.
If you want to translate it, feel free. Evan Ryder contradicts me:
"The writing on Moriarty's sheet of paper isn't Hindi, exactly; it's just
written in the Devanagari alphabet. It transliterates as "kaptān nīmo /
prins ḍakār," that is, "Captain Nemo, Prince Dakkar."
"a lovely Indian woman. . .and the small child she held
swaddled in her arms. . .who had the biggest, brownest and most knowing
eyes that I have ever seen. I later learned that
these two were the estranged wife and daughterof the man I had been sent
Peter Sanderson writes, "This description of Nemo's daughter
with the emphasis on her "knowing eyes" suggests that she will grow
up to be somebody important. Accordin g to your annotations
for Chapter 6 of "The New Traveller's Almanac," Nemo's daughter is named
"Janni," who may be Jenny Diver from Brecht and Weill's "Threepenny Opera."
Panel 2. “Captain Kettle” is a
reference to the short, cigar-smoking, red-bearded, pugnacious,
brutal seaman Captain Kettle, created by C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne
and appearin in stories, a novel, and several films from 1895 to
Page 102/Shadows in the Steam
6. “...a disastrous circumnavigation of Antarctica
attempted three years previously...”
This was described at some length in League
Page 103/Shadows in the Steam 7.
“It seems to me the British Empire has always encountered difficulty
in distinguishing between its heroes and monsters"
Jason Powell notes, "The back cover of the very first issue of
the first volume of "League" has a quote on the back cover from Campion
Bond about how the British Empire has always encountered difficulties
in distinguishing its heroes from its monsters. I thought it was cool
that this line does appear in the chapter of Bond's memoirs reproduced
in "Black Dossier," finally giving fans the context of that inaugural back-cover
Page 104. The “Golden
Rivet” is a bit of naval folklore. Supposedly every ship
has one rivet made of gold, and old sailors like to send young
sailors on snipe hunts to find the golden rivet. Sometimes the
search for the golden rivet is meant to get a young and attractive
sailor alone so as to have sex with him. (British naval tradition
being, per Churchill, nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash).
Pages 106-107. (I’m
combining panels and the text from the Key here)
Panel 1. “...the late eccentric
visionary Selwyn Cavor, driving force behind 1901's lunar
expection and the subsequent annexation of the moon as part of
the British Empire.”
In H.G. Wells' The First Men in the
Moon (1901) Professor Selwyn Cavor is the inventor of “cavorite,”
a gravity-canceling alloy (“this possible substance opaque to
gravitation”) which Cavor and his friend Mr. Bedford, the narrator
of the novel, use to travel to the moon. In the novel the moon is
inhabited by malign Selenties. The novel ends with the Cavor trapped
on the moon and the revelation that the Selenites’ ruler, the Grand
Lunar, is malign. The “subsequent annexation” answers the question
about what Great Britain’s response to this revelation would be.
Panel 2. “...Napoleonic naval hero
Horatio Hornblower is the hero of eleven
novels, from 1937-1967, by C.S. Forester. Hornblower is an
officer in the Royal Navy and performs various heroics in the Napoleonic
Peter Sanderson points out
that this is another of Moore's substitutions, with the statue
of Hornblower taking the place of the statue of Lord Nelson in
Trafalgar Square, "possibly implying that in "League's" world it
was Hornblower who won the Battle of Trafalgar."
Christopher Reynolds adds, "It wasn't just in "League's"
world that Hornblower won the battle of Trafalgar. In the Hornblower
books, Hornblower genuinely was the man most responsible for the triumph
at Trafalgar, by leading Napoleon's fleet into an ambush by Nelson (this
occurs in the partly unfinished novel "Hornblower During the Crisis")."
Panel 3. “The Diogenes Club”
The Diogenes Club is a gentleman’s club
in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Quoting Sherlock Holmes, in
“The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter:”
There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness,
some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their
fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and
the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that
the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable
and unclubable men in town. No member is permitted to take the
least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger's Room, no
talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offences,
if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable
to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself
found it a very soothing atmosphere.
Greg Daly notes
that "The description of the Diogenes Club as a place into which one might
pop for a chat (106-7.3) is at odds with the club's nature: it is a place
for solitude and silence, above all!"
Panel 5. Jonathan Miller writes, "The text in the same panel
refers to a "blackface actor impersonating the Captain". There
was a 1916 adaptation of 20,000 Leagues, with Allen Holubar as Nemo.
Holubar was a white actor, but in the film he's made up to appear dark
skinned. "Blackface" is the theatre tradition where white actors
do what Holubar does in the movie. I don't know how many (if any) other
portrayals of Nemo there have been with white actors with dark make up,
but I suspect this may be a reference to at least this one."
Panel 7. Anyone want to have a go at translating the
writing? Herms98 writes, "the writing in the Limehouse panel on p.107
is unfortunately just gibberish. Some of it kind of looks like
it might be a particular Chinese character or another, but it mostly
just appears to be random squiggles."
“...neighborhood’s good fortune to a local
philanthropist, a doctor who protects the area.”
This is a reference to Fu Manchu, from
Sax Rohmer’s novels. In the novels Limehouse is under his
“Here be South Londoners” is a reference
to medieval maps which would write “Here be Dragons” on unknown
areas of the map. Its use in reference to Londoners south of
the Thames is a jibe at the way those north of the Thames have always
regarded those south of the Thames.
Page 108. “...unsettling
reports concerning the New England town of Arkham, Massachusetts.”
In H.P. Lovecraft’s stories Arkham is
a city, located on the North Shore of Massachusetts, which
is the home to Miskatonic University. Arkham is a fictional
city based on Salem, Mass.
“Returning during the September of that
same year after some unpleasant exploits...”
Those exploits were described in League
“...the communitarian Phalanstery movement,
then but recently established in the western English county
A “phalanstery” is a self-sustaining commune.
Avondale is from Grant Allen’s “The Child of the Phalanstery”
(1884) and is a well-managed phalanstery with the unfortunate
habit of killing all crippled or deformed children.
“...in the lost land of Zuvendis..."
Zuvendis appears in H. Rider Haggard's
“...the incarcerated lunatic Dr. Eric
Dr. Eric Bellman appears in Lewis Carroll’s
poem The Hunting of the Snark (1876). In the poem Bellman
and the Bellman Expedition goes hunting for a snark, only
to find that the gentle snark is in fact the dreaded boojum.
Eduard Habsburg writes, "this is not quite correct. Bellmann
and the Bellman Expedition do not appear in the the poem - it is a
purely nonsensical ballad with several characters beginning with a "b"
(bellman, butcher, Beaver, Baker etc) which is probably inspired by
some famous expedition). I do realise that Alan Moore associated them
somehow in his travelogues (League v2???), but in literary reality that
connection does not exist."
“...the recently-resurfaced brother of
Mycroft Holmes at his home in Fulworth.”
The brother of Mycroft Holmes is of course
Sherlock Holmes and the recent resurfacing is Holmes’ return
from apparent death, chronicled in “The Adventure of the Empty
Les Klinger, author of the
really very good New
Annotated Sherlock Holmes, writes,
I'm a little puzzled by the reference
to the "recently-resurfaced brother of Mycroft Holmes." Sherlock's "resurfacing"
from the Reichenbach Falls took place in 1894, not 1901. The story of this
event, "The Empty House," was not published, however, until 1903, and it
wasn't until that date that the British public learned that Holmes had not
perished at the hands of Professor Moriarty. Perhaps this confused the author
of the Dossier. Another alternative, although I can't fix the dates exactly:
In Kim Newman's Anno Dracula (in which Mycroft and the Diogenes Club attempt
to overthrow Dracula, who has become the Prince Consort of Victoria), Sherlock
has been incarcerated in a concentration camp, and he may have been released
in 1904-1905 after Dracula left England.
“...the Anglo-Russian Convention...”
Fulworth is near Holmes's retirement cottage (mentioned in "The Adventure
of the Lion's Mane"), and it may be that the "resurfacing" spoken of here
is meant simply that someone unknown ran into Holmes at his cottage. The
events recounted in that story took place in July 1907, and it was not published
(and therefore Holmes's precise place of retirement was unknown to the public
at large) until 1926.
The Anglo-Russian Convention took place
from October 1905 to August 1907, at which time an entente
was reached essentially ending the Great Game of espionage,
addressing Afghanistan and Tibet, and and dividing Persia, the
cause of much Russian-British antagonism, into three spheres
“...a dockside hotel worker and sometime
prostitute named Diver...”
This is a reference to Jenny Diver, from
John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera (1728), Polly (1728),
and Bertolt Brecht’s Three Penny Opera (1928). In Three
Penny Opera Jenny Diver sings “Pirate Jenny,” about “the
Black Freighter” which is coming to punish the guilty and rescue
her. Rich Drees adds, "Moore has stated that this
song was the influence for the "Tales Of The Black Frigate" section in WATCHMEN."
Page 109. “Zebed Marsh
& Sons, of Innsmouth.”
In H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”
Captain Marsh was the man who in the 1830s brought the worship
of the Deep Ones back to the Massachusetts town of Innsmouth.
His family remained a power in Innsmouth until the 1930s.
The fish-like appearance
on the faces of the fish-mongers is the “Innsmouth Look,”
a facial malformation indicative of their genetic descent from
the Deep Ones.
“Curwen Street, Market Square”
Curwen Street was introduced in August
Derleth’s “The House on Curwen Street,” a Cthulhu Mythos story.
Pete von Sholly
writes, "CURWEN STREET may have been taken from an August Derleth
story, but Curwen came from JOSEPH CURWEN, the evil reincarnated sorceror
in THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD, by Lovecraft of course."
“Celebrate Wicker Rapist Day in Coradine”
In Julius Caesar’s Commentary on the
Gallic Wars he says that the Druids made a wicker statue,
put human beings inside it, and set it on fire as human sacrifice.
The modern world is more familiar with the burning of the Wicker
Man from the 1973 British and 2006 American films of that name. Coradine
is in W.H. Hudson's A Crystal Age (1887) and is a kind
of utopia set in northern Scotland.
Marc Dolan, among others, says that "I'm fairly certain
that the Coradine postcard is a reference to the Neil LaBute 2006 version
of Wicker Man rather than the earlier, better one, because the later
film is the one with the almost all-female cast."
“Milosis Cemetery, Zuvendis”
This is the supposed grave of Allan Quatermain.
“The Fantippo Daily Mail. Hut Prices Plummet.
Us Foreigners to Blame”
“Fantippo” appears in Hugh Lofting's Doctor
Dolittle's Post Office (1924) and Doctor Dolittle and
the Secret Lake (1949). Fantippo is a kingdom in West Africa
which adopted the English postal system after Fantippo’s ruler,
King Koko, heard about the system and was impressed by it. The “Daily
Mail” is a jibe at the reactionary British tabloid Daily Mail,
which is racist in its treatment of immigration issues. Philip &
Emily Graves note that the Daily Mail has also spent a great
deal of time recently talking about soaring house prices.
Page 110. Lorimer E.
Brackett was a publisher of picture postcards of Monhegan,
Maine. The stylized font of “Post Card, Lorimer E. Brackett, Arkham
Mass.” is in the style of Brackett.
“Met one R. Carter who took us to a ruin
near Dunwich - beastly business. Mina almost abducted by something
“R. Carter” is Randolph Carter, who appeared
in five of Lovecraft’s stories. Carter, who Lovecraft partially
based on himself, is a morose man who has adventures in various
dreamlands. The near-abduction is described in League v1.
"Please excuse the jerky handwriting as I am currently racked
Tom Whiteley writes that this is "a very old joke, possibly from
one of the seaside postcards referenced elsewhere in the book. The old
joke, paraphrased, was a letter from a mother to a son and read: "Your
poor father is suffering from a bout of erotomania and cannot be restrained
from making love to me at inoppurtune moments whatever I am doing at
any time of day or night. Please excuse shaky handwriting." Given the
enviable state of Allan and Mina's love life, post-immortality, I think
we can assume the explanation for her "jerky handwriting" may have more
to do with the younger Allan than the excuse she gives."
Page 111. “Octavia”
Octavia appears in Italo Calvino's Invisible
Cities (1972), in which Marco Polo tells Kublai Khan
about several fabulous cities in the Khan’s empire.
“Greetings from Sussex”
See the notes to Page 112.
“L’Opera de Paris”
This is a reference to Gaston Leroux's
The Phantom of the Opera (1911), with the unmasked,
grotesque Phantom appearing in the upper right corner of the photo.
If anyone else in this painting is a reference I’m unaware of it.
“A Royal Occasion”
This is a reference, I’m sure of it--it
was homaged recently in Nicholas Gurewitch’s very good web
comic “Perry Bible Fellowship”
on the cover of his collection The
Trial of Colonel Sweeto, which you should all buy
right now--but I don’t know what the original is.
Philip & Emily Graves note
"The two main (in shadow) characters at the front of "A Royal Occasion"
are clearly Big Ears and Noddy from Enid Blyton's Noddy books."
Page 112. “Sussex
is dreadful, but I’ve met the gentleman I came here to visit.
Yes, it’s really him.”
In Doyle’s “The Second Stain” Sherlock
Holmes has retired to the Sussex Downs to raise bees.
“Dear Tom, well, it’s over, though in
truth they very nearly finished us. Fantomas was a horror,
and the albino almost as bad.”
See Page 113.
Greg Daly writes, "It seems that Mina and
Allan were in Toyland in March 1907; they must have passed through on
the way back to Britain from Asia via the Arctic (see Page 45, Panels 4-5),
as they arrived home in April 1907 (Page 108). This suggests that Toyland
was on the fringes of the Blazing World, since Orlando will later point
out to Mina that although they saw the Blazing World in 1907, they didn't
actually set foot there until a few years later (Page 182, Panel 3)."
Page 113. The characters
in the image are Dr. Mabuse, Dr. Caligari?, Dr. Rotwang, and
Dr. Mabuse was created by Norbert Jacques
and appeared in three novels and eight films from 1921 to
1964. Mabuse is a German criminal mastermind intent on world
domination; worse still, he is a psychiatrist who uses his psychiatric
knowledge and abilities at hypnotism for his own nefarious ends.
I'm unsure who the figure in top hat and white
gloves is, but Rick Lai notes, "I suspect that he is meant to
be Caligari even though he doesn’t resemble the silent film version
(or far that matter the later remake from 1962). However, the white-gloved
character has prominent eyes of a hypnotic nature." Dr. Caligari
was created by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer and appeared in the film
Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920). Dr. Caligari is the head
of an insane asylum in a rural village in the mountains of Germany.
Peter Sanderson adds, "It
should also be noted that in "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," the
Caligari who is an evil hypnotist only appears in the mad narrator's
imagination. The real "Caligari" is a benevolent doctor at
the asylum in which the narrator is confined. In "League's" world
the narrator's imaginary Caligari actially exists."
A.J. Ramirez adds, "The second
character is clearly intended to be Dr. Caligari, albeit without
his trademark hair. Note the German Expressionist background
and what appears to be Caesar on the staircase."
Dr. Rotwang was created by Fritz Lang
and Thea von Harbou and appeared in the film Metropolis
(1927). Dr. Rotwang is a mad scientist in the city of Metropolis.
Peter Sanderson adds, "It
should be pointed out that "Metropolis" and the various "Mabuse"
movies (from 1922 to 1960!) were directed by the same man, Fritz
Lang. Mabuse and Rotwang were played by the same actor, Rudolf
Klein-Rogge, although O'Neill's illustration makes them look quite
Maria was created by Fritz Lang and Thea
von Harbou and appeared in Metropolis. She is an android
created by Rotwang to foment rebellion among the workers of Metropolis.
David Malet writes, "On p. 105 in the picture of the Zwielichthelden.
In between Mabuse and Rotwang, both the subjects of films directed
by Fritz Lang, is a piece of paper with a red letter M written on it,
an unmistakeable reference to Lang's masterpiece 1931 film "M."
This can be interpreted as the group investigating the child murderer
(either as police or criminals - both sides tried to capture him in
the film) - or else suggests that the madman Beckert was a creation of
the group." Keith Kole also noted the connection. Neale Barnholden adds, "the character of Karl Lohmann,
played by Otto Wernicke, appears in both M and Testament of Dr.
Mabuse. He investigates Mabuse and Beckert, so the connection between
the reality of the two films is rock-solid even without the visual reference
“...it is indeed possible that this Teutonic
group played some part in the sinister activities that plagued
the corontation of King George VI in 1910.”
For more on this, see League v3,
due out next year.
Roy Johnson writes, "I think
the overall thrust of the French and German leagues section was a nod to
the comic book cliche of super-teams fighting the first time they meet, assuming
each are villains."
“...including a mesmerised assassin...”
In Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
the good doctor uses his hypnosis to manipulate one of his
patients, Cesare, into carrying out murders while sleepwalking.
“...the ingenious criminal mastermind
Arsène Lupin was created by Maurice
Leblanc and appeared in a number of stories and twenty novels
and short story collections from 1905 to 1939. Lupin is the
"Prince of Thieves," the archetypal Gentleman Thief of popular
“The international arch-villain Monsieur
Zenith, for example, was a pure albino who used drugs that
overcame the weaknesses of his condition and indeed allowed him
physical abilities beyond the ordinary.”
In the Sexton Blake stories Zenith uses
opium to relieve himself of the boredom of life. Michael
Moorcock, who early in his career wrote some Sexton Blake stories
and edited the Sexton Blake Library, has always stated
that his character Elric of Melnibone (who takes drugs to fortify
himself) was based on Monsieur Zenith. In recent stories, such
as those in his Metatemporal
Detective (with gorgeous cover art by the brilliant
John Picacio), Monsieur Zenith is shown to be a dream that
Elric once had.
“...the unnerving Nyctalope. This creature,
more some new, sophisticated breed of animal than man, had
beating his his breast a manmade heart superior to the human
model. He could breathe with equal ease in both our normal atmosphere
and also underwater, and his eyes were such that the most stygian,
impenetrable darkness seemed to him as brightly lit as if in the full
glare of noon.”
The Nyctalope was created by Jean de La
Hire and appeared in sixteen novels from 1908 to 1954. He
is the adventurer Léo Sainte-Claire (Jean de Sainclair
in some novels), who fights a wide variety of exotic evils with
the help of a stalwart band of assistants. (In some ways the
Nyctalope is Doc Savage avant la lettre). As stated in the
narration above, the Nyctalope has an artificial heart and can
see in the dark.
Damian Gordon wonders
if the phrase “new, sophisticated breed of animal” might be
a Moorean reference to the superhero, of which the Nyctalope
is, arguably, the first.
Jean-Marc Lofficier (who
knows whereof he writes) writes that the Nyctalope can't breathe
underwather. "The underwater breathing comes from an understandable
confusion between the water-breather character from the first volume
and the Nyctalope, hence the mistake."
“...the horror Fantomas.”
Fantômas was created by Pierre Souvestre
and Marcel Allain and appeared in forty-three novels from
1911 to 1963. He is “the Lord of Terror” and “the Genius of Evil,”
a French crime boss with who murders with abandon and aplomb.
“It also seems he was precocious in the
guarding of his true identity, in that those few early acquaintances
of Fantomas who lived to tell the tale could not between them
give an accurate description of the man.”
Fantomas is a master of disguise and no
one ever knows what he looks like.
Page 114. “...something
in the voice and movements of this quite demonic being seemed
to indicate that Fantomas might be a woman.”
Fantomas is on occasion impersonated by
his daughter Hélène.
“...the tomb of Launcelot up in Northumberland...”
Bamburgh Castle, in Northumberland, stands
on the site of an earlier fort, built in the middle of the
fifth century. The original fort’s name was “Din Guayrdi.” This
name was taken by the Arthurian romancers, including Malory,
and given to Lancelot as his home. Launcelot’s tomb being there
is referred to in League v2.
“...the kingdom of Evarchia.”
Evarchia appears in Brigid Brophy's Palace
Without Chairs (1978), a modern day fairy tale set in
an imaginary Eastern European socialist monarchy.
"Jean Robur, however, was no first-time
aeronaut as the Professor had been, nor was his craft powered by Cavorite,
which Robur had dismissed as 'unscientific.'"
Christopher Reynolds, "Wells' writing was criticized by contemporary
Jules Verne for the creation of the "mythical" substance Cavorite, and
Robur apparently espouses the views of his creator. The quote from verne
is: "I get my voyagers to the Moon with gun cotten - something you can
buy in any store and Mr Wells uses a totally mythical substance! Pah!
Where is this Cavorite! Let him produce it!""
“...the monstrously disfigured madman
Erik had resided while he carried out his terror campaign
as the Opera’s so-called ‘Phantom.’”
Erik is the Phantom of the Opera.
Page 115. "...at which juncture A.J. Raffles, who had by then fortunately
happened on the scene, shot the amphibious abomination in the chest."
John Andrews writes, " the AJ that saves Mina from The Nyctalope is Raffles,
not Alan Jnr as we all presumed when we read the Almanac in Volume II."
“...a subterranean Graveyard of Unwritten Books...”
The Graveyard of Unwritten Books was created
by Nedim Gürsel and appeared in Son Tramway (1900).
The Graveyard, also known as the "Well of Locks," is the home
of all books forbidden by authorities across the world.
“...or an underground land lit up by luminous
I believe this is a reference to Coal
City and New Aberfoyle, in Jules Verne's Les Indes Noires
(1877). Coal City, a subterranean city located beneath central
Scotland, is a very productive mine and tourist attraction. Pete Wilson corrects me: "“...an underground land lit
up by luminous balloons...” strikes me as more likely to reference the
land of "Fattypuffs & Thinifers" by André Maurois which is
situated in a giant underground cavern illuminated by luminious balloons
and is located (according to LoEG Vol. II at least) not far from Paris."
“Jean Robur’s airshop shot down at the
battle of the Somme...”
At the end of Maître du Monde
Robur’s ship crashes into the sea, but his body is never found,
although he is presumed dead.
The figures in the image are: the Nyctalope,
Arsene Lupin, Robur, Zenith the Albino, and Fantomas.
Page 116. “What
Ho, Gods of the Abyss” is written in the inimitable style
of P.G. Wodehouse, and is a loving pastiche of Wodehouse’s
Jeeves and Wooster stories. The idea of combining Wodehouse and
Lovecraft has been done before, by Yr. Humble Annotator in “Cthulhu
Fhtagn, Eh Wot, Ha Ha!” and by Peter Cannon in “Scream for Jeeves,”
“...that same Augustus, he of the Fink-Nottles...”
Augustus “Gussie” Fink-Nottle is a friend
and schoolmate of Bertie Wooster. Gussie is described as
a “teetotal bachelor with a face like a fish” which may be the
Innsmouth Look (see Page 109) and would explain why he was chosen
by the Old Ones in this sotry.
“...my Aunt Dahlia...”
Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia Travers is rough
but affectionate toward Bertie.
“...cross-country runs at dear old Malvern
House, when I was younger.”
Bertie and Gussie attended Malvern House
“...my regrettable Aunt Agatha who uses
battery-acid as a gargle and shaves with a lathe...”
Bertie’s Aunt Agatha Gregson is quite
fearsome: “When Aunt Agatha wants you to do a thing you do
it, or else you find yourself wondering why those fellows in
the olden days made such a fuss when they had trouble with the
“...I may write a piece on for Milady’s
Milady’s Boudoir is a weekly woman’s
newspaper which Aunt Dahlia runs.
Page 117. “...its blossoms
shall certainly attract the Shambler in Darkness.”
This very Lovecraftian-sounding creature
is Moore’s invention. "Him Name Eddie" writes, "One other thing...the
"Shambler in Darkness" from page 117 could be a reference to the
"Shambler in the Stars" creature from the Cthulhu Mythos, although
I don't think it was invented by Lovecraft himself. It is described
as living in "cosmic space" which would certainly be darkness."
Christopher Reynolds writes, "the name of the
creature should be "Shambler from the stars"
rather the "in the stars", and it appeared in a short story by
Robert Bloch in Weird Tales in 1935. It drinks blood."
“...sleepying and dreaming at a place
“...some old goat who had misspent his
youth so badly that he had a thousand young...”
Shug-Niggurath is the “Black Goat of the
Woods with a Thousand Young.”
“...the three-lobed burning eye...”
The three-lobed burning eye is one of
the avatars of Nyarlathotep.
“...the town of Goatswood, close to Brichester,
for the occasion.”
Goatswood and Brichester are in the Severn
Valley, which in the stories of Ramsey Campbell are a location
for many Lovecraftian activities.
“...three or four feet long and roughly
barrel shaped, its head resembling an elaborately ugly starfish
and some ghastly tattered things that jutted from what we
assumed to be its torso, these resembling fins or wings...”
This is a Lovecraftian Elder Thing.
Philip & Emily Graves write,
"Jeeves' cousin 'on the Silversmith side of his family, who worked
as deputy curator for the British Museum' must presumably be the
child of his uncle Charlie Silversmith, who is the butler at Deverill
Hall (from The Mating Season)."
Pete von Sholly writes, "One
small note - the body found while cleaning up the garden (page 115),
the barrel- shaped starfish-headed thing with tattered wings would
be one of the Old Ones, a very specific variety of alien featured in
HPL's At the Mountains of Madness."
I think you’re missing some more specific Lovecraft references
in “What Ho, Gods of the Abyss”. The mention of brains removed
and stored in cylinders, and of Peabody’s illness giving him a raspy
voice and making him sensitive to light is a reference to Lovecraft’s
“The Whisper in Darkness”. In the story, a race of aliens with
great surgical abilities called the Mi-go can remove the brains of human,
usually their allies, and store them in cylinders to be transported through
space. The character Akeley, who fights against the Mi-go, is captured
by them and has his brain placed in a cylinder. Meanwhile, a Mi-go
impersonates Akeley, wearing Akeley’s skin as a disguise. In order
to make this more convincing, it keeps the lights low and talks in a low
voice, claiming to be sick (the Mi-go can impersonate human speech, but
their voices have a distinct buzzing sound; hence Peabody’s rasp).
Apparently the same thing is going on here. The creature the League
is shown fighting against might therefore be the Mi-go that was impersonating
Peabody, which would explain the reference to “the torn and paper like
visage of Mr. Peabody” during the battle.
Page 119. "The
foursome from the Museum were in combat with the brute, the girlish-looking
chap Orlando hacking gamely at it with a large and terribly impressive
Edward Rogers speculates that the sword on the cover may be
the one Orlando uses here: "The discolored and jagged edge may be
due to the blades contact with the unworldly flesh."
Myles Lobdell writes, “the elderly man to the direct right
of Orlando is almost certainly David Low's Colonel
Blimp or else it's Roderick Spode made up to look like Colonel
Blimp, they had roughly the same politics and personality.”
Greg Daly agrees: "I'm
inclined to agree that the portly gentleman with the whiskers at Brinkley
Court is almost certainly Colonel Blimp (119), showing that he survived the
surely almost total annihilation of his unit by the Martian heatray in LOEG
Vol II. "
Page 121. Panel
2. Shawn Garrett writes,
Possibly a comic-book allusion - Something about the look
of Billy here and the lighting remind me very strongly of Abel, DC Comic's
HOUSE OF SECRETS horror comic host. A cowardly (socially inept, almost
child-like), stuttering overweight man with two points of upswept hair,
illuminated from below (Abel often walked the creepy halls with a candle)
who presides over his own windswept "House Of Secrets". There's no specific
panel I can refer to (although I do have an image downloaded from the
web of a Berni Wrightson ink sketch for a cover of HOUSE OF SECRETS
that captures the similarity.) but I do mention it also because Moore,
long before Neil Gaiman used them in SANDMAN, was the one to really re-invigorate
the characters of Abel (and his HOUSE OF MYSTERY host-brother Cain) in
his genre-defining run of SWAMP THING - taking characters who had previously
been seen as nothing more than standard comic book hosts and redefining
them as supernatural psychopomps who actually "exist" in the DC Universe.
Panel 3. If “Courtfield 106" means anything,
I’m unaware of it. Zoltán Déry
writes that Courtfield is the town nearest to Greyfriars.
Panel 6. And so we finally have
the explanation of the “Mother” Bunter got his postal orders
Page 122. Panel 1.
“Roy Carson Horror”
Roy Carson is a British hardboiled detective
created by Denis McLoughln and appearing in Roy Carson
“‘Splash Kirby’ Exclusive”
Arthur “Splash” Kirby is a reporter for
the Daily Post in various Sexton Blake stories. Michael
Moorcock corrects my earlier misidentification of Kirby's creator
and says, "I think Splash was the creation (or modification) of W.
Greyfriars School is just to the north
of the village of Friardale.
If the mother and children seen here are
a reference to anyone I’m unaware of it. Myles Lobdell wonders
if the two children are Andy Capp and his future wife.
Panel 2. Richard Dill writes, "Is the woman eating
rock at the left of the panel Vera from the Giles family, drawn by
the late great Ronald Giles? Her hair, clothes and hat are identical.
Although this isn't as definitive the sighting of Gran on PAGE 12 - PANEL
3, I think this is too detailed to be coincidence."
Page 123. Panel 2. Peter Hardy and Londonkds note, "I'm pretty certain
that the bus driver is Stan Butler as played by Reg Varney in the British
sit-com On The Buses. Although that series was made in the early seventies
it is conceivable that Stan was doing the job back in 1958."
Panel 3. “Norma Desmond” is a reference to the aging
actress in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950).
Philip & Emily Graves write, "Tempting to suggest
that the red-head is Violet Elizabeth Bott from the Just William
books by Richmal Crompton."
Panel 4. Borchester is a town in
the BBC radio soap The Archers (1951-present).
Richard Powell adds, "Ambridge is also from "The Archers",
it's the village where the titular family are based."
Pages 124-125. Any help
any of you can give me on identifying these rockets would
be most helpful. Likely they’re all references.
Damian Gordon speculates that the ship
on the left-hand side of the page, above the man with the pipe,
is from Things to Come (1936), the film version of Wells’
The Shape of Things to Come.
Paul Cornell identifies the blue ship
on the long track in upper center of Page 124 as the Fireball
XL5, from the British tv series Fireball XL5 (1962-1963),
a Gerry and Sylvia Anderson flying-marionettes-in-the-future show.
Paul Cornell and Damian Gordon note that
the red ship in the lower right hand corner of Page 124 is
the titular vehicle from Gerry Anderson’s tv show Supercar
(1961-1962). Paul Cornell further notes that the thing in front
of the ship, raising its two arms, is Mitch, the pet monkey of Jimmy
Gibson, a ten-year-old member of the Supercar team. Mike Curtis adds, "Standing in front of Supercar is its
test pilot Mike Mercury, recognizable by his distinctive coveralls and hair."
Paul Cornell further writes, “the space
technology looks to be a combination of Frank Hampson Dan
Dare design (the glass nose cones and bubbles) and Gerry Anderson
design (the little vehicle leading the spacecraft along the ground
has design features from a Captain Scarlet SPV, but definitely isn't
one. Some of these designs may be, dare I say it...generic?”
Kevin O'Neill identifies the bald,
trenchcoat-wearing man in the lower right as Masterspy, from Supercar.
The “Kingfisher-8" is a reference to Dan
Dare. The Kingfisher was the first manned rocket sent to Venus,
but it was mysteriously destroyed, leading to Dan Dare’s trip
to Venus and encounter with the Mekon.
Kevin O'Neill identifies the green,
vertical rocket is from Space Ace. (I failed to ask him which
Space Ace, unfortunately). Jeremy Briggs
writes, "That would be Space Ace
from the 1950's UK Lone Star comic and annuals with art by Ron Turner."
Kevin O'Neill identified the red, horizontal rocket with
"Alpha 7" written on the side as appearing in an issue of....and
I can't read my writing. something Adventure Annual. Anyone? Jeremy Briggs responds: "That would be one of the Adventure Annuals published by
TV Boardman in the UK in the 1950's. Check TV Boardman artist Dennis McLaughlin's
Wikipedia entry for a full list. Unfortunately I don't know which one this
spaceship is from but most
of the covers are here."
Zoltán Déry writes, "The
small grey craft on the right hand side, just above the large red "Alpha
7" seems to be Dan Dare's ship "Anastasia". The two domes and the grey colour
certainly match." Jeremy Briggs also noted this.
Kevin O'Neill identifies the ship in the upper right as
the Skylon from the
Festival of Britain.
Kevin O'Neill identifies the squat, vertical craft in
the upper left as the ship
from Things to Come. Keith
Martin and Jeremy Briggs note, "Properly
speaking, that isn't a ship, it's a Space Gun. In "Things to Come", this gigantic
gun is used to fire a manned capsule into space (much like the gun used in
Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon"). In the picture that you link
to, you can see the capsule being lifted up by a crane, ready to be lowered
into the gun."
Kevin O'Neill identifies the white vertical rocket on
the upper right of Page 124 as the rocket from Journey Into Space.
Leo and Kevin Pezzano note its similarity
to a Werner von Braun design: "The white finned rocket lifting off in
the top center of the big spaceport image (pages 124-135), the one right
at the nose of the big blue rocket, bears an extremely strong resemblance
to the design proposed by Wernher von Braun and illustrated by Chesley
Bonestell in his Collier's Magazine articles collectively called "Man
Will Conquer Space Soon!""
Jeremy Briggs writes, "It is
from the 1956 Express Weekly comic strip of the BBC Radio series Journey Into
Space and the original artist was Ferdinando Tacconi. It is being reprinted
in Spaceship Away and there is a scan of it here."
Richard Dill writes, "The two figures standing on the observation
deck with their backs to us at the bottom left of the picture are Dan
Dare and his sidekick, Digby. Digby is the same fat, pudgy short height
he always is to Dare, whilst Dan's obligatory pipe is seen protruding
Martin Campbell writes, "The Sign in bottom right
is also from Dan Dare – in fact Dan Dare episode 1 14th April 1950."
Page 125. Panel 4. “Ordinary
airplane pilot Gary Haliday at your service.”
This is a reference to the BBC tv series
Garry Halliday (1959), about two pilots, Garry Halliday
and Bill Dodds, in pursuit of the criminal mastermind The Voice.
Paul Cornell corrects my mistake about
the “I-Spy Rockets” pamphlet which Haliday is holding:
“Halliday is holding a fictitious entry
in the 'I Spy Books' series. I had several of these
when I was a kid. The idea was that the books listed a
collection of things (birds, cars, etc) and the observant child
ticked off where and when they'd seen each thing, then sent the book
in to Big Chief I-Spy (who lived in a wigwam in London) and get some
sort of certificate in return. They've become comedy shorthand
for a reference book only for the very young.”
Page 126. Panel 1. “Well,
I’m only a rocket-spotter, really, but I know a bit.”
Damian Gordon notes that this is a riff
on the U.K. tradition of trainspotting and planespotting:
ordinary citizens keeping notes on the various types of trains
and planes they have spotted.
Panels 1-2. “That’s the Pancake
Extra-Large Series Four...there was the Mushroom Cloud X-L
2, the Shrapnel X-L 3...it’s a tradition.”
This is a reference to the Fireball XL5
(see Page 124). Paul Cornell writes that the back end of
the ship with the “L4" visible is quite similar to the back end
of the XL5. Patrick Reumann adds, " I wonder it the reference on page
126 about the Mushroom Cloud Xl spaceship may have be a reference to Sci
Fi Artist Kelly Frees paintings from the 1960's with a Mushroom shape module
on space ship in his art works. This became known to fans as the Kelly
Frees Mushroom Drive. Could Moore be refers to Frees and his artwork? Frees
started painting these during the same time period as Fireball XL5."
Panel 3. “We read about that when
we were in the states. See-through robots made out of perspex
or something, all with names like Ronald, or Roderick...”
In Fireball XL5 transparent robot
Robert is the Fireball’s pilot.
"Him Name Eddie" writes, "It
seems to me that this could be a reference to Robby the Robot from
the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet, who had a clear 'bubble head' (which
I believe was indeed made from perspex) from which his inner workings
could be observed."
Guest_Informant points out that
the "Roderick" reference is likely an allusion to John Sladek's
Roderick the Robot.
Damian Gordon notes that the boys in the
lower left are Danny and Plug of the Bash Street Boys. (See
Page 10, Panel 4).
The hockey-stick-wielding girl is Petunia,
from the comic strip “The Dolls of St. Dominic’s,” which appeared
in the British comic Pow in 1967. Philip & Emily
Graves disagree: "I think that it's not Petunia from "Dolls of St Dominic's",
but one of the girls from St Trinians - the character behind her is
clearly Alastair Sim as Millicent Fritton from the films!"
Richard Dill adds, "Although the feral
schoolgirls seen here are most certainly from St. Trinians, I believe
the bespectacled prep-schoolboy to be another classic, yet lesser
known, Ronald Searle illustrative masterpiece. That of Nigel Molesworth.
Illustrated by Searle and written by Geoffrey Willans (until his sudden
untimely death in 1958 at 47) the books were enormously popular, initially
surpassing the St.Trinians titles in sales. The hero of the books, Nigel
Molesworth, went to St. Custards prep school. Interestingly, the rival
school, known as Porridge Court, had a headmaster of the name of HOGGWART."
Panel 4. "That's right.
The X-Ls are American made."
"Well, I suppose they'd have to be. Who else thinks
'extra' stars with an X?"
Mario di Giacomo writes, ""Who else thinks 'extra'
starts with an X?" has a whole new meaning in a book who's first
volume was adapted into a film abbreviated LXG...." Rich Johnston
adds, "Professor Xavier names his team the X-Men because each has an
Chris Cooper writes, "I
think in cheesy science fantasy parlance the X means 'Tres Kewl' but in
aviation design and law the X denotes an experimetal prototype version
of the craft numbered in series as remodelled varieties get built. Since
UK aviation governing bodies will not allow experimental aircrraft (and
subsequently spacecraft) to fly commercially, I'm going with the 'X means
Tres Kewl' idea."
Panel 5. “...somebody famous, like
Morgan or Hawke or someone.”
Morgan is Captain Morgan, mentioned on
Page 10, Panel 8. Hawke is Jeff Hawke, from the comic strip
“Jeff Hawke, Space Rider” (1954-1975). Jeff Hawke, in the XP5
rocket, goes 3000 miles beyond the Moon and meets the Lords of the
Universe, and then embarks on even wider-ranging adventures.
Panel 6. Jeremy Briggs and Robert Dery note, "The
elderly gentlemen below the "Let's go and look in the gift shop" balloon is
Professor Popkiss from Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's Supercar TV series. He
created the Supercar along with Doctor Beaker. Details
on the TV Comic Supercar comic strip are here."
Page 127. Panel 2. Is
the mask on the right a reference to anything? Philip &
Emily Graves think that the mask is the Mekon's. Richard Dill and
Tim Chapman, disagree: "The boy's alien mask could be of the Mekon,
but lacking the enormous forehead, is more likely based upon his lowly
alien masses, The Treens." James Coates adds, "I am pretty sure these
masks were available to buy in Britain in the 1950's. (I'm sure there
is a film in which a child is seen wearing one but I can't remember what
Chris Cooper writes, "Yes,
it's a treen mask, let's say a Worker Treen. The Mekon was also a treen
but was some sort of supercaste Queen Treen with amazing intellectual powers
but a withered body. If I remember rightly, the Mekon controlled a facist
Treen empire on the South of Venus. The Northern Venus Treens travelled
between Earth and Venus regularly. I recall there were immigrant treen kids
in earth schools." Jeremy Briggs adds, "The green mask is a Treen
and Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson's son, Peter, can be seen wearing a fuller
version in the Pathe News clip here."
Richard Dill writes, "The fat man with the monocle is Harris
Tweed, a popular character from the old Eagle comic. Drawn by John
Ryan (who also created and drew the B.B.C. childrens classic, 'Captain
Pugwash') Tweed, usually known as 'Harris Tweed, Special Agent' and later
as 'Harris Tweed - Super Sleuth', was a rotund and monocled bumbling secret
agent who bungled successfuly through missions and adventures, assisted
only by his cleverer (he often saved the day) boy sidekick, known simply
Panel 3. The seated alien is the
Mekon. Chris Cooper writes, "The Mekon sits
in a hovering plate because he's too weak to carry himself. Hampson's
Dan Dare treens were not racial symbolisms as much as 'blatentisms'."
Panel 4. “Interplan– Police Patrol”
is a reference to the Interplanetary Police Patrol, which
Captain Vic Valiant was the “Ace” of in Space Comics (1953-1955).
“Kemlo” is a reference to the fifteen
Kemlo books by “E.C. Eliot,” a.k.a Reginald Alec Martin.
Kemlo and his friends live on Satellite Belt K, orbiting around
Paul Cornell clears up my confusion by
noting that the alien brain-with-antenna is one of the creatures
from the British sf horror film Fiend Without a Face
Panel 5. “...the Westminster Abbey
This is a reference to Nigel Kneale’s
The Quatermass Experiment (1953), in which a British
spaceship thought to be lost crashes in Wimbledon. One of the
astronauts turns out to be infected with a dangerous fungus alien
and is eventually cornered in Westminster Abbey.
Page 128. Panel 1.
Richard Dill writes, "I'm not sure, but
this looks pretty similar to a shot of motorway traffic in Terry Gilliam's
'1984' inspired British future movie, 'BRAZIL'. The cars and lorry
remind me of a scene where the films protagonist, Sam, takes to the
Panel 7. John Sewell writes, "The white-haired chap looking
worried as Drummond bears down on him looks very like Dan Dare's faithful
batman Digby, but if that's the case he's lost his cap (and his Colonel!)
since his previous appearance four pages previously!"
Page 129. Panel 1.
“He probably misses Goldstein and the Four-Minute Hate...”
In 1984 the “Two Minute Hate” is
a daily ritual in which Party members must watch a film showing
Emmanuel Goldstein (see Page 16, Panel 8) and other enemies
of the Party, and express their hatred for them.
Panel 2. Philip & Emily Graves write,
"For little reason other than the colour of her clothes, we wonder
if that's Lady Penelope of Thunderbirds fame."
Panel 3 & 7. Jason Adams
writes, "The stick-figure signs that denote the male and female
restrooms each have a single antenna sticking out from the tops of
Panel 5. Peter Sanderson writes, "I wonder
if the sexual attraction between Bond and Miss Night was inspired
by the film of Ian Fleming's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service,"
in which Diana Rigg (who played Mrs. Peel) played Tracy, the woman
who marries James Bond."
Page 130. Panel 1.
Philip & Emily Graves and Jason Adams write, "The man in glasses'
badge (button) features the same character seen earlier (Which we
think to be Martian) on page 16, panel 9." Phil
Smith disagrees: "I don't think it is that Martian character seen earlier.
It looks to me like he's wearing a penny-farthing badge as worn by residents
of The Village. Another reference to The Prisoner!"
Panel 8. “Don’t fancy a wager on Melchester
hammering those Fulchester scoundrels, I suppose?”
The British tv series Crown Court
(1972-1984) was set in Fulchester. Damian Gordon points out
that most of the characters in the adult comic Viz live
Phil Smith writes, "Fulchester Rovers is the
football team used in Viz's great strip Billy the Fish,
whose line-up included busty Native American Brown Fox, 81-year-old
blind peanut seller Rex Findlayson and not-a-Nazi-Rocket-Scientist
Professor Wölfgang Schnell BSc PhD, and fish-bodied goalkeeper
Billy the Fish. It's hardly surprising that they'd face off against
the team they spoofed!"
Page 131. Panel 1. Paul
Cornell notes that these are the Lazoons, from Fireball
XL5. (They are mentioned on Page 48, Panel 40). Presumably
the one which “talked with a lisp” was Zoony, who apparently was
very irritating to viewers. Jeremy Briggs adds,
"Zoonie the Lazoon was iritating because, being an alien animal, he did not
speak English and repeated his "Welcome Home" phrase parrot fashion and v-e-r-y
s-l-o-w-l-y. To add a lisp to the slow drawl of "Welcome Home" would have
been unbearable, as it appears to have been to the rest of the Lazoons in
the cage in this panel."
Panel 3. The fat man is Harris
Tweed--see the note to Page 127, Panel 2.
Page 133. Panel 1.
Peter Sanderson writes, ""S-so you know Indian wrestling, do
you?" This is an obvious reference to Mrs. Peel's renowned
martial arts skills. But why does Moore refer to them as
Indian? Assuming he is referring to India, and not to
Native American combat skills, Moore may possibly be alluding to
the fact that Diana Rigg spent her early childhood (age 2 to 8) in India."
Peter Gilham points to the Wikipedia entry on Pehlwani.
Panel 4. “Anzia New Famine”
I’m unable to find this reference. It
might be referring to the Azanian Empire, in Evelyn Waugh's
Black Mischief (1932).
Page 134. Panel 3. “Dixie
Coll– Lesbian Expose.”
I’m not sure what this is a reference
to. Philip & Emily Graves write, "Looks like "Dixie Collins"
to us, and could therefore refer to the 1959 film "Expresso Bongo",
starring Cliff Richard."
Page 136. Panel 1. I’m
pretty sure the spaceships seen here are more references, but
I don’t know what they are.
Page 137. Panel 1. “...these
oversized Dinky toys.”
Dinky Toys are a British brand of toy
cars. John Sewell adds, "...these oversized Dinky toys.” - it's maybe
worth pointing out that throughout the 1960s and 70s, Dinky produced
many minature vehicles based on those seen in Gerry Anderson's various
series (though not Fireball XL5!) which are fondly remembered toys by
us ageing fortysomethings."
Panel 2. I don’t recognize the
car, if it's a reference. Ken Shinn does: "Indeed it is - another
Dan Dare reference, in fact. It's one of the gyro-cars (future vehicles
moving on a large, centrally-mounted gyroscopic "tyre") frequently seen
being driven by Dan and his Space Fleet comrades." John Sewell adds, "The
car commandeered by Bond is a jeepeet from Dan Dare - Dare uses a similar
model to travel to Space Fleet HQ early in the strip's first storyline."
Panel 7. Julian Wan writes, "Allan assembles
what looks like a gilded handcrafted shotgun. He is a bit rusty for a big-game
hunter and fumbles with the shells. The weapon was probably crafted in
the Middle East. The region of northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan
are noted for their many skilled gunsmiths who create beautiful weapons
with inlays of gold and ivory."
Panel 9. James Coates writes, "Look at the colour
of Allan's shotgun. He wouldn't be a man with a golden gun by any
Page 138. Panel 1. I
don’t recognize the spaceships, if they are references.
Panel 2. I don’t recognize the
spaceships, if they are references.
Panel 3. Jonathan Roberts writes,
"when Bond crashes the car (a Dan Dare car?) on page 138 the speed sign
is Moore's dig at visual gags from Bond films, specifically post-boat chase
in Live And Let Die."
"Him Name Eddie" writes, "In the panel where Bond's
car is getting flipped over by Allan's gun blast, in the background there
is a squat rocket with the letters 'UK 1' on it. I believe this is the moon
lander from the 1964 movie version of First Men in the Moon, although there
it was the 'UN 1'."
Page 139. Panel 4. “I
read it in that dirty magazine you bought in America. Stagman,
Stagman appears in John Sladek’s The
Müller-Fokker Effect (1973). In the novel Stagman
is a Playboy analogue which is only successful because
of its owner’s frustrated libido.
Papa Joe Mambo notes that
the original title for Playboy was Stag Party.
Dave Henderson adds: "Hugh Hefner originally wanted to call his new
magazine Stag Party, and the mascot, instead of the famous rabbit,
was an antlered stag. However, there was already a men's magazine called
Stag, and they threatened to sue. So at the last minute the name was
changed to Playboy and the mascot to a suave rabbit."
Panel 5. “...stories by Kennaston...”
In James Branch Cabell’s The Cream
of the Jest (1917) writer Felix Kennaston’s work begins
to infect his reality.
In the novels of Kurt Vonnegut Kilgore
Trout is a hack writer of science fiction. Joseph Allevato adds, "in the Vonnegut books, Mr.
Trout's stories never get printed except in pornographic magazines and,
even then, only to make the magazine thicker."
“You just ogled that ‘Montana Wildhack’
floozy in the fold-out bit.”
In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five
(1969) Montana Wildhack is a porn actress who is kidnaped
by the Tralfamadoreans and forced to mate with Billy Pilgrim.
Panel 6. “...you weren’t much on
the Stagman Club, all those girls with deer antlers...”
The Playboy Club makes its waitresses
wear bunny ears, so it’s logical that in the Stagman Club
the waitresses would wear deer antlers.
Page 140. Panel 1. “Roger
the Robot”’s visual appearance may be a reference. Philip
& Emily Graves write, " Both the robot and uniform are again
derived from Fireball XL5. Their robot was Robert. See here."
Jason Adams writes, "Although I cannot find a visual reference,
there was a Roger the Robot in an episode of the American television
series Captain Z-Ro (1951-1956)."
Keith Kole demurs: "Roger the Robot is a suggestion."
Page 141. Panel 1. “I’ve
seen brainier-looking Airfix kits.”
Airfix is a British manufacturer of scale
model kits of planes.
Pages 142-143. Again,
more spaceships I’m not recognizing. Damian Gordon wonders
if the ship in the upper left with two domes is a version of
Dan Dare’s Anastasia. Paul Cornell agrees but notes the fins,
which the Anastasia is missing.
That may be Dan Dare himself in the bottom
right corner. James Coates writes, "It's definitely
Dan Dare or least a relative of. Dan Dare is almost always depicted
with those very distinctive jaggedy eyebrows (If you have read Grant
Morrison's 'DARE' this is even remarked upon by one of the characters).
Presumably the woman with him could be Jocelyn Peabody, a botanist
who often accompanies Dan on his adventures although I can't remember
seeing her in this uniform." Philip & Emily Graves write, "*IF* that's
Dan Dare, then it's highly likely that the character to his right (our
left) is Christopher Philip
Mario di Giacomo writes, "above the maybe Dan Dare, is
a Hiller Flying Platform, developed (and abandoned) by the Office
of Naval Research in 1955." Jason Adams adds this link.
Philip & Emily Graves write, "Although the artwork here does
indeed appear to be of a Hiller Flying Platform, it's worth noting that
Tom Swift invented a similar-looking device - the 'repelatron donkey'.
The picture here
shows it with more of a guard rail, but the textual description does not
appear to specify it needing one."
Jeremy Briggs writes, "Of the two helicopters above
the tower, the yellow one is a helijet from Dan Dare in Eagle comic which
were based on the Westland Dragonfly helicopter which (strangely enough) is
what the orange one appears to be. The large tower block in the background
is the Space City Control Tower from the Fireball XL5 TV series as can be
seen in TV Comic here."
Page 144. Panel 1. “Jona-
Curs- on Brit–“
Tim Chapman and Guy Lawley point
out that this is a reference to the main character
of a comic strip in The Beano, featuring a very unlucky sailor.
(A "Jonah," in Naval parlance). Ed Berridge notes, "Jonah was a strip
that ran in The Beano about a 'jinxed' sailor who caused every ship
he ever set foot on to sink, usually in a ridiculously amusing manner.
The character was written and drawn by Roger the Dodger-creator Ken
Reid, of whom both Moore and O'Neil were fans (in fact, Alan bought an
original page of Reid's Jonah artwork as a wedding present for his daughter
Leah and son-in-law John Reppion)."
“Spider Man From Mars”
Not a reference to the Bowie song, surely?
Michael Norwitz writes, "... actually it would be
in character for Moore to make a Bowie reference; see the Captain
Airstrip-One strip." Jason Adams writes, "Spiderman from Mars" may
be a reference to the multi-limbed green martians from Edgar Rice Burroughs'
"Barsoom Series", but it's likely that it is also a double-reference
to David Bowie's 1972 classic The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
and the Spiders from Mars." Daniel Marks
writes, "looks a lot like Bowie, and is even more fitting considering that
Bowie considers the 1984 canon in his 'Diamond Dogs' Album, with songs like
'We are the Dead', '1984', and 'Big Brother' "
Page 145. Panel 2. Jonathan
Carter notes that this is the uniform worn on Fireball XL5.
Page 146. “...a
self-styled ‘surrealist sportsman’ who suffered from chronic
dwarfism and whose first or last name was apparently Engelbrecht.”
This is a reference to Maurice Richardson’s
of Engelbrecht (1950), in which the surrealist sportsman
dwarf Engelbrecht boxes with a grandfather clock, goes on a
witch hunt, and has various wonderful surrealist adventures.
“...a stocky, unkempt Negro with a very
See Page 166 below.
“...a Mr. Norton, an intelligence gatherer
sometimes referred to as ‘the prisoner of London.’”
This is a reference to Iain Sinclair’s
Slow Chocolate Autopsy (1997), about Norton, who can
travel in time but is stuck within the physical confines of London.
“...the apparent dynasty of black-clad
This is a reference to Terry Patrick’s
The Black Sapper, who appeared in Rover and Hotspur
for decades beginning in 1929. The Black Sapper is an inventor/thief,
dressed all in black, who uses an enormous burrowing machine,
the Earthworm, to commit crime. There being a dynasty of Sappers
would explain the Sapper’s longevity.
“...or an early manifestation of elusive
international criminal mastermind The Voice.”
I believe this is a reference to Garry
Halliday, in which The Voice is Garry Halliday’s arch-enemy.
Damian Gordon corrects my mistake and
notes that during World War Two there were a series of precautionary
posters entitled “Be Like Dad and Keep Mum.”
"Joey Dedcat" and Philip &
Emily Graves wonder if the man in the cap and the prostitute are
Andy Capp and Flo. John Dorrian says, "The American soldier that Flo
and Andy Capp are talking to is Sad Sack, the old Harvey Comics character."
Page 147. The “Watch
out–Adenoid’s about!” cartoon is typical of WW2 precautionary
Paul Cornell notes that this
poster might also be a reference to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's
Rainbow, set during WW2 and featuring a giant adenoid. (Pynchon
was likely referring back to The Great Dictator, but I'd
bet that Moore intended this to be a double reference).
Mark Bourne writes, "It's appropriate
that the cartoon depicts Hynkel with a balloon for a head, because the most
famous scene in Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" has Hynkel doing a
little metaphorical ballet with a balloon representing the entire world.
Dennis Walker and Londonkds
point out the original source:
“...the architect Nicholas Dyer’s creepy
This is a reference to Peter Ackroyd’s
Hawksmoor (1985), in which British architect Nicholas
Hawksmoor is reimagined as Nicholas Dyer.
"He believed that in all probability the challenge would come
from someone installed by Military Intelligence within the Labour Party,
probably someone from a solid military background and intensely charismatic
with a splendid chance of winning a post war election."
John Andrews writes, "The comments by Churchill on page 147
about being replaced by a Labour man with an impressive military record
are interesting, beacuse in 1945 Clement Atlee, or "Major Atlee" as
he was sometimes know, did indeed replace Churchill when the Labour
Party won a landslide result in the general election. And Orwell did
base IngSoc on the Labour Party under Atllee in the late 1940's so perhaps
this is what Moore is alluding to?"
"He broke off with a haunted look there in his
bloodshot gundog eyes, as if he'd said too much, and lit one
of those caber-sized cigars..."
Peter Sanderson writes:
The prime minister is presumably Winston Churchill (1874-1965),
who was indeed a heavy drinker, though
not an alcoholic. Here Moore is building upon the historical
fact that Churchill, though he was such a great war leader, was
turned out of office in 1945, right after the war's end.
You should find this quotation from Churchill's Wikipedia
entry relevant: "During the opening broadcast of the election
campaign, Churchill astonished many of his admirers by warning that
a Labour government would introduce into Britain "some form of Gestapo,
no doubt humanely administered in the first instance". Churchill had
been genuinely worried during the war by the inroads of state bureaucracy
into civil liberty, and was clearly influenced by Friedrich Hayek's
anti-totalitarian tract, The Road to Serfdom (1944)."
Page 148. The four figures
here are Worrals, William Samson Jr., the Iron Warrior, and
the Invisible Man, with the Iron Fish in the background.
William Samson Jr is the son of William
Samson, seen in League v2. William Samson Jr is the
“Wolf of Kabul,” who appeared in over 100 stories in various
story papers from 1922 to 1972. The Wolf of Kabul, whose real name
was Bill Sampson (often shown as "Samson"), is an agent for the
British Intelligence Corps operating on the Northwest frontier
The Iron Warrior appeared in Thrill
Comics (1940-1945) and New Funnies (1948). The
Iron Warrior is a giant robot, controlled by Rodney Dearth and
used to find treasure in Africa.
This Invisible Man is Peter Brady, from
the American tv series The Invisible Man (1958-1960).
In the show Peter Brady, a British scientist, is turned invisible
in an accident.
The Iron Fish is mentioned on Page 14,
Matt White, Julian Wan,
and Dan Kurdilla correct me: "It's certainly Grey in the background on
148 instead of Rodney Dearth. He's identical in panel 3 on page 149."
"When in 1946 it was apparent that Miss Murray and her
colleagues had deserted our employ by going missing in America, MI5
elected to replace the group with surrogates in an attempt to recreate
the impact of the 1898 ensemble..."
Damian Gordon writes:
The Invisible Man (Peter Brady) = The Invisible Man (Hawley Griffin)
“...Miss Warralson’s previously unsuspected
Prof James Gray = Nemo (both submarine builders, Nemo even
inspired Gray in League V2)
Worrals = Mina (female leads experienced in death)
Wolf of Kabul = Quatermain (both in the great white hunter
tradition, they even both wear pith helmets)
The Iron Warrior = Hyde (both really killers pressed into
Although W.E. Johns never said that Worrals
was a lesbian, she was pursued by handsome, accomplished
fellow pilot Bill Ashton, who is in love with her. She never
reciprocated his feelings and liked him only as a friend. Suspicions
of being gay have been raised with less evidence than that....
“...a pairing of pirate-slave James Soames
and Italian master-criminal Count Zero.”
Count Zero clashed with Harry Wharton and the
Greyfriars crew in Magnet #1452-1455. Paul Cornell notes
that James Soames was an adversary of Harry Wharton. In the Magnet
Soames was indeed a pirate and a slaver.
Page 149. “...her
companion ‘Frecks’, apparently an old school chum.”
In the Worrals stories Worrals’ sidekick
is her best friend and fellow pilot Betty “Frecks” Lovell.
“...his deadly cricket-bat wielding colleague
In the Wolf of Kabul stories Samson’s
sidekick is the Pathan Chung, whose weapon of choice is his
“clicky-ba,” or cricket bat. After killing men Chung would
remark, his eyes tearing, “Lord, I am full of humble sorrow – I
did not mean to knock down these men – ‘Clicky-ba’ merely turned
in my hand.”
Page 150. “The Crazy
Wide Forever, by Sal Paradyse.”
In Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957)
Sal Paradise (Kerouac’s fictional stand-in) and friend Dean
Moriarty travel around America, having Beat adventures. The
Crazy Wide Forever is written in a similar style to On the
Road. Steve Mattson says, "The style of the Crazy Wide Forever
owes as much to William S. Burroughs' Nova Trilogy as it does
to Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Dean Moriarity is based on Kerouac's
friend Neal Cassady. Cassady's antics also inspired Allen Ginsberg
and Ken Kesey. Mr. Bradley/Mr. Martin is from Burroughs' "Nova Trilogy.""
Steve Mattson adds, "In The
Crazy Wide Forever Dean Moriarity, the grandson of James Moriarity
is the enemy of Dr. Sachs, is the grandson of Fu Manchu. H.P. Lovecraft's
Robert Blake is the equivalent of William S. Burroughs' the Subliminal
Kid from the Nova Trilogy. Lovecraft's Hastur is equivalent to Mr.
Bradley/Mr. Martin from the Nova Trilogy. Lovecraft's Great Old Ones
are the Nova Mob from the Nova Trilogy. Mugwumps are from Burroughs'
Naked Lunch, the prequel to the Nova Trilogy." Steve Mattson
further adds that "The man with the hat in the mirror looks like William
S. Burroughs and the other man looks like Jack Kerouac."
Mattson further adds, "The title “The Crazy Wide Forever”
refers to a line in the story when Kerouac, as Paradyse, looks into
the immortal Mina’s “bottle green glass eyes” and sees “Forever wide
crazy”. Then he looks into Quatermain’s eyes and sees they are “same
as hers full o’ years what he shouldn’t of owned”."
C. Jerry Kutner writes, ""The Nova Mob," "The Subliminal
Kid," and "Mr. Bradley/Mr. Martin" are all creations of Kerouac's friend,
William S. Burroughs."
I find this style of prose almost unreadable,
and so I’m refusing to annotate it except for the crucial
ones. You can send in the annotations if you like--I'll certainly
list them here. I just can't bring myself to do it.
Page 151. “O little
did we know but Dr. Sachs was settin fer us...”
“Dr. Sachs” is a reference to the titular
character of Jack Kerouac’s Dr. Sax (1959). Dr. Sax
is a scientist who travels to Lowell, Massachusetts, to destroy
the Great World Snake, a Jörmungandr-like monster. Jason Adams
writes, "However, I feel the need to point out the almost poetic connection
of the names Dr. Sachs (grandson of Fu Manchu) and Sax Rohmer (creator
of Fu Manchu). Also, I don't think it's been said yet that Doctor Sax was
based on both William S. Burroughs and The Shadow."
Mattson notes, "Jack Kerouac’s novel Dr. Sax is set in his home town
of Lowell, Massachusetts which is a short distance southwest of Salem,
Massachusetts, speculated by some as the actual location for H.P. Lovecraft’s
Cuitlamiztli Carter writes,
Moore acknowledges Dr. Sax's once heroic status despite making
him a villain here. Page Five of "The Crazy Wide Forever" notes: "Dr.
Sachs that hero bold gon bad." I was disappointed at first to see Sax
portrayed in such a villainous manner, but that line pleased me. It also
seems Sachs' accidental death of sorts is a reference to the death of
the seemingly unbeatable World Snake, on which Sax comments something akin
to: "Ah, the universe disposes of its own evil." Very few of Moore's characters
react to the eldritch oddness they encounter the way Lovecraft's characters
do, but since Sachs relates his ties to the various things Outside, it may
be he was driven mad. Given the original Dr. Sax playing around with potions
to defeat long-slumbering creatures, it's not far-fetched that Moore
recasts him in the mold of a Lovecraftian villain such as Whateley or
Tillinghast. Also, the way Sal's Beat prose is occasionally unreadable
and trails off with repetitions MAY (though probably isn't) a reference
to the last w rds of the narrators of "The Rats in the Walls" who regresses
from babbling in modern English to archaic English to Latin to grunts.
Sal is a normal guy who just saw something insane, so it's likely that
the booze and drugs save him from full madness. Still, "Rats" also dealt
with genetic memory and traits, and Dean does take after his ancestor...
"...an comin through the night air soup of cotton
Myles Lobdell writes, "I noticed a reference on the first page to the air
smelling like cotton candy at Dr. Sachs approach: "comin through the night
air soup of cotton candy snatch" and then on the next page: "some say as
his tailored suit's got pictures painted on all over like a carny hoarding
men..." This reference to carnies, makes me wonder if Dr. Sachs isn't also
supposed to be standing in for Mr. Dark of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked
This Way Comes, where the air also is like cotton candy.
"...his olde grandad's foe no reglar Joe but the Napoleon o crime
n craft this mad perfesser Moriarty his own grandson..."
Which is to say, Kerouac's Dean Moriarty is the
grandson of Conan Doyle's Professor Moriarty.
Peter Sanderson braves The Crazy Wide Forever
and comes up with more references:
Peter Mattson and Philip &
Emily Graves add that "Ed Dunkel is a character from On the Road
and is a stand-in for Kerouac's friend Al Hinkle."
- "she's Minnie but never mooched":
reference to the 1931 song "Minnie the Moocher," co-written
and originally performed by Cab Calloway . Calloway also
performed the song in the Betty Boop animated cartoon "Minnie the
- "Captain Easy: adventure hero created
by cartoonist Roy Crane for his pioneering early 20th century
adventure comic strip "Wash Tubbs," which was later renamed after
- "The Lone Ranger: masked western hero
who was created by George W. Trendle and has appeared in radio,
television and film."
Philip & Emily Graves write, "'Satori' and 'Tathagata' are both
Buddhist terms. The former for individual enlightenment, the later a 'deliberately
ambiguous' Buddhist term, 'reflecting the ineffable ontological
status of a fully liberated human being transcending categories
of being and non-being.'"
"…her second skin skirt feet apart in a capital
A and her body commences…"
Julian Wan writes "Sal describes his initial impression of Mina which
resembles the image on the back cover."
"...what a night what a sight what a sigh what a kick in
the eye that's Satori..."
Martin Allen notes that this is "a play on the lyrics of
the Dean Martin hit song, "That's Amore", particularly its first
"...wide crazy and bottomless em'rald Pacific with conches
an corals in columns of weed... through the full fathom five
of her stare..."
Martin Allen notes that this is "an allusion to the famous
Shakespearean monologue, fittingly enough from "The Tempest", and
spoken by Ariel, reading in part:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that does fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Page 152. Peter
Sanderson writes, ""Thin Man" "William Powell n Myrna Loy":
Allan and Mina are being compared to Nick and Nora Charles, the
witty, sophisticated couple whom Dashiell Hammett created in his
1934 detective novel "The Thin Man" and who were played by William
powell and Myrna Loy in a series of MGM "Thin Man" films."
And "son of a son o that inhuman
Fu man Dr. Sachs by name a roamer": This seems to establish via
puns that Dr. Sachs/Dr. Sax is the grandson of Fu Manchu, the creation
of Sax Rohmer. "
Peter Sanderson further writes, " Isn't it likely that
Nick and Nora Charles are real people in the world of "League"?
If so, then in the world of "League," the "Thin Man" movies
starring William Powell and Myrna Loy are biographical films!
It would be like the way that Powell and Loy played Florenz
Ziegfeld and his wife Billie Burke in the movie "The Great Ziegfeld"
in the real world. And in "League's" world Dashiell Hammett's
"The Thin Man" is not a novel but a nonfiction work in which Hammett
reports on Nick's most famous case.
This leads me to wonder whether in the world of "League" anyone
writes fiction about imaginary characters. But there is an
answer to this (see my new note for page 169 panel 8).
"...th' monkey wrench flip..."
Martin Allen writes, "In Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid
Acid Test, he describes Neal Cassady, the model for Dean Moriarty,
travelling with Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters later on in life;
one of his anecdotes describes the speed-freak Cassady compulsively
flipping a monkey wrench over and over again in his hand, monologuing
in manic fashion all the while."
"...jackalheads in Memphis alleyway..."
Martin Allen writes, "Anubis, the jackal-headed Egyptian
god of death; the necropolis at Memphis, the old capital of
Egypt, was one of his main temples."
"...sweet sweet sweat o Dizzy's brow"
Martin Allen writes, "A reference to Dizzy Gillespie, famous
jazz trumpeter and bandleader."
Page 153. Peter Sanderson
writes, "Plastic Man: classic superhero with stretching powers
created by Jack Cole." And ""Macbeth merder": the murderous
title character of Shakespeare's tragedy (written between 1603
and 1606), based on the historical king of Scotland Mac Bethad mac
Peter Mattson writes, "Bull Hubbard is one of
the aliases Kerouac uses for William S. Burroughs in his work" and
"The reference to “cennipedes” is from “Naked Lunch” where the flesh
of giant aquatic black centipedes is ground up and used as a drug."
Marc Singer writes, "Spaghetti Factory:
a reference to the Old Spaghetti Factory Caffe, the legendary North
Beach (San Francisco) restaurant, located in a former pasta factory,
that was a center for the local beatnik scene; the owner later sold
the name, which now graces a reportedly dismal chain of fake-aged-crap-on-the-wall
Philip & Emily Graves write,
Krupp is probably Gustav Krupp, an important German industrialist
under Hitler. He's also mentioned in Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's
Timothy Kreider writes, "the reference to Republic
serials echoes Adrian Veidt's patronizing, "Dan, I'm not a Republic
serial villain," in Chapter 11 of Watchmen. He's referring to
the same hoary convention of the villain gleefully elucidating his master
plan at some length to the bound and helpless hero."
The nonsense-free-association here conflates the
four main names for the Devil with places in America. So Mephistopheles,
Beelzebub, Lucifer and Satan + San Francisco Bay, California and
San Andreas become Mephrisco Bayzeebub, Lucifornia, and Satandreas.
'the dried fried hide o Rin Tin Tin' Starring on
radio, in over a dozen films and an ABC TV show (several generations
of) Rin Tin Tin is one of the most famous canine stars.
Big Sur is a novel by Kerouac which takes place "during
the summer of 1960", written late in his productive life, and dealing
with his mental breakdown.
Bill, Bull or Will Hubbard is Kerouac's analogue
for William Burroughs in his books Book of Dreams (1952-60),
Desolation Angels (1956, 61) and Vanity of Duluoz (1968).
'sum ole Republic serial script' Republic Pictures
produced more than 60 serials from the 30s to the 50s, featuring
most notably The Lone Ranger, Dick Tracy, Zorro, Fu Manchu, Captain
America and Captain Marvel. Not sure if the surrounding references
here ('nightmare outhouse needle fulla calibrated serum' 'some
Aztec virus junk [made from] cennipedes.. n jimson weed') point
to a genuine serial, or just to the style in which Dr Sachs is "explaining"
The Nova Mob (as noted, here conflated with the 'Great
Old Uns') features in the Nova Trilogy by William Burroughs:
The Soft Machine (1961), Nova Express (1964) and the Ticket that
Exploded (1962). The trilogy is a semi-sequel to Naked Lunch (1959).
The plot is difficult to follow or describe, but the goal of the
Nova Mob is described as follows:
'The basic nova technique is very simple: Always create as
many insoluble conflicts as possible and always aggravate existing conflicts-This
is done by dumping on the same planet life forms with incompatible
conditions of existence-There is of course nothing "wrong" about
any given life form since "wrong" only has reference to conflicts
with other life forms-The point is these life forms should not be on
the same planet-Their conditions of life are basically incompatible
in present time form and it is precisely the work of the nova mob to
see that they remain in present time form, to create and aggravate
the conflicts that lead to the explosion of a planet...'
The Nova Mob apparently constitutes a group comprised
variously of Mr Bradley/Mr Martin (here linked to Hastur, who first
appeared in "Haïta the Shepherd" (1893) by Ambrose Bierce, and
was later referenced by Lovecraft and elevated in status by August
Derleth), Johnny Yen, Sammy the Butcher, Green Tony and Izzy the Push
and/or Iron Claws, The Brown Artist, Jacky Blue Note, Limestone John,
Hamburger Mary, Paddy the Sting, The Blue Dinosaur and The Subliminal
Kid (here linked to Lovecraft's Robert "Bobby" Harrison Blake from The
Haunter of the Dark). Agent/Inspector Lee and the Nova Police (Hassan
i Sabbah, Agent K9 and Technical Tilly) investigate and try to stop the
virus/alien ollective/intergalactic criminal group 'The Nova Mob' from
creating conflict through language.
The mention of "th' Sublim'nal Kid" jumping "in an
out TV commercials" refers to subliminal advertising techniques,
pioneered by James Vicary in the 1950s. The three examples here
are probably not specific references, although 'Drink Coca-Cola'
was supposedly used early on in cinemas, and 1960s clinical trials
used the phrase 'Destroy Mother'. The McCarthy censorship plans of
the 1950s were designed to thwart 'th' Red Chinese'.
Page 154. Peter Sanderson
writes, "Schopenhauer: Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860),
German philosopher. Monet: Claude Monet (1840-1926), the
great Impressionist painter." And ""like Continental Op on rum
run bloody pulp": A fictional detective who appeared
in numerous short stories and two novels written by Dashiell Hammett.
The Continental Op debuted in the pulp magazine "Black Mask"
Peter Mattson & Philip
& Emily Graves write, "Hamburger Mary is one of the Nova Mob
from the Nova Trilogy."
Marc Singer writes, "Moore has used the idea of language
as memetic virus before in his prose story "The Courtyard" (steeped
in Lovecraftian grammar) but he got the idea from Burroughs' Nova
Trilogy. Moore elaborates on his views of language, memes,
and ideaspace in an extensive interview with Eddie Campbell conducted
for Campbell's short-lived Egomania and later collected with two
of their collaborations in the aptly-titled "A Disease of Language."
He literalizes that title here with Dr. Sachs' plan to infect Moriarty
and then the Spaghetti Factory audience with the language of the Nova
Mob/Great Old Ones.
Also, if you can't stand the narrative voice here
you'll love the joke that Moriarty resists Dr. Sachs with a stream
of nonstop beatnik bullshit."
W. Aaron Wilson writes,
Have you considered that the basic premise
of Crazy Wide Forever (although difficult to discern) is
similar to that of Neal Stephenson's novel Snowcrash (1992)?
Martin Allen writes, "I agree with the other commentators
that the memetic infection idea is heavily borrowed from Wm. S. Burroughs;
the references throughout to the Aztec gods (153) and the "Mayan mind
mob" (155) are reflective of many parts from Burroughs' Soft Machine,
where ancient Aztec codices figure in the search for the secret of the
word virus through cut-ups. Burroughs also suggests that the Aztec
priesthood had power over the populace via their mastery of such intellectual
1. Infection of viral language through drugs. In Snowcrash
it causes speaking in tongues or "Babel" while in CWF it will apparently
give vent to the words of ancient Mesoamerican deities that will
infect all who hear them.
2. Mythic origin of said infection. In Snowcrash,
Babel is traced back to the Mesopotamian story of Enki. CWF goes
with "Aztecs" and "Mayan" unnamed deities.
3. Targetting of free thinkers. In Snowcrash,
the drug is used as a virus to target hackers, while in CWF the
beat poets are the targets.
4. Neal Stephenson is similar to Moore in his constant
(and sometimes dense) referencing of history, mythology, popular
culture, science, etc in his writings.
Philip & Emily Graves write, "Hector's Cafeteria
and the Booneville Reformatory feature in On the Road (1951)."
Perhaps on this page is the line "sweet, sweet
sweat o'Dizzy's brow." Gunnar Harboe writes, "I could have sworn that there's
a line somewhere in the classics about "sweet Odysseus' brow," but nothing
comes up on Google." There is a line in Book X of the Iliad about
Odysseus' helm being "set to shield Odysseus' brow."
Page 155. Peter Sanderson
writes, "Willyum Blake" (William Blake, 1757-1827): visionary
poet and illustrator who devised his own personal mythology of
gods. Hoagy Carmichael (1899-1991): songwriter and musician who
wrote the music for the song "Stardust" and appeared in such films
as "To Have and Have Not." Tom Mix (1880-1940), Bill Boyd (William
Boyd, 1895-1972): Stars of early film Westerns. Floyd Patterson
(1935-2006): American heavyweight boxing champion "
Marc Singer writes, "back
in New York where Hyman Solomon fuck sea-heart sailors inna washroom:
This extended clause is a reference to Allen Ginsberg's "Howl,"
dedicated to and drawn from the stories of Carl Solomon.
"holy holy holy:" reference
to Ginsberg's "Footnote to Howl," which repeats the word many times,
especially in its first line."
"sing holy holy holy Willyum Blake almighty in th'
beat up negro dawn"
Martin Allen writes, "I agree with the previous commentator
that this is a reference to Ginsberg's "Howl". Blake was very
much a favorite of Ginsberg's, and is name-checked in "Howl"; further,
the end of the quotation recalls the opening lines of the poem:
Peter Gilham writes, "“holy
holy holy Willyum Blake almighty”: as well as being a riff on Howl is also
a rephrasing of the opening line of the hymn The Holy Trinity by Reginald
Heber (1783-1826): “Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!”"
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
through the negro streets at dawn..."
Philip & Emily Graves write,
Unless someone knows otherwise, I would
suggest that the song "Immortal Love", (from the 'Summer afore
last') will feature on the semi-mythical vinyl single which should
accompany the Absolute Edition of the Black Dossier.
Hyman Solomon is from On the Road, and his
quote is almost as recanted there: 'The man was a ragged, bespectacled
mad type, walking along reading a paperbacked muddy book he'd found
in a culvert by the road. He got in the car and went right on reading;
he was incredibly filthy and covered with scabs. He said his name
was Hyman Solomon and that he walked all over the USA, knocking and
sometimes kicking at Jewish doors and demanding money: "Give me money
to eat, I am a Jew." He said it worked very well and that it was coming
to him. We asked him what he was reading. He didn't know. He didn't bother
to look at the title page. He was only looking at the words, as though
he had found the real Torah where it belonged, in the wilderness.'
Interestingly, both Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale
and Gala Brand in Moonraker think Bond is reminiscent
of Hoagy Carmichael.
The mugwumps, from William Burroughs' Naked Lunch
are the slaves of Cthulhu in Move Under Ground (2004) by
"I Like Ike" was Eisenhower's slogan in the 1952
Presidential election campaign, against Truman's policies on 'Korea,
Communism and Corruption'.
Bodhisattva is another Buddhist term, meaning enlightened
existence and is the term used to refer to such individuals. In
The Dharma Bums (1957) by Jack Kerouac, Kerouac's analogue
Ray Smith is called a 'Bodhisattva, a great wise being or great wise
angel'. In Move Under Ground (2004) by Nick Mamatas, combining
the beat style with the Cthulhu mythos, the 'bodhisattva Kilaya accompanies
[Kerouac] on his trek to defeat Cthulhu'.
Pornsec SexJane. This
is Moore & O’Neill’s version of what a Tijuana Bible
would be like in the England of 1984. Tijuana Bibles
were crudely produced pornographic comic books about celebrities
and comic strip characters produced from the 1920s through the
Oy. I really should have gotten this one. I didn't,
though, and Michael Lloyd did: "I'm convinced that the 'Pornsec Sexjane'
sequence is a reference to a scene from the Chaplin film 'Modern Times'.
In this scene, Chaplin's tramp character is driven mad from working on an
assembly line in which he is constantly tweaking the tips of unidentified
items that come in pairs, and look much like the breast-shaped, unidentified
aparati that our protagonist is supposed to be tweaking in this. Upon leaving
the factory, the tramp continues to nervously 'tweak' things that come in
pairs, which of course includes chasing after a woman in order to tweak her
nipples. If his repressed sexuality had been rendered more literally within
the film itself, we would have ended up with something a lot more like Moore
and O'Neill's 'SexJane'."
The Jane who stars in “Workbelt Crimepoke”
is the same mentioned on Page 22, Panel 6.
Pornsec SexJane Pages 1.
Tony Whitt writes, "The character who has his way with Jane is indeed
meant to be Winston Smith, even though he doesn't fit the description
of Smith from the book. (He's about the right age, though.)
Smith's number is given in the book for 6079, which is the number on this
man's overalls on the first page."
John Hall adds, "Also the man's
dialogue is very much in accord with Smith's feelings about his affair with
Julia, as expressed in "1984"."
Pornsec SexJane Pages 3-4.
Bumstead, Syme, Withers and Jones are all characters in 1984.
Tim Chapman notes the resemblance between Withers here and Googie
Pornsec SexJane Page 6.
“We are the dead” is what Winston and Julia tell each other
the morning after their tryst, right before they are caught
by the Thought Police in 1984.
Tim Chapman writes, "'Pastry', the
final worker on the conveyor belt, is Mr Pastry,
another kids' TV character."
Pornsec SexJane Page 8.
The cage is full of rats. The prospect of having a cage of
rats placed on his face is what finally breaks Winston in 1984.
“Imagine a patent leather boot grinding
on a human tongue, forever.”
This is a sadomasochistic riff on the
famous line from 1984, “If you want a picture of the
future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--for ever.”
Michael Prior adds, "The imagery
brings a scene from Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" to mind, in which the
reformed Alex is forced to lick the shoe of his humiliator. He almost glues
his tongue to the sole."
Page 156. "...your attempt
to raise the party's flagging fortunes by re labelling it 'New
Philip & Emily Graves write that this quote
is "surely a reference to Tony Blair's rebranding and realigning
of New Labour in 1990s Britain." Peter Gilham
writes, "The reference to “government irregularities and illegalities” possibly
reflects recent problems besetting the UK Government over the past few years,
in particular the so-called “Cash for Honours” scandal."
“...small towns dotted about the country such
Mayberry, North Carolina, is the site
of the tv shows The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)
and Mayberry R.F.D. (1968-1971), and also appeared in
an episode of The Danny Thomas Show (1953-1964).
There are various real Riverdales, but
in all likelihood the Riverdale mentioned here is the Riverdale
which is the setting for the numerous stories in Archie Comics.
“...metropolitan environments like Central
In DC Comics Central City is the home
city of the Flash.
In DC Comics Gotham City is the home city
of Batman, among others.
Perhaps coincidentally, each of these
cities has been the site of various interdimensional/inter-fictional
universe crossover. A resident of Mayberry appeared on the
It’s Gary Shandling Show (and Mayberry is a part of the vast web
of tv crossovers–to see how dozens of tv shows tie in to each other,
go to the Crossovers
Spin Offs Master List). Marvel’s The Punisher appeared in Riverdale.
Central City was the site of the first crossover between DC’s Golden Age
and Silver Age characters. And Gotham has seen, among others, characters
from Wildstorm Comics visit it.
Myles Lobdell, Peter Sanderson,
and Neale Barnholden note that "Central City is also the name
of the city in which the Fantastic Four debuted way back in 1961. Thus, the three cities, Riverdale, Central
City, and Gotham, may represent the three 'big' long running comic companies:
Archie, Marvel, and DC." Peter Sanderson further notes that Central
City was the home of Will Eisner's The Spirit. Michael Norwitz adds that Central City was the home
of Prez Rickard.
“...that most startling and deplorable
of post war U.S. trends, the ‘mystery man’ or costumed vigilante
It’s tempting to read this and the following
as Moorean commentary on the effect of superhero comics on...well,
take your pick. Comic books in general? Popular fiction? Popular
Peter Sanderson comments: "Since
Moore puts this remark in the mouth of Robert Cherry/Harry Lime,
that probably means that Moore does NOT agree with it. "
“...the supposed goddess of love called
The Greek goddess Venus appeared as a
superhero in the Atlas Comics Venus #1-19 (1948-1952)
and Marvel Mystery Comics #91 (1949). (She has appeared
in other Marvel comics in recent years). Michael Norwitz adds that the Atlas Venus adventured
in New York, where Allan and Mina encountered her.
“...Gotham’s by then elderly Crimson Avenger.”
The Crimson Avenger was possibly created
by Jim Chambers and appeared in a number of DC comics beginning
with Detective Comics #20 (Oct. 1938). Newspaper reporter
Lee Travis puts on the costume of “The Crimson” to fight crime,
aided by his Asian valet Wing. The Crimson Avenger predated the
Batman and was arguably the first costumed crimefighter in DC Comics.
Page 157. “...film star
Linda Turner’s close associate the Black Cat...”
Linda Turner, a.k.a. the Black Cat, was
created by Alfred Harvey and appeared in a number of comics
beginning with Pocket Comics #1 (Aug. 1941). Linda Turner,
the daughter of a movie star and a stunt man, became one of Hollywood's
biggest stars but got bored with the make-believe life of Hollywood
and decided to fight crime instead as the Black Cat.
“...mental marvel Brain Boy...”
Brain Boy was created by Herb Castle and
appeared in six comics in 1962 and 1963, beginning with Four
Color #1330 (Apr/June 1962). When Matt Price was still only
a fetus in his mother’s womb she was struck by a electricity in
a car accident. This gave Price various psychic powers, and when
he turns eighteen he is recruited by the government to go to work
for them, fighting evil.
“...and a thirteen-year-old orphan said
to draw fantastic powers and abilites from an adjoining extra
spatial region or dimension ruled by techologically advanced
This is a reference to the Fly, created
by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and appearing in a number of
comics from 1959 to 1966 (and again in later iterations), beginning
with The Double Life of Private Strong #1 (June 1959). Orphan
Tommy Troy is hired to do odd jobs by Ben and Abigail March. Troy
finds a ring in their attic, for the Marches are wizards, and the
ring summons Turan, one of the Fly People, former rulers of the Earth.
The Fly People were eventually reduced to common houseflies in a magical
war, although a few, including Turan, escaped to another dimension.
The ring can be used by Tommy to switch bodies with one of the Fly People,
who has magical powers. Tommy uses the ring to fight crime.
“Seemingly, a Negro man from out of town
had been held in the Maybury jail on morals charges, including
an accusation of procuring, with his two white skinned female
accomplices who were apparently twin sisters from the Netherlands.”
See the notes to Page 166.
“...one sheriff’s deputy’s account was
‘exactly like one of them there hot air balloons, ‘ceptin it
It was, after all, only a matter of time
before Moore quoted Barney Fife.
“...there was a frankly stupid rumour
that for a brief period the self styled legendary adventurer
evaded notice by the novel means of having been against his
or her will transformed into an animal by sorcery.”
I’m guessing that this is a reference
to Kathleen Hale’s 19 “Orlando the Marmalade Cat” novels (1938-1972),
although I know nothing about them and don’t know if “transformed
into an animal by sorcery” is a part of the Hale novels or Moore’s
“...our projects at Port Merion...”
The Prisoner was filmed at the
Welsh village of Portmeirion.
“One of their Central Intelligence lot,
F. Gordon Leiter...”
Felix Leiter appears in various James
Bond novels as a C.I.A. agent who works with Bond on various
cases. Leiter’s real name is “Felix.” The “Gordon” may come from a
conflation of Leiter with Watergate rogue G. Gordon Liddy.
Greg Baldino writes, "The name "F. Gordon Leiter" for Felix
Leiter's LoEG analogue might have been inspired by the early ninties
cartoon show James Bond Jr., where Bond's nephew attended a private
school with Felix Leiter's son Gordon." Well, drat. Another beautiful
theory ruined by ugly facts.
“My best to you and Julia...”
The love interest of Orwell’s 1984
is Julia, a mechanic. At the end of the novel Julia, like
Winston, has betrayed her lover and been brainwashed to love
Big Brother. Presumably she took up with her torturer O’Brien.
"I remain, of course, yours most sincerely"
Per Nilsson writes, "This is undoubtedly a reference to Orson Welles's trademark
sign-off phrase during his days on the radio with the Mercury Theatre (as
well as on some other, later productions, including, I believe, at least some
'The Lives Of Harry Lime' episodes), where he would finish broadcasts with
the phrase "I remain, as always, obediently yours". Perhaps the different
phrasing is simply a stylistic choice, or perhaps Cherry realizes that he
won't have to be "obediently yours" for much longer, as the disgraced prime
minister is clearly on his way out!"
The first image is Mina and Allan with
the Crimson Avenger’s costume.
I believe the second image is of Mina
and Allan with Tommy Troy. But Chris Roberson and Michael Norwitz
disagree: "I have to disagree. I think it's Billy Batson. He's
certainly the right age, with the same hair and what is conceivably
Batson's yellow-collared red sweater. But the telling bit is the way
that everyone in the background is opening their umbrellas and looking
up for rain, apparently not finding any. Obviously he's just said his
magic word and transformed back from Captain Marvel, and on hearing the
thunder everyone thinks it's about to rain." (I think Chris is right).
Perhaps the third image is of Mina and
Allan with Linda Turner? Ray Sablack writes,
The picture in the lower right hand corner,
I suspect, is a reference to the Bild Lili doll upon which the American
Barbie doll was based.
Marc Singer writes, "If the X-L series rockets are named after their
predecessors' fates, then we have just witnessed the christening
of the Fireball X-L5."
Lili started as an adult cartoon. The doll was first made
as a premium for adults. Ruth Handler, an American, adapted the
doll slightly and sold it to Mattel.
The original Barbie picture/drawing promoting her on all
liscenced products was almost the exact same pose as the woman in
the Dossier, down to the way the eye was drawn.
silhouette/profile on packaging (although in this image it is
here is a
better picture of the barbie head logo and it is EXACTLY like
the picture in the black dossier.
Page 161. Panel 9. “Oh,
for crying out loud. It just never bloody stops, does it?”
With Moore’s departure from mainstream
comics now a reality, there is a great temptation to see even
minor things as a commentary by him on superhero comics. I have
to admit that I found this line to be possibly indicative of his
feelings about the endless, serial nature of comics.
Page 162. Panel 1. “Gordon
Bennett” is a British expression indicative of shock or surprise.
It may be based on James Gordon Bennett Jr. (1841-1918), a playboy
famous for his extravagant behavior and lifestyle. "teamy teamy" wrote, "the phrase "Gordon Bennett" is
one of those British type exclamations to avoid swearing and comes from "God
and Saint Bennett" much in the same way Bethlehem college became Bedlam."
Panel 5. Presumably the initials
“SF” on a helicopter of that shape is a reference to something.
But I’m not catching it. Philip & Emily Graves write, "Perhaps
the SF is for Spectrum Force, referring to Captain Scarlet..?" Tim Chapman writes, "Charles Chilton's 'Space Force'?"
John Sewell writes, "Yet another Dan Dare reference, I think - the
helicoper's very close in design to Dare's 'helijets', so "SF" could
be a reference to Space Fleet from that strip."
Page 164. Panel 1. See
the note to Page 166.
Panel 2. “Wij zullen het dadelijk
voor u doen, onze dappere held. Wij zijn verzot op u.”
“Waar gaat u heen, trotse kampioen der
A rough translation from the Dutch: “We
will do that immediately for you, our brave hero. We are
moved by you.”
“Where are you going, champion of love?”
Michael Prior, who provided Todd Klein with the
Dutch translations, writes in with better translations of these lines and
the following ones: "We will do it for you at once, our brave hero. We adore
"Where are you going, proud champion of love?"
Panel 3. “Hij heeft een slecht
humeur. Laten wij ons maar aankleden.”
“He is in a bad mood. Let us get dressed.”
Prior: "He is in a bad mood.
We ought to get dressed."
Argh. I should have noticed this, and didn't. Steve
Mattson writes, "This is where the reference to linseed oil from
Page 170, Panel 4 comes from. It appears that the linseed oil is
used to keep the dolls’ strap-on wooden phallus supple."
Marcus Ewert writes, "Could the hyper-sexualized nature
of the Golliwog's dolls also be a reference to surrealist artist
Hans Bellmer? His Die Puppe ("The Doll") pictures were very perverse-
and similarly walked a line between childlike and uh...dissipated..."
Page 166. Panel 1. This
is the Golliwog. He was created by Florence Kate Upton in
The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg (1895),
and appeared in a number of sequels by Upton and by Enid Blyton,
among others. The Golliwog (as it later became spelled) was a beloved
children’s character in Britain for several generations, although
it is substantially less popular today. The Golliwog was originally
a rag doll drawn like a blackface minstrel doll, and although the
behavior of the Golliwog in the novels was not usually portrayed
in a racist fashion, and although the Golliwog was usually portrayed
as a doll rather than a black child, the term “Golliwog” became a
racist epithet, and the Golliwog is currently seen by some or many
as a racist character.
Philip & Emily Graves write, "while many see the Golly
as racist, still more see him as an integral part of their childhood
literature, and were outraged when the character was recently expunged
from Enid Blyton's books. It was widely seen as an over-the-top
reaction under spurious 'Political Correctness' guidelines. As you
rightly note, despite the obvious connotations of his design and look,
he was rarely - if ever - meant to embody any kind of racist feelings.
Golliwogs are still available for sale in some places, although there
are still some
Andrew Bonia writes, "The Golliwog's companions are somewhat
sexualized for children's book characters, it makes sense when you
consider Dutch Dolls, or "Dutch Wives" are slang for sex dolls."
Noles' commentary on the Golliwog in the Dossier is essential
Panel 4. The fact that Drummond
is still on his feet while Bond and Peel are knocked off theirs
may be indicative of how Moore feels about the old-style action
heroes versus the newer generation. (I.e., they made them tough
Panels 5-6. “B-bread and tits to
you, flashing Monsignor.”
“Bread and tits to you, gilded wasp of
Elysium. Let the Thrup of us entender withdoors, what cheer?”
This dialogue, and the Golliwog’s dialogue
on Page 164 and following, is a mystery to me. It’s understandable,
of course, but I’m unaware of its origin. Did the Golliwog speak
like this in the Blyton books, or in some other work? Is this
Ewert writes, "The LExG Golliwog probably speaks in rhyming quatrains
because the original Upton books were all written thus."
Larry Hardesty writes, "when
I Googled "gilded wasp", I found that the phrase occurs in H. Rider Haggard's
She and Allan:
Disturb me no more, Allan, with the tremors
and changes of your uncertain mind, lest you should work more evil than you
think, and making mine uncertain also, spoil my skill. Nay, do not try to
fly, for already the net has thrown itself about you and you cannot stir,
who are bound like a little gilded wasp in the spider's web, or like birds
beneath the eyes of basilisks.
Can it be coincidence that that's the epithet
Golliwog uses for Allan's paramour?
Page 167. Panel 4. Peter Sanderson
writes, "The sight of Bond bending over the injured, bleeding
Emma Night may be a visual echo of the end of the "On Her Majesty's
Secret Service" movie, in which Bond's new bride Tracy (played by
Diana Rigg), is assassinated."
Page 168. Panel 1. The
Golliwog as a balloonist is a reference to Florence Upton’s
The Golliwog’s Air-Ship (1902), in which the Golliwog
and the wooden dolls Sarah Jane, Peg, Meg, and Midget go on a balloon
trip together. If the design of the balloon is a reference to anything
in particular, I’m unaware of it, although the shark face on the
front is a very Kevin O’Neill-like touch.
And now I can reveal that the “bold, fearless
black balloonist” mentioned in League v2 is in fact
Marcus Ewert writes, "The Golliwog's
eyeball balloon is a very direct visual quote from Odilon Redon's
comme un ballon bizarre se dirige vers l'infini" (The Eye Like
a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity) (1882)."
Jason Adams writes, "The Gollywog's airship seems to be
powered by roses, which is appropriate for a vessel named "Rose of
Nowhere" (Page 175. Panel 4)."
Panel 3. Marcus Ewert writes, "love the historical
detail that Peg and Sarah-Jane's dresses are fashioned from a torn-up
Page 169. Panel 2. It
is typical of Bulldog Drummond that, though hateful and bigoted
in many ways, his reaction to meeting two traditional English
heroes is to believe them rather than what the government has told
Panel 4. Damian Gordon writes,
As a big fan of the James Bond books
I was very surprised that Bond ended up as a traitor to his country. This
is a big departure from the Fleming books and seems to be out of character
for him. Bond didn’t even really enjoy killing in the books, but he seems
fairly cold-hearted in the Dossier, e.g. his later disposal of Drummond.
I think Bond’s betrayal is largely symbolic in nature, and can see three
ways in which it symbolizes Alan Moore’s views of the world (but I’m sure
others will see other ways);
Panel 8. Peter Sanderson writes, ""There
was no Doctor, Mr. Drummond." So Doctor No is a fictional
character in our world who is also a fictional character in the
world of "League"!"
1. Bond (created in the 1950s) is a more modern hero than Quatermain
(created in the 1880s) and as such represents the decline of imagination
which Alan Moore says will be one of the key subtexts of Vol. III:Century.
Gone is the grandeur of the Victorian imagination on display and in its
place a gun-wielding thug. Thus Bond is symbolic of this corruption and
de-evolution of imagination
2. Bond is a professional spy and killer whereas almost all of the great
Victorian adventurers were amateurs. Almost none of the previous generation
of heroes worked directly for the government (ok, I know Sherlock Holmes
did occasionally work for the government – through Mycroft, the Prime Minister,
etc. but in the main he was a private consulting detective) whereas Bond
in directly answerable to a government that allows him to kill in certain
circumstances. Older British literature always celebrated the successfully
amateur, who could always succeed seemly without any preparation or training
(except what had been learned on the battlefield – or on the playing fields
3. Bond is primarily known as a movie character, the James Bond movies
are much more seen than the novels are read, and therefore, in a sense
the Bond character has betrayed his literary roots by becoming a success
in another medium. And the character of Bond in the books is certainly totally
dissimilar to the quip-generating lothario that characterized the Moore
era of Bond. Additionally I think we all know that Alan Moore may have somewhat
of an issue with stories that are adopted into movies when they lose some
of the qualities of the original source (e.g. LXG: The League of Extraordinary
Gentlemen Movie, and Constantine).
Page 170. Panel 1. This
is clearly the ruins of a castle, and it’s been identified
as in Dunbayne, which means this must be Dunbayne Castle, from
Ann Radcliffe’s The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne (1789),
one of Radcliffe’s first Gothic novels.
Panel 4. “Is that linseed oil?”
Paul Cornell notes that linseed oil is used
to keep a cricket bat supple during the winter. Which means,
obviously, that Sarah Jane and Peg were using linseed
oil to keep the Golliwog's membrum virile supple.
Page 171. Panel 6.
“Sodium morphate in his fucking pie?”
Sodium morphate is a drug which slows
the heart and smells like apples, and so putting it into
an apple pie is an efficient method of assassination. Who it
has been used on depends on which conspiracy theory you read.
Panel 7. “Trick cars, trick pens,
trick cigarette lighters...why can’t you just fight?”
Drummond never was one for gadgets, preferring
more straightforward brutality. It is typical of his mindset
to look down on newer heroes like Bond who rely on gadgets rather
The gun Bond is reaching for is a Walther,
which traditionally has been Bond's gun. Damian Gordon expands on this:
"Jimmy's gun is clearly a Walther PPK which is consistent with the
Jamas Bond novels, Bond used a Beretta in the first five novels and
is given a Walther PPK at the start of Doctor No."
Page 173. Panel 2. “I’m
going to need sturdier clothing if I stay in this business.”
Many men of a certain age fondly remember
Emma Peel’s sturdy leather catsuit in The Avengers.
Page 174. Panel 1. Pádraig Ó Méalóid
notes the similarity between Golli's balloon and the one seen on the cover
of The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe:
The balloon is for Poe's Balloon Hoax.
Panel 5. “Heer Orlando is momenteel een dame.”
“Mr. Orlando is momentarily a woman.”
Prior: "Mr. Orlando is a lady
at the moment."
“And is that Peg or Sarah Jane?”
Peg and Sarah Jane were the names of the
two dolls in The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg.
Page 175. Panel 1.
“So Queen Olympia presented you with the dolls?”
As we learned in League v2, Olympia,
the doll from E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Sand-Man” (1817), became
queen of Toyland.
Panel 2. “Wij hebben ons vrijwillig
aangeboden. Zijn geslacht is kolossaal.”
“We volunteered to go. His masculine organ
of reproduction is enormous.”
Prior: "We volunteered. His
penis is enormous."
Panel 4. “Belted ‘Rose o’ Nowhere’
all on me jingle, did I.”
The “Rose of Nowhere” is a phrase found
in the mystical writings of Golden Dawn followers.
Panel 5. “Ik denk dat die grote
wolk daar de weg naar huis is.”
“I think that big cloud is the way to
Prior: "I think that big cloud
ahead is the way home."
Page 176-177. And here
begins the 3D section of the Dossier. There are obviously
some visual tricks of the M.C. Escher variety, but I think there
are some visual references as well–the clown, for example–but I’m
not getting them.
One I did get is the the Little Prince,
standing on his asteroid next to the Golliwog et al. The Little
Prince was created by Antoine Saint-Exupéry and appeared
in Le Petit Prince (1943). The image here is very similar
to the original cover of Le Petit Prince.
Don Murphy points out that the clown is Max
Jeff Patterson writes,
"The clusters of cubes on the bottom
half of each side, as well as the three-pronged fork KoKo is standing on,
and the center circle on the left side are all examples of optical
illusions. The prong is often refered to as The Devil's Fork.
Jon Balcerak writes that "it's appropriate that a fourth dimension
is represented with "3-D" art. The images in a graphic novel
are, of course, two-dimensional, but are supposed to represent a three-dimensional
world. When the characters leap from their third-dimension to
their fourth, it makes perfect sense that we see two-dimensional art
The concentric arcs of the background evoke the famous woodcut
of the man reaching the edge of existence. This is probably
best known as the cover to Daniel Boorstin's The Discoverers.
I'll go out on a limb and guess that the sailing
ship is the Flying Dutchman.
I'd also venture that there is some metaphor to be
found in an, I dare say, ejaculation of (sperm?) whales sprouting
from a particularly phallic mushroom cloud, something involving
creation and destruction being linked. I say this because the entire
3D section seems to break form for the series and harkens back to
the content-rich panel structure of Promethea. Several pages have
panels that form a whole image, with lots of sequential background
action and more metaphors than you can shake a stick at. Given the
subject matter, this is not surprising. Moore's done similar "place
where ideas come from" stuff in Supreme. The Jack Kirby tribute leaps
I was also reminded of Promethea in the Descent of
the Gods portion. The layering of cosmologies, mythologies and
lores reminded me of Sophie walking the Sephiroth.
Daniel Marks writes, "the sphere to the
top left with the dragons circling it has three eyes on it- is that something
to do with the 'three lobed burning eye' mentioned by Nyarlahotep later
in the section?"
Jaanus Kaasik writes, "Overall design of Blazing
World has some similarities with dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock's film
Spellbound (1945). This dream sequence was designed by Salvador Dali.
Dream sequence is second part of this little film."
Page 178. Panel
1. If the characters at the bottom of this panel
are a reference, I’m not getting them. Loren
Collins did, though:
The animal-men are some of the native inhabitants
of The Blazing World as described in Margaret Cavendish's original
book. In it she writes:
Panel 2. “Er is nog zo’n
plek, in de buurt van de zuidpool van der aarde.”
"The rest of the Inhabitants of that
World, were men of several different sorts, shapes, figures, dispositions,
and humors, as I have already made mention heretofore; some were Bear-men,
some Worm-men, some Fish- or Mear-men, otherwise called Syrenes; some Bird-men,
some Fly-men, some Ant-men, some Geese-men, some Spider-men, some Lice-men,
some Fox-men, some Ape-men, some Jack-daw-men, some Magpie-men, some Parrot-men,
some Satyrs, some Gyants, and many more, which I cannot all remember; and
of these several sorts of men, each followed such a profession as was most
proper for the nature of their species, which the Empress encouraged them
in, especially those that had applied themselves to the study of several
Arts and Sciences; for they were as ingenious and witty in the invention
of profitable and useful Arts, as we are in our world, nay, more; and to
that end she erected Schools, and founded several Societies."
In addition to the fish-man, fly-man,
and bird-men that are on p. 178, this is also the source for Allan's
observation in Panel 1 of p. 179 about "all the animal people," and
Mina's reply in Panel 2, where she refers to "worm-men and louse-men."
“There is another place, in the South
Bram van Dijk offers a superior
translation: "There is another place like this, near the South Pole of the
Earth." "As the Dutch sentence says: "Er is nog zo'n plek", instead
of "Er is nog een plek" it is implied that the other place is comparable
to the one they were talking about. "in de buurt van" means that it is near
the South Pole, not in the south Pole. And it explicitely says: "zuidpool
van der aarde", so, only translating "South Pole" is an omission, as usually
we (Dutch people) just refer to zuidpool. Another point is that "zuidpool
van der aarde" is not correct. Contemporary Dutch would be "zuidpool van
de aarde", though in that time it would probably have been "zuidpool der
aarde". I am no expert on old Dutch, but I'm (almost) sure that "van der"
is not correct."
If the characters at the bottom of this
panel are a reference, I’m not getting them. Philip &
Emily Graves write, "At the bottom right is Disney's Goofy, although
it looks more like Howard the Duck with him than Donald. To the left
of them is a small visual pun: Winnie the "Poo"h."
Page 179. Panel 1. “...this
South Pole location, Metapatagonia, is actually the same
place as the Blazing World?”
Megapatagonia was created of Nicolas Edme
Restif de la Bretonne and appeared in La Découverte
australe Par un Homme-volant (1781). It is an archipelago
which is exactly opposite France and so its culture is an inverse
of the French, down to its capital "Sirap." Megapatagonia being the
same as the Blazing World explains certain reversals, as mentioned
on Page 183.
If the characters in this panel are a
reference, I’m not getting them. Philip & Emily Graves write,
"Possibly Piglet at the bottom of the slope, there." Peter Svensson notes the presence of the Little Mermaid
in the bottom left corner.
Panel 2. If the characters in this
panel are a reference, I’m not getting them.
Michael Norwitz writes, "The pointing blue hand is
the Dreadful Flying Glove from YELLOW SUBMARINE." That did occur
to me, but I rejected it because the hand here lacks the eye and
teeth of the Dreadful Glove.
Page 180. Panel 1. “Meteen,
admiraal van genoegen.”
“At once, admiral of pleasure.”
Jaanus Kaasik writes, "Right side of the panel
near rope is flying fish drawn by Echer. Original can be seen here."
Panel 2. “Zusters! Het is zo prachtig
om jullie te zien!”
“Sisters! It is so lovely to see you.”
Panel 3. “Welkom, vurige piraat
van het hart! We zullen sterven van geluk!”
“Welcome, fiery pirate of the heart! We
will die from happiness!” (Thanks to Martin Wisse for correcting
my bad translation here).
Page 181. Panels 1-4.
Perhaps the giant walking by is Gulliver, as large in the
Blazing World as he was on Lilliput?
Panel 2. "I was a bloody orange cat for simply ages."
Howard Price wondered if "it was just a throwaway reference
to Moore's own "Maxwell the Magic Cat."" Gabriel
Roth writes, "According to my recollection, Kathleen Hale's "Orlando" novels
didn't include anything about people being turned into animals. I think Moore,
inspired by the coincidence of names, simply decided that Woolf's shapeshifting
Orlando could become Hale's feline Orlando."
Page 182. Panel 1. The
wrestling dwarf is Maurie Richardson’s Engelbrecht, mentioned
on Page 146. As mentioned on Page 183, Engelbrecht’s opponent
is Poetry. The words on his left arm are from Wordsworth’s “I wandered
lonely as a cloud,” and the words on his right arm are from Felicia
Dorothea Browne Hemans’ “Casabianca.”
Panel 2. The character at the top
of the page is P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins.
I can’t make out what the image in the
portal is of–Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland? Philip & Emily
Graves write, "The mention of the tree settles it. The four portals
(red lens) are showing The Faraway Tree, from Enid Blyton's books
of the same name. The tree abuts many strange lands, which rotate to
and away from it, allowing Jo, Bessie and Fanny to visit all sorts of
strange - and often wonderful worlds. The tree houses many odd individuals,
some of them refugees from a couple of the worlds. It's quite possibly
the Angry Pixie with the kerchief there, although it does indeed look
like he's offering it to the White Rabbit of Wonderland."
Chris Nichols writes that "the realm scene in the mirrors
on page 182 (not the House on the Borderland's pig-thing realm, but
the one with the tree and elves) reminds me of the hollow tree cookie
workshop of Nabisco's Keebler elves."
“...the swine-things’ Borderland...”
This is a reference to W.H. Hodgson's
The House on the Borderland (1908). The House on the
Borderland, inhabited by an old man and his sister, is the
gateway to a world of evil swine monsters.
“...the various realms of that peculiar
tree in Buckinghamshire.”
The tree is mentioned in League
The words on Poetry’s right and left arm
are from Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans’ “Casabianca.”
Panel 3. Is one of the images in
the portal Hodgson’s Borderland? Gabe Soria agrees with me on
this, saying "if you close one eye and look at the mirror, you can
see the swine creature from the House on the Borderlands approaching
the viewer (much like you can see Nyarlathotep's human avatar and
his English words pages later)."
The words on Poetry are from Felicia Dorothea
Browne Hemans’ “Casabianca.”
Philip & Emily Graves writes, "Could that be
Piglet waving to the Wishing Chair, there, alongside one of the
Page 183. Panel 1. The
words on Poetry are from John Keats’ “On First Looking Into
Philip & Emily Graves note that the children
on the chair are Mollie and Peter from Enid Blyton's "Wishing
Chair" books, and that "That's Dame Washalot in the portal there."
Panel 2. Philip and Emily Graves write,
"It's possible that the man with pots and pans on him is Saucepan
from The Magic Faraway Tree, also by Enid Blyton." And
that "Definitely Saucepan, probably talking to Moonface." Mark
Elstob adds that "The Saucepan Man featured in several other Blyton
stories, notably "The Three Brownies". Interestingly, Moore briefly
quotes from one of the Faraway Tree stories in "V for Vendetta", when
V mentions the Land of Do-As-You-Please."
Page 184. Panel 1.
The flying character is Ace Hart, who appeared in the British
comic Super Thriller #6 (1948). “Ace Hart, a young scientist,
has been able harness atomic energy to his own body, which gives
him the strength of twenty men, and enables him to fly faster than
Eli Green adds, "Ace Hart's
cameo in The Blazing World is actually the second such appearance of the
character in a comic that involves both a massive cross section of fictional
characters meeting in a proxy dimension and Lovecraftian Mythos, the first
being Grant Morrison's Zenith Phase 3, published in 2000AD Progs 626-634,
650-662 & 667-670 from 1989 to 1990. Ace was one of many british superheroes
possessed by Lloigor (e.g. the Great Old Ones), destroys his version of Earth,
and is then killed in a fight with the remaining good guys near the end."
Either the character on the flying carpet
in this panel, or the one in panel 2, is Baggy Pants, from
the British comic Dandy (1956-1959). Baggy Pants is a
Panel 2. Jonathan Carter notes
that the flying man is Commander Cody from various 1950s film
serials. Tim Chapman writes, "I thought 'King of
the Rocket Men', but I suspect it was the same costume in both serials."
Jason Adams writes, " A school
of mermaids and water-babies (from The Water-Babies by
Charles Kingsley) can be seen swimming in the open water below."
Page 185. Panel 1.
I don’t know who the figure at the bottom of the page is.
Ben Drexler says, of Orlando's words here, that
"the monologue Orlando uses to describe the biological effects
of traveling to the fourth dimension and back is taken almost verbatim
from "The Boy Who Reversed Himself" by William Sleator, which likewise
deals with people traveling into higher-dimensional worlds. A
slightly comic subplot of the story involves people becoming reversed
when they return from higher dimensions and suddenly everyday foods
begin having wildly unpredictable effects, ie cookies causing nausea
or ketchup becoming a narcotic."
Jason Adams writes, "The strange
predatory "bird" which is seen swooping down toward the water on
Page 184, has returned with a water-baby in its beak. That looks like
Winnie-the-Pooh on the stairs at the top of the panel." Alex
Fernie writes, "Jason Adams notes the bear that looks like Winnie the
Pooh. It definitely is because, if you notice, he’s sitting halfway down
the stairs, just like the A.A. Milne poem “Halfway Down.”
Panel 2. Jason Adams
writes, "More of the giant cephalopod, including its head, can be
seen on the other other side of the room. To me, it looks like an octopus,
and, given its apparent size, it may be the legendary Kraken as depicted
famous illustration by Pierre Denys de Montrot. Incidentally,
stories of the Kraken are believed to have been inspired by early
sightings of giant squids (Architeuthis dux), which are quite
distinct from octopuses."
Page 186. Panel 1. Got
me on any of these characters. Perhaps the toad is Mr. Toad,
from The Wind in the Willows?
Gabriel Neeb writes that the fly-headed man is
from the film The Fly (1958). Doug Nanney writes, "The
character to the right of the frog/toad on page 186 is Turan(?) of
the Fly People, the race that gave powers to Tommy Troy, the Fly (Archie
Comics)." Philip & Emily Graves write, "If this is several Fly-like
characters, then perhaps the one on the right is Simon & Kirby's
superhero The Fly." Michael Norwitz writes, "Alongside the potential
Mr. Toad is Turan, one of the Fly People, who empowers Tommy Troy to
become the Fly/Fly Man. The fellow in the tuxedo is possibly from
the original film version of THE FLY, all dressed up for the occasion,
but it may also be something more specific."
Panel 2. Jason Adams writes, "The topless cat-headed
female is the Egyptian goddess Bast. Interestingly, it seems that none
of the animals (humanoid or otherwise) in the Blazing World need to
wear 3-D glasses, perhaps this is because most animals perceive colors
differently than humans do."
Panel 3. “Do give the Duke Toyland’s
regards. Truly, he is a philosopher of the heart’s sorrows.”
The “Duke” in this case is Prospero, and the “heart’s
sorrows” phrase is from The Tempest. And as Jonathan Carter
writes, "the character saying "Do give the Duke Toyland's regards"
is Frankenstein's monster, who, according to the second mini-series,
married the Queen of Toyland."
Richard Dill writes, "I believe the hound in the musketeers
outfit to be a character called Dogtanian. 'Dogtanian and the Three
Muskehounds' was an anthropomorphic cartoon version of the Alexandre
Dumas story 'D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers' It was created by BRB
INTERNACIONAL, a Spanish studio, and was broadcast in the UK in 1985."
Page 187. Panel 1. “I
pray thee, do not rise.”
This child, who is incapable of saying
anything else, appears in from Marco Denevi's "La niña
Michael Norwitz writes, "At the
bottom is Masterman."
Jason Adams writes, "That's Marsman
(from the one-time Marsman Comics, 1948) staring out over the skyline
at the top of the panel. That may be Count Orlok from the silent film
Nosferatu (1922) behind Allan."
Sean Levin writes, "the child in the cloak and hat on Page 187,
Panel 1, is Mysterious Pete, from Lyonel Feininger's classic comic strip
Panel 2. Myles Lobdell, Matt Knicl, and
Jonathan Carter note the presence here of Zorro, Charlie Brown,
Linus, the Lone Ranger, Captain Marvel and Shazam the Wizard.
Speaking to Charlie Brown might be the Disney version of Snow
White. Jason Adams notes the presence of Thunderbolt Jaxon
to the right of Captain Marvel. Keith Kole notes, "Flyman,
Masterman, Thunderbolt Jaxon and Captain Marvel are all boys that magically
transform into men."
Panel 3. Jonathan Carter notes the presence
of Robin Hood and possibly Alfred E. Neuman. Tim Chapman writes,
"Possibly Babar just behind the possible AE Neuman? I dunno, one elephant
looks much like another after a while." Jason Adams thinks it is Babar
Philip & Emily Graves write, "The Elizabethan character
looks like Edmund Blackadder from Blackadder II, and he could be
talking to Quixote or maybe El Cid. The gentleman in the turban may
even be Gunga Din."
Michael Norwitz writes, "standing right behind Allan
is the Blonde Phantom."
Page 188. Panel 4. If
the stampeding animals is a reference to something, I’m unaware
of it. (Oh good grief. Chris Roberson notes that they are Kipling's
"Just So Animals," and he's clearly right). Greg Strohecker writes,
"I'm not sure but I think these might be from Winsor McKay's comic
strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland". I read that you have them identified
as coming from Just So Stories, but I recall the episode of Little Nemo
where animals looking alot like these are featured. I don't have my copy
of the Little Nemo collection or a copy of Just So Stories handy to check,
but some of the other designs in the 3-D section are also reminiscent
of McKay's artwork."
Peter Sanderson writes, "The long, narrow panels on pages
181 and 188 resemble typical McCay visual storytelling, which shows
action (like the giant walking and the animals charging) taking
place over a succession of panels, like a series of animation drawings.
Moore and O'Neill are likely visually linking the Blazing World to
McCay's dream world of Slumberland, which are both realms of the imagination.
Notice Prospero's reference to "dreams" in page 191 panel 1."
Panel 5. "Come along, Fanny, dear. I'm going to dye
my hair back to its former brunette so I don't clas with Wilhelmina."
Jen K writes, "In the movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula", directed
by Francis Ford Coppola, Sadie Frost, who was also brunnette, had
to dye her hair red in order not to clash with Winona Ryder, who played
Mina Murray. This was done so they wouldn't clash, and be easier to distinguish
from one another."
Page 189. Panel 1. Nyarlathotep
says, “The three-lobed burning eye cares not.” See the notes
to Page 26 and 117.
Marcus Ewert writes, "The red part of Nyarlothep's speech-text
are Egyptian hieroglyphs, natch. I don't think they really say anything
though: there are far too many human-figure-ideograms, I think; I don't
think you'd get that many in a row in real Ancient Egyptian... wouldn't
it be rad if it DID say something though? It wouldcertainly be in keeping
with O'Neill & Moore's fastidiousness if it did...perhaps a curse
of some sort..."
Panel 2. Nyarlathotep says, “The
Lloigor are offended.” In the Cthulhu Mythos the Lloigor
are a race of malign energy beings.
Chris Cooper writes, "Nyarlathotep
appears in two forms, the Egyptian avatar of the Black Man and the traditional
Lovecraftian squiddly unholiness possibly the Haunter in the Dark form
from that Three-lobed Eye comment."
Panel 4. "Goodnight, sweet Duke."
Gabriel Roth writes, "Finally, Mina's farewell to Prospero...refers to
Horatio's famous benediction to Hamlet, "Goodnight, sweet prince," in another
of Shakespeare's plays."
Panels 4-5. "Rest well, defenders of the fourfold clime.
Duty necessitates I here abide...
Attending to such stragglers that remain,
Ignore their hosts' exaggerated yawns
And, fearing party's end, scuff now their feet
Midst fallen streamers and spill'd goblet-dregs."
Jon Balcerak writes, "You'll also notice that everything Prospero
says is, appropriately enough, in iambic pentameter, ending, as so
many of Shakespeare's characters' speeches and scenes do, in a rhyming
couplet. ("Here are brave banners of romance unfurled / to blaze
forever in a blazing world!") This "blazing world" carries with
it not only the literary references you've mentioned in your annotations,
but is probably a reference to the medium of the graphic novel itself--a
world that "blazes" with color and meaning."
Pages 190-192. I don’t
recognize anything here.
Mario di Giacomo writes, "Prospero mentions a "bead-game".
This is almost certainly a reference to Hermann Hesse's "Glass
Bead Game" from Magister Ludi, which was a game where the players
simulate/duplicate the universe."
Panel 1. "For truly is our cavalcade now done.
. . ."
Peter Sanderson writes, "This line is comparable to "Our
revels are now ended," the first line of Prospero's celebrated speech
in "The Tempest" Act IV scene 1. "
Neil Dorsett writes, "Prospero's closing reference "our cavalcade" seems to
me to refer in a slight way back to the Golden Age title "Comics Cavalcade,"
making this something of a meta-reference to both the end of the comic itself
and to Moore's closing of his comics career."
Richard Dill writes, "At the
top of this panel are three figures that could pass for the 3 protagonist
of Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's classic, 'The Secret Garden'."
Panel 3. Richard Dill
writes, "The round-headed fairy with fish-net torso and stick-like
arms and legs at the bottom of the panel is Mighty Moth from the comic
weekly, TV COMIC. Unlike most of that comics other characters that
were based upon popular stars of the day on television, Mighty Moth was
an original creation, brilliantly drawn by Dick Millington."
"And more, the very personality
That scrys this epilogue was once unformed
Assembled hastily from borrowed scraps
From traits admired in others, from ideals."
K.A. Laity writes, "What is this if not a clear statement of
Moore's vision of himself as standing on the shoulders of giants? The
Moore who scribes the epilogue has literally "assembled" the myriad texts
and narratives that fuel his imagination, like a dossier of his literary
influences. Fiction seems to be more robust that reality, Moore says via
Prospero, for if these "shadows" here are insubstantial, how much more
so those who use these fancies to subsist. Is not Holmes more lasting than
the materia that was Conan Doyle? Tyrants aren't the only ones to topple."
Pages 191. Panel 1. "Two sketching hands, each one the other
draws: the fantasies thou've fashioned fashion thee."
James Morrison writes, "Prospero's
description of the two worlds (fictional and real) being like a pair
of hands drawing each other is a reference to M C Escher's 'Drawing Hands' lithograph,
which also fits the decidedly Escher-ish architecture of the Blazing
World." Jon Balcerak also noted this: "Two sketching hands, each one
the other draws" probably refers to the 1948 M.C. Escher lithograph "Drawing
Hands". This could also be Alan Moore's commentary (echoing Escher's)
on the dualistic, symbiotic nature of art (and of the League novels); our
reality arises from our fiction, which is based on our reality, etc. Oscar
Wilde put it best when he said, "Life imitates art." This is what
Prospero (who bears a striking and, I'm sure, not accidental resemblance
to Mr. Moore) means when he says, in the same panel, "Whence came thy rocket
ships and submarines if not from Nautilus, from Cavorite?". So
seems to be the relationship between the Blazing World and the "standard"
world of the League novels."
Panel 2. Jaanus Kaasik
writes, "Squid at the bottom is primitive cephalopod from Cambrian named
Tim Chapman writes, "Could the squid and lady at the bottom be a reference
to Hokusai's 'Dream of the Fisherman's Wife'? Not the same posture,
but it's certainly reminiscent of this classical hentai."
Jaanus Kaasik writes, "Squid
and girl are similar to scene from animated film Destino (2003).
Its'production started in 1945 as collaboration between Walt Disney and
Salvador Dali. Trailer for Destino can be seen here."
Panel 3. "Here champions and lovers are made safe
from bowdlerizer's quill, or fad, or fact."
Paul Rush writes, "I can't quite shake this line. It would be interesting
to count how many of the characters in the Blazing World scenes are from
works that have been bowdlerized, banned or otherwise censored. Is
the Blazing World the refuge for censored tales? Or does that line
refer to the LoEG and it's world as a whole?"
Page 192. It’s fitting
that Ariel breaks the frame here.
Peter Svensson writes, "Prospero's
speech here harkens back to his epilogue in The Tempest,
which is traditionally considered Shakespeare's final work. But
rather than rejecting his magic to return to a normal life, here Prospero
praises the greatest magic of all. The Imagination. Moore Scholars should
note the similarities between The Blazing World, the Supremacy and the
Immateria. (And whatever the name of the counterpart in Glory was)."
Jim Kinley, among others, wonders about how much of what
Prospero says and how he is seen here can be taken as a commentary
by Moore on himself and his position. Tristan
Sargent, among many others, notes the resemblance of Caliban to Hyde and
writes, "Is this Alan Moore addressing the way an archetype may persist
through different incarnations?"
Thanks to: Alicia; Joe Ackerman, Jason Adams, Martin Allen,
Joseph Allevato, Hussamuddin Alromayedh, Dave Amiott, John Andrews, Tim
Anselm, ASDF FDSA, David Avallone, Jon Balcerak, Greg Baldino, Llowyn
Ball, Lee Barnett, Neale Barnholden, DJ Bell, Jon Bergdoll, Ed Berridge,
Joel Berthomier, Vandy Beth, Justin Bialek, Henry Blanco, Andrew Bonia,
Mark Bourne, Jeremy Briggs, Robert Todd Bruce, Russ Bynum, Andres Caicedo,
Devin Cambridge, Scott Campbell, "Captain Spaulding," Philip Carson
II, Cuitlamiztli Carter, Jonathan Carter, Tim Chapman, Neil Chester, Chris,
Rory Christie, George C. Clark, Mark Coale, James Coates, Loren Collins,
Chris Cooper, Paul Cornell, Giles Cresswell, Adam Cummins, Charles Cunyus,
Joyce Cunyus, Mike Curtis, Steve Daldry, Greg Daly, Brandon Davis-Shannon,
"Joey Dedcat," Robert Déry, Zoltán Déry, Mario di
Giacomo, Ben Dickson, Carla DiFonzo, Richard Dill, Marc Dolan, John Dorrian,
Neil Dorsett, Drake, Ben Drexler, Rich Drees, Win Eckert, Mark Elstob, Marcus
Ewert, Adam Farrar, Alex Fernie, Mark Fishpool, Jason Fliegel, Dexter Franklin,
Sean Gaffney, Shawn Garrett, Peter Gilham, Cian Gill, Patrick Gillen,
Anthony Girese, Damian Gordon, Ian Gould, Philip & Emily Graves, Eli
Green, John M. Gregory, Janez Grm, Guest_Informant, Eduard Habsburg, John
Hall, Larry Hardesty, Peter Hardy, Micah Harris, Harrison, Jason Helms,
Dave Henderson, Eric Henry, herms98, Andrew Hickey, Steve Higgins, "Him
Name Eddie," Eric Houston, Mark Irons, Krzysztof Janicz, Janssen, Kevin
Johnson, Roy Johnson, Rich Johnston, Brian Joines, Terry Jones, Jen K.,
Jaanus Kaasik, Elliott Kalan, Jack Kessler, Rodger Kibble, Les Klinger, Matt
Knicl, Jarett Kobek, Michael Korolenko, Timothy Kreider, Andrew Kunka,
Dan Kurdilla, C. Jerry Kutner, Steve Kydd, Rick Lai, K.A. Laity, Adam J.B.
Lane, Guy Lawley, Leo, Sean Levin, Michael Lloyd, Myles Lobdell, Jean-Marc
Lofficier, Londonkds, James Maass, David Malet, Papa Joe Mambo, Seth Manis,
Dirk Manning, Daniel Marks, Keith Martin, Robert Scott Martin, Steve Mattson,
Matthew Maxwell, Robert McCord, David Alexander McDonald, Jim McGill, Pádraig
Ó Méalóid, Brad Mengel, Jack Miller, Jamie Miller,
Jonathan Miller, Chris Mirner, Vanja Miskovic, Nick Moon, Michael Moorcock,
Alex Morgan, Huw Morgan, James Morrison, Pedro Moura, Don Murphy, Doug Nanney,
Gabriel Neeb, Paul Nestadt, Joseph Nevin, Jeff Newberry, Chris Nichols,
Per Nilsson, Sean Noir, Michael Norwitz, Anthony Padilla, L.D. Page, David
Parr, Kevin Pasquino, Jeff Patterson, Heath Pecorino, Kevin Pezzano, Jason
Powell, Richard Powell, Caleb Prewitt, Howard Price, Michael Prior, Ed Quinby,
A.J. Ramirez, Patrick Reumann, Christopher Reynolds, Brad Ricca, Richardthinks,
Jonathan Roberts, Josh Robbins, Chris Roberson, Robtmsnow, Edward Rogers,
Kian Ross, Gabriel Roth, Pól Rua, Paul Rush, Evan Ryder, KS, Ray
Sablack, Peter Sanderson, Tristan Sargent, Cliff Schexnayder, David Schwarm,
Jorge Serna, John Sewell, John Sherman, Stu Shiffman, Ken Shinn, Danny Sichel,
David A. Simpson, Phil Smith, John Soanes, Gabe Soria, Pete Spokes, Zoe Stevens-Wolf,
Greg Strohecker, Paul Sulham, Peter Svensson, "teamy teamy," Andrew Teheran,
Greg Terry, Lang Thompson, Tim Toner, Mark Turetsky, Stephen Tweedale, Chad
Underkoffler, usedcarsrus, Bram van Dijk, Pete von Sholly, Dennis Walker,
Samuel Walker, Julian Wan, Lee Wang, Ian Warren, Rich Weaver, Jamaal White,
Matt White, Tom Whiteley, Tony Whitt, Jeff Wilson, Pete Wilson, Martin Wisse,
Benjamin Wood, Jae Yu, Nevin Zehr.
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