A Higher Court

March 5, 2003...May 2003
(24 pgs.)


The style of the cover is inspired by Winsor McCay but the content comes from following illustrations found in Alice in Wonderland drawn by Sir John Tenniel. A page with links to all his works online is here.

Illustrations taken from The Victorian Web

Benny Solomon is judging.
to his left is a Pandelirium (see Issue #5).
America's Best Comics logo looks like America's Beast Comics.
Another Pandelirium sits atop Santa Claus' head, also a woman with muslim headgear who might be Scheherezade from the Arabian Nights, Sherlock Holmes, the Big Bad Wolf, a giant one eyed SF creature, Marto Neptura, Medusa, Baron Munchaussen and someone I can't recognize.
In front of all this a frog lawyer is holding a long piece of paper. Very reminiscent of the Alice in Wonderland trial scene.
Promethea is in some sort of yellow magical handcuffs. On the other side Stacia on the witness stand with Jack Faust appearing to be her lawyer or prosecutor, two little fairies on the floor and one sitting on a book on the table. The book is Aleister Crowley's 777.
Above Stacia Little Margie and 3 other Prometheas, a Hindu elephant god Ganesha,Weeping Gorilla, Little Red Riding Hood and another little girl, a monkey faced creature in a suit, JHW3 writes that
the man pointing his finger is John Kendrik Bangs drawn Winsor McCay style.
and a little blue fairy.
Promethea's caduceus is behind her.
A good source of information about Ganesha is called The Destroyer of Obstacles.
The cover doesn't exactly match the interior version in that Promethea doesn't wear any handcuffs, when Stacia takes the stand she is not alone but with Grace Brannagh's Promethea and she is wearing her No 1 T-shirt. Other than that it is the same as the trial within. The guy with the cigar is a riff on the Flip character from Little Nemo.
JHW3 writes that
The character with the cigar is another ref to little nemo. As well as the character sitting next to red riding hood. That is supposed to the little boy from little nemo but got colored here in a way that made him look more like a little girl. That was not the intention.
The only people I can't place are the 2 next to Red Riding Hood, unless they're also references to Little Nemo.
Thanks to Oraknabo for these
Wile E Coyote writes about the giant eyed SF creature
I'm probably way off base, but this creature reminds me a lot of the defence counsel from Jim Starlin's story 'The Trial of Adam Warlock' in Strange Tales #179.
According to JHW3
The eye creature is my reference to some of the old Jim Starlin comics that I used to read when I was a kid. Like the old captain marvel and adam warlock comics. Those always had a big influemce on me because of the way that he would portray cosmic psychedelia.
Well spotted Wile E.
I think that it might also be a reference to the Evil Lord of the Eye Spiders seen in ,a href="11.html">Issue #11 page 2 panel 3.

Whenever someone is unnhappy with a judicial decision they are entitled to appeal to a higher court.

In the Immateria in a courtroom presided by King Solomon the final decision is that Sophie will remain as the one true Promethea on earth.
Here in Malkuth Henry Royce helps FBI agents Breughel and Ball in their search for Promethea and as a result the Pied Piper steals all of the Temple’s children. Jack Faust is captured and taken into custody by the FBI, Stacia is shot by a trigger happy agent Breughel and Sophie’s mother warns her to escape before the FBI agents also come for her. This is the end of the Fourth Book.

“She brings the Apocalypse. She brings the end of the world. The Day of Judgement.” – Henry Royce describing Promethea, pg. 1
“Way to demonstrate enlightenment, Sophie.” – Jack Faust, pg. 4
“I went to heaven and all I got was this lousy red mu-mu.”- Stacia, pg. 5
“We opened a wound forgotten since the Crusades.” – Promethea(6), pg 5
“This isn’t another one of those where I can just order the baby cut in half, is it?”- Solomon, pg 4
“And this is the only place we’ll find students before college opens tomorrow?” – Karen Breughel, pg 6
“You suck. Where’s Les Miserable?” – someone in crowd, pg. 7
“After she screwed her attorney there, she got kinda obsessed.” – Stacia, pg 9
“I think everybody is going to lose.” – Jack Faust pg. 11
“I knew there’d be a disputed infant mixed up in this somewhere.” – Solomon, pg 15
“Now there’s one sure way to settle this, then I can return to the source of wisdom and eternal copulation with my black love Sheba. I propose we chop the baby in half. We divide the Promethea role between the two claimants.” – Solomon, pg. 16
“Perfect1 Every time, it works like a charm!” – Solomon, pg. 16
“…the Bureau has a long memory.” – Lucille Ball, pg 18
“So they’re burnin’ witches. So what else is new?” – Jack Faust, pg 19
“When you call, hang up. Don’t speak. I’ll know it’s you.” – Trish Bangs, pg 23


First the Barbelith Underground commentary on this issue.

page 1


Page 1: Note that both agents have bandaids and that Agent Breughel’s arm is in a sling visible in panels 2, 3 and 5.
Burleigh Drive is in Ithica, New York.
Panel 4:
[L. emanatio: cf. F. ['e]manation.] 1. The act of flowing or proceeding from a fountain head or origin. --South.
Those profitable and excellent emanations from God. --Jer. Taylor.
2. That which issues, flows, or proceeds from any object as a source; efflux; an effluence; as, perfume is an emanation from a flower.
An emanation of the indwelling life. --Bryant.
Whore of Babylon
Some links
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 1
Link 2
Panel 5:
Day of Judgement

Pages 2-3:Once again disembodied eyes and fish float through the air, also some fairies and a gnome like pixie on the T of Promethea. Two pandeliriums flying downwards.
Not sure if the man at the leftmost is supposed to be Austin Osman Spare as his hair is blue here and he doesn’t have those strange apparitions floating around his face. John O'Neil thinks that the the Islamic woman in the veil and Burqa could be Scheherazade from The Arabian Nights. Not sure who the clown type person below Medusa is supposed to be or the woman with the feather above Baron Munchaussen. The ones I can recognize are Medusa, Baron Munchaussen, Santa Claus, Marto Neptura, the Big Bad Wolf and Sherlock Holmes.
On the right are the Ugly Duchess, a Lovecraftian octopus like creature, looks like JK Bangs in non-ghostly form, Little Margie, Weeping Gorilla, Little Red Riding Hood, Elephant and not sure about the last figure.
Page 2 Panel 3: Note the grasshopper/praying mantis type legs above Grace's head.
Page 3
Top Panel
The hairdo on the woman at the left of the jury panel gives her away as the ugly duchess from Alice in Wonderland. See the following image:

Panel 2 Philomenus Phrog - Obviously an echo of Phileas Fogg the hero of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. See also Philip Jose Farmer's The Other Log of Phileas Fogg.
Philomenus is also the name of a Catholic Saint who died in 275 AD. The feminine version Philomena means powerful friend in Greek.

Chemise lifters - Jack Faust certainly has a way with words. Nice substitue for lesbians. Male homosexuals are sometimes referred to as shirt lifters.
Page 3 Panel 2: Looks like one of the 3 Musketeers in the crowd.
Panel 3: Nice head of a statue behind Jack Faust. Note the little pixies at Jack’s feet.

Interior Art taken from Pulse
Behind the Lines at ABC
interview by Heidi McDonald
Pages 4-5: Blind Justice floats in the air, behind her scales the Sun and behind her sword the Moon.
Behind her are some Stars.
The Roman Goddess of Justice was named Justitia.
Here you can find numerous images of Justice.
Page 5 Panel 5:
Ladies and gentlemen...you shall decide which of these women is most suited to her awesome duty
This is contradicted on pg. 16 when Solomon hands down the judgement by himself without consulting the jury.
Pages 6-7:

Click on Image for full sized picture
JHW3 writes about this scene
The concert scene. That is my favorite spread in the whole issue and it took bloody forever to figure out and draw it properly and it was perfectly colored by Jeromy as well.
Monty Sykes singing the lyrics to Northern Lights Fantastic Voyage to Arcturus, lar which seems to comprise mainly of redone Beatles lyrics with a bit of William Blake and Bob Dylan thrown in as well.
For an explanation of
Northern Lights Fantastic Voyage to Arcturus, lar
see Issue 19 page 2.
The Emperor’s new… reminds me of the famous fairytale about the Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson
Also known as The Emperor's New Suit.
New York Times… is the famous newspaper.
(The) Times they are a changin’ … is a Bob Dylan song.
Changin’ horses… Bob Dylan’s song You're a Big Girl Now has the lyrics
A change in the weather is known to be extreme
But what's the sense of changing horses in midstream?

Horse’s Whispers…The Horse Whisperer is a famous novel and a movie.
Lindbergh baby…Charles Lindbergh’s baby was kidnapped and killed in the 1930’s.
Here is the crime library file.
Baby Blue…It’s all over now, Baby Blue is a Bob Dylan song.
Blue his mind out in a car…Blew his mind out in a car is a lyric from A Day in the Life on the Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
And did those feet…in ancient time is the beginning of William Blake’s Jerusalem
the first two lines of which are
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
Penny Lane is a Beatles song found on the Magical Mystery tour album.
Dark, Satanic…mills is also from William Blake's Jerusalem. The actual lyrics are
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?
The Long and Winding…Road is on the Beatles Let it Be album.
Abbey Road is the name of a Beatles album.
Excess leads to wisdom… is from William Blake's Proverbs of Hell. The actual quote is
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom .
In the face she keeps by a door that’s ajar…playing with the lyrics from Eleanor Rigby
The actual lyrics are
wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door .
Come Together…is a song on Abbey Road.
Across the Universe is on Let it Be.
…on a sofa or two with your sister…plays with the lyrics from Lovely Rita on Sgt Pepper
The actual lyrics are
Sitting on the sofa with a sister or two.
Lady Madonna is a Beatles single.
Let it Be is a song and an album.
Gently weep on my guitar …from While my Guitar gently weeps on the White Album.
All You Need is Love…is a Beatles single which can be found on Magical Mystery Tour.
Love Me Do…an early Beatles single found on their first album Please Please Me.
Do you wanna dance…famous song not by the Beatles but by Johnny Rivers.
Sing Oblada…Obladi-oblada is on the White Album.
Prudence… Dear Prudence is also on the White Album.
..in the sky…refers to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds on Sgt. Pepper.
Tigers burning brightly …from The Tiger by William Blake can be found in Songs of Innocence and Experience.
Page 6 Panel 1: Stalin’s Get Purged. Stalin was well know for his purges which killed a lot of people.
Limp poster covering up Les Miserable poster behind it.
Carnal Popes All Meat Tour.
Note the bad proof reading
And this’s is the only place
Lucille, this strange

This was fixed on the Book version of this issue.
Panel 2:Painted Doll and a dragon tattoo.
Panel 3: The Beauty Mon(sters)?
Page 7 Panel 2: X file from the TV series The X-files.
Pages 8-9: The scales of Justice reminiscent of the star sign Libra.
top panel: Note Solomon’s doodles of babies being cut in half.
First bubble pops.
Page 8 Panel 4: Note the two fairies at Phrog’s feet.
Page 9 Panel 2: Simply Red is the name of a music group.
Page 10 Panel 1: Another bubble pops more obviously this time.
Panel 2: Two gnomes on floor.
Pages 10-11 Middle Panel: Pandelirium almost swallows a fairy.
Page 10 Panel 7: Note the seated gnomes also conferring.
Page 11: Jack Fausts' tarot spread would have looked like this. Click on each card for its' meaning:

Pages 12-13: The music is in common time and in the key of F Major. Do any musicians out there recognize the tune?
According to JHW3
the music is an actual composition. Todd Klein found it but for the life of me I can't remember what he said it was. I do know that it is something old and therefore public domain.
Page 12 Panel 3: Note the teddy bear left on the floor and compare this with Weeping Gorilla soft toy left on the floor on page 20 panel 3.
Page 13 Panels 2-3: The last time we saw the Pied Piper in Issue #9 pgs 22-23 his parting words were:
Oh, by the by, I'd leave yon Goodwife be in future. She's got friends, that one has. Keep off, or I'll come calling...and nobody wants that. Cheerio for now.
Pages 14-15 top panel:
Note the whale in the sky.
Another bubble pops. Other bubbles read
Time Stops… Tiny bubbles is a song.
Love under will is a quote from Aleister Crowley.
The full saying is "Love is the law, love under will"

Tarot Card VIII Adjustment repeated in the foreground.
Nice guitars. Blind Justice on both pages outside panels.
On the left on the outside panel a bearded sleeping figure with a gnome giving a sign of silence not to wake him up.
JHW3 writes that
that is a cartoon Alan snoozing next to those shrubs along the Yellow Brick Road. I thought he looked sooo cute sleeping there I couldn't resist drawing him in.
Page 15 Panel 2: Grasshopper wearing Egyptian type shoulder pads.
JHW3 writes
prey mantis man is just something made up that I was using as something you might see out of an old B rated sci-fi movie. Te other characters you mention are just more random immateria denizens.
The man must be Austin Osman Spare as we can clearly see the apparitions hovering around him.
On the right outside panel the Pandelirium is still chasing the fairy.
Pages 16-17 Nice touch with the sword cutting the pages in half.
Panel 1 and Panel 5: Solomon contradicts himself:
...then I can return to the source of wisdom... in panel 1 followed by
Next case? in panel 5.
Page 16 Panel 5 Note the gnome and winged dice on Solomons’ table.
pages 18-19: The Devil on the Tarot card appears to have enslaved FBI agents Breughel and Ball with chains around their necks.
Note that Jack Faust’s walking cane is upside down.
Page 19 Panel 1: We learn Jack Faust’s real name is John Barrett.
The most famous Barrett I can think of is Syd Barrett from the early Pink Floyd
But Mrrutsala pointed out the more probable source of Jack Faust's real surname being Francis Barrett author of The Magus.
Panel 2: Note the munchy chips packet on the floor. Jack Faust is still living like a slob.
Page 18 Panel 3: America’s Worst - nice name for a science-villain syndicate
Paul Dorian Saveen is one of the arch villains in Tom Strong.
Octavia Price is "The Money Spider," the arch-nemesis of Cobweb in the Tomorrow Stories Issue #6 story Shackled in Silk.
Edward "Flipface" Platty is the enemy of Splash Brannigan in Tomorrow Stories.
On the paper
XXXI Hymns to the Star Goddess which is not and
By XIII which is Achad.
Fr. Achad is Charles Stansfield Jones Here are the hymns from the OTO.
Panel 2 Jack Faust puts on his 32 T-shirt.
Page 19 Panel 4: Note the 5 pointed star on Jack Fausts' sneaker.
Pages 20-21: The tower. Falling out of it a girl with pink hair in a pink bikini. Pattern behind tarot card matches the pattern on the clothes Stacia is wearing.
This is the first and last time we see Stacia's parents. Note her mother wears fluffy bunny slippers.
Page 20 Panel 2: Note the Hoov(er) Removal van the FBI agents emerge from. J Edgar Hoover ran the FBI for a long time.
Panel 3: Carnal Popes partly visible on the wall. On the floor a Limp CD and a Weeping Gorilla comic and soft toy.
Page 21 Panels 4-6: This certainly caught me by surprise. Who would have thought agent Breughel would be so trigger happy. Also her arm in a sling seems to have mended a bit.
The bullet appears to have gone throught Stacia's left shoulder.
Pages 22-23: The Hanged Man or in this case Hanged Girl. Note the caduceus and snakes are upside down behind it.
Page 22 Panel 2 The Blow Mees poster partly visible behind Sophie’s mother.
Page 23 Panel 2: Les Miserable looks a bit like the young Elvis Presley.
Page 23 Panels 4-5: Bitter sweet from some song.
Sweet Little Sixteen is a Chuck Berry song.
Sung by the Beatles at the BBC.
Sixteenth nervous breakdown… There is a Rolling Stones song called 19th Nervous Breakdown.
Looks like Sophie's mother opens the door to agent Breughel.
Page 24:
Donut place.
Uvula loves you managing to cover up what Monty Python would refer to as her “naughty bits”.
Get Euphoria
"Euphoria" might refer to the highest (1st) sephiroth in the Kaballah.
Definition is
A feeling of great happiness or well-being.
[New Latin, from Greek, from euphoros, healthy : eu-, eu- + pherein, to bear]
a feeling of great (usually exaggerated) elation [ant: dysphoria]
Definition from Dictionary.com
Apparently this is a false telephone number.
Two women and one man. The man is obviously Jack Faust.
John O'Neil points out that the two women are probably Trish Bangs and Stacia which would mean that she wasn't killed.
We'll have to wait for Issue #26 to find out.
Gothic g or q on the wall.
Note the sun outline on the image.


Page frozen: 14 January 2004