Annotations to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume III Chapter One
by Jess Nevins
Unless otherwise specified, all figures are identified in a clockwise fashion.
My apologies to everyone who e-mailed contributions to the annotations since 2009 and never heard back from me. I should at the least have thanked each of you, but I did not. Sorry, all.
Of the title of this volume, Michael Saler
poses an interesting question: “Do you know if
Cover. I’m going to defer identifying the relevant individuals here, as I’d rather not spoil anything. Obviously that’s Mina in the middle.
Page 1. Panel 1. This is Thomas Carnacki. Carnacki was created by William Hope Hodgson and appeared in six stories in British magazines from 1910 to 1912, beginning with “The Gateway of the Monster” (The Idler, Jan. 1910). Thomas Carnacki was the second major Occult Detective in detective/horror fiction. Carnacki is a “Psychic Investigator” who uses both scientific equipment and the traditional ghost-breaking paraphernalia to combat the psychic forces and the “Outer Monsters” which threaten our world.
The picture on the wall is a reference to the story “The Horse of the Invisible” (The Idler, Apr. 1910). Visually the horse is modeled on Henry Fuseli’s “The Nightmare:”
I’m not sure what the mummified figures are a reference to–none of Carnacki’s stories (that I’m aware of) have him facing off against mummies.
Panel 2. A “Profess-house” was originally a local shelter for
Jesuits who had bound themselves by the four vows of chastity, poverty,
obedience, and special obedience to the Pope. ("Profess" is used in
this sense as being another word for "vow"). Occultist Aleister
Crowley (1875–1947) had different
meanings and purposes for the Profess-house. For
Panel 3. “Oliver” is a reference to Oliver Haddo, who appeared in W. Somerset Maugham’s novel The Magician (1907). Haddo was based on Aleister Crowley, whom Maugham disliked, and The Magician is about an occult attempt to create life. Haddo is mentioned on Pages 25 & 26 of Black Dossier.
As seen in Black Dossier,
a number of historical figures are replaced in the world of League by
their fictional counterparts or models, so that in the world of League
there was no Adolph Hitler, there was Adenoid Hynkel (from Charlie Chaplin’s
film The Great Dictator). In the world of League there was no
“Iliel” is a reference to
a new name, a mystic name, engraved upon a moonstone, set in a silver ring which she put upon her finger. This name was Iliel. It had been chosen on account of its sympathy of number to the moon; for the name is Hebrew, in which language its characters have the value of 81, the square of 9, the sacred number of the moon. But other considerations helped to determine the choice of this name. The letter L in Hebrew refers to Libra, the sign under which she had been born; and it was surrounded with two letters, I, to indicate her envelopment by the force of creation and chastity which the wise men of old hid in that hieroglyph.
The final "EL" signified the divinity of her new being; for this is the Hebrew word for God, and is commonly attached by the sages to divers roots, to imply that these ideas have been manifested in individuals of angelic nature.
Panel 4. The four figures facing the reader are (beginning with the tallest) Cyril Grey, Sister Cybele, Simon Iff, and Iliel.
Cyril Grey, the “Frater
Cyril” mentioned in the dialogue, appears in The Moonchild. In the novel
Grey is one of white magicians. Grey is usually interpreted as being
Sister Cybele, the “Soror
Cybele” mentioned the dialogue, appears in The Moonchild. In the novel
she is one of the white magicians. Cybele is usually interpreted as having been
based on Leila Waddell (1880-1932),
Cybele was an Earth Mother goddess among the Phrygians, Greeks, and Romans. (Wikipedia entry).
Simon Iff, the “Frater Simon” mentioned in the dialogue, appears in The Moonchild as well as in twenty short stories appearing in three collections in 1917 and 1918. Iff is a kind of Occult Detective.
Iff’s appearance here is similar to Aleister Crowley when he was in his sixties.
Iliel, in The Moonchild,
was modeled on Mary d’Este Sturges, one of
The robes that the cultists wore are similar to those worn by members of the Golden Dawn, the occult society Aleister Crowley founded.
Kenneth Capps corrects me:
“As other readers will doubtlessly tell you,
Grasso adds, “The group in Century is more analogous to
Panel 6. “
“A moon-stone. A moon-child.” In The Moonchild the titular child will be a kind of occult messiah, a child who is possessed with the soul of an astral spirit.
Panel 7. This is Oliver Haddo. He has a certain visual similarity to Aleister Crowley:
“…then shall the kingdoms of the Earth be plunged into a strange and terrible new aeon.”
Greg Strohecker writes, “"...a strange and terrible new aeon" is a phrase Aleister Crowley used on a few occasions. He was trying to bring about the "dreadful new aeon of Horus".
Page 2. For the identity of the woman, see Page 4, Panel 2.
“What Keeps Mankind Alive” is the title of a song in Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s musical The Threepenny Opera (1928). The Threepenny Opera, about the brutality of modern capitalist life, is the thematic basis for much of Century: 1910, as will be seen, and the lyrics of “What Keeps Mankind Alive” is a direct statement of one of these themes:
You gentlemen who think you have a mission
To purge us of the seven deadly sins
Should first sort out the basic food position
Then start your preaching, that’s where it begins
You lot who preach restraint and watch your waist as well
Should learn, for once, the way the world is run
However much you twist or whatever lies that you tell
Food is the first thing, morals follow on
So first make sure that those who are now starving
Get proper helpings when we all start carving
What keeps mankind alive?
What keeps mankind alive?
The fact that millions are daily tortured
Stifled, punished, silenced and oppressed
Mankind can keep alive thanks to its brilliance
In keeping its humanity repressed
And for once you must try not to shirk the facts
Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts.
Des Pickard writes,
Readers unfamiliar with Brecht may assume the lyrics included here are Brecht's original, instead of a translation from the German whose awkwardness reflects less on Brecht's poetic gift than on the perennial dilemma facing all translators of poetry - how to make the tradeoff between accuracy in content and refinement of form? Poets shift all sorts of meanings around finding something they can say beautifully in their own language, and it's generally not possible to say the exact same things as beautifully in another one. There are several translations of Brecht that take liberty with the meanings in order to make the words sound good at the other end. The translators here made a reasonable choice to go with scholarly exactness at the expense of style, and it'd only be fair to Brecht (and indeed his translators) to note that this is Brecht filtered through the decisions of Ralph Manheim and John Willett.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid notes, “I have to say,
much as I hate to disagree with The Master, I think there's one point where
Page 3. Panel 3. Ian Gould notes, “The shell in the foreground is a Nautilus.” Jason Adams adds, “The ammonite shell on the beach is an early clue to where we are. A similar shell was worn by Captain Nemo in his prime (see the portrait on Page 29. Panel 7.)”
Panel 5. The stone with the calculations on it appears in Jules Verne’s L'Île Mystérieuse (English translation: The Mysterious Island) (1874). The Mysterious Island is best-known as the sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and describes the post-20,000 Leagues behavior and ultimate fate of Captain Nemo. In The Mysterious Island the castaways have to calculate the height of a high granite wall:
The measurements were made with the pole and resulted in determining the distances from the stake to the foot of the pole and the base of the wall to be 15 and 500 feet respectively. The engineer and Herbert then returned to the Chimneys, where the former, using a flat stone and a bit of shell to figure with, determined the height of the wall to be 333.33 feet.
Panel 6. The older gentleman is Ishmael, originally from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851). As shown in earlier volumes of League, after the events of Moby Dick Ishmael became one of Captain Nemo’s crewmen.
Page 4. Panel 1. The man in the bed is Captain Nemo. In The Mysterious Island Nemo was supposed to have died of exhaustion, but as the events of earlier volumes of League showed he survived until 1910.
The man kneeling by Nemo’s bed is Broad Arrow Jack. Jack was originally created by E. Harcourt Burrage and appeared in the penny dreadful Broad Arrow Jack (1886) but as shown in earlier volumes of League, after the events of Broad Arrow Jack Jack became one of Captain Nemo’s crewmen.
When Nemo first appears in The Mysterious Island it is on his deathbed in The Nautilus. The scene is described in this way:
A vast saloon, a sort of museum, in which were arranged all the treasures of the mineral world, works of art, marvels of industry, appeared before the eyes of the colonists, who seemed to be transported to the land of dreams.
Extended upon a rich divan they saw a man, who seemed unaware of their presence.
This panel, also in The Nautilus, is likely a reference to that particular scene.
Rich Drees writes, “Is that a Lament Configuration from Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart and the subsequent Hellraiser films hanging over Nemo’s bed?”
Jonathan Carter (Jason Adams also caught
this) writes, “The rectangular gold object is a Martian heat-ray.” Adam Bezecny
writes, “It is a heat-cannon, from vol. 2 and War of the Worlds. Presumably the diving suit behind Jack is one of
the ones used in either 20,000 Leagues
Under the Sea or
Jason Adams does yeoman’s work:
I found a few things about Nemo's Martian trophy (from Century:1910 - Page 3. Panel 1.). It is definitely part of the tripod that the Nautilus destroys at the beginning of Issue 4:
Page 2. Panel 1. The weapon in question can be seen clearly as the tripod destroys the rail bridge.
Page 4-5. Panel 4. The weapon is seen falling with the rest of the wreckage.
Page 7. Panel 8. The weapon lies on the river bed, on the verge of being collected by one of the Nautilus's tentacles.
Marc Kandel writes, “The large crab claw- a reference to the film version of Mysterious Island (1961) - homage to perhaps the most iconic image from the film: Ray Harryhausen's giant crab, attacking and then being killed and eaten by the protagonists- evidently there's enough crabmeat on Lincoln Island to go around for Nemo to pop a Claw up in the room.” E.C. Rekow and Damian Gordon also caught this.
Panel 2. The dialogue here and for the rest of this sequence
is in Punjabi. The dialogue here reads “Hello, Father. How are you this
evening?” The speaker, the girl we’ve been following for the past three pages,
is Janni Dakkar, the daughter of Captain Nemo, whose real name is Prince
Dakkar. Janni was referred to by name in League v2 and mentioned in Black
Dossier, although she is
According to The
Mysterious Island Captain Nemo, a.k.a. Prince Dakkar, was a prince of
“Bundelkund,” or Bundelkhand, an area in central
Ian Gould adds, “The narwhal horn in the background is presumably from the narwhal killed in 20,000 Leagues.” E.C. Rekow says, “A giant narwhale was, as you know, originally (in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) what the world believed the Nautilus to actually be.”
“Note Nemo's motto from 20,000 Leagues on the lintel Mobilis in
Panel 3. Translated dialogue: “I am no better, no worse. I wanted to know if you had reconsidered.”
Panel 4. Translated dialogue: “Don’t be foolish. Of course I haven’t.”
Rich Drees (and Yannick Berens) points out, “That lumpy thing (A bag? A pillow?) with the word “Titan” on it. Might it be from the titular ship of Morgan Robertson’s novella Futility or the Wreck of the Titan, published in 1898.” Futility was referenced in League v1n5 Page 13 Panel 4.
As Charlie Beck notes, “Apparently Nemo visited in the wreck some time in the last 12 years, possibly on his way back from England after the invasion?”
Page 5. Panel 1. Translated dialogue: “You disobey me. You disobey your own father. Do not forget that you are my daughter.”
Panel 2. Translated dialogue: “No. Nor do I forget the years for which you ignored me. You ignored me because you wanted a son.”
Panel 3. Translated dialogue: “Of course I wanted a son, but all I got was you! Who else but you can carry on my work, and my name?”
Panel 4. Translated dialogue: “What kind of name is ‘Nobody’? What kind of work is piracy? I am not like you, a fanatic. You can go to Hell.”
Panel 5. Translated dialogue: “You dare talk to me like that? I should have you whipped! I–“
Page 8. Panel 1. Presumably the painting and the figure (a Grey?) under glass are references to Carnacki stories, but I’m not sure which ones they could be.
Rich Drees suggests that the
portrait is of the Phantom of the Opera. Colin Rutherford says, “The painting
could be of one of many ghostly Cavaliers said to haunt places in
Panel 4. The other man is E. W. Hornung’s master thief A.J. Raffles, who set the standard for the English gentleman criminal for a half-century. Raffles appeared in a number of short stories and four short story collections and novels from 1898 to 1909, beginning with “The Ides of March” (Cassell’s Magazine, June 1898). He is a member of Society and steals from his comrades and does so with style.
Page 9. Panel 1. Kyle Kallgren writes, “I couldn’t help noticing Raffles’ scar. Is there any story behind that?” Pete Gilham adds, “I’m curious about the mark on Raffles’ right cheek, seen throughout this volume. I’ve not read the Raffles books, but my girlfriend has done so recently and doesn’t recall anything about this in his description. Presumably it is therefore a scar from his “death” in the Boer War? If so, this would confirm that Raffles was indeed injured, possibly seriously, even if Bunny’s report of his demise was somewhat exaggerated. Maybe Bunny himself wan’t aware that Raffles survived.”
Panel 3. “I was blackmailed into this when they uncovered my burglary career.”
In Raffles’ first seven stories (collected in The Amateur Cracksman (1899)) Raffles’ criminal life is a secret from the world, but in the eighth story (also collected in The Amateur Cracksman) Raffles is exposed. In the later stories Raffles continues to steal but is disgraced, and in the last short story, “The Last Word” (1905), Raffles atones for his crime by dying heroically in the Boer War.
That wasn’t the last Raffles appearance written by Hornung, however. The public demand for Raffles was so great that Hornung brought Raffles back (as Hornung’s brother-in-law Arthur Conan Doyle did with Sherlock Holmes) for one last novel, Mr. Justice Raffles (1909), set before Raffles’ disgrace. Perhaps in the world of League Raffles’ death during the Boer War was a sham? After all, we only know of it because Raffles’ sidekick/toady, the craven lickspittle Bunny Manders, says that Raffles died–and Manders is hardly a reliable narrator.
Michael Norwitz adds, “there is a comics precedent: A.J. Raffles, having retired to a pastoral life in America after his long stint in an English prison, returns to action as a heroic ally of the Whizzer. [All-Winners #8]”
“How would a drop of the 1736 Amontillado suit you?”
This is a reference to the Edgar Allan Poe story “The Cask of Amontillado,” which if you haven’t read by now, STOP READING THIS AND READ THAT INSTEAD. CLICK ON THE LINK. DO IT NOW. (I’m not sure if the 1736 date is a reference to anything in particular).
Adrian Ward writes, “I can only think of the fact that 1736 was the year Nicholas Hawksmoor died.”
Gary McKernan (as did Adam Bezecny) adds,
“I would posit that there are more than one Poe references contained within
that page. On the next panel, on the bottom right-hand corner, we can see a
one-eyed black cat. I believe that this is alluding to another Poe story “The Black Cat.”” This is
of course possible, but if Moore/O’Neill did the Black Cat reference in League v1, as we thought at the time,
it’s doubtful that this is the same Black Cat. Unless of course the Black Cat
is really immortal, which would explain why we keep seeing a Black Cat in the
The skull in the lower left is presumably the skull of a Cyclops. Not sure if it has any significance beyond that.
Shawn Hurst usefully notes,
“This is probably Polyphemus, from the Odyssey. He was blinded by Odysseus, and
when he runs to tell his Cyclops brothers, they ask him who has blinded him. He
says "No one", the name Odysseus gave when Polyphemus asked him his
name, and so his brothers do not help him. Also, the Latin for "no
one" is nemo, a fact
Page 10. Panel 1. Enter Mina, Allan Jr., and Orlando. The trio, plus Carnacki and Raffles, are the “Second Murray Group” mentioned in Black Dossier.
The mermaid-like creature may be a Water Baby, one of the aquatic faerie types from Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies (1862-1863).
Adam Bezecny writes, “I
suspect that the creature on Page 10, Panel 1 may be a Fiji mermaid rather than
a water baby; remember that in "New Traveller's Almanac" a water baby
was shown in an illustration without the lower fish body.” Jason Adams says, “I
don't think that's a Water Baby. We saw those in the Blazing World at the end
of The Black Dossier, and they didn't look like mermaids. My guess is that this
is either the Little Mermaid from the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, a
living example of P.T. Barnum's
G.W. writes, “The helmet near
John Orloff writes, “in the top part of the panel is a shotgun that could be the same one Allen uses on Jimmy at the spaceport in the Black Dossier.”
Panel 3. “An Old Boy from my Cheyne Walk Club”
“Old Boy” in this case is a
British phrase for a male alumni of a school. “Cheyne Walk” is a reference to
the streeet, Cheyne Walk, at which Carnacki lives in
Peter Slack points out that Cheyne Walk was the home of Mick Jagger, whose fictional alter ego plays a role in Century: 1969.
Page 11. Panel 1.
“Did I every tell you about how I helped found
As with all of
Gould adds, “
Dorrian adds, “The thing that struck me as funny/ironic about the "Green
Panel 2. “Could it have anything to do with the imminent Coronation?”
In reality, George Frederick Ernest Albert was crowned King-Emperor George V of the United Kingdom on June 22, 1911, following the death of George’s father, King Edward VII. In the world of League a number of historical figures are replaced by figures from fiction, so it is unclear who (or what) was coronated on in 1910 in the world of League.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid writes, “George V’s father, Edward VII, died on the 6th of May, 1910, meaning that George V succeeded him at that point. His coronation was, as you say, on the 22nd of June 1911, but presumably he was crowned sooner in the world of the league.”
Panel 3. “Presumably not the dreadful new aeon of George the Fifth?”
As I said, it’s not clear who or what was coronated in 1910 in the world of League. It may have been George Frederick Ernest Albert, or may have been someone else entirely who happened to be named George.
John Hall writes, “One would
think that the reference to the "dreadful new Aeon of George the
Fifth" would mean that the person to be crowned (not
"coronated", please!) must have had "George" among his
names. However later on (page 13. Panel 5) there's a reference to him as a
"stuttering 'alf-wit", which suggests that he could be based on
Edward VII's eldest son, who in our reality predeceased his father: Prince
Albert Victor. According to Wikipedia
"Albert Victor's intellect, sexuality and sanity have been the subject of
much speculation." He was a suspect for Jack the Ripper, which would seem
highly appropriate, and indeed he featured in
“I know Military Intelligence are worried about some anti-royal plot. Also, Halley’s Comet is passing.”
“Mina, come on. You’re not superstitious, surely?”
Halley’s Comet did indeed pass Earth in April, 1910, and tradition held that its appearance was ominous–it appeared in 1066 and was popularly supposed to have been an omen for the death of King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings–but I’m unaware of any real-life anti-royal plot which took place around the time of the Coronation.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid (Terence Chua also pointed this out) writes,
This is vaguely referred to throughout the book, without ever being properly explained. It does, however, mirror a similar reference to a plot against the coronation of Queen Victoria in The Threepenny Opera, and, to an extent, the fact that the appearance of Halley’s Comet at Harold’s coronation in 1066 would have been seen as a portent of doom, which its appearance in 1910 is meant to be also, of course, at least in this book.
Halley’s Comet, in the meantime, did appear in 1910, being first visible on the 20th of April, and the earth actually passed through its tail on the 18th of May, causing much media sensation, despite the pleas of astronomers not to do so.
The comet also appeared when
Harold is crowned King of
Page 12. Panel 1. In the upper left of this panel are three sailors. I don’t know who the buck-toothed sailor on the left is. The sailor in the middle is E.C. Segar’s Popeye.
David Simpson corrects me: “he looks more like Popeye’s father Poopdeck Pappy to me; certainly, the 1910 setting makes Pappy the more likely, since Popeye didn’t appear in print until the early thirties.”
I believe the sailor next to Poopdeck Pappy is C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne’s Captain Kettle, who appeared in stories, novels (like A Master of Fortune), and films from 1895 to 1920. Kettle is a short, cigar smoking, red bearded, pugnacious, brutal sailor–a perfect fit for this milieu.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid writes (and Richard East
and Ross Byrne, among many many many
others, also got him) “The buck-toothed
sailor at the extreme left is Jonah, created by
“Surely the gent in the cap with very distinctive facial hair to Popeye's left
would be Vladimir Lenin, a somewhat regular visitor to
Panel 2. Randal Yard (among others, including LJ’s “Full Metal Ox”) notes, “the Macheath song on pages 12 and 23-25 are set perfectly to the tune of "Mack the Knife."”
Panel 3. Denny Lien writes:
If Macheath was in fact the Ripper, and if we are to take his lyrics here at face value, his murders in 1888 took place when he was at most nineteen. But several witnesses saw a man who was probably (though not certainly) the Ripper, and agreed he was clearly older than that:
Still, Abberline did admit there was one problem with Chapman's being the Ripper:
One discrepancy only have I noted, and this is that the people who alleged that they saw Jack the Ripper at one time or another, state that he was a man about thirty-five or forty years of age. They, however, state that they only saw his back, and it is easy to misjudge age from a back view.
This is true, but no witness made the Ripper out to be as young as Chapman was in 1888 (twenty-three years old). The youngest estimates were by PC Smith (28) and Schwartz and Lawende (30).
Of course, (a) the witnesses may have been wrong; (b) the man they saw may not have been the Ripper after all; and/or (c) the world of 1910 is not of course one to one with ours, so maybe in its 1888 the witnesses did not exist, or made different estimates of age. Still, a niggling point. (Of course, "not yet thirty-five" wouldn't rhyme very well.)
Panel 7. “Miller’s Court to
#13, Miller’s Court,
Pádraig Ó Méalóid adds, “In actual fact, these are chronologically reversed, as the Miller’s Court murder of Mary Kelly was the last of the canonical Ripper murders.”
Page 13. Panel 2.
“Thinking about signing on for Challenger’s expedition down
This is a reference to Arthur Conan Doyle’s abrasive explorer Professor Challenger, who appeared in three novels and two short stories (thanks to Denny Lien for the correction here) from 1912 to 1929, beginning with “The Lost World” (The Strand Magazine, Apr. 1912). At the beginning of “The Lost World” Challenger has recently returned from a South American expedition on which he discovered dinosaurs.
Denny Lien corrects me again: “Not exactly. Challenger himself discovered only one pterodactyl, but the evidence of the sketch-book of the "dead American" that he found convinced him dinosaurs existed in the vicinity -- though he and his party do not actually encounter them until about halfway through the novel.”
Panel 3. “Lucky ‘eather to keep the Comet away!”
In English folklore heather has good luck properties.
“It said old Cuff had died.”
“What, the Copper?”
This is a reference to Sergeant Cuff, who appeared in Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone (1868). The Moonstone was one of the two or three most important detective novels of the 19th century, and Cuff was influential on the development of the Great Detective archeype.
In The Moonstone Cuff is described as a “grizzled, elderly man,” so he would have been ancient by the time of Century: 1910.
John Hall adds, “The reference to Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" of course ties in neatly with Page 1, Panel 6.”
Panel 4. “Wotcher, Suki. How’s trade, dear?”
“Brisk. Hardly stood up all night.”
In Threepenny Opera, which
is set in
Panel 5. “Building bigger ships means war’s coming.”
From 1906 to 1914
“Remember the Titan”
The Titan appeared in Morgan Robertson’s Futility (1898), a story about a Titanic-like liner, the Titan, which hits an iceberg and sinks in a strange prediction of the Titanic’s sinking.
“Stuttering ‘alf-wit more like”
King George VI, George V’s son, had a stutter.
Panel 6. “About that 14th Earl of Gurney, his speech in the House of Lords?”
This is a reference to the
film The Ruling Class (1972), written by Peter Barnes and directed by Peter Medak
(thanks to Ian Wildman and Stephen Hyde for the correction here). In
the film Jack Gurney, the 14th Earl of Gurney, is a paranoid
schizophrenic who believes that he is God. At one point in the film Gurney
delivers a speech to the House of Lords in which he suggests bringing back
hangings as a way to return law and order to
Pádraig Ó Méalóid adds,
We see a prostitute being introduced to a well-dressed customer just as the 14th Earl of Gurney is mentioned, perhaps to tell us this is him? The same prostitute reappears in Page 15, Panel 1.
Gurney is interesting for a few reasons: He is taken to bursting into song and dance routines, as of course happens here in Century; and his first name is Jack, leading him to
believe at one point that he might be the Whitechapel murderer. Also, as his speech was about bringing back hanging, this is what we get to see about to happen on page 56.
“It’s them public schools, like Greyfriars”
Greyfriars was the public school created by Charles Hamilton and appearing in hundreds of short stories, novels, and radio and television programs from 1908 to at least 1982. Greyfriars is an English public school whose students include Billy Bunter and the Famous Five.
As seen in Black Dossier,
in the world of League Greyfriars produced some of
The “Cuttlefish Hotel” is one of the locations in which the events of Threepenny Opera take place.
Panel 7. “Rumor about the Chatterlys”
In D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) Lord Clifford Chatterley is paralyzed and impotent, leading his wife, Lady Constance Chatterley, to seek sexual satisfaction with the gamekeeper.
Alex Hughes writes, “Minor point - the events of Lady Chatterley's Lover occurred after the First World War, where Lord Chatterley was injured in the trenches.”
“Near Quong Lee’s tea-shop in Limehouse”
Quong Lee was created by
Thomas Burke and appeared in a number of short stories and three collections of
short stories and poetry from 1916 to 1931, beginning with Limehouse Nights
(1916). Quong Lee is an old, sad, wise Chinese man living in Limehouse, the
Chinese section of
Panel 8. Alex Hughes writes, “The chap in the middle bears a striking resemblance to David Low's Colonel Blimp as referenced in previous books in the series.”
Greg Daly writes, “That looks like Kev O'Neill's old sidekick Pat Mills, writer of Nemesis, Metalzoic, and Marshall Law in the foreground to the right. May be a fluke, but I'm pretty sure it's him. It reminds me of a painting of him in a crowd scene in Simon Bisley's Slaine: The Horned God.”
Panel 9. “It brought down the Barnes Bridge Martian!”
This event can be seen in League v2.
Page 14. Panel 1. This fun-fair exhibition is the cod-Nautilus which can be seen on page 107 of Black Dossier.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid notes the presence of the (undoubtedly mechanical) mermaid in the water.
John Andrews says, “The Nautilus exhibition is very reminiscent of the Nautilus exhibit at Disneyland Paris.”
Eoghan Ahern writes, “Is that Little Lord Fauntleroy running along on top of the cod-Nautilus with a balloon?”
Panel 4. The poster, referring to “Mr. J Stark” and “Lewis,” is similar to the theatrical posters seen on Page 21 of Black Dossier. “Mr. J. Stark” is a reference to Janus Stark, who appeared in the British comics Smash and Valiant (1969–1975). Stark is a Victorian superhero with very rubbery bones, which gives him abilities he uses to fight crime. “Lewis” is a reference to Al Lewis, of Lewis and Clark, a pair of vaudevillian comedians in Neil Simon’s play The Sunshine Boys (1972).
Pádraig Ó Méalóid adds, “Janus Stark also appears in
Page 15. Panels 1 & 2. Pádraig Ó Méalóid adds, “We see the prostitute from Page 13, Panel 6 wiping her mouth and adjusting her clothes, presumably having just finished with her client.”
Panel 4. Pádraig Ó Méalóid notes, “You can just see a rose in a vase at the end of the counter. Roses appear all through this book.” Like the Rose of Nowhere, the Golliwog’s ship.
Panel 7. Pádraig Ó Méalóid notes,
Jenny Diver is a character in
the Beggar’s Opera, but is only
mentioned in a song sung in the Threepenny
Opera, “Mack the Knife,” as one of Mack’s victims. There is another song in
the Threepenny Opera, “Pirate Jenny,”
which has allowed
Josiah Shoup says, “Janni's British alias of Jenny Diver is included in (at least the Bobby Darrin version of) "Mack the Knife," along with the likes of Suki Tawdry, Lottie Lenya, et al.”
Eli Bishop writes,
"Jenny Diver" is a reference both to Threepenny Opera and to English crime history. In Threepenny, Jenny is a prostitute who betrays her former lover Macheath; she's called Low-Dive Jenny in most English versions, but sometimes also Jenny Diver, after a similar character in The Beggar's Opera (on which Threepenny was based). There was a real Jenny Diver, too-- nee Mary Young, born in 1700 and hanged in 1741 for robbery. She was famous by the time she died, but probably wasn't when The Beggar's Opera was written in 1728; not really a remarkable coincidence though, since "diver" was just a nickname for any pickpocket.
In the play, the "Pirate Jenny" song is sung by Polly Peachum and doesn't have anything to do with Low-Dive Jenny. However, some productions reassign it to Jenny just because that seems to make sense.
Panel 8. “Military coup in Ruritania” is a reference to Ruritania, the small Eastern European kingdom which appeared in Anthony Hope Hawkins’ The Prisoner of Zenda (1894) and Rupert of Hentzau (1898).
I’m not sure what the headline below it, of which only “–rinian -ssa” is visible, might be a reference to. Someone from “—trinia” being assassinated? Pádraig Ó Méalóid (Peter Borowiec also caught this) wonders, “A reference to St Trinian’s School, perhaps, from Ronald Searle’s cartoons, later made into a series of films?
Richard East (among others whose names I lost—sorry!) suggests “Trininan’s assault,” which makes sense.
Page 16. Panel 1. The tentacle at the bottom center of the panel is a nice touch.
Panel 2. “The Merlin Society” is
Panel 5. This outfit–evening-wear and domino mask–was standard attire for Gentleman Thieves of the 1900s, 1910s, and 1920s, many of whom were Raffles imitations.
Page 17. Panel 1. Presumably most if not everyone here are figures out of Victorian & Edwardian occult fiction. Several are named in Panels 2 and 3, so I’ll refrain from naming them here. Those which aren’t:
· The Asian figure peering over the shoulder of one of the card-players. Perhaps he is J.U. Giesy’s Semi-Dual, an occult detective who appeared in thirty-two stories in various pulps from 1912 to 1934.
· The dwarf/Little Person using canes. That might be Victor Rousseau’s Ivan Brodsky, an occult detective who appeared in eleven stories in Weird Tales in 1926 & 1927.
“Herms98” says, “I think the small man with two canes in the Merlin Society scene is supposed to be the demon Asmodeus, as depicted in Alain-René Lesage’s novel The Devil on Two Sticks, where he’s depicted as short and using two canes.”
Richard East, Greg Strohecker, and “William_Black” were the
first of many to suggest that it’s Leo Baxendale’s British comic book
Feendish, who as Richard East notes was used by
· The nude male with the horns leaning against the pillar. Pan, possibly, a reference to Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan”?
Pádraig Ó Méalóid and Ross Byrne both pointed to an interview Byrne did with
Moore in which
I remember asking him [Kevin O’Neill], in the occult club scene “Why is there a gigantic, naked, horned devil figure standing around in the backround that nobody’s paying any attention to?” And Kevin had informed me that this was the earliest illustrated incarnation that he could find, of Spring-Heeled Jack, the Victorian pulp figure and urban legend. So apparently in his earliest incarnation he was drawn as this devil figure, who was completely naked but in none of the illustrations did anybody seem perturbed, or even aware that there was this naked devil standing in their midst!
Paul Hostetler noted the resemblance of this Spring-Heeled Jack to the one in the League Board Game.
· The man in formal wear playing the drums.
· The skull-faced figure. Death Itself?
Alberto López Aroca writes, “The skull-faced person may be
the Atlantean Kathulos, from Robert E. Howard´s “Skull-Face” (1929), a story
· The figure on the far right, wearing a fur coat.
Jim Kinley writes, “I think the guy in the fur coat with the
intense eyes is none other than Dr Nikola.
That coat is very like the one in the cover illustration my trade paper
copy of "
Pádraig Ó Méalóid further added:
If you count them, there are thirteen people in the club, leaving aside Mina and her gang. A good occult figure!
One of the characters, probably John Silence, is holding a newspaper. This could be Psychic News, if we brush past the fact that it wasn’t actually published until 1932.
There is also a date on the cover, which says ‘Friday 27th A...’ This would seem to indicate either April or August, but neither of these had a Friday the 27th in 1910,
but there was a Friday 27th of August in 1909, which this could be meant to refer to. Of course, if the calendar falls differently in the world of the League, for instance
if the calendar was never adjusted by eleven days, as they were in The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, then all bets are off, really. It’s likely that this is actually meant
to be April 1910, as we know that Haley’s Comet was visible then, as it is at the time this is set.
The candle just over Silence’s shoulder appears to be simply hanging in midair.
As I was mentioning roses earlier, Zanoni’s smoking jacket has a rose pattern on the collar.
Damian Gordon writes, “I could be totally wrong
on this one, but does the Merlin Society rooms, page 17, panel 1, look like the
Zodiac Club from
Ana Vidazinha usefully sends this:
the newspaper shown has a date:
Friday 27th A-, so it could be either April or August. In 1910 none of them had
a Friday 27th. But in 1909 the 27th of August was a Friday. Considering the
title of the newspaper (Psychi-), there was a relevant event happening that
day: it was the day Sigmund Freud disembarked in
About Sigmund Freud's trip to
Dr. Freud Visits
By Irving Wallace
The following day, the pioneer psychiatric trio boarded the German liner George Washington. Freud, who alone insisted he never got seasick, enjoyed the smooth but foggy voyage. The first 3 days at sea, Freud kept a diary, then abandoned it to write pages of letters to his wife. "During the voyage," reported Jones, "the 3 companions analyzed each other's dreams--the 1st example of group analysis--and Jung told me afterwards that Freud's dreams seemed to be mostly concerned with cares for the future of his family and of his work." A high spot of the crossing was the day Freud learned that his cabin steward was reading one of his books.
The Lloyd liner docked in
The man on the photo could easily be Freud, who in 1909 had a moustache, a short beard and a hairdo similar to that.
Now, I don't know if in fictional works are there any relevant events happening that day, relating to the psychic world, which would fit better in the theme of the club rather then the psychiatric world.
Panel 2. “That’s Dyson and Phillips” is a reference to Arthur Machen’s Dyson and Charles Phillips, who appeared in a number of stories and novels, beginning with “The Inmost Light” (The Great God Pan, 1894). Dyson and Phillips are a pair of Occult Detectives, although they usually explain the occult crimes which have occurred rather than prevent them from occurring.
Presumably Dyson & Phillips are the pair playing cards in Panel 1.
“Dear Old Johnny Silence” is a reference to Algernon Blackwood’s Doctor Silence, who appeared in a number of stories which were collected in John Silence (1908). Doctor Silence was the first significant Occult Detective of occult/detective fiction. Silence uses his psychic abilities to fight various occult evils, including astral werewolves and fire elementals.
I would guess that Silence is the cigar-smoking figure, center-right, in Panel 1.
“Dr. Taverner” is a reference to Dion Fortune’s Dr. Taverner, who appeared in twelve stories and one short story collection from 1922 to 1926, beginning with “Blood-Lust” (The Royal Magazine, May 1922). Dr. Taverner is a Theosophist Occult Detective who uses his ability to tap the “Akashic Records…the subconscious mind of the human race” to help balance individuals’ karmic debts and to fight against the evil “Black Lodge.”
Peter Slack points out that Taverner is levitating in Panel 1.
“Prince Zaleski” is a reference to M.P. Shiel’s Prince Zaleski, who appeared in three stories in Prince Zaleski (1895). Zaleski is a kind of Armchair Detective whose Decadent langour and belief in his own superiority lead him to rarely leave his home. He also solves crimes.
Zaleski, and Dr. Taverner, can be seen in the center of Panel 1.
Panel 4. The painting on the right is of the Golliwog, who appeared in Black Dossier.
Page 18. Panel 3. “I think a former doctor of mine used to come here”
probably a reference to Doctor van Helsing, from the Stephen Sommers film Van
Helsing (2004). Doctor van Helsing is a monster hunter who fights Edward
Hyde and vampires in
Scott Adsit corrects me: “it refers to Richard Benjamin's character in Love At First Bite!”
Panel 5. “Mr. Zanoni, isn’t it?” is a reference to Bulwer-Lytton’s Zanoni (1842). Zanoni is an immortal, nasty Chaldean sorcerer who is the last of the Rosicrucians.
entourage” is a reference to Theophile Gautier’s Fortunio (1837), in
which the gorgeous, aloof, amoral, and deadly 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
“Rite of Smarra” is a reference to Charles Nodier’s “Smarra, ou Les Démons de la Nuit” (English translation: “Smarra, or the Demons of the Night”) (1821). “Smarra” is a concentric series of nightmares within nightmares about, among other things, the demon Smarra. (“Smarra” is a great early horror story and well worth searching out).
Panel 6. Shawn Garrett writes, “the demonic figure/painting/presence looming up behind A.J. is the titular character from Night of the Demon, the film adaptation of "Casting The Runes" directed by Jacques Tourneur.”
Panel 7. “The Sicilian, the Count von Ost” is a reference to Friedrich von Schiller and appeared in “Der Geisterseher”(English translation: “The Ghost-Seer” (1787-1789). “The Ghost-Seer” is about a German prince, the Graf von O, who is threatened by, among others, an occult Sicilian swindler modeled on Cagliostro.
Panel 9. The “magical war” Zanoni is referring to takes place in The Moonchild. Presumably Zanoni was on the side of the white magicians who Haddo and Iff warred on.
Ó Méalóid adds: “There was also a magical war between Aleister Crowley and his
magical rival Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, from about 1904 to Mathers’s
death in 1918, with
Page 19. Panel 1. “Didn’t he die in Staffordshire a couple of years ago?”
In the finale of The Magician, the novel Haddo originally appeared in, Haddo dies in a fire at his Staffordshire estate, which Black Magician dates to 1908.
“Reportedly, Haddo was attempting to make homunculi.”
the traditional occult/magical definition of a homunculus (plural: homunculi)
was a small, artificial man. The Wikipedia entry gives a
number of early examples of it. In
"They started in paraphysical ways; that is, they repudiated natural generation altogether. They made figures of brass, and tried to induce souls to indwell them. In some accounts we read that they succeeded; Friar Bacon was credited with one such Homunculus; so was Albertus Magnus, and, I think, Paracelsus.
"He had, at least, a devil in his long sword 'which taught him all the cunning pranks of past and future mountebanks,' or Samuel Butler, first of that dynasty, has lied.
"But other magicians sought to make this Homunculus in a way closer to nature. In all these cases they had held that environment could be modified at will by the application of telesmata or sympathetic figures. For example, a nine-pointed star would attract the influence which they called Luna -- not meaning the actual moon, but an idea similar to the poets' ideas of her. By surrounding an object with such stars, with similarly-disposed herbs, perfumes, metals, talismans, and so on, and by carefully keeping off all other influences by parallel methods, they hoped to invest the original object so treated with the Lunar qualities, and no others. (I am giving the briefest outline of an immense subject.) Now then they proceeded to try to make the Homunculus on very curious lines.
"Man, said they, is merely a fertilized ovum properly incubated. Heredity is there even at first, of course, but in a feeble degree. Anyhow, they could arrange any desired environment from the beginning, if they could only manage to nourish the embryo in some artificial way -- incubate it, in fact, as is done with chickens to-day. Furthermore, and this is the crucial point, they thought that by performing this  experiment in a specially prepared place, a place protected magically against all incompatible forces, and by invoking into that place some one force which they desired, some tremendously powerful being, angel or archangel -- and they had conjurations which they thought capable of doing this -- that they would be able to cause the incarnation of beings of infinite knowledge and power, who would be able to bring the whole world into Light and Truth.
"I may conclude this little sketch by saying that
the idea has been almost universal in one form or another; the wish has always
been for a Messiah or Superman, and the method some attempt to produce man by
artificial or at least abnormal means. Greek and Roman legend is full of
stories in which this mystery is thinly veiled; they seem mostly to derive from
Asia Minor and
Panel 9. Pádraig Ó Méalóid adds: “Mina is wearing a rose on her coat collar.”
Page 20. Panel 1. As can be seen on page 105 of Black Dossier, the “Kraken” section of the Nautilus II separates from the “Whale Hull.” The Kraken section is what is shown here.
Page 21. Panel 1. Translated dialogue: “Ishmael...”
painting is of the original, 1865 Nautilus (of 20,000 Leagues Under
the Sea) not the more technologically-advanced Nautilus II of 1878
Marc Kandel corrects me: “to my eye its a three dimensional model- there is no painted scenery, it is under glass and casts a shadow.” Tom Proudfoot also noted this.
Panel 2. Translated dialogue: “Paint my ship black. Nail my skull to its forecastle. Give it to my daughter.”
Panel 5. Presumably the painting in the upper right is of Nemo’s wife, not his daughter.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid adds: “There are three portraits at the right-hand side of the picture. As you say, the large one at the top is presumably Nemo’s wife. Of the other two, the young girl is presumably Nemo’s daughter Janni, while the third one appears to be a western woman with a large hat and a scarf around her neck. Could it be that Nemo kept a picture of Mina Murray in his room?”
Page 22. Panel 1. I’m guessing that Kevin O’Neill snuck in a few references here. The only one I can guess is the man at the far left of the panel, who might be Jasper “the Grasper” McGrabb, the rapacious businessman created by Ken Reid and appeared in various British comics from 1965.
Peter Slack writes, “Note the various phallic symbols – fingers, cigars, canes legs, etc.”
Page 23. Panel 1. “There were Cathys...there were Marys...left for constables to find.”
“Cathys” being Catherine Eddowes and “Marys” being Mary Ann Nichols and Mary Jane Kelly, three of the five victims of Jack the Ripper.
Cliff Schexnayder writes, “The intitial panel on Page 23 also echoes the extreme style of German Expressionism with it's emphasis on exaggerated sets and contrasting slashes of shadow and light to give a sense of unease. This panel and the final one on the next page are very reminiscent in look to one of the most influental of all the German Expressionist films, Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”
I would add that this entire sequence seems overtly Expressionist to me, with Panel 7 on this page seeming to be particularly Caligari-esque.
2. “While I sailed for
Ripperologists do believe that there is a link between Jack the Ripper and
The stylish woman is Lulu. Lulu was created by Frank Wedekind and appeared in the plays Earth Spirit (1895) and Pandora’s Box (1904). Lulu is a beautiful German woman who uses sex to rise in German society but is later reduced to prostitution and is eventually killed by Jack the Ripper. Lulu here is modeled on Louise Brooks’ portrayal of Lulu in the 1929 film of Pandora’s Box. The scene in the film in which Lulu meets Jack is similar in composition to this panel.
Cliff Schexnayder points out that German director G.W. Pabst, who did the 1929 film of Pandora’s Box, also did a version of The ThreePenny Opera.
Panel 3. The fact that the man continues to sing while talking with Lulu is a tradition of musical theater: when a character sings to the audience, none of the other characters notice it.
Panel 6. The woman weeping over the photo of Lulu is the Countess Geschwitz, who in Pandora’s Box is in love with Lulu but is rejected by her.
4. Joe Clark writes, “While Lulu has Louise Brook's appearance, her death much
more closely resembles the last scene of Alban Berg's opera masterwork
"Lulu" written from 1929-1935 and finished posthumously. Unlike in Pandora's Box, Lulu is killed offstage
and the music stops for her extremely violent death scream (pg 24, panel 4).
7. Threepenny Opera is loosely
based on John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera (1728). In Beggar’s Opera the
male lead is Macheath, a famous highwayman. In Threepenny Opera Macheath
is now a brutal anti-hero known as “Mack the Knife.” Brecht made the
association between Macheath and Jack the Ripper, but giving Macheath the first
name “Jack” is
“Jack Macheath is back in town” is a reference to the lyrics of Macheath’s song “Mack the Knife,” later made famous by Frank Sinatra & Bobby Darin, which has a similar line.
Bishop writes, “In the play, the "Ballad of Mack the Knife" is sung
by a street singer rather than by Macheath.
It details the wide variety of crimes, from robbery to murder to
child-pimping, that are Macheath's bread and butter - a much grimmer picture
than the jaunty Bobby Darin version (and Moore's depiction of Macheath as a
scruffy thug is truer to the play than the debonair kingpin in many modern
Husamuddin Alromayedh writes, “MacHeath's first name being Jack is not only due to him being the Ripper, but possibly also referring to Jack Sheppard, the 18th century highwayman who was the basis of Captain McHeath in the Begger's Opera.”
Page 25. Panel 1. “The Daily Brute,” mentioned in Black Dossier, is a reference to Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop (1938). In the novel The Daily Beast is a Daily Mail-like sensationlist newspaper.
“Come–“ is a reference to Halley’s Comet, mentioned on Page 11, Panel 3 above.
26. Panel 1. ReuBen DeBord says, “i believe that is
Panel 2. That’s Macheath, shaking down prostitutes.
Panels 4-7. “And the ship, the black raider, with a skull on its masthead, moves in from the sea.”
In Threepenny Opera Polly Peachum sings “Pirate Jenny,” a wistful, gentle song:
You people can watch while I’m scrubbing these floors
And I’m scrubbin’ the floors while you’re gawking
Maybe once ya tip me and it makes ya feel swell
In this crummy southern town
In this crummy old hotel
But you’ll never guess to who you’re talkin’.
No, you couldn’t ever guess to who you’re talkin’.
Then one night there’s a scream in the night
And you’ll wonder who could that have been
And you see me kinda grinnin’ while I’m scrubbin’
And you say, what’s she got to grin?
I’ll tell you.
There’s a ship
The black freighter
With a skull on its masthead
Will be coming in
You gentlemen can say, hey gal, finish them floors!
Get upstairs! What’s wrong with you? Earn your keep here!
You toss me your tips
And look out to the ships
But I’m counting your heads
As I’m making the beds
Cuz there’s nobody gonna sleep here, honey
Then one night there’s a scream in the night
And you say, who’s that kicking up a row?
And ya see me kinda starin’ out the winda’
And you say, what’s she got to stare at now?
I’ll tell ya.
There’s a ship
The black freighter
Turns around in the harbor
Shootin’ guns from her bow
You gentlemen can wipe off that smile off your face
Cause every building in town is a flat one
This whole frickin’ place will be down to the ground
Only this cheap hotel standing up safe and sound
And you yell, why do they spare that one?
That’s what you say.
Why do they spare that one?
All the night through, through the noise and to-do
You wonder who is that person that lives up there?
And you see me stepping out in the morning
Looking nice with a ribbon in my hair
And the ship
The black freighter
Runs a flag up its masthead
And a cheer rings the air
By noontime the dock
Is a-swarmin’ with men
Comin’ out from the ghostly freighter
They move in the shadows
Where no one can see
And they’re chainin’ up people
And they’re bringin’ em to me
Kill them now, or later?
Kill them now, or later?
Noon by the clock
And so still by the dock
You can hear a foghorn miles away
And in that quiet of death
I’ll say, right now.
Then they’ll pile up the bodies
And I’ll say,
That’ll learn ya!
And the ship
The black freighter
Disappears out to sea
I’d recommend reading the rest of Century 1910, then returning here and reading these lyrics again to see how they relate to the events of the story.
Marcus Ewert sent me this Youtube link, of Lotte Lenya singing “Pirate Jenny” from the original 1931 film of Threepenny Opera.
LJ’s “Kotikokura” adds that Suki’s song about Pirate Janni maps to “Pirate Jenny.”
Denny Lien writes that “Pirate Jenny” is more often sung by Jenny, Polly’s rival, than by Polly herself.
Suki’s staring at us while she sings is in line with Bertholt Brecht’s verfremdungseffekt, or “distancing effect,” which in Brechtian theater is a way to prevent the audience from becoming passive spectators of a play. The theory is that emotional identification in a play leads to the audience losing its critical faculties, so the Brechtian verfremdungseffekt involves things like having characters speak directly to the audience, as Suki is doing here.
28. Panel 1. Back at the
• the statue, I think, is of Gulliver.
• I’m not sure what the giant skull is.
• The elephant-headed figure may be a reference to Joseph Merrick (1862-1890), popularly known as “The Elephant Man,” or it may be the stuffed and mounted body of Babar, from the de Brunhoff’s children’s books. Babar was mentioned in League v2n4.
Méalóid demurs: “The elephant could also be Jumbo Elephant from The Bruin Boys, as seen in old
Richard East (and James Moar) says, “Because of events in League v2, I think this is Edward Trunk from Rupert the Bear.”
Kyle Kallgren writes, “I don’t think that’s Babar. From his poise, tusk length, and dress, it might be Babar’s advisor, Cornelius. Here’s an image for reference:
writes, “I don't think the elephant in the
• On the far right of the panel is a face-hugging Alien, from the Alien franchise. Not sure what it is attached to, though.
Gabriel Neeb says, “The 'facehugger' looks to be attached to a Space Jockey, as seen in the first Alien.”
Gary Wilkinson adds, “I thought it was a bit of a visual pun based on the fact that it was on the opposite side of the doorway to the elephant headed Babar figure. In the original Alien film the 'space jocky' pilot/navigator found on the alien ship has an elephant-like head.”
In the coffin is a staked vampire, which might be
Huang Jiehan demurs, “vampire's (?) body with the stake is not Dracula- he "crumbled into dust" at the novel's end.”
• John Trumbull writes, “I'm not positive, but I have a hunch that the bust visible in the lower left of the panel is of Sherlock Holmes. Compare the likeness with Holmes' appearance in LoEG Vol. 1.”
Page 29. Panel 1. I know I’ve seen the globe before, but I’m drawing a blank on it.
Jonathan Miller (as did Pádraig Ó Méalóid and Mark Irons) says, “I think this is "The Steel Globe" that appears on the cover to Volume 2, Issue 3.” That would make it a reference to Robert Cromie's A Plunge into Space (1890), about a scientist who builds a fifty-foot sphere of black metal and travels to Mars with a group of friends.
Panel 3. The jar in the left contains, I would hazard, a Martian. The jar on the right contains, alas, poor Mr. Frog, originally from Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows (1908) but latterly seen in League v2, as one of Moreau’s menagerie. I would love to claim that I called him “Mr. Frog” as a test of my contributors, but I simply screwed up. He’s “Mr. Toad,” not “Mr. Frog,” and many (many) of you pointed out my mistake. The first two were Greg Daly and Jason Adams.
John Andrews and Lawrence Miles suggest that this is Beatrix Potter’s Jeremy Fisher.
Panel 4. The painting is of Moby Dick, the great white whale from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851).
Panel 7. “Still, everyone dies eventually, eh?”
Pádraig Ó Méalóid writes, “Of the five people in the portrait, three are dead, and one more is believed dead by everyone except Mina and himself. This is more or less closure on the old version of Mina’s League.”
Pádraig Ó Méalóid notes, “More roses, this time in Mina’s hat.”
Page 30. Panel 1. “It’s a scrying glass, a black mirror made of obsidian. It’s from the Museum’s collection. It used to belong to Gloriana’s alchemist, John Subtle.”
“Oh, honestly! Subtle was just a
code-name that Queen Glory gave to Duke Prospero of
Dee (1527-1608/9), alchemist and advistor to Queen Elizabeth I, legendarily had
a scrying glass, made of either quartz or obsidian, which he used to gain
visions. (Said scrying glass is, or at least was until recently, on display in
My apologies to whoever pointed this out—I meant to write your name down and didn’t. One reasonable deduction to be made of the “black mirror made of obsidian” is that it comes from the obsidian mentioned in the “Minions of the Moon” section below.
I don’t know what the circular plaques are. Occult pogs of some sort. Among many others, Skemono (and Lance French) wrote to correct me:
I'm certain those are meant to be rune stones, another form of occult divination--same as the Ouija board and the scrying glass. You can find numerous web pages about them, but the basic idea seems to be to have a set of several stones (or other small, flat, roundish objects) that have various Norse runes on them. I believe you put them in a bag and draw randomly, and get some meaning from the symbols you drew. I don't really know much more about it than that, though.
Dave van Domelen adds, “From left to right
they're Thurisaz (thorn sound), Gebo (hard G or ch as in
Pádraig Ó Méalóid adds, “We also see the Pertho or P in front of Carnacki in panel 2.”
Phil Smith adds, “The two in
front of Mina are Thorn (a protective rune) and Nied (symbolizing necessity),
both fitting Mina's prickly exterior; the one in front of
Phil Skaggs adds, “The one at
Mina's wrist that looks like a lopsided cross is "Nauthiz," or
"need." The one at her elbow that kind of looks like a "D"
or a triangle is "Thurisaz," which is "pure action, potency and
insinctual 'will' devoid of self-consciousness." It is turned sideways, as the rune kind of
looks like a triangular "P" when right-side up. The one in front of
I’m not sure who the black cat under glass might be–Poe’s Black Cat is an obvious guess.
Jonathan Carter (and Ian Gould and Lance French) notes, “That might be Captain Hook's hook.” Ian Gould adds that it “repeats the question mark motif.”
Panel 2. Of the rune in front of Carnacki, Phil Smith writes, “Carnacki's rune is Peorth. Symbolises a dice cup, among many other things. The disclosure of things hidden or unrevealed -- again, quite apt given how Carnacki gets his insights.”
Phil Skaggs writes, “the one in front of Carnacki is "Perthro." Thorrsson says, "This is the most guarded of all the runes. It is the cultural symbol of the secret of /ørlög/--the mystery of the wyrd. This is the power of the Nornir and one that compliments the force of consciousness present in the Æsir. [...] (This is the great Òdhinic accomplishment at /Ragnarök/)" (Thorsson, 125)”
Panel 3. Anthony Padilla writes, “Just had to note how I loved the Ditko-esque effect of the eye reflected in the glass. Ditko's influence on O'Neill is so strong throughout the League series...”
5. “King’s Cross” is major railway
Greg Daly adds, “There's a
curious passage in Howard's End,
which Forster wrote in the significant year of 1910, in which Margaret Schlegel
muses on what London's stations mean to her. Most suggest a clear destination -
To Margaret--I hope that it will not set the reader against her--the station of King's Cross had always suggested Infinity. Its very situation--withdrawn a little behind the facile splendours of St. Pancras--implied a comment on the materialism of life. Those two great arches, colourless, indifferent, shouldering between them an unlovely clock, were fit portals for some eternal adventure, whose issue might be prosperous, but would certainly not be expressed in the ordinary language of prosperity.
Ouija boards were introduced in the early 1890s, but most Ouija boards have the star to the right of the crescent moon, not to the left, as this one does. (There’s a very interesting gallery of Ouija boards. Gads, I love the Web).
Page 34. Panel 1. Yannick Berens writes, “Above the doorway, Lady Justitia can be seen making a “don’t tell” sign with her finger. A nice way to depict secret services.”
Chris Murphy writes,
Care to wager a guess as to why the Masonic square and compasses on the outside of League HQ are arranged to represent only the 2nd, and not 3rd, degree of Masonry? The Entered Apprentice (1st degree) has the square wholly atop the compasses; the Fellowcraft (2nd degree) has the compasses partially revealed, as we see on page 33; the Master Mason (3rd degree) has the compasses atop the square.
Why, do you reckon, M and the lot have only been passed to the 2nd degree? The Fellowcraft degree is usually seen as a transitional degree, as well as the degree of greater learning; but neither of those explanations seem to jive with the purpose of the League (at least the hierarchy of the League, which seems to operate, like most seats of power, as a way of attaining and maintaining sway and control-- is it knowledge as tool of control?). It could be that you’ve explored and explained the reason for this in prior annotations for of the L.O.E.G., and if so, if you could just direct me to the right spot, I’ll be sure to re-read. As an aside, it’s also easy to imagine all sorts of significance attached to the fact that the first appearance of the square and compasses is on the 33rd page.
Panel 2. Campion Bond would seem to have come down in the world.
Panel 5. “Robin Yaldwyn” is a ne’er-do-well painter in the book Wistons (1902), written by “Miles Amber.” “Miles Amber” was the pseudonym of Ellen Cobden Sickert, wife of the painter Walter Sickert, and Wistons is a roman-à-clef about how bad Walter Sickert, who Robin Yaldwyn is an analogue of, treated his wife.
Sickert, of course, was a part of the Jack the Ripper
Panels 5-6. “Bloody Hell.”
Mycroft’s lower-case, smaller-font “Well,
quite,” makes me think that this exchange may be
Panel 6. “A police inspector, ‘Tiger’ Brown, is currently looking into it.”
Opera Jackie “Tiger” Brown is the Chief of Police in
The photograph on the left is of the peaked cap man who was seen at the scene of Elizabeth Stride’s murder. The photograph on the right is of Elizabeth Stride, the Ripper’s third victim.
7. I don’t know what the straight
razors dated to 1802 are a reference to. As with “Mr. Frog” above, I’d love to claim that my mistake
here was a test of you all, but I just messed up. Lots and lots (and lots) of you corrected me—the first
three were Chris Sims, Greg Daly, and Lance French. The straight razors are
a reference to the
35. Panel 1. I’m unaware of a “Lewis Seymour” who had anything to
do with the Jack the Ripper murders, but “Lewis Seymour” is the protagonist of
George Moore’s A Modern Lover (1883). In the novel
4. “Andrew Norton, the Prisoner of
London” 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
Adam Bezecny notes, “I was confused by the fact that in League Volume III, Norton, the Prisoner of London, has the first name of Andrew, when in Slow Chocolate Autopsy, he's only called "Norton"; he's supposed to be the same Andrew Norton from Iain Sinclair's Dining on Stones (2004).”
Panel 5. “Incidentally, how was my brother when you visited him last?”
As seen in Black Dossier, in 1904 (and judging from Mycroft’s words, more recently than that) Mina visited Sherlock Holmes, who in 1910 has retired to Sussex Downs to raise bees.
John Dorrian writes, “Note how disturbed Mina obviously is by the apparent respect/regard Mycroft displays towards the bust of Professor Moriarty.”
Panel 6. Eduardo Blake writes, “I think Mycroft saying that "It always a pleasure, even when I know you are lying", combined with the pause in addressing Quatermain as Junior, hints that Mycroft Homes knows that Junior is really Quatermain Senior.” “Herms98” also noted this.
Page 38. Panel 2. The figure on the left, Norton, has a not-coincidental visual similarity to Iain Sinclair.
Adam Bezecny adds, “the picture of Norton on Page 38, Panel 1, is similar to a picture of Norton on page 91 of Slow Chocolate Autopsy, one of the parts more similar to a graphic novel. He is facing away from the reader in the same casual pose, surveying.”
Colin McKeown writes, “Also worth noting that his dialogue is written in the Sinclair style. Sinclair's prose is noted for these clipped and pithy remarks.”
Stephen Lavington writes, “a lot of the cryptic references in Norton's speech spring directly from the cooption of Iain Sinclair's writing style as well as appearance. This would make sense, as Sinclair's non-fiction is a dense collage of passing references and wordplay which attempts to capture the tangential/subliminal links of his psychogeography. This is aptly fitted to the speaking-style of a man perpetually flitting through history. Sadly this does not explain the answers to the "crossword clues" dialogue.”
Paul Hostetler contributed this quote from Alan Moore about Norton:
Well, Norton was one of
Iain’s alter egos. I think he has a limp that Iain had at the time when he was
writing at the time, which he’s since got rid of and sorted out. Iain had, I
consider, made himself fair game by making his semiautobiographical Norton
character and making him this time-traveling prisoner of
striking figure in the middle is Boudica
(?-60/1 C.E.). Boudica was a Queen of the Iceni tribe of
In stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh; a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips; around her neck was a large golden necklace; and she wore a tunic of divers colours over which a thick mantle was fastened with a brooch.
(Not that it should surprise anyone that Kevin O’Neill gets things like this right, of course)
Alex Hughes points out (as I should have)
that Boudica was “responsible for attacking the Roman settlement of Londinium
Ian Gould adds, “Boudica’s revolt was provoked by the rape of her daughters – which ties into Jenna’s story.”
Panel 4. Joe Clark writes, “Could this be
Robin Hood, with Little John, Maid
I think Ana Vidazinha has it right:
I believe the left figure is King Alfred.
BATTLE BRIDGE, St Pancras - is at the north end of Gray's inn lane nearly a mile from Holborn and west end of Pentonville nearly three quarters of a mile from the Angel Islington. It is now called King's Cross after a new edifice so called which is now erecting at the intersection of the roads. It is said to have received its former name as having been the site of a sanguinary battle between Alfred and the Danes. (in A topographical dictionary of London and its environs By James Elmes)
Here's a photo of a statue of King Alfred:
Page 39. Panel 1. Ian Gould (Peter Borowiec also caught this) adds, “the character on the far right is William Shakespeare. The corpulent chap with the pie might be Jack Horner. From the Wikipedia entry:
In the nineteenth century the story began
to gain currency that the rhyme is actually about Thomas Horner, who steward to
Richard Whiting, the last abbot of
A number of people pointed out that Horner has Billy Bunter’s pants and conjectured that Horner is Bunter’s ancestor. Blair Breeding writes, “The fat man holding the pie, is Georgie Porgie from the rhyme and the old lady appears to be Judy (from Punch and Judy),”
Lance French adds that this scene takes place at the Globe Theatre, hence the presence of Shakespeare.
Jeff Newberry writes, “The fellow on the right of the frame has got to be William Shakespeare. My feeling is that Shakespeare’s taking in this scene of slapstick and that it will find its way into one of his comedies, though I can’t reference the play to seal the deal.”
Greg Daly writes, “I had initially assumed Shakespeare himself, but I can't help but think of how we were told in Black Dossier that Greyfriars had been a nursery for spies since 1500 or so. Could it be Jack Wilton, the League's version of Sir Francis Walsingham?”
Denny Lien writes, “Presumably that's Shakespeare at the right, watching his fellow Londoners to get inspiration for plays (a fat thief and glutton = Falstaff, a cheerful gravedigger (?) =gravedigger in HAMLET ??)”
Blair Breeding writes, “Before Norton appears before Mina and Raffles we see him witnessing a Fat boy running with a pie and then in the next panel of Norton we see him in what looks like the aftermath of a great destruction. This could be a reference to the 'gluttony' which caused the great fire: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Boy_of_Pye_Corner and
Panel 2. The “George M. Plummer” mentioned on the wanted poster is a reference to George Marsden Plummer, Scotland Yard inspector gone wrong and one of Sexton Blake’s arch-enemies.
Panel 3. Colin McKeown writes, “Man with masked face could be George Turnbull.”
John Andrews (Peter Dyde also caught this) says, “King's Cross was built on the site of a small pox and fever hospital, which may explain why the character in the middle is covering up his face.”
Tom Proudfoot disagrees: “The rosy glow
makes me think this maybe after the Great Fire of
Panel 4. “...since Allan and I were in Arkham.”
This event was described in Black Dossier.
“Great Nort–“ is a reference to the Great Northern Railway, a major British
railway company whose
Page 40. Panel 2. “Gaslight understudies.”
I confess to being a little mystified by this. I can see Raffles being described as an understudy to Arsene Lupin–Lupin was, after all, the better Gentleman Thief, as a character, as a thief, and in story terms. (Maurice Leblanc, Lupin’s creator, was a better writer than E.W. Hornung, Raffles’ creator). But who would Mina be an understudy to? Van Helsing? Or perhaps to late 20th century popculture characters like Buffy? Although on later reflection...perhaps 1910 Mina et al are understudies to the later version of the League, the Century: 2009 version, rather than understudies to the earlier Victorian version. Maybe Norton sees the 2009 version of the League as the ultimate one?
Ian Gould says, “’Gaslight understudies’ may mean that Carnacki et al are “understudies” to the better known and more flamboyant 1890’s LOEG with Hyde, Griffith and Nemo. Or it might in some way be a reference to the play and movie Gaslight (known as Angel Street in the US) which is set in London and involves a man attempting to drive his wife insane as part of a scheme to cover up a murder.”
Dave van Domelen says, “He may be comparing the 1910 iteration of the League unfavorably to the one seen in vol 1. Panel 3: He may be referring to the dead trail of the massacre later in this issue, which was not related to the Moonchild dreams.”
Robert Dempsey says, “I read it as an implicit criticism of the relative inferiority of the 1910 League to the 1898 version. There is arguably less literary “firepower” present in this league, a trend which continues into the ‘50s, and which I guess could be read as a commentary as a decline in the power of the British Empire as embodied in the power of its literature.”
Josiah Shoup says,
Whereas I do like the idea of Alan Moore giving props to Arsene Lupin, I don't think that the High Priest of Glycon thinks as highly of the character as I do; I can't remember if it's in The Black Dossier or the Almanac in volume two, but at one point Moore refers to Fantomas as Lupin's "superior in crime," which is a comparison I disagree with; Fantomas's crimes are only "superior" to Lupin's if you give bonus points for a high body-count, and Lupin has crossed swords with Sherlock Holmes, which has to count for something!
And speaking of the Detective, I think that Norton is calling Raffles an understudy of Sherlock Holmes. The Raffles stories came out in the wake of Holmes's popularity, and they were written by Conan Doyle's brother-in-law. Also, E.W. Hornung makes use of a Watson-esque, first-person narrator. Hornung also uses the Conan Doyle trick of writing post-mortem stories about A.J. Raffles by setting them at a time before the character died, which is just like Doyle making The Hound of the Baskervilles a prequel to "The Final Problem."
I think it's more than fair to call Raffles an understudy of Holmes in light of all that.
As for Mina Murray, I think Norton meant that she was a "gaslight understudy" of Count Dracula. You could look at her time spent with the Count as an eduction of sorts, and she was brought into the League back in volume one primarily because M. was intrigued by her prior association with the Romanian monster. I think that the lady has proved herself quite a bit since then, but I still think it's fair to call her an understudy of the Count.
Stu Shiffman says,
I wonder if
And then there was Farmer
with his wonderful pastiche "The Problem of the
Bill Thomson writes, “"Gaslight"
is possibly a reference to the play of that name by Patrick Hamilton (an author
much admired by Iain Sinclair).
Panel 3. “Coffins at Carfax.”
This is a reference to the events of Dracula.
Tom Wright adds, “In the
non-fiction book London Orbital, Iain
Sinclair repeatedly talks about both the coffins at Carfax and the Martian
“Blood for oil.”
for oil” was the charge leveled at the American government for its involvement
in both wars with
Peter Borowiec (John Pickman also noticed this) has it, I think: “I assume that "blood for oil" refers to the war in Qumar that will appear in part three.”
Bill Thomson writes,
“"Blood for Oil", a chapter on Sinclair's London Orbital is entitled “Blood & Oil” and elucidates futher
the links between Dracula and
Chapman takes it further: “'Blood for oil' is a reference to the relevant
section of Sinclair's'
“Patrick Keiller mapping the Martians’ crater.”
Patrick Keiller is a
British filmmaker and author best known for his film Robinson in Space
(1997), in which the unseen Robinson tours
Chapman writes, of Sinclair’s London
Orbital: 'In his 1997 film, Robinson
in Space, Patrick Keiller's narrator takes Robinson on an outing to inspect
the Martian's crater, at Horsell Common, near
“Dead trails. Abandoned panics.”
I have no idea.
Brian Beriman writes, “This is the end of book one where they have reached a dead end and have given up on Carnacki's visions--they have abandoned their panic to find the truth.”
5. “July Seventh.
Seventh” and “
Gary Wilkinson (also noted by Lee Horner)
writes, “I though it might have referred to Jeffrey Archer - who was infamously
photographed paying off a prostitute, Monica Coghlan. I had thought it was at
Kings Cross but google tells me it was
Joe McNally adds,
Many of Norton's gnomic utterances - Keiller, Litvinov, Archer, King's Cross - refer, however obliquely, to Iain Sinclair's own literary obsessions and his collection of non-fiction essays "Lights Out For The Territories" in particular. It may or may not be coincidence that Alan Moore's "From Hell" is quoted and discussed extensively throughout the collection.
The "constellation of cigarette burns on Archer's back" is probably to do with disgraced British peer and popular novelist Jeffrey Archer; Kings Cross has historically been a centre of prostitution, and Archer's reputation finally fell following the revelation that he had lied under oath about having visited prostitutes during the course of a libel prosecution against a British newspaper. Part of the evidence at that original trial dealt with a supposed pattern of 'marks' on Archer's back; he was invited to remove his shirt in court, but demurred. Sinclair tried - and failed - to meet with Archer during the writing of "Lights Out..."
Bill Thomson adds, “"the constellation of cigarette burns on Archer's back" undoubtedly refers to the British politician Jeffrey Archer who in the late 1980s sued for libel a newspaper which had alleged he had availed himself of the services of a prostitute named Monica Coughlin. During her evidence on behalf of the paper, Coughlin mentioned the existence of distinctive markings on Archer's back. Thanks to an infamously partial summing up by the trial judge, the case was settled in favour of Archer. Some years later, Archer was convicted of perjury and jailed. Monica Coughlin was killed in a hit and run "accident". Read into this what you will....”
Darren Maughan adds a clue: “The stars -
could be a reference to the newspaper The
Daily Star which alleged (later proved correct when Archer was convicted of
perjury) of sleeping with a prostitute. Archer sued the Star and won a record
Tim Chapman adds that “Sinclair describes his meeting with him at Archer's penthouse flat (which was previously owned by John Barry and features in the classic Vincent Price film 'Theatre of Blood') in Lights out.”
Panel 6. “Misplaced memorials.”
one of my British readers can fill me in on what
Greg Daly writes, “I can think of at least one misplaced memorial at King's Cross, which is the sign for Harry Potter's platform 9 and three quarters. Obviously, this should be between platforms nine and ten, but in the station it's between platform eight and nine. This is because JK Rowling was clearly unfamiliar with King's X when she wrote the books, as 9, 10, and 11 are a separate section from the rest of the station. The 9 and three quarters sign is up on a wall. There's a useful explanation and picture at the Wikipedia entry.”
Gary Wilkinson writes, “There's a memorial to those who died in the fire. It was moved during the recent redevelopement of the station.”
Joe McNally adds,
Another chapter in Lights Out deals with Kings Cross. The"misplaced memorials" reference might be connected to the long-gone monument which gave the area its name - from the Wikipedia entry on Kings Cross:
In 1830 a monument to King
George IV was built at the junction of Gray's
James Burt writes, “In the Iain Sinclair
edited collection City of
Robin Layfield contributes the exact quote, from page 578:
The man explains: the
memorial to the King's Cross disaster has been removed, put into store.
Refurbishment. If we search hard enough we'll find an information poster: a
memorial to the memorial. The fire, beneath the Piccadilly Line, on 18 November
1987, killed thirty-one people. The plaque has been taken to
Peter Slack writes, “It certainly describes the themes of much of Sinclair’s writing (and
that of AM in Voice of the Fire and
I’m assuming this is a reference to the King’s Cross fire on 18 November 1987, which killed 31 people in the King’s Cross St. Pancras station. I’m not particularly sure why this counts as “forgotten”–even I, American that I am, knew about it. (Is the King’s Cross fire memorial plaque in the station misplaced somehow?)
Richard East writes, “I think
one forgotten fire may be the one Boudica caused during her sacking of
Brown writes, “You're right: the memorial to the victims of the Kings Cross
fire was removed from the station to the
“Rimbaud, Verlaine, lyric grease.”
(1854-1891) and Paul
Verlaine (1844-1896) were two of the major French poets of the fin de
siècle. Rimbaud & Verlaine lived for several months in 1872 and 1873 at
Of “lyric grease,” which I admit to having failed to puzzle out, Blair Breeding suggests “Also 'LYRIC GREASE' may refer to the Lyric Theatre and grease paint worn by the actors.”
“Boadicea’s urban legend under platform ten.”
(a.k.a. Boudica) is, according to urban legend, buried under platform ten of
King’s Cross railway station. It was formerly believed that Boudica’s final
battle was fought at the
“A quarter platform over, the franchise express, gathering steam.”
In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, the students embark for Hogwarts School of Wizardry at Platform 9 3/4 in King’s Cross.
Rev. Terry Fleming writes that “I believe the reason JK Rowling put Harry Potter's mystical portal at platform 9 and 3/4 was because of the legend that Boadecia was buried there.”
41. Panel 1. “Magic revivals,
This is a reference to the events of Century: 1969. But—David Jones writes,
The magical revival referred to on page 41 panel 1 is something that supposedly happened in the late 50's / 60's/early 70's and is now thought of as centered around Kenneth Grant (who wrote a book called The Magical Revival in 1972) - He's someone that Moore's has read and *borrowed* from and a direct (magical) heir to the great beast himself.
Grant hung out with The Beast
for the last few years of Crowley's life and according to who you believe,
eventually became the head of the
“David Litvinov’s ventriloquism”
Litvinoff was a prominent personality in the late-1960s
Joe McNally clears this up:
"Litvinov" [sic] is almost certainly David Litvinoff. Litvinoff was a brother of writer and human rights campaigner Emanuel Litvinoff, and moved widely in criminal circles - he is said to have administered a severe beating to the individual suspected of providing the information which led to the Rolling Stones' Redlands drug raid, and was an associate of the Kray Twins. He provided much of the gangsters' dialogue in Performance, hence presumably the mention of 'ventriloquism'. He is discussed at length in Sinclair's essay 'Who Cares For The Caretaker?' which appears in Rodinsky's Room, co-written with Rachel Lichtenstein.
Tim Chapman adds, “David Litvinoff also features in several of Sinclair's books (as does his half-brother Emmanuel - Journey Through a Small Planet etc), particularly with regards to his script advice on Performance: “Litvinoff was too busy living to write. He made tapes instead. His life was a book, the forerunner for an age of ghosted gangland memoirs.” (Lights out p 312).”
John Smith adds, “Ventriloquism may be a reference to Ronnie Kray's punishment to Litvinoff by near decapitating him across the mouth, similar to a ventriloquist dummy's mouth?”
“Wanderer” sends a link to a column by the splendid David Thomson about Litvinoff and Performance:
David Litvinoff, the most brilliant nutter anyone had ever met. He would talk a blue streak about the most amazing stuff, always jumping from this to that. When Performance came out, there were critics who said, "Aha! Note the leaping editorial style, the self-interruption, the cross-streaming of consciousness" - and before I'd sniffed the film, I said, "That is your David Litvinoff." Well, David was the whole film: he knew all your books and authors, but he knew the Krays, too - Reggie and Ronnie - very naughty boys who'd cut you up with a sword. And so David was the catalyst - he just brought the whole thing together. And that's why David gets a credit on the picture as dialogue coach and technical adviser. And well deserved.
“Jack the Hat”
Jack McVitie, a.k.a. “Jack
the Hat,” was a notorious
Kyle Kallgren writes, “I think it’s worth mentioning that Norton witnessed the murder of Jack the Hat during the events of Slow Chocolate Autopsy.”
2. I’m going to guess that this
scene, of 1969
I’m sure that a number of these characters are references. 1960s British popculture not being my forte, I’m clueless on almost all of them, with the exception of Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp.
This panel attracted more e-mail than everything else in Century 1910 put together, thanks to me not having a clue about who the characters were. As is my usual practice, I’m crediting only the first three people to point something out.
Gentleman on the far left: Ian Gould, Matt Yeo, and Richard East were the first to point out that this is British comedian Marty Feldman (1934-1982). Feldman will be most familiar to American audiences because of his role in the film Young Frankenstein (1974), but he had a very successful career in British tv comedy. Here he’s in his It’s Marty (1969) persona.
Black-haired woman: Ian Crichton identifies her as 1960s supermodel Jean Shrimpton (1942-present). Shrimpton was a fashion icon of the 1960s—go to the link to learn more about her—but she also starred in the Peter Watkins-directed film Privilege (1967), which per its Wikipedia page is “is set in the near future of the 1970s and concerns a disillusioned pop singer…who is manipulated by the church and state which seek to turn him into a messianic leader.” More on the film from Peter Watkins here) No doubt the link to Privilege is purely speculative, but it nonetheless has some interesting similarities to a major plot in Century: 1969. (Shrimpton does not appear in the Century: 1969 version of this panel).
Waving woman: Ian Crichton
suggests that she might be British actress Felicity Kendall
Allan Lloyd suggests that she’s Rita Garnett, the daughter of Alf Garnett, from Til Death Us Do Part etc. Garnett is the bald scowling man in this panel, so that’s a reasonable conclusion, but the Century: 1969 version of this panel makes clear that the waving woman has nothing to do with Garnett.
LJ’s “Conojito” and Alasdair Montgomery both suggest that she’s British film actress Rita Tushingham (1942-present). Certainly possible, although none of her 1969 roles would map well to Century.
John Andrews suggests that she’s British actress Aimi MacDonald (1942-present), who acted with Marty Feldman in At Last the 1948 Show.
Chapman suggests that it’s Julie Christie as Liz in the film Billy Liar (1963), “who would have
However, I don’t think any of those are correct. As the Century: 1969 version of this panel makes clear, she’s waving to the black man in the floral shirt—they are together. I think they are a reference to a tv show or movie from the 1960s with a young white woman and a young black man. John Trumbull suggested that they were Julie and Linc, from the American tv crime series The Mod Squad (1968-1973), but the black man here lacks Linc’s trademark Afro and the woman has hair cut much too short for Julie. So what other pairing could it be? Anyone? Greg Daly suggests that it's "Suzy Kendall and Sindey Poitier's characters from To Sir With Love. That was set in London in 1967, so I can see them as a couple two years later. Granted, the black gentleman's shirt is a bit extravagant, but I can see Poitier's character having relaxed a bit after two years. The girl wears an odd little bell as a ring on her finger, which could be a clue to her identity."
The short, bald, scowling, mustached man: Ian Gould, “Loki Valhalla,” and Gary Wilkinson were the
first three to point out that it’s Warren Mitchell portraying Alf Garnett, from various
British sitcoms (1965-1998) but here a part of his first, Till Death Us Do Part
(1965-1968, 1970, 1972-1975). Garnett is a racist as well as a rabid
reactionary homophobe and anti-Semite, which explains why he’s scowling at the
black man. Till Death Us Do Part was
remade in the
The black man in the floral shirt: Allan Lloyd, Matt Yeo, and Anthony Johnson all identified him as Winston, a.k.a. “Marigold,” Alf Garnett’s home help in In Sickness and in Health. However, the Century: 1969 version of the panel makes it clear that the black man and the blonde, waving woman are a couple and have nothing to do with Alf Garnett.
John Trumbull suggested this was Linc, from The Mod Squad, but he lacks Linc’s Afro, and I believe Moore/O’Neill are making a reference to British rather than American popular culture.
Chris Lane suggests that this is Bill Reynolds, from the British tv sitcom Love Thy Neighbour (1972-1976). I think this is dubious, though, not least because Love Thy Neighbour is the wrong time for Century: 1969, and because Bill Reynolds’ wife in the show was West Indian, like him, rather than a blonde white woman.
The cigarette-smoking man:
Allan Lloyd suggests this is Mike Rawlins, Alf Garnett’s son-in-law on Till Death Us Do Part.
The mustached-man in the bowler: A number of people suggested that this is John Cleese in the role of a member of the Ministry of Silly Walks, from the Monty Python sketch “The Ministry of Silly Walks,” but this figure is clearly too short for Cleese (who is 6’5”), and this figure has a mustache, which Cleese did not in 1969.
John Trumbull suggests that this is Dupont/Thomson, one of a pair of private detectives in Hergé’s Tintin series of comics, “but the fact that he’s appearing by himself, instead of in tandem with his partner, makes me a bit doubtful.”
The mustached figure with the large white ruff or collar: several people suggested that this is John Cleese in one of his Pepperpot roles from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but again Cleese didn’t have a mustache in 1969.
Ian Wildman suggested that it was “Harry "Snapper" Organs (Terry Jones) from the "Ethel the Frog" episode of "Monty Python's Flying Circus"; in that skit, Organs dressed up as theatrical characters (including some Shakespearean ones) in order to track down the Kray-esque Piranha Brothers.”
I think Mark Irons, Steve
Whyte, and Mark Wiechula are correct when they say it is American musician Frank Zappa (1940-1993). In
1969 Zappa was with the Mothers of Invention (he disbanded the band late in the
year), and the Mothers’ 1968 album, “We’re Only In It For the Money,” had this
cover, in which Zappa wears an outfit similar to the one seen here. Steve
Whyte adds that Zappa “was reported to have worn the same outfit when he toured
The bearded man below Frank Zappa: Allan Lloyd says that suggests that this is British cartoonist and satirist Willie Rushton, “supported by the pen he is carrying.”
Peter Slack suggests that this is a young Alan Moore.
The two figures in checked caps: even I caught that the adult is Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp. I missed the second cap, though Jason Adams and Ola Hellsten did not. The second figure is Andy Capp’s son Buster, from the British comic Buster (which as mentioned above was the comic on which Kevin O’Neill worked in 1969).
The tall blond man: Tim Chapman suggests that this is Willie Garvin, from the British adventure comic strip Modesty Blaise.
Eke suggests that this is the Saint, as portrayed by Roger Moore in the British tv series
version. Paul provides a link to a
picture of Moore wearing the same jumper seen here. (
Far and away the most popular choice—and Ian Gould, Gary Wilkinson, and Richard East were the first to suggest this—was Steve Dowling and Gordon Boshell’s time-traveling comic strip hero Garth, who appeared in Daily Mirror (1943-1997).
Keith Scott makes an interesting alternative suggestion, however, that this is British comic book hero Kelly, of “Kelly’s Eye.”
The short woman wearing the hat: some interesting suggestions for her were Mildred Roper, from the British tv sitcom George and Mildred (1976-1979), and Annie Walker, from the British soap opera Coronation Street (1960-present).
However, as Century: 1969 makes clear, this is Andy Capp’s long-suffering wife Flo.
The man in the black suit with the scar on his cheek: Stu Shiffman suggests that it’s James Bond.
Steven Whyte suggestst that it’s Jimmy Cooper from Quadrophenia.
Martin Crookall thinks that it’s Toby Meres, from Callan. Meres was mentioned on Page 17, Panel 2 of Black Dossier.
Mike Larson thinks that it’s Billy Liar, from the film.
Pete James thinks it’s a young Jimmy Page, later of Led Zeppelin.
Tom Wright adds, “The red-and-white sign on the wall is the symbol for British Rail, an unsuccessful attempt at rebranding the nationalised railway system in the 1960s.” Andrew Newstead also caught this.
Panel 4. Danny Sichel writes, “The description of Andrew Norton's oracular babble as "crossword clues" is unfortunate, since the crossword puzzle was only invented in 1913 (by Arthur Wynne).”
Page 42. Panel 3. In case it’s unclear: that is Jack Macheath being arrested. The man on the left is Tiger Brown, mentioned above on Page 33, Panel 6.
Page 45. Panel 1. “...I was once very close to Sinbad.”
As was seen in Black Dossier.
Panel 2. Marcus Ewert says, “I'm guessing the poster or wall hanging in panel two of that same page is a medieval drawing of a mandrake root person a la this picture. Mandragora was frequently bound up with all things homuncular... also: that Shakespeare quote about getting with child by mandrake root...”
Panel 3. If the statue is of anything in particular, I’m unaware of it.
Matt Yeo (Greg Strohecker and Peter Borowiec also thought this) says, “I'm pretty sure the statue is a larger version of the Fertility Idol from Raiders of the Lost Ark:
Marcus Ewert (Michael Van Vleet and Tim Freistadt also got this) clears this up for us:
it's Aztec childbirth goddess, and as ferocious as most of that pantheon definitely not a sweetness and warm-maternal-light childbirth goddess (childbirth was often considered 'war for women' - just let men had literal wars to fight in)
The statues in panel two are of another divine mother/child set: Isis (notably a MOON goddess) and her divine son Horus
clearly-Haddo & Crew are creating a magically sympathetic atmosphere for their upcoming mooncalving...
Rogelio Gómez says, “it’s a representation of Mayan Goddess: Tlazoltéotl and here's the picture of the original statue that shows in the book:”
Page 46. Panel 1. Jason Adams notes, “That may be a representation of Pazuzu, winged demon lord of Assyro-Babylonian mythology, seen through the doorway.”
Panel 3. Perhaps someone can explain the symbols on Sister Cybele’s arm?
Dave van Domelen writes, “The triangles on her hand are the combination of alchemical triangles for water and fire, IIRC. Haddo is clearly the Greatest American Hero.”
The snake in profile on Cybele's arm is reminiscent of the symbols for the predynastic Egyptian goddess Wadjet, whose name was always written as a rearing cobra. Like many deities of that pantheon her provenance changed over time: her most famous contribution to egyptology was the familiar Wadjet or Wedjat Eye, which has from time to time been called the Eye of the Moon.
The closest thing I can find
to the second mark is the astrological sign for
The third symbol down appears to be a cartouche, or the enclosure one gives the name of an old Egyptian royal; this one is empty of name. According to 'Religion of the Ancient Egyptians' by Wiedemann, there were periods when the amulets with cartouches on them bore no names, since possessing an amulet with a true name on it could grant the possessor power over the subject.
The fourth, on the back of Cybele's hand is a version of the six-pointed hexagram viewed in occultism as a symbol of divinity. Crowley had a personal, unicursal version of the symbol, but it is not pictured here.
All the tattoos Soror Cybele
is shown to have are on either her chest or her left hand. The term Left-Hand
Path comes up several times in
Phil Skaggs usefully contributes the following:
At the top is what I believe to be a serpent related to the Egyptian god Setankh (or Set). Egyptian imagery was very popular with occultists at the time.
On her hand is a simple
hexagram. This version was used by the
Golden Dawn, for the most part, as it represented the combination of the
alchemical elements of Earth (the down-pointing triangle) and Air (the
upward-pointing one). I'm actually
surprised that O'Niell didn't have her instead marked with the Unicursal
Hexagram, which was used extensively by
The other two symbols are Goetic sigils. Crowley worked with MacGregor Mathers on The Goetia, also known as the Lesser Key of Solomon during his tenure with the Golden Dawn, as well as the work of Abramelin. The collaboration on both went sour, and the two had a bad split that ended in legal action. Each one accused the other of publishing the Abramelin and the /Goetia/ works without the consent of the other. From what I can tell, they seem simplified for O'Neill's sake (there's a lot of dots and crosses and wheedley-deets on Goetic symbols), and I believe them to be symbols of Gaap.
"[...] His office is to make men insensible and ignorant; as also in Philosophy to make them knowing, and in all the Liberal Sciences. He can cause love or hatred, also he can teach thee to consecrate those things that belong to the Dominion of Amaymon, his King. He can deliver Familiars out of the custody of other magicians, and answereth truly and perfectly of things Past, Present and To Come. He can carry and re-carry men very speedily from one Kingdom to another, at the Will and Pleasure of the Exorcist." (Goetia, 44)
The other appears to be a
simplified sigil of Malphas. "[...] He appeareth at first like a Crow, but
after he will put on a Human Shape at the request of the Exorcist, and speak
with a hoarse voice. [...] He can build
My other guess is that the bottom one may also be Enochian, but I'm not really versed enough in Enochian magic to really comment on it, other than the fact that John Dee was the first to put down anything concerning Enochian magic, connecting us once again to John Subtle in the world of /League/.
Marcus Ewert (and Yannick Berens & G.W. noted this) writes,
I think that the silhouette of the statue or sarcophagus behind Haddo is meant to be a representation of the Leagueverse's Nyarlathotep- a.k.a. "The Black Pharaoh"- Nyarlathotep in Lovecraft frequently has Egyptian and indeed Pharaonic associations, and of course tentacles ALWAYS = Old Ones recall N's appearance in the Blazing World, where he was he was (one-half) portrayed as a tentacled Old One (and half of his speech was in Egyptian hieroglyphs)
G.W. writes, “The symbol on Dr. Trelawney's robe is zhōngbǎng, which means 'center' or 'passing the examination' or 'hitting the target' and is the red Dragon Tile in Mahjong. Cybele has the same mark on her chest on page 32.”
Page 47. Panel 9. Peter Slack writes, “Janni’s pose is based upon the Statue of Liberty which is ironic in that by firing the flare she signals that she is embracing the desire for revenge which will bring the Black Freighter in this book but which will also set in motion the Jihad against the West that will be unleashed in the final Volume (?).
Page 49. Panel 3. If P.C. 57 is a reference to anyone in particular, I’m unaware of it.
LJ’s “Londonkds” says, “the
salute and "Evening all" may be a suggestion that this is a young
George Dixon of
Slade adds, “
James Moar also identified
Page 50. Panel 1. G.W. writes, “Cybele has the 'center' emblem on her chest as well.”
Panel 2. “After my blasting rod, they’re generally not breathing at all.”
Greg Strohecker writes, “The Blasting Rod that Haddo/Crowley refers to here is an occult artifact mentioned in the Grand Grimoire (also known as the Red Dragon). A mention of the device is in the books Man, Myth and Magic, and encyclopedia Alan Moore makes reference to in the appendices to From Hell. The entry for the Grand Grimoire says "...it explains how to make a pact with the Devil and how to use 'the dreadful Blasting Rod, which causes the spirits to tremble'".
writes, “The real owner of said occult weapon was Allan Bennett, the person who
Page 50. Panel 3. “Oh...the Whistling Room caper?”
Which is a reference to “The Whistling Room” (The Idler, Mar. 1910), Carnacki’s third case.
Panel 4. “I’m Dr. Karswell Trelawney, variously of Stonedene, and Lufford in Warwickshire.”
“Karswell” comes from Karswell, the man who buys Lufford Abbey in Warwickshire in M.R. James’ “Casting the Runes.” “Trelawney” is a reference to Dr. Trelawney, the Aleister Crowley analogue in Anthony Powell’s twelve-book “A Dance to the Music of Time” series. “Stonedene” is a reference to one “Dr. Oyler,” the other real-life model for Dr. Trelawney. Dr. Oyler lived in Stonedene at the same time that Anthony Powell had.
Baja Sándor (and two other people whose names I lost—sorry!) wondered if the use of “Trelawney” was also a reference to Professor Trelawney, from the “Harry Potter” novels. It’s possible, but more likely (in my view) that both Rowling and Moore are referring to Powell—this site makes a reasonable case for it.
Panel 5. “Iliel, though...the name adds up to eighty-one. A lunar number.”
This is occult numerology, of which I know nothing.
Dean Surkin points out that this is kabbalistic.
Phil Skaggs illuminates this:
Crowley was a big fan of
Gematria, the Qabalistic numeration system.
I could probably go on and on about it, but if you're really interested,
Gods (Heb: ALYS)
I (ex. xxiii 20) (Heb: ANKY)
Anger, wrath; also nose (Heb: AP(fin))
Hearer of Cries, Angel of 6 P and 5 W (Enochian table references) (Heb:
Night Demon of 2nd Dec Virgo (Heb: DAYN(fin))
Throne (Heb: DSA)
Here, Hither (Heb: PA)
The "Anger, wrath" one doesn't make sense, since Final Peh has a value of 800, but hey, it's his table. Interestingly enough, "Hearer of Cries" uses the exact same letters as (what I figure to be) "Iliel," so there is probably some kind of correlation there. I'm not really sure what Moore's knowledge of certain magical things are, but I'm pretty sure his knowledge is quite a bit superior to my own in a lot of areas.
Page 51. Panel 2. “We’re rather like the Rosicrucians.”
More than you want to know about them:
early 17th century a group of European individuals began espousing
certain esoteric beliefs through their scientific writings. These individuals, most
of whom were moral and religious reformers, later became known as the Rosenkreuzer,
or the Society of Rosicrucians, although there is no evidence that they ever
met as a group. Their beliefs, which combined mysticism, alchemy, and the
sciences, were heavily influenced by 16th century Neoplatonists,
including the German doctor Philippus Paracelsus and the Italian scholar
Franciscus Patritius. These men and women claimed to be followers of a
Christian Rosencreutz (1378-1484), supposedly a German writer who was credited
with having gone to
During the 18th century various European groups and societies began to claim possession of Rosicrucian secrets and knowledge and/or descent from the Society of Rosicrucians. The two most important of these societies were founded in the 19th century: the Societas Rosicruciana, founded in 1865, and the Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888. The Golden Dawn was the more influential of the two, with several 20th century writers, including Aleister Crowley, Arthur Machen, W.B. Yeats, Algernon Blackwood, involved with the Golden Dawn as members.
Panel 5. “Him Name Eddie” writes: “When
Haddo is in the doorway watching the League trio leave, he is standing in front
of an illustration on the door that looks like a "Grey" alien. This
is Lam, a creature Aleister Crowley claimed to have summoned while he was
Shawn Garrett writes, “as the group are
leaving the Profess house, you can see the front door (they snuck in through
the back) half open, on which is an image which corresponds very closely to the
Page 55. Panels 2-4. For proper Hindu women, hair–especially in public–should always be bound up and pinned. Letting loose the hair is an erotic act. Doing so in public is an act of shamelessness and something a prostitute would do–or someone beyond caring about social norms. The symbolism of Janni’s act here is potent.
Page 56. Panels 5-6. “The last murder happened on Boxing Day.”
“M-MacHeath didn’t do the last one? So who...?
“The prostitute’s name was Grace. We believe she was disemboweled by the 14th Earl of Gurney.”
As mentioned above on Page 13, Panel 6, the 14th Earl of Gurney is a reference to the film The Ruling Class. In the film Jack Gurney believes himself to be Jack the Ripper. But there is no prostitute named Grace in the film, and I’ve been unable to discover what this is a reference to.
Silas Rogers (Adam Bezecny and Wayne Wanamaker also got this) says, “In the film Grace is his wife who was persuaded to enter a relationship with the Earl (when he believed himself to be Jesus) by his Uncle. Grace is a disreputable character at first who was originally the Uncle's mistress. Later in the film Grace falls in love with the Earl and he stabs her after returning from his triumphant speech in the House of Lords.”
Peter Sanderson summarizes it well for us all:
First, the film The Ruling Class is an adaptation of
Peter Barnes’ play of the same name.
Re: “no prostitute named Grace.” In the film (and presumably in the play, which I haven’t read) Jack Gurney’s uncle, Sir Charles, has his mistress Grace (played by Carolyn Seymour) marry Jack. Charles intends that once Grace bears Jack an heir, Charles can then put Jack in a mental institution, and control the estate through the newborn son. Grace, howevere, falls in love with Jack.
When Jack first sees Grace in the film, she is impersonating Marguerite Gautier, heroine of the novel La dame aux camellias” by Alexandre Dumas, fils. Verdi renamed the heroine “Violetta Valery” and made her the lead character of his opera La Traviata. Greta Garbo played Marguerite in the 1936 film Camille. Marguerite/Violetta is a courtesan.
In The Ruling Class, since Grace poses as Marguerite in order to marry Jack, as a co-conspirator in Charles’ plot to get control of the Earl’s wealth, then you could argue that Grace is acting like a prostitute--using sex to get money. In the film Grace performs a strip tease on her wedding night, reinforcing the sleazy aspect of her character in the early part of the film.
At the end of the film Jack, believing himself to be Jack the Ripper, murders Grace, whom he presumably believes to be a prostitute.
Page 57. Panel 3. “Madam, there are certain senile lunatics at the House of Lords who might do anything.”
political reference on
Brian Long writes, “Is most likely a joke about how The Beggars Opera, The ThreePenny Opera, and in Century: 1910 all end with MacHeath being pardoned of his crime by someone in the House of Lords.”
Thomas Jennings writes, “The House of Lords is notorious for being filled with pompous "old hat" men who believe very firmly in conservative politics to sustain their own way of doing things amongst the liberal members of English society.”
Panel 4. LJ’s “Kotikokura” notes that “Macheath's song at the gallows maps to "Song in Which Macheath Begs the Forgiveness of All Manking"/"Grave Inscription."” Jim Silver also caught this.
Michael Holt interestingly writes, “In essence, all the events on the dockside happen within a musical, although this element is absent from the rest of the story (excepting Carnacki's vision capturing a bit). Interestingly, most of the songs take on an almost Greek chorus role, being song by someone only observing the events, which is not typical for a musical.”
Pages 60-61. Ben Brighoff writes, “It is also worth noting that Brecht and Weill wrote their songs in German (not surprisingly). Most English versions of the play use Marc Blitzstein's translation. In the original “Seeräuber-Jenny” song, the ship is not "the Black Freighter" but "A ship with eight sails, and with fifty cannons' (Ein Schiff mit acht Segeln und mit fünfzig Cannonen). The Nautilus certainly seems to have fifty cannons on pages 60-61, and I suppose you could loosely identify the tentacles as sails.” “Herms98” and Douglas Wolk also caught this.
Page 63. Panels 7-8. Denny Lien writes, “It might be worth noting that the rationally inexplicable pardoning ofMacheath from the gallows at the last moment also appears in Threepenny Opera, though there it is because of a pardon granted by the new QueenVictoria in honor of our coronation rather than another's "confession."”
Pages 64-65. Compare the events and lyrics here to the lyrics of “Pirate Jenny,” given above on the notes to Page 26, Panels 4-7.
1. Yannick Berens usefully points out, “The pile of heads in front of the Janni
and Jack can be seen in
3-4. Mina’s trip to
Page 69. Panel 3. “Me? I’m no one.”
Which was the answer, in both Verne and League v1, of Captain Nemo to inquiries about his identity.
Panel 4. “You know, Ishmael, she’s as bad as her old man.”
“Ha ha! I’ll tell you what, Jack, she’s worse.”
Huang Jiehan nicely writes,
I'm delighted to spot a hint of feminist ideas in the book nonetheless. Let's face it- there was plenty of feminism in LoEG in the first place- Mina as disgraced divorcee (+Dracula survivor) heading a Victorian team of men and coming through 2 volumes is significant enough. In 1910, Janni takes over her father's legacy and Ishmael confirms that "she's worse" than Captain Nemo. Janni takes over and overtakes men's positions, and this is particularly prescient, primarily because of the rising feminist spirit in the 20th century.
For all its patriarchal traditions and
Another point to note is that even though
Janni was humiliated by the men she exacts cold, swift revenge soon after.
This parallels and anticipates the appearance of
The interesting thing about major women leaders in the 20th century is that they are still defined by patriarchal linguistic norms. Mrs Bandaranaike was known by her husband's surname, as are Mrs Thatcher and Mrs Gandhi. Even though Janni names herself Jenny Diver, she later becomes 'Janni Nemo" in "Minions of the Moon," thus reverting to her father's nom de guerre, thus marking her persona with men yet again. This is precisely one of the ironies of the LoEGentlemen- that even though women play such strong and important parts, Men continue to mark the narrative and leave their prints everywhere. Just like real life.”
Pages 71-72. The parallelism between these pages, and the end of Black
Dossier, is not coincidental on
Page 71. Panel 1. LJ’s “Kotikokura” notes that Macheath's closing song maps to "Second Threepenny Finale/What Keeps a Man Alive".
Page 72. Giles Woodrow writes, “Just wondering if (and this may be nonsense) but whether the final panel's picture of a gull with eyeball might be an in-joke relating to Dr Gull in From Hell? Considering the Jack/The Hat/Macheath imagery swirling around... ushering in a strange new aeon indeed, as in From Hell...” Peter Slack also thought of this.
Boyle, “I’m pretty certain that the last page is a reference to Hitchcock’s The Birds. Specifically the scene where
Page 73. “Minions of the Moon by John Thomas. Originally serialised in Lewd Worlds Science Fiction, Ed. James Colvin”
“Minions of the Moon” is a science fiction story written in the style of the “New Wave,” which was the term bestowed on science fiction of the late 1960s which had an unusual amount of literary experimentation (unusual for science fiction of this era, anyhow) and had aspirations to art. “Lewd Worlds Science Fiction” was the nickname which writer Brian Aldiss bestowed on the magazine New Worlds, which embraced the New Wave.
“John Thomas” was one of the pseudonyms used by science fiction writer John Sladek.
“James Colvin” was one of Michael Moorcock’s pseudonyms. Tim Chapman points out that Charles Platt later killed Colvin off. Moorcock’s comment on this: “Problems came later when people took offence at criticism under the name of Colvin which by then had become a New Worlds house name. It was useful to have such a name, though Charles Platt scotched it by killing Colvin off in a New Worlds obit I didn't know about until the issue appeared (Charles being the art editor and having final control over what when in!).”
“The patient shouts…”
This passage is from Mina’s point of view, after her confinement in a mental institution following the events of Century: 1969.
This passage fleshes
Peter Slack writes, “The sex act described in Love among the troglodytes is reminiscent of the scene in Promethea 22 between Chokmah and Binah/ Pan and Selene."
“…the pieces of black stone about them in the white dust. Upon close inspection these were made from something she had not before encountered, a unique material that seemed to drink light, giving back no glitter or reflection. Some shards, furthermore, had smoothly crafted corners. Pinned beneath the detumescent primitive, she reached out with one hand to touch a midnight splinter.
Thoughts and images thrummed through her like a lightning-shock. Pre-human savages at time’s dawn gaping in religious terror at the great square-cut black stone that stands there in their midst, the bravest creeping hesitantly forth to place a hand upon it. A cascade of information, fire and numbers, wheels and tools and weapons. Years later, its unfathomable work completed, the black block spontaneously shatters and is all but lost beneath the drifts of aeons…”
This is a reference to the Monolith of Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Sentinel” (1951) and especially to the opening scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the film based on the short story.
We might reasonably conclude that John Subtle’s scrying glass made of obsidian, seen on Page 30, was made from the shards of the Monolith.
Page 74. “Allan and Orlando, Paris, 1964: Her Long, Adorable Lashes”
The implication from this section is that
“They were trying to continue the erotic European odysseys that they had read of in the journals of their 18th-century predecessors.”
These odysseys are described in the text section of League v2 and on pages 57-72 of the Black Dossier.
Page 75. “Knowing them for descendants of the decadent aristocrats of Silling…”
The aristocrats of Silling appear in the
Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of
“…whom she’d heard her long-dead colleague Percy Blakeny speak of once…”
Percy Blakeny is of course the Scarlet Pimpernel, a member of the 1787 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Percy’s involvement with the Silling aristocrats is mentioned in League v2n2 page 29.
“Vull and Captain Universe, Stardust’s Tomb, the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, 1964: Requiem for a Space-Wizard.”
“Vull the Invisible” was created by
As Charlie Beck points out, Vull’s helmet appeared in Black Dossier, on Page 30/Trump 2, Panel 1.
“Captain Universe” is a reference to Captain Universe, who appeared in the British comic Captain Universe (1954). “Working in the research laboratories of the United Nations Interplanetary Division, Jim Logan discovers an amazing secret. He treats himself electronically and thereafter, whenever he shouts the word 'Galap', electronic impulses from outer space vibrate through him, endowing him with superhuman powers. He becomes Captain Universe, the Super Marvel!”
“Stardust” is a reference to Stardust the Super Wizard, created by Fletcher Hanks and appearing in 17 issues of Fantastic Comics and Big 3 Comics from 1939-1941. In the comics Stardust is an alien whose "vast knowledge of interplanetary science has made him the most remarkable man that ever lived." He uses this knowledge and his superpowers to fight evil.
“…inhabited by a grotesque thing that he called a ‘Headless head-hunter.’”
This is a reference to one of Stardust’s opponents.
“You have to understand that this so-called Space Wizard was a brutal and sadistic monster. He preferred to punish adversaries with a fiendishly inventive range of living deaths, so that they could suffer eternally.”
This is a harsh but generally accurate description of Stardust. (Morals were different back then).
Page 76. “The substance he’s encased in is a frozen form of poly-water that he called Ice-9…”
“Ice-9” is a reference to “Ice-nine,” from
Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle (1963).
Ice-nine is a stable form of water which melts at 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45
Celsius) and freezes water below 114/45 degrees.
“You could smell the liquor on his breath and he was stumbling and uncoordinated…”
Stardust apparently takes after his creator, who according to his son was an abusive drunk.
“My powers were given to me by a quintet of science-mystics who’ve transcended space and time, Pythagoras and Leonardo being counted in that number. These beings exist, along with other awesome presences, upon a level of reality beyond the confines of the mortal realm. Archimedes, Aristotle…”
This is an accurate summary of Captain Universe’s background.
“…more recent sub-atomic physicists such as the Swedish theoretician Borghelm.”
“Guntag Borghelm” was of course one of the names—“Guntag Barghelt”—of the “astro-physicist” who granted powers to Mick Anglo’s Marvelman in the British superhero comics from 1954-1963. Alan Moore wrote the adventures of Marvelman (whose name was changed to Miracleman under pressure from Marvel Comics) in Warrior in 1982.
According to the Marvel Comics comic Secret Defenders #18 the British magic-using superhero Doctor Druid used the pseudonym “Guntag Borghelm” in the past.
“Vull, I’m sorry about how The Seven Stars
worked out after our one and only victory against the ‘
I don’t know what “the ‘Mass” might be a
reference to. It’s possible it’s a
reference to Professor Quatermass, although that works neither chronologically
with the Quatermass films nor in terms of their internal continuity. A line
later “the ‘Mass” is described as potentially having been a colleague of
“I told my brother Jet about it…”
This is a reference to Jet Ace Logan, who
appeared in various British comic strips from 1956-1969.
This is a reference to a reference to Mars Man, the hero of the British comic Marsman Comics #1 (1948). In Marsman Comics an unnamed Martian comes to Earth as an anthropologist but ends up fighting crime.
This is a reference to Satin Astro, who appeared in the British comic Whizzer Comics (1947). In the year 3000 A.D. the glamorous criminal Satin Astro teams up with adventurer Burt Steele and fight against Astro’s former boss Krozac.
“Prospero and his operatives, the Blazing World…”
Prospero of course is the sorcerer from
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest
(1611) who rules over the Blazing World, originally from Margaret Cavendish’s 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
“…an Owl-man in a cut silk tunic screeched and swooped exuberantly.”
The Blazing World is full of half-man, half-other creatures.
Page 77. “…by Queen Olympia of nearby Toyland…”
As mentioned in League v2 and the Black Dossier, Toyland—created by Enid Blyton and appearing in Noddy Goes to Toyland (1929)—is a country in the North Pole populated by toys and nursery rhyme characters. In the world of League Toyland is inhabited by far more than that, and is ruled over by Olympia, the doll from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sand-Man” (1817), and the Creature from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818).
“…by the late Dr. Copelius…”
Dr. Coppelius is the mad scientist in Hoffmann’s “The Sand-Man.”
“No doubt thou wouldst hear why I called thee hence;
What grave calamity requires thine aid.
Know then that this be not an earthly woe,
But, rather, it afflicts another sphere.”
As in Black Dossier, Prospero here speaks in iambic pentameter.
“Aye, ebon navigator of the void,
It is the moon I conjure to plain sight.
There, marked in crimson, see Earth’s colonies,
Where fly the stiff and windless flags of
Jonathan Carter writes,
The French and British have
been covered in previous volumes of the series, but the other two have never
been mentioned before. The American landing on the Moon might come from the
movie Destination Moon, which was
written by Robert Heinlein, who also wrote many other stories about voyages to
the Moon. As for
Page 78. “…and the since-deceased air-pirate Armand Robur…”
If “Armand Robur” is a reference to anything, I’m unaware of it.
“…a descendant of the more notorious Jean.”
This is a reference to Jules Verne’s Robur, who appeared in 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 the world. Robur was mentioned in League v1 and v2.
Back cover. “Robin Yaldwin. “What Now?” c. 1910-1911. The Copper
Des Pickard (Andrew Bonia also noted this) writes,
This painting, attributed to Walter Sickert stand-in Robin Yaldwin, seems a reference to Sickert's painting "Blackmail (or Mrs. Barrett)" which some Jack the Ripper theorists (including Moore in his From Hell) treat as Sickert's guilt-haunted portrait of the final Jack the Ripper victim, Mary Kelly (common-law wife of Mr. Barnett). If so, "What now?" is another portrait of Jack the Ripper deciding what to do with the murdered (or about to be murdered) body of Mary Kelly, at the start of the hellish night of desecration to which Moore devoted "From Hell"'s entire climactic chapter - that chapter was a succession of "What Now"s from William Withey Gull. But it also recapitulates the whole book, by showing Jack MacHeath's most monstrous deed, and asking what now - what to do about Jack, and Pirate Jenny, after their monstrous deeds, when they're what keeps mankind alive? Nemo attacks us with impunity, the end.
Neale Barnholden writes, “It seems to be a
reference to Lord Copper from Evelyn Waugh's "Scoop", who was a
satirical version of Lord Beaverbrook, who in real life used his Beaverbrook
Foundation to assemble a large collection of Walter Sickert's paintings at what
is now the
Thanks to: “A,” Jason Adams, Scott Adsit, Eoghan Ahern, Roly Allen, Alan Allport, Husamuddin Alromayedh, John Andrews, Alberto López Aroca, Arrick, Tom Athalaka, Jason Atomic, Ori Avtalion, Peter Ayres, Grant B., Simon Baker, Greg Baldino, E.J. Barnes, Neale Barnholden, Alex Baxter, Charlie Beck, “Belgand,” Clive Bennett, Yannick Berens, Brian Beriman, Adam Bezecny, “Biglehart,” Eli Bishop, Stephen Bitsoli, Eduardo Blake, John Blake, Samuel Blanco, Andy Bone, Andrew Bonia, Dave Boone, Peter Borowiec, Christopher Boyle, Andy Brazil, Blair Breeding, Ben Brighoff, Andrew Brown, Matt Bunker, James Burt, Dan Busha, Ronald Byrd, Ross Byrne, J. Cahill, Jeffery P. Cain, David Cairns, Dennis Calero, Martin Campbell, Brian Campo, Kenneth Capps, Jonathan Carter, R.J. Carter, Kenny Cather, Trey Causey, Tim Chapman, Hal Charles, Patrick Charpenet, Neil Chester, Dann Chinn, Chris, R.J. Christie, Vassili Christodoulou, Terence Chua, Ben Church, Joe Clark, Eamonn Clarke, Johnny Clifford, Adam Cody, “Comics9,” Ian Cook, Curtis Coons, Edward Craft, Laurence Craig, Paul Craigie, Ian Crichton, Martin Crookall, Adam Cummins, Greg Daly, Brian Davis, Darrell D.C., Paul Dawson, Sérgio de Andrade, ReuBen DeBord, Stephen Dedridge, Robert Dempsey, Matthew Dennion, Robert Dery, Zoltán Déry, “Doc Dish,” Alex Dodge, Marc J. Dolan, Mike Donachie, John Dorrian, Korshi Dosoo, Doug, Drake, Rich Drees, Richard Dub, Scott Dubin, Martin Dunne, Warren Dusting, Peter Dyde, Chris Dykes, Richard East, Jake Ebeling, Robert Eddleman, Joshua Eichen, Paul Eke, Mark Elstob, Graham Evans, Marcus Ewert, Fay, Alex Fernie, J. Ferrier, John Fiala, Rich Firth, Kit FitzSimons, Rev. Terry Fleming, Robert Forrest, Russell Fox, Tim Freistadt, Lance French, Mark Frostick, Peter Gallagher, Shawn Garrett, David Genda, Josh Gentry, Giles, Pete Gilham, Patrick Gillen, Mitchell Glavas, Mark Glidden, Andrew Goldsworthy, Rogelio Gómez, Phil Gonzales, Marcus Good, Damian Gordon, Ian Gould, Ted Graham, Stephen Grasso, Philip Graves, Kelvin Green, Steve Green, Sam Greenaum, Clement Grene, G.W., Ed Hall, John Hall, “Hardy5dd,” Peter Hardy, Benjamin L. Harris, Harrison, Harry, Marc Haynes, Ola Hellsten, Martin Helsdon, Chris Hemmelgarm, “Herms98,” John Higgins, “Him Name Eddie,” Ken Holloway, Michael Holt, John Homer, Lee Horner, Paul Hostetler, Wayne Hotu, Rhys Howell, Huang Jiehan, Alex Hughes, Richard Hunter, Shawn Hurst, Stephen Hyde, Italo Iozzi, Mark Irons, Jake, Pete James, Krzysztof Janicz, Chris Jarocha-Ernst, Thomas Jennings, Anthony Johnson, Rich Johnston, David Jones, Joe Jones, Kyle Kallgren, Marc Kandel, Alexx Kay, Ethan Kaye, Chris Keddie, Dan Kelly, David Kennedy, Matt Kimmich, Jim Kinley, David Kirkby, Avramel Kivelevitz, Matt Klimshuk, Philbert Knibbs, David Knight, Kon, Andreas Kounelis, Klaus, Klaus Kristiansen, Steve Kydd, LJ’s “Conojito,” LJ’s “Full Metal Ox,” LJ’s “Kotikokura,” LJ’s “londonkds,” LJ’s “William_Black,” Adam J.B. Lane, Chris Lane, Mike Larson, Stephen Lavington, Pascal Lavoie, Ryan Laws, Robin Layfield, Stuart Layt, Greg Levin, Denny Lien, Allan Lloyd, Paul Lloyd, Brian Long, Justin Lord, Matthew Loughran, Craig Lowe, Richard Mallon, Jim Maloy, Seth Manis, Opher Mansour, David Alexander McDonald, Colin McKeown, Gary McKernan, Jimmy McMichael, Joe McNally, Gavin Macdonald, James Mackenzie-Thorpe, Adam Macqueen, Marquito Maia, Patrick Marcel, Kevin Maroney, Jerry Martin, Darren Maughan, Chris Mayall, James McEleny, Brendan McGuire, Trim McKenna, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Nathaniel Meyers, Lawrence Miles, Jonathan Miller, Kevin Miller, Cody Mitchell, James Moar, Diarmid Mogg, Mark Monastyrski, Alasdair Montgomery, Dave Moran, Morgan, Darren Morgan, Sam Morgan, Justin Mullis, Chris Murphy, Robert Napton, Gabriel Neeb, Jeff Newberry, Andrew Newstead, Shaun Noel, Thomas Nohn, Jam Norman, Michael Norwitz, Toby O’B, Omri, Jules van Oosterom, Mike Opperman, “OpusRAW,” John Orloff, Dan Page, Anthony Padilla, Joshua Peeters, Des Pickard, John Pickman, Craig Pilling, “Pizzasea,” David Plotkin, Richard Powell, David Pratt, Amy Procrastinating, Tom Proudfoot, Charles Quackenbush, Ed Quinby, Thom Ramage, Andrew Rash, D. Reid, E.C. Rekow, Christian Rémy, João Ribeiro, John Roberson, Geoff Roberts, Mike Robinson, Silas Rogers, Rasmus Rosengaard, Omri Rubinstein, Colin Rutherford, Ray Sablack, Ormond Sacker, Stephen Sale, Michael Saler, Peter Sanderson, Baja Sándor, Cliff Schexnayder, Erik Schiller, Keith Scott, Joe Shea, Adeel Sheikh, John Sherman, Stu Shiffman, “Sholcroft,” Josiah Shoup, Danny Sichel, Jim Silver, David Simpson, Chris Sims, Phil Skaggs, “Skemono,” Peter Slack, Paul Slade, John Smith, Phil Smith, Saralyn Smith, Si Smith, John Soanes, Jan Stich, Steven Stones, Henry String, Greg Strohecker, James Summers, Dean Surkin, Mike Szymonik, Pete Tarff, James Taylor, Michael Taylor, Daniel Thomas, Bill Thomson, Tim, “Tiv123,” John Trumbull, Graham Tugwell, Alex Tulloch, Blake Turner, Paul Turner, Greg Ullyart, “Loki Valhalla,” Dave van Domelen, Michael Van Vleet, Peter VanDenEng, Ana Vidazinha, “Otto von Bismarck,” Pete von Sholly, Thom Wakeman, Howard Walfish, Wayne Wanamaker, “Wanderer,” Adrian Ward, Matt Ward, Warren, Ian Warren, Ian Watson, Chris Watts, Sam Whalan, Tom Whiteley, Steve Whyte, Mark Wiechula, Ian Wildman, Gary Wilkinson, Ivan Williams, Tony Williams, Brent Williamson, Pete Wilson, Todd Wittenmeier, Douglas Wolk, Giles Woodrow, Christopher Woodward, Tom Wright, “Xcelsior,” George Xydas, Randal Yard, Matt Yeo, “Zach,” Don Zakrzewski.
If you’ve got any suggestions, additions, or corrections, please send them along to me.