Jess Nevins' "Black Dossier" Annotations

Thu, November 15th, 2007 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Andy Khouri, Editor

The long awaited "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier" is on sale now from Wildstorm, and that means Jess Nevins has been busy. Known in far corners of the Internet for his exhaustive annotations on some of American comics' greatest works, Nevins is a master who has been acknowledged by "League" creators Kevin O'Neil and Alan Moore, who've provided him with their own commentaries and remarks about his hugely impressive work.

Nevins has already completed his annotations for "Black Dossier," and CBR News is proud to re-publish his startlingly prodigious work here for our readers.

To discuss Nevins' annotations and "Black Dossier" with fellow readers, don't forget to stop by CBR's Wildstorm forum.

For more of Nevins' work, please visit his site, Annotations And Other Pursuits, where you will find annotations for comics including "Kingdome Come," "Top Ten," "1602" and more.

For more on "Black Dossier," check out CBR's in-depth interview with co-creator Alan Moore.

By Jess Nevins

Warning: There are some Bad Words used in these annotations. If you’re

under 18 or have a delicate disposition, look away.

In order to avoid spoiling some reveals and surprises, some things

will not be explained on their first appearance.

References are explained the first time they appear, and not thereafter.

Moving clockwise unless otherwise noted.

If you have any additions, corrections, or suggestions, please send

them to me at But, as a favor to me, please phrase

your e-mails politely.

Front Cover. If the sword is a reference to anything,

I’m unaware of it.

I believe the quartet of men wearing owl masks and Elizabethan clothing

are from a penny dreadful, but I’ve been unable to place it.

I don’t know what the rocket refers to, if anything. It’s similar

to the one seen on Page 142.

I’m not sure what that thing to the right of the rocket is. Possibly

one of the Martians wearing gasmasks from the first issue of League


The blonde woman is Mina Murray, from Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). The man running with her is Allan Quatermain, from H. Rider Haggard’s

series of books. He is young because he was rejuvenated in the Fires

of Life as described in the text pages of League v2.

The painting is of the 1898 League, featuring H. Rider Haggard’s

Allan Quatermain, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edward Hyde, Jules Verne’s

Captain Nemo, and H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man.

Page 2. “Keep Calm and Carry On” was one of the

phrases used by British government during World War Two to encourage the

British people to keep a stiff upper lip, especially during the Battle of

the Blitz, when London was being pounded by nightly bombings. However, the

original poster with “Keep Calm and Carry On” looked like this:

Keep Calm and Carry On

The gate, chains, and jagged lightning bolts replacing the crown

gives another indication about what England has become in the alternate

history of Black Dossier.

Page 4. The Daily Brute is a reference to

Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop (1938). Scoop, routinely voted one

of the best novels of the 20th century, is a scathing savaging of the

English sensationalist press. In Scoop the newspaper for which

the protagonist works is the Daily Beast. Its main rival, even more

base and yellow, is the Daily Brute. (For modern British readers,

think Daily Mail, only even worse).

Page 5. “If found return to MiniLuv.”

“MiniLuv” is an example of newspeak, which appears in George Orwell’s

1984 (1949). 1984, a classic of dystopian fiction, describes

life under the rule of the totalitarian government of “Oceania.” One of

Oceania’s malign innovations is to impose newspeak on its citizens. Newspeak

is an artificially constructed language designed to remove as many words

and meanings as possible from conversation, with the intention being to

leave speakers capable of describing, and conceiving of, concepts in only

simplistic dichotomies: black and white, good and evil, and so on. Toward

this end words are merged together and shortened, so that “English Socialism”

becomes “IngSoc.” “MiniLuv” stands for the “Ministry of Love,” the government

department which uses fear, brainwashing, and torture to enforce loyalty to

and love of Big Brother, the leader of Oceania.

Pages 6-7. This is a parody of that classic of

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graphic design, the map of the London Tube.

“If experiencing nausea while in the nether regions, keep hat firmly

on, lay back, and think of England.”

“Lie back and think of England” is the advice supposedly given to

daughters, by mothers, during the Victorian era about how to survive the

wedding night and the loss of virginity, since (supposedly) Victorian women

couldn’t conceive of a proper woman enjoying sex. This is ahistorical nonsense,

of course, and “lie back and think of England” was not standard advice,

or even widely said. The quote attributed to "Lady Hillingdon" is spurious,

and Gathorne-Hardy, the source of the Lady Hillingdon quote, himself says

that the quote is "somewhat suspect." I repeat: "lie back and think of England"

was not standard advice or even widely said, if at all.

“The Blazing World” is a reference to Observations upon Experimental

Philosophy. To which is added the Description of a New Blazing World. Written

by the Thrice Noble, Illustrious and Excellent Princess, The Duchess of

Newcastle (1666), by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. The

Blazing World is a classic of the Imaginary Voyage genre and was referred

to in League v2.

“Ray Zone” is a reference to Ray

Zone, who did the 3D art for Black Dossier.

Page 8. The two ads on the right side of this page

are legitimate.

The cartoon on the lower left is done in the style of New Yorker

cartoons from the 1950s and 1960s. The cartoon’s artist, “Arnie Packer,”

is a reference to the “Winged Avenger” episode of the British tv series

The Avengers. In “The Winged Avenger” an evil cartoonist named “Arnie

Packer” is responsible for a series of murders.

    Pádraig Ó Méalóid says,

"the artwork for the comic strip was actually done by UK comics artist Frank

Bellamy," and points us to this

site, which has samples of the comic art.

Page 9. Panel 1. If the Malibu Hotel is

a reference to something, I’m unaware of it.

The headline in lower center, “Melchester Rovers Scandal,” is a reference

to the British comic Roy of the Rovers (1954-1993), in which the

hero Roy Race plays football for the Melchester Rovers.

The headline on the right, “Knightsbridge Ape-Men,” is a reference

to “Quatermass and the Pit” (1958), the third Professor Quatermass BBC

serial. In it, the bones of ape-men, unearthed in Knightsbridge, lead to

the revelation of the Martian influence on the evolution of humanity.

Panel 3. “Will Wilson return for Olympics?” reference is to

Wilson, the mysterious, superhuman teenaged athlete from the British

comics Wizard, Hotspur, and Hornet (1943-1963).

Wilson, born in 1806, achieved longevity and athletic prowess from special

breathing exercises and a diet of gruel, nuts, berries, and wild roots.

In one episode he breaks the world long jump record while running a three-minute


    Damian Gordon notes that Wilson was brought back

as “the Man in Black” in the British comic Spike in 1983.

Panels 4-6. Jack & Annie Walker were characters on the

long-running British soap Coronation Street. The Walkers were landlords

of the Rovers Return Inn. (Hence the comment in Panel 6 that “our rovin’

days are over”).

Panel 5. “Straight after election she ‘ad all cameras took

out, the lot.”

The England of 1984 was of course under constant observation

from the government of Oceania, but I think this is also an allusion by

Moore to England as it is now, with over four million cameras watching the

British at all times.

Panel 6. “Victory Gin is Doubleplus Good For You.”

“Victory Gin” is the only authorized alcohol in Orwell’s 1984.

“Doubleplus” is another use of newspeak (see Page 5). I will refrain from

noting the use of newspeak from this point on—suffice it to say that there’s

a lot of it in here.

The “V” cigarettes that the blonde woman is smoking here are likely

“Victory cigarettes,” also from 1984.

    Richardthinks notes that Victory Cigarettes were a real

brand, as seen here.

Panel 7. “I’ll have a vodka martini over ice…and stir that,

if you would. Otherwise it bruises the alcohol.”

“Shaken, not stirred” is the cliched quote from Ian Fleming’s James

Bond (who as will be seen is the speaker here). However, Bond never said,

“shaken, not stirred.” His stated preference for martinis appears in the

Story continues below

first Bond novel, Casino Royale:

"A dry martini," he said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."

"Oui, monsieur."

"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a

measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then

add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?"

The bruising of the alcohol comes when a martini is shaken. Shaking

a martini during its preparation adds air into the drink and “bruises”

the alcohol, making the drink taste too bitter.

Philip & Emily Graves write, "I'm fairly sure I read somewhere that

the iconic phrase was "Stirred, not shaken" in early film drafts, but that

(Cubby Broccoli?) had it switched more for aesthetic reasons than anything


Page 10. Panel 1. Apparently in the world of League

Britain went to a U.K./U.S. monetary system, with 10 shillings equaling

1 dollar rather than (or in addition to) 20 shillings equalling 1 pound.

Also, the face on the shilling note is Britannia, the personification

of the British Empire. Modern pound notes have the Queen’s face on them,

but the 1948 pound note had Britannia on it.

Panel 4. "I'm Jimmy, by the way."

Philip & Emily Graves note that ""Jimmy Bond" was also the name used in

the 1954 'Climax!' TVM version of Casino Royale, for its Americanised main


Peter Sanderson writes, "Moore makes his version of James Bond look even

more foolish by giving him the same name as Jimmy Bond, James's nephew in

the 1967 "Casino Royale" film, played by Woody Allen.  Note that in

the 1967 movie, Jimmy turns out to be the villain, albeit an incompetent


“Bash Street,” “Rampaging Yobs,” and the picture are a reference to the

British comic strip “Bash Street Kids,” created by British comics great

Leo Baxendale (originally as “When the Bell Rings”) and appearing in Beano

from 1954 to the present. The Bash Street Kids are a bunch of mischievous

and ill-behaved children at the Bash Street School.

The “Asian Flu” may be a specific literary/cultural reference or

just an allusion to the Asian flu epidemic in Britain during late 1950s.

(And which, appropriately enough, killed Sax Rohmer, the creator of Fu


Panel 8. Captain Morgan is a reference to Jet Morgan, who

starred in the British radio serial Journey Into Space (1953-1958).

Set in the distant future of 1965 (and in later series the early 1970s),

Journey Into Space is about Captain Jet Morgan, “Doc” Matthews,

“Mitch” Mitchell, and Lemmy Barnett, and their trip to the Moon and then

to Mars.

Captain Dare is a reference to Dan Dare, the archetypal British comic

science fiction hero. Created by Frank Hampson, Dan Dare has been appearing

in various media since his debut in the comic Eagle in 1950. In

the 1990s Dan Dare, chief pilot of the Interplanet Space Fleet, has adventures

across the solar system, repeatedly coming into conflict with the Mekon,

the evil ruler of the Treens of northern Venus.

    Damian Gordon notes that Dan Dare is a Colonel,

not a Captain, in his original appearances.

Captain Logan is a reference to Jet-Ace Logan, who appeared in the

British comics Comet (1956-1959) and Tiger (1959-1968).

Royal Air Force Space Cadet Jim “Jet-Ace” Logan is a part of the R.A.F.

Space Patrol and cruises about the solar system, fighting iniquitous aliens

and finding adventure.

Presumably the person Bond is shoving aside is a visual reference

of some kind, but I don’t know what it is.

Panel 9. “Fighter ace dies” is presumably a reference to something,

but the accompanying picture could refer to a number of characters. But

see Page 16, Panel 8.

Page 11. Panel 5. Peter Sanderson writes, "Actually,

I'm a secret agent":  the way that Bond lights his cigarette with an

eerie glow  reminds me of the Cigarette-Smoking Man in The X-Files."

Panel 6. Meccania is a reference to Gregory Owen's Meccania, the

Super-State (1918). Meccania is the ultimate in totalitarian dystopias,

a state completely regimented and controlled by the government. For a

Big Brother-ruled England, Meccania would be a natural enemy.

Panel 7. Kian Ross, Rich Weaver, and Jeff Patterson, among

others, point out what I should have gotten: that the statue is of Mr. Hyde,

as mentioned at the end of League v2.

Page 12. Panel 3. “O’Dette ‘Oodles’ O’Quim” is

Story continues below

a riff on the salacious, single-entendre names Bond women and Bond’s female

enemies usually have.

    I'd assumed that "quim" was commonly-known, but obviously

note. Peter Sanderson, among others, writes: ""Oodles O'Quim":  until

I looked it up, I didn't

know that "quim" is British slang for female genitalia.  I suspect I'm

not the only American reader who didn't know that.  So "Oodles O'Quim"

is the equivalent of "Pussy Galore."

Panel 7. There is a reference to a statue of Big Brother in

1984: “in Victory Square...near the statue of Big Brother on the

tall fluted column with the lions at the foot.” The statue here doesn’t

appear to be it, though.

    Peter Sanderson writes, "This indicates that in "1984"

Trafalgar Square was renamed Victory Square, and Nelson's statue was replaced

by a statue of Big Brother."

Wow! was a British comic which appeared in 1982 and 1983,

but I don’t believe the bus advert is a reference to that.

Maplins is a holiday camp in the British tv sitcom Hi-de-Hi!

(1980-1988). Maplins is in the coastal town of Crimpton-on-Sea in Essex.

As far as I know there’s no “Bluepool” in Hi-de-Hi!. Damian Gordon

points out that Maplins is based on a real series of camps called Butlin’s

Holiday Camps.

“--is watching you” is the second half of the classic phrase “Big

Brother is Watching You” from 1984.

Page 13. Panel 1. “Airstrip One” is is what the

British Isles are called in 1984. Airstrip One is part of Oceania

(the Americas, Southern Africa, and Australia).

The “Anti-Sex League” is a reference to the government-backed organization,

in 1984, which is devoted to eliminating the pleasurable aspect

of sex. Members of the League are encouraged to have sex, but only once

a week, and “for the good of the party.”

Panel 2.  In 1984 O’Brien is a member of the Inner

Party, the ruling class of Oceania. In the novel O’Brien is responsible

for torturing Winston Smith, the protagonist, into accepting Big Brother.

Panel 4. “Freedom is Slavery” is newspeak.

The shell marks on the Ministry of Love may seem unusual, but much

of London was not fully rebuilt, following World War Two, until the mid-

to late-1950s.

Page 14. Panel 1. The poster in the upper left

is a combination of the “Big Brother Is Watching You” poster from 1956

British film version of 1984, and the mustached Big Brother from

the 1984 American film version of 1984.

The bust in the lower left is of Professor Moriarty (I think), replacing

the bust of Napoleon which Moriarty kept when he was in charge of British

Intelligence in League volume 1.

The symbol above the doors is the Masonic compass and right angle

which was a recurring symbol in earlier League volumes. In Masonic

lore the compass and right angle symbolize the instruments of both the Masons

and God.

If the pith helmet and the sheathed sword are references to anything,

I’m unaware of it. Damian Gordon suggests that they may be Quatermain’s.

The bust with the question mark may be the bust of Baron von Münchhausen

seen in the first League series.

I’m unsure what the glass ball might be.

The giant skull is the Brobdingnagian skull, from Jonathan Swift’s

Gulliver’s Travels (1726), seen in League v1.

I’m not sure what the shirt with the “s” emblem is referring to.

I’m not sure who the portrait of the man in the bow-tie is a reference


On the bulletin board, the painting/picture, “Pacific Ocean July

1949,” and “Iron Fish?” are references to “Iron Fish,” from the British

comic Beano from 1949-1968. The Iron Fish’s creator, Jimmy Grey,

appeared in League v2. “The Iron Fish” is about two twins, Danny

and Penny Gray, who pilot two “Iron Fish” submarines, both of which are

built by their father, Professor Gray, who is the subject of the “Professor

Gray Feared Lost” headline on the lower left of the board.

“Bla- Sapp-“ is a reference to the titular character of the comic

strip “The Black Sapper,” who appeared in the British comcs Rover

and Hotspur for decades, beginning with The Rover #384 (Aug.

24, 1929). The Black Sapper is a costumed inventor/thief who uses The Earthworm,

an enormous burrowing machine, to commit crimes. He reforms in the face of

Story continues below

an alien invasion of Earth.

Panel 2. The painting in the upper left is based on this:

Francis Walsingham

This is Sir Francis Walsingham (c. 1532-1590), the spymaster for

Queen Elizabeth I in our world. However, as can be seen on Page 53, Walsingham

has been replaced by someone else in the world of League. For

who, see the notes to Page 53.

Panel 4. In 1984 Room 101 is “the worst thing in the

world,” a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love where prisoners are

subjected to their worst nightmares.

Panel 6. “Special village in Wales” a reference to the British

tv series The Prisoner (1967), in which retired spies who too dangerous

to their former employers are confined in a village. The location of

the village was never specified, but the series was filmed in Portmeirion,

which is in Wales.

Page 15. Panels 1-4. Bond is this hatefully misogynistic

in the Ian Fleming books, if not in the films.

Panel 9. I believe that James Bond was once described as a

“nasty little thug” but I’ve been unable to find the reference. David Alexander

McDonald notes that in the most recent film version of Casino Royale

M uses the word "thug" in describing Bond.

Page 16. Panel 4. “Just like your grandfather.”

This is confirmation that Campion Bond, seen in the previous volumes

of League, is James Bond’s grandfather.

Panel 5. “Is this what it’s come to? The British adventure

hero? Pathetic.”

While it is logical that a 19th century British adventure hero (Mina)

would find the 20th century British adventure hero (Bond) unsavory and

pathetic, the statement might also be seen as a metatextual comment by Moore

on the way in which 20th century British adventure fiction, certainly of

the first half of the century, overtly displayed biases (see Page 79, Panel

2, for example) which were mostly hidden during the 19th century.

Panel 7. “If he’d been German, he’d have been loyal to Hynkel.”

See Page 47.

Panel 8. “Eurasia” is a reference to 1984. Eurasia,

which is Europe, Russia, northern Africa, and the Middle East, is the enemy

of Oceania.

“Social– Nuclea– by Gust–“ is a reference to to H.G. Wells’ The

Shape of Things to Come (1933), a future history of the world in

which a benevolent dictatorship emerges following a deadly plague. In

The Shape of Things to Come a Wellsian stand-in, Gustave de Windt,

writes a book, Social Nucleation, which

was the first exhaustive study of the psychological laws underlying

team play and esprit de corps, disciplines of criminal gangs, spirit

of factory groups, crews, regiments, political parties, churches, professionalisms,

aristocracies, patriotisms, class consciousness, organized research and

constructive cooperation generally. It did for the first time correlate

effectively the increasing understanding of individual psychology, with

new educational methods and new concepts of political life. In spite of

its unattractive title and a certain wearisomeness in the exposition, his

book became a definite backbone for the constructive effort of the new


Titus Cobbet is a reference to Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come.

In The Shape of Things to Come a bicyclist, Titus Cobbett, travels

through a ruined Europe and England observing the desolation. He also

reports on the death of a “European Aviator,” which could be what the

headline on Page 10, Panel 9 is referring to.

I don’t know what “–ipley” might be a reference to. Patricia Highsmith’s

Tom Ripley, possibly?

“The Th– Oligarchial Emm–“ is a reference to The Theory and Practice

of Oligarchial Collectivism, which in 1984 is “a terrible book,

a compendium of all the heresies” and is written by the dissident Emmanuel


Panel 9.  “–stasia” is a reference to Eastasia in 1984.

Eastasia, which consists of China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, India, the

Philippines, Indonesia, and the Middle East, is the smallest and newest

of the three superstates.

“Atrocity Pamphlet” may be a reference to the J.G. Ballard novel

The Atrocity Exhibition (1970).

“Manor Farm” is a reference to George Orwell’s Animal Farm

(1945), in which the revolution of the talking animals takes place at Manor


I’m not sure what “Harry Blake” might be a reference to.

I’m not sure what the folder with the stylized letter is a reference


I think the book below that reads “Moreau,” which is a reference

Story continues below

to H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896). Dr. Moreau appeared

in League v2.

“Gustave de Windt” is a reference to H.G. Wells’ The Shape of

Things to Come. (See the note to Panel 8 above).

I’m not sure what “-oy Cars” might be a reference to.

“St. Merri-- Hospital” is a reference to John Wyndham’s The Day

of the Triffids (1953). The Day of the Triffids is a science

fiction, horror, post-apocalyptic novel in which a race of carnivorous

plants, the triffids, cause the downfall of human civilization. The opening

of the novel occurs in St. Merryn’s Hospital.

Page 17. Panel 1. “ much vipers like Lime

actually know...”

See Page 78, Panel 9 for more on “Lime.”

“Drake” is a reference to John Drake, the protagonist of the BBC

tv series Danger Man (1960-1962). John Drake is an Irish-American

spy for a department of NA.T.O. who carries out missions for his superiors

even though he often disagrees with them. The Prisoner, which starred

Patrick McGoohan (who played John Drake), is unofficially the sequel to

Danger Man. In David McDaniel’s Who is No. 2? (1968) it is

confirmed that Drake is No. 6, The Prisoner.

    David Alexander McDonald writes:

David MacDaniel's novel is ephemeral, and it was repeatedly stated

by McGoohan and various members of the production that The Prisoner is not,

in fact, John Drake (despite the John Drake picture X'd out at the beginning

of the show.)  These statements from the production end (most recently

on the  40th Anniversary DVD release) are hobbled a tiny bit, however,

by the appearance of an actor playing a character named Potter in both Danger

Man and The Prisoner, albeit the character being quite different in each

iteration, by the original reference in the story treatments to the Prisoner

as "Drake" (he was referred to as P as pre-production and production went

on) and by the repurposing of an unused Danger Man script, "The Girl Who

Was Death," in the last four episodes of the series -- and there's that passing

reference there to "Drake."  But the official line is that the Prisoner

wasn't Drake.  More entertainingly, the producers have been known to

 speculate that, given the final episode, the series actually took place

with in a virtual reality, or entirely in the Prisoner's mind while he was

drugged to the gills.

    Philp & Emily Graves write:

On the 'Drake as Prisoner' suggestion, it should be noted that,

although McGoohan and others denied that they were the same character, George

Markstein, co-creator of (and script editor on) The Prisoner stated on several

occasions that they WERE. One suggestion for the purported confusion is that

the character (and name) of John Drake were created and owned by Ralph Smart,

so overt identification of the two was either impossible for legal reasons,

or undesirable as the rights were not McGoohan's.

“Meres” is a reference to Toby Meres, who appeared in the British tv series

Callan (1967-1972). David Callan, the protagonist, is a bitter,

aging assassin for the British S.I.S. Meres is Callan's partner. Lee Barnett

corrects my original description of Toby Meres and writes that Meres is

"not so much less-skilled, as he is a cold blooded psychopath who enjoys

the more violent aspects of the work, whereas Callan hated it, even though

the latter was so bloody good at it." David Alexander McDonald writes:

 I adored Callan -- bitterly cynical, wonderful work from

Edward Woodward.  Meres wasn't Callan's superior, though -- he was

his peer (as

was Cross, after Anthony Valentine left for a while.)  Meres was an

arrogant, impulsive, and thoroughly sociopathic twat, a former public schoolboy

and Oxford graduate who certainly had ambitions beyond his station; he was,

however, unlikely to assume the position of Hunter, which Callan did for

a while.  In the initial story, "A Magnum For Schneider" (based on James

Mitchell' stage play, and done as an Armchair Theater episode) Meres (played

by Peter Bowles rather than Valentine) is asigned to keep an eye on Callan,

and then set him up for the police to arrest once he's completed his

mission -- Callan promptly turns the tables and leaves Meres for the cops

instead.  As a result Callan ends up with his dossier assigned to a

Story continues below

Red File

(hence the novel version being called A Red File For Callan; the movie

adaptation, with Peter Egan as Meres, is just called Callan.)  The


generally partners Callan and Meres, with Callan as often as not managing

to screw Meres over.  All the same, I wouldn't call Meres less skilled

or less

adept than Callan -- Callan's conscience often gets in the way, although

he can summon a vicious coldness when he needs to.  If anything, Meres


sometimes a little exciteable because he enjoys his work.  Cross,

on the other hand, was less adept and more vulnerable, which eventually

causes his

death.  Oh, and after Callan, brainwashed, kills a Hunter at the end

of series two, it's Meres that shoots Callan -- and then proceeds to show

concern and care, which is really rather freaky.

Panel 4.  Gadgets and weapons contained in and concealed

by James Bond’s pens are a recurring part of the Bond canon.

“The Me– Police C– George— Died on t– August 1898"

Philp & Emily Graves write, "The deceased Police Constable George D[  

] may very well be the one killed by Hawley Griffen back in LoEG V1I5. Furthermore

(or alternatively) George D[   ] may be a reference to George Dixon

of Dock Green, played by Jack Warner from 1955-76." Jonathan Carter and Christopher

Reynolds wonder if this is a dedication to the policeman killed by the Invisible

Man in League v2.

Panel 7. Philip & Emily Graves write, "In the 1967 (Actually

around 9 years later) film "You Only Live Twice", Bond has a cigarette with

shoots a jet-powered projectile."

Page 18. Panel 2. The obelisk is Cleopatra’s Needle,

the celebratory obelisk originally constructed for Pharaoh Tuthmosis

III, ruler of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty from 1504-1450 B.C.E.

Panels 2-4. “Glamcabs” is a reference to the film Carry

On Cabby (1963). Glamcabs is a taxi company in competition with Speedee

Taxis, the service operating by Charlie Hawkins, Carry On Cabby’s protagonist.

It is possible that the driver here is Anthea, from Carry On Cabby,

played in the film by Amanda Barrie.

Panel 7. “He must meet women with names like that all the

time.” As indeed Bond does.

Page 19. Panel 1. “Birnley Fabrics” is a reference

to the film The Man in the White Suit (1951). In the film Sidney

Stratton invents a fabric, later called Birnley Fabrics after the mill

owner who produces them, that never gets dirty or wears out.

I’m assuming that the characters in this panel, as in many others

in Black Dossier, are references to British comics, but I’m unable

to place the references.

Panels 3-5.  “Mr. Kiss” is a Michael Moorcock’s Mother

London (1988), a novel about post-WW2 London. One of the main characters

is fading theater performer and professional mind-reader Josef Kiss.

Page 20. Panels 2-8.  The landlady stumped

me, but not you lot. Chris Roberson, usedcarsrus, and Ian Warren, among others,

point out that "The landlady is clearly Mrs. Cornelius, from Moorcock's Jerry

Cornelius stories and elsewhere, and her children the younger versions of

Jerry, Frank, and Catherine Cornelius, who had the same sort of complicated,

incestuous relationship hinted at here."

Panel 3. “Anyroad” is a northern British variant of “anyway.”

Page 21. Panel 1. The “Holborn Empire,” a.k.a the

Royal Holborn, a.k.a. Weston’s Music Hall, was a major music hall in Holborn,

in central London.

Peter Sanderson notes that "Lewis and Clark" are a reference to "Al Lewis

and Willie Clark, the fictional vaudeville team in Neil Simon's play 1972

"The Sunshine Boys," which was made into an MGM film released in 1975. "Lewis

and Clark" were based on the real life vaudeville team of Smith and Dale (Joe

Smith and Charles Dale)."

I’m unable to place the “Professor Donnol” reference.

“Archie Rice” is a reference to the John Osborne play The Entertainer

(1957), later made into the 1960 film The Entertainer. In the play

and film Archie Rice is an aging, hard-luck vaudevillian entertainer.

If “lifting you on wings of song” is a reference rather than just

an entertainment catchphrase, I’m unaware of it. (Alternatively, it might

be a reference to Fevvers, below).

“Fevvers” may be a reference to the protagonist of Angela Carter’s

Nights at the Circus (1984). Fevvers is a Cockney circus aeralist

Story continues below

and showgirl who has wings.

Damian Gordon clears up my confusion: “Mr. J. Stark The Incredible

India Rubber Man” is a reference to Janus Stark, a Victorian superhero

who appeared in the British comics Smash and Valiant (1969-1973).

Stark has very rubbery bones, which gives him superheroic abilities which

he uses to fight crime.

“Comedy of –rthur  -e Washboard -tkins with -er Drawers” is

a reference to Paul Whitehouse’s character Arthur Atkinson, played by

Whitehouse on the BBC tv show The Fast Show (1994-2000). Arthur

Atkinson, a parody of real-life radio comedian Arthur Askey, is a nonsensical

comedian, one of whose catchphrases is “Where’s me washboard?” and one of

whose characters is “Chester Drawers.”

Panel 4. “Or perhaps his tie-clip’s really a radio.”

I’m unaware of Bond ever having a radio transmitter in his tie-clip.

However, such a device appeared in the American tv series Search


Page 22. Panel 1. Damian Gordon corrects my confusion

here: “Baz” is a riff on the British laundry detergent Daz.

Panel 2. In 1984 an “unperson” is someone who has been

killed by the government and had his existence officially deleted and

erased from all records.

Panel 5. In 1984 “pornosec” is a section of the Ministry

of Truth that produces pornography.

Panel 6. The “Adventures of Jane” was the movie version of

Norman Pett’s comic strip “Jane,” which appeared in the British Daily

Mirror (1932-1959). Jane is an ingenue who is often inadvertently disrobed.

Also see the Tijuana Bible at the back of the Black Dossier.

Panel 8. I realize that that is probably a tiger on the mug,

but it might also be a reference to Korky the Cat, star of a comic strip

in the British comic The Dandy from 1937 to 2005.

Page 23. Panel 1. The “B.B. Years” is a reference

to “the Big Brother Years.”

“Cavor” is a reference to "Professor Selwyn Cavor," from H.G. Wells'

The First Men in the Moon (1901). Cavor appeared in League


Panels 3-4. “...he’d been to Jamaica earlier this year...apparently

he was there sparring with some mad scientist. Distant relative of our

old Limehouse adversary, I’m told.”

This is a reference to Ian Fleming’s Dr. No (1958). In the

novel Bond is sent to Jamaica to recover from having been poisoned by Rosa

Klebb in From Russia With Love. In Jamaica Bond comes into conflict

with Dr. Julius No, a Chinese-German scientist and Russian agent.

    The implication that Dr. No is related to Fu Manchu

is a new one, although, as Myles Lobdell points out, "Ian Fleming publicly

admitted that Dr. No was directly inspired by his reading Sax Rohmer at Eton.

See John Pearson's 1966 biography The Life of Ian Fleming."

Panel 5. “I wonder if he’s still alive? The Devil Doctor?”

    “Not in England. The party purged Limehouse in


In The Shadow of Fu Manchu (1948) Fu Manchu has relocated

to New York. He would not be active in Limehouse for a number of years.

Panel 9. “Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.”

“Are you sitting comforably? Then I’ll begin” was the opening phrase

of Listen with Mother (1950-1982), a BBC radio program for children.

Jonathan Carter writes, "Mina and Allan reading the Black Dossier in bed

might be a deliberate parallel to 1984's Winston and Julia reading Goldstein's

book in bed."

Page 24.  This is all written in newspeak,

with newspeak logic

Page 25. For more on “H.W.” see Page 83.

“Greyfriars” is a reference to Greyfriars School, from the hundreds

(well over a thousand) of British story paper stories set there and written

by “Frank Richards,” a.k.a. Charles Hamilton. Greyfriars is a British public

school whose students, including Billy Bunter and the Famous Five, have

a wide variety of adventures, from student revolts to attacks by Yellow


    Myles Lobdell notes, "Greyfriars School is most famously

and originally from Thackeray's novels (the Newcomes among others). 

It was not original to Charles Hamilton, although Hamilton did move the school

from Surrey to Kent."

“R.K.C.” See Page 83.

The “Holmes brothers” are a reference to Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft

Holmes. Sherlock appeared in League v1 in flashback. Mycroft has

appeared in both League volumes.

“Bessy.” See the notes to Page 86.  

“Gerry O’Brien.” See the notes to Page 13, Panel 2.

Story continues below

“Oliver Haddo” is a reference to W. Somerset Maugham’s novel The

Magician (1907). Haddo was based on Aleister Crowley, and Crowley later

used “Oliver Haddo” as a pseudonym. In The Magician Haddo (a version

of Dr. Moreau) attempts to use magic to create life.

“Trump” See Page 29.

“Prospero” is a reference to William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

(1611). In the play Prospero, a wizard and the deposed Duke of Milan, gets

up to hijinks on an island.

“Fanny Hill” is a reference to John Cleland’s Fanny Hill, Or,

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1749). Fanny Hill, one of the most

notable early works of English pornography, tells of Mistress Hill’s erotic


I’ve been unable to determine whether “Humphreys” is a reference

to a real-life person or a fictional one, and to who.

“Les Hommes Mysterieux” means “The Mysterious Men” in French. “Der

Zwielichthelden” means “The Twilight Heroes” in German.

“Rt. Hon. Bertram Wooster” is a reference to the immortal Jeeves

& Wooster stories of P.G. Wodehouse. See Page 116 for more.

“Joan Warralson” is a reference to W.E. Johns’ Worrals, who appeared

in a number of stories in Girl’s Own Paper and eleven novels from

1940 to 1950. She is a smart, independent, patriotic, and fearless pilot

for the Woman’s Auxiliary Air Force during World War Two. She is a member

of the 1946-1947 League. (See Page 148 below).

“Sal Paradyse” is a reference to Sal Paradise, the narrator of Jack

Kerouac’s On the Road (1957). On the Road, the major novel of the

Beat movement, is a stream-of-consciousness account of Kerouac and his

friends traveling across America.

“Dr. Sachs” is a reference the titular character of Jack Kerouac’s

Dr. Sax (1959). Dr. Sax is a scientist who travels to Lowell,

Massachusetts, to destroy the Great World Snake, a Jörmungandr-like


Page 26/On the Descent of Gods 1. Myles Lobdell

notes that "On the Descent of Gods' is taken from Charles Dickens' paeon to

human evolution, the Descent of Man."

The “fire at his Staffordshire estate in 1908” is a reference to the

finale of The Magician, in which Skene, Haddo’s mansion, burns to

the ground.

I believe “The Solstice” is a reference to Aleister Crowley’s magazine

The Equinox (1909-1913, then intermittently). The Equinox

is the official magazine of A:A:, the magic order Crowley established in


“ own Liber Logos, dictated by an unseen presence in Cairo during

1904.” This is a further reference to things Aleister Crowley-an. “Liber

Logos” means “Book of the Word” and is an analogue for Crowley’s own Liber

Al vel Legis, the “Book of the Law,” which was supposedly dictated

to Crowley by the Egyptian god Horus in Cairo in 1904.

The “Elohim” are, in Genesis 6:2, a kind of angel who take the “daughters

of men” for wives.

The “Great Old Ones” are a reference to the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

In Lovecraft’s “Cthulhu Mythos” stories the Great Old Ones are a group

of alien god-like beings of enormous size and power who transcend our understanding

of time and space. They are currently imprisoned or sleeping but can be

awakened by cultist worshipers.

“Johannes Suttle” is a reference to “Subtle,” from in Ben Jonson’s

play The Alchemist (1610). Subtle is a rogue who poses as an alchemist.

In the fictional literary history of the Necronomicon (see

below) as described by Lovecraft, the only reference to a 16th century

translation is this, in Lovecraft’s “The History and Chronology of the

Necronomicon": “A still vaguer rumor credits the preservation of a 16th

century Greek text in the Salem family of Pickman; but if it was so preserved,

it vanished with the artist R. U. Pickman , who disappeared early in 1926.”

In the works of Lovecraft “Abdul Alhazred” is the unfortunate 8th

century Arab writer of the Al-Azif, which later became known as

the Necronomicon (see below). Alhazred is known as the “Mad Arab”

in the Lovecraft stories, and for good reason.

“Necronomicon” is a reference to the Necronomicon, which in

the works of Lovecraft is a tome of forbidden knowledge so horrifying

that it drives those who read it mad.

“Yuggoth” is, in the works of Lovecraft, another planet. In “The

Whisperer in Darkness” Lovecraft describes Yuggoth in this way:

Yuggoth... is a strange dark orb at the very rim of our solar

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system... There are mighty cities on Yuggoth—great tiers of terraced towers

built of black stone... The sun shines there no brighter than a star, but

the beings need no light. They have other subtler senses, and put no windows

in their great houses and temples... The black rivers of pitch that flow

under those mysterious cyclopean bridges—things built by some elder race

extinct and forgotten before the beings came to Yuggoth from the ultimate

voids—ought to be enough to make any man a Dante or Poe if he can keep

sane long enough to tell what he has seen...

“Kutulu” is a reference to Cthulhu, one of the Lovecraftian Great

Old Ones and a being trapped beneath the Pacific Ocean. “Kutulu” is one

of the variant spellings of Cthulhu.

“A-Tza-Thoth” is a reference to Azathoth, one of the Lovecraftian

Outer Gods (more powerful versions of the Great Old Ones). Azathoth, the

“Blind Idiot God,” is described in “The Whisperer in Darkness” in this

way: “the monstrous nuclear chaos beyond angled space which the Necronomicon

had mercifully cloaked under the name of Azathoth.”

“Shub-Niggurath,” in the works of Lovecraft, is an alien being similar

to the Great Old Ones. Shug-Niggurath is the “Black Goat of the Woods

with a Thousand Young,” a fecund being who gives birth to monstrosities.

“N’Yala-Thoth-Ep” is a reference to Nyarlathotep, one of the Outer

Gods in the Lovecraftian mythos. Nyarlathotep, a.k.a. “The Crawling Chaos”

and “The Three-Lobed Burning Eye,” is an ill-defined and amorphous being

who “had risen up out of the blackness of twenty-seven centuries.”

“The Haunter of the Dark” is a reference to the Lovecraft story “The

Haunter of the Dark” (Weird Tales, Dec. 1936). In the story a

younger writer, Robert Blake, has an unfortunate encounter with “the Haunter

of the Dark,” an avatar of Nyarlathotep.

“Elder Gods” is a reference to a class of beings in Cthulhu Mythos

stories written after Lovecraft’s death. In Lovecraft’s fiction the Outer

Gods and the Great Old Gods are not deliberately inimical to humanity–rather,

they are simply uncaring, as we are beneath their notice. After Lovecraft’s

death August Derleth, in his story “The Return of Hastur,” proposed that

the Great Old Gods were evil and were opposed by “the Elder Gods, of cosmic


“R’Lyeh” is a reference to the city of R’lyeh, submerged beneath

the Pacific Ocean and home to Cthulhu, who is not dead, only sleeping.

“Qlippothic” is a reference to the qlippoth, the cause of evil and

suffering in Jewish mystical traditions, especially the Kabbalah.

In the Cthulhu Mythos the “‘Tcho-Tcho’ people” are an “abominable”

race of short, hairless Burmese.

“Zara’s Kingdom” appears in Gilbert & Sullivan's Utopia Limited;

or, The Flowers of Progress (1893).

Page 27/On the Descent of Gods 2. “The Arctic kingdom

of Hyperborea” is a reference to Hyperborea, which in Greek mythology was

the land “beyond the north wind,” far to the North.

“Crom” appears in the fantasies of Robert E. Howard. Crom is the

grim, brooding god worshiped by the barbarian Cimmerians, of whom Conan

is one.

The “Melnibonean Empire” is the decadent empire from which came Elric

in the “Elric of Melnibone” books of Michael Moorcock.

“Lords of Order warring endlessly with Lords of Chaos” is a reference

to the Eternal Champion book cycle of Michael Moorcock, in which Law and

Chaos, represented by the Lords of both, are in perpetual metaphysical


Arioch is one of the Lords of Chaos in the Moorcock books. He is

the “Knight of Swords” and is the patron god of Elric.

Pyaray is another of the Lords of Chaos. He is an enormous red octopus

and is the “Tentacled Whisperer of Impossible Secrets.”

Oberon the First is, in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream,

the consort to Titania, Queen of Faerie.

Page 28/On the Descent of Gods 3. “...the distinctly

Faery-blooded Anne Boleyn, with her protruberant eyes and a sixth finger

on each hand...”

In real life Anne Boleyn (c. 1501-1536) was rumored to have six fingers

on her left hand. As Damain Gordon points out, Boleyn had very large, very

dark, very noticeable eyes. I’m unaware of faeries having “protuberant

eyes,” however.

Story continues below

“...reportedly unearthly monarch, Queen Gloriana the First...”

The world of League is an alternate history, in which certain

elements of our history changed. One of these elements is the identity

of the queen of England in the 16th century. In our world, that person

was Elizabeth I (1533-1603), who ruled from 1558 until her death. In the

world of the League, that person was Gloriana. She is “unearthly” because

she is a true Faerie Queen. (See Page 43).

“...his wife Doll” is a reference to the prostitute Doll Common in

Ben Jonson’s play The Alchemist.

“Edward Face” is a reference to Face, a crafty butler in The Alchemist.

Subtle, Doll Common, and Face team up in The Alchemist to swindle

various Londoners.

“John Faust” is a reference to the Faust myth. There was a real Faust,

Georgius Faust, a wandering German mystic of the early 16th century who

claimed to be, variously, an astrologer, an academic, an expert on magic,

and an alchemist. His legend grew after his death because of his claims

to mastery of magic, which the Lutherans took seriously, leading to stories

that he had sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for advanced knowledge.

Anecdotes began to be told about a “Johannes Faustus,” and eventually he

became a figure of folklore, a man who wandered around Europe with two familiars,

a horse and a dog, and was strangled by the Devil when his time was up.

The Book of Enoch is not, I believe, a reference to the various books

which are falsely-attributed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, but

rather to the book in which Dr. John Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley

took dictation of the angelical language from a set of angels.

    Philp & Emily Graves write, "I think the reference

to the Book of Enoch is possibly a double-allusion. Certainly the apocryphal

Enoch talks of various Angelic beings (and is the reference for the Nephilim

and Lilim, which are the offspring referenced on p26). Likely, therefore that

Suttle (Dee) and Face (Kelley) communicate with the creatures from Apocryphal

Enoch, and would then use such contact to write a LoEG version of Dee's Enoch."

    Greg Strohecker writes,

I think Moore is referencing the actual book "1 Enoch" from

the pseudepigrapha, as well as the writings of John Dee and Edward Kelly.

In 1 Enoch, there is a section where it describes how some of the "Watchers",

who were fallen angels, took human wives and had children with them. Their

descendents were a race of giants called the Nephillim (not unlike the Titans

of Greek Mythology). Here's the link and quote from Wikipedia:

. "The first section of the book depicts the interaction of the fallen angels

with mankind; Sêmîazâz compels the other 199 fallen angels

to take human wives to have children." In the magical Enochian tradition

“aethyrs” are various planes or worlds which surround and mingle with

our own.

The “Thessalian witch-goddess Smarra” is a reference to Charles Nodier’s

“Smarra, ou Les Demons de la Nuit” (1821). In the story Lorenzo, an Italian,

has a series of nightmares within nightmares, which culminate with Smarra,

a Thessalian demoness, feeding on the lover of one of Lorenzo’s dream


“...or according to some accounts to have gone into self-imposed

exile on a distant island, with his life prolonged by sorcerous means.”

The implication here is that Johannes Suttle is Prospero.

“Don Alvaro” and “Biondetta” are references to Jacques Cazotte’s

Le Diable Amoureux (1772). In Le Diable Amoureux a young

Spanish nobleman, Alvaro, falls in love with the fetching Biondetta. Biondetta

takes Alvaro to bed, where after his declaration of love for her she reveals

herself to be the Devil. Only Alvaro’s faith and confession save him from


“Count von Ost” and “the Sicilian” are a references to Friedrich

von Schiller’s “Der Geisterseher: Eine Gesichte aus den Memoires des

Graf en von O” (1787-1789). In “Der Geisterseher” Graf von O falls under

the spell of the Sicilian, a swindler.

The “Order of the Golden Twilight” is a reference to the Hermetic

Order of the Golden Dawn, an English magical organization formed in 1888.

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The “Ordo Templi Terra (O.T.T.)” is a reference to the Ordo Templi

Orientis, or “O.T.O.,” a magical organization formed by Aleister Crowley

in 1904.

Page 29/Trump 1. Panel 1. The Trump is a

riff on the various British story papers and comics of the 1940s and 1950s,

which were visually similar to this.

Panel 2. “Selwyn Pike and Smiler” is a reference to the 1947

British crime comedy film Hue and Cry, in which a group of street

boys read, in a story paper, about the exploits of English detective Selwyn

Pike and his young sidekick Smiler. Pike and Smiler are spoofs on on the

English detective character Sexton Blake. Blake was created in 1893, and

his exploits appeared on a more or less continuous basis until 1968 (which,

you’ll note, gives him longevity over that gauche arriviste Superman).

Although the Sherlock Holmes stories were generally better written than

the Sexton Blake stories, it was Blake, not Holmes, who was more commonly

copied in the British story papers and comics. (Blake was more action-oriented

and had a much superior Rogues Gallery). Dozens of Sexton Blake knockoffs

appeared in the story papers in comics, nearly all following the name format

of two syllables/one syllable. So: “Sexton Blake,” “Selwyn Pike.” “Smiler,”

Pike’s young assistant, is a version of Tinker, Blake’s sidekick and informal


Panel 3. “Those Hudson Girls” is a reference to the film Whatever

Happened to Baby Jane (1962), about Blanche and Jane Hudson, two

aging sisters and actresses. In this panel Jane is drawn to resemble Bette

Davis, who played Jane in the film, and Blanch is drawn to resemble Joan

Crawford, who played Blanch in the film.

Panel 4. Philip & Emily Graves note that one of the men

in this panel resembles Charlie Chaplin, and "maybe Erich von Stroheim directing

with riding crop?"

“I’ll be jiggered if she hasn’t made a blue movie.” This is a reference

to the pornographic films Joan Crawford is supposed to have made when she

was in her twenties.

Panel 5. “Blanch is up to her coat-hanger japes” is a reference

to Crawford’s alleged thrashing of her daughter, Christina, with wire-hangers.

Panel 7. Peter Sanderson and Jeff Patterson note that "little brother

Rock" is a reference to Rock Hudson, and that his "Ladies scare me" comment

is a reference to Hudson's homosexuality and to the homophobia of the British

comics and story papers of the 1950s. Peter also wonders, as I do, if "Daddy"

is a reference to anyone in particular.

Panel 8. The two figures in the lower right of the panel are

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

Philip & Emily Graves write, "The words "Comic Cuts" are likely another

piece of clever wordplay - Comic Cuts being the first weekly comic paper (1890),

and this clearly being a 'cut' (censored) comic page."

Page 30/Trump 2. “The Life of Orlando” is done

in the style of the historical stories which appeared in British comics

in the 1950s, down to the summary in the text of the first panel. The Orlando

of the strip is Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the central character in the Black

Dossier. Orlando appeared in Woolf's Orlando (1928) and is portrayed

there as an immortal who changes sex over the centuries. The text piece in

League v2 included her as a latter  member of the League. The

Dossier greatly expands her personal history.

Panel 1. I’ve been unable to determine who the robot in this

panel is a reference to.

Panel 3. The “Seven Against Thebes” is a Greek myth, most

classically described by Aeschylus in the play Seven Against Thebes

(circa. 467 B.C.E.), about the conflict between Oedipus’ son Polynices

and his supporters (the seven of the title) and Polynices’ brother Eteocles.

Panel 4. In Greek myth Tiresias was the blind prophet of Thebes

and was cursed by Hera to become a woman for seven years.

In Greek myth Manto is the daughter of Tiresias (later, of Hercules)

and became a seer at Delphi.

Page 31/Trump 3.  Panel 2. “...the Pharaoh

Usermattra, called by some Ozymandias.” “Ozymandias” was one of the names

of Pharaoh Ramesses II (c. 1303-1213 B.C.E.). “Ozymandias” is a transliteration

of Ramesses’ formal, ruling name, “User-maat-re Setep-en-re.”

    Peter Sanderson points out that for most readers of the

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Dossier the name "Ozymandias" is likely to remind them of Ozymandias

in Moore's Watchmen.

Panel 3. This panel is a reference to the Percy Shelley poem,


I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said -- "two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert ... near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lips, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,

Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Panel 4. “Punt” was a land in eastern Africa which the ancient

Egyptians conducted trade with. It is not known where exactly Punt was.

Page 32/Trump 4.  Panel 3. In the Allan Quatermain

and Ayesha novels of H. Rider Haggard Kôr is the capital of a long-dead


Panel 4.  In the Allan Quatermain and Ayesha novels the

Flame of Immortality burns in the caves beneath Kôr. Those who bathe

in them are made immortal.

Panel 5. The “community of others who had bathed within the

pool” is a reference to the City of the Immortals, which appears in Jorge

Luis Borges’ “El Inmortal” (El Aleph, 1949). I’m unsure if the “oldest

[who] had a sullen, troglodyte demeanor” is a reference to anyone in particular.

Panel 6. In Greek mythology Memnon was an Ethopian king who

fought on the side of Troy during the Trojan War.

“Ilium” is one of the alternate names for Troy.

Page 33/Trump 5. Panel 1. The date of 1184 BC given

here for the Trojan War is the one assigned to it by the Greek scholar

Eratosthenes of Cyrene.

The characters described here appeared in the Greek myths and the

Television Without Pity-style recap of the Trojan War that is Homer’s Iliad.

Panel 3. “...loyal, ageless Bion.”

I’m not sure whether there is a specific mythological character (Greek

or otherwise) named Bion who I’ve been unable to find, or if this is

a backformation from “Albion,” one of the traditional names for Britain.

    Myles Lobdell corrects me and notes that Bion was the

brother of Melampus, a ruler of Argos in Greek mythology.

“Aeneas’ great-grandson Brutus banished for accidentally killing

his father”

In the Historia Brittonium (circa 833 C.E.), the “history”

of Britain from its founding to the 9th century, Brutus, the grandson (or

great-grandson) of Aeneas, is credited with discovering Britain and being

its first king. As a boy Brutus accidentally shot his father in the eye

with an arrow and was banished for it.

Panel 4. This panel is an accurate recap of the events described

in the Historia Brittonium.

Page 34/Trump 6.  Panel 2. In Geoffrey of

Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britannia (c. 1136 C.E.) Corin (or Corineus),

the founder of Cornwall, was a companion to Brutus during the founding

of Britain. Corin wrestled with the ogre Gogmagog and threw him off a


    I’m unsure what “Gogmageot” is a reference to.

Panel 3. Geoffrey of Monmouth claims that London’s original

name was “Trinovantum.”

Panel 5. King Mu (1001-947 B.C.E.) is reputed to have dined

with Hsi Wang Mu, Queen of the Immortals, on Mount K’un Lun, the home

of the Taoist paradise.

Damian Gordon corrects my initial confusion here: the “human-headed

tiger named Lu Wo” is a reference to Lu Wu, the god who administers Mount

K’un Lun. Lu Wu has a tiger’s body with nine tails, a human face, and tiger’s


Page 35/Trump 7.  Panel 1. “She’d gained immortality

by copulating three thousand men to death”

According to the myths, Hsi Wang Mu gained immortality by nurturing

her “yin essence” through the absorption of energy from her sex partners.

“Every time she had had intercourse with a man, he would immediately fall

ill, but her own face would remain smooth and transparent.” And as she had

no husband, she prefered sex with young boys.

Panel 2. I’m not sure what “Vita” is a reference to.

Panel 3. In H. Rider Haggard’s She books--She: A History

Story continues below

of Adventure (1886), Ayesha: The Return of She (1904), She

and Allan (1919), and Wisdom's Daughter: The Life and Love Story

of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed (1922)–Ayesha, a.k.a. “She Who Must Be Obeyed,”

is a 2000-year-old goddess worshiped in the African city of Kôr. In

Ayesha: The Return of She Ayesha reappears in the Asian country of


Hes, a.k.a. Fire Mountain, appears in Ayesha: The Return of She.

Panel 4. According to Roman myths Romulus and Remus, the twin

sons of the priestess Rhea Silvia and the god Ares, were reared by a

wolf and founded Rome. Legend further states that Romulus slew Remus over

a dispute over which brother was supported by the gods and would give the

city his name.

Panel 5. Semiramis is a legendary queen of Assyria and the

wife of Ninus, the founder of Assyria. According Persica (c. 401 B.C.E.),

the history of Persia written by the Greek historian Ctesias of Cnidus,

Semiramis succeeded Ninus and led an invasion of India.

Page 36/Trump 8. Panel 1. “...since she tended

to execute these the following morning.”

According to some myths Semiramis was particularly lustful. In Inferno

Dante has her on the second level of Hell, among the lustful.

Panel 2. The Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.E.) was a major victory

for the Smurfs over the forces of Gargamel, and prevented him from conquering

Oz and Wonderland.

Panel 4. The Egyptian city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander

of Macedon in 331 B.C.E., but the “sea-monster-plagued” and iron leviathans

are reference to Monsters’ Park, mentioned in Maria Savi-Lopez's Leggende

del mare (1920), a collection of myths and legends about the sea.

The “bathysphere” mentioned here is a reference to the Problemata

of Aristotle, in which Alexander is lowered into the sea in a “very fine

barrel made entirely of white glass.”

Page 37/Trump 9. Panel 2. Spartacus (c. 120-c.70

B.C.E.) was a gladiator/slave who led an unsuccessful slave uprising

in 73 B.C.E.

“...everyone else apparently being named ‘Spartacus’.”

This is a reference to the 1960 film version of Spartacus.

In the film (Myles Lobdell notes that this scene does not appear in the Howard

Fast novel the film is based on), when the centurions come to punish Spartacus,

who is a prisoner along with his men, all of Spartacus’ men stand up and

claim they are Spartacus. (I’m summarizing: go here and you can see

the scene for yourself).

Panel 3. Caesar’s invasion of Britain was done both as punishment

for the Britons supporting the Gauls against the Romans and as the conquest

of a economically valuable land.

Panels 4-6. The history here is accurate.

Page 38/Trump 10. Panel 1. The Roman historian

Suetonius (c. 69-c.130 C.E.) records, in his De Vita Caesarum,

that Tiberius indulged in a wide range of sexually cruel behavior, but

Suetonius’ credibility as a historian is not great. (As a writer, though,

he’s great fun to read).

The question of Caligula’s sanity is a debated one. He was ruthless,

certainly, but also popular with the Roman people. The stories circulated

about him, during his lifetime and afterward, vary in their depiction,

from simple harshness and brutality to insanity (trying to make his horse

Incitatus a consul, for example).

Panel 2. The history here is as given.

Panel 3. Pliny the Elder’s expedition to Pompeii was to observe

the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius first-hand. Pliny’s nephew, Pliny the Younger,

claims that Pliny was overcome by the poisonous fumes, but of the several

people with Elder, only Elder died, so it is more likely that Elder,

who was fat, had a heart attack.

Appolonius of Tyana (16-97 C.E.) was a wandering philosopher and

teacher in Cappadocia.

Alexander of Abonoteichus claimed to be a student of Appolonius of

Tyana. Alexander, later called “Alexander the False Prophet” by the Roman

satirist Lucian of Samosata, spread the worship of the snake-god Glycon,

which Alan Moore also worships.

Panel 4. “...the sage Lucian, with whom I journeyd accidentally

to the Moon, our ship transported by a monstrous waterspout.”

This is a reference to Lucian of Samosata’s True Story, in

which Lucian and his companions are blown off course by a heavy wind, past

the Pillars of Hercules, and have a series of adventures, one of which

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involves being propelled by a water spout to the moon.

The history of the emperors Heliogabalus and Julian given here is


Page 39/Trump 11. Panel 1. In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s

Prophetiae Merlini (c. 1130? C.E.) and Historia Regum Britannia

the wizard Merlin is called “Ambrosius Merlinus,” a combination of the

legendary Welsh mad prophet Myrddin ap Morfryn/Myrddin Wilt and the Roman

war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus.

Panel 2. According to British myth Uther Pendragon, father

of King Arthur, was a king of Britain, although I’m not aware that he was

ever specifically associated with Cornwall except in his liaison with Igraine,

the wife of Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall. From their liaison came King


In the early, Latin versions of the Arthurian mythology King Arthur

is referred to as “Arthurus.”

Panel 3. The events described here are accurate in Arthurian


Panel 4. According to French myth and the Song of Roland,

the unbreakable, magic sword of Roland is Durendal (alternatively Durandal).

Panel 5. King Hrothgar is a figure in Anglo-Saxon, Norse,

and Danish myths and sagas. “Hierot” is a reference to Hrothgar’s hall

Heorot in the epic Beowulf.

Page 40/Trump 12. Panel 1. The events here are

as described in Beowulf, including Beowulf ripping the arm from Grendel’s


Panel 2. Siegfried is a hero of various Scandinavian myths.

In the German peom Niebelungelied (c. 1200?) and in the later operas

of Wagner based on the Germanic myths Siegfried is a dragon-slayer.

Panel 3. In the Norse myth of Ragnarok the world ends after

a final conflict between the giants and the gods. One of those gods,

Thor, can be seen in this panel, striking his hammer against the head

of the serpent Jormungandr. (And for those of you who’ve always wished

that Alan Moore would write Thor for Marvel Comics, this panel is likely

as close as you’ll get).

Panels 3-4. “...a cataclysm mirrored in the Earthly realm

by a collision with a weighty meteoric rock, its dust veiling the heavens

for three years. During this endless Fimbul-Winter, when it seemed the moon

had been devoured....”

In Norse myth the Fimbul-Wiinter was the three years in which there

is no summer, just endless winter and snow. Historically, there were very

cold summers during the years 536-540 C.E., causing widespread crop failures

and starvation. The prevailing theory for the cause of this was that the

impact of a comet hitting the earth spread debris across the atmosphere

and created a version of “nuclear winter.”

Panel 5. There may have been a historical person named Roland

who died at the Battle of Roncevaux (August 15, 778 C.E.), but the reference

here is to the fictional battle as described in the Song of Roland, in

which the Saracens slaughter Roland and all of his men.

Page 41/Trump 13. Panel 1. “Orlando” is the Italian

version of “Roland.”

Hārūn al-Rashīd (763-809 C.E.) was the greatest of the Caliphs of

the Abbasid dynasty, and his rule is generally seen as the height of the

Persian Golden Age.

Scheharezade (alternatively Scheherazade and Shahrazad) is the heroine

of the One Thousand and One Nights (c. 850 C.E.) better known

as The Arabian Nights.

Sindbad the Sailor appears in The Arabian Nights.

Panel 2.  “...’til he left on that eighth voyage from

which he never would return.”

In The Arabian Nights Sindbad sails on seven voyages. Various

sequels have been written ever since describing Sindbad’s eighth voyage.

“...Haroun’s grandson Al Wathik Be’llah...”

Al-Wathiq ibn Mutasim, the Abbasid Caliph from 842-847 C.E., was

the grandson of Hārūn al-Rashīd.

Panel 3. The contents of this panel are a reference to William

Beckford’s novel Vathek (1786). Vathek, an Arabesque Gothic

novel, is about the downfall and damnation of Vathek, the grandson of Hārūn

al-Rashīd.  The events of the novel are as described here.

Panel 4. “Prester John” was a legendary figure in Europe from

the 12th to the 17th century. He was supposedly the Christian ruler of

a nation somewhere in the East.
Panel 5. “...I helped Blondel and his minstrel underground

free Richard, called the Lionheart, from prison.”

Blondel de Nesle was a 13th century French troubadour who, according

to the Récits d'un Ménestrel de Reims (c. 1250?),

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helped rescue Richard the Lionheart, who had been captured and imprisoned

in 1192 by King Leopold V of Austria.

Page 42/Trump 14. Panel 3. The history of Constantinople

is as described here.

Panel 4. “I posed for Leonardo, even though I was becoming

a man at the time. I remember he kept asking me why I was smirking.”

This is a reference to the mysterious smile of the Mona Lisa in Leonardo

da Vinci’s portrait of her.

    Myles Lobdell writes, "the mixed gender and sexual ambiguity/androgyny

of the Mona Lisa is sometimes seen as one of the most compelling attributes

of the portrait, hence the importance of Orlando's changing genders at this


Page 43/Trump 15. Panel 2. “...Gloriana, England’s

Queen, daughter of Henry VIII and faerie half-breed Nan Bullen.”

Queen Gloriana is a literal faery queen. She has six fingers on her

hand, as Queen Elizabeth was rumored to have and as Elizabeth’s mother

Anne Boleyn was rumored to have. One explanation bruited about for Boleyn’s

six fingers was that she was half-faerie. “Nan Bullen” is a reference to

Anne Boleyn, with “Nan” being a traditional nickname for “Anne” and “Bullen”

being the original version of “Boleyn.”

Panel 3. See Page 53.

Panel 5.  The group seen here is the first known League

of Extraordinary Gentlemen, referred to in League v2 as “Prospero’s

Men.” They are:

  • “beloved Spanish aristocrat Quixote,” a.k.a. Don Quixote, from

    Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's Don Quixote de La Mancha (1605-1615).

  • “impoverished sea-captain Robert Owemuch,” from The Floating

    Island (1673), by “Frank Careless.”

  • “ravishing courtesan Mistress St. Clair.” I believe this is

    a reference to Amber St. Clair, from Kathleen Winsor’s Forever Amber

    (1944). In the novel poor country girl St. Clair goes from being a prisoner

    at Newgate to the mistress of King Charles II.

  • “Christian,” from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim's Progress from

    this World to that Which is to Come (1678-1684). In Progress

    Christian, an Everyman, travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial

    City, visiting the Slough of Despond, the House of the Interpreter, and

    various other locales on the way.

So, from left to right, we see: Quixote, Owemuch, Sprite, Prospero,

Caliban, Christian, St. Clair, and Orlando.

Page 44/Trump 16. Panel 1. “...the spectral Arctic

‘Blazing World’”
The Blazing World is from Observations upon Experimental Philosophy.

To which is added the Description of a New Blazing World. Written by the

Thrice Noble, Illustrious and Excellent Princess, The Duchess of Newcastle

(1666), by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. The Blazing World

is an archipelago of island which extends from the North Pole through the

Greenland and Norwegian Seas almost to the British Islands.

Panel 4. This group here is the 18th century League of Extraordinary

Gentlemen, first glimpsed in League v1 and described in more depth

in League v2. They are:

  • “unlucky mariner Lemuel Gulliver,” from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s

    Travels (1726).

  • “trapper Natty Bumppo,” from from James Fennimore Cooper's

    five Leatherstocking novels, the most famous of which is The Last of

    the Mohicans (1826).

  • “libertine Mistress Hill,” a.k.a. Fanny Hill.
  • “dual-natured clergyman Dr. Syn,” from Russell Thorndike's

    Doctor Syn (1915) and its six prequels. In Doctor Syn

    the kindly and genial Reverend Doctor is the vicar of Dymchurch at the

    turn of the 19th century. Syn was also the notorious pirate and smuggler

    Captain Clegg, who was also known as the Scarecrow.

  • “and the resourceful Blakeneys,” a.k.a. Sir Percy Blakeney

    and Lady Marguerite Blakeney, from Baroness Emmuska Orczy's The Scarlet

    Pimpernel (1905) and its ten sequels. Sir Percy Blakeney was a foppish

    British nobleman during the years of the French Revolution. His alter ego,

    the Scarlet Pimpernel, was a daring hero who rescued many innocent members

    of the French royalty from Robespierre and the Terror. Lady Marguerite

    Blakeney, his wife, was “the cleverest woman in Europe” and an able partner

    to the Pimpernel.

For more on “Brobdignag’s giant wars,” see Page 66.

Page 45/Trump 17. Panel 1. For more on “the trio’s

annual sojourns through erotic Europe,” see the text section of League

v2 and the Fanny Hill section (Pages 57-72) of the Dossier.

“Twilit Horselberg” is a reference to Horselberg, a.k.a. Venusberg,

is from Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser (1845). The more erotic/pornographic

elements of Horselberg were added by Aubrey Beardsley in his Under

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the Hill (1897).

Panel 2. “...superhuman aesthete Fortunio...”

This is a reference to Theophile Gautier’s Fortunio (1837),

in which the gorgeous, aloof aesthete Fortunio is fruitlessly pursued

by the beautiful courtesan Musidora, who fails to win his love because

Fortunio’s tastes are too refined for drab Europe.

“...or ambiguous Mademoiselle de Maupin...”

This is a reference to Theophile Gautier’s Mademoiselle de Maupin,

double amour (1835), in which Madeleine de Maupin, always in search

of the perfect love, is always disappointed.

Panel 3. “ the monastery So Sa Ling, I was captured by

Bon sorcerers....”

This is a reference to A Tibetan Tale of Love and Magic (1938)

by Alexandra David-Neel. In the book, a travelogue, a Tibetan bandit tells

Neel the story of the monastery of the Bon sorcerers.

Panel 4. “...the azure Mount Karakal and dragon-blazoned Shangri-La....”

Mount Karakal and Shangri-La appear in James Hilton's Lost Horizon


Panel 5. If the whale in the iceberg is a reference to anything

in particular, I’m unaware of it. (Moby Dick, maybe?)

Page 46/Trump 18. Panel 1. “I strived alongside

her, allan, the thief Raffles, and occultist Carnacki to avert disaster

at King George’s coronation.”

This is a reference to the events of League v3.

“Raffles” is a reference to A.J. Raffles, the creation of E. W. Hornung.

Raffles, who first appeared in Cassell’s Magazine in 1898, is

one of the best known of the gentleman thieves.

“occultist Carnacki” is a reference to William Hope Hodgson’s occult

detective Thomas Carnacki, who appeared in six stories in The Idler

and The New Magazine between 1910 and 1912.

Panel 2. “In 1913, assisting the team against French counterparts

Les Hommes Mysterieux, I nearly died battling the albino, Zenith, in

pounding rain atop the Paris Opera.”

See Pages 114-115.

“...the albino, Zenith” is a reference to Monsieur Zenith,

the Albino, one of the arch-enemies of British storypaper detective Sexton

Blake. Created by George Norman Philips, a.k.a. Anthony Skene, Monsieur

Zenith is a world-weary, opium-addicted, danger-loving Gentleman Thief.

Panel 3. “...penitent bandit A.J. Raffles, who’d lose his

life during the conflict.”

In the original Hornung stories Raffles did eventually become exposed

as a thief and regret his crimes. He volunteered for action in the Boer

War and lost his life in combat. Naturally, every sequelist has refused to

accept that end for Raffles.

“At the Battle of Mons, I was lucky enough to see Agincourt’s phantom

bowmen aiding the English.”

This is a reference to the Angels of Mons. At the Battle of Mons

(Aug. 22-23, 1914) a group of British troops, though grossly outnumbered,

temporarily defeated the attacking Germans. On Sept. 29, 1914, Arthur

Machen published the story “The Bowmen” in the London Evening News.

“The Bowmen” purports to be the first-hand account of a soldier at Mons

who witnessed English archers, from the Battle of Agincourt, driving off

the Germans. This story was taken to be true, and thanks to the foibles

of human psychology many have claimed that it is and that they saw the bowmen.

Panel 4. “Poor Agatha Runcible’s set” is a reference to Evelyn

Waugh’s Vile Bodies (1930), about the smart London set and Agatha

Runcible, who nearly burns herself alive.

For more on the Woosters, see Page 116.

I know I should get “The Claytons” as a reference, but I’m drawing

a blank. Damian Gordon wonders if it’s a reference to Jane Clayton, partner

to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan.

“Jay and Daisy” is a reference to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great

Gatsby (1925) and Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan.

Page 47/Trump 19. Panel 1. “...the dictator Adenoid

Hynkel” is a reference to Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator

(1940), in which Hitler-analogue Adenoid Hynkel becomes dictator of Tomania.

“...aces such as Bigglesworth” is a reference to W.E. Johns’ aviator

James "Biggles" Bigglesworth, who appeared in 102 novels and story collections

from 1932 to 1970. Biggles is Britain’s greatest air ace and a most successful

spy, and begins fighting Britain’s enemies at age seventeen during World

War One.

“Hebblethwaite” is a reference to Ginger Hebblethwaite, Biggles’


“Visiting yank G-8" is a reference to Robert J. Hogan’s G-8, who

appeared in 111 stories in G-8 and His Battle Aces and Dare-Devil

Aces from 1933 to 1944. G-8 was the greatest of the pulp air aces,

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although in his pulp appearances he was only ever active during World War


Page 48/Trump 20. Panel 1. There was a children’s

comic strip called “Simon and Sally” in the British comic Robin,

beginning in 1953, and this may be a reference specifically to that, or

to the strips like it that appeared in British comics of the 1950s.

Panel 2. “Blackgang Chine” is an actual park on the Isle of


Panel 3. The “Tralfamadorian” is a reference to the novels

of Kurt Vonnegut, in which an alien race, the Tralfamadorians, experiences

life in four dimensions and can see all points across time. I’m not sure

what the Tralfamadorian waving means, if anything, or why he “smells of

something bad.” (Myles Lobdell writes that he smells of something bad because

"he is an upright toilet plunger (or at least looks like one)."

The alien to the left of the Tralfamadorian is one of the Martians

from the “Mars Attacks” series of trading cards.

Panel 4. The “friendly Lazunes” is a reference to the Lazoons,

from the British tv series Fireball XL5 (1962-1963). The Lazoons

are an alien race, one of whose members, Zoony, becomes a part of the

XL5 crew.

“The Green Man” is a Green Martian from the John Carter novels of

Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Panel 5. “Gorgo’s mother” is a reference to the film Gorgo

(1961), in which the capture of Gorgo, a Godzilla-sized creature, by British

sailors leads Gorgo’s mother to attack London in an attempt to rescue him.

I’m unable to recognize the big-eared alien or the two humping aliens.

Gabriel Neeb and Jonathan Carter note that he two big-brained aliens are

Metaluna mutants from the film This Island Earth.

The Metaluna mutants are gesturing at the alien from the British sf horror

film Fiend Without a Face (1958).

Panel 5. The Triffid is one of the carnivorous plants in Wyndham’s

The Day of the Triffids.

Page 49/Færie’s Fortunes Founded 1

“Gloriana” is the titular character of Edmund Spenser’s epic poem “The

Faerie Queen” (1590-1596), which is an allegory written to celebrate Queen

Elizabeth I. “The Faerie Queen” is about Faerieland and its ruler, the Faerie

Queen, called “Gloriana” because she represents Glory.

    Guest_Informant, among others, notes that Michael Moorcock

wrote Gloriana (1978), about Queen Elizabeth. I'm not sure I see

any connection between Moorcock's Gloriana and Moore's beyond the name,


Page 50/Færie’s Fortunes Founded 2. “Master

Shytte” and “Master Pysse” are very Shakespearean names. (Casual readers

forget that Shakespeare, like his contemporaries, didn't hestitate to indulge

in scatalogical and sexual humor).

“Dogrose,” “Gorse,” and “Love-Lies-Bleeding” are all common names

for flowers. Faeries, in Shakespeare, have flowers’ names.

Page 51/Færie’s Fortunes Founded 3. “Our

right Queen Mary sickened to her crypt”

Queen Mary I (1516-1558) died of what was likely ovarian cancer.

“Speak not/Her cog, lest like her kin she come when hailed.”

English folklore had it that it was unwise to name elves, lest you

summon them, so alternative names, like “The Fair Folk,” were used.

“A will-gill or a child of Herm–“

A “will-gill” is, per the Oxford English Dictionary, “a hermaphrodite;

an effeminate man.” In the Greek myths the god Hermaphroditus was the

son of Hermes.

“They jest with me.”

Which is, of course, what Shakespearean doormen do.

Page 52/Færie’s Fortunes Founded 4. “Enter

Sir John Wilton and Sir Basildon Bond, right.”

“Sir John Wilton” is a reference to Thomas Nashe’s The Unfortunate

Traveller or the life of Jack Wilton (1594), a picaresque novel about

a wandering English rogue, Jack Wilton. “Basildon Bond” is a brand of British

stationery--but more importantly, as Paul Cornell notes, "Basildon Bond"

is a character, created by British musician and comedian Russ Abbot, as a

spoof of James Bond.

Although James Bond’s ancestry has been described in, among others, John

Pearson’s James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007, Bond’ Elizabethan

forebears have never been mentioned.

"Sheathe thy stilletos and restrain thy boot."

Philip & Emily Graves see this line as being inspired by Romeo &

Juliet's "Deny thy family, renounce thy Name."

Page 53/Færie’s Fortunes Founded 5. “Thus

should it please me that you now remain/By London here, at Mortlake to

the West.”

Story continues below

Mortlake is a borough of London on the southern half of the Thames.

Its most famous resident is Dr. John Dee (1527-1609), the occultist, alchemist,

and advisor to Queen Elizabeth. As he did with Elizabeth and Gloriana,

Moore seems to be replacing Dee with Prospero.

“As one John Suttle...”

See the note to Page 26.

“...its master my Lord Wilton here: Its ‘M,’ for em’s but double-U


In the James Bond books and films “M” is the code name for the head

of MI6, the British Intelligence Service. The tradition of the heads of

the British Secret Service calling themselves by a single initial dates

back at least a century. Although there are persistent stories within the

intelligence community that Sir Francis Walsingham, a member of Queen Elizabeth’s

Privy Council and the head of her intelligence agency, referred to himself

as “M,” the first documented example of a head of the British Secret Service

being known by a single initial was Captain Sir Mansfield Cumming, who

was appointed director of the British Secret Intelligence Service, then

known as MI1c, in 1909. Captain Sir Cumming’s name was never officially

made public, and he was generally known by the initial “C.”

    Gloriana replaces Elizabeth. Prospero replaces John

Dee. And Jack Wilton replaces Sir Francis Walsingham.

“It seems like bosoms, or a brace of noughts. Two ‘0's, within a

seven bracketed.”

And so we see the origin of the double-zero designation for those

agents licensed to kill in the James Bond novels. (More prosaically, Fleming

reportedly got the idea of the double-zero designation from Rudyard Kipling’s

“.007" (1897)).

    Chris Roberson notes that "And supposedly the historical

John Dee used the code "007" as his signature in secret communications to

Queen Elizabeth, as well. (Incidentally, just as Prospero/Suttle is a fictional

stand in for Dee, Edward Face is a stand-in for the historical Edward Kelley,

who assisted Dee in his angelic scrying.)"

    Jonathan Carter writes that this line "might refer to

the fact that the Masonic square and compass symbol looks like a W over an


“Hang I as in a saddle-wire, a dee.”

Again quoting the Oxford English Dictionary, a saddle-wire

is “Bookbinding: a wire staple passed through the back fold of a single

gathering.” A dee is “applied to a D-shaped iron or steel loop used for

connecting parts of harness, or for fastening articles to the saddle.” The

connection between Prospero and John Dee is made more solid here.

"When not employed you may, for all I care, Hack at a dangled Tartar's head

for sport."

As Philip & Emily Graves point out, Orlando was doing exactly that on

Page 43, Panel 3.

Page 54/Færie’s Fortunes Founded 6. “Why,

should I like a cunny-hare to pet,

They are both soft and warm, and likewise quick.

How might I set its velvet ear a-prick

Or make its nose to twitch, so pink and wet?

Then should I have about me, by my troth,

That which is cunny and a-prick the both.”

No, I’m not going to explain this.

Page 56/Færie’s Fortunes Founded 8. “...Gloriana’s

deeply Christian and deeply resentful nephew and successor, King Jacob

the First.”

In our world, Queen Elizabeth was succeeded by King James I (1566-1625),

who was careful to maintain a good relationship with Elizabeth, despite

her involvement in the death of Mary, James’ mother. James was deeply

Christian and would have hated faeries as much as his analogue, King

Jacob, does here.

“ Jacob himself put it at the time in his book Dæmonologie,

‘That kinde of devils conversing in the earth may be devided in four

different kinds...The fourth is these kinde of spirites that are called

vulgarlie the Fayrie.’ (III,i)”

King James wrote a book, Dæmonologie (1597), in which

he described the various kinds of demons, in which he writes, in Chapter

5, “The description of the fourth kinde of Spirites called the Phairie.”

Page 58/Fanny Hill 2. At the end of Fanny Hill

Fanny does give up her pleasure-loving ways to marry Charles, but it’s

entirely in keeping with the tone of Fanny Hill for Charles to stray.

Page 59/Fanny Hill 3. “Mistress Flanders” is Moll

Flanders, from Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1772). Moll rises from

Story continues below

poverty to become an American plantation-owner, having various adventures,

romances, and becoming an “Artist” among thieves.

Page 60/Fanny Hill 4. Although there are a variety

of English taverns and inns called “Admiral Benbow,” undoubtedly the reference

here is to the Admiral Benbow of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island

(1883). The Admiral Benbow is the inn in Briston in which Jim Hawkins


“...the miniature-made garden of the Zipangese kind...”

“Zipang” was one of the early English names for Japan, after Marco

Polo recorded the Chinese word for Japan as “Cipangu.”

“Laputa” appears in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726).

Laputa is a flying island whose culture is preoccupied with music, mathematics,

and astronomy.

    Paul Cornell notes, and I really should have gotten

this one, that "Laputa," Spanish for "The Whore," is fittingly mentioned

in the Fanny Hill section.

Page 61/Fanny Hill 5. “...pirates, captained by

one Clegg...”

In Russell Thorndike's Doctor Syn one of the alternate identities

of Dr. Syn is the infamous pirate and smuggler Captain Clegg.

“Imogene” is indeed the name of Syn’s/Clegg’s ship, after his faithless

Spanish wife.

Page 62/Fanny Hill 6. "I came at last to Micromona..."

Micromona was created by Karl Immerman and appears in the verse satire

Tulifäntchen, Ein Heldengedicht in drei Gesängen (1830).

Page 64/Fanny Hill 8. “ illustrator, a Marquis

named Dorat...”

This one is a bit of a puzzler. It may be a reference to the French

poet and dramatist Claude-Joseph Dorat, who wrote two erotic/”libertine”

novels, Les Egarements de Julie (1755) and Les Malheurs de l’Inconstance,

as well as an illustrated collection of erotic poetry, Les Baisers

(1770). But as far as I’ve been able to discover, Dorat wasn’t an artist,

and the mention of the puddle-hound/poodle Franz and the resulting painting

is clearly a reference to something, but I’ve been unable to discover what.

Page 66/Fanny Hill 10. Brobdignag is from Swift’s

Gulliver’s Travels. Pantagruel is from the anonymously written Le

Voyage de navigation que fist Panurge, disciple de Pantagruel (1538),

and François Rabelais’ Le cinquiesme et dernier livre des faicts

et dicts du bon Pantagruel (1564). Utopia is from Sir Thomas More's

Utopia (1516), with Pantagruel’s time in Utopia portrayed in François

Rabelais' Pantagruel roi des Dipsodes (1532).

I’m not going to explain the joke in this panel.

Page 67/Fanny Hill 11. “...the legionnaires of

Roman State ‘neath northern England...”

The Roman State is from Joseph O'Neill's Land Under England

(1935). The Roman State is a fascistic subterranean nation underneath

England, reachable via a trapdoor at the base of Hadrian's Wall.

“...the strange, stygian civilization of the Vril people or ‘Vril-ya’

as they called themselves...”

The Vril-ya are from Edward Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race

(1871). The Vril-ya are a race which has constructed a utopia in a ravine

deep beneath Newcastle.

Page 69/Fanny Hill 13. “...the delightful kingdom

of Trypheme...”

Tryphême appears in Pierre Louÿs's Les Aventures du

Roi Pausole (1900).

Page 70/Fanny Hill 14. “Cockaigne, often called

Cocaigne or Cuccagna...”

Cockaigne/Cocaigne/Cuccagna is from the Le Dit de cocagne

(13th century C.E.) and then Marc-Antoine Le Grand's Le Roi de Cocagne

(1719). Cocagne, or Cockaigne, is the French equivalent of Utopia. In the

Middle Ages numerous Cocagne myths were told about "a land of fabled abundance,

with food and drink for the asking."

“...such classic writings as The Thirty-Two Gratifications.”
The Thirty-Two Gratifications is mentioned as one of the manuals

of love in James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice (1919).

Page 73. This panel is drawn in the crude and vigorous

style of 18th century political cartoons.

If “Billy the Bursar” is a reference, I’m unaware of it.

“...mentally-weak King George III...”

Later in life George III suffered from mental illness which may have

been porphyria and/or arsenic poisoning.

The history mentioned in this panel is accurate as given. Peter Sanderson

notes that the historical George was given to saying "what what."

Page 76. Panel 7. “They’ve made you look a bit

of a cunt, haven’t they, old man?”

To quote Warren Ellis, in Crécy: “Cunt. This is a word

that many people do not like. But you have to understand the English.

In England, the word cunt is punctuation.”

Page 77. Panel 2. I’m guessing that “Dr. Bre–“

Story continues below

is a reference to Dr. Geoffrey Brent, star of the British tv series Police

Surgeon (1960). Dr. Brent is a medical doctor working with the police

in Bayswater in London.

“Dr. D. Keel” is a reference to Dr. David Keel, who appeared in the

first season of the British tv series The Avengers in 1961. Keel

was originally the protagonist of The Avengers, but John Steed,

originally a secondary character, stole the show. Actor Ian Hendry played

both Dr. Geoffrey Brent and Dr. David Keel, although there was no textual

link between Police Surgeon and The Avengers.

I believe “One Ten” is a reference to “One Ten,” Steed’s superior

in the second season of The Avengers.

Panel 3. I believe “George” is George Smiley, from the John

Le Carré novels. In the novels Smiley is a melancholy spy master.

The “George” seen here has the eyeglasses of which Sir Alec Guinness wore

when he portrayed Smiley, and Smiley drinks a great deal of tea (hence

the “cuppa” reference).

Panel 4. Presumably the woman carrying the file is Moneypenny,

the long-suffering secretary to M in the James Bond novels and books.

“Drake” is a reference to John Drake–the Page 17 above.

Panel 7. I believe the squat man on the left holding a cigar

is intended to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, James Bond’s greatest foe.

The man on the right in the lab coat is Q, head of the Q Branch (research

and development) of the British Secret Service in the James Bond novels.

Page 78. Panel 6. “Hugo Drummond” is a reference

to Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond, from the seventeen novels of “Sapper,”

a.k.a. Herman Cyril McNeile. Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond is a massive World

War One veteran who killed any number of Germans in one-man commando raids

into the enemy trenches. After the war he finds peace tedious and begins

fighting against those who would do England dirty. This list includes Jews,

Germans, Russians, non-whites, anarchists, and Communists.

For more on “John Night’s daughter,” see Page 80 below.

Panel 8. In the final season of The Avengers Steed

& Tara King receive their orders from “Mother,” a man in a wheelchair.

Panel 9. “But Harry...Harry died a long time ago, in the sewers

under Vienna.”

Harry, in this case, is Harry Lime, from the film The Third Man

(1949). At the end of the film Lime is shot in the sewers of Vienna.

I believe that Kevin O’Neill drew “Harry Lime” to look like Orson

Welles, who played Lime in The Third Man.

Page 79. Panel 2. Bulldog Drummond was a reactionary

who would glory in strike-breaking.

Panel 4. “Jimmy, you did very well against our Yellow Peril


This is another reference to Dr. No.

Panel 5. “Sidney Reilly” is a reference to Lt. Sidney Reilly

(c. 1873-1925), a spy-for-hire used by the British government, among others,

and known as the “Ace of Spies.” He was one of the models Fleming used for

James Bond.

Panel 6. The illustration in the background is of one of H.G.

Wells’ Martians, from War of the Worlds, as imagined by Kevin


Page 80.  Panel 1. “Miss Night” is better

known as Emma Peel, the best of John Steed’s partners on The Avengers.

Although in The Avengers she is Mrs. Peel, her birth name is Emma

Knight, as her father is Sir John Knight, which explains the “John Night’s

daughter” reference on Page 78. Peter Sanderson adds "Mrs. Emma Peel's maiden

name and the name of her father were established in the 1966 "Avengers" episode

"The House That Jack Built" (The fake newspaper

from the episode should interest you:  see

If we presume that Mrs. Peel is the same age as Diana Rigg, who played her,

she would have been 20 years old in 1958."

Panel 3. The bronze bust, with the letters “-os” visible,

may be a reference to Talbot Munday’s Tros of Samothrace (various stories

and novels, 1925-1935). Tros is the son of Perseus and a native of Samothrace

during the reign of Julius Caesar, who is portrayed as a villain and who

Tros fights against.

Panel 6. The car under construction here is Chitty Chitty

Bang Bang, the flying car from Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:

Story continues below

The Magical Car (1964).

Page 81.  Panel 3. I believe that “Brookgate”

is a reference to Michael Moorcock’s King of the City (2000). In

the novel Brookgate is a section of London which “under the power of the

Hugenot Leases” is fully autonomous and controlled by its citizens until

a vile Rupert Murdoch-like figure buys up Brookgate and ruins it.

Panel 5. If the statue is a reference to anything in particular

I’m unaware of it.

Page 82.  Panel 1. “Num Yum” candies appear

in the British film I’m All Right Jack (1959).

Panel 2. For more on “our coloured chum and his Dutch girls”

see Page 166, Panel 1.

For more on “a public school that I know in Kent,” see the note on

Greyfriars on Page 25.

Panel 5. I’ve drawn a blank on “Whiter Frisko,” “d’etto,”

“Dreem,” and “Frim.” Anyone? (They may be Jack Trevor Story references–see

Panel 7 below).

Panel 7.  “Mr. Callendar” is a reference to Jack Trevor

Story’s Live Now, Pay Later (1962).

Page 83. Panel 1. “Albert” is Albert Argyle, from

Jack Trevor Story’s Live Now, Pay Later, Something For Nothing

(1963), and The Urban District Lover (1964). Argyle is a traveling

salesman and ho.

I don’t believe the “Frampton Overcoat” is a reference to anything

in particular.

Panel 4. “...if you like tally-boys, getting people into debt

for a living.”

A “tally-boy” was a wandering salesman who sold things to people

on installment and then picked up the weekly payments. Mina doesn’t think

much of them, and Jack Trevor Story didn’t either, as can be seen in Live

Now, Pay Later.

Panel 6. “General Sir Harold Wharton” is a reference Harry

Wharton, from the hundreds of short stories, novels, radio and television

programs written by “Frank Richards,” the pseudonym of Charles Hamilton.

Harry Wharton is a spirited schoolboy at the English public (private) school

of Greyfriars. Wharton is the leader of the “Famous Five,” Frank Nugent,

Bob Cherry, Johnny Bull, and Hurree Jamset Ram Singh, the Nabob of Bhanipur.

(Billy Bunter attends Greyfriars but is not a member of the Five). Together

they get into a wide range of adventures.

The “R.K.C.” mentioned here and on Page 25 is “Bob Cherry.”

Page 84. Panel 1. This is the Tradesman’s Entrance

of Greyfriars, as seen on a map here.

Panel 2. Richard Hannay was created by John Buchan and appeared

in six novels from 1915 to 1936. He is a wealthy Scottish mining engineer

who gets involved in a series of espionage adventures.

Panel 3. “Decent sort of chap, I always thought.” “Absolutely.”

Although Hannay and Buchan are usually grouped together with Bulldog

Drummond and Sapper, and Richard Chandos/Berry Pleydell/Jonah Mansel

and Dornford Yates in the Clubmen Heroes category, Hannay and Buchan are

much different. Buchan was a far better writer than Sapper or Yates (I

particularly recommend Buchan’s supernatural fiction), and Hannay was

much less bigoted and jingoistic than Drummond et al. Too, there’s a humanistic

and even compassionate streak running through the Hannay novels which is

quite missing from the work of Sapper and Yates. In one of the Hannay novels

there is a conscientious objector to the war, and where Sapper would have

mocked the character or humiliated him, or shown him to be a spy, Buchan

treats the objector fairly.

“...that ‘Thirty-Nine Steps’ Business he investigated.”

Buchan’s first Richard Hannay novel, The Thirty -Nine Steps,

involves a German spy ring, the Black Stone, which is active in England.

The “Thirty-Nine Steps” lead to a spot on a beach from which a spy with

crucial information is going to leave England.

Panel 4. “What are the thirty-nine steps?” is a cryptic message

given to Hannay by an American who is killed not long afterward.

Page 85. Panel 2. As it happens, “Spick” magazine

is not a hint by Moore about the kind of pornography which would develop

in the world of League, but rather a real pin-up magazine which lasted from


Panel 7. The “-ocke” statue is of Dr. Locke, the Headmaster

of Greyfriars.

Page 86. Panel 1. This sad, grotesque figure is

Billy Bunter, the portly Greyfriars schoolboy. Created by “Frank Richards,”

Bunter appeared in over a thousand short stories, 105 novels, and various

radio and television programs from 1908 to 1982. Bunter is not one of the

Story continues below

“Famous Five,” but he is greedy, cowardly, cunning, foolish, and gluttonous

enough to get into a large number of adventures on his own.

“Six on the bags,” also known as “six of the best,” is six strokes

on the butt with a cane.

Panel 2. “ chaps wouldn’t have any buns on you, by any


Billy Bunter is a glutton and loves sweet buns above all things.

Panel 6. “In fact, I’m expecting a postal order from my mother...”

In the Greyfriars stories Bunter is forever poor and forever borrowing

money from the other students. He always promises to pay them back soon,

as he is always expecting, imminently, a postal order from his mother.

The postal order never comes. (It’s the English schoolboy version of Waiting

for Godot, really). But see the notes to Page 121.

Panel 7. “Do you know, the bounder married my sister?”

Billy Bunter’s sister is Bessie Bunter, who after being mentioned

a few times in the Billy Bunter stories appeared in a long series of her

own stories, set at Cliff House School, the girls’ school equivalent of


The relationship between Bessie Bunter and Harry Wharton is Moore’s

invention, and explains the mention of “Bessy” on Page 25.

Page 87.  Panel 1. “Always a bit of a black

sheep, Wharton.”

In the Greyfriars stories Wharton is a hothead who is forever getting

into trouble with “light-hearted” pranks. (Wharton was beloved by readers

in his era. Modern readers are likely to see Wharton as more deserving

of a lobotomy, or perhaps transportation to the gulag archipelago).

“Orphan, you know. Brought up by some beastly Colonel.”

Wharton’s parents died, forcing Colonel Wharton, newly returned from

India, to raise Wharton.

“Born leader, though.”

Wharton is the leader of the Famous Five.

Panel 2. “He got mixed up with communists, an oik named Skinpole

from St. Jim’s.”

St. James College, called “St. Jim’s” by the residents, was another

of Charles Hamilton’s creations, a school much like Greyfriars. It appeared

in The Gem from 1907-1939.

Herbert Skimpole is one of the students at St. Jim’s students. He

is a socialist, and of course a bad guy in the stories.

Panel 3. I’m not sure what the “Kra–“ on the bulletin board

might be a reference to.

Panel 4. Presumably the portraits in this panel are of various

Famous Five characters. The picture in the lower right is of Bessie Bunter.

Page 88. Panel 2. Henry Quelch is one of the masters

at Greyfriars. As Bunter says, he is a “gimlet-eyed old devil.”

Panel 3. “He was watching Wharton from the start, along with

Knight and Cherry and Waverly and the rest.”

This was one of the traditional methods by which British Intelligence

recruited spies–watch them from when they are young, and then recruit them

before or during college.

“Knight” is presumably a reference to Sir John Knight, Emma Peel’s

father. (See Page 80 above). “Cherry” is a reference to Bob Cherry.

“Waverly” is a reference to Alexander Waverly, an agent of Department

Z, the counterespionage arm of British Intelligence in 29 novels by John

Creasey from 1932 to 1957. Peter Sanderson, Brian Joines, and Ian Warren,

among many others, note that "Alexander Waverly" was the head of U.N.C.L.E.

in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and "that might explain the statement

"He runs some spy ring for the United Nations these days." Although the "UN"

in "UNCLE " stood for "United Network," not "United Nations," it was an international

spy agency."

Panel 4. I don’t know what that carrot-headed creature in

the glass case is. (I’m sure it’s not Flaming Carrot, though).

I don’t know what the animal skull in the background is, or the...mouse?


Paul Cornell and David Alexander McDonald rescue me from a swamp of ignorance

and note that the straw-stuffed skeletons in flower pots are a reference

to the British tv puppet show Flower Pot Men (1952-1954). The "flob"

on the plaque is a reference to the Flower Pot Men's inability to say "flower

pot," which they pronounced as "flobalob."

“The rum-looking fellow behind her, that’s Sir Jack Wilton. He was

Gloriana’s big chief I-Spy, so I’m told.”

Story continues below

Sir Jack Wilton was mentioned in Faerie’s Fortunes Founded–see

Page 52 above. “Big chief I-Spy” is a reference to the British “I-Spy”

books, a series of books written for children in the 1950s and 1960s. The

idea behind the books was for children to make note of the planes, trains,

fire engines, and so on, and send their lists into “Big Chief I-Spy” in London.

Panel 5. I’m not sure what the horse in the upper right is.

But the horse on the left is Steve, created by Roland Davies and appearing

in the comic strip “Come on Steve” (1932-1949) and six cartoons in 1936

and 1937. Steve is a young horse who is exuberant, cheerful, and full

of energy (if not always particularly bright) and is always eager to investigate

(and often imitate) what humans are doing and to help them out.

I don’t know what the–monkey in a hat?–is.

Panel 6. Oh, for heaven's sake. I should have gotten this

one. Jonathan Carter and Kelly Doran notes that this is the Psammead, from

E. Nesbit's short stories and novels.

Panel 7. “...designing kit for some Welsh set-up. D-dream

inducers. Killer balloons.”

This is a reference to The Prisoner, which had both dream

inducers and killer balloons.

“Yarooh” was one of Bunter’s most typical exclamations.

Page 89.  Panel 7. “Quelchy’s son, Quentin,

worked there before he joined MI5's technical chappies. Like everybody

there, he’s known by an initial.”

This is all Moore’s invention, of course–there was no “Quentin Quelch”

in the Greyfriars stories. Peter Sanderson adds, "The "Q" character in

the James Bond movies is based on a character in Ian Fleming's Bond novels

called Major Boothroyd.  Fleming does refer to a "Q Branch" in British

intelligence.  The character played by Desmond Llewelyn in the Bond movies

is originally called Major Boothroyd but later gets dubbed "Q."" Peter Sanderson

adds, "The closing credits for the movie "From Russia with Love" list Desmond

Llewelyn as playing Boothroyd, but his character is renamed Q in the next

Bond movie,  "Goldfinger."  Wikipedia states that Q is called "Boothroyd"

in dialogue in the movie "The Spy Who Loved Me.""

Page 90.  Panel 1. I’m not sure exactly why

there’d be a statue of Judah Ben-Hur at Greyfriars. Judah Ben-Hur appears

in Lewis Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880) and is

about Judah Ben-Hur, a Jew alive at the time of Christ who is enslaved,

freed, wins a chariot race against his Roman childhood friend Messala, and

eventually converts to Christianity.

I’m not sure what the motorcycle with the 0211731 plate is a reference

to, if anything.

Panel 3. “His father named him Kim after the famous spy who

worked in Afghanistan.”

This is a reference to Rudyard Kipling’s Kim (1901), with

its orphaned Indian child and his work spywork for the British. Peter

Sanderson adds that ""Kim" may also be an allusion to British agent H. A.

R. "Kim" Philby, who was likewise nicknamed after Kipling's character. So

Moore may be linking the amoral Lime with the traitorous Philby."

Page 91. Panel 3. “Conamur Tenues Grandia” is from

the Odes (23-13 B.C.E.) of Horace.

Page 92. Panel 4. If “Mum’s Plaice” is a reference

to anything in particular, I’m unaware of it.

Panel 5. The “William Brown Captured...Outlaws” headline is

a reference to Richmal Crompton’s “Just William” stories, novels, radio

shows, television shows, and films about an eleven-year-old English mischief-maker.

His gang of friends is the “Outlaws.”

Page 93. Panel 1. A number of these magazines are

made up. (I think). The references that aren’t:

  • “New B.B. Bardot Talks!” is a reference to the actress Brigitte

    Bardot and “Garbo Talks!” The silent film actress Greta Garbot was famous

    for her taciturnity and carefully cultivated mystique, and the film Anna

    Christie, which contained Garbo’s first onscreen words, was billed with

    the words “Garbo Talks!”

  • Presumably that is the 1950s Invisible Man (see Page 148 below)

    on the cover of The Naked Truth.

  • “Hank Janson” is a reference to “Hank Janson,” the pseudonym

    of Stephen D. Frances, a British writer who adopted the pseudonym in order

    to write hardboiled novels. (“Hank Janson” sounded suitably American).

  • Presumably “–nton –llion” is a reference to someone or something,

    Story continues below

    but it’s eluding me.

  • Weird Date is very much in the style of the 1940s spicy

    pulps, but there wasn’t one by that name. Michael Norwitz points out that

    Weird Date was the name of a comic in Michael Chabon's The Amazing

    Adventures of Kavalier and Klay.

  • “Bat” is in all likelihood not a reference to Batman to but

    to one of the many pulp and British storypaper characters by that name.

  • Regarding “Nick Stacy," Michael Norwitz writes, "Nick Stacy

    was the ultra-violent detective starring in his own newspaper strip created

    by Hector Ghoul, which appeared in the July 20, 1947 Spirit newspaper


  • “Phallos,” similar to “phallus” (look it up, kids–education

    is fun! I particularly recommend doing a Google Image search), is a likely

    title for a 1950s porn mag.

  • I’m not sure what “Secret of Paris” might be a reference to.

  • Jelly Result is a reference to the novel of the same

    name by eccentric author Jeff Lint.

  • “Blackshirt” is a reference to the cracksman and Gentleman

    Thief of that name, created by “Bruce Graeme” (a.k.a. Graham Jeffries)

    and appearing in dozens of novels and short story collections from 1924

    to 1969.

  • “Castle Hill Labs VD Scare” is, as Damian Gordon points out,

    a reference to the first episode of the Invisible Man tv series (see

    Page 148 below), in which there is an explosion at Castle Hill Labs,

    where Peter Brady is working.

  • I think “Clint” is a reference to the 1960s injunction, in

    American comics, against characters having “Clint” as a first name, on

    the grounds that, when drawn as “CLINT,” it might appear as quite a different

    word to the casual viewer.

  • “The Winged Avenger,” mentioned above on Page 8, is, in an

    episode of The Avengers, a killer vigilante superhero who appears

    to make the leap from comic books to real life.

  • “Me Con?” is a reference to the Mekon, Dan Dare’s opponent.

    The figure is drawn like the Mekon.

  • “J. Arthur” is British slang for “masturbation.” (“J. Arthur”

    from British film producer “J. Arthur Rank,” “rank” to “wank”).

  • “Hand Shandy” is British slang for “masturbation.”
Panel 2. Mildly dirty postcards like this were common in the

1950s, though never sold in respectable establishments. Damian Gordon points

out that in the U.K. they are known as “French postcards.”

Panel 4. If the “Seaview” is a reference to anything in particular,

I’m unaware of it. Paul Cornell and David Alexander McDonald note that

the Seaview was the name of the submarine in the American tv show Voyage

to the Bottom of the Sea.

Page 95. Panel 1. Robtmsnow points out that the

condom wrapper in the bottom right corner reads "Heros the Spartan," which

is the name of another strip by Frank Bellamy. ("Spartan" rather than "Trojan").

Page 96. The “Iron Mountains” around the North

Pole are a reference to the Iron Mountains in the anonymously-written

Voyage au Centre de la Terre (1821).

If those animals in the upper right are a reference to anything,

I’m unaware of it.

The eye-in-the-pyramid, which also appears on the American dollar

bill, represents the All-Seeing Eye of God and of the Freemasons.

I should know the box-with-parachute below the eye-in-the-pyramid,

but I don’t. (Cyrano's vehicle to the moon?)

The blinking phone box is the Tardis time machine from the BBC tv

series Doctor Who.

“ found the Streaming Kingdoms, wherein transformed spirits

of drowned mariners are ruled by an intelligence called only ‘His Imperial


The Streaming Kingdom is from Jules Supervielle’s L'Enfant de

la Haute Mer (1931). The Streaming Kingdom is an aquatic kingdom under

the English Channel, near the mouth of the Seine. It is inhabited by water-breathing

humans who must drown before they can enter the Kingdom. The Kingdom

is ruled by a creature called His Royal Wetness.

“...the much talked of ‘water-babies.’”

The “water-babies” appeared in Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies

(1863). The Water-Babies is about Tom, a chimney sweep, who accidentally

falls in a river. His body dies, but his soul goes is changed into a “water

baby” by a group of faeries.

I believe the man in the glass ball is a reference to H.G. Wells’

The Time Machine (1895).

“The Radiance in these climes is of two partes,

Story continues below

One Red like Mars, the other Venus-green,

With variously glass’d pince-nez required

comprised of ruby and of em’rald both.

Thus furnished, we may fill our eyes and ears

With lights and musics come from higher spheres.”

In other words, these extradimensional places are only visible through

the use of 3D glasses.

I don’t know what the symbols in the lower left mean. “1666" is the

date when Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World was published,

but I don’t know what 1695 might be an allusion to. Damian Gordon speculates

that it might be a reference to the 1695 Treason Act, which specified the

rules for British treason trials.

Page 97/Shadows in the Steam 1.  “Meesons

and Co. Limited” is a reference to H. Rider Haggard’s Mr. Meeson’s

Will (1888), a crime novel about Mr. Meeson, an unscrupulous publisher.

Page 98/Shadows in the Steam 2. “...universally

acclaimed professor of mathematics, the esteemed James Moriarty, since


Professor Moriarty is the arch-enemy of Sherlock Holmes.

“...the Hunnish ‘Luftpiraten,’ Captain Mors...”

"Captain Mors" is the lead character of Der Luftpirat und Sein

Lenkbares Luftschiff, a German dime novel published from 1908-1911.

Captain Mors, the "Man with the Mask," is a Captain Nemo-like character,

fleeing from mankind with a crew of Indians and involved in a prolonged fight

against tyranny and evil, both on Earth and on Venus, Mars, and the rest of

the solar system.

“...his French rival, the repulsive Monsieur Robur.”

"Robur" is the creation of Jules Verne and appeared in two books:

Robur le Conquerant (1886) and Maître du Monde (1904).

In Robur the Conqueror Robur, a brilliant engineer and vehement

proponent of heavier-than-air travel, invents a technologically advanced

"flying machine," the Albatross, and uses it to kidnap several partisans

of lighter-than-air travel and take them around the world. In Master

of the World Robur returns, now a dangerous megalomaniac intent on conquering

the world.

    Jean-Marc Lofficier notes that Verne is ambiguous about

Robur's nationality, and that he might well be British or even American.

“...the purchase of heliotropes, imported from the remote nation

of Bengodi...”

Bengodi appears in Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron (1353),

a very influential collection of Italian stories, some of which were later

used by Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales. The notion of heliotropes

as a source for the Invisible Man’s invisibility was raised by Moore in

League v2.

“...the probably-invened ‘horla’ creature that the French claimed

to have captured in the later 1880s.”

The Horla, an invisible monster, was created by Guy de Maupassant

and appeared in “The Horla” (1885).

Page 99/Shadows in the Steam 3. “...the group of

islands called the Riallaro Archipelago...

The Riallaro Archipelago appears in John Macmillan Brown's Riallaro,

the Archipelago of Exiles (1901) and Limanora, the Island of Progress

(1903), both about island utopias near the Antarctic.

Page 100/Shadows in the Steam 4.  “One, I

think, was a Malay, another being a tall Negro with the elegant bone-structure

and near-indigo complexion that I most associate with Africa’s Ivory Coast.”

Shame on me for not getting these. I mean, honestly, how did I miss

this? Robert Todd Bruce writes,

I wondered if these might not be two of the three harpooners

from the Pequod.

Queequeg was Ishmael's close companion and a prince from the South Seas.

Tashtego was an Gay Head Indian from Martha's Vineyard, and Daggoo is an

extremely tall, imposing African.  All three are supposed to have died

when Moby Dick destroys the Pequod at the end of the novel (after all, Ishmael

says that he was the only survivor and was picked up by another whaler, the

Rachel, which was cruising the area searching for one her whaleboats. 

The lost whaleboat had the youngest son of the Rachel's captain on board),

but who knows, right?

“There was an older man that I assumed to be an American whose voice

had a New England twang about it...”

As seen in League v1 & v2, Ishmael, from Herman Melville's

Moby Dick (1851), is one of Captain Nemo’s crewmen.

“...and a fellow similarly aged, dressed up in what appeared to be

an ancient, threadbare uniform such as were common during the Sepoy Rebellion.”

Perhaps this is Nemo himself?

“...a young and rather well-built Englishman whose name, I later

learned, was Jack.”

Story continues below

As seen in League v1 & v2, Broad Arrow Jack, from the

E. Harcourt Burrage 1886 serial of the same name, is a member of Nemo’s


“...a lovely Indian woman in a kind of turquoise skirt or wrapping...”

Presumably this is Nemo’s wife.

Page 101/Shadows in the Steam 5.  Panel 1.

The writing on the paper is Hindi. If you want to translate it, feel free.

Panel 2. “Captain Kettle” is a reference to the short, cigar-smoking,

red-bearded, pugnacious, brutal seaman Captain Kettle, created by C.J.

Cutcliffe Hyne and appearin in stories, a novel, and several films from

1895 to the 1920s.

Page 102/Shadows in the Steam 6. “...a disastrous

circumnavigation of Antarctica attempted three years previously...”

This was described at some length in League v2.

Page 104. The “Golden Rivet” is a bit of naval

folklore. Supposedly every ship has one rivet made of gold, and old sailors

like to send young sailors on snipe hunts to find the golden rivet. Sometimes

the search for the golden rivet is meant to get a young and attractive

sailor alone so as to have sex with him. (British naval tradition being,

per Churchill, nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash).

Pages 106-107. (I’m combining panels and the text

from the Key here)
Panel 1. “...the late eccentric visionary Selwyn Cavor, driving

force behind 1901's lunar expection and the subsequent annexation of

the moon as part of the British Empire.”

In H.G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon (1901) Professor

Selwyn Cavor is the inventor of “cavorite,” a gravity-canceling alloy

(“this possible substance opaque to gravitation”) which Cavor and his

friend Mr. Bedford, the narrator of the novel, use to travel to the moon.

In the novel the moon is inhabited by malign Selenties. The novel ends

with the Cavor trapped on the moon and the revelation that the Selenites’

ruler, the Grand Lunar, is malign. The “subsequent annexation” answers

the question about what Great Britain’s response to this revelation would


Panel 2. “...Napoleonic naval hero Horatio Hornblower...”

Horatio Hornblower is the hero of eleven novels, from 1937-1967,

by C.S. Forester. Hornblower is an officer in the Royal Navy and performs

various heroics in the Napoleonic Wars.

    Peter Sanderson points out that this is another of Moore's

substitutions, with the statue of Hornblower taking the place of the statue

of Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square, "possibly implying that in "League's"

world it was Hornblower who won the Battle of Trafalgar."

Panel 3. “The Diogenes Club”

The Diogenes Club is a gentleman’s club in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Quoting Sherlock Holmes, in “The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter:”

There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness,

some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows.

Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals.

It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started,

and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubable men in town. No member

is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger's

Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offences,

if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to

expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found

it a very soothing atmosphere.

Panel 7: Anyone want to have a go at translating the writing?

“...neighborhood’s good fortune to a local philanthropist, a doctor

who protects the area.”

This is a reference to Fu Manchu, from Sax Rohmer’s novels. In the

novels Limehouse is under his rule.

“Here be South Londoners” is a reference to medieval maps which would

write “Here be Dragons” on unknown areas of the map. Its use in reference

to Londoners south of the Thames is a jibe at the way those north of the

Thames have always regarded those south of the Thames.

Page 108.  “...the matriarchal ladies’ commune


Coradine is in W.H. Hudson's A Crystal Age (1887) and is a

kind of utopia set in northern Scotland.

“...unsettling reports concerning the New England town of Arkham,


In H.P. Lovecraft’s stories Arkham is a city, located on the North

Shore of Massachusetts, which is the home to Miskatonic University. Arkham

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is a fictional city based on Salem, Mass.

“Returning during the September of that same year after some unpleasant


Those exploits were described in League v2.

“...the communitarian Phalanstery movement, then but recently established

in the western English county Avondale.”

A “phalanstery” is a self-sustaining commune. Avondale is from Grant

Allen’s “The Child of the Phalanstery” (1884) and is a well-managed

phalanstery with the unfortunate habit of killing all crippled or deformed


“ the lost land of Zuvendis..."

Zuvendis appears in H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quatermain.

“...the incarcerated lunatic Dr. Eric Bellman...”

Dr. Eric Bellman appears in Lewis Carroll’s poem The Hunting of

the Snark (1876). In the poem Bellman and the Bellman Expedition goes

hunting for a snark, only to find that the gentle snark is in fact the

dreaded boojum.

“...the recently-resurfaced brother of Mycroft Holmes at his home

in Fulworth.”

The brother of Mycroft Holmes is of course Sherlock Holmes and the

recent resurfacing is Holmes’ return from apparent death, chronicled

in “The Adventure of the Empty House.”

“...the Anglo-Russian Convention...”

The Anglo-Russian Convention took place from October 1905 to August

1907, at which time an entente was reached essentially ending the Great

Game of espionage, addressing Afghanistan and Tibet, and and dividing Persia,

the cause of much Russian-British antagonism,  into three spheres

of influence.

“...a dockside hotel worker and sometime prostitute named Diver...”

This is a reference to Jenny Diver, from John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera

(1728), Polly (1728), and Bertolt Brecht’s Three Penny Opera

(1928). In Three Penny Opera Jenny Diver sings “Pirate Jenny,” about

“the Black Freighter” which is coming to punish the guilty and rescue her.

Page 109. “Zebed Marsh & Sons, of Innsmouth.”

In H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” Captain Marsh was

the man who in the 1830s brought the worship of the Deep Ones back to the

Massachusetts town of Innsmouth. His family remained a power in Innsmouth

until the 1930s.

    The fish-like appearance on the faces of the fish-mongers

is the “Innsmouth Look,” a facial malformation indicative of their genetic

descent from the Deep Ones.

“Curwen Street, Market Square”

Curwen Street was introduced in August Derleth’s “The House on Curwen

Street,” a Cthulhu Mythos story.

“Celebrate Wicker Rapist Day in Coradine”

In Julius Caesar’s Commentary on the Gallic Wars he says that

the Druids made a wicker statue, put human beings inside it, and set it

on fire as human sacrifice. The modern world is more familiar with the

burning of the Wicker Man from the 1973 British and 2006 American films

of that name.

“Milosis Cemetery, Zuvendis”

This is the supposed grave of Allan Quatermain.

“The Fantippo Daily Mail. Hut Prices Plummet. Us Foreigners to Blame”

“Fantippo” appears in Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle's Post Office

(1924) and Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (1949). Fantippo

is a kingdom in West Africa which adopted the English postal system after

Fantippo’s ruler, King Koko, heard about the system and was impressed by

it. The “Daily Mail” is a jibe at the reactionary British tabloid Daily

Mail, which is racist in its treatment of immigration issues.

Page 110. Lorimer E. Brackett was a publisher of

picture postcards of Monhegan, Maine. The stylized font of “Post Card,

Lorimer E. Brackett, Arkham Mass.” is in the style of Brackett.

“Met one R. Carter who took us to a ruin near Dunwich - beastly business.

Mina almost abducted by something ghastly...”

“R. Carter” is Randolph Carter, who appeared in five of Lovecraft’s

stories. Carter, who Lovecraft partially based on himself, is a morose

man who has adventures in various dreamlands. The near-abduction is described

in League v1.

Page 111.  “Octavia”

Octavia appears in Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities (1972),

in which Marco Polo tells Kublai Khan about several fabulous cities in

the Khan’s empire.

“Greetings from Sussex”

See the notes to Page 112.

“L’Opera de Paris”

This is a reference to Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera

(1911), with the unmasked, grotesque Phantom appearing in the upper right

corner of the photo. If anyone else in this painting is a reference I’m

unaware of it.

“A Royal Occasion”

This is a reference, I’m sure of it--it was homaged recently in Nicholas

Gurewitch’s very good web comic “Perry

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Bible Fellowship” on the cover of his collection The

Trial of Colonel Sweeto, which you should all buy right now--but

I don’t know what the original is.

Page 112.  “Sussex is dreadful, but I’ve met

the gentleman I came here to visit. Yes, it’s really him.”

In Doyle’s “The Second Stain” Sherlock Holmes has retired to the

Sussex Downs to raise bees.

“Dear Tom, well, it’s over, though in truth they very nearly finished

us. Fantomas was a horror, and the albino almost as bad.”

See Page 113.

Page 113. The characters in the image are Dr. Mabuse,

Dr. Caligari?, Dr. Rotwang, and Maria.

Dr. Mabuse was created by Norbert Jacques and appeared in three novels

and eight films from 1921 to 1964. Mabuse is a German criminal mastermind

intent on world domination; worse still, he is a psychiatrist who uses

his psychiatric knowledge and abilities at hypnotism for his own nefarious


I'm unsure who the figure in top hat and white gloves is, but Rick Lai notes,

"I suspect that he is meant o be Caligari even though he doesn’t resemble

the silent film version (or far that matter the later remake from 1962). However,

the white-gloved character has prominent eyes of a hypnotic nature." Dr.

Caligari was created by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer and appeared in the

film Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920). Dr. Caligari is the head

of an insane asylum in a rural village in the mountains of Germany.

    Peter Sanderson adds, "It should also be noted that

in "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," the Caligari who is an evil hypnotist only

appears in the mad narrator's imagination.  The real "Caligari" is a

benevolent doctor at the asylum in which the narrator is confined. In "League's"

world the narrator's imaginary Caligari actially exists."

    A.J. Ramirez adds, "The second character is clearly intended

to be Dr. Caligari, albeit without his trademark hair.  Note the German

Expressionist background and what appears to be Caesar on the staircase."

Dr. Rotwang was created by Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou and appeared

in the film Metropolis (1927). Dr. Rotwang is a mad scientist

in the city of Metropolis.

    Peter Sanderson adds, "It should be pointed out that

"Metropolis" and the various "Mabuse" movies (from 1922 to 1960!) were directed

by the same man, Fritz Lang.  Mabuse and Rotwang were played by the

same actor, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, although O'Neill's illustration makes them

look quite different."

Maria was created by Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou and appeared

in Metropolis. She is an android created by Rotwang to foment rebellion

among the workers of Metropolis.

“ is indeed possible that this Teutonic group played some part

in the sinister activities that plagued the corontation of King George

VI in 1910.”

For more on this, see League v3, due out next year.

“...including a mesmerised assassin...”

In Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari the good doctor uses his hypnosis

to manipulate one of his patients, Cesare, into carrying out murders while


“...the ingenious criminal mastermind Arsene Lupin...”

Arsène Lupin was created by Maurice Leblanc and appeared in

a number of stories and twenty novels and short story collections from

1905 to 1939. Lupin is the "Prince of Thieves," the archetypal Gentleman

Thief of popular culture.

“The international arch-villain Monsieur Zenith, for example, was

a pure albino who used drugs that overcame the weaknesses of his condition

and indeed allowed him physical abilities beyond the ordinary.”

In the Sexton Blake stories Zenith uses opium to relieve himself

of the boredom of life. Michael Moorcock, who early in his career wrote

some Sexton Blake stories and edited the Sexton Blake Library,

has always stated that his character Elric of Melnibone (who takes drugs

to fortify himself) was based on Monsieur Zenith. In recent stories, such

as those in his Metatemporal

Detective (with gorgeous cover art by the brilliant John Picacio),

Monsieur Zenith is shown to be a dream that Elric once had.

“...the unnerving Nyctalope. This creature, more some new, sophisticated

breed of animal than man, had beating his his breast a manmade heart

superior to the human model. He could breathe with equal ease in both

our normal atmosphere and also underwater, and his eyes were such that

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the most stygian, impenetrable darkness seemed to him as brightly lit

as if in the full glare of noon.”

The Nyctalope was created by Jean de La Hire and appeared in sixteen

novels from 1908 to 1954. He is the adventurer Léo Sainte-Claire

(Jean de Sainclair in some novels), who fights a wide variety of exotic

evils with the help of a stalwart band of assistants. (In some ways the

Nyctalope is Doc Savage avant la lettre). As stated in the narration

above, the Nyctalope has an artificial heart and can see in the dark.

    Damian Gordon wonders if the phrase “new, sophisticated

breed of animal” might be a Moorean reference to the superhero, of which

the Nyctalope is, arguably, the first.

    Jean-Marc Lofficier (who knows whereof he writes) writes

that the Nyctalope can't breathe underwather. "The underwater breathing

comes from an understandable confusion between the water-breather character

from the first volume and the Nyctalope, hence the mistake."

“...the horror Fantomas.”

Fantômas was created by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain

and appeared in forty-three novels from 1911 to 1963. He is “the Lord

of Terror” and “the Genius of Evil,” a Parisian crime boss with who murders

with abandon and aplomb.

“It also seems he was precocious in the guarding of his true identity,

in that those few early acquaintances of Fantomas who lived to tell the

tale could not between them give an accurate description of the man.”

Fantomas is a master of disguise and no one ever knows what he looks


Page 114. “...something in the voice and movements

of this quite demonic being seemed to indicate that Fantomas might be

a woman.”

Fantomas is on occasion impersonated by his daughter Hélène.

“...the tomb of Launcelot up in Northumberland...”

Bamburgh Castle, in Northumberland, stands on the site of an earlier

fort, built in the middle of the fifth century. The original fort’s name

was “Din Guayrdi.” This name was taken by the Arthurian romancers, including

Malory, and given to Lancelot as his home. Launcelot’s tomb being there

is referred to in League v2.

“...the kingdom of Evarchia.”

Evarchia appears in Brigid Brophy's Palace Without Chairs

(1978), a modern day fairy tale set in an imaginary Eastern European socialist


“...the monstrously disfigured madman Erik had resided while he carried

out his terror campaign as the Opera’s so-called ‘Phantom.’”

Erik is the Phantom of the Opera.

Page 115. “...a subterranean Graveyard of Unwritten


The Graveyard of Unwritten Books was created by Nedim Gürsel

and appeared in Son Tramway (1900). The Graveyard, also known as

the "Well of Locks," is the home of all books forbidden by authorities across

the world.

“...or an underground land lit up by luminous balloons...”

I believe this is a reference to Coal City and New Aberfoyle, in

Jules Verne's Les Indes Noires (1877). Coal City, a subterranean

city located beneath central Scotland, is a very productive mine and tourist


“Jean Robur’s airshop shot down at the battle of the Somme...”

At the end of Maître du Monde Robur’s ship crashes into

the sea, but his body is never found, although he is presumed dead.

The figures in the image are: the Nyctalope, Arsene Lupin, Robur, Zenith

the Albino, and Fantomas.

Page 116.  “What Ho, Gods of the Abyss” is

written in the inimitable style of P.G. Wodehouse, and is a loving pastiche

of Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories. The idea of combining Wodehouse

and Lovecraft has been done before, by Yr. Humble Annotator in “Cthulhu

Fhtagn, Eh Wot, Ha Ha!” and by Peter Cannon in “Scream for Jeeves,” among


“...that same Augustus, he of the Fink-Nottles...”

Augustus “Gussie” Fink-Nottle is a friend and schoolmate of Bertie

Wooster. Gussie is described as a “teetotal bachelor with a face like

a fish” which may be the Innsmouth Look (see Page 109) and would explain

why he was chosen by the Old Ones in this sotry.

“ Aunt Dahlia...”

Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia Travers is rough but affectionate toward Bertie.

“...cross-country runs at dear old Malvern House, when I was younger.”

Bertie and Gussie attended Malvern House Preparatory School.

“ regrettable Aunt Agatha who uses battery-acid as a gargle

and shaves with a lathe...”

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Bertie’s Aunt Agatha Gregson is quite fearsome: “When Aunt Agatha

wants you to do a thing you do it, or else you find yourself wondering

why those fellows in the olden days made such a fuss when they had trouble

with the Spanish Inquisition.”

“...I may write a piece on for Milady’s Boudoir”
Milady’s Boudoir is a weekly woman’s newspaper which Aunt

Dahlia runs.

Page 117. “...its blossoms shall certainly attract

the Shambler in Darkness.”

This very Lovecraftian-sounding creature is Moore’s invention.

“Cool Lulu”


“...sleepying and dreaming at a place called Riley...”


“...some old goat who had misspent his youth so badly that he had

a thousand young...”

Shug-Niggurath is the “Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young.”

“...the three-lobed burning eye...”

The three-lobed burning eye is one of the avatars of Nyarlathotep.

“...the town of Goatswood, close to Brichester, for the occasion.”

Goatswood and Brichester are in the Severn Valley, which in the stories

of Ramsey Campbell are a location for many Lovecraftian activities.

“...three or four feet long and roughly barrel shaped, its head resembling

an elaborately ugly starfish and some ghastly tattered things that jutted

from what we assumed to be its torso, these resembling fins or wings...”

This is a Lovecraftian Elder Thing.

Page 121. Panel 3. If “Courtfield 106" means anything,

I’m unaware of it.

Panel 6. And so we finally have the explanation of the “Mother”

Bunter got his postal orders from.

Page 122.  Panel 1. “Roy Carson Horror”

Roy Carson is a British hardboiled detective created by Denis McLoughln

and appearing in Roy Carson #1-44 (1948-1954).

“‘Splash Kirby’ Exclusive”

Arthur “Splash” Kirby is a reporter for the Daily Post in

the Sexton Blake stories written by Michael Moorcock.

“Friardale Gazette”

Greyfriars School is just to the north of the village of Friardale.

If the mother and children seen here are a reference to anyone I’m

unaware of it.

Page 123. Panel 3. “Norma Desmond” is a reference

to the aging actress in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Panel 4. Borchester is a town in the BBC radio soap The

Archers (1951-present).

Pages 124-125. Any help any of you can give me

on identifying these rockets would be most helpful. Likely they’re all


Damian Gordon speculates that the ship on the lefthand side of the

page, above the man with the pipe, is from Things to Come (1936),

the film version of Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come.

Paul Cornell identifies the blue ship on the long track in upper

center of Page 124 as the Fireball XL5, from the British tv series Fireball

XL5 (1962-1963), a Gerry and Sylvia Anderson flying-marionettes-in-the-future


Paul Cornell and Damian Gordon note that the red ship in the lower

right hand corner of Page 124 is the titular vehicle from Gerry Anderson’s

tv show Supercar (1961-1962). Paul Cornell further notes that the

thing in front of the ship, raising its two arms, is Mitch, the pet monkey

of Jimmy Gibson, a ten-year-old member of the Supercar team.

Paul Cornell further writes, “he space technology looks to be a combination

of Frank Hampson Dan Dare design (the glass nose cones and bubbles) and

Gerry Anderson design (the little vehicle leading the spacecraft along

the ground has design features from a Captain Scarlet SPV, but definitely

isn't one. Some of these designs may be, dare I say it...generic?”

Damian Gordon wonders if the bald-headed man in the lower right of

this panel is Leo Baxendale’s Grimly Feendish from various British comics.

The “Kingfisher-8" is a reference to Dan Dare. The Kingfisher was

the first manned rocket sent to Venus, but it was mysteriously destroyed,

leading to Dan Dare’s trip to Venus and encounter with the Mekon.

Page 125. Panel 4. “Ordinary airplane pilot Gary

Haliday at your service.”

This is a reference to the BBC tv series Garry Halliday (1959),

about two pilots, Garry Halliday and Bill Dodds, in pursuit of the criminal

mastermind The Voice.

Paul Cornell corrects my mistake about the “I-Spy Rockets” pamphlet

which Haliday is holding:

“Halliday is holding a fictitious entry in the 'I Spy Books' series. 

I had several of these when I was a kid.  The idea was that the

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books listed a collection of things (birds, cars, etc) and the observant

child ticked off where and when they'd seen each thing, then sent the

book in to Big Chief I-Spy (who lived in a wigwam in London) and get some

sort of certificate in return.  They've become comedy shorthand for

a reference book only for the very young.”

Page 126. Panel 1. “Well, I’m only a rocket-spotter,

really, but I know a bit.”

Damian Gordon notes that this is a riff on the U.K. tradition of

trainspotting and planespotting: ordinary citizens keeping notes on the

various types of trains and planes they have spotted.

Panels 1-2. “That’s the Pancake Extra-Large Series Four...there

was the Mushroom Cloud X-L 2, the Shrapnel X-L’s a tradition.”

This is a reference to the Fireball XL5 (see Page 124). Paul Cornell

writes that the back end of the ship with the “L4" visible is quite similar

to the back end of the XL5.

Panel 3. “We read about that when we were in the states. See-through

robots made out of perspex or something, all with names like Ronald,

or Roderick...”

In Fireball XL5 transparent robot Robert is the Fireball’s


    "Him Name Eddie" writes, "It seems to me that this could

be a reference to Robby the Robot from the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet, who

had a clear 'bubble head' (which I believe was indeed made from perspex) from

which his inner workings could be observed."

Damian Gordon notes that the boys in the lower left are Danny and

Plug of the Bash Street Boys. (See Page 10, Panel 4).

The hockey-stick-wielding girl is Petunia, from the comic strip “The

Dolls of St. Dominic’s,” which appeared in the British comic Pow

in 1967.  

Panel 5. “...somebody famous, like Morgan or Hawke or someone.”

Morgan is Captain Morgan, mentioned on Page 10, Panel 8. Hawke is

Jeff Hawke, from the comic strip “Jeff Hawke, Space Rider” (1954-1975).

Jeff Hawke, in the XP5 rocket, goes 3000 miles beyond the Moon and meets

the Lords of the Universe, and then embarks on even wider-ranging adventures.

Page 127. Panel 2. Is the mask on the right a reference

to anything?

Panel 3. The seated alien is the Mekon.

Panel 4. “Interplan– Police Patrol” is a reference to the

Interplanetary Police Patrol, which Captain Vic Valiant was the “Ace”

of in Space Comics (1953-1955).

“Kemlo” is a reference to the fifteen Kemlo books by “E.C. Eliot,”

a.k.a Reginald Alec Martin. Kemlo and his friends live on Satellite Belt

K, orbiting around the Earth.

Paul Cornell clears up my confusion by noting that the alien brain-with-antenna

is one of the creatures from the British sf horror film Fiend Without

a Face (1958).

Panel 5. “...the Westminster Abbey Fungus-Astronaut...”

This is a reference to Nigel Kneale’s The Quatermass Experiment

(1953), in which a British spaceship thought to be lost crashes in Wimbledon.

One of the astronauts turns out to be infected with a dangerous fungus

alien and is eventually cornered in Westminster Abbey.

Page 129. Panel 1.  “He probably misses Goldstein

and the Four-Minute Hate...”

In 1984 the “Two Minute Hate” is a daily ritual in which Party

members must watch a film showing Emmanuel Goldstein (see Page 16, Panel

8) and other enemies of the Party, and express their hatred for them.

Panel 5. Peter Sanderson writes, "I wonder if the sexual attraction

between Bond and Miss Night was inspired by the film of  Ian Fleming's

"On Her Majesty's Secret Service," in which Diana Rigg (who played Mrs. Peel)

played Tracy, the woman who marries James Bond."

Page 130. Panel 8. “Don’t fancy a wager on Melchester

hammering those Fulchester scoundrels, I suppose?”

The British tv series Crown Court (1972-1984) was set in Fulchester.

Damian Gordon points out that most of the characters in the adult comic

Viz live in Fulchester.

Phil Smith writes, "Fulchester Rovers is the football team used in Viz's

great strip Billy the Fish, whose line-up included busty Native

American Brown Fox, 81-year-old blind peanut seller Rex Findlayson and not-a-Nazi-Rocket-Scientist

Professor Wölfgang Schnell BSc PhD, and fish-bodied goalkeeper Billy

the Fish. It's hardly surprising that they'd face off against the team they


Page 131. Panel 1. Paul Cornell notes that these

are the Lazoons, from Fireball XL5. (They are mentioned on Page

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48, Panel 40). Presumably the one which “talked with a lisp” was Zoony,

who apparently was very irritating to viewers.

Panel 3. Presumably the fat man is a reference to something,

but I don’t know what it is.

Page 133.  Panel 1. Peter Sanderson writes,

""S-so you know Indian wrestling, do you?"   This is an obvious

reference to Mrs. Peel's renowned martial arts skills.  But why does

Moore refer to them as Indian?  Assuming he is referring to India, and

not  to Native American combat skills, Moore may possibly be alluding

to the fact that Diana Rigg spent her early childhood (age 2 to 8) in India."

Panel 4. “Anzia New Famine”

I’m unable to find this reference. It might be referring to the Azanian

Empire, in Evelyn Waugh's Black Mischief (1932).

Page 134. Panel 3. “Dixie Coll– Lesbian Expose.”

I’m not sure what this is a reference to.

Page 136. Panel 1. I’m pretty sure the spaceships

seen here are more references, but I don’t know what they are.

Page 137. Panel 1. “...these oversized Dinky toys.”

Dinky Toys are a British brand of toy cars.

Panel 2. I don’t recognize the car, if it’s a reference.

Page 138. Panel 1. I don’t recognize the spaceships,

if they are references.

Panel 2. I don’t recognize the spaceships, if they are references.

Page 139. Panel 4. “I read it in that dirty magazine

you bought in America. Stagman, wasn’t it?”

Stagman appears in John Sladek’s The Müller-Fokker Effect

(1973). In the novel Stagman is a Playboy analogue which

is only successful because of its owner’s frustrated libido.

    Papa Joe Mambo notes that the original title for Playboy

was Stag Party.

Panel 5. “...stories by Kennaston...”

In James Branch Cabell’s The Cream of the Jest (1917) writer

Felix Kennaston’s work begins to infect his reality.


In the novels of Kurt Vonnegut Kilgore Trout is a hack writer of

science fiction.

“You just ogled that ‘Montana Wildhack’ floozy in the fold-out bit.”

In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five (1969) Montana Wildhack

is a porn actress who is kidnaped by the Tralfamadoreans and forced to

mate with Billy Pilgrim.

Panel 6. “ weren’t much on the Stagman Club, all those

girls with deer antlers...”

The Playboy Club makes its waitresses wear bunny ears, so it’s logical

that in the Stagman Club the waitresses would wear deer antlers.

Page 140. Panel 1. “Roger the Robot”’s visual appearance

may be a reference.

Page 141. Panel 1. “I’ve seen brainier-looking

Airfix kits.”

Airfix is a British manufacturer of scale model kits of planes.

Pages 142-143. Again, more spaceships I’m not recognizing.

Damian Gordon wonders if the ship in the upper left with two domes is

a version of Dan Dare’s Anastasia. Paul Cornell agrees but notes the fins,

which the Anastasia is missing.

That may be Dan Dare himself in the bottom right corner.

Page 144. Panel 1. “Jona- Curs- on Brit–“ is not

a reference I recognize.

“Spider Man From Mars”

Not a reference to the Bowie song, surely?

Page 145. Panel 1. I don’t recognize the uniform.

Page 146.  “...a self-styled ‘surrealist sportsman’

who suffered from chronic dwarfism and whose first or last name was apparently


This is a reference to Maurice Richardson’s The Exploits of Engelbrecht

(1950), in which the surrealist sportsman dwarf Engelbrecht boxes with

a grandfather clock, goes on a witch hunt, and has various wonderful surrealist


“...a stocky, unkempt Negro with a very deep voice...”

See Page 166 below.

“...a Mr. Norton, an intelligence gatherer sometimes referred to

as ‘the prisoner of London.’”

This is a reference to Iain Sinclair’s Slow Chocolate Autopsy

(1997), about Norton, who can travel in time but is stuck within the physical

confines of London.

“...the apparent dynasty of black-clad burrowing bandits...”

This is a reference to Terry Patrick’s The Black Sapper, who appeared

in Rover and Hotspur for decades beginning in 1929. The Black

Sapper is an inventor/thief, dressed all in black, who uses an enormous

burrowing machine, the Earthworm, to commit crime. There being a dynasty

of Sappers would explain the Sapper’s longevity.

“...or an early manifestation of elusive international criminal mastermind

The Voice.”

I believe this is a reference to Garry Halliday, in which

The Voice is Garry Halliday’s arch-enemy.

Damian Gordon corrects my mistake and notes that during World War

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Two there were a series of precautionary posters entitled “Be Like Dad

and Keep Mum.”

Page 147. The “Watch out–Adenoid’s about!” cartoon

is typical of WW2 precautionary posters.

    Paul Cornell notes that this poster might also be a

reference to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, set during WW2 and

featuring a giant adenoid. (Pynchon was likely referring back to The

Great Dictator, but I'd bet that Moore intended this to be a double


“...the architect Nicholas Dyer’s creepy church...”

This is a reference to Peter Ackroyd’s Hawksmoor (1985), in

which British architect Nicholas Hawksmoor is reimagined as Nicholas Dyer.

Page 148. The four figures here are Worrals, William

Samson Jr., the Iron Warrior, and the Invisible Man, with the Iron Fish

in the background.

William Samson Jr is the son of William Samson, seen in League

v2. William Samson Jr is the “Wolf of Kabul,” who appeared in over 100

stories in various story papers from 1922 to 1972. The Wolf of Kabul, whose

real name was Bill Sampson (often shown as "Samson"), is an agent for the

British Intelligence Corps operating on the Northwest frontier of India.

The Iron Warrior appeared in Thrill Comics (1940-1945) and

New Funnies (1948). The Iron Warrior is a giant robot, controlled

by Rodney Dearth (who is presumably the man behind Samson) and used to

find treasure in Africa.

This Invisible Man is Peter Brady, from the American tv series The

Invisible Man (1958-1960). In the show Peter Brady, a British scientist,

is turned invisible in an accident.

The Iron Fish is mentioned on Page 14, Panel 1.

“...Miss Warralson’s previously unsuspected tribadism...”

Although W.E. Johns never said that Worrals was a lesbian, she was

pursued by handsome, accomplished fellow pilot Bill Ashton, who is in

love with her. She never reciprocated his feelings and liked him only as

a friend. Suspicions of being gay have been raised with less evidence than


“...a pairing of pirate-slave James Soames and Italian master-criminal

Count Zero.”

Count Zero clashed with Harry Wharton and the Greyfriars crew in Magnet

#1452-1455. Paul Cornell notes that James Soames was an adversary of Harry

Wharton. In the Magnet Soames was indeed a pirate and a slaver.

Page 149.  “...her companion ‘Frecks’, apparently

an old school chum.”

In the Worrals stories Worrals’ sidekick is her best friend and fellow

pilot Betty “Frecks” Lovell.

“...his deadly cricket-bat wielding colleague Chung...”

In the Wolf of Kabul stories Samson’s sidekick is the Pathan Chung,

whose weapon of choice is his “clicky-ba,” or cricket bat. After killing

men Chung would remark, his eyes tearing, “Lord, I am full of humble sorrow

– I did not mean to knock down these men – ‘Clicky-ba’ merely turned

in my hand.”

Page 150. “The Crazy Wide Forever, by Sal


In Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) Sal Paradise (Kerouac’s

fictional stand-in) and friend Dean Moriarty travel around America, having

Beat adventures. The Crazy Wide Forever is written in a similar

style to On the Road.

I find this style of prose almost unreadable, and so I’m refusing

to annotate it except for the crucial ones. You can send in the annotations

if you like--I'll certainly list them here. I just can't bring myself

to do it.

Page 151.  “O little did we know but Dr. Sachs

was settin fer us...”

“Dr. Sachs” is a reference to the titular character of Jack Kerouac’s

Dr. Sax (1959). Dr. Sax is a scientist who travels to Lowell, Massachusetts,

to destroy the Great World Snake, a Jörmungandr-like monster.

"...his olde grandad's foe no reglar Joe but the Napoleon o crime n craft

this mad perfesser Moriarty his own grandson..."

Which is to say, Kerouac's Dean Moriarty is the grandson of Conan Doyle's

Professor Moriarty.

Peter Sanderson braves The Crazy Wide Forever and comes up with more


  • "she's Minnie but  never mooched":  reference to the 1931

    song "Minnie the Moocher," co-written and originally performed by Cab Calloway

    .  Calloway also performed the song in the Betty Boop animated cartoon

    "Minnie the Moocher."

  • "Captain Easy:  adventure hero created by cartoonist Roy Crane

    for his pioneering early 20th century adventure comic strip "Wash Tubbs,"

    which was later renamed after the captain."

  • "The Lone Ranger:  masked western hero who was created by George

    Story continues below

    W. Trendle and has appeared in radio, television and film."

Page 152.  Peter Sanderson writes, ""Thin

Man" "William Powell n Myrna Loy":  Allan and Mina are being compared

to Nick and Nora Charles, the witty, sophisticated couple whom Dashiell Hammett

created in his 1934 detective novel "The Thin Man" and who were played by

William powell and Myrna Loy in a series of MGM "Thin Man" films."

Page 153.  Peter Sanderson writes, "Plastic Man: classic

superhero with stretching powers created by Jack Cole."

Page 154.  Peter Sanderson writes, "Schopenhauer: 

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), German philosopher. Monet:  Claude

Monet (1840-1926), the great Impressionist painter."

Page 155.  Peter Sanderson writes, "Willyum Blake"

(William Blake, 1757-1827):  visionary poet and illustrator who devised

his own personal mythology of gods. Hoagy Carmichael (1899-1991): songwriter

and musician who wrote the music for the song "Stardust" and appeared in

such films as "To Have and Have Not." Tom Mix (1880-1940), Bill Boyd (William

Boyd, 1895-1972):  Stars of early film Westerns. Floyd Patterson (1935-2006): 

American heavyweight boxing champion "

Pornsec SexJane. This is Moore & O’Neill’s

version of what a Tijuana Bible would be like in the England of 1984.

Tijuana Bibles were crudely produced pornographic comic books about celebrities

and comic strip characters produced from the 1920s through the 1960s.

The Jane who stars in “Workbelt Crimepoke” is the same mentioned

on Page 22, Panel 6.

Pornsec SexJane Pages 3-4. Bumstead, Syme, Withers

and Jones are all characters in 1984.

Pornsec SexJane Page 6. “We are the dead” is what

Winston and Julia tell each other the morning after their tryst, right

before they are caught by the Thought Police in 1984.

Pornsec SexJane Page 8. The cage is full of rats.

The prospect of having a cage of rats placed on his face is what finally

breaks Winston in 1984.

“Imagine a patent leather boot grinding on a human tongue, forever.”

This is a sadomasochistic riff on the famous line from 1984,

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human

face--for ever.”

Page 156. “...small towns dotted about the country

such as Maybury...”

Mayberry, North Carolina, is the site of the tv shows The Andy

Griffith Show (1960-1968) and Mayberry R.F.D. (1968-1971), and

also appeared in an episode of The Danny Thomas Show (1953-1964).

“...or Riverdale...”

There are various real Riverdales, but in all likelihood the Riverdale

mentioned here is the Riverdale which is the setting for the numerous

stories in Archie Comics.

“...metropolitan environments like Central City...”

In DC Comics Central City is the home city of the Flash.


In DC Comics Gotham City is the home city of Batman, among others.

Perhaps coincidentally, each of these cities has been the site of

various interdimensional/inter-fictional universe crossover. A resident

of Mayberry appeared on the It’s Gary Shandling Show (and Mayberry is a

part of the vast web of tv crossovers–to see how dozens of tv shows tie

in to each other, go to the Crossovers Spin Offs Master

List). Marvel’s The Punisher appeared in Riverdale. Central City was

the site of the first crossover between DC’s Golden Age and Silver Age characters.

And Gotham has seen, among others, characters from Wildstorm Comics visit


    Myles Lobdell, Peter Sanderson, and Neale Barnholden

note that "Central City is also the name of the city in which the Fantastic

Four debuted way back in 1961.  Thus, the three

cities, Riverdale, Central City, and Gotham, may represent the three 'big'

long running comic companies: Archie, Marvel, and DC." Peter Sanderson further

notes that Central City was the home of Will Eisner's The Spirit.

“...that most startling and deplorable of post war U.S. trends, the

‘mystery man’ or costumed vigilante set.”

It’s tempting to read this and the following as Moorean commentary

on the effect of superhero comics on...well, take your pick. Comic books

in general? Popular fiction? Popular culture?  

    Peter Sanderson comments: "Since Moore puts this remark

in the mouth of Robert Cherry/Harry Lime, that probably means that Moore

does NOT agree with it. "

“...the supposed goddess of love called Venus...”

The Greek goddess Venus appeared as a superhero in the Atlas Comics

Venus #1-19 (1948-1952) and Marvel Mystery Comics #91 (1949).

(She has appeared in other Marvel comics in recent years).

Story continues below

“...Gotham’s by then elderly Crimson Avenger.”

The Crimson Avenger was possibly created by Jim Chambers and appeared

in a number of DC comics beginning with Detective Comics #20 (Oct.

1938). Newspaper reporter Lee Travis puts on the costume of “The Crimson”

to fight crime, aided by his Asian valet Wing. The Crimson Avenger predated

the Batman and was arguably the first costumed crimefighter in DC Comics.

Page 157. “ star Linda Turner’s close associate

the Black Cat...”

Linda Turner, a.k.a. the Black Cat, was created by Alfred Harvey

and appeared in a number of comics beginning with Pocket Comics

#1 (Aug. 1941). Linda Turner, the daughter of a movie star and a stunt man,

became one of Hollywood's biggest stars but got bored with the make-believe

life of Hollywood and decided to fight crime instead as the Black Cat.

“...mental marvel Brain Boy...”

Brain Boy was created by Herb Castle and appeared in six comics in

1962 and 1963, beginning with Four Color #1330 (Apr/June 1962).

When Matt Price was still only a fetus in his mother’s womb she was struck

by a electricity in a car accident. This gave Price various psychic powers,

and when he turns eighteen he is recruited by the government to go to work

for them, fighting evil.

“...and a thirteen-year-old orphan said to draw fantastic powers

and abilites from an adjoining extra spatial region or dimension ruled

by techologically advanced fly people.”

This is a reference to the Fly, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

and appearing in a number of comics from 1959 to 1966 (and again in later

iterations), beginning with The Double Life of Private Strong #1

(June 1959). Orphan Tommy Troy is hired to do odd jobs by Ben and Abigail

March. Troy finds a ring in their attic, for the Marches are wizards, and

the ring summons Turan, one of the Fly People, former rulers of the Earth.

The Fly People were eventually reduced to common houseflies in a magical

war, although a few, including Turan, escaped to another dimension. The ring

can be used by Tommy to switch bodies with one of the Fly People, who has

magical powers. Tommy uses the ring to fight crime.

“Seemingly, a Negro man from out of town had been held in the Maybury

jail on morals charges, including an accusation of procuring, with his

two white skinned female accomplices who were apparently twin sisters from

the Netherlands.”

See the notes to Page 166.

“ sheriff’s deputy’s account was ‘exactly like one of them

there hot air balloons, ‘ceptin it weren’t.’”

It was, after all, only a matter of time before Moore quoted Barney


“...there was a frankly stupid rumour that for a brief period the

self styled legendary adventurer evaded notice by the novel means of having

been against his or her will transformed into an animal by sorcery.”

I’m guessing that this is a reference to Kathleen Hale’s 19 “Orlando

the Marmalade Cat” novels (1938-1972), although I know nothing about

them and don’t know if “transformed into an animal by sorcery” is a part

of the Hale novels or Moore’s invention.

“...our projects at Port Merion...”
The Prisoner was filmed at the Welsh village of Portmeirion.

“One of their Central Intelligence lot, F. Gordon Leiter...”

Felix Leiter appears in various James Bond novels as a C.I.A. agent

who works with Bond on various cases.

Leiter’s real name is “Felix.” The “Gordon” comes from a conflation

of Leiter with Watergate rogue G. Gordon Liddy.

“My best to you and Julia...”

The love interest of Orwell’s 1984 is Julia, a mechanic. At

the end of the novel Julia, like Winston, has betrayed her lover and

been brainwashed to love Big Brother. Presumably she took up with her

torturer O’Brien.

The first image is Mina and Allan with the Crimson Avenger’s costume.

I believe the second image is of Mina and Allan with Tommy Troy.

But Chris Roberson disagrees: "I have to disagree. I think it's Billy Batson.

He's certainly the right age, with the same hair and what is conceivably

Batson's yellow-collared red sweater. But the telling bit is the way that

everyone in the background is opening their umbrellas and looking up for

Story continues below

rain, apparently not finding any. Obviously he's just said his magic word

and transformed back from Captain Marvel, and on hearing the thunder everyone

thinks it's about to rain." (I think Chris is right).

Perhaps the third image is of Mina and Allan with Linda Turner?

Page 161. Panel 9. “Oh, for crying out loud. It

just never bloody stops, does it?”

With Moore’s departure from mainstream comics now a reality, there

is a great temptation to see even minor things as a commentary by him

on superhero comics. I have to admit that I found this line to be possibly

indicative of his feelings about the endless, serial nature of comics.

Page 162. Panel 1. “Gordon Bennett” is a British

expression indicative of shock or surprise. It may be based on James

Gordon Bennett Jr. (1841-1918), a playboy famous for his extravagant behavior

and lifestyle.

Panel 5. Presumably the initials “SF” on a helicopter of that

shape is a reference to something. But I’m not catching it.

Page 164. Panel 1. See the note to Page 166.

Panel 2. “Wij zullen het dadelijk voor u doen, onze dappere

held. Wij zijn verzot op u.”

“Waar gaat u heen, trotse kampioen der liefde?”

A rough translation from the Dutch: “We will do that immediately

for you, our brave hero. We are moved by you.”

“Where are you going, champion of love?”

Panel 3. “Hij heeft een slecht humeur. Laten wij ons maar


“He is in a bad mood. Let us get dressed.”

Page 166. Panel 1. This is the Golliwog. He was

created by Florence Kate Upton in The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls

and a Golliwogg (1895), and appeared in a number of sequels by Upton

and by Enid Blyton, among others. The Golliwog (as it later became spelled)

was a beloved children’s character in Britain for several generations,

although it is substantially less popular today. The Golliwog was originally

a rag doll drawn like a blackface minstrel doll, and although the behavior

of the Golliwog in the novels was not usually portrayed in a racist fashion,

and although the Golliwog was usually portrayed as a doll rather than a black

child, the term “Golliwog” became a racist epithet, and the Golliwog is

currently seen by some or many as a racist character.

Panel 4. The fact that Drummond is still on his feet while

Bond and Peel are knocked off theirs may be indicative of how Moore feels

about the old-style action heroes versus the newer generation. (I.e., they

made them tough back then).

Panels 5-6. “B-bread and tits to you, flashing Monsignor.”

“Bread and tits to you, gilded wasp of Elysium. Let the Thrup of

us entender withdoors, what cheer?”

This dialogue, and the Golliwog’s dialogue on Page 164 and following,

is a mystery to me. It’s understandable, of course, but I’m unaware of

its origin. Did the Golliwog speak like this in the Blyton books, or in

some other work? Is this Moore’s creation?

Page 167. Panel 4. Peter Sanderson writes, "The sight of

Bond bending over the injured, bleeding Emma Night may be a visual echo of

the end of  the "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" movie, in which Bond's

new bride Tracy (played by Diana Rigg), is assassinated."

Page 168. Panel 1. The Golliwog as a balloonist

is a reference to Florence Upton’s The Golliwog’s Air-Ship (1902),

in which the Golliwog and the wooden dolls Sarah Jane, Peg, Meg, and Midget

go on a balloon trip together. If the design of the balloon is a reference

to anything in particular, I’m unaware of it, although the shark face on

the front is a very Kevin O’Neill-like touch.

And now I can reveal that the “bold, fearless black balloonist” mentioned

in League v2 is in fact the Golliwog.

Page 169. Panel 2. It is typical of Bulldog Drummond

that, though hateful and bigoted in many ways, his reaction to meeting

two traditional English heroes is to believe them rather than what the

government has told him.

Page 170. Panel 1. This is clearly the ruins of

a castle, and it’s been identified as in Dunbayne, which means this must

be Dunbayne Castle, from Ann Radcliffe’s The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne

(1789), one of Radcliffe’s first Gothic novels.

Panel 4. “Is that linseed oil?”

Story continues below

Paul Cornell notes that linseed oil is used to keep a cricket bat supple

during the winter. Which means, obviously, that Sarah Jane and Peg

were using linseed oil to keep the Golliwog's membrum virile supple.

Page 171.  Panel 6. “Sodium morphate in his

fucking pie?”

Sodium morphate is a drug which slows the heart and smells like apples,

and so putting it into an apple pie is an efficient method of assassination.

Who it has been used on depends on which conspiracy theory you read.

Panel 7. “Trick cars, trick pens, trick cigarette lighters...why

can’t you just fight?”

Drummond never was one for gadgets, preferring more straightforward

brutality. It is typical of his mindset to look down on newer heroes like

Bond who rely on gadgets rather than fists.

Page 173. Panel 2. “I’m going to need sturdier

clothing if I stay in this business.”

Many men of a certain age fondly remember Emma Peel’s sturdy leather

catsuit in The Avengers.

Page 176. Panel 5. “Heer Orlando is momenteel een


“Mr. Orlando is momentarily a woman.”

“And is that Peg or Sarah Jane?”

Peg and Sarah Jane were the names of the two dolls in The Adventures

of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg.

Page 177. Panel 1.  “So Queen Olympia presented

you with the dolls?”

As we learned in League v2, Olympia, the doll from E.T.A.

Hoffman’s “The Sand-Man” (1817), became queen of Toyland.

Panel 2. “Wij hebben ons vrijwillig aangeboden. Zijn geslacht

is kolossaal.”

“We volunteered to go. His masculine organ of reproduction is enormous.”

Panel 4. “Belted ‘Rose o’ Nowhere’ all on me jingle, did I.”

The “Rose of Nowhere” is a phrase found in the mystical writings

of Golden Dawn followers.

Panel 5. “Ik denk dat die grote wolk daar de weg naar huis


“I think that big cloud is the way to home.”

Page 176-177. And here begins the 3D section of

the Dossier. There are obviously some visual tricks of the M.C.

Escher variety, but I think there are some visual references as well–the

clown, for example–but I’m not getting them.

One I did get is the the Little Prince, standing on his asteroid

next to the Golliwog et al. The Little Prince was created by Antoine Saint-Exupéry

and appeared in Le Petit Prince (1943). The image here is very

similar to the original cover of Le Petit Prince.

Don Murphy points out that the clown is Max Fleischer's Koko the Clown.

Page 178. Panel 1.  If the characters at the

bottom of this panel are a reference, I’m not getting them.

Panel 2.  “Er is nog zo’n plek, in de buurt van de zuidpool

van der aarde.”

“There is another place, in the South Pole.”

If the characters at the bottom of this panel are a reference, I’m

not getting them.

Page 179. Panel 1. “...this South Pole location,

Metapatagonia, is actually the same place as the Blazing World?”

Megapatagonia was created of Nicolas Edme Restif de la Bretonne and

appeared in La Découverte australe Par un Homme-volant (1781).

It is an archipelago which is exactly opposite France and so its culture

is an inverse of the French, down to its capital "Sirap." Megapatagonia being

the same as the Blazing World explains certain reversals, as mentioned on

Page 183.

If the characters in this panel are a reference, I’m not getting


Panel 2. If the characters in this panel are a reference,

I’m not getting them.

Page 180. Panel 1. “Meteen, admiraal van genoegen.”

“At once, admiral of pleasure.”

Panel 2. “Zusters! Het is zo prachtig om jullie te zien!”

“Sisters! It is so lovely to see you.”

Panel 3. “Welkom, vurige piraat van het hart! We zullen sterven

van geluk!”

“Welcome, fiery pirate of the heart! We will die from happiness!”

(Thanks to Martin Wisse for correcting my bad translation here).

Page 181. Panels 1-4. Perhaps the giant walking

by is Gulliver, as large in the Blazing World as he was on Lilliput?

Page 182. Panel 1. The wrestling dwarf is Maurie

Richardson’s Engelbrecht, mentioned on Page 146. As mentioned on Page

183, Engelbrecht’s opponent is Poetry. The words on his left arm are from

Wordsworth’s “I wandered lonely as a cloud,” and the words on his right

arm are from Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans’ “Casablanca.”

Panel 2. The character at the top of the page is P.L. Travers’

Story continues below

Mary Poppins.

I can’t make out what the image in the portal is of–Lewis Carroll’s


“...the swine-things’ Borderland...”

This is a reference to W.H. Hodgson's The House on the Borderland

(1908). The House on the Borderland, inhabited by an old man and his sister,

is the gateway to a world of evil swine monsters.

“...the various realms of that peculiar tree in Buckinghamshire.”

The tree is mentioned in League v2.

The words on Poetry’s right and left arm are from Felicia Dorothea

Browne Hemans’ “Casablanca.”

Panel 3. Is one of the images in the portal Hodgson’s Borderland?

The words on Poetry are from Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans’ “Casablanca.”

Page 183. Panel 1. The words on Poetry are from

John Keats’ “On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer.”

Philip & Emily Graves note that the children on the chair are Mollie

and Peter from Enid Blyton's "Wishing Chair" books.

Panel 2. Philip and Emily Graves write, "It's possible that the man

with pots and pans on him is Saucepan from The Magic Faraway Tree,

also by Enid Blyton."

Page 184. Panel 1.  The flying character is

Ace Hart, who appeared in the British comic Super Thriller #6

(1948). “Ace Hart, a young scientist, has been able harness atomic energy

to his own body, which gives him the strength of twenty men, and enables

him to fly faster than a jet.”

Either the character on the flying carpet in this panel, or the one

in panel 2, is Baggy Pants, from the British comic Dandy (1956-1959).

Baggy Pants is a genie-like magician.

Panel 2. Jonathan Carter notes that the flying man is Commander

Cody from various 1950s film serials. 

Page 185. I don’t know who the figure at the bottom

of the page is.

Page 186. Panel 1. Got me on any of these characters.

Perhaps the toad is Mr. Toad, from The Wind in the Willows?

Gabriel Neeb writes that the fly-headed man is from the film The Fly


Panel 3. “Do give the Duke Toyland’s regards. Truly, he is

a philosopher of the heart’s sorrows.” The “Duke” in this case is Prospero,

and the “heart’s sorrows” phrase is from The Tempest.

Page 187. Panel 1. “I pray thee, do not rise.”

This child, who is incapable of saying anything else, appears in

from Marco Denevi's "La niña rosa" (1966).

Panel 2. Myles Lobdell, Matt Knicl, and Jonathan Carter note the

presence here of Zorro, Charlie Brown, Linus, the Lone Ranger, Captain Marvel

and Shazam the Wizard. Speaking to Charlie Brown might be the Disney version

of Snow White.

Panel 3. Jonathan Carter notes the presence of Robin Hood and possibly

Alfred E. Neuman.

Page 188. Panel 4. If the stampeding animals is

a reference to something, I’m unaware of it. (Oh good grief. Chris Roberson

notes that they are Kipling's Just So Animals," and he's clearly right).

Page 189. Panel 1. Nyarlathotep says, “The three-lobed

burning eye cares not.” See the notes to Page 26 and 117.

Panel 2. Nyarlathotep says, “The Lloigor are offended.” In

the Cthulhu Mythos the Lloigor are a race of malign energy beings.

Pages 190-192. I don’t recognize anything here.

Page 192. It’s fitting that Puck breaks the frame


The book version of these annotations will be Impossible

Territories and will be published by MonkeyBrain Books in July, 2008.

The book will have expanded annotations, interviews with Alan Moore and Kevin

O'Neill, and whatever other goodies and extras I can manage to put in to it.

Thanks to: Alicia; Lee Barnett, Neale Barnholden, Robert Todd Bruce,

Jonathan Carter, Paul Cornell, Sean Gaffney, Damian Gordon, Philip &

Emily Graves, Guest_Informant, "Him Name Eddie," Brian Joines, Elliott Kalan,

Matt Knicl, Rick Lai, Myles Lobdell, Jean-Marc Lofficier, Papa Joe Mambo,

Mario/mdg1, David Alexander McDonald, Pádraig Ó Méalóid,

Brad Mengel, Don Murphy, Gabriel Neeb, Jeff Newberry, Michael Norwitz, Kevin

Pasquino, Jeff Patterson, A.J. Ramirez, Christopher Reynolds, Richardthinks,

Chris Roberson, Robtmsnow, Kian Ross, Peter Sanderson, Phil Smith, Greg Strohecker,

usedcarsrus, Ian Warren, Rich Weaver, Martin Wisse.

Back to

the Comics Annotations.

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