Below are annotations for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #1 – 32 pages plus covers, cover date June 2018
Writer: Alan Moore, Artist: Kevin O’Neill, Colourist: Ben Dimagmaliw, Letterer: Todd Klein
Note: some of this stuff is obvious. If there’s stuff we missed or got wrong, let us know in comments, or email linton.joe [at] gmail.com
General summary: Much of this material was originally compiled by Jess Nevins.
- The cover to Tempest #1 is a riff on Classics Illustrated, one cover of which is provided at the left. Classics Illustrated, which ran from 1941 to 1971, featured graphic adaptations of literary classics, everything from Shakespeare to Moby Dick. “Featuring stories by the world’s greatest authors”–with “greatest” here changed for “gravest”. For readers of a certain age–Moore’s and O’Neill’s age–Classics Illustrated was likely among the first American comic books they ever saw.
- The cover does not depict any events directly depicted within the issue, and may be meant to be allegorical on one or more levels. The shipwreck evokes the event which begins Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The figures in Elizabethan costume (two of whom appear to be cross-dressed) evoke the Shakespearean stage. There are numerous instances of the question mark symbol associated with the League: in the logo for “Great Britain” (atop a helm of Brittania), at the top of the buttons of Mina’s costume, on the lock of the chest, and on the cover of a buried book. The keys and chest evoke pirate treasure, as does the skull at the base of the question mark on the book. With the addition of the partially-buried tomes, the notion of revealing secrets is raised. One of the tomes has a variant of the League’s question mark symbol, and another has Nemo’s monogram.
- Commenter Craig points out that the chest may foreshadow the chest which features prominently in Tempest #5.
- There is considerable disagreement about who the figures on the cover are meant to be:
- Figure at left with ray gun: possibly Miss Night/Emma Peel (similar hair style to what Night comes out of the pool with; this character’s hair is still grey, however), or Satin Astro (the ray gun she has looks like one Satin wields in #4), or Orlando (generally androgynous appearance).
- Center rear, in green: Possibly Gloriana, queen of the fairies, though she doesn’t appear in the main story until #4, or Orlando (green color scheme matches Orlando’s clothes in this issue), or maybe even the witch Sycorax from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
- Right foreground, with sword: Almost certainly Mina (green eyes, high collar to hide scars).
- Leo Baxendale was of course a real person, and the account given here is accurate. He wasn’t the first person to be cheated out of his just earnings in comics, whether British or American, but he was one of the biggest of the British creators who were robbed by management, and this section, the “Cheated Champions of Your Childhood,” will be focusing on British comics, as so much else of League: Tempest is going to.
- Look and Lament is a play on Look and Learn, the educational British comic so beloved of parents, although less so by children…
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz adds:
The general tone of the Look and Lament features are riffs on the Odhams Press “Power Comics” line. It was mostly humor strips with a lot of Marvel Comics reprints and British Adventure Strips. They desperately tried to duplicate the Stan Lee “chummy” editorial tone. Alan’s pal and focus of Al’s “Unearthing”, Steve Moore, used to work their and was given the nickname “Sunny” Steve Moore, in the manner of “Sturdy” Steve Ditko and “Jolly” Jack Kirby. [The use of “Sunny” is] pretty ironic considering Steve would go on to worship a moon goddess, Selene.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz adds:
- The two tots at the bottom of the page, as Damian T. Gordon notes, are Alan Moore (as Baxendale’s Minnie the Minx) and Kevin O’Neill (as Baxendale’s Little Plum).
- Although Kôr has been mentioned repeatedly in various issues of League, this is our first full scene set in it. Kôr is from the work of H. Rider Haggard, beginning with She: A History of Adventure (1886-1887). Kôr is the kingdom, located in uncharted Africa, where Ayesha, She Who Must Be Obeyed, reigns and where she is made immortal. Putting Kôr in Uganda is Moore’s doing.
- The three figures are:
- Miss Night/Emma Peel, with cane. Emma Peel is from the British Avengers t.v. series (1961-1969). In the Avengers she was a spy, played by Diana Rigg; in the world of League she became M, the head of the British spy agency MI5. Ian Wildman adds: “In the League, Emma Peel has gone by her maiden name of Night, appearing both before her marriage and after the death of her husband. She also was conflated with the version of M depicted by Judi Dench in the Pierce Brosnan/Daniel Craig James Bond films.”
- Orlando, with rifle
- Mina Murray.
- This is set shortly after the conclusion of Century.
- Miss Night speaks.
- Note that the lack of body-modesty here extends to Mina’s neck scars. In this place, among this company, she feels no need to hide them.
- The lack of tails on the word balloons may be because this panel is from the point of view of Miss Night (as are panels 5-8).
- The rock with the graffiti at the side of the pool was first described in League volume 2 “The New Traveler’s Almanac” (issue #4, p30):
All around the edges of the pool a great variety of names had been patiently carved by idle hands into the ancient rock. We saw the name ‘Orlando’ and a word that I thought might have been the ancient Greek for ‘Homer.’
- The rock was first depicted visually in Black Dossier on P24p4, and again on P36p3. The placement of the details varies, but which actual elements depicted seems largely consistent:
- A map of Africa with two “X” marks. One X marks the location of the pool itself, the other marks a community of troglodytic immortals in Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia) (Black Dossier, P24p5).
- A set of ideograms including a “3”, various triangular shapes, and wavy lines.
- Two lines of unknown characters.
- “Ὅμηρος” (Ancient Greek for Homer).
- Two lines of unknown characters (different from the earlier ones).
- This panel echoes panel 2, only now Miss Night has become young again.
- This is the first time we see Miss Night’s face clearly, much of the previous sequence having been from her own point of view. She now has a more than passing resemblance to Diana Rigg when she first played Emma Peel.
- The pool has not only rejuvenated Miss Night, but has also restyled her hair! This is a common, if rarely remarked upon, feature of rejuvenation in visual media.
- Here, she marvels at the smoothness of the skin of her hands, as contrasted with the wrinkles seen in panel 7.
- Some sections of League: Tempest are illustrated in black and white as an homage to 1950s British comic strips. Appropriately, as these sections are all about British characters from those comics.
- The “City of We” is from Yevgeny Zamyatin’s novel We (1921). We is set in an unnamed year a thousand years after the dystopian government of United State conquered the world, and involves an unsuccessful love affair and the eventual (though left ambiguous) fall of United State. We was heavily influential on Orwell’s 1984. Note: the city in which the narrator, D-503, lives is never named in We.
- “zitzed” is presumably used as a made-up futuristic “swear word”. That said, Google does reveal a few uses of the word, most of which seem to be used to mean approximately “attacked” or “killed”, which fits with Satin’s usage.
- The “Manshonyagger” is from the work of Cordwainer Smith. Smith’s far-future stories are set 14,000 years from now in the “Instrumentality of Mankind.” One notable mention of the “Manshonjagger” (Smith’s original version of the term) is Smith’s splendid “Scanners Live in Vain” (1950): “Perhaps he would die in the excitement of the hunt, throwing spears at an ancient steel Manshonjagger as it leapt from its lair.”
- The identity of the “Marslord” is unknown–for now. Presumably he will be properly identified in a later issue of Tempest. (But see note on Satin Astro, below.)
- Ian Wildman suggests: “R.J. Brande was the original financier for the Legion of Super-Heroes [see below]. He was later retconned into being a shapeshifting alien disguised as a human. There are a number of Martians in popular culture that can change shape (such as the Martian Manhunter). So maybe the Marslord that Moore and O’Neill are referencing here is also being conflated with R.J. Brande and his role with the Legion.” Carl Vause notes, “Warlord of Mars (Marslord ?) is the follow up to Edgar Rice Burrough’s The Gods of Mars.”
- The woman is Satin Astro, from Whizzer in 1947. The man is her sidekick Burt Steele. In their original appearances, set in the year 3000, Astro is a “female Robin Hood,” and Steele is a space adventurer who teams up with Astro to fight her former boss Krozac. They eventually tangle with Lamarr, Warlord of Mars, and Steele loses his life in defeating him. (Possibly this means that Lamarr is the “Marslord” mentioned in this panel).
- “those mutated brats” are a thinly-veiled version of the Legion of Super-Heroes (hereafter referred to as LSH), a spinoff of the Superboy comic which features teenaged super-heroes and is set 1,000 years in the future.
- Presumably the cat in the lower right is a reference to something. Pádraig Ó Méalóid writes, “what you refer to as a cat possibly actually a dog, and more specifically is it Winston Niles Rumfoord’s dog Kazak from The Sirens of Titan, seeing as the pair of them are caught in a chrono-synclastic infundibulum, are therefore spread across time and space?” Jeff Jensen writes, “I share the belief that this is probably a specific literary/comics/pop culture allusion. Perhaps it’s this book from 1963 by Lloyd Alexander: Time Cat. The reason why I like this possibility: I think in a previous “League” book, we learned that between the years 1944 and 1958, Orlando lived as a cat, transformed by someone’s sorcery into feline form. Given that time travel is in play in “The Tempest” (note that Satin Astro finds it curious that the aeonosphere was set to 1958), we might learn that Orlando spent some time in the far future, as a cat.”
- The “three dots” are the three founding members of the LSH.
- “Aero-Jewellery” is the LSH’s flight rings.
- The “little girl” with psi powers is the LSH’s Saturn Girl, one of the three founding members.
- While panel 1 established many circular buildings with triangular fins near the top, this one in particular is the original club house of the LSH.
- Michael Norwitz suggests that the “Vote A. Moore” poster is a reference to Arda Moore, who was the first woman president, elected in the year 3000, in Wonder Woman #7 (1943).
- The “Aeonosphere” is an LSH Time Bubble (aka Time Sphere).
- The “Nook Zook” mentioned here appears to be a “nuclear bazooka”.
- The figure off left is Cosmic Boy, another of the founding members of LSH. He is using his magnetic powers to yank the weapon away from Burt.
- The “junior electrodirector” is Lighting Lad, who controls electricity, and is the third and last of the founding members of the LSH. Lance Parkin writes, “‘electrodirection’ is a talent that Rassilon has in Moore’s Doctor Who strips.”
- The reason the sphere is set for 1958 is that that’s the when Legion first appeared, in Adventure Comics #247, published in April 1958. Sidney Osinga notes that “In the first Legion story, the three founders travel back in time to recruit Superboy. The fact the “aeonosphere” is set to 1958 probably means that this scene is set right before or after that story.”
- The visual is a riff on how time travel was often depicted in DC Comics.
- Benjamin Gross writes, “The various years listed as the aeonosphere travels backwards through time may be references to other science-fiction stories. 2312 is a novel by Kim Stanley Robinson. [The first section of Walter M. Miller Jr.’s] A Canticle for Leibowitz is set in 2570.” Angelo Frei writes, “The year 2996 could be a reference to Greg Egan’s novel Diaspora where the Lacerta disaster happens in the year 2996.”
- “pre-disaster history” refers to the Great Disaster, an important part of LSH/DCU lore. Briefly, at some time between “the present” and the Legion’s 30th Century, something cataclysmic happened that essentially destroyed civilization, leaving only scattered historical records. This may first have been introduced as a device to prevent future-based characters from simply knowing everything about the present, but later became the driver of many adventure plots.
- This is MI5 headquarters, right after the events of Century: 2009. Julian Wan writes, “It might be worth noting that Vauxhall is not just a part of historical and modern London but is now the acknowledged home of the British Secret Intelligence Service, aka MI6. It is a large distinct building and has appeared in the recent James Bond films. The actual building is pretty impressive and it is indeed sited on the water as it is in the comic page 10, panel 1.”
- There appears to be a bust of Moriarty outside.
- The policeman’s shield is marked “D5” – Suggest?? (“D5” also appears on the side of a river craft on P10,p1.)
- panels 2-6 are through the eyes of M, see notes to panels 6-7, below.
- On the wall are portraits of some previous directors of MI5: Professor Moriarty, from the work of Arthur Conan Doyle–he was the director of MI5 in League volume 1; Mycroft Holmes, from the work of Arthur Conan Doyle–he was named as Moriarty’s successor at the end of League v1; and Emma Night, the head of MI5 in Century: 2009.
- The man speaking is Jason King from British mystery TV shows Department S (1969-1970) and Jason King (1971-1972). In the show Jason King was played by actor Peter Wyngarde. (Wyngarde was a visual influence on John Byrne’s portrayal of the X-Men villain Mastermind, to whom he gave the real name Jason Wyngarde).
- Commenter Craig notes:
It’s odd that King says Emma took the Black Dossier with her, since Mina and Allan already stole that document from MI5 in 1958! (This is a potential continuity error that actually originates in Century #3, where Emma is seen to have a copy of the dossier in MI5 HQ.) In the Black Dossier graphic novel, the dossier is last seen in Prospero’s possession. Did he return it to MI5 as part of his master plan? Perhaps he somehow slipped it to Emma in order to bring the pool at Kor to her attention?
- “We’re trying to make this place more accessible” – Due to M’s bulky wheelchair. The sentence could also apply to Moore commenting on his own attempts at a more accessible style. Last, but not least, it could apply to the work of annotators like those writing this site!
- “from several weeks ago” – so now we know when League: Tempest #1 takes place.
- This is a shot of the final fight scene in Century: 2009.
- The “journalist” is of course Orlando from Century: 2009.
- Damian T. Gordon suggests that the nurse is “a reference to Young Mister Grace’s nurse in Are You Being Served?” Her figure is certainly typical of Sir James’ taste. The medal-like object hanging from her shirt is a nurse’s fob watch.
- Sir James/M is the original James Bond, first seen in Black Dossier, last seen in Century: 2009 being kept alive as an act of malicious revenge by Emma Peel.
- Note that the wheezing of old M is printed in a pale grey, rather than the normal black text.
- Possibly the statue is of an earlier Ayesha–most likely the original Ayesha. Damian T. Gordon disagrees, and suggests that it is Isis, who protects Ayesha in the fourth “She” novel, Wisdom’s Daughter (1923). Damian further points out this image, to the right. The doorway(?) through the vagina is an intriguing detail.
- The illustration on the left is of unknown significance. We know that the original Ayesha killed a Chinese goddess to steal immortality, but that goddess was not a skeleton. Angelo Frei writes, “The illustration on the left could be Ayesha killing death, i.e. becoming immortal.”
- “Farewell to Forever” is, on one level, about the destruction of the pool, thus ending our heroes’ immortality. On another level, it acknowledges that this is the final volume of LoEG, which Moore previously had suggested could go on forever. It may perhaps also refer to this song by Trembling Blue Stars.
- Ayesha “finally” dying in the mid-1970s is a reference to the death of all remaining clones of the original Ayesha, as mentioned in Nemo: River of Ghosts.
- “Amin” is a reference to Idi Amin, the real-world dictator of Uganda from 1971 to 1979.
- Justin Blochwitz reminds us:
In the Century:2009 annotations it was mentioned that Idi Amin appeared in the novel “The Last King of Scotland” by Giles Foden in 1998.
- Justin Blochwitz reminds us:
- “Berlin, back in the 1940s” refers to Nemo: The Roses of Berlin.
- “Ayesha’s always getting killed” is a reference to the original Ayesha dying at the end of She and then coming back in later Haggard novels as well as dying and returning in various issues of League.
- “We haven’t seen him since he was seven.” This presumably was at the beginning of Century: 1969, suggesting that Jack was born in 1962.
- “his great-grandfather” is, of course, the original Captain Nemo.
- In Century: 1969, we learned that the Drum ‘N’ Bassment was owned by Mina Murray, and had housed the secret headquarters for her super-hero group, The Seven Stars.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz suggests that this is a reference to The Basement, “from Michael Moorcock’s “The Venue Underground” story in Iain Sinclair’s anthology London: City of Disappearances”.
- Regarding the “XX Out” graffiti: as seen in various earlier issues, the “XX” in the world of League is the equivalent to the Nazi swastika in our world. Moore took this from the 1940 Charlie Chaplin film The Great Dictator.
- The poster with the “Tracey Jordan” movie is a riff on the Tracy Jordan character from American t.v. show 30 Rock.
- “lancashirearab” writes, “Cor! Is the title of an IPC comic” James Kerr writes, “The explanation for “Hard Cor!” is, I would suggest, a simple play on the long running British comic Cor!!!, which in fact lasted much longer as a series of annuals than weekly publication. Dance music around 1999 often described itself as hard core so it is probably that which is being referenced, with a wink to the pornographic connotation too.”
- If “Crib,” “Sold Out Featuring Sold Out,” and “Frack Ho be back” are references, they have not yet been identified.
- “bag for life” is a type of reusable and recyclable shopping bag in the UK.
- The Seven Stars feature in the back of this issue locates the Seven Stars’ headquarters–or Star Chamber–beneath and between Little Monmouth Street and Nightmore Street in Fitzrovia WC1. Both are ‘lost streets’ from Iain Sinclair’s London: City of Disappearances (2006). Little Monmouth Street is said to have been the location of an underground music venue originally called the Jazz Cellar and then The Basement, whilst Nightmore Street housed a basement venue called the Tic-Toc Club. The League’s Drum ‘N’ Bassment would seem to be a later incarnation of one or both of those clubs.
- The Marsman is on the left in the baseball cap. The Marsman appeared in the British comic Marsman Comics (1948); he came to Earth as an observer and ended up fighting crime here.
- Satin Astro is on the right.
- The Jedi mind trick played on the bald black man is a part of the Marsman’s powers.
- The Daily Brute is a fictional newspaper from Evelyn Waugh’s satirical novel Scoop (1938). The headline appears to be about The Nautilus.
- “WC” is an abbreviation for “water closet” a British term for bathroom. “Pee See” could refer to seeing urine, or possibly to “Political Correctness”.
- The door is the same as it was in Century: 2009, though this is a different design to the one it had in Century:1969. Satin’s “key” works, though. Has she been back since 1969, or was the same lock kept when the rest of the door was changed?
- The “Star Chamber” is a historical reference to the original Star Chamber, which ran from the late fifteenth century to the mid-seventeenth century. Presumably the Seven Stars named their headquarters the “Star Chamber” as a reference.
- The “Continental Two” was a brand of jukebox. Benjamin Gross adds, “The Continental 2 jukebox was produced by AMI during the early 1960s. It was noteworthy for its scifi-inspired design, stereophonic sound, and ability to play both 33 1/3 and 45 rpm records.” In the Seven Stars feature later in this issue (P30,p5), the origin of the jukebox is revealed; it is the transmogrified corpse of the time traveller Mark Tyme.
- The Brain in the Jar, the Robot G.I., the Woof poster, and the poster with the axe symbol all appeared in Century: 2009. As Damian T. Gordon notes, the Robot G.I. is the Alex Henderson’s android soldier the Steel Commando.
- The Woof! poster represents the puff of smoke and sound effect when Mickey Moran transforms into Marvelman.
- “The Incident” is a reference to the events of Century: 2009.
- “Vull” is a reference to the invisible crook Vull the Invisible, who appeared in the British comic Ranger from 1934 to 1935.
- The previous, female inhabitant was Orlando, as seen in Century: 2009.
- The comic book cover–along with some of the contents–is seen more clearly later in this issue
- “Zom” is a reference to Zom of the Zodiac, from the British comic Big Win Comics (1948). Zom has magical abilities and typically uses them to transform the victims of injustice into very strong men who are then capable of taking their revenge.
- “Duke de Richleau” is a reference to Dennis Wheatley’s Duke de Richleau, who fights against Satanists & black magic users. The Duke appeared in eleven novels from 1933 to 1970, beginning with Forbidden Territory.
- “David Gaunt, the Flash Avenger” is a genuine British comics character, albeit a very obscure one; see notes to Tempest #3, Back Cover.
- “Jim and Carol” – See notes to pages 12/13.
- “zitzed” – See note at P2p1.
- Nice pun on needing to see (meet) Vull, although you cannot see (visually perceive) an invisible man.
- For discussion of the logo on the table, see notes for P27,p1.
The italicized all-caps lettering on this and the following page, and the small circular panel on this page, are all typical of the Stingray comic strip that appeared in TV Century 21 (for more on on which, see the notes to the cover of Tempest #2).
- The dog-like skull in armor is a Nacumeran–see panel 2, below.
- The “World Aquanaut Security Patrol” is a reference to, as Lulu Scarlet, Sean Lee Levin, and Chase Garland note, the crime-fighting patrol of the same name from the Gerry & Sylvia Anderson TV show Stingray (1964-1965).
- “Nacumera” is an imaginary island of dog-headed warriors from John Mandeville’s fictional voyages, as seen in The Travels of John Mandeville (1571).
- Mina appears to have retrieved Allan Quatermain’s hat, last seen resting atop his grave on the final page of Century: 2009.
- Another Nacumeran skull.
- The “Cybernaut” mentioned here is a reference to the “Cybernauts” episode of The Avengers.
- The Dugong is primarily an updated version of the Stingray submarine from the TV show Stingray. Jonathan Miller points out “Stingray has a 3 on the tail, whereas this ship has a 4. I’d speculate that, given Troy Tempest’s receding hairline [see P9,p2], the comic is set after the events of the TV show, and the 4 denotes the submarine shown is the next design evolution.” This appears to be confirmed by the cover of issue #2, which refers to it as “Mk. 4”. (A dugong is also an underwater creature, albeit one far uglier and less sleek than a stingray.)
- The design may also be partially inspired by the underwater rocketship Thunderbird 4, from the TV show Thunderbirds. (Both TV shows were produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, whose works have often been referenced by 20th century League stories.)
- Benjamin Gross suggests the possible significance of the “M” icon on the gas pump: “Considering that it appears on a fuel pump, is it possible that this is an updated version of the Mogul logo from The Troubleshooters, which was previously featured in Century: 1969?”
- “Genotia,” I think, works as a dual reference, to the Genosha of Marvel’s X-Men comics and to Genotia from Louis Adrien Duperron de Castera’s novel Le Theatre des Passions (1731).
- “–pest” identifies this character as Troy Tempest from the TV show Stingray.
- “Where’s the other one?” – Sam Greenaum reports that Tempest’s “radio guy, Phones, famous for his headphones, is floating in the water nearby.”
- Sean Lee Levin notes that Titan is the main villain of Stingray. He rules over the aquaphibian city of Titanica.
- Sunken figure in the lower right with large eyebrows: Sean Lee Levin writes “The head is that of Titan’s agent Artura/X-20.” “lancashirearab writes, “The head is X-two-Zero. He is modeled after the actor Claude Rains.”
- Alex Anaya notes the women tied to the block in the lower right and writes, “There is a woman chained to a concrete block in the underwater background. Given all the Stingray references on this page, I wonder if this is Marina. It looks like she lacks a distinct mermaid tail and has a flower on the right side of her head. Also, if she’s still alive she’d be unable to communicate since her hands are tied up.”
- This and the following page take the form of newspaper strips. They appear to be specifically referencing the James Bond comic strip which ran from 1956 to 1983.
- “Farewells Aren’t Forever” riffs on the Bond title Diamonds Are Forever, and also the title of this issue “Farewell to Forever”.
- “Novek” is a reference to Yaroslav Horak, who drew the Bond strip frequently from 1966 onwards. It is also “Kev O’N” backwards.
- The numbers in the bottom right of the panels are in imitation of similar numbers that some comic strips (definitely including James Bond) use to make sure that they are kept in the proper order.
- M’s wheezing is printed full black here, as opposed to the pale grey used on page 3, because newspaper comic strips didn’t have that degree of tone control.
- “SMERSH” is a reference to СМЕРШ, the portmanteau of Смерть шпионам (SMERt’ SHpionam, “Death to Spies”), the name for the overarching Soviet counter-intelligence agency, which controlled three separate agencies. SMERSH’s official existence lasted from 1942-1946, but there were rumors that it existed in a new form under the MGB and KGB well into the 1950s. SMERSH is notable in fiction as the source of some of James Bond’s opponents.
- Tycho could be the crater on the moon or Mars. Clavius is a lunar crater, so we’re looking at the Moon on the wall. Commenter David Malet points out “In 2001 the Monolith is discovered in Tycho crater on the moon, and the nearby base is Clavius is where Heywood Floyd travels on his secret mission.”
- “Zagadka” is Polish for “puzzle.” Benjamin Gross adds, “The “Zagadka” label on the lunar map could be a reference to the monolith from Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey Two. In the latter novel, the crew of the spaceship Alexei Leonov refer to the second monolith that was found orbiting Jupiter as zagadka.” Note the monolith-shaped rectangle at the left side of the map. Chase Garland further points out “according to Century 1910’s text backup, the Flame of Life [the pool of immortality] may come from the 2001 Monolith. In turn, John Subtle- AKA Prospero- had a scrying glass made of a similar substance…” Obvious, but perhaps worth noting: this story is set in 2009; the year 2010 is in the past, but 2010 is fast approaching.
- The “J-Series” are the various James Bonds, as seen in Century: 2009. See next panel for list.
- The men in the back are the J-Series, each James Bond as portrayed by the actors, shown here in approximate chronological order:
- J-1: Sean Connery (without a hairpiece)
- J-3: Roger Moore
- J-2: George Lazenby
- J-4: Timothy Dalton
- J-5: Pierce Brosnan
- J-6: Daniel Craig.
- In Century: 2009, Miss Knight had a portrait of J2 on her wall, leading some to speculate that in the world of League, he had been killed (instead of her) at the end of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. This now appears not to have been the case. (Though it’s possible his death was faked for some reason.)
- “Gale” is Cathy Gale from Avengers TV show. “Galore” is Pussy Galore, from Bond novel and movie Goldfinger. Sam Greenaum notes that both characters were played by the same actress, Honor Blackman. This suggests that, in the world of the League, they may be different aliases for the same person.
- “I banged her once” – in Goldfinger.
- Joyce writes that “Notice how poor Pussy seems to be staring right out of the screen at J-1 (The Sean Connery Bond) and the little beads of sweat on his head, an obvious nod to the 1964 Sean Connery James Bond movie Goldfinger on Moore & O’Neill’s part.”
- “Brute” – a reference to the Daily Brute, see P6,p8.
- Freetown is a real city, the capital of Sierra Leone.
- Nacumera – See note to P8,p2.
- Portrait on the wall is of a predecessor M. It may be Moriarty, though it is not the same portrait of him as seen on P3,p2.
- The car in the background is Finn McMissile, a James Bond-like British secret agent in the film Cars 2 (2011)
- The man being unfrozen in the foreground is superspy Austin Powers, from the three Austin Powers movies. In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Austin Powers is cryogenically frozen in 1967 and awoken in 1997.
- “Spectrum Jet” is a reference to, as Damian T. Gordon and Lulu Scarlet note, the worldwide security organization Spectrum, from the Gerry & Sylvia Anderson t.v. show Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967-1968).
Since these are a double-page spread, they will be dealt with together.
- “Carol” is Carol Flane, aka Electro Girl from Whizzer Comics (1947). Electro Girl is the daughter of an electro-biologist and gains electrical powers by touching his electrical generator. She decides to use her new powers to fight crime.
- It is unknown what the monocular robot and the dinosaur robot are reference to. Does every hero have a dinosaur robot in their headquarters?
- “Buster” is Carol’s dead cat, mentioned in panel 3.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz informs us that “Craig Street” was a villain in an early Electro Girl story who wore rubber gloves to protect himself from her electricity.
- “L.C. 1933-1973″ is a reference to, as Damian T. Gordon, Joe Linton, and Sean Lee Levin note, the cyborg crimefighter Louis Crandell, a.k.a. the Steel Claw, from the British comic Valiant (1962-1968).
- It is unknown who the large figure at back right (stone idol? damaged robot?) is a reference to.
- That is Electro Girl’s costume in the tube. Julian Wan points out the Seven Stars logo at the bottom of the tube.
- “Garath” is apparently Marsman’s first name–he was never named in his original appearances.
- A Faraday Cage blocks electromagnetic fields.
- The story of “The ‘Mass” is told in the backup feature, the first episode of which starts on page 25.
- Carol did accidentally electrocute her cat shortly after gaining her powers.
- “Great Disaster” – See note at P2,p7.
- Not sure what the “aerial overcities” is a reference to. Benjamin Gross writes, “Satin’s description of “aerial overcities” may be a reference to 30th century Earth featured in several Doctor Who adventures.” A number of people, including Ian Wildman and “History’s Greatest Monster,” suggested that the aerial overcities is a reference to the t.v. show The Jetsons (1962-1963). Angelo Frei writes, “The “domed totalitarian environments” could be a reference to Logan’s Run or the Danish-American film Z.P.G. or Zardoz.”
- “Electrowoman” – Given that we already have one Byrne reference in these notes (P3p3), this might be a nod to John Byrne’s (arguably belated but still welcome) renaming of Invisible Girl (of the Fantastic Four) to Invisible Woman.
- “Jim” is Jim Logan, a.k.a. Captain Universe, from Captain Universe (1954).
- The reference to the stars going out may be an allusion to the last line of the famous Arthur C. Clarke short story “The Nine Billion Names of God“.
- The lack of background or panel border, and the way in which their shadows stretch past the edge of where previous panel borders had been, all serve to emphasize Satin and Garath’s isolation.
- Drake’s Passage is a real place between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.
- Commenter rosswrites points out:
Orlando mentions visiting Drake’s Passage with the Gulliver Group, this was mentioned in chapter 3 of the New Traveller’s Almanac, “In The Rubble of Utopia” although the specific visit of the 18th century group to it wasn’t mentioned there.
- Commenter rosswrites points out:
- Gulliver is from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). Gulliver was a member of an earlier version of the League, as seen in League v1.
- Mermaid Paste is possibly a reference to Marina, the mermaid-like girlfriend of Troy Tempest in Stingray.
- “Pepper’s Land” from the Beatles’ movie The Yellow Submarine (1968), although in the film it was Pepperland, and existed under the sea.
- The skimpy bathing suits are probably intended to evoke the white bikini of Ursula Andress from the first James Bond film.
- “Musical utopia” etc a good summary of Pepperland in Yellow Submarine.
- The “Falklands War” was the 1982 war between the U.K. and Argentina over the Falkland Islands.
- The Riallaro Archipelago is a reference to John Macmillan Brown’s Riallaro, the Archipelago of Exiles (1901) and Limanora, the Island of Progress (1903). In both works–satires–the islands of the archipelago represent various modes of existence, often dystopian.
- The beached submarine is the Yellow Submarine from the eponymous film. One or more of its periscopes have fallen off and lies on the sand. (In the cockpit, do the armed-circle or bird-beak-shaped objects correspond to anything from the film? suggest??)
- The “64″ and “LOVE” signs also refer to The Yellow Submarine film. Two of the songs in the film are “When I’m 64” and “All you Need is Love“. When these songs are featured in the film, the animation includes large numbers 1-64 and LOVE, respectively. For what it’s worth, O’Neill has used the “4” and “6” from the movie sequence, not the “64.”
The skull belongs to a Blue Meanie, likely their longer-eared chief. Blue Meanies were the Beatles’ opponent in The Yellow Submarine.
- The presence of Yellow Submarine characters along Argentina may be a reference to dialogue late in the film. The Meanie chief asks his sidekick Max “where could we go?” Max replies “Argentina.” (That exchange refers to how some Germans fled/migrated to Argentina at the end of World War II.)
- On the right is the Dreadful Flying Glove from The Yellow Submarine.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz suggests “that the remains of the subsurface Pepper’s Land had been washed up on the surface after some great deal of trauma during Thatcher’s war mongering in the Falklands.”
- Presumably the Blue Meanie-like fish-monster on the right is one of the inhabitants of the Sea of Monsters from The Yellow Submarine.
- The Riallaro Fogbank appears in Riallaro.
- Lincoln Island is the later home of Captain Nemo in Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island (1874), the sequel to Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870).
- Panels 4-6 form a comics polyptych.
- “lancashirearab” writes, “This is a jet from Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. In the TV show, the tail leans forward. This isn’t exactly clear in the panel.” Actually, it seems the jet has been redesigned somewhat since the days of Captain Scarlet.
- This is Woody Allen as James Bond’s nephew Jimmy Bond, from the Bond spoof film Casino Royale (1967). He is later identified as JR-4 (P20,p2). His dialogue throughout this sequence is typical of Allen’s neurotic sense of humor. For more on “reserve J-series”, see P20, p2.
- “The boss is a legend” refers to how, indeed, the original Bond is about to renounce his status as a character from a (relatively) “realistic” milieu, and embrace his status as a creature of fiction.
- J-6, presumably annoyed by Woody Allen’s neuroses, is performing an “Indian burn“, also known as a ‘Chinese burn’, on Jimmy Bond.
- Commenter Befuddled Mike points out: “To be continued forever?” is a joke about the never-ending longevity of franchises like James Bond.
- Spectralia is one of the islands in the Riallaro Archipelago.
- That the ghosts are afraid of a group of woman is a reference to the 2016 Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, in which the Ghostbusters are all female.
- The pirate at upper left remains unidentified, though lanashirearab thinks he’s an IPC character. At bottom left is Casper the Friendly Ghost. Sean Lee Levin identifies the pirate ghost to Mina’s right (with the striped head covering) as Firebrand Frobisher, from Valiant (1970). To his right is Marley, from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843). Chase Garland says, “The skull faced ghost is the Crimson Ghost from the 1946 serial of the same name, and the mascot of the band The Misfits. “lancashirearab”, on the other hand, writes, “I think the skeleton might be one of the Evil Ones from the comic strip Fright School that appeared in IPC publication Buster. Chase Garland also says “The generic ghost behind them is, I believe, the Ghostbusters logo ghost, fitting into the panel being a joke on ‘fan’ reaction to the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot.”
- Coxuria is one of the islands in the Riallaro Archipelago.
- Sidney Osinga writes, “Mount Analogue is from Rene Daumal’s Le Mont Analogue, an island hidden by the means described, and previously mentioned in volume two’s New Traveller’s Almanac.”
- Figlefia is one of the islands in the Riallaro Archipelago.
- Fanattia is one of the islands in the Riallaro Archipelago.
- What’s happening on the island is referring to both Brexit and the rhetoric around American President Trump’s border wall.
- Aleofane is one of the islands in the Riallaro Archipelago.
- Angelo Frei writes, “Century: 2009 foreshadowed this moment. This version of James Bond being a complete psychopath, he might very well become an “immortal Hynkel” or an “immortal Big Brother”.”
- “non-standard reserve agents” – In the extremely silly film Casino Royale (1967), there were eight characters claiming the identity “James Bond”. Half of them were women; David Niven was 57 years old. All were white.
- Angelo Frei writes, “Jimmy Bond’s comment that all reserve agents are white is probably a reference to the rumours that Idris Elba might become the next James Bond.”
- Regarding the code name JR-4, Carl Vause writes, “This is Moore riffing on ‘J. Arfur’ which in British cockney rhyming slang means wank (as in J. Arthur Rank, the film distributor). “wank’ means to jerk off in British English slang but is also used to describe something as being not very good. Clearly, Jimmy Bond is not a very good agent.”
- The rejuvenated James Bond is the original James Bond, the one seen in Black Dossier. Chase Garland notes that “the scar in particular is likely the scar on his cheek from the books. It’s consistent across Fleming’s books, if I’m not mistaken. I think by being rejuvenated, he’s returned to the book Bond.”
- “Helm” is a reference to Matt Helm, Donald Hamilton’s hard-drinking counter-agent, who appeared in twenty-seven books between 1960 and 1993. “Flint” is a reference to super-spy Derek Flint, created by Hal Fimberg and Ben Starr and appearing in two films, 1965 and 1967, never without his gadget-filled cigarette lighter.
- “Mr. Kiss-Kiss Bang-Bang” is a reference to, as a number of people pointed out, including Damian T. Gordon, John Barry’s song by that name on the Thunderball soundtrack. Michael O’Malley writes, “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a term coined by an Italian journalist to describe James Bond in 1962…Dr No premiered at that time. It was also the original theme song on the 1964 Thunderball soundtrack until producers decided to go with Thunderball by Tom Jones. The aforementioned song was sung by Shirley Bassey who later of course sang a few more Bond epics.”
- Ironically, after defusing bombs (usually nuclear) on timers in at least three films, this Bond sets one off.
- J-6, the newest J-series (and arguably the most violent) fails to recognize M, and goes for a weapon. Contrariwise, J-3, the oldest of the agents here, recognizes M.
- “those two bits of stuff in reception” were previously seen in Century: 2009, P15,p5. They are presumably the same two women later seen in the ‘Pennies From Heaven’ section of Tempest #3, tentatively identified as the Lois Maxwell and Samantha Bond incarnations of Miss Moneypenny.
- Mina clearly senses the destruction of the pool. This “sensing a disaster at a distance” recalls the moment in Star Wars where Obi-Wan Kenobi senses the destruction of Alderaan.
- In the right foreground is Hugo Hercules, last seen in Nemo: River of Ghosts. He originally appeared in an eponymous 1902-1903 comic strip, written and drawn by Wilhelm Heinrich Detlev Körner.
- “lancashirearab” writes, “The fish has a strong resemblance to the underwater craft of the Aquaphibians. They were the enemies of Troy Tempest and Stingray.”
- This is the full-page version of the comic book cover glimpsed on P7p4. It is a riff on the cover of The Brave and the Bold #28, the first appearance of DC’s Justice League of America, in which the heroes fight against the alien starfish Starro. The logo has similar letters and stars (though only seven, naturally).
“Risky Comics Ltd.” The triangular design suggests a British traffic ‘risk’ warning sign. It may also be an inverted nod to the the logo of comic publisher L. Miller & Son Ltd (1953-1966), who reprinted American comics such as Captain Marvel for a British readership, as well Mick Anglo’s (arguably) homegrown Marvelman. Chase Garland points out that “the exclamation point is the opposite of the typical League question mark.”
- At top left is Captain Universe, from Captain Universe (1954).
- At far left is Zom of the Zodiac, from Big Win Comics (1948).
- At far right, is Flash Avenger. For more details on him, see notes to Tempest #3, back cover.
- At bottom right is Vull the Invisible, though as will be discussed on page 28, not the original Vull.
- “My invisibility is useless!” – The Justice League cover also inspired the cover to Fantastic Four #1, where Invisible Girl’s powers were of no help against a monster.
- The “‘Mass” seen here is, as Helena Nash pointed out, Victor Carroon, the poor astronaut in The Quatermass Experiment who is transformed into a monstrous blobby creature.
- As Sean Lee Levin notes, H.C. Edwards (aka Harry Hackett) is Flash Harry from the St. Trinian’s film series.
- These ads are parodies of typical ads from novelty companies which appeared in 1960s comics. Moore recounts some similar ads in loving detail in the Jerusalem chapter “A Cold and Frosty Morning”.
- Note that, in most case, the shipping charges for these “cheap” items almost doubles the effective price.
- A staple of the novelty ads were “X-ray specs”; this inverts the idea.
- ‘Aquanaut’ is a reference to the World Aquanaut Security Patrol of puppet show Stingray, already referenced on page 8-9 of this issue.
- These novelty companies often offered “surprise packages” as a way of getting rid of overstocked inventory.
- From the look of the illustration, Vull’s Vanishing Helmet seems to be aimed at boys who want to sneak into female-only areas, though how much good an invisible head inside an all-too visible helmet and atop a visible body would be is anyone’s guess.
- This panel refers to “The inexplicably ubiquitous phenomenon of ‘woods porn‘”, pornography abandoned in woods or parks, then found by children.
- “know your pony from your monkey, your horse from your elbow” appear to be actual sayings for being knowledgeable about horse racing. The latter probably is a play on the more common “know your arse from your elbow“.
- A ‘pony’ is Cockney slang for £25. A ‘monkey’ is slang for £500. They have long had a particular association with betting on the horses. Some sources suggest that the terms pony and monkey originate from British servicemen returning from India in the nineteenth century, where the 25 and 500 rupee notes were said to bear the image of a monkey and pony respectively.
- “Gee-gees” is slang for “horses”.
- A “nabob” is a person of wealth and authority. “Nags” are old horses, unsuitable for racing.
- A “demob suit” is a civilian suit issued to soldiers leaving the British military (“demobilizing”) at the end of World War II. Moore refers to them often in Jerusalem, where they are seen as a mark of the lower classes during the post-war period. As this comic book is from 1964, a demob suit would be considered quite old and out of fashion.
- To “bet on a certainty” is to make a bet that (you believe) can’t lose. This would be a good plan if you were “bust” (out of money) — if it actually was certain. The failure of such bets, and the ensuing debts, are the stuff of much fiction (and many actual ruined lives).
- “Tic-tac” is a traditional method of signs used by bookmakers to communicate the odds of certain horses in a race.
- A “tanner” is sixpence, the price charged for this object.
- To bet “each way” is to bet on a particular horse to win and to come in second. Obviously, these cannot both happen, but the odds of one of them happening are greater than the odds of either one individually.
- “Quids in” means “making a good profit”.
- Children like to play with/in abandoned devices. Early refrigerator design inadvertently made them literal death traps.
- Carl Vause writes, “This is O’Neill referencing the cover All Star Comics No.3 (Nov. 1940) which features the first meeting of the Justice Society of America.”
- Julian Wan writes, “Might I point out a small observation about the logos? On page 7, the panels (6 and 7) that show a logo on the table is a fusion of a question mark with a lightning bolt – harking back to the logo of the LoEG. On page 13, the logo on costume in the far right of panel 1 is a of a 7 linked to a star – that is Seven Stars. But on page 27, panel 1, where all members of the Seven Stars are presented [around the table seen on page 7], the logo is NOT of the 7 linked to the star but the question mark with lightning bolt? Since this is their first meeting, perhaps Mina is recycling some old LoEG stuff like [the conference table and] the question mark sofa in panel 2.”
- Picture of spaceship on back wall – Suggest?? It doesn’t seem to be the Flash-plane seen on P31p7.
- Helmeted figure at back right – Suggest??
- Little Monmouth Street is a ‘lost street’ from Iain Sinclair’s London: City of Disappearances (2006).
- Interestingly, the real-life Monmouth Street (once Little and Great St Andrew’s Streets) is one of the seven roads radiating out from Seven Dials. An appropriate location for the headquarters of the Seven Stars, but as later issues of Tempest indicate, their HQ is located a little north of Seven Dials in Fitzrovia.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz points out that “crook who held the world to ransom” was part of the tagline of at least one early Vull story.
- The person who shot Vull here is Mina Murray, as referenced in Black Dossier. Dan Hitchcock adds, “The original Vull last appeared in 1935 and Mina was still a government agent until the early forties. […] Mina already stated (in 1969) that she had purchased the building in ’64 for her Supermen so unless Moore is pulling a fast one, she’s definitely the Vull we’re seeing (or not seeing) in the Seven Stars story. And thus, it should be her own memories of the encounter with the original Vull that we’re reading.”
- The ray-gun here resembles the one seen on the cover to this issue.
- Ironically, Captain Universe’s pronouncement makes it clear that his cosmic awareness leaves him unaware of Vull’s gender.
- Ace Hart is an atomic super hero who first appeared in the Foldes published Super Thriller #6 in 1948.
- Mark Tyme is a British time traveler who first appeared in the John Spencer published The Adventures of Mark Tyme #1 in 1967. Only two issues appeared.
- The Purple Hood first appeared in the John Spencer published Lee Briton Alias Purple Hood #1 in 1967. There were only two issues in all.
- Tommy Walls is a British boy who gets superpowers from eating “Wall’s Ice Cream” and first appeared in advertisements in the pages of the British comic Eagle in 1950.
- “Silver” – see next panel.
- Crash Brittanus first appeared in Crasho Comic, a British one-shot anthology published by W. Daly in 1947.
- Mr. Apollo first appeared in the Gerald G Swan published Dynamic Thrills in 1952. His secret identity was Jerry Gunn, a school teacher.
- Swift Morgan is a British science fiction adventurer, from various British comic books, first appearing in Boardman Books’ Swift Morgan, from 1948.
- Silver is, as stated, Swift Morgan’s assistant.
- Sean Levin, and others note that “Electro Girl’s comment about Mr. Apollo being “reduced to advertising body-building courses” is a reference to the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’s song “Mr. Apollo.”“
- Tommy Walls was an advertising mascot, for Wall’s Ice Cream.
- Emerging from the future at far right is Mark Tyme.
- It isn’t entirely obvious, but Mark Tyme was pulling a (ray) gun on the Seven Stars, thus explaining why Carol felt justified in using deadly force.
- Keith Kole writes, “I would think this jukebox is the same jukebox as on [P7,p1].”
- Big Brother is, of course, from George Orwell’s 1984.
- “Garath Gannz” is a riff on DC’s J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter. Marsman had not previously been given a “civilian” name.
- As Sean Lee Levin notes, “New Varnal is named after the city of Varnal from Michael Moorcock’s Kane of Old Mars books.”
- The Thark and the Red Martian are from the “Barsoom” novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. We saw League versions of them in League v2 #1.
- Chase Garland notes that, “The endowed Martian appears to be J’onn J’onnz, or at least dressed similarly.” The character is traditionally depicted as male, but since they are a shapeshifter, who can really say?
- Gullivar Jones is a reference to the Edwin Arnold’s Lieutenant Gullivar Jones (1905). Jones was seen in League v2 #1.
- The illustrations on the wall are of Sorns, from C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet, as Sean Lee Levin notes. We saw the Sorns in League v2 #1.
- In Marsman Comics, Marsman arrived in Bigburg, USA, not Birmingham.
- The alien family in front are Treens, the enemy alien race in the Dan Dare comics.
- The policeman has a stylized “BB” logo, for Big Brother.
- Tall alien with armband at back left – Suggest??
- Behind the tall one with the armband, a Thark (see panel 1) is being accosted by police.
- Young man with star on shirt – Commenter slevin87 IDs this as a Venusian from Space Patrol.
- Small creature at bottom right – Commenter Befuddled Mike points out that this may be a Thark doll being held by the Treen boy.
- Marsman has mental powers, as J’onn J’onzz does.
- In the background, a Thark (presumably the one from the previous panel) is being beaten.
- Pyramid in background – Commenter max jones says that this is seen on the inside front cover of the Absolute edition of Black Dossier (which can be seen here), where it is identified as the Ministry of Truth.
- “Many of the same officials are still in power.” As shown in Black Dossier, many people (including M/Harry Lime, see next page) were still in power as of 1958, and this story is only six years later.
- Nightmore Street is a ‘lost street’ from Iain Sinclair’s London: City of Disappearances (2006).
- Presumably the “Flash-plane” is owned by the Flash Avenger.
- That is M (Harry Lime, seen in Black Dossier) speaking to a younger version of John Le Carre’s master spy George Smiley. Julian Wan adds, “it would fit that the second spy next to M is George Smiley from John LeCarre. He is famous enough, has had a lasting influence, and has carved out a niche in the spy fiction genre. But the depiction is more in line with how he appears in the BBC TV version (Alec Guinness) rather than in the books where he is described as being fat, short and having a frog like appearance.”
- The French and German teams are detailed in Black Dossier.
- That’s Ace Hart doing the lifting. His powers are radiation-based, hence the warning sign.
- That’s Tommy Walls making the magic W sign which gives him superpowers. It is unclear why he is playing Snakes and Ladders; perhaps he is practicing using his powers to cheat? Moore did a magical performance piece titled Snakes and Ladders.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz points out “The “S” in Snakes and Ladders is Sid’s Snake of the eponymous comic strip” which appeared in Whizzer and Chips.
- 1953 is the date of the first “Professor Quatermass” television serial, The Quatermass Experiment. John Stratford notes: “the BBC serial … was broadcast in 1953 in 6 parts. The film adaptation of that serial came out in 1955 which for some reason was called The Quatermass Xperiment.”
- Cole Moore Odell writes, “That panel about 1953–he’s talking about something to outdo other British superheroes, and it’s hard to avoid that Fawcett stopped publishing Captain Marvel that year—and Marvelman showed up in ‘54. Given that it’s Moore, it’s hard not to wonder…”
- “six-part novel!” – Early superhero comics usually featured several short stories in each issue, even for heroes who were popular enough to have their own titles. Starting in the 1950s (and continuing through roughly the early 1970s), there would increasingly often be an issue that contained a single, longer story, though still broken up into multiple “chapters” the size of the shorter stories; these whole-issue-long stories (typically 24 pages) would generally be advertised on the cover as “a great three-part novel!” Inside, each chapter would end with a text box asking one or more leading questions, and suggesting that the answer could be found in the next chapter of the story. In some ways, this is similar to the way broadcast television tries to create suspense before a commercial break.
Inside Back Cover
- Commenter Ed Mann points out that the header image is reminiscent of that used in Justice League of America from issue #9 (February 1962) to issue 34 (March 1965) “with all members of the current team shown around a table covered with letters.” Given that the Seven Stars adventure takes place in 1964, this is entirely appropriate.
- Postman – Suggest?? (If this was an American setting, I would presume this to be a riff on Willie Lumpkin, the mailman who delivers to The Fantastic Four.)
- This letters page has a strange sort of dual existence, as it is simultaneously a letters page for a 1964 comic book, and for the modern 2018 comic book.
- Moore is here parodying the banter of Stan Lee and his imitators in 1960s Marvel comics. When Moore was entering the comic book field in the late 70s, Marvel UK (sometimes edited by his friend Steve Moore) were often writing editorial matter in this style. Moore earlier did similar in the text matter for 1963 as “Affable Al”.
- “a long-arm stapler” was a familiar tool to young Moore when he helped assemble amateur fanzines.
- “headlight comics” refer to comics whose artwork displays women with large round breasts (like car headlights of the era). The term was used by early collectors, and was further sensationalized by Fredric Wertham in Seduction of the Innocent.
- “Bristol” is a UK luxury car manufacturer. “Drop-head” is a British term for a convertible.
- Commenter George Crawford suggests that “the use of the car manufacturer Bristol may have a double meaning, as “Bristol City” (the name of the UK soccer club associated with that location) is also rhyming slang for ladies’ chest parts!”
- “Ford Escort” may refer to several different types of car made by Ford Motors.
- “Muscle Mary” – Slang for a gay bodybuilder.
- “hoarse bandit” – Commenter Martin C points out that if you remove the “ho” from this phrase, you get a derogatory UK term for a homosexual.
- “long devotion” is presumably a malaprop for “long division”. Similarly “herbs and grama” for “verbs and grammar”. (Incidentally, in Old English, “grama” can mean “rage” or “imp”.)
- “shows how to rob people and not get caught” seems to be riffing on the Comics Code of 1954, A2: “No comics shall explicitly present the unique details and methods of a crime.”
- “Uncle Ted’s old comics from the army” – While instructional comic books were produced by the U.S. Army during and after WWII, it is unknown whether the British army did likewise. It seems unlikely that they would produce pro-crime comics (unless they were anticipating the need for guerilla activity, perhaps). More likely, “from the army” refers to pre-Code crime comics Uncle Ted acquired while in the army, rather than strictly from the army.
- Moore here seems to be mocking the sort of comic book fan who seems emotionally locked into his childhood. “Please don’t write to us again” indicates his desire to separate himself from any contact with that sort of fan.
- “Comic Cuts” was a British comic book published between 1890 and 1953. It began by reprinting American comics material.
- “gusset” is used here as a euphemism for “crotch”; Al Capone contracted syphilis at an early age.
- “Blimey O’Reilly” – A British interjection expressing surprise or frustration.
- Placing an American price on the cover of comics published in, and only intended for, the UK, was an actual practice of some publishers in the 1940s and 50s to try and cash in on the popularity of American comics.
- “Captain Marvellous” refers to the American comiccharacter Captain Marvel, and its legion of British imitations, most notably Marvelman. Moore has a complex history with Marvelman. While “extradition and the death penalty in Texas” is an exaggeration, the character has been plagued with lawsuits in various jurisdictions for decades.
- “I look up to the Flash Avenger because he seems posh” brings to mind the famous ‘Class’ sketch performed by John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett for David Frost’s satirical TV show The Frost Report (1966), which lampoons the British class structure.
- Why is Captain Universe holding a variant of his own costume? Suggest??
- “Galap” is a pun on “gallop”, and Captain Universe’s “magic word” (in imitation of “SHAZAM!” and “Kimota!”), which is “GALAP”.
- “the files I secretly keep on my friends and co-workers” – Possibly a reference to the JLA story Tower of Babel, which dealt with similar files that Batman kept in case he ever needed to defeat any of his teammates.
- Jim ‘Captain Universe’ Logan’s brother Jet is Jet-Ace Logan, a future space pilot in comics The Comet (1956-1959) and Tiger (1959-1968). Confusingly, Jet’s first name is also given as Jim. Having the two “Logan” characters be brothers is original to Moore. Jet-Ace Logan is not to be confused with space pilot Jet Morgan from the BBC radio serial Journey Into Space (1953-1958), who is mentioned in the Black Dossier P10,p8.
- Mick Anglo did create Captain Universe, and also the better-known Marvelman. Captain Universe only lasted for two issues before being canceled.
- “Stardust the Space Wizard” is a slight name change from the Golden Age superhero Stardust the Super Wizard, created by Fletcher Hanks. Captain Universe having killed Stardust and taken over his former HQ was previously established in the text backup feature to Century:1910.