Below are annotations for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #3 – 32 pages plus covers, cover date October 2018
Writer: Alan Moore, Artist: Kevin O’Neill, Letterer: Todd Klein, and Colorist: Ben Dimagmaliw
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
This issue of the League is in many ways modeled on classic British girls’ comics of the 1960s.
- Whilst boys’ comics in the UK traditionally had dynamic names like Action, Battle, Bullet, Hurricane, Tornado, Valiant, and Victor, because they generally featured stories about action, like football and war, girls’ comics were about gentler matters, generally, and had more personal names, like Bunty, Debbie, Emma, June, Mandy, Sally, and Suzy, amongst many others. And there was one called Tina, too, of course, which provides the basis for this cover. Even its very first issue, published by Fleetway, and cover dated February 25th 1967, claimed that there were ‘More copies sold than any other girls’ paper in the world!,’ as roughly parodied in the subtitle for this issue. Although, as far as we can find out, there was no UK girls’ comic that ever contained the words ‘For Young Ladies’ in its title.
- Commenter raggedman says:
I do have to take issue with description of girl’s comics as gentler fare. They are very often emotionally and psychologically brutal. Tammy has a story called Slaves of War Orphan Farm. It’s not Action but it’s not gentle!
- Commenter raggedman says:
- The cover of this issue seems to show the aftermath of a highway robbery, suggested by the stray arm poking into the image from the bottom left-hand corner, not to mention the overturned box and the lock, echoing the locks and keys on the cover of Tempest #1 – and of course the actual highwayman, even if he does have an anachronistic hand weapon, and 3-d glasses.
- Johnners71 writes “the spooky cover is very similar to those used by Misty.”
- The partially rolled up document in front of the upturned box is actually the title page for Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World.
Inside Front Cover
- Marie Duval was a real person, and appears to be described largely accurately here, with possible exceptions noted.
- “two-and-eight” is Cockney rhyming slang for “state”.
- Some source claim that Duval was born in Paris, and that her birth name was Isabelle Émilie de Tessier.
- Kevin O’Neill is drawn as Ally Sloper, as seen in humour magazine Judy (1867-1907) and Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday (1884-1916).
- Alan Moore is drawn as Marie Duval’s ‘Judy Rides an Ostrich’ from the frontispiece of Judy magazine (1875), albeit with a pen for a leg.
- For more on the Pink Child, see notes at Tempest #2 P7,p5.
- Since the Pink Child has no elbows, robotic arms in her room help her get dressed.
- A Robur jet is presumably a product of the technology pioneered by aeronaut Jean Robur from Jules Verne’s Robur the Conqueror (1886) and its sequel Master of the World (1904). In the world of the League, Robur’s son Armand marries into the Nemo family by wedding Janni Nemo’s daughter Hira Dakkar. Hira and Armand are the parents of Jack Dakkar.
- Seen here are Mr Ishmael (Tacarigua), Jack Dakkar, Hugo Hercules, Mina Murray, Emma Night and Orlando. All last seen in Tempest #2.
- The adults are careful to avoid upsetting the Pink Child for reasons that, so far in the series, remain unexplained.
- “I pray thee, do not rise” appears to be, at least in the world of the League, the only utterance that the Pink Child makes. Somewhat ominously, she seems to be addressing the sun in this panel, perhaps requesting that the sunrise not happen?
- ‘School of Night’ is a word-play on lead character Emma Night and the shadowy activities of this school for female spies and assassins.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz adds:
The School of Night is speculative secret society of influential Elizabethan Englishmen like Christopher Marlowe and even in some accounts Dr. John Dee who is the real-world personage connected to the Leagues Duke Prospero.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz adds:
- The introduction ‘Emma Night was the luckiest military-industrialist’s daughter in the world…’ is a pastiche of text pieces common in girls’ and boys’ comics of the era.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz adss that this story is “done in the style of a “Four Mary’s” style girls comic, adventures in British public schools.”
- Cliff House School is from the Bessie Bunter stories in girls magazine The School Friend (1922-1940) (and some earlier stories, per Justin Blochwitz). The overweight schoolgirl Bessie was the sister of the more famous Billy Bunter, a pupil at the nearby Greyfriars school for boys. In the world of the League, both schools became training establishments for young spies and agents. In the world of the League, Bessie Bunter was married to Sir Harold ‘Big Brother’ Wharton (schoolboy Harry Wharton from the ‘Billy Bunter’ stories), while Billy Bunter was last seen in Black Dossier.
- The defaced Big Brother poster indicates that this story is set during the League’s Orwellian 1984 period of totalitarian Britain, known in the world of the League informally as the IngSoc or O’Brien period.
- Commenter Befuddled Mike points out:
Some of the comic stories printed in British girl’s magazines, especially Mandy and Tammy, are nowadays infamous for being almost ridiculously bleak (see note about the protagonists often getting disabled), with awful boarding schools and orphanages being a popular setting. Might the bleak, abusive setting of this parody be a nod to that?
- The girls from left to right are: Cathy Gale, Emma Night, Tara ‘Tarsy‘ King, and Patsy Stone. As former agents and old friends of Emma’s, the adult Cathy, Tarsy, and Patsy were last properly seen in Century: 2009 pages 70-71. Cathy Gale, Emma Peel, and Tara King were all characters in The Avengers (1961-1969) played by Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, and Linda Thorson respectively, whilst Alan Moore has replaced the refined Purdey from The New Avengers (1976-1977) with the foul-mouthed Patsy Stone from Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2012); both Purdey and Patsy were played by Joanna Lumley.
- “Matron says I have Russian Flu.” — Does this perhaps imply that the matron is aware of Klebb’s abuse of Cathy? And is tacitly condoning it?
- Patsy’s reference to a Miss Adler may suggest that the adventuress Irene Adler from the Sherlock Holmes story a ‘Scandal In Bohemia’ (1891) is either a teacher or the headmistress at Cliff House.
- Johnners71 identifies the poster in the background as a reference to the Junior Anti-Sex League from George Orwell’s 1984.
- Tarsy’s line that ‘Airstrip One has always been at war with Eurasia’ is a variation on ‘We have always been at war with Eastasia’ from 1984. Airstrip One is Britain.
- Emma’s rebuttal about Tarsy’s brother may suggest that he is better mannered than the other boys at Greyfriars, or that he is not interested in girls. See notes to Tempest #2, P16,p2, for speculation on Jason King’s sexuality.
- Physical Education teacher Miss Klebb is none other than Russian agent Rosa Klebb from the James Bond’s From Russia With Love (story 1957, film 1963). Here, as in the Bond story, it is strongly implied that Klebb is a lesbian.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz adds:
Visually she is based on Lotte Lenya who played her in the 1963 film adaption. Lotte Lenya was married to Kurt Weill, composer behind Brecht’s Three-Penny Opera. Lotte played the role of Pirate Jenny who served as the basis of Janni Nemo in the League.
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz adds:
- ‘Horrorshow’ is a phonetic anglicization of the Russian word ‘khorosho’ meaning ‘good’. ‘Horroshow’ has the same meaning in the constructed slang language Nadsat from Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange (1962), which draws on several other Russians words, like Droog (friend) and Moloko (milk).
- ‘Doubleplusungood’ is a Newspeak word from 1984, meaning ‘terrible’ or ‘very bad indeed’. Tarsy seems to have been more influenced by the Big Brother culture than her classmates.
- Miss Klebb is using the gym vaulting horse to hide her radio set, just as British prisoners of war used a vaulting horse to hide their escape tunnel as depicted in the film The Wooden Horse (1950).
- Johnners71 identifies Mike Thingmaker as a character that appears in the Mess-Mend trilogy by Soviet author Marietta Shaginyan. Thingmaker becomes a Communist US President. Thingmaker is also referenced in Nemo: Roses of Berlin, P58.
- Justin Blochwitz points out:
Apparently British outcry over the American EC horror comics were largely spearheaded by British Communist Party members like Peter Mauger who wrote “it is by appealing to the best instincts of ordinary decent people that we can stop this American vulgarization, this degradation, this perversion of our young people.” I think this might be the reality tie in for Klebb’s comment on American funny-books.
- Miss Klebb’s shoe with its poisoned switchblade is from From Russia With Love.
- Johnners71 points out that the reference to comfortable low-heeled shoes is mocking the myth that lesbians do not wear high heeled shoes.
- “ARRGHSKI!” parodies the practice of indicating a Russian accent by adding “-ski” to the end of any word. See also next panel.
- Commenter Befuddled Mike points out “Emma Peel’s karate moves and especially her high-kick were seen as iconic of the character, so it’s appropriate she knocks Miss Klebb out with one.”
- ‘Doubleplusgood’ is a Newspeak word from 1984, meaning ‘excellent’ or ‘very good indeed’.
- Blaise Minor suggests a connection to former crimelord and sometime secret agent Modesty Blaise from the newspaper strip Modesty Blaise (1963-2002), though the orphaned Modesty had no documented sister.
- The Ministry of Love in 1984 is responsible for beating, torturing and brainwashing enemies of the state.
- “getting on your back” has a double meaning here. Tarsy thinks of it as “being annoying”, while Cathy more likely understands it as “rape”.
- Alternately, commenter Raggedman suggests “I read Cathy’s expression and speech as disappointed that Klebb was gone?”
- Emma’s full speech balloon, as speculated by the annotator, is ‘Patsy, you’re an underage chain-smoking, alcoholic, cocaine-addled whore, but I’ll turn a blind eye… like poor Miss Klebb!’ Miss Klebb perhaps lost an eye when Patsy smashed her face with a bottle in the previous panel.
- The partially obscured ‘next week’s Mina’ box suggest that Emma suffers a disability in the next issue. Injuries such as blindness or being unable to walk were recurring themes in British girls comics, such as Pat Mills’ story ‘Becky Never Saw The Ball’ in Tammy (1974) about a blind tennis player. (It is also possible, if less likely, that Mina gets to actively disable someone else.)
- This panel takes place on board the Robur stealth fighter jet in 2010.
- Greta Mors is the daughter of Hira Dakkar and Manfred Mors, grandson of the air pirate Mors from The Air Pirate and His Steerable Airship (1908-1911). Thus she is Jack Dakkar’s half-sister as they share the same mother.
- The wing-suits used by Emma and Orlando are reminiscent of the H.A.W.K. harness (High Altitude Wing Kit) worn by Nick Fury agent of S.H.I.E.L.D in Jim Sternako’s Strange Tales #166 (March 1968) story “If Death Be My Destiny”. A similar device was portrayed by Jack Kirby on the cover of Night Glider #1 (1992.)
- There is a real Bradgate Park located in Kent. (Greyfriars is fictionally located in Kent, as is Cliff House School).
- Emma’s living room contains a number of artefacts from The Avengers (1961-1969): the faceplate of a cybernaut on the wall from “The Cybernauts” (1965), an elephant’s foot umbrella stand containing one of John Steed‘s brollies, a partially obscured photograph portrait of John Steed, and a joker playing card and rose from “The Joker” (1967).
- The large black and white painting is an example of op art. Commenter Davide Lee notes that the interior (painting, couch, flower vase) appears to homage to Jim Steranko’s 1960s art in Nick Fury: Agent of Shield.
- Emma is turning on a lava lamp, a classic piece of 1960s decor.
- The agents in black and white from left to right are: Cathy Gale, Emma Night, Tara ‘Tarsy’ King, Patsy Stone. Patsy is dressed as a ballerina since Purdey (also played by Joanna Lumley) of the The New Avengers (1976-1977) was a ballet dancer before she became a secret agent.
- The panel composition is an homage to the iconic poster of the 1967 movie The Graduate directed by Mike Nichols. Emma´s legs stretch in the foreground like Anne Bancroft’s. Orlando stands with a closet behind her the way Dustin Hoffman does. (Spotted by Adi Gallardo)
- Emma’s unzipped wingsuit with the large ring-shaped slider evokes comparison with the jumpsuits worn by her counterpart Mrs Peel in The Avengers (1961-1969), as well as the Uma Thurman incarnation in The Avengers movie (1998) and Marvel’s Black Widow in her revamped 1960s outfit.
- Pages 6 and 7 are presented in the style of photo stories which were popular in British girls comics in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the relaunched Eagle comic story ‘Doomlord‘ (1982). Credits for this section can be found at the bottom of the inside front cover.
- Note that this panel contains possibly the only thought bubble in the entirety of the League canon. Thought bubbles were common storytelling devices in photo stories of this type. Moore typically does not use them.
- Per Jess Nevins’ note on The New Traveller’s Almanac: “Megapatagonia was the creation 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.””
- The quote partially visible on the walls here, and on P7,p5-6, is from the Biblical Book of Job, 41:1: “Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope?” and 41:7: “Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears?”
- “Didn’t get bitten…” are the opening words to “Immortal Love” by “Eddie Enrico and his Hawaiian Hotshots”, which was intended to be included as a record with Black Dossier (but never actually was). A limited printing of the record eventually surfaced, and is linked above. As published, “Immortal Love” was not included, but was referred to on pages 155 and 157 of Black Dossier. The song is definitely about the love between Allan and Mina, and it’s even likely that “Eddie Enrico” is an alias for Allan himself.
Commenter Justin Blochwitz adds that The song was written by Alan Moore and Tim Perkins […] The group Eddie Enrico and his Hong Kong Hot Shots are from Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland. In the League’s story (as recounted in Sal Paradyse’s The Crazy Wide Forever) Eddie wrote the song after paling around with Al and Mina.
- “Bitten … carpathian tower” refers to Mina’s experiences with Dracula which (despite what Hollywood thinks) did not turn her into a vampire.
- “Peaches from some heavenly bower” refer to the Chinese myth of the Peaches of Immortality.
- Leni Mabuse is presumably the latest member of the Mabuse crime family, beginning with Dr. Mabuse, seen in Nemo: The Roses of Berlin, and continuing with Ursula (“Uschi”) and Helmut, both seen in Nemo: River of Ghosts.
- Pages 8-9 imitate a page of daily newspaper comic strips, with one strip per row.
- Carol Flane, aka Electro Girl, last seen in Tempest #2.
- “Crackling” is literally “the crisp, fatty skin of roast pork”, but also punning on the crackling sound of electricity. Commenter raggedman notes that, while now somewhat dated, it has the same slang usage as “crumpet”.
- It appears that Carol hasn’t always just made her living from selling electricity. There appears to be a licensed action figure on her desk, something labeled “Electro Girl 1971” (presumably a comics Annual), and several copies of something titled “Pop goes Electro Girl” (perhaps an album of pop music).
- Stokes is wearing heavily insulated gloves and boots to protect him from stray electricity.
- Was the Electro-Wagon part of Electro Girl’s precious stories? – Suggest??
- As identified last issue, these are (left) Linda Turner, the Black Cat, and Kim Brand, the Fly-Girl.
- “Fly-being’s dimension” recalls Fly-Girl getting her powers via a magic ring created by a mystic “lost race” called Fly People.
- Commenter cormansinferno: “Is the fly-beings’ “dimension” the Burning World? If so, no wonder they aren’t responding.”
- Matthew is Matt Price, formerly the mentalist Brain Boy from the Dell comic Brain Boy (1962-1963). Brain Boy was previously mentioned in Black Dossier (page 157).
(For what it’s worth, post-Dossier, Dark Horse Comics published new Brain Boy adventures in 2013-14, after reprinting the Dell Brain Boy comics in a 2011 collection. In a minor public domain heroes clash, Fred Van Lente’s 2013-14 Brain Boy features an unnamed Herbie Popnecker – a Moore favorite who appears in Jerusalem and gets a cameo in the wedding scene in LoEG Tempest #6 page 23.)
- Jim Logan, aka Captain Universe, last seen in Tempest #2.
- “Toy boy” is British slang for a male lover who is much younger than his partner.
- Matt Price’s adult codename Mind Man is as alliterative as Brain Boy.
- Satin Astro last appeared in Tempest #2.
- Commenter Befuddled Mike points out that the logo is quite similar to one used for a Buck Rogers comic strip.
- Marsman was last seen in Tempest #2.
- “It starts last year with peculiar skies” refers to the odd skies seen in the final battle of Century: 2009 (and again in Tempest #1, P3,p4). It may also be an allusion to one of the first big comic book crossovers, DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths (1984), in which unusual red skies were prominently featured.
- Commenter Zack C says: “Might Satin Astro’s mention of “killer machines” and “animal people ruling the planet” be references to the “Terminator” and “Planet of the Apes” films?” They certainly might, especially given what’s depicted in Tempest #6, P3,p2.
- “Pennies From Heaven!” is a reference to Miss Moneypenny, M’s secretary from the James Bond books and films. The two women here are successive ‘Moneypennies’ working for MI5. (Several other women have portrayed the character, but have not so far appeared in League.) The title is also presumably referencing the 1936 song “Pennies From Heaven“.
- The rabbit hole in Oxford is a reference to Alice in Wonderland. See P15,p2.
- The women here resemble actresses Samantha Bond and Lois Maxwell, who both portrayed Miss Moneypenny on film; Maxwell in Dr. No through to A View To A Kill and Bond in Goldeneye through to Die Another Day.
- S Division is a reference to Department S (1969-1970), the show which first introduced Jason King.
- The van’s registration number KK 4976 is the same as John Steed’s yellow Silver Ghost Rolls Royce from The Avengers (1961-1969).
- Chase Garlands identifies the Lorde reference’s source as South Park’s Randy Marsh: ‘In 2014-2015’s Season 18, there’s a season long subplot about Randy Marsh- the dad of one of the main characters- being the Australian pop-star’s secret identity.’ The South Park character is male, but perhaps in the world of League they are trans. Randy is, of course, also a way of saying “sexually aroused”.
- “Trinks” were a Kinks analogue in the 90s police procedural “Heartbeat” set in the 60s. Thanks Justin Blochwitz.
- “Nutella” is a brand of hazelnut cocoa spread. Commenter greenberger says “sticking with the Kinks vibe on p.9 panel 5, “Nutella Dusk” is Moore’s version of “Waterloo Sunset”.”
- Frozen polar bear – Suggest??
- The frozen saurian may be Godzilla. Commenter Justin Blochwitz reminds us that Jess Nevins’ notes for The New Traveller’s Almanac #6 include:
“‘…we saw, wading along the icecap’s coastline, two gigantic and bipedal reptiles…the North Pole Kingdom…’
The North Pole Kingdom and its population of civlized dinosaurs were created by Charles Derennes and appeared in Le Peuple du Pôle (1907).”
- Frozen letters are visible from the Sea of Frozen Words, which appeared in The New Traveller’s Almanac in LoEG Volume 2, #6. Jess Nevins identifies it as “The Sea of Frozen Words appears in François Rabelais’ Le quart livre des faicts et dicts du bon Pantagruel.“
- Johnners71 identifies the crate bearing the legend ‘Arkadin Industries Munition’ to be a reference to the multi-millionaire (and former gangster) Mr. Arkadin in the 1955 film of the same name, which starred Orson Welles. In the UK it was released under the title Confidential Report.
- Greta Mors has already been discussed on P3,p8. Leni Mabuse was discussed on P7,p6. Kathy Kidd is presumably a descendant of the Mistress Kidd seen in Nemo: Heart of Ice, who is herself probably descended from the Captain Kidd in Alfred Jarry’s novel Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician.
- Sailors (one with spyglass) – Suggest??
- Baby with starry eyes at bottom left – Suggest??
- The monochrome owl in the schoolboy cap is Liverpudlian hand puppet Ollie Beak, alongside shaggy dog hand puppet Fred Barker, both from children’s TV show The Five O’Clock Club (1963-1966).
- long-limbed monochrome boy – Twizzle (a Gerry Anderson marionette; thanks theatricalshop)
- At sea is probably a Noah’s Ark toy. (Is it a more specific reference?)
- The monochrome figure bottom right of page 12 in the boater hat is either string puppet Bill or Ben from children’s TV show The Flower Pot Men (1952-1953), part of the Watch With Mother series.
- Gnome with popgun – Justin Blochwitz identifies this as Big Ears, from the Noddy
- Rabbit pushing horse-headed cart with hedgehog – Suggest??
- Bear with one eye and medal – Suggest??
- In the red dress with a key in her back is Queen Olympia, ruler of Toyland. Olympia is from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” (1817).
- Holding hands with Olympia is Frankenstein’s Monster, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
- The monochrome fox below Queen Olympia is upper-class hand puppet Basil Brush. Basil was voiced by Ivan Owen who also voiced Fred Barker on The Five O’Clock Club.
- The monochrome bear and long-eared dog at the bottom are hand puppets Sooty and Sweep respectively, created by Harry Corbett. Sweep appears to have purloined Sooty’s magic wand.
- Mouse atop soldier’s hat – Suggest??
- Penguin(?) atop wooden horse with spyglass – Suggest??
- Wooden horse – Suggest? (Note also that the horse has ‘defecated’ wood shavings.)
- The monochrome dog bottom right is the string puppet Spotty Dog from children’s TV show The Woodentops (1953-1957), part of the Watch With Mother series. The monochrome figure behind Spotty Dog is probably Daddy Woodentop from The Woodentops.
- The fact that all the frozen words visible here are happy ones may be due to it being off the coast of Toyland, or expressly from Queen Olympia’s actions. Pantagruel does not suggest any such careful selection of age-appropriate words.
Commenter Neale points out that this sequence is modeled on Jim Steranko’s graphic novel Chandler: Red Tide. Steranko was referenced visually earlier, on P4.
- Jason King, last seen Tempest #2.
- The statue in Piccadilly Circus is not actually of Eros, though that is the common belief, but of his brother, Anteros. The sculptor, Alfred Gilbert, described Anteros as portraying “reflective and mature love, as opposed to Eros or Cupid, the frivolous tyrant”.
- The ‘£9 Note’ pub sign may be a reference to the British slang phrase ‘bent as a nine-bob note’. Bent in this context is taken to mean homosexual. Bob is slang for a pre-decimal shilling.
- The pub in question may be in Soho, not far from Piccadilly Circus.
- The ‘John’ mentioned by Emma in the text is her old partner John Steed of The Avengers (1961-1969), in which he drove, among other cars, a succession of vintage Bentleys, and she a Lotus Elan.
- “We got King drunk and he told us everything” – Commenter cormansinferno suggests this might be “a reference to Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz’s hallucinatory CIA history Brought to Light, which features an anthropomorphic version of the CIA logo getting drunk and recounting the various misdeeds of the agency as a framing device.”
- The reference in the text to Drake would be globe-trotting secret agent John Drake from TV show Danger Man (1960-1968) a.k.a Secret Agent in the US, played by Patrick McGoohan. One popular theory about Drake’s fate is that he became the titular hero of The Prisoner (1967-1968), also played by McGoohan.
- David Callan is the haunted secret agent from TV show Callan (1967-1972), played by Edward Woodward. Commenter raggedman informs us:
Callan was brainwashed into shooting his boss, Hunter, midway through the series. ‘Hunter’ is a code name for all intelligence bosses. It may be of interest that key theme of Callan is his explicit working-classness contrasted with the posh boys that make up and run ‘the service’.
- Jason King wears ring on his little (pinky) finger as was the case in the original TV show.
- Commenter David Malet says: “The ring Jason King is wearing has an X on it that strongly resembles those of the Vin Diesel xXx spy film franchise. Those feature a character named Jordan King might be implied here to be his daughter.”
- “drown in a four-foot-wide monsoon” refers to The Avengers episode “A Surfeit of H2O“.
- “whole communities vanish except for their milk-floats” refers to The Avengers episode “The Hour That Never Was“. (A “milk float” is the British term for the vehicle a milkman drives.)
- “lose your mind in dead men’s houses” may be referring to The Avengers episode “The House That Jack Built“.
- The reference in the text to the proposed assault on the Oxford college deanery refers to the location of the rabbit hole from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), previously described in League volume 2’s New Traveller’s Almanac text feature as an other-dimensional portal.
- The reference in the text to the proposed assault on the ruins in County Galway refers to the strangely shaped ruins of the House on the Borderland from the 1908 horror novel by William Hope Hodgson, previously described in League volume 2’s New Traveller’s Almanac text feature. The house is the nexus for a Lovecraftian journey to the ‘Sea of Sleep’, and an encounter with swine-things from another dimension.
- Andrew Norton is the time-travelling ‘Prisoner of London’ from Iain Sinclair‘s novel Slow Chocolate Autopsy (1997). Norton was last seen in Century: 2009.
- The subterranean complex in Fitzrovia linking Nightmore Street and Little Monmouth street is the Seven Stars’ headquarters. The origin of these ‘lost streets’ is covered in the annotations to Tempest #1.
- Teddy bear in uniform – Suggest??
- Angular cow – Suggest??
- Commenter heymcdermott points out:
If Queen Olympia is indeed partly assembled from a typewriter, it would follow that the occasional “ting” and “ching” that punctuates her dialogue would represent the bell that sounds when a typist has neared the right side of the page. A quick glance at her words balloons suggest the dings come before she can speak 80 characters and spaces of dialogue, the usual maximum number of characters that can fit on a typewritten line.
- Giant daisy – Suggest?? (Possibly Little Weed from The Flowerpot Men.)
- Wind up car with sparkly exhaust – Suggest??
- Monkey with large banana – Justin Blochwitz suggests this is a wind-up monkey, though those usually have a pair of cymbals, not a banana.
- Chase Garland notes that ‘Olympia is part typewriter. Befitting her Germanic origins, Olympia was a brand of German typewriter.’
- Palace guard wooden doll – Suggest??
- Postman – Suggest??
- Per Jess Nevins’ annotations of The New Traveller’s Almanac: “Polar Bear Kingdom and its polar bear citizens appeared in Mór Jókai’s 20,000 lieues sous les glaces (1876). […] Cristallopolis, […] appeared in Alphonse Brown’s Une Ville de Verre (1891).“
- Chase Garland identifies the leftmost figure holding the cola bottle as Frankenstein, Dick Briefer’s second, humorous, incarnation of the Frankenstein Monster from Prize Comics (1948) and Frankenstein (1945-1949).
- Chase Garland identifies the second-from-left figure holding the glass as Frankenstein, Dick Briefer’s first, horrific, incarnation of the Frankenstein Monster from Prize Comics (1940-1945).
- The Frankenstein above and to the left of the two Dick Briefer versions – Suggest??
- Chase Garland identifies the second-from-right figure with the green face and red costume as the superheroic Frankenstein, from Dell Comics’s short-lived Frankenstein (1966-1967).
- The rightmost figure with the fizzing test tube is the good-natured Frankie Stein, created by Ken Reid and appearing in British comics Wham!, Shiver and Shake, Whoopee! and Monster Fun.
- The teddy bear’s pained expression is because the enthusiastically-dancing Hugo Hercules has accidentally(?) kicked him.
- Justin Blochwitz reminds us that in Nemo: River of Ghosts, Hugo began a romantic relationship with the recently-widowed Mrs. Ishmael. Hence, the current Mr. Ishmael may regard him as a sort of stepfather.
- “dom dom dom” appears to be a lighter rendition of the much-used musical sting to indicate suspense: “dun dun DUUUUN”.
- The dead fish are presumably due to the effects of the nuclear explosion. It is possible that this also caused unusually vivid northern lights.
- Marsman’s ability to detect gender via “sound-signature” (see Tempest #1, P7,p2) makes it curious that he didn’t realize that Vull was female before this. Perhaps the Invisibility helmet interfered with this power (Vull’s word balloons did seem to indicate a distorted voice)? Or perhaps this sound-signature ability was something Marsman only developed after 1964?
- “A perfect storm” is another way of saying “Tempest”.
- Presumably, Orlando has run into hostile telepaths before, and knows to strike quickly.
- Mr. Engelbrecht, last seen in Black Dossier, is from, per Jess Nevins, Maurice Richardson’s The Exploits of Engelbrecht (1950).
- The Galley-Wag, also last seen in Black Dossier, is a version of Florence Kate Upton’s Golliwogg character, first seen in the 1895 book The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg.
- Both the scenery and the characters begin to take on a cubist aspect here. Engelbrecht has deployed a mountaineering pick to help him climb the stairs!
Outside of the panel borders, the fairies seem to be trying to escape spaces of impossible topology.
- To “bowl a googly” is an idiom from Cricket meaning “do something unexpected”.
- Cowboy emerging from hole – Commenter Befuddled Mike identifies him as “Four D. Jones” by Peter Maddocks.
- The superhero with the visor is identified by Chase Garland as Captain 3D: ‘While missing the blunt 3D on his chest, everything else matches. The character was created by superstar team Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1953 for Harvey Comics; he appeared in Captain 3D Comics #1, which did indeed take advantage of 3d glasses, and nothing else. He was the last survivor of a an alien race with generic, unspecified powers and was able to be kept in stasis in the Book of D. His appearance is an obvious reference to the 3D gimmick on these pages.’ The annotator suggests that the letters 3 and D are partially visible as the blank white shapes on the figure’s pectorals.
- “night-raven” is a term which can be applied to any nocturnal bird. It is also the name of a Marvel UK superhero, whom Alan Moore wrote some adventures of in his early career.
- Mr. Coghlan appears to be snacking upon small fairies.
- Ariel and Caliban, Prospero’s familiars.
- Prospero himself, in a single but significant appearance.
- “Gorblindus!” may be an invention of Moore’s. It is clearly related to “gorblimey!“, and probably to that word’s original meaning “God blind me!”
- The explicit mention of “cimota” being “atomic” backwards is another reference to Moore’s early career, specifically Marvelman, who gained his powers by saying the magic word “Kimota!” While the original Marvelman comics never made reference to this being obviously a slight variant of the word “atomic”, reversed, Moore did explicitly make this a plot point when he first re-introduced the character.
- “divs” is British slang for “idiots; foolish people”. Its origin is disputed, and doesn’t seem to be attested prior to 1975.
- Monkey in space suit – Chase Garland suggests that this is Ham the chimp: ‘Ham was launched by NASA in 1961, post-dating Yuri Gagarin but predating John Glenn as the first American in space. There was also plenty other space chimps, but Ham was the most prominent in particular.’
- Dead(?) dog – Chase Garland suggests that this is Laika: ‘a Soviet dog- was the first living creature in space, launched in November 1957. it was a super big deal for the history of space flight.’
- Captain Universe, Vull the Invisible, Marsman, and Zom.
- Vull’s key appears identical to the one Satin Astro used in Tempest #1 (P6,p11). The keyring itself is significant; see Tempest #5, P29p1.
- Commenter Max Jones points out “Instrument panel has the Sony Playstation configuration of symbols”.
- Satin Astro, Flash Avenger, Electro Girl.
- “Deimos” is a moon of Mars, thus appropriate for Marsman to swear by. It doesn’t particularly “dangle”, but that makes for good alliteration.
- Captain Universe’s fortress was formerly the “private star” HQ of Fletcher Hanks’ character Stardust the Super-Wizard. Commenter Justin Blochwitz points out “The plates and rivets on the “Universarium” create the jagged, naïve star that Fletcher Hanks would draw the base as.”
- “crumpet” is British slang for “sexually attractive woman”.
- “rubber” here is a double entendre, referring to both protective gear that could shield David from Carol’s electricity (also possibly because rubber clothing is sexually exciting for some people), and to condoms.
- “Like taking a bath with your coat on” is a typical male simile for why they refuse to wear a condom.
- The image of smoking boots being all that remains of someone who has been disintegrated is a common trope, notably used in the beginning of the film Repo Man, of which Moore is a fan. The image has basis in real life, as actual people struck by lightning have ended up with smoking boots (though not disintegrated).
- “North Sea Gas” is, like most fuel, potentially explosive.
- “Otis Lee Turner” does not appear to be anyone well-known, in fiction or real life. Commenter Owen suggests he may be meant to stand in for Lee Harvey Oswald. Commenter Neale wonders if he may be related to “comedian Rich Hall’s character, perennially-incarcerated country singer Otis Lee Crenshaw”.
- Chase Garland identifies the British cosmic characters as follows:
“Jet Black is the guy in the black suit with Saturn on it. I currently do not know what book he is from.” One cover image of the Steve Samson comic (see below) seems to be a close match for the character identified as Jet Black; perhaps he appeared in that comic book? [“Jet Black” is, sadly, an absurdly common phrase, so difficult to find information for…]
“Dane Jerrus is from Super-Duper, a book put out by Comic Art, a small/indie company from the 40s. Electrogirl is from the same company, if not the same book, as is Marsman.” Dane Jerrus is the one with the domino mask and square chest emblem.
- Steve Samson is seen more clearly at the far right of P29,p3 (identified as such in panel 4), and would appear to be the background figure at top left of this panel, with no helmet. He is from Steve Samson (1953-1955).
“Rex Cosmo would logically be the guy with the big C on his chest, if we are under the impression that the four mentioned are front and center. I cannot find jack about him online.” We found two pictures online which, although each partially obscured, confirm this ID. Then we found and scanned in an original ‘Rex Cosmo: Cosmic Scientist’ cover from Scoops comic (1948).
“The guy in the bottom left with the T on his shirt appears to be the Tornado, from Oh Boy! Comics. He was created by later celebrity Bob Monkhouse as a teenager, notably.”
- Man with cloak and diamond emblem on chest – Chase Garland IDs him as Maxwell the Mighty “a character from Prang Comics, a publication by Hotspur Publishing in 1948.He was another generic hero with generic powers (flight, strength, etc.).”
- Man with star on helmet, center top – P29,p1 identifies him as “Solo Star, the human rocket”. Source suggest??
- Spaceship with needle nose – This is Crash Carew‘s ship the Marlin. Crash Carew is from Cosmic Adventures (1941-1949), drawn by Len Fullerton.
- Spaceship with star, “1” and pitchfork – Suggest??
- Spaceship with multiple rocket tubes and portholes – This is from a strip variously titled Space Roamers, Space Flyers and Space Rovers, drawn by R. W. Plummer circa 1947 and featuring youthful space explorer Reg and his friends.
The man with the ‘diving helmet’ and chest emblem at bottom is Sparky Malone: Space Commando from Space Commando Comics (1953) by Mick Anglo.
- The Oort Cloud only transmits sound in comic-book physics, not in reality.
- “I should cocoa!” is Cockney rhyming slang for “I should say so!”, but is almost always used (as here) ironically, to indicate disagreement.
- “Reg and company” refers to Reg and his friends from Space Roamers/Space Flyers/Space Rovers – see note at P28,p1
- Crash Carew – See note at P28,p1.
- Chase Garland identifies: “Space Rover Pete is from a 1952 series called Dynamic Thrills. I can find precious little else.” Further research by your annotators shows that Space Rover Pete appeared in issues #7 and #10 of Dynamic Thrills. This is from issue #10: “Pete had a secret laboratory where he carried out experiments in space research. He had invented space suit which would resist any extreme heat or cold, or the friction in passing through atmosphere at great speeds. Also a rocket booster, to hurl him across vast space distances.”
- Thor Steel seems to have appeared in Super-Sonic (1953-1954). His ship is the larger, cylindrical one on top.
- Pete Mangan is from Pete Mangan of the Space Patrol, drawn by Mick Anglo circa 1953. His ship is the lower one, being split in half.
- The British Superhero mentions Masters of the Universe, plural. (Michael Ryan suggests that “The Master of The Universe” is likely a reference
to the 1971 Hawkwind song of the same name. Starting is the late ‘60’s
and still going strong to this day, the London-based Hawkwind were a
fixture on the UK circuit and festival scene of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s,
and it is highly unlikely that Alan Moore would not be familiar with
them and their signature song. Of interest to LXG, Michael Moorcock
was a friend of the band and frequently performed with them on stage
from the early ‘70’s to the mid ‘80’s. Moorcock contributed lyrics and
vocals to a number of their songs and the band eventually produced an
album based on Moorcock’s Elric and the Eternal Champion concepts:
The Chronicle of the Black Sword. Apocryphally, the toy line, ‘Masters
of the Universe’ is said to have been inspired by the song.)
- Chase Garland writes: “As is said, the Black Wizard is from Masterman’s feature in his self-titled comic. Of note, Masterman was [published] by United Anglo-American, explaining why he is referred to as such.”
- Commenter cormansinferno suggests: “The Black Wizard’s foreknowledge of the future disasters that will befall the Seven Stars brings to mind Moore and O’Neill’s Green Lantern story “Tygers” which features cosmic demons who foresee the death of the entire Green Lantern Corps; and the fate of Abin Sur, the dying alien who gave Hal Jordan the Green Lantern ring.”
- Per Urban Dictionary: “‘fnarr‘ is an exclamation made popular by a character called Finbarr Saunders in British adult comic ‘Viz’.” This may be a coincidence, and the exotic words just chosen for their alliteration and generally strange sounds. Though given that Finbarr himself appears in Tempest #5 (P22,p3), coincidence seems unlikely.
- Saucer-shaped craft at upper right – Suggest??
- The stretched and warped bodies of the heroes, plus some of the specific imagery strongly suggest Steve Ditko‘s work on Dr. Strange, whose influence will be seen even more clearly next issue.
- “The Unknown”, by contrast, refers to a supernatural realm frequently seen in ACG comic books, including Moore’s beloved Herbie. Moore describes it in Jerusalem as follows:
[…] ACG’s distinctive green-tinged afterlife. This occult region, carpeted in limeade-coloured clouds, is a Rod Serling version of Eternity that features intermittently across the outfit’s other books and is referred to as “The Unknown” on what looks like a hand-painted sign in its cumulus-strewn reception area. The place is an abode of sheet-clad ghosts, trolls, leprechauns and monsters cribbed from Universal Studios’ back catalogue, along with wingless, robed custodians who seem like biliously-hued Frank Capra angels, tubby and avuncular.
- Jet Black appears to have been skeletonized.
- The photograph on the wall in the background is of Rosa Klebb, her name spelled in Cyrillic characters.
- Nitpick: Steve Samson is spelled Sampson with a ‘p’ in this panel.
- Chase Garland identifies the Victory Vanguard characters as follows:
Masterman himself can be seen on the Victory Vanguard corkboard. He’s the guy with the eagle on his chest.
The Captain Marvel looking guy with the crossed lightning bolts is Electroman, from Scion Ltd’s Electroman comics.
That looks like Powerman above him. He’s also from Super-Duper and is seen better in the last panel of the feature. He’s got a big goofy P on his chest.
Likewise, that’s the previously seen [Tempest #2 P1,p5] Crash Britanus, World Crime Buster with the equally goofy B on his chest and head. He’s originally from the astonishingly named Crasho Comics, from 1947. British comic titles had the goofiest titles back then.
To the left of Powerman is Quicksilver, of The Round Up, a comic from 1948.
- Hero with cat-like mask at lower left – Suggest??
- Chase Garland identifies the Victory Vanguard characters as follows:
The M guy without the matching M on his hat is Maskman, from 1948’s Big Game Comic.
The nipple hatted fellow with the Zs is Captain Zenith, of 1950’s Captain Zenith Comics.
The guy with the M on his chest and cowl is Mister Muscle, from the previously mentioned Dynamic Comics.
The guy with the up arrow is likely Captain Miracle, a redrawn version of Marvelman from 1960’s Captain Miracle book. I think this is where Moore got the Miracle for Miracleman’s name? Note this could also be Cpt. Miracle Jr.; it’s hard to tell in b&w, but it would befit this group having numerous Captain Marvel analogues were it to be Miracle Sr.
The guy checking his watch is Mark Tyme of 1967’s Mark Tyme. His watch is a pocket time machine. Given he’s anachronistically here, maybe he’s just here to see the ‘Mass?
- At bottom right with round ears: Speed Gale: ‘He’s another hero from Super-Duper Comics. He and his sidekick had ‘mastery over the air and superhuman strength’ after finding and ingesting an elixir. O’Neil draws his ears much more rounded than normal, making it a bit tough to recognize him at first glance.’
- Man with domino mask and “B” chest emblem – Crash Britanus, see previous panel.
- In foreground, Tommy Walls, The Purple Hood.
- Figure at far right back, with cloak – Suggest??
- The ‘Mass is the transformed astronaut Victor Carroon, from the TV series The Quatermass Experiment (1953) and its film adaptation The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) a.k.a. The Creeping Unknown.
- “O’Brien” is otherwise known as Big Brother, see Black Dossier.
- The unshaven man bottom left resembles a young Oliver Reed. TO BE CONFIRMED
- The man in the suit bottom right resembles Patrick McGoohan’s secret agent John Drake from Danger Man (1960-1968) a.k.a Secret Agent in the US.
- M summarises the climax of The Quatermass Experiment, although in the original story there is no evidence that samples of the creature were retained.
- “An intelligent plant? But that’s ludicrous!” is deliberately ironic, considering that Moore got his first big break in America by establishing that Swamp Thing was not a mutated human, but in fact, an intelligent plant.
Michael Ryan notes that this exclamation is a riff on the famous line from the film The Thing From Another World (1951), spoken after our heroes have defeated the plant-based alien invader: “An intellectual carrot? The
- Chase Garland identifies the Victory Vanguard characters as follows:
- ‘Val’ is Val Venture, the partner of Ace Hart.
- At right is Crash Britanus (see panel 3).
- Commenter Justin Blochwitz thinks the person on the stretcher “looks like Mr. Bean or some other Rowan Atkinson character”.
- The young boy in the bottom left is Tommy Walls of the Victory Vanguard.
- The scruffy old man bottom right resembles rag and bone man Albert Steptoe from TV sitcom Steptoe and Son (1962-1974).
- The vehicles being destroyed by the ‘Mass appear to be: a Routemaster double decker bus, a Daimler ambulance and a BMW Isetta Bubble Car (albeit with two windscreen wipers).
- Redditor John_Dee2 adds: The man in a bus driver’s uniform making a run for it when the ‘Mass attacks is Inspector Cyril “Blakey” Blake, a bus inspector (with a Hitler moustache) from the ‘classic’ (i.e. smutty) British sitcom On The Buses. He was played by the late Stephen Lewis, who died in 2015.
- Tommy Walls is hurriedly eating raspberry ripple ice cream.
- Chase Garland identifies Speed Gale and his sidekick Garry on the extreme right. [See note at P31,p4.]
- “Jingo H Crikey” is a combination of euphemisms for “Jesus Christ!”. A Lambretta is a motor scooter, recalling another popular swear “Christ on a crutch!”
- Yucca Flat (no s) was a prominent nuclear testing site, which makes it an appropriate oath for the nuclear-powered Ace Hart.
Inside Back Cover
Much of this issue’s letters page consists of Moore riffing on the notion that comic book letters pages are entirely made up. In fact, evidence suggests that most letter column letters are (and have been) substantially real (if sometimes heavily edited). That said, there’s no question but that editors in a hurry to fill space, or desperate for the appearance of popularity, have at times fabricated letters.
- A “demiurge” is a creator of the universe (though in some philosophies, subordinate to a higher Supreme Being). Obviously, Al and Kev qualify, as creators of the League universe.
- “Confabulate” is to make up, to imagine.
- “Scrump” – To steal fruit. (In Moore’s Jerusalem, the Dead Dead Gang frequently use this word.)
- “Burning a mountain of white cardboard” alludes to the fact that, until about the 1980s, many publishers regarded original artwork as of little value, and stored it poorly or disposed of it.
- “Napoleon Very Solo” is riffing on Napoleon Solo, the spy protagonist of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- The first three issues being printed before the first is released is still typical of mainstream comics publishing. Notably, that is why the first three issues of Moore’s Watchmen had text piece backups in the form of Under the Hood — to fill the space that would normally contain a letters column. By the time issue four was being put together, however, Moore had decided to keep doing text backups.
- Gamages used to be a department store in London.
- “Scale the Town Hall roof” may be a nod to Moore’s great-grandfather, who is slightly fictionalized in Jerusalem as John “Snowy” Vernall, and who often climbed to the tops of buildings when he wasn’t supposed to.
- Allusion to any number of incidents of comic book (or other superhero media) censorship due to concerns over children imitating dangerous behavior.
- Doctor Doom is the greatest enemy of Marvel Comics’ The Fantastic Four.
- Doctor Fate is a magic-based superhero from DC Comics.
- Doctor Octopus is a foe of Marvel’s Spider-Man.
- Doctor Occult is a DC comics magic user and private detective.
- Doctor Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme of Marvel Comics.
- Astonishingly, there appears to be no comic book character named Doctor Destruction! (There is a TV horror host of that name, however.)
- There is no mainstream superhero named Captain Astonishing. There is, however, a mockumentary about a real-life “superhero” of that name.
- Flash Avenger is a particularly obscure character, created by John “Jock” McCail, and seemingly appearing in only one 4-page color story in Dynamic Thrills #5, published in 1951 (or possibly 1952) by G G Swan Publications. That story was reprinted in black and white in the 2009 limited edition book Great British Fantasy Comic Book Heroes.
The annotators have obtained this scan of his one and only story.
- “The Soho Spirit” may allude to Will Eisner’s The Spirit, who, like The Flash Avenger, was an unpowered masked vigilante who largely dealt with street crime (but was not a wealthy playboy).
- “Wealthy playboy” has indeed been a “standard issue” vigilante trope since well before comic books existed. It dates back to at least The Scarlet Pimpernel in 1905. It was solidified even further for superheroes after the success of Batman.
- John “Jock” McCail was a real artist, who did work for Dynamic Thrills in 1951, including the “TNT Tom” strip.
- Mick Anglo did create Gail Garrity for Dynamic (not the same as Dynamic Thrills) in 1949. The one piece of easily findable art that shows her does not look anything like the illustration here.
- Henry Gaunt – Suggest??
- Note that the headshot of Vull is increasingly invisible, compared to the headshots from the back covers of Tempest #1 and #2.