Annotations to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #1
by Jess Nevins
July 30 updates in blue.
Cover: The cover to Tempest #1 is a riff on Classics Illustrated, one cover of which I've provided at the left. Classics Illustrated, which ran from 1941 to 1971, featured graphic adaptations of literary classics, everything from Shakespeare to Moby Dick. 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.
I had been assuming that this cover showed Mina, Orlando, and Queen Titania, from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595-1596). But League: Tempest is resonant with Shakespeare: Tempest, not A Midsummer Night's Dream, so I think I was wrong. The woman in this panel--a shipwreck of the type seen here is integral to Shakespeare: Tempest's plot--could be Miranda, Prospero's daughter, or perhaps Sycorax, the mother of Caliban. Helena Nash writes, "I think that may be Ms. Knight/Emma Peel on the left, rather than Orlando. The hair is similar to how she's drawn in the rest of the issue. Could the Elizabethan lady be Orlando? It fits the green color scheme of her Lara Croft outfit in this issue."
Ian Wildman disagrees: "I was thinking the two women in the foreground are Satin Astro (dressed in archaic clothes, but holding a ray gun) and Mina (per usual dressed in something that covers her neck scars)."
Tim Doubleday writes, "I think the lady on the cover, in the middle, is Helen Mirren's Prospero from the 2010 movie 'The Tempest'."
Page One: 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 I think this section, the "Cheated Champions of Your Childhood," will be focusing on British comics, as so much else of League: Tempest is going to.
Pádraig Ó Méalóid writes, "Look and Lament is a play on Look and Learn, the educational British comic so beloved of parents, although less so by children..."
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).
Page Two. Panel One. Although Kôr has been mentioned repeatedly in various issues of League, this is our first full exposure to 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.
Panel Three. This is Mina and Orlando, presumably only a few weeks after the events of League: Century: 2009.
Panel Four. This is the third of the trio we saw in Africa at the end of League: Century: 2009: Emma Peel, formerly of 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."
Panel Nine. I'm not sure what the carvings on the rock are a reference to. Did the rock and the carvings appear in Haggard? Were they mentioned in a a previous issue of League? Helena Nash writes, "I'm pretty sure that one of the text pieces in an earlier volume refers to Mina and Allan noticing various "I woz ere" inscriptions in the cave on an earlier visit." Ian Wildman and Sidney Osinga remind us that the markings on the rock appeared in the Orlando/Trump portion of League: Black Dossier.
Panel Eleven. The rejuvenated Emma Peel, brought back to the peak of her youth, has a more than passing resemblance to Diana Rigg when she first played Emma Peel.
Page Three. These 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. (I anticipate League: Tempest to be a love letter to British comics and fiction, with American characters being few to none).
Panel One. 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.
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 League: Tempest. (But see below). Ian Wildman suggests: "R.J. Brande was the original financier for the Legion of Superheroes. 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. (Presumably this means that Lamarr is the "Marslord" mentioned in this panel).
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."
Panel Two. See Panel Three below.
Panel Three. I'm not sure what the “Vote A. Moore” poster is a reference to besides O'Neill subtly suggesting we vote for Alan Moore for something. Michael Norwitz suggests that this is a reference to Arda Moore, who was the first woman president, elected in the year 3000, in Wonder Woman #7 (1943).
The base is a familiar-looking upside-down rocketship. It is the headquarters of the Legion of Superheroes (LSH), DC's team of teenaged superheroes who fight crime and evil a thousand years from the present. In light of that, the "three dots" pursuing Astro and Steel are three Legionnaires--as Dan Hitchcock notes, "These are members of the LSH, as you pointed out, but specifically it appears to be the original three members, making the one pursuer you didn’t mention by name Cosmic Boy." As many of you pointed out, the "Aero-Jewellery" mentioned in Panel Two must be the Legion's flight rings. The “little girl” with psi powers must be the LSH's Saturn Girl.
Panel Four. The “Aeonosphere” is an LSH Time Sphere.
The “Nook Zoo” mentioned here is a "nuclear bazooka," although I don't know of a specific nuclear bazooka that might be referred to.
Panel Five Steele is being zapped by the LSH's Lightning Lad. No, writes Alexx Kay: "that is not Lightning Lad zapping, it is Cosmic Boy using his magnetism-power to disarm Steele. It does look like an LL zap in panel 6."
Panel Six. The reason the sphere is set for 1958 is that that’s the year the LSH was created. Sidney Osinga (and a few others whose names I forgot to write down--sorry!) note 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 "junior Electrodirector" is Lighting Lad, who controls electricity. Lance Parkin writes, "'electrodirection' is a talent that Rassilon has in Moore's Doctor Who strips."
Panel Seven. 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. 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."
"Eternity splits as Satin Astro topples through time into the unmapped territory of pre-disaster history!"
Alexx Kay writes: "pre-disaster history" refers to an important part of LSH/DCU lore.
Page Four. Panel One. We're Back at MI5 headquarters, right after the events of League: Century: 2009. Julian Wan writes, "It might be worth noting that Vauxhall on page 4 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 was 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 11, panel 1."
Panel Two. "from several weeks ago" - so now we know when League: Tempest #1 takes place.
On the wall are portraits of 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 Steed, as mentioned the head of MI5 in League: Century: 2009. Don Bagert corrects me: "I think you used "Emma Steed" when "Emma Night" or "Emma Peel" would have been (more) correct. Emma acknowledges she was in love with Steed, but there is no evidence that they were ever married."
The man speaking is Jason King from British mystery tv show 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 villain Mastermind).
Panel Three. This is a shot of the final fight scene in League: Century: 2009.
Panel Five. If the nurse is a reference to someone I'm unaware of it. Damian T. Gordon suggests that it is "a reference to Young Mister Grace's nurse in Are You Being Served?"
Panel Six. “Sir James” is the original James Bond, last seen in League: Century: 2009 being kept alive as an act of malicious revenge by Emma Peel.
Page Five. Presumably 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.
I'm not sure what the illustration on the left is referring to. 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."
Presumably “Farewell to Forever” is a poem or song lyric reference.
Page Six. Panel One. As a number of people wrote in to correct me, including Damian T. Gordon. the last Ayesha dying in the mid-1970s is a reference to the death of one of the original Ayesha's clones, as mentioned in League: Nemo: River of Ghosts.
"Amin" is a reference to Idi Amin, the dictator of Uganda from 1971 to 1979.
“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 in various issues of League.
Panel Four. Is the body in the sands meant to be a reference to anyone in particular?
Page Seven. Panel One. Regarding the “XX Out” graffiti: as we've seen in League: Century, the "XX" in the world of League is the equivalent to the Nazi swastika in our world.
The poster with the "Tracey Jordan" movie is a riff on the Tracy Jordan character from American t.v. show 30 Rock.
Don’t know what “Hard Cor,” “Crib,” “Sold Out Featuring Sold Out,” and “Frank Ho be back” are references to. Alex Anaya writes, "The colour scheme of 'Hard Cor!' reminds me of the title for the movie adaptation of Hard Core Logo, a novel-in-verse by Michael Turner about a Canadian punk band's reunion tour. However, given the use of the British 'cor', the book being set in 1999, and it ending with the band breaking up, I may be reaching a bit." "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."
Panels Five and Six. The Jedi mind trick played on the bald black man is a part of the Marsman’s powers. The Marsman appeared in the British comic Marsman Comics (1948); he came to Earth as an observer and ended up fighting crime here.
The Marsman is on the left in the baseball cap, Satin Astro is on the right.
Panel Eight. I can't make out the title of the newspaper. A number of you, including Joyce and Mike Firth, noted that it's the Daily Brute, from Evelyn Waugh's Scoop, and seen in League in the Black Dossier. “-autilus” is a reference to Jack Dakkar’s Nautilus, last seen in League: Century: 2009.
Page Eight. Panel One. 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."
The Brain in the Jar, the Robot G.I., the Woof poster, and the poster with the axe symbol all appeared in League: Century: 2009. As Damian T. Gordon notes, the Robot G.I. is the Alex Henderson's android soldier the Steel Commando.
“The Incident” is a reference to the events of League: Century: 2009.
“Vull” is a reference to the invisible crook Vull the Invisible, who appeared in the British comic Ranger from 1934 to 1935.
Panel Two. The previous, female inhabitant was Orlando, as seen in League: Century: 2009.
Panel Three. The comic book is seen later in full in this issue,
Panel Four. "Zom" is a reference to Zom of the Zodiac, from the British comic Big Win Comics (1948). Zom has magical abilities and uses it to transform the victims of injustice into very strong men who are then capable of taking their revenger.
"Duke de Richelieu" is a reference to Dennis Wheatley’s Duc de Richelieu, who fights against Satanists & black magic users. The Duc appeared in eleven novels from 1933 to 1970, beginning with Forbidden Territory.
"David Gaunt, the Flash Avenger," is ? Dan Hitchcock writes, "“David Gaunt, the Flash Avenger” is apparently Moore’s legally-usable revised name and civilian ID for Mick Riley AKA Thunderbolt the Avenger. He never actually identified TtA as a member of the Seven Stars, but “The Flash Avenger” certainly sounds a lot more like “Thunderbolt the Avenger” than “Captain Zenith,” who was widely concluded to be the Stars’ seventh member. Thunderbolt was referenced on the cover of one of the comics at the newsstand Mina and the others visited in 1969 (name partially obscured as apparently even back then there were legal hurdles regarding using the character). Thunderbolt also actually “powered up” by electrocuting himself, so his partnership with Electro Girl would be ideal."
Panels Six and Seven. Julian Wan writes, "Might I point out a small observation about the logos? On page 8, the panels (6 and 7) that show a logo on the table is a fusion of a question mark with a lightening 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 26, panel 1, where all members of the Seven Stars are presented, the logo is NOT of the 7 linked to the star but the question mark with lightening bolt? Since this is their first meeting, perhaps Mina is recycling some old LOEG stuff like the question mark sofa in panel 2. Logos appear again on Page 30, panel 4, where the custom official wears the logo of Big Brother (two B's, one reflecting the other, with an arrow of repression pushing downward."
Page Nine. Panel One. The animal skeleton in armor is a Nacumeran--see Panel Two, below.
Panel Two. 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).
Panel Three. A number of people, including Sean Lee Levin, Chase Garland, and Bill Jennings, wrote in to correct me: the "Cybernaut" mentioned here is not a reference to the Cybermen from Dr. Who, but is a reference to the "Cybernauts" episode of The Avengers.
Panel Four. Re: the Dugong: see Page Ten, Panel Two. Damian T. Gordon disagrees and thinks that "the undersea rocket ship looks like Thunderbird #4 - and has a stylized "4"." The Thunderbird is from the Gerry & Sylvia Anderson t.v. show Thunderbirds (1964, 1966).
The “M” icon on the gas pump looks familiar but I can’t place it. Benjamin Gross gets it: "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?"
Page Ten. Panel Two. “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” is a reference to, as a number of folks pointed out, beginning with Damian T. Gordon, Troy Tempest, which makes the Dugong from the Stingray. Sam Greenaum adds, "His radio guy, Phones, famofor his headphones, is floating in the water nearby." Jonathan Miller disagrees: "One of your correspondents considered the “Dugong" ship looks like Thunderbird 4 (page 9, panel four). I would respectfully disagree, as the ship looks far closer in design to the Stingray submarine from the eponymous show, than TB4. In the show, Stingray has a 3 on the tail, whereas this ship has a 4. I’d speculate that, given Troy Tempest’s receding hairline, the comic is set after the events of the TV show, and the 4 denotes the submarine shown is the next design evolution."
Panel Three. Not sure which fictional Titan the “Titanian females” might be referring to. Sean Lee Levin notes that Titan is the main villain of Stingray.
Panel Five. Sunken figure in the lower right looks familiar–those eyebrows!–but I can’t place him. Lulu Scarlet suggests that it is one of the enemies of all that is good and just from one of the Gerry & Sylvia Anderson t.v. shows. Sean Lee Levin corrects us: "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."
Page Eleven. Panel One. "SMERSH" is a reference to СМЕРШ, the portmanteau of Смерть шпионам (SMERt' SHpionam, "Death to Spies"), the name for the overaching 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.
Panel Two. “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."
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.
The “J-Series” are the various James Bonds, as seen in League: Century: 2009.
Panel Three. The men in the back are the J-Series, each James Bond as portrayed by the actors, shown here in chronological order, with the most recent Bond, Daniel Craig, on the far right.
Panel Four. “Gale” is Cathy Gale from Avengers t.v. 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.
“Brute” a reference to the Daily Brute, from League: Black Dossier and League: Century: 1910.
Panel Five. 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."
Page Twelve. Panel Three. Portrait on the wall is of who? Damian T. Gordon and Benjamin Gross suggest that it is Moriarty as M.
Panel Four. The car is not Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (created by Ian Fleming), as I originally thought. Several people, beginning with Joe Linton, Sean Lee Levin, and Chase Garland, pointed out that the car is Finn McMissile, a James Bond-like British secret agent in the film Cars 2 (2011).
The man being seen to 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).
Page Thirteen. Panel One. “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.
No idea what the monocular robot and the dinosaur robot are reference to. Does every hero have a dinosaur robot in their headquarters? Kelly Tindall writes, "I think the robot in Electrogirl's hideout is Gort from THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. He survives the film but they threaten to return, I believe."
“Buster” is Carol’s dead cat, mentioned below.
Not sure who the “Craig Street” glove is a reference to.
“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).
Don’t know who the stone idol is a reference to.
Presumably that is Electrogirl’s costume in the tube?
Panel Two. “Garath” is apparently Mars Man’s first name– he was never named in his original appearances.
A Faraday Cage blocks electromagnetic fields.
Panel Five. 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."
“Jim” is Jim Logan, a.k.a. Captain Universe, from Captain Universe (1954).
Panel Ten. Alexx Kay writes, "given that we already have one Byrne ref in these notes, this might be a nod to John Byrne's (arguably belated but still welcome) renaming of Invisible Girl to Invisible Woman."
Panels Twelve & Thirteen. Alexx Kay writes, "Possible allusion to the last line of the famous Arthur C. Clarke short story "The Nine Billion Names of God"?"
Page Fourteen. Panel Two. Drake’s Passage is a real place between South America's Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.
Gulliver from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver’s Travels (1726). Gulliver was a member of an earlier version of the League, as seen in League v1.
“Pepper’s Land” from the Beatles’ movie The Yellow Submarine (1968), although in the film it was Pepperland, and existed under the sea.
Is the "mermaid paste" a reference to something? Helena Nash writes, "Mermaid Paste is possibly a reference to Marina, the mermaid-like girlfriend of Troy Tempest in Stingray."
Panel Three. “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.
Panel Four. 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. The “64 Love” sign is from The Yellow Submarine. Presumably the skull is that of the Chief of the Blue Meanies, the Beatles' opponent in The Yellow Submarine. The thing on the right is the Dreadful Flying Glove from The Yellow Submarine.
Panel Five. Presumably the Blue Meanie-like fish-monster on the right is one of the inhabitants of the Sea of Monsters from The Yellow Submarine.
Page Fifteen. Panel Two. The Riallaro Fogbank appears in Riallaro.
Panel Four. 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).
Page Sixteen. Panel One. That jet–the Spectrum Jet, I assume–looks familiar. "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."
Panel Two. This is Woody Allen as James Bond’s nephew Jimmy Bond, from the Bond spoof film Casino Royale (1967).
Page Eighteen. Panel One. Spectralia is one of the islands in the Riallao Archipelago.
Not sure who the pirate ghost is. Sean Lee Levin says that the pirate ghost is Firebrand Frobisher, from Valiant (1970). That’s Casper the Friendly Ghost. Not sure who the four ghosts on the right are; one of them, as Pádraig Ó Méalóid notes, is Marley, from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843). 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. 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. in front of him is the ghost of Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol. If I had to hazard a guess, it's Alec Guiness as Marley from the '70 film Scrooge, but that's just a guess. 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." Ian Wildman suggests that "the ghost next to Jacob Marley is that of his old partner Ebenezer Scrooge, wearing the same nightshirt he wore in "A Christmas Carol."" "lancashirearab" writes, "I think the skeleton might be one of the Evil Ones from the comic strip Fright School that appeared in IPC publication Buster. I am sure the Pirate ghost is also an IPC character, but I can't place him."
Panel Two. Coxuria is one of the islands in the Riallao Archipelago.
Sidney Osinga writes, "Mount Analogue is from Rene Daumal's Le Mont Analogue, an island hidden by the means describe, and previously mentioned in volume two's New Traveller's Almanac."
Panel Three. Figlefia is one of the islands in the Riallao Archipelago.
Panel Four. Fanattia is one of the islands in the Riallao Archipelago. What’s happening on the island is a reference to Brexit--and, as Alexx Kay notes, the rhetoric surrounding Brexit.
Panel Five. Aleofane is one of the islands in the Riallao Archipelago.
Page Nineteen. Panel One. 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"."
Panel Two. 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."
Panel Five. The rejuvenated James Bond is not a reference to Ian Fleming, his creator, but as several people pointed out, a reference to the original James Bond, the one seen in League: 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 lighter.
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."
Page Twenty. Panel One. “Farewells aren’t Forever” may be a play on Diamonds Are Forever, a 1965 James Bond novel by Ian Fleming. John Stratford writes, "I actually think this is more of a play on the 'Farewell to Forever' lyric/line on page 5 but I have no idea as to the origin of it."
“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."
There is some curiosity about who "Novek" might be a reference to. Patrick Damien writes, "This name of Czech resonance is probably an homage to Yaroslav HORAK who drew the James Bond strip from 1966 to 1977, with other contributions until 1984."
Panel Two. Alexx Kay notes that Bond here is talking about the two Moneypennys.
Page Twenty-Two. Panel Five. This is Hugo Hercules, last seen in League: River of Ghosts. He originally appeared in an eponymous 1902-1903 comic strip, written and drawn by Wilhelm Heinrich Detlev Körner.
Panel Seven. "lancashirearab" writes, "The fish has a strong resemblance to the underwater craft of the Aquaphibians. They were the enemies of Troy Tempest and Stingray."
Page Twenty-Three. As Sean Lee Levin notes, H.C. Edwards (aka Harry Hackett) is Flash Harry from the St. Trinian's film series.
Page Twenty-Four. This is the full-page version of the comic book cover glimpsed on Page Eight, Panel Three. It is a riff on the cover of the first appearance of DC's Justice League of America, in which the heroes fight against the alien starfish Starro.
Page Twenty-Seven. The person who shot Vull here is not Monsieur Zenith the Albino--wish fulfillment on my part--but (as a number of people, starting with Sean Lee Levin, pointed out) instead is Mina Murray, as referenced in League: Black Dossier. Dan Hitchcock adds, "Given the statement that Vull was “not my first invisible man,” it seems more likely this is Mina toward the end up her tenure as a government agent. The original Vull last appeared in 1935 and Mina was still a government agent until the early forties. Also, unless Vull changes identities again before the end of the Seven Stars story, then Mina would have to be remembering someone else’s memories during this sequence. 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."
Page Twenty-Eight. The "'mass" seen here is, as Helena Nash pointed out, Victor Carew, the poor astronaut in The Quatermass Experiment who is transformed into a monstrous blobby creature.
Panel Four. Ace Hart is a super hero from the British comic Super Thriller (1948).
Mark Tyme is a British time traveler from the British comic Mark Tyme (1967).
The Purple Hood is a British costumed government agent from the British comic The Purple Hood (1967).
Tommy Walls is a British boy who gets superpowers from eating “Wall’s Ice Cream” in the pages of the British comic Eagle (1950).
Panel Five. Crash Brittanus is a British superhero from the British comic Crasho Comics (1947).
Mr. Apollo is a British superhero from the British comic Dynamic Thrills (1952).
Swift Morgan is a British science fiction adventurer, from various British comic books (1948).
Silver is, as stated, Swift Morgan’s assistant.
Panel Six. Sean Levin, Paul Slade, and a few others whose names I didn't get (sorry!), 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.""
Page Twenty-Six. 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."
Page Twenty-Nine. Panel One. Mark Tyme, ladies and gentlemen!
Panel Five. Keith Kole writes, "I would think this jukebox is the same jukebox as on Page Eight: Panel One."
Page Thirty. Panel One. “Garath Gannz” is a riff on DC’s J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter.
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 the League version of them in League v2 #1.
Panel Two. Chase Garland notes that, "The endowed Martian appears to be J'onn J'onnz, or at least dressed similarly."
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.
Panel Three. Those are Treens, the enemy alien race in the Dan Dare comics.
Panel Four. Martians have mental powers, as J’onn J’onzz does.
Panel Five. Nightmore Street is from Iain Sinclair’s London: City of Disappearances (2006).
Page Thirty-One. Panel Two. That is Mycroft Holmes speaking to a younger version of John Le Carre's master spy George Smiley. Mycroft is referring to the German and French teams referred to in League: Black Dossier. Sean Lee Levin, Benjamin Gross, and Alexx Kay (among mnay others) disagree, and say that it is M (a.k.a. Harry Lime and Bob Cherry) from League: Black Dossier. 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."
Panel Three. That’s Ace Hart doing the lifting.
Panel Four. That’s Tommy Walls making the magic W sign which gives him superpowers.
Panel Five. As a number of people pointed out, 1953 something is the date of the first "Professor Quatermass" film, The Quatermass Experiment. John Stratford corrects me: "Actually it was not the 'film' but the BBC serial that 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..."
Thanks to the following people for their notes and suggestions and corrections: Alex Anaya, Don Bagart, "Concerned Craig," Charles Cunyus, Patrick Damien, Tim Doubleday, Mike Firth, Angelo Frei, Chase Garland, Damian T. Gordon, Sam Greenaum, Benjamin Gross, "History's Greatest Monster," Dan Hitchcock, Bill Jennings, Jeff Jensen, Joyce, James Kerr, Keith Kole, Charles Lambert, "lancashirearab," Sean Lee Levin, Joe Linton, Jonathan Miller, Helena Nash, Michael Norwitz, Cole Moore Odell, Michael O'Malley, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Sidney Osinga, Lance Parkin, Lulu Scarlet, Paul Slade, John Stratford, Kelly Tindall, Carl Vause, Julian Wan, and Ian Wildman.
Annotations / Blog / Books / Patreon / Twitter / Contact me