I had hoped to get back to “Round the Bend” by now, but have instead been obsessively annotating The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest. (Plus, of course, the usual integration of useful comments on the various projects.) While my fellow Tempest annotators have been making invaluable contributions, I have a combination of OCD and skilled google-fu that has let me add a lot to all the issues so far. I’ve finished my first pass on all four issues so far, but am in the midst of doing some follow-up to clean up remaining typos and whatnot. Some highlights from the notes: <cut>
- Issue #2, page 7, panel 5: First appearance of the Pink Child. She is from Marco Denevi’s short story “La niña rosa”, in his anthology Falsificaciones (1966), though as that book doesn’t seem to have been translated into English, it seems likely that Moore got her story from the “Pink Palace” entry in The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (which seems to be largely a verbatim translation of Denevi’s story). The Dictionary was a major source for The New Traveller’s Almanac, where the Pink Child was first mentioned by Moore, in what seems like a good summary of her story:
…within the south-most reaches of Peru, stands a solitary Pink Palace that may once have been a part of Gunda, but which stands in much better repair than Gunda’s palaces, and which is still inhabited. Herein lives the Pink Child, an ageless and perfectly beautiful girl (possessing neither knees nor elbows, since these body parts are less than beautiful), who spends her days amidst exquisite loveliness and whose sole utterance is said to be “I pray thee, do not rise.” Although she has once travelled widely, witnessing the filth and squalor of the world, this has not ruffled her deportment or serene refinement, and she still draws swans with one pink fingertip upon the scented air of the Pink Palace, murmuring, “I pray thee, do not rise.”
(Note that, as described, she is drawn without elbows or knees.) The Almanac does not elaborate on when the data on the Pink Palace was collected, but as Mina and Orlando recognize the Pink Child here, it seems likely that it was during their early 20th century travels, suggesting that the Pink Child is unaging. The Pink Child also had a brief cameo in the Blazing World section at the end of Black Dossier (P187p1-2). In Nemo: River of Ghosts, it was established that Hugo Coghlan has (at least mostly) been working for the Pink Child since fighting Danner (seen on pages 2-3 of this issue, set in 1919). Theis would seem to imply that since N:RoG (set in 1975), Coghlan has been employed by both the Nemo family and the Pink Child, and that the Pink Child has moved to Lincoln Island, possibly to help facilitate this arrangement.
- In “La niña rosa”, while her only directly-reported speech is two instances of “I pray thee, do not rise,” the story does say that one of the things she habitually does is to “recite in French La cigale et la fourmi” (the fable of the grasshopper and the ant). Hence, Moore’s claim of her having a “sole utterance” is a change from the source material.
- Issue #3, page 7, panel 2: “Didn’t get bitten…” – These 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.
- Issue #3, page 30, panel 2: “The Unknown” […] 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.
- Issue #4, page 18, panel 3: The prismatic controls of the surveillance system are quite at odds with what we saw earlier this issue. On page 11, the (cartoonish) tech could be out of the 1950s. On page 14, it appears to be 1980s vintage. Here, the technology is positively futuristic. This would seem to correlate with an increased degree of "realism", and an increase in the (apparent) age of the target audience across the three scenes.
- Issue #4, page 25: Unlike most other episodes of Seven Stars, this episode has very few references to British comics, and lots of references to American comics. Perhaps this is due to the way that, when Moore and O’Neill were growing up, comic books from America seemed otherworldly. As Moore says in The Mindscape of Alan Moore:
…when I was seven, I picked up my very first American comics. These were bright, garish four-colour things, that rather than taking place against some anonymous Northern British backdrop, took place in cities like New York, which to me were as exotic as Mars.</cut>
Hopefully I’ll get back to “Round the Bend” next time, but quite possibly not, since the penultimate issues of both LoEG and Cinema Purgatorio are due to drop tomorrow…