Neonomicon 3

Cover of Neonomicon issue #3, art by Jacen Burrows
Cover of Neonomicon issue #3, art by Jacen Burrows

Below are annotations for Neonomicon, No. 3 “The Language at the Threshold” (25 pages, October 2010)
Writer: Alan Moore (AM), Artist: Jacen Burrows (JB), Based on works of H.P. Lovecraft (HPL)
>Go to Moore Lovecraft annotations index

Note: some of this stuff is obvious, but you never know who’s reading this and what their exposure is. If there’s stuff we missed or got wrong, let me know in comments.

General: FBI Agents raid the Salem store where Brears and Lamper were last seen, but find nothing. In a room deep underground, Brears is raped by the Deep One. Ultimately the Deep One breaks the cage door, and the two escape underwater.

WARNING: SPOILERS

Cover

  • The cover depicts the Deep One heading toward Agent Merril Brears.

Page 1

Again, there is a lot of playing with perspectives here. The focus of the page is on whomever is talking, but it shifts back and forth to show the perspective on both sides of the table. As with the interrogation of Sax in issue #1, there’s a sharp delineation between the two sides.

panel 1

  • The standing man with the prosthetic hand is Carl Perlman. His missing hand is explained in issue #1, P11,p2-4.
  • The woman is FBI Agent Barstow, a very minor character from the last few pages of issue #1.
  • “Mary” – see p2 below.
  • “Her and her partner” is grammatically incorrect – should be “She and her partner.” Similar to issue #1, P8,p1, AM is establishing the FBI agents as somewhat illiterate, narrow-minded.
  • As would be standard protocol, “Randolph Carter” has had her facial piercings removed.

panel 2

  • The woman being interrogated is Mary Ann Stubbs, a singer who goes by her stage name Randolph Carter. Carter appeared briefly in The Courtyard, and both prior issues.

panel 2-3

  • “The Statement of Randolph Carter” is a story by  H.P. Lovecraft “that writer freak that Brears was talking about” on the first pages of issue #2.

panel 3

  • As in panel 1 above, “I hope her and Lamper are okay” should properly be “she and Lamper.”
  • Perlman, preoccupied over the disappearance of his subordinates Brears and Lamper, continues to trip over his grammar – speaking unclearly, repeating, and using “ain’t.”

panel 4

  • “That fucking bookstore” is Whispers in Darkness, introduced in issue #2, P8,p1.

Page 2

panel 1

  • The language is Aklo, central to The Courtyard. See explanation Neonomicon #1, P6,p3.
  • “Y’golonac” is a Cthulhu Mythos entity created by British horror writer Ramsey Campbell, first mentioned in his short story “Cold Print.” Aldo Sax mentions Y’golonac in The Courtyard #2 (P23, panels 1 and 2) and in Neonomicon #1 (P7,p1).
  • “Dho-na” and “Wza-Y’ei” is among the Aklo that Carcosa gives Sax in The Courtyard #2, see pages 13-15.
  • “Rhan Tegoth” is a Cthulhu Mythos entity created by H. P. Lovecraft in his story “The Horror in the Museum.”
  • “Chaugnar Faugn” is a Cthulhu Mythos entity created by Lovecraft’s friend and correspondent Frank Belknap Long; it featured in his story “The Horror in the Hills,” which includes a long dream-excerpt from one of Lovecraft’s letters. Moore probably borrowed the entity from a mention of it in “The Horror in the Museum.”
  • “Tsathogua” is probably supposed to be “Tsathoggua,” a Cthulhu Mythos entity created by Lovecraft’s friend and correspondent Clark Ashton Smith.
  • The chapter title “The Language at the Threshold” recalls August Derleth’s Mythos novel The Lurker at the Threshold (written after Lovecraft’s death, this novel includes two fragments from Lovecraft and was billed as a “posthumous collaboration”) as well as the Aklo language; more symbolically it may hint at the profound use of language in this chapter, and Brears’ transition from one side of the table to the other.
  • Randolph Carter’s face, twisted in shadow, recalls of all things the character of Two-Face from the Batman comics; with the Aklo text of her “confession” this image helps underscore her loss of sanity.
  • The holes for Randolph’s facial piercings can be seen in the shadowed half of her face.

Page 3

panel 1

  • Left to right are: FBI agent (unnamed), Charley, FBI Agent Lopez, Leonard Beeks, and FBI agent (unnamed.)
  • “Glaaki” is a Mythos entity created by Ramsey Campbell.

panels 1-4

  • The captions continue Barstow’s reading of Carter’s Aklo statement.
  • The panels go from the surface, lower and lower, deeper into the earth, following Agents Brears’ and Lamper’s trajectory on P15-18 of issue #2. The descent is reminiscent of the comic adaption of Moore’s “Zaman’s Hill” in Yuggoth Creatures.
  • The transitions from p1 to p2 and from p3 to p4 are zoom sequences, used often by AM including on P1 of Watchmen. In each case, the “camera” moves lower as it zooms.

panel 2

  • “Ia” (more normally spelled “Iä”) is an exclamation used by cultists in several of Lovecraft’s works; “Yog-Sothoth” and “Azathoth” are two of his Cthulhu Mythos entities.
  • For “Lloigor,” see issue 1, P7,p2.

panels 2-3

  • The FBI is unaware of the trap door shown in issue #2 P14-15.
  • The lower panel border is the floor of panel 2 and the roof of panel 3.

panel 3

  • The “Tcho-Tcho” are a fictional race from August Derleth’s story “The Thing That Walked On the Wind,” also mentioned in Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Out of Time.”
  • “Shaggai” refers to a planet in Cthulhu Mythos fiction, first mentioned by Lovecraft in “The Haunter in the Dark” and later used by Ramsey Campbell as the origin of the Insects from Shaggai.

panel 4

  • “Jack Boggs 1781” is hand-carved into the beam of the tunnel.  Lovecraft included several tunnels in his work, most notably those in “Pickman’s Model,” based on the old smuggler’s tunnels of Boston’s north end. “Jack Boggs’ tunnels” were referred to by Leonard Beeks in issue #2, P15.
  • Notable for its absence is any trace of blood from the murder of Agent Lamper. Combined with Perlman’s comment about Brears and Lamper being missing for three days, this suggests that the cultists have cleaned up. The open door suggests that they feel no need to secure Brears by any other means.
  • “Yig” is a Cthulhu Mythos entity created by H. P. Lovecraft, and included in his stories ghostwritten for Zealia Bishop, particularly “The Curse of Yig” and “The Mound.”
  • “Dzan” may be a reference to The Book of Dyzan; reputedly, this is an ancient text which formed the basis of Helena Blatavasky’s The Secret Doctrine, a foundation text of Theosophy. Lovecraft would include the Book of Dyzan among other real and fictional texts in stories like “The Haunter in the Dark.” Dyzan was also the name of an alien race in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, which was a seminal influence on Lovecraft, particularly his novel At the Mountains of Madness.

Page 4

panel 1

  • Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” is the chant of the Cthulhu cultists in Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu,” which was translated as “In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.” The change that Moore makes – substituting rnglw’nafh for mglw’nafh – suggests the change in emphasis that is the culmination of Neonomicon. Perhaps “In his house at R’lyeh, unborn Cthulhu waits dreaming.”
    (Commenter alexxkay points out that difference might not be intentional. In most lower-case fonts, “rn” and “m” look very similar, even more-so in italics, as this phrase usually appears. It is possible that Moore or a collaborator mistranscribed it.)
  • “Hrroungh” is the voice of the Deep One, whose appearance has not been revealed yet.

panel 1-2

  • The object on the ground, in p1-2 (most clear on the left in p2) is the wig that Agent Brears wore as a disguise. She donned it on P7 of issue #2.

panel 1-4

  • Like Page 3 above, the transitions from p1 to p2 and from p3 to p4 are zoom sequences. The transition from P3,p4 to P4,p1 is more-or-less a zoom sequence too.

panel 2

  • The human hand belongs to FBI Agent Merril Brears.
  • The webbed hand belongs to the Deep One. In “The Shadow over Innsmouth” it was noted: “[…] their long paws were webbed.”

panel 3

  • You can just see that Brears’ has been laid on a towel of some kind.

panel 4

  • Brears’ eyes are notably dilated, suggesting she is possibly drugged or in an altered state.

Page 5

panel 1

  • The location (revealed on P7, p4 below) is presumably R’lyeh, the sunken city of monolithic stone blocks where Cthulhu was said to dwell, based in part on the real-world ruins of Nan Matal, which featured in A. Merritt’s novel The Moon-Pool, which Lovecraft read. From “The Call of Cthulhu”: Without knowing what futurism is like, Johansen achieved something very close to it when he spoke of the city; for instead of describing any definite structure or building, he dwells only on broad impressions of vast angles and stone surfaces—surfaces too great to belong to any thing right or proper for this earth, and impious with horrible images and hieroglyphs. The hieroglyphs and carvings depicted tend toward a nautical theme, with images of tentacles and nautiloids dominating; on the left are sun-images over a cone, possibly a reference to the Great Race of Yith.
  • For this more-or-less dream/hallucination sequence (P5-P9) the panel borders, which are elsewhere rough hand-drawn lines, become perfect straight lines. This reflects the Cthulhu existing on a higher, clearer plane of existence. The straight line borders reappear in issue #4, P22-23.

Page 6

neonomiconP6p1
Neonomicon #3, Page 6, panel 1, art by Jacen Burrows – note the straight line panel borders.

 

panel 1

  • The character approaching is Jonny Carcosa, from The Courtyard and issue #1.
  • Carcosa’s walking on water aspect may reference Jesus’ miracle (or similar accounts in other religions or mythologies); or it may emphasize the nature of this as a dream-space where the normal rules don’t apply.

panel 1-4

  • Panels 1-4 are a fixed-camera sequence, though as Carcosa approaches, they feel like a zoom sequence.
  • The winged statue on the pillar on the right may be a representation of Cthulhu.

Page 7

panel 1

  • Mister Sax (in Carcosa’s lisp “Mithter Thax”) is Aldo Sax the protagonist of The Courtyard who appears in issues #1 and #4.

panel 2

  • Sex/Sax Affliction/Addiction – Brears is conflating and mixing words, and appears disoriented; this could be the result of being drugged – or simply a result of the trauma from her rape.
  • “I really am a dirty fucking whore.” recalls Brears’ earlier statement about her sex addiction from issue 2, where “Usually, it was about hating me.” The implication is that at least part of Brears’ psychological issues is registering disgust with herself, or degrading herself, for her compulsive sexual behavior.
  • “[S]omething'[s] [s]crewing you… it'[s] the Deep One.” is the continuing rape, discussed at length on this page.
The Annunciation - painting by Fra Angelico - image via Wikipedia
The Annunciation – painting by Fra Angelico – image via Wikipedia. The angel Gabriel (left) is telling the Virgin Mary (right) that she will become pregnant with the son of god, Jesus Christ.

panel 3

  • “What thith ith, ith you’re a nun, thee, athian Merry?” is Alan Moore cloaking a massive spoiler deeply, by breaking words up, and using Carosa’s lisp. He does go on to repeat it with a hint (“I had to repeat it to myself a few times before I got it”) on the third-to-last page of Neonomicon #4. Without the lisp, this is “What this is is you’re a nun, see, asian Merry” which, if you repeat it a few times, is “What this is is your annunciation, Mary.”
    The Annunciation (or the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary), in Christian tradition, is when the angel Gabriel appears to tell the virgin Mary that she will conceive a child who is the son of God, i.e.: Jesus Christ. In this case, Carcosa, who is the “avatar of Nyarlathotep” (see P8,p3 below), is analogous to the angel Gabriel. Merril is Mary. She will bear the god-like child of the Deep One.
  • Due to Carcosa’s accent, Brears mishears him as “You’re a nun, see, Asian, Merry?” hence her reply about being neither Asian nor having been called “Merry” (short for “Merril”) since school.
  • The reference to Catholic nuns is possibly a deliberate reference to the Virgin Mary (in reference to their vows of chastity), or to the vows which “wedded” nuns to God, paralleling Brears’ own relationship with the Deep One.
  • The idea of cosmic miscegenation crops up a few times in Lovecraft’s work, most notably in “The Dunwich Horror” which almost literally parallels the conception and death of Jesus (with Yog-Sothoth standing in for the Holy Spirit); “The Dunwich Horror” in turn is a pastiche of Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan,” which more directly references the Annunciation.

panel 4

  • “Thi[s] i[s] R’lyeh. R’lyeh i[s] in you” – In HPL’s “The Call of Cthulhu” R’lyeh is a lost city where “dead Cthulhu waits dreaming” – but in the context of the Neonomicon, it is literally Agent Brears’ womb. In a more symbolic sense, and again tying in with issue #4, “R’lyeh” may be as much a state of mind or consciousness as a physical location. That is, Brears is dreaming, and in her dreams she is in R’lyeh.

Page 8

panel 1

  • “He [Lovecraft] made mistake[s], like with the book of dead name[s].” – Lovecraft never actually referred to the Necronomicon as “The Book of Dead Names” in his writing; this is a reference to the Hay Necronomicon, which was subtitled “The Book of Dead Names,” which rather stuck in the popular consciousness, although etymologically speaking Necronomicon does not translate as “The Book of Dead Names.”
  • “Tho[s]e name[s] aren’t dead, that can eternal lie…” recalls the first line of the famous couplet from the Necronomicon That is not dead which can eternal lie,” in “The Call of Cthulhu.”

panel 2

  • Brears’ finishes off Carcosa’s quote with the other half of the couplet “…and in strange aeons, even death may die.
  • “Tho[s]e f[u]cking Dagon culti[s]t[s], man, they ain’t nothing to do with u[s]” – “Dagon” is an entity from Lovecraft’s stories “Dagon” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” in the latter of which he was served by a cult, the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Carcosa’s statement suggests different, possibly opposing or unassociated cults. Although given that Carcosa used to sell “cock rings from Innsmouth,” and was known at the Whispers in Darkness store, he at least had some association with them.

panel 3

  • “Sister” is a common title for women in initiatory groups, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and co-ed Masonic orders.
  • “Your nakedne[ss] i[s] the glory of the [s]ecret [s]tar[s]” – Possibly an occult reference; Aleister Crowley’s sex magick was known to exalt a female participant as his “Scarlet Woman,” but the “glory of the stars” recalls 1 Corinthians 15:41:There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
  • Carcosa’s claim to be “an avatar of Nyarlathotep” recalls Lovecraft’s “The Haunter in the Dark,” where he wrote:Is it not an avatar of Nyarlathotep, who in antique and shadowy Khem even took the form of man?”Avatar” is a concept from Hindu religion, an incarnation of a deity in earthly form. Nyarlathotep is the “Messenger of the Outer Gods” in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.

panel 4

  • Possibly a reference to the “holy kiss” in the New Testament of the Bible (as opposed to the “osculum infame” of witches and Satanists); it makes a part of the transition to page 9.

Page 9

Continuing from page 8, panel 4, the same image is rotated to form panel 1 on page 9, which then transitions to panel 2 where Brears is “kissing the ground.”

panel 1

  • “Awl hook, she scum in ground” is “Aw, look, she’s coming around.” Brears beginning to become conscious of what Joanie Beeks is saying. As commenter alexxkay points out, Brears hearing “she scum” reinforces her self-deprecation.

panel 2

  • Same position as page 4, panel 3, sans Deep One.
  • The “blushing bride” comment reinforces the “nun” (mis)interpretation from page 7, panel 3, emphasizing Brears has been “wedded” to the Deep One.

panel 3

  • Confirmation that Brears’ was drugged, which helps to explain both the dilated eyes and dream-state.
  • Brears’ wig has been removed.

panel 4

  • Beeks’ looking off-panel and Brears donning her contact lenses prepares us for the reveal on the next page.

Page 10

panel 1

  • Brears gets her first good look at the Deep One. The reader still hasn’t had a good full look yet.
  • The scars on the Deep One are suggestive of a violent life; perhaps similar to whales that emerge from deep dives bearing the scars from conflicts with large squids. There are also suggestions of what might be barnacles around the elbow and dorsal fin.

panel 2

  • Now that Brears is apparently no longer drugged, Beeks is being careful to keep facing her at all times, with the revolver pointed at her, and closes the door so that Brears doesn’t escape.

Page 11

panel 1

  • Similar to Pages 3 and 4 above, panel 1-2 and panel 2-3 show similar settings with the “camera” lowered.

Page 12

panel 2

  • Our first good look at the Deep One’s face.

panel 3

  • Our first look at the layout of the pool underwater; notably there is a platform for bathers to stand on, and then a ramp or dip into the deep end.  This forms an effective, if terrible, visual symbol: Brears is being dragged into the deep end.

Page 13

panel 1

  • The head recalls the description of Deep Ones from “The Shadow over Innsmouth”: I think their predominant colour was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed.

panel 2

  • The caption “When he was a child…” and continuing through panel 4 is, on P14, revealed to be FBI agents recounting the life of H.P. Lovecraft. The account of Lovecraft being dressed as a girl by his mother was true; like many children he went unbreeched (i.e. did not wear pants) the first few years of his life. His mother, Susan Phillips Lovecraft, is generally agreed to have been neurotic and preoccupied with her son, especially after her husband’s death.

panel 3

  • “Raised by two prudish aunts” – After his mother’s death in 1921, Lovecraft lived with his aunts Annie Phillips Gamwell and Lillian Clark, when he was not living on his own.
  • “Sonia” is Sonia Haft Greene, later Sonia Lovecraft, wife of Lovecraft. They were married from 1924-1926, although they cohabitated for only a relatively brief period of time, as Sonia was incapacitated in a hospital for a period and then forced to travel for work. The couple did not actually live on Clinton Street, but moved to Sonia’s apartment in Flatbush.
  • The rumor about Lovecraft insisting on having sex while clothed is unsubstantiated – and like all rumors, difficult to trace. Certainly it has its origins in similar legends attributed to Hasidic Jews and others considered “prudish.” While Lovecraft was probably asexual, there is no indication from any of his wife’s surviving writings that he insisted on sex fully clothed.

panel 4

  • “Strongest gesture of affection he could manage was in touching his own fingtertip to hers and grunting softly, once.” – This is a slightly exaggerated version of an anecdote in Sonia’s memoir “Memories of Lovecraft: I.”“One way of expressions of H. P.’s was to wrap his ‘pinkey’ finger around mine and say, ‘Umph!’”

Page 14

panel 1

  • The Chinese (?) storefront lettering and “[Pachin]KO” arcade repeat the details of the Red Hook neighborhood from The Courtyard.
  • The speech balloons are coming from the FBI’s temporary basement headquarters, featured on P10-13 of issue #1.
  • Many critics have argued for sexual elements in Lovecraft’s fiction, as examined in depth in Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • The black cat may possibly recall Lovecraft’s black cat from “The Rats in the Walls,” based on an actual black cat he used to have as a pet as a child. Pointed out by commenter Carson, a black cat appears in issues #1 (P17,p4), #3 (P14,p1), and #4 (P14,p2).

panel 2

  • On the right is Carl Perlman, in the middle is Agent Barstow the other two FBI agents are unnamed.
  • The book cover belongs to the Lovecraft collection At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror.
Cover to At the Mounts of Madness and Other Tales of Terror, cover art by Michael Whelan.
Cover to At the Mounts of Madness and Other Tales of Terror, cover art by Michael Whelan.

panel 3

  • “Sax” is Aldo Sax, protagonist of The Courtyard, who appears in Neonomicon #1 and #4.
  • “[D]yke singer” is Randolph Carter, who appeared in The Courtyard, and issues #1 and #2. Using “dyke” emphasizes Perlman’s homophobia.
  • “Dunwich Horror where Lovecraft mentions ‘Aklo letters'” – This, of course, refers to Lovecraft’s story “The Dunwich Horror”; Aklo itself was first mentioned by Arthur Machen in “The White People.”
  • The book cover belongs to the Lovecraft collection Bloodcurling Tales of Horror and the Macabre. Coincidentally.
Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, cover art by Michael Whelan
Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, cover art by Michael Whelan

panel 4

  • Kenneth Grant, as mentioned in issue 2, was a British occultist who believed that Lovecraft’s fictional entities were real – or corresponded to actual extradimensional entities within his magickal system.

Page 15

panel 1

  • “Wasn’t he a kind of rationalist?” Accurate; Lovecraft was a staunch materialist, and never believed in his own artificial mythology. As he wrote to Robert E. Howard in 1930:Regarding the solemnly cited myth-cycle of Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, R’lyeh, Nyarlathotep, Nug, Yeb, Shub-Nigguroth, etc., etc.–let me confess that this is all a synthetic concoction of my own, like the populous and varied pantheon of Lord Dunsany’s Pegāna. (Selected Letters of H. P. Lovecraft 3.166)
  • “They say he didn’t know he was intuiting the truth.” Also accurate. In Kenneth Grant’s article “Dreaming Out of Space” in Man, Myth, & Magic vol. 23:Lovecraft approached the very core of the matter in a way only possible to an artist of extreme sensitivity to occult forces, though the conscious part of him protested strongly against the belief in their validity. He protested in vain, for his work reveals in every line the fear-imbued phantom of the vast and ancient memories that haunted him. (3215)

panel 2

  • They do indeed have Cthulhu beanie hats, although Moore was probably referring to Cthulhu plush dolls and getting them confused with Beanie Babies.
  • There are several Cthulhu-based roleplaying games, including The Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game, Delta Green, The Laundry Roleplaying Game, Yellow Dawn, Call of Cathulhu, Cthulhu Dark, etc.

panel 3

  • The “shitty vampire novels” probably refer to the Twilight series; some Twilight fans apparently have engaged in blood drinking. Although this could arguably be a call back to the Vampire Chronicles of Anne Rice. Interestingly, in The Necronomicon Files by Harms and Gonce, the one known case of a murder associated with a copy of the Necronomicon was affiliated with the “Vampire Clan.”
  • Book covers visible on the table appear to include At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror (in the unnamed agent’s hand), a copy of the Simon Necronomicon (in Barstow’s hand), Dreams of Terror and Death (a collection of Lovecraft’s dream cycle stories), and The Watchers Out of Time (a collection of August Derleth’s “posthumous collaborations” with Lovecraft). The other book is too obscured to tell, but it could be The Dunwich Horror and Others with a cover by Santiago Caruso.

panel 4

  • At the center of their “web” is Johnny Carcosa. Lines leading away from him include his dealings with the drug DMT (detailed in The Courtyard), Aldo Sax, the confidential informant (CI) Face, Carcosa’s mother (ruled a suicide), and from her to the Whispers in Darkness shop and its employees (Charley).

Page 16

panel 1

  • The Deep One is shown seated on the edge, its (unengorged) penis visible – another benefit of writing for Avatar Press, is that Moore can get away with this kind of shot. Beyond that, however, it emphasizes that despite superficial similarities to a fish, the Deep One is definitely much more closely related to homo sapiens.
  • Brears is situated in the corner, back to the wall, as far from the Deep One as possible. Due to the perspective lines of the pool, the wall, and the floor, this drags the reader’s attention toward her, even though she is far from the center of the composition, while also exacerbating the sense of distance between Brears and the Deep One.

Page 17

panel 1

  • This is the first nearly full-body depiction of the Deep One. The figure is incredibly lean – no noticeable body fat – dispaying his scaly skin, musculature, and almost flat, skull-like face and lamprey-esque jaw.

panel 2-4

  • Panels 2-4 comprise a fixed-camera sequence. This conveys Brear’s posture becoming dejected. The back-spines of the Deep One, also become slightly more erect from panel to panel, perhaps conveying that he is becoming sexually aroused.
  • Again, there is a dividing line between Brears and the Deep One – this time, the edge line (corner) where the walls meet completely bisects the panels, with neither character crossing the line.

Page 18

panel 1-2

  • Another fixed-camera sequence, showing the Deep One approaching, and Brears backing away. Its penis in panel 2 appears to be erect.

panel 2

  • The stooped, top-heavy stance of the Deep One recalls Zallinger’s “The Ascent of Man,” perhaps accentuating the “primitiveness” of the Deep One, or how divergent it is from humanity.
Zallinger's "The Ascent of Man"
Zallinger’s “The Ascent of Man”

panel 3

  • Possible causes of pain include intertrigo and dyspareunia; Brears might have been somewhat desensitized while drugged, but now that she is awake and clear-headed, the physical and mental pain are probably much more keenly apparent.

Page 19

panel 1-4

  • Another fixed-camera sequence, probably to illustrate the male and female postures in the course of an uneasy hand-job. Symbolicly, it’s interesting to see that Brears has “crossed the line” both in an artistic sense (e.g., she and the Deep One are no longer separated by the line created by the bricks denoting the corner) and in an action sense, since she is now actively engaging the Deep One on her own terms rather than being the screaming or unconscious victim.

panel 1

  • Again, emphasizing the similarities between humans and Deep Ones – although for the record, fish do not have menstrual periods, only mammals.
  • Cetaceans are marine mammals like dolphins and whales.

panel 3

  • Brears is engaging in speculation. In Lovecraft’s works, the Deep Ones are functionally biologically immortal. Their rarity is a supposition on Brears’ part, possibly Moore’s effort to help explain why Deep Ones are not common knowledge, due to rarity.

panel 4

  • The amount, frequency, and force of the ejaculation all emphasize the virility of the Deep One; the exaggeration of sexual characteristics is typical of escapist erotic literature.

Page 20

Again, there is the exacerbation of distance, as Brears sets herself apart – in a vulnerable position. However, this time when the Deep One closes, his pose is much less threatening.

panel 1

  • Brears’ statement “I can’t complain. I’ve had worse” emphasizes the lack of satisfaction and negative emotional consequences of her past sexual encounters, probably associated with or exacerbated by her sex addiction. Although it’s unclear what could be worse in this context.
  • “Was it good for you too?” refers to a cliché of male/female sexual satisfaction, where the male is satisfied with their orgasm (which is often accomplished more quickly) without regard for the orgasm of their female partner (which often requires more work), particularly the male’s lack of interest in continuing after achieving their own orgasm.

panel 4

  • The four-limbed crouching gait recalls “The Shadow over Innsmouth”: They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four.

Page 21

panel 1-4

  • The Deep One is tasting Brears’ urine, from which he can discern that she is already pregnant by him. In reality, pregnancy is neither automatic nor immediate after sex, and can take up to a week for the egg to be fertilized, and pregnancy tests are usually only accurate after implantation (8-10 days after ovulation). Chalk this up to narrative impetus over science.

panel 4

  • The Deep One says “rryrrl-yurr” which, revealed next page, is “R’leyh,” where Cthulhu lies dreaming. In Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” R’lyeh is a lost city – but in the context of the Neonomicon, it’s Agent Brear’s womb. Compare also the Deep One’s rather inexpressive face with its speech, as in “The Shadow over Innsmouth”: Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked.

Page 22

panel 1-2

  • The Deep One repeats Brears’ “Cthulu fhtagn R’leyh” as “Kuh’lurr’lurr fuh-taah rrurrl-yurr” and pronounces “Ia!” as “Iuh!”

panel 2

  • The distance between Brears and the Deep One is bridged, by the simple act of holding hands, nicely framed by the doorway. This leads into panel 3, where the central focus is still on them holding hands, only the perspective is changed so that Brears is being led.

panel 3

  • The Deep One repeats “dhurr-nurrh” which is “dho-hna.” In The Courtyard (#2, P13-15), “dho-hna” is one of the initial Aklo words that Carcosa tells Sax. There (P14) it’s described as “a force which defines; lends significance to its receptacle as with the hand in the glove; wind in mill-vanes, the guest or the trespasser crossing a threshold and giving it meaning.” The Deep One is using the Aklo term “dho-hna” to tell Brears that she’s pregnant; that his seed lent significance to her receptacle.
  • Brears is on to something stating “unless Lovecraft had heard of you, then…” This is similar to issue 2, P6,p4 (“… maybe he [Lovecraft] based his… [stories on their/cultists rackets.]) The thread is stated fairly conclusively by Brears in issue #4, P7,p1 (“it was the other way around [H.P. Lovecraft was mimicking these guys/cultists stuff.])

panel 4

  • “Geeghs kurrlh yurh” is “Beeks kill you” made clear on the next page.

Page 23

panel 1

  • “Geeghs” equals “Beeks” – Deep Ones must have a hard time pronouncing English without lips.

panel 3

  • “Aagluh luhng-wujj” is “Aklo language.”

panel 3-4

  • The grid formed by the bars echoes that of the panels on the comics page.

Page 24

panel 1

  • In some sense, the Deep One has “broken the fourth wall” here. Somewhat analogous to Carcosa’s escape through the gutters in issue #1 (see P17,p4) the black area outside the pool room (“festival hall”) is the black area of the comics gutters. The characters that are Cthulu-based (Carcosa and the Deep One) can break out of panels, because they are aware of and operate in a higher realm of existence, than mere humans.

panel 2

  • For translation of what the Deep One is saying, see above, beginning on P21,p4.

panel 3

  • Brears perceives herself in the limited human realm “I can’t do this. I can’t go under there.” She doesn’t (yet) operate in the higher barrier-breaking realm of the Deep One.
  • The black walls blend into the black comics gutters, in some sense making the blackness infinite, like a comics bleed. The missing chunk of wall in the center resembles the broken courtyard wall in issue #1, P25,p2

Page 25

panel 1

  • The underwater portion of the panel is solid black, extending the black comics gutter, creating a claustrophobic setting.

THE END

>Go to Neonomicon #4 annotations
>Go to Moore Lovecraft Annotations Index

9 thoughts on “Neonomicon 3

  1. I noticed the Black Cat from page 14 seems to show up in other issues as well. In the first issue there is a cat on the wall on page 17, panel 4 and in issue 4 on page 14, panel 2 it is sitting on a trash can in the background. Maybe there is one in issue 2 that I missed?

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  2. P4.p1
    The change in the chant *might* be intentional, but it also might not. In most lower-case fonts, “rn” and “m” look very similar, even more-so in italics, as this phrase usually appears. (OCR programs make this mistake very frequently, so it leaped out at me.) It’s possible that Moore, when refreshing his memory on the phrase, misread it. That said, I much prefer your Watsonian explanation to my Doylist one 🙂

    P7.p3
    “in what is almost literally parallels” This seems stuck between two separate phrasings, and a bit incoherent.

    P9.p1
    It may be worth pointing out how “she scum” reinforces the theme of Brears’ self-hatred.

    P18.p3
    Typo: “not” should be “now”

    P21
    While it is true that pregnancy can, at times, happen considerably after the sex, it can also happen quickly. And the Deep One’s first intercourse with Brears was apparently 3 days earlier. And while modern scientific tests only react after implantation, there is enough folklore of women “knowing immediately” that they conceived, that I’m quite willing to concede a Deep One’s senses picking up on it after three days.

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      • This may be a joke on the Northeastern fisherman accent, which famously turns “Yeah” into “Yuh” or, as constantly used in Stephen King’s stories, “Ayuh.” Given that the Deep One is probably either an Innsmouthian who returned to the sea in old age, or just a creature that spent a lot of time in Innsmouth, it could have picked up a bit of a New England accent.

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  3. Page 8, panel 2: It makes sense that an avatar of Nyarlathotep, who in turn is affiliated with Cthulhu, wouldn’t think much of the Dagon cultists. After all, in Lovecraft’s mythos, Dagon is sort of a dimestore version of Cthulhu. He’s like the embarrassing cousin you pretend isn’t related to you.

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  4. Page 17, panels 1-4: I don’t see this sequence as being so much about Brears’ dejection as about her beginning to take control again. She has her real hair, her contact lenses, and something to cover her body – and this gives her the strength to try talking to the Deep One instead of just screaming helplessly. From this point onward, she begins to assert herself, and the the Deep One responds by treating her with deference. He does this even before he realizes she’s pregnant. She has defined herself to him as being more than just prey.

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