Providence 10

Providence10-reg
Providence #9 regular cover, art by Jacen Burrows

Below are annotations for Providence, No. 10 “The Haunted Palace” (40 pages, cover date July 2016, released 10 August 2016)
Writer: Alan Moore, Artist: Jacen Burrows, based on works of H.P. Lovecraft

>Go to Moore Lovecraft annotations index

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

General: Basic annotations are up – still being refined.

Cover

  • The church depicted on the cover is Saint John’s Roman Catholic Church, on Atwells Avenue in Federal Hill in Providence, RI. The church building is now demolished; the site is today Saint John’s Park. The church was Lovecraft’s inspiration for the Starry Wisdom church in “The Haunter of the Dark
    St. John's Church. Image via Flickr user Will Hart
    St. John’s Church. Image via Flickr user Will Hart

    Of all the distant objects on Federal Hill, a certain huge, dark church most fascinated Blake. It stood out with especial distinctness at certain hours of the day, and at sunset the great tower and tapering steeple loomed blackly against the flaming sky. It seemed to rest on especially high ground; for the grimy façade, and the obliquely seen north side with sloping roof and the tops of great pointed windows, rose boldly above the tangle of surrounding ridgepoles and chimney-pots. Peculiarly grim and austere, it appeared to be built of stone, stained and weathered with the smoke and storms of a century and more.

  • The church appears a few times in Providence #9. With Howard Charles, Black visited the church on P10-13. It also appears in the view from his room on P20.

Page 1

panels 1-4

  • The date is December 27, 1919. Given the darkness, this page takes place later in the day than the following narrative on P2-13.
  • The setting is the front steps of St. John’s Church – see cover above and P10-13 below.
  • The central woman coming forward is Johnny Carcosa’s mother, last seen in Providence #9, P20,p4.
  • The women to either side of the steps are praying before votive candles, and the flowers appear to be lilies.
  • While what we have seen so far of the Stella Sapiente has been largely male-dominated, here are a large group of women that seem somehow connected with them.
  • The voice in the text boxes belongs to H. P. Lovecraft, as revealed on P2. Most of Moore’s text for Lovecraft is not drawn directly from his letters, but is original, though phrased in Lovecraft’s voice and expressing typical sentiments. The text, in Alan Moore fashion, has elaborate double meanings, referring to the Carcosa’s mother scene depicted.
  • These form a zoom sequence. The “camera” appears to be moving down the steps, and (see P1,p2 below) perhaps represents someone or something’s point of view.
  • Panelwise, the borders are ruler-straight. From Neonomicon (beginning #3 P5,p1) and various instances throughout Providence (beginning #2 P15,p3) the straight panel borders indicate a heightened perception of paranormal activity.

panel 1

  • “Those feet…” is Lovecraft speaking of Edgar Allen Poe, the great American writer of horror and detective fiction, who was a tremendous influence on Lovecraft. This section is not taken from any specific letter by Lovecraft, but follows some of his sentiments. Poe visited to Providence in 1845 and 1848.
  • “Those feet…” and “the epitome of horror and the weird” also refer to Carcosa’s mother. In Providence #9 it is implied (see P11,p4 and P20,p4) that Carcosa’s mother is the “inner head” or “secret chief” of the Stella Sapiente.
  • Commenter Kelly Sheehan points out that this may also be alluding to William Blake’s “Jerusalem”:
    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England's mountains green:
    And was the holy Lamb of God,
    On England's pleasant pastures seen

    This would be one of many pieces of imagery linking Lovecraft, the Stella Sapiente’s “Redeemer” with Jesus Christ.

panel 2

  • “That ballooning brow” is Poe’s large forehead, though perhaps also Carcosa’s mother’s forehead.
  • “Brow, behind which teemed torture and plague and suffocation…” refers to some of Poe’s greatest works of horror, notably “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” and “The Cask of Amontillado.” Again, this could refer to Carcosa’s mother’s leadership of the Stella Sapiente.
  • From the gaze of the woman on the lower right (as well as the gaze of Carcosa’s mother in the next two panels) it appears that something or someone is emerging from the church.

panel 3

  • “Morbid stones” refer to the graves shown on P2. They also perhaps refer to the St. John’s Church and the Shining Trapezohedron (called “the stone from Manchester” – Providence #9 P11,p2) within.
  • “A compulsion for the conversation of but one specific woman” refers to the reason behind Poe’s stay in Providence in 1848. That visit was due to his (ultimately unsuccessful) courtship of Sarah Helen Whitman. Lovecraft made a point on some of his tours of Providence to point out Poe’s signature in a book in the Atheneum, the same building where Whitman broke off her relationship with Poe on 23 December 1848.
    In the first paragraph of “The Shunned House” Lovecraft recounts “Providence, where in the late forties Edgar Allan Poe used to sojourn often during his unsuccessful wooing of the gifted poetess, Mrs. Whitman.”
    For a second meaning, this “conversation” would be the encounter between Robert Black and the Carcosa’s mother, possibly in the form of Black’s encounter with Johnny Carcosa later this issue.
  • “More than most, I am not competent to speculate upon those yearnings, nor those expectations” refers to Lovecraft being a virgin, and never having had never a romantic relationship up to that point. This also means that Lovecraft has not yet knowingly encountered any of the Stella Sapiente.

panel 4

  • “A monumental being” refers to Poe, and his great influence on Lovecraft. On the other hand, perhaps Carcosa’s mother is a monumental being, or there is perhaps a monumental being not yet shown that Carcosa’s mother is facing? It might be one of the monsters of the Lovecraft mythos.
  • “Ylyl yr nhhngr” is Aklo. See basic Aklo notes in Neonomicon #1 annotations for P6,p3.
  • “Yr nhhngr” was the third Aklo word given to Aldo Sax in The Courtyard, originally drawn from Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror.” In Providence #5 P3,p3 Father Race describes “yr nhhngr” as “apparently a tense denoting nested time.”
  • “Now is before” could be a literal translation, indicating a meeting of past and presence, the closing of a temporal loop, or perhaps the replacement of Charles Howard with Japheth Colwen. With reference to Providence in particular, this issue brings together elements and characters from the first issues of Providence.
The Cathedral of St. John - photo from thephora.net
The Cathedral of St. John – photo from thephora.net

Page 2

  • The setting is the old cemetery of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Providence. Both Poe and Lovecraft visited this place.
  • The date is December 27, 1919 – made clear on P16,p1 below.
  • Seated are Robert Black and H.P. Lovecraft.
  • In the lower right corner can be seen a “memento mori,” a skull and crossbones, an old grave motif.
  • In the distance the dome of the Rhode Island State House.
  • “The Haunted Palace” refers to Poe’s poem “The Haunted Palace,” and which later was incorporated into the story “The Fall of the House of Usher,” which was very influential on Lovecraft. It may also refer to director Roger Corman’s 1963 film of the same name, which despite the title was actually an adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

Page 3

panel 1

  • “Mrs. Whitman” is Sarah Helen Whitman – see P1,p3 above.
  • “Almost dreamlike, though entirely unlike Dunsany” refers to how several of Dunsany’s stories (first discussed in Providence #8 where Black and Lovecraft attended a reading by Lord Dunsany) take place in a “dream world” which presaged Lovecraft’s own Dreamlands tales, notably Dundany’s “Idle Days on the Yann” from A Dreamer’s Tales (1910).

panel 2

  • His world is more an invented mythology” conveys that Dunsany’s artificial mythos presaged, and partially inspired, Lovecraft’s own.
  • “The White Ship” is a story by Lovecraft, it was published in the November 1919 issue of The United Amateur.
  • “This December chill enervates me considerably” refers to how, throughout his life, Lovecraft experienced an acute physical reaction to cold.

panel 3

  • In the background, some youths are having a snowball fight.
  • “…noble Plunkett…” is Lord Dunsany (his correct address.) His full name is Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett.
  • “…is exactly my own self, in all particulars.” refers to a not-uncommon sentiment for Lovecraft, who often identified closely with those he greatly admired.
  • …realism in fantasy…” refers to the way that Lovecraft’s more mature fiction would be marked by his great attention to realism, crafting every detail of the story as carefully as a well-done hoax would be. A parallel can be drawn to the efforts by Moore and Burrows in Providence to provide as much realism as possible.
  • The location is the church’s gate on Church Street – compare to contemporary street view.

panel 4

  • “There are those tales which Poe fashioned after life, like his Marie Roget story” refers to Poe’s “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” which was initially marketed as Poe having solved the murder of Mary Rogers. Poe and Rogers were mentioned earlier – see Providence #2 P4,p4.
  • “…his hoaxes, like ‘The Gold Bug’…” – “The Gold Bug” was a famous cryptographic hoax involving a supposed pirate treasure; in having Lovecraft walk through this material with Black, Moore is effectively walking it through with the readers as well, suggesting Poe’s influence on Lovecraft’s fiction.
  • “Young Robertus” – Lovecraft is only 29 in 1919, while Black is approximately the same age; but Lovecraft had the affection of styling himself an old man even as a young man. “Robertus” is of course an affection for Robert Black, similar to the Latinate nicknames he would give to friends like Frank Belknap Long (“Belknapius”) and James F. Morton (“Mortonius”).
  • Black and Lovecraft are on Benefit Street at Church Street – see contemporary street view.

Page 4

panel 1

  • First appearance of Japheth Colwen, who is smoking an old-fashioned clay pipe, and bears stubble on his chin – to contrast with the beardless youth Charles Howard seen in Providence #9. Colwen and Howard are Providence‘s analogues for Joseph Curwen and Charles Dexter Ward from Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. In Ward, the contemporary Charles Dexter Ward revives his evil ancestor Curwen who then takes Ward’s place.
  • “Commonplace book” is the diary and story ideas which formed the back-matter of Providence, chronicling Black’s journey so far. Lovecraft himself maintained a commonplace book of weird plots from 1920 on.
  • “I’d not considered my native soil a suitable backdrop for the fantastical.” – Compare with Lovecraft’s “The Picture in the House,” written in 1920, which opens with:But the true epicure in the terrible, to whom a new thrill of unutterable ghastliness is the chief end and justification of existence, esteems most of all the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements of strength, solitude, grotesqueness, and ignorance combine to form the perfection of the hideous.
  • The location is Benefit Street looking north toward Cady Street – see contemporary street view. It is not overtly shown, but from the street view, it is clear that Colwen is standing in front of “The Shunned House” at 135 Benefit Street. That house appeared in Providence #9 on the cover and on P8,p4. In Providence, this house is where Stella Sapiente founder Jacques Roulet settled.
  • Panels 1-4 form a fixed-camera sequence.

panel 2

  • “Is that a joke?” “Emphatically not. No one appreciates it when I do that.” refers to Lovecraft’s quite dry sense of humor, sometimes making it hard to tell when he is being serious or pulling someone’s leg.
  • “Already misappropriate the anecdotes about meeting Mr. Annesley on your arrival last month.” states that since Providence #9; Lovecraft apparently took inspiration to write “From Beyond.”

panel 3

  • “It’s all splendid fun” is Lovecraft slyly pointing out the kind of in-jokes he liked to put in his fiction, underscoring how he was pulling Black’s leg earlier about not joking.

panel 4

  • “…really peps me up” is slightly archaic for contemporary readers, “pep” means “high energy, high spirits,” etc., derived from the word “pepper.” It is mostly familiar today as the basis for Pepsi. It also came to refer to stimulants in the 1920s and 30s, particularly “pep pill” for amphetamines.

Page 5

panel 1

  • “Howard Charles” is the descendant of Japheth Colwen that Black met and had sex with in Providence #9. Howard Charles is the Providence analogue for Lovecraft’s Charles Dexter Ward. Colwen has replaced Charles.
  • “You just look different to when I last saw you” implies that Charles has been replaced by his ancestor Colwen, following the basic events of “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.” Emphasizing this, Charles/Colwen is wearing an old-fashioned tall hat (compare to the fedoras worn by Lovecraft and Black) in addition to his old-fashioned pipe.
  • Panels 1-4 form a zoom sequence. The “camera” pulls away from the street and into the upper window of the Shunned House.

panel 2

  • “More a grown man” is quite literally, or perhaps punningly, if Colwen was raised (grown) from his essential salts.
  • “Akin to my illustrious forebear.” shows how Charles/Colwen’s diction has become more formal and archaic (somewhat like Lovecraft’s, ironically), further emphasizing he is a man out of time.

panel 3

  • “His essential nature” is a sidelong reference to the essential salts used in the resurrection process in “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.”
  • “Our sanctuary here” is apparently the Shunned House Colwen is standing in front of.
  • “The Festival just passed” is a reference to Lovecraft’s “The Festival,” which Black mistakes for Christmas.

panel 4

  • Someone is observing this conversation from the upper window of the Shunned House. It is not clear who is in the window, but the house is owned by the Stella Sapiente.

Page 6

panel 1

  • “It’s something boys do to assert their manhood.” is perhaps a reflection on Lovecraft’s own predilection for acting older than his own age. Also a reference to Charles/Colwen analogues from Charles Dexter Ward.
  • The 135 Benefit Street house is visible on the right, behind Lovecraft’s head – see contemporary street view.

panel 2

  • “I’ve resolved to secure such a tome myself” foreshadows how Lovecraft began his own Commonplace Book in 1920.
  • “The name Hali, for example, is referred to by my recent discovery Mr. Bierce.” references that Ambrose Bierce included references to Hali in “An Inhabitant of Carcosa,” which Robert W. Chambers borrowed from in creating the stories in The King in Yellow. See notes for Providence #1.
  • The steps to the Shunned House are visible on the left – see contemporary street view.

panel 3

  • “Chambers the romance writer? I wouldn’t have thought so” refers to how, after his turn at weird fiction, Robert W. Chambers became a very successful romance novelist, rarely returning to weird fiction. Lovecraft would not read The King in Yellow until 1926.
  • “Mad Arab, Khalid ibn Yazid” is Providence‘s analogue for Lovecraft’s “Mad Arab,” Abdul Alhazred, and author of Hali’s Booke.
  • The location is the corner of Benefit and Meeting Streets – see contemporary street view.

panel 4

  • “Grandfather Theobald” is one of Lovecraft’s nicknames for himself; he also wrote under the pseudonym “Lewis Theobald, Jun.”
  • “…some of my other sons and correspondents.” – “Sons” was an honorific Lovecraft extended to certain close friends, notably Albert Galpin and Frank Belknap Long; women in this category (notably Lovecraft’s aunts) were addressed as his “daughters.” Lovecraft was a frequent and voluminous correspondent, and recorded many of the events of his life in his letters – unfortunately, many of his letters from 1919 were not preserved.
  • The location is Benefit Street looking south toward Angell Street – see contemporary street view.

Page 7

panel 1

  • “…Loveman, dear Samuelus.” – Samuel Loveman, a poet and bookman who was one of Lovecraft’s closest acquaintances for many years.
  • “…his ‘Hermaphrodite’ poem…” – “The Hermaphrodite,” a neo-Classical poem by Samuel Loveman – while some sources (like Wikipedia) say that Loveman did not begin this poem until 1921, Moore here is following Joshi who infers it was begun in the late 1910s.
  • “There is a quality in Loveman’s bearing which recalls your own.” – Loveman was also of Jewish descent and homosexual. It is not apparent that Lovecraft was aware of his friend’s sexuality.
  • “Each an Adonis…” – Greek deity. Known for his beauty; Lovecraft’s comparison here could be taken as a flirtation, which may be why Black stammers.
  • The location is the corner of Benefit Street and Angell Street – see contemporary street view.

panel 2

  • “Epicene” is having characteristics of both sexes or no characteristics of either sex. “Epicene company” is Lovecraft conflating homosexuality with lack of masculinity in men. This subject is discussed in some detail in Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos. Loveman was friends with, among others, the homosexual poet Hart Crane, whom Lovecraft met socially but did not particularly care for.
  • “…cleaves to a Platonic ideal…” – “Platonic” in the sense of the Greek philosopher Plato, who proposed that pure ideas exist. This echoes Lovecraft’s written comments on The Hermaphrodite in his letters:No—the main poem has nothing to do with human abnormality, & will doubtless disappoint many smut-hounds who buy the book. It deals with a mythological being typifying pure beauty—the beauty that is beyond sex. It re-creates the atmosphere & colour of the Hellenistic world. (Letters to Richard F. Searight 75-76)
  • “…rather than debase himself with loathsome actuality.” – Lovecraft professed a disgust with homosexual relations, though this was mostly intellectual, as he asserted “I never heard of homosexuality as an actual instinct till I was over thirty…” (Selected Letters of H. P. Lovecraft 4.234-235)
  • “Horticultural specimens” – Delicate flowers, indicating Lovecraft’s belief that homosexuals were sensitive and feminine.

panel 3

  • A return to 598 Angell St., where Lovecraft lives – see contemporary street view.
  • “All the more remarkable when one acknowledges that Loveman, though exceptional to that unlikeable tribe, is a Jew.” displays Lovecraft’s common prejudice against Jews. He made exceptions for his friends such as Loveman or his future wife Sonia Haft Greene, which caused him to modify his views somewhat later in life, and he took pains to avoid voicing such statements in any correspondence with Jewish friends.

panel 4

  • “…infernal Christmas cheer.” reference’s Lovecraft’s atheism, and while not a foe of Christianity became apostate at an early age.
  • “…somewhere warmer…” again shows Lovecraft’s affliction to cold.

Page 8

panel 1

  • Lovecraft is literally casting a large shadow obscuring Black. This may foreshadow future developments; Black will die and his Providence adventures will live on only through Lovecraft.

panel 2

  • Note the careful insertion of the wallpaper pattern in the background; this was the subject of a question in an interview with artist Jacen Burrows.

panel 3

  • “…the Arab book alone is priceless…” suggests that Black’s exploration of the Kitab has inspired Lovecraft to create his Necronomicon, fictionalizing the reality of Black’s experiences. This echoes or enforces what Brears noted in Neonomicon #2, about how Lovecraft and his Mythos both exist in this narrative universe.
  • “…as for an author, as a boy I devised an Arabesque play-name that might suffice…” refers to how Lovecraft, as a child who adored the Arabian Nights, used to run around as “Abdul Alhazred” long before he wrote any of his Mythos fiction.
  • “It’s made you what you are, I guess.” is essentially just a prompt so Moore can have Lovecraft expound, but perhaps also a question for the reader – especially given the prejudices that Lovecraft has just shown (and perhaps implicitly the criticism Lovecraft has received for those views) – about how much Lovecraft’s environment and seminal influences are responsible for who he was and what he wrote. Of course, this might be reading too much into a simple statement.

Page 9

panel 1

  • “…one’s background and lineage impart a form of destiny.” – This was expressed in Lovecraft’s fiction in what’s been called biological determinism – as expressed in “Arthur Jermyn” or “The Shadow over Innsmouth” where one’s biological heritage irreparably informs their life, but is also an expression of his essential classism; it does not imply any sort of belief in supernatural fate, as Lovecraft was a materialist. In the context of Providence, of course, this ties in with the Stella Sapiente’s view of time, where things could be said to be either preordained or to have already happened, since all events actually happen simultaneously, and only our experience of the universe gives them a linear narrative. Compare with a comic book: all the panels exist, but only the reader’s imposition of a reading from the first panel of the first issue to the last panel of the last gives the narrative a form we can understand.

panel 2

panel 3

 

  • Susan Lovecraft (left), Winfield Scott Lovecraft (right), H. P. Lovecraft (center); 1892
    Sarah Susan Lovecraft (left), Winfield Scott Lovecraft (right), H. P. Lovecraft (center); 1892

    The picture of Lovecraft and his parents is based on a real photograph of Lovecraft at age 2.

  • “Fauntelroy” – From the novel Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), a children’s novel whose illustrations inspired fashion trends.
  • “…the habit of trousers.” – As a child, following the desires of Lovecraft’s mother, he went unbreeched until the age of six.

panel 4

  • “Winfield Scott Lovecraft, a true son of Mother England born in Rochester, New York” – Historically accurate; much of Lovecraft’s paternal family remained in the Rochester, NY area.
  • “I… I just thought I recognised him.” – Black saw W. S. Lovecraft in the Stella Sapiente photograph in Providence #6, P10,p1, and again in Providence #7, P11,p1.

Page 10

panel 1

  • The old women begin to gather in front of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church. This scene precedes page 1.
  • “Many people supposed him to be an Englishman.” – W. S. Lovecraft had an English accent, and was indeed sometimes mistaken as an Englishman. Part of this is taken directly from one of Lovecraft’s letters: “My father was constantly warned not to fall into Americanisms of speech and provincial vulgarities of dress and mannerisms—so much so that he was generally regarded as an Englishman despite his birth in Rochester, N. Y.” (Selected Letters 3.362)
  • “The import of an ancient tradition” has a double meaning. On the surface, it refers to Lovecraft’s father’s fondness for English tradition. It can also refer to the traditions of the Stella Sapiente.
  • Panelwise, again there are ruler-straight borders – see P1 above.

panel 2

  • “…was a protege of grandfather’s…” – Suggested by W. S. Lovecraft’s membership in the Stella Sapiente, and marriage to Whipple Van Buren Phillips’ daughter.
  • “…otherwise construe his presumed introduction to my mother.” – As a fact, it is not clear how Winfield and Susie met, and Kenneth W. Faig, Jr. suggests that her parents might have disapproved of their union in his essay “The Parents of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.”
  • “…some craft guild from his blacksmith days…” – W. S. Lovecraft worked as a blacksmith in Rochester, N.Y. in 1872-1873; craft guilds preceded and have been largely replaced by trade unions.
  • “…or through freemasonry.” – While Whipple Van Buren Phillips is known to have been a freemason in real life, there is no evidence that Winfield Lovecraft was; however, Lovecraft as a freemason is a key point in Colin Wilson’s hoaxful introduction to the Hay Necronomicon.
  • “…his pronouncements shaped many of my own prevailing attitudes.” – Winfield Lovecraft was struck by paresis in 1893, and died in 1898; Lovecraft’s actual memories of his father were few, given his young age.

panel 3

  • “…when he was a salesman…” – Winfield Scott Lovecraft was a “commercial traveler” (read: traveling salesman) for Gorham & Company, silversmiths from 1889-1893, working mainly in Boston.
  • “…wh-where did he travel, exactly?” – Black beginning to put things together regarding Lovecraft’s father’s history and what he knows of the Stella Sapiente, presumably.
  • “…trade in gold and silver…” – Gorham & Co. were silversmiths; the reference to gold suggests ties to the Boggs Refinery in Salem from Providence #3. Suydam refers to “a funny little Englishman” who sold items for the Boggs Refinery (see Providence #2 P12,p3).
  • “…Salem, New York, and Chicago…” – Salem is the location of the Boggs Refinery; New York has the church in Red Hook; Winfield Lovecraft was in Chicago when he reportedly suffered an hallucinatory episode, probably brought on by neurosyphilis, which Moore and Burrows adapted into the short Recognition  in Alan Moore’s Yuggoth Cultures (which is not in continuity with The Courtyard, Neonomicon, or Providence).

panel 4

  • “Did…did he ever go to Manchester?” – Site of Black’s adventures in Providence #5-6.
  • Commenter Daniel Thomas notes Lovecraft’s use of the word “nativity” here, another piece of Christ-imagery.
  • “…I’d thought some of my elaborations upon your notions might be passed off as dreams. That, at least, is my excuse for ‘Dagon.'” – Many of Lovecraft’s stories were reputedly based off dreams; “Dagon” (first published in The Vagrant, November 1919) being one such.

Page 11

panel 1

  • Panelwise, again there are ruler-straight borders – see P1 above.

panel 2

  • “…you seem to have a close relationship with dreams. A-almost as if they represent a complete other world to you.” – Black still fishing; at this point he may suspect, as some occultists like William Lumley and Kenneth Grant have suspected, that Lovecraft was an “unconscious adept” who received real occult revelations coded as dreams. Given Lovecraft’s apparent ignorance of the Stella Sapiente, it is Black putting these pieces together into uneasy speculation.

panel 3

  • “I recall regularly encountering great flocks of black, rubbery, faceless things with bat-wings and barbed tails. I dubbed them ‘Nightgaunts’.” – Lovecraft first dreamed of nightgaunts at age 6, after the death of his maternal grandmother.
  • “…the insidious tickling when they carried me…” – As Black experienced firsthand in Providence #8, P14,p2.

panel 4

  • “…after your father’s passing…” – Actually, W. S. Lovecraft died in 1898, and the nightgaunt dreams began in 1896, but there is no evidence H. P. Lovecraft saw his father after 1893, so this might be a forgivable slip.
  • “…the folk-stories he told you.” – Whipple Van Buren Phillips was the principal male figure in H. P. Lovecraft’s life after his father’s hospitalization, and used to tell his grandson stories:”My grandfather had travelled observingly through Italy, and delighted me with long first-hand accounts of its beauties and memorials of ancient grandeur.” (Selected Letters 1.300)

Page 12

panel 1

  • “…tales of the things the swarthy immigrants did in the woods…” – Recalling the rites in “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Call of Cthulhu,” as well as H. P. Lovecraft’s prejudices regarding immigrants. However, there is a Catch 22 to this as an “explanation” for Lovecraft’s prejudices and inspiration for his fiction, in that in the universe of Providence there is a real truth to such horrors, as expressed by the various supernatural entities that Black has encountered (and going beyond that, Johnny Carcosa and his mother who immigrated from “the old country” in The Courtyard and Neonomicon).
    The swarthy immigrants also refer to the women depicted gathering at the church.
  • “The darkness and superstition in their lowly and insanitary neighbourhoods. The blasphemous conceptions clandestinely voiced in scarcely-human tongues.” – Recalling “The Horror at Red Hook” and perhaps “The Street.”
  • “The depths to which such people might, with time, degenerate.” – Recalling “The Lurking Fear,” “The Beast in the Cave,” “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family,” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth.”
  • Panelwise, again there are ruler-straight borders – see P1 above.

panel 2

  • “Were it not for certain fraternities […] mankind’s end would be lingering and ignobly mongrelised.” – Implying that the Stella Sapiente’s goals, among others, might be to avoid or oppose the kind of miscegenation represented by the Deep One hybrids in Salem encountered in Providence #3 – and which might go some way to explain Whipple Phillips’ joining forces with the racist society Black experienced in Providence #8.

panel 3

  • “…prone to both headaches and apoplectic spells…” – A family complaint, according to Lovecraft.
  • “…founded the town of Greene and its masonic lodge.” – This is historically accurate.
  • “…met with dignitaries, bishops, and Confederate generals.” – Phillips was a prominent Providence industrialist, but if he met with any Confederate generals outside of the meeting Black saw in Providence #8, it is unattested.

panel 4

  • Based on a real daguerreotype:

    Whipple Van Buren Philips
    Whipple Van Buren Phillips
  • Note the beads of swear on Black’s face – he recognizes Phillips’ from the photo of the Stella Sapiente seen in Providence #6 and #8.

Page 13

panel 1

  • “…modern eyes can scarce encompass the full stature of such individuals…” – Note how Lovecraft mythologizes his grandfather, just as he did Poe earlier. The irony, of course, is that H. P. Lovecraft appears ignorant of the true extant of his grandfather’s powers and influence.

panel 2

  • “Van…van Buren?” – Black had heard the name, or variants of it, several times already. See notes to pages 14-15, below.
  • “Rathbun” – Lovecraft’s maternal great-grandmother’s family.
  • “…the influenza seizing Providence a twelvemonth since…” – The Spanish flu ripped through Providence in late 1918.

panel 3

  • “Were our positions reversed, I’d doubtless yearn for Providence.” – Foreshadowing, as Lovecraft did indeed yearn to return to Providence after moving to New York City.

panel 4

  • “…running away like this…” – Black’s words cast his actions as cowardice, but after mentally running away from all the horrors he has experienced so far, it is this quiet conversation in a study with a man utterly ignorant of the real horrors who provides Black the confirmation of everything he had told himself he didn’t believe throughout the series. Being chased by monsters Black could pass off as an hallucination or a dream, but not the utter prosaic reality of talking genially with Lovecraft.
  • “Your visit, I suspect, may have shaped Grandfather Theobald into the author he was destined to be.” – Ironicly accurate given the events of Providence up to this point: Black’s commonplace book having provided Lovecraft with the seeds for many of his most famous stories.

Page 14

Black haunted by the things he has heard over the course of this series.

panel 1

panel 2

panel 3

  • “For forty years their salesmen…” – Providence #2, P12,p3.
  • “Mind, the Stella Saps…” – Providence #3, P11,p3.
  • A black cat is visible in a window (thanks to commenter keshavkrishnamurty).

panel 4

  • “See, this society I belong to…” – Providence #4, P9,p1.
  • The setting is the fence along Brown University, seen earlier in Providence #9 p3,p1.

Page 15

panel 1

  • Black returns to 66 College Street.
  • “In thuh ‘deemer story…” – Providence #4, P19,p4.
  • “He was out here with his friends…” – Providence #5, P13,p2.
  • “Uhm, that’s Buren…” – Providence #7, P11,p1.

panel 2

  • “The, uhm, the man next to him…” – Providence #7, P11,p1.
  • “It’s the, uhm, the world of dreams…” – Providence #7, P11,p2.
  • “In 1889 there was an arranged marriage…” – Providence #9, P6,p1.

panel 3

  • “All perfectly consensual…” – Providence #9, P6,p1.
  • “Happily, they produced offspring…” – Providence #9, P6,p2.
  • Panels 3 and 4 form a fixed-camera sequence.

panel 4

  • Black stares out the window of 66 College Street – which will show the steeple of St. John’s Church on Federal Hill. This is the setting described in “The Haunter of the Dark”: “Blake’s study, a large southwest chamber, overlooked the front garden on one side, while its west windows—before one of which he had his desk—faced off from the brow of the hill and commanded a splendid view of the lower town’s outspread roofs…”

Page 16

panel 1

  • A glimmer of light shows the steeple of St. John’s Church on Federal Hill, recalling “The Haunter of the Dark” (“…he thought he saw a faint trace of luminosity in the crazily angled stone.”) which looms larger as if the church is growing closer, though the rest of the view stays the same.
  • “Dear Tom” – Evidently written to Tom Malone, from Providence #2.
  • Panel 1 through P17,p4 form a fixed-camera sequence.

panel 2

  • Panelwise, here through P21 (where Black closes his eyes) there are ruler-straight borders – see P1 above.
  • “There’s an old church in the distance.” – St. John’s Church. Black has not yet noticed that the “distance” is shrinking rapidly.

panel 3

  • “…what I think is a meteorite taken from a site outside Manchester…” – The Shining Trapezohedron, which Black first heard about in Providence #5 and saw in Providence #9.

panel 4

  • “On the waterfront of Salem there’s people I don’t think are people. The FBI should probably know about them too.” – The Salem folk encountered in Providence #3, and an echo of the invasion of Innsmouth by the federal authorities in “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, later referred to in The Courtyard and Neonomicon.
  • “And Suydam in Red Hook. […] it might involve children.” – A presage to “The Horror at Red Hook,” and referring to Providence #2.

Page 17

panel 1

panel 2

  • “…and by God, Tom, I believe that it will swallow me.” – Quite literal foreshadowing.

panel 3

panel 4

  • The Shining Trapezohedron appears on Black’s right. The church setting becomes superimposed on Black’s room.

Page 18

panel 1

  • Black’s multiple selves recall the time dilation experienced in reading Hali’s Booke in Providence #6.
  • The dialogue and falling are reminiscent of the climax of most episodes of Little Nemo in Slumberland, an important early 20th Century comic strip that Moore is very familiar with. Of course, Little Nemo usually starts in a phantasmagoric world, from which falling awakens him. Black is not so lucky.

panel 2

  • First appearance of Johnny Carcosa, last seen in Neonomicon. His appearance recalls the appearance of normal humans as seen from Leng in the end of Neonomicon #4.
  • Johnny Carcosa appears to be a two-dimensional being, extending through time as a third dimension. This ties back to his becoming part of a chalk drawing in Neonomicon, and to his fundamental nature as a comic-book character. See further notes about his shifting number of dimensions, below.
  • The bloodshot eye extending from Carcosa (and seen again on P24) is probably a reference to the “three-lobed burning eye” from HPL’s “The Haunter of the Dark”.
    • Commenter Phil Smith points out that this resembles an eye-in-the-pyramid motif — a symbol whose formal name is The Eye of Providence.

panel 3

  • “Don’t be.” A perfect summation of existential terror. Black is terrified, not by any action that Carcosa is taking, but by the raw fact of his existence.

panel 4

  • “We thalute you.”  – “We salute you.” Carcosa still has his lisp.

Page 19

panel 1

  • “In out eyeth, your theryith ith gloriouth.” – “In our eyes, your service is glorious.”
  • “Methenger, your methage ith retheived. The theathon of your labourth ith at theathe.” – “Messenger, your message is received. The season of your labours is at cease.”
    • Black has served his purpose, to deliver the ideas to Lovecraft.

panel 2

  • “We are wordth on papyruth, a thouthand yearth ago. Now ith before.” – “We are words on papyrus, a thousand years ago. Now is before.”
    • The Mythos entities were described in Hali’s Booke – did it somehow create them? Did Black’s actions cause a renewal of some kind of cycle? “Now is before” repeats what Carcosa’s mother said on P1 above.
  • Here, Carcosa’s hands and arms seem to have 3 dimensions.

panel 3

  • “Now ith the time of Fethtival. Rejoithe.” – “Now is the time of Festival. Rejoice.”
    • Recalling Japheth Colwen’s talk of Festival, which he said had “just passed,” but given Carcosa’s speech, is perhaps still occurring…or always occurring; time and space are one after all, and space is warping pretty badly for Black at the moment.

panel 4

  • “Rejoithe…and thpeak…and thay aloud…” – “Rejoice…and speak…and say aloud…”
  • Cracked eyeglasses are, of course, a common symbol for madness.

Page 20

panel 1

  • “…that our Redeemer liveth.” – “That our Redeemer lives.”
    • “Liveth,” by a neat trick, echoes the archaic English of the King James Bible; in fact, Carcosa is echoing Job 19:25-27:

      For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

  • Carcosa is wearing evening dress, black tie, with gloves and spats. Appropriate club wear for the period.
    • Also extremely similar to (though not identical to) the clothing Jonathan/Lily is wearing in Providence #1 (thanks to commenter Brian J. Taulbee for pointing this out).
  • The vista of space behind Carcosa is visually reminiscent of the opening/closing image of Neonomicon, though that image turns out not to actually be outer space.

panel 2

  • “I am a thub-thet of itth numberth.” – “I am a sub-set of its numbers.”
    • Implying that Carcosa is a portion of the whole; if Aklo is a number system as well as an alphabet, as in Hebrew, this could imply that he is a smaller portion of the text.
  • “Am the thythtem by which it communicateth. I am itth voithe.” – “Am the system by which it communicates. I am its voice.”
    • Carcosa is the way it – presumably Nyarlathotep, but possibly something else, such as Azathoth – communicates with human entities.
  • Here, Carcosa’s lower half is definitely 2-dimensional, whereas his hand still seems to have depth.

Page 21

panel 1

  • When Black has his eyes closed, Carcosa is not there, nor is the interior of the church tower, suggesting this is happening in his mind.
  • Panelwise, this panel resumes the uneven hand-drawn border, indicating normal (non-paranormal) reality.

panel 2

  • “Yeth, it ith. For Black ith the methenger. And Black ith hith Dethtiny.” –  “Yes, it is. For Black is the messenger. And Black is his destiny.”
    • From Hali’s Booke (see Providence #6, P35) – although there it was “black is his path.”
    • The all-caps lettering leaves some ambiguity in the exact meaning here; Nyarlathotep of course was described by Lovecraft as the “Black Messenger,” which could be interpreted different ways (black as in swarthy, or black as in evil or dire); so does this imply that Black is his destiny, or that black is his destiny?
  • Panelwise, this panel resumes the ruler-straight borders – see P1 above. These continue through P24.

panel 3

  • Carcosa is no longer exhibiting the Leng-effect, and appears fully three dimensional. It may be that the “Leng” version of Carcosa is actually Nyarlathotep speaking through Carcosa.
  • “We are worth on papyruth, a thouthand yearth ago.” – “We are words on papyrus, a thousand years ago.”
  • “Pleath, Mithter Black, be theated. All thith will be tho much eathier.” – “Please, Mr. Black, be seated. All this will be so much easier.
    • The act which Carcosa wishes to perform probably would be easier if Black was seated.
  • Carcosa picks up Black’s own chair, which had not been visible to Black for most of the last few pages.

panel 4

  • “Mithter Black, it ith you who detherveth our thankth.” – “Mr. Black, it is you who deserves our thanks.”
  • “In your mithery and your dethpair, you have thatithfied our prophethy, yeth?” – “In your misery and your despair, you have satisfied our prophecy, yes?”
  • “You have thurrendered our thtroieth to Providenth. You have brought the good newth to our thaviour and Redeemer.” – “You have surrendered our stories to Providence. You have brought the good news to our saviour and Redeemer.”

Page 22

panel 1

  • “That ithn’t our conthern.” – “That isn’t our concern.”
  • “Your thignificanth lieth in thupplying the Redeemer with the thingth he needth to rethtore the world to itth previouth ethtate.” – “Your significance lies in supplying the Redeemer with the things he needs to restore the world to its previous estate.”
    • Implying Lovecraft’s actions as the Redeemer will “reset” the world in some fashion, bringing things full circle, echoing the arc words “Now is before.”
  • Panels 1-2 form a fixed-camera sequence.

panel 2

  • “He doethn’t need to know. He thimply needth to tell hith thories…” – “He doesn’t need to know. He simply needs to tell his stories.”
  • “…and your thpethieth thyall inthith that they are real.” – “…and your species shall insist that they are real.”
    • Implying that Lovecraft’s creations will achieve reality because people believe in them; again, Moore playing with the boundaries between reality and fiction.
  • “My name ith Carcotha.” – “My name is Carcosa.”

panel 3

  • “Ficthion ithn’t what you think it ith. And there ith a protheth known ath potht-thelecthion that you do not yet underthtand.” – “Fiction isn’t what you think it is. And there is a process known as post-selection that you do not yet understand.”
    • “Postselection” is an aspect of probability theory, where an event is selected which conditions a probability. The implication is that Black is necessary to insure that Lovecraft writes the stories he needs to write. This is similar to the Strong Anthropic Principle, a theory that Moore has used in other works, notably The Moon & Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels.
  • “Ath for the writerth you menthion, we have no interetht in Chamberth…” – “As for the writers you mention, we have no interest in Chambers…”
    • Presumably because Chambers stopped writing weird fiction.

panel 4

  • “…and Amrbothe ith with uth now.” – “…and Ambrose is with us now.”
    • Ambrose Bierce disappeared on a trip to Mexico in 1913.

Page 23

panel 1

  • “No. That’th not the thituathion. I’m thaying that in naming thomething formleth, they bethtowed identitieth.” – “No. That’s not the situation. I’m saying that in naming something formless, they bestowed identities.”
    • Sort of a restatement of the Doctrine of Names in magical practice, the idea that to name something was to create it, or that knowing its name gave you power over it.
  • “Bierthe thyaped me. Thith thtone ith an abthracthion of hith creathion Hathtur…” – “Bierce shaped me. This stone is an abstraction of his creation Hastur…”
    • Bierce created the name Hastur in “Haïta the Shepherd”; it was later adapted by Lovecraft and others into the Cthulhu Mythos.

panel 2

  • “Hathtur ith the thing itthelf, that cannot be dethcribed. Your dreth uth in worth and attributeth.” – “Hastur is the thing itself, that cannot be described. You dress us in words and attributes.”
  • “And the Redeemer thyall bethtow nameth on all the partth.” – “And the Redeemer shall bestow names on all the parts.”
    • Technically, Lovecraft did not invent all the names, but borrowed several of the creations of other authors – Bierce, Chambers, Arthur Machen, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Frank Belknap Long, August Derleth, etc.
  • “And thith world thyall by Yuggoth; thyall have alwayth been Yuggoth.” – “And this world shall be Yuggoth; shall have always been Yuggoth.”
    • A bit recursive, as hinted at in the Hali’s Booke fragments in Providence #6: Lovecraft’s creations create the conditions they need to be created.

panel 3

  • “No. You are dreamth that we were exthperienthing. You are part of uth.” – “No. You are dreams that we were experiencing. You are part of us.”
    • Echoing Zhuangzi’s dream of the butterfly – where he is not sure if he is the butterfly dreaming of being a man, or a man dreaming of being a butterfly; Black thought that humans were creating the entities of Lovecraft’s Mythos – but Carcosa suggests it is they who dreamed humans into being, to create themselves. This self-creation echoes a major aspect of the Judeo-Christian God (and many other Creator-figures).
    • This also recalls the following, from Alan Moore’s discussion of magic with Dave Sim:

      Now, the rationalist view of all magical encounters is probably that all apparent entities are in fact externalised projections of parts of the self.  I have no big argument with that, except that I’d hold the converse to be true as well: we are at the same time extemalised projections of them. In one sense, the simplest viewpoint might be to accept that all manifestations, ourselves included, are simply different stages of the unfolding of one multi-dimensional being into form.

  • “You thodomithed that boy here becauthe the thone abthorth the blue energieth of thexthual releathe.” – “You sodomized that boy here because the stone absorbs the blue energies of sexual release.”
    • Black sodomized Howard Charles in Providence #9. The “blue energies” are orgone, as referenced in Neonomicon, and earlier in Providence. (Thanks to commenter mr bungle for mentioning this should be a note.)

panel 4

  • “Nothing ith wrong. The univerthe dothn’t care. Thith ith not punithment, but rather ith appretheathion.” – “Nothing is wrong. The universe doesn’t care. This is not punishment, but rather is appreciation.”
    • One of Lovecraft’s central conceits was that the universe was materialistic and amoral, with no divine or supernatural reward or punishment.
  • “I am come to reward your endeavourth. Thee, tho thyall I abthe mythelf. Tho thyall I kneel before thee…” – “I am come to reward your endeavors. See, so shall I abase myself. So shall I kneel before thee…”
    • In Lovecraft’s “Fungi from Yuggoth”, the poem Nyarlothotep starts with the following lines:

      And at the last from inner Egypt came
      The strange dark One to whom the fellahs bowed;

      In Neonomicon, Moore refers to this phrasing in a double-entendre about oral sex. Carcosa (who, in at least some sense, is Nyarlothotep) seems to be making a similar connection.

Page 24

panel 1

  • The Leng-effect returns.

panel 2

  • “All our thervantth thyall be recompenthed in accordanth with their accomplithmentth.” – “All our servants shall be recompensed in accordance with their accomplishments.”
  • “Khalid ibn Yathid ith at prethent a lake of floutethent gath near a thtar in Tauruth.” – “Khalid ibn Yathid is at present a lake of flourescent gas near a star in Taurus.”
    • To explain the confusion as to Hali could be a person in Bierce’s “An Inhabitant in Carcosa” and a lake in Chamber’s The King in Yellow: both are true, “Hali” was simply transformed through his service.
    • It is unclear just how this could be “in accordance with [Khalid’s] accomplishments”.

Page 25

panel 1

  • “Thith cannot be forethtalled, or changed, and ith the thame alwayth.” – “This cannot be forestalled, or changed, and is the same always.”
    • Like the words written on a page in a book.
  • “Alwayth, thith inthtant. Alwayth thith room. Alwayth thith happening, without theathe.” – “Always, this instant. Always, this room. Always this happening, without cease.”
    • This recalls parts of The Moon And Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels:

      There is something happening.
      There is only one moment.
      There is only one room.
      There is one person here.
      I love you.

  • “You life was long ago. Thith ith the path.” – “Your life was long ago. This is the past.”

panel 2

  • Carcosa’s mask finally moves, revealing…not quite a mouth, but an orifice, somewhat resembling an anus.
    • Commenter Greenaum points out “Carcosa, in The Courtyard, to Sax, says “Joey Fathe ith an ath hole who taketh too much ecthtathy”, while pointing to his face with his thumb. If you knock “Joey” off that sentence, he’s saying “Fathe ith an ath-hole” while pointing. And indeed, it is!”
  • “Now ith before.” – “Now is before.”
    • Closing arc words, bringing the issue full circle.

panel 3

  • The implication is that Carcosa performs oral sex on Black – perhaps an appropriate “reward” for the man.
  • In “The Haunter of the Dark,” an avatar of Nyarlathotep kills Robert Blake.
    In Providence #10, an avatar of Nyarlathotep brings Robert Black to orgasm…”the
    little death.”

panel 4

  • Black moaning, but not showing Carcosa…again, begging the question how much of this is “really” happening. Again, we only see “ordinary reality” when Black’s eyes are closed or covered.
  • Panelwise, the rough hand-drawn borders return.

Page 26

panel 1

  • panels 1-4 effect a zoom sequence from Black’s room back to St. John’s church.

panel 2

panel 3

  • The woman on the ground is the one who clawed at her eyes – see P1,p3 above.
    • If this is the case, there’s a coloring error, as the hood and robes do not match.

panel 4

  • We are looking over the shoulder of Carcosa’s “mother”. A similar framing over her shoulder was used in Providence #2, P4p1 (Thanks to commenter Lalartu for noting the similarity).

Page 27

Commonplace Book – November 28

  • This first entry is dated two weeks after the last entry in Providence #9.
  • “Walking through the antique streets he clearly loves so much” refers to how H.P. Lovecraft’s frequently walked through Providence, including taking guests on long walks.
  • “Randall Carver back in Boston” – see Providence #8.
  • “Problems with his health once the thermometer dips down…” refers to Lovecraft’s acute sensitivity to cold.
  • As Black states “poikilothermism” is being cold-blooded, as in reptiles.

Page 28

Commonplace Book – November 28 continued

  • “largely self-educated” – Lovecraft never completed high school, due to ill-health and a mental breakdown as a teenager, and failed to go to college; mostly he was self-taught.
  • “His knowledge of astronomy” – Lovecraft was a keen amateur astronomer since he was twelve, and wrote articles on astronomy even as a teenager.
  • “…exploding star in the vicinity of Algol…” True.
  • H.G. Wells” is the renowned British author.
  • The Invisible Man” is Well’s 1897 novella.
  • Edgar Allen Poe” was an American writer – see also P1 above.
  • “[Alexander] Pope” was a British poet.
  • “[John] Dryden” was a British poet.
  • All of this material on Lovecraft’s interests comes directly from his letters, which were voluminous and wide-ranging in subject matter, showcasing a keen interest in all of these subjects that Moore touches on in brief on this and the following page.

Page 29

Commonplace Book – November 28 continued

  • “…a Roman presence in early America…” Of course, there are multiple such theories, but none are very accredited.
  • The White Ship” is a Lovecraft Story.
  • Black’s view of the “steeple of the derelict St. John’s Church” echoes Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark.”
  • “Church where I had such an interesting and eventful time with young Howard Charles” – see Providence #9 P10-13.

Page 30

Commonplace Book – November 28 continued

November 30

  • “Milwaukee”, WI, is Black’s hometown – see Providence #1 P6.
  • Black does not note it here, but “Jonathan” is the name of his lover (aka “Lily”) who committed suicide in Providence #1.

Page 31

Commonplace Book – November 30 continued

  • “Tom [Sawyer] & Huckleberry [Finn]” are fictional characters from Mark Twain novels.
  • “nervous shock that were reported in the young soldiers returning from war” – ‘Shellshock’ as it was better known for the veterans of the trenches of World War I, what we would today call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Page 32

Commonplace Book November 30 continued

  • “Pandora’s box” – Ancient Greek myth, where Pandora was given a box and told not to open it, but overcome by curiosity she does, letting evil out into the world. A good simile for Black himself, though it remains to be seen if, like Pandora, there is any hope left at the end.
  • Marblehead” is an actual Massachusetts town (which Lovecraft based his fictional Kingsport on.) Marblehead was mentioned a few times in Providence #3 (beginning P9,p1) then Marblehead: an American Undertow becomes the name of Black’s novel – see Providence #4 P27.

Page 33

Commonplace Book November 30 continued

  • “[Bram] Stoker‘s Dracula” is the 1897 vampire novel.
  • “convenient talismans or contrived weaknesses” – Like crucifixes against vampires; Lovecraft generally avoided this kind of thing, though he did establish the Elder Sign in “The Shadow over Innsmouth.”

Page 34

Commonplace Book – November 30 continued

  • “mimeographed journals” – Amateur journalism; Providence is set before the hey-day of pulp fiction.
  • Lord Dunsany” – see Providence #8.
  • “Lily” aka Jonathan Russell, also known as Lillian Russell – see Providence #1 P1.

Page 35

Commonplace Book – December 23

  • “He must write two or three epistles a day… has an extraordinary range of correspondents” refers to Lovecraft’s extraordinary output of letters. Lovecraft wrote perhaps 80,000 pieces of correspondence in his 47 years, from postcards to letters 40, 50, even 100 pages long.

Page 36

Commonplace Book – December 23 continued

  • Samuel Loveman” was a poet and a correspondent of Lovecraft’s – see P7 above. Like Black, Loveman was gay and Jewish.
  • Ambrose Bierce” was an American writer – mentioned P6 and P22 above. Bierce and Loveman shared a brief correspondence, which Loveman published after Bierce’s disappearance as Twenty-One Letters of Ambrose Bierce (1922).
  • “Stella Sapiente” are the Worshipful Order of the Stella Sapiente, the American coven associated with Liber Stella Sapiente (aka Hali’s Booke or the Kitab), Providence’Necronomicon analog. See Suydam’s pamphlet in Providence #2 for background.

Page 37

Commonplace Book – December 23 continued

  • Nitpick: centre is British spelling
  • “Just from… Loveman’s poetry, I have a feeling… I could meet kindred spirits” refers to both Black and Loveman being both gay and Jewish.

Page 38

Commonplace Book – December 23 continued

  • “My eye tends to habitually seek out the distant pinnacle of St. John’s Church” echoes “The Haunter of the Dark“: “Of all the distant objects on Federal Hill, a certain huge, dark church most fascinated Blake. It stood out with especial distinctness at certain hours of the day, and at sunset the great tower and tapering steeple loomed blackly against the flaming sky”
  • “…made me believe, just momentarily, that I had glimpsed a figure moving in the tower…” – Recalls Carcosa’s mother in Providence #9, P20,p4.
  • Dagon” is Lovecraft’s 1919 story.

Page 39

Commonplace Book – December 23 continued

  • “I somehow don’t believe that the adventure mode of storytelling […] is appropriate to the variety of strange tale that I wish to tell.” – A sentiment Lovecraft shared with regards to some of Robert E. Howard’s more sanguine fiction in Weird Tales, but not embraced by several of Lovecraft’s literary followers, who preferred to address the Mythos head-on, thus largely missing the point.
  • “I deliver it to Howard  […] tomorrow morning, which is Christmas Eve.” This delivery represents the culmination of the Herald’s work towards the Redeemer. It is unsurprising that it should happen on a day closely associated with the birth of the Christian Redeemer.
    • The fact that is Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas itself, may also be significant. In much folk tradition, the day immediately before a major holiday was extremely ill-omened. A remnant of this remains in Hallowe’en, which is the night before All Hallows.
  • “the other St. John’s church” – St. John’s Episcopal Church, see P2.

Page 40

Commonplace Book – December 27

  • “Tom [Malone]” – see Providence #2.
  • The letter is mostly shown in the captions of P16-17 above – see annotations there.
  • The text after “I so wish that we’d […]” was not seen on P16-17. Presumably, Black wrote it after his experience with Carcosa.

Back Cover

  • November 5-9, 1935 refers to the period during which Lovecraft wrote “The Haunter of the Dark.”

243 thoughts on “Providence 10

  1. Concerning Carcosa’s manifestation, specifically the ‘creeping shadow’ effect of all those after-images of his hair, with the eye peering out of it. While the allusion to the Haunter of the Dark and its three-lobed burning eye is obvious, consider page 18, panel 3. That top-down view of Carcosa descending to earth, the perspective making him resemble the classic ‘eye in the pyramid’ symbol.

    Before people yell ‘Illuminati!’, consider the name given to that symbol: The Eye of Providence.

    Johnny Carcosa, using this comic, is looking at us.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. In Providence 11 we will learn that Black’s final fate / reward / punishment is to be reborn in 1953 in the Hell that men call Northampton in the English Midlands, where he will be known as Alan Moore. You thought he’d invented it all hadn’t you?

    Like

  3. Page 26, panel 24: The women on the left who’s shoulder we are looking over is Carcosa’s mother. Note the bandanna tie and the sleeveless top, same here as P1p2-4. Her arms have the same moles or bumps (whatever they are) as Johnny’s mother.

    Like

  4. One other point, on page 21 panel 4, Moore is presumably playing on the the Christian use of “Good News” as the gospel of the coming of the kingdom of god, though obviously in this scenario the redeemer is a giant squid monster instead of Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • >though obviously in this scenario the redeemer is a giant squid monster instead of Jesus.

      Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. F’THAGN not, lest ye I’A! I’A! YH’NHGHAI TSATHOGGUA, DHO-NA H’RITH Y’GOLONAC. Let him who is without NNH’GTEP cast the CHAUGNAR FAUGN.

      Church, cult, cult, church. So we’ll have our souls slowly digested in the agony hives over countless millennia for all eternity. Does this really change our everyday lives?

      Like

    • Oh yeah, definitely a blasphemous inversion of the “good news” of the Gospels– instead of a Middle Eastern prophet of love inspiring a book of brotherhood, it’s a Middle Eastern prophet of madness inspiring books of horror. These sort of inversions of Christianity have shown up a few times, most notably in Mary’s annunciation in Neonomicon. Which is very much in keeping with HPL’s “The Dunwich Horror”, where Wilbur’s dying words invoke Jesus’ on the cross.

      Like

  5. The Redeemer is indeed HP Lovecraft. He is and will be reviving the worship of Cthluhu and the rest. Oh, and it’s “termayter.”

    Like

  6. The moment where Lovecraft reveals his views on jews and homosexuals is quite shocking, as until then Black has been idolising him. Note the expression on Black’s face on page 7, panel 4, not to mention the iconic first panel on page 8.
    I think it adds additional tragedy to the resolution of the issue, as Black–a homosexual with jewish ancestry–helps launch the perspective of a anti-semitic homophobe into mainstream american psychology. Perhaps Moore is trying to make a point about the xenophobia and conservatism inherent to the horror genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to disagree with that, because most people then were of the same belief as HP. Lovecraft is not a glaring exception to mainstream (american) psychology. I can’t think of any particular nationality that applauded Jews or homosexuals then. And is horror uniquely xenophobic and “conservative”? (What do those terms mean in horror, anyway?)

      Like

      • Have you read Stephen King’s “Danse Macabre”? He has some really interesting things to say about the “conservatism” of horror. IIRC, it comes down to the idea that most horror is driven by the scenario of a peaceful status quo disrupted by a sinister outsider (Stoker’s Dracula being the classic example). Interestingly, he notes Lovecraft as an exception to that, where the good status quo is revealed as a thin veneer of normalcy stretched over an anti-human reality.
        As for whether HPL’s prejudice was normal for the time: This is a long debated issue and probably won’t be resolved here, but I believe a lot of his contemporaries were appalled by Lovecraft’s over-the-top bigotry. It was the less attractive side to his willful antiquarianism and his old English affectations– he had the sort of prejudices that were common to men a generation or two before, that educated people of his generation were already overcoming.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Have you read Mencken? H. Allen Smith? Ring Lardner? Booth Tarkington? How many ‘teens and ‘twenties writers have you read? Hemingway? Fitzgerald? Really down on the Jews. None liked effeminate men. Dorothy Parker? Nasty towards blacks. I could go on, and will if encouraged.

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    • You know, that was HP letting out his private thoughts. In Robert’s Commonplace book, there are some “private” thoughts I would have scratched out before lending to anyone! Just saying, Robert is finally paying attention in more ways than one.

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  7. Robert’s interdimensional sex with Carcosa may also have released orgone energy into the room where HPL would later live and work (see note for Prov. 9 p 19)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s interesting that Lovecraft uses the term “nativity” when referring to his birth. But given his role as “Redeemer” it is certainly apropos.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I wonder if the opening words serve as an allusion to Blakes Jerusalem?

    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon Englands mountains green:
    And was the holy Lamb of God,
    On Englands pleasant pastures see

    In a strange sort of way this would means HPL is referencing himself and Black as much as Poe.

    Ki

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Just a small historical error in this issue – the FBI was not called the FBI until 1935. In 1919, it would still have been just the Bureau of Investigation or BOI.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Is it just me, or does anyone kind of wish Marblehead: An Undertow by Robert Black actually did — or will — get written somehow aside from being notes in his Commonplace Book and a layer of subtext for Providence itself? It’s kind of a shame in a lot of ways that it doesn’t seem like it will happen, especially seeing Robert’s actual enthusiasm wax right before everything goes to hell.

    As a writer, I actually caught up in that moment of eureka and everything coming together for him in his mind: especially when he has that idea of what happened to Jonathan Carver’s missing playmate and he never writes it down … though that dream of him meeting the playmate — that last image of innocence masked as willful naivety before the horror of eldritch knowledge that “Man was not Meant to Know” gets him — kind of also says it all.

    Like

    • I fully agree – I actually found myself getting excited for Black reading about how his ideas were finally coming together and getting swept up in the enthusiasm he was expressing in those pages.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He was finally there at that point of creation. Now we have no idea what is going to happen to him next. Probably nothing good though mind you there is another proverb to consider: be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.

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  12. I could see that, in another life and another alternate universe, Marblehead became one of those novels with a gay subculture resonance — as Black intended it to be — that would be studied by queer theorists and literary schools generations later, especially from the seventies onward, and that Robert himself met Loveman and the other coterie, perhaps spending the rest of his life in Greenwich Village with a lifetime partner, or various relationships over time.

    I could even see the dedication page of Marblehead with just two words:

    “To Lily.”

    Instead, I suspect the only thing that Robert Black will be dedicating anything to from on here on in is, mostly, madness itself. The tragedy is that, to the rest of the world, it seems as though he and his achievements will either never be made known, or will be erased.

    But the Mythos will never forget him: much to his own damnation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same here. I thought the whole last part of this issue’s Commonplace Book was a way of deepening Robert’s tragedy– he’s figured out his novel, his future, his subculture, his love life, and the full story of the Stell Saps, just as it’s too late. I imagine that Robert would have moved to the Village, found a nice guy, freelanced for newspapers and ultimately would have become a very book critic– he never seems like much of a novelist, but he’s terrifically perceptive about literature. I love the idea that Marblehead could have been this universe’s Maurice or Nightwood, dedicated to Lily and with its not-too-hidden subtext analyzed for decades.
      I don’t want to push this point too far, but in some ways Robert’s story seems like a symbol of the awful 30s that followed the roaring 20s. The 1920s, which Robert will just miss getting in on, were a time of such glorious liberation for gays, Jews, and unusual people of all stripes. But then the 30s, as foretold by his dream, were when all that promise was slaughtered.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Roaring Twenties were also the time when things were at their nadir in so many places – secret quotas began to be established against Jews in several institutions of higher education, the KKK resurrected itself and went on a rampage, the original Red Scare caused a national uproar and immigration quotas and other means were used to keep “racially undesirable” immigrants out, women’s education entirely ceased to grow as part of the misogynistic backlash against women getting the vote, not to mention Prohibition and the Gangster Era, rising income inequality…you get the drift.

        The “glorious liberation” you speak of wasn’t a general phenomenon, but rather more around progressive centers like New York and Chicago where progressivism survived and thrived, and also more generally for the richer people in those cities. Yes, you’d get the Jazz Age, Art Deco, Dadaism, Flappers, and a whole lot of things you wouldn’t see elsewhere or later, and those are the things we remember at present, because they are what history focuses on. For the rest of America – and for the world in general – the 1920s were very turbulent indeed, and all the cultural and artistic innovations in the era rose because of the same general disruption of the old order that allowed various reactionary and violent movements to rise alongside.

        The Thirties were dreadful to everybody, no thanks to the Great Depression and lousy policymaking worldwide, but within the United States, the Thirties were the basis for growing Labor movements, the foundations of the Civil Rights movement (which was quietly building up for a good quarter century before the 1960s) and the resurrection of Progressivism, the New Deal, and a great many things that made America a superpower at the end of the Second World War – the seeds for that had all been sown in the 1930s. Dreadful as the 30s are in public memory, more good actually landed up coming out of that decade than the previous one.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. I almost wonder if he attempts at suicide, given the heavy links to Chambers/King in Yellow. If everyone is right and Jonathan/Lily really was another avatar of Nyarlathotep (who appears, you’ll notice, in the Weird Pulp variant), then it would be fitting for Robert to “fall into the arms of the living God”, as spoken by the King in Yellow – another avatar – who appears on the Pantheon cover.

    Like

    • While the parallels in dress and hair color are apparent, I’m not so ready to buy that Lily is just a nyarlothotep/carcosa by any other name. Obviously moore is drawing a parallel, but Lily did appear to be a fully fleshed actual person in his own right. totally possible though.

      also burrows noted the #11 pantheon as a particular pride for him. must say its a pretty sweet king in yellow

      Like

      • although i suppose more technically that is Lovecraft’s “High Priest Not to be Described”, who might be Hastur, King in Yellow, Nyarlothotep or none of the above.

        The flute is the giveaway

        Liked by 1 person

    • That is true, and now that I think of it the resemblance to the King definitively portrayed in the “Weird Pulp” variant for #1 is only stylistic – perhaps this is deliberately a gestalt of these different characters’ physical traits.

      Like

    • And since it is Lovecraft’s “pantheon”, Hastur or the High Priest would make more sense than Chambers’ separate creation – though the appearance of the Exit Garden and Lily’s hand holding Sous Le Monde begs us to at least make the subconscious connection.

      Like

  14. Judging by the covers preview Black almost certainly encounters the King in Yellow and may even pay a visit to Carcosa itself. There is also an indication that we see a return to one of the suicide temples from the first issue. I believe that’s the building depicted in the snow storm.
    The cover featuring Black sitting up in bed seems to be a flashback to his relationship with Jonathan. I would guess that who is about to open the Sout Le Monde in the foreground. Did they read the book out loud to one another? They may have literally spelled out Black’s doom together well before our story actually began.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I really hope Lily isn’t just an avatar though. Perhaps they were driven to suicide by the Old Ones?
    If Lily was pure evil, why would she have torn the letters & appear in two of Black’s dreams looking so sad?
    I looks like #11 might be all one big flashback, revealing some hidden truths about Lily’s death and leaving us still clueless as of Black’s fate (which might be saves for Christmas and #12).

    What gives me this idea:
    1. Themes of the covers
    2. In “Marblehead” the main character is revealed the truth of his friend’s demise before his own doom befalls him.
    3. If we see Black’s death (or worse) in #11, what’s left to horrify us with on Christmas Day? If I were Moore, I’d save the final blow for the last #.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I think you are right, Konstantin. I think issue 11 will be a full on flashback. In a very real way it is Lily’s death that serves as the catalyst for Black to embark on his quest. If his suicide was engineered by outside forces for that purpose it may reveal the scope of the conspiracy Black has been caught in. Did someone give him a copy of the Sous Le Monde? Who? The answer to that may unlock a great deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think (and Dr Alvarez agrees with me) that Sous Le Monde REALLY makes people kill themselves. Robert just used that as an excuse when talking to his boss, Ephraim Posey, in the office. He knew why Lily really killed himself. Because Robert split up with him, Posey and Jonathan / Lily met at a charity function, and Lily said he knew Robert. Sure being outed as gay had serious and unpleasant consequences back then, as well as imprisonment you’d be ostracised. I’d imagine even other gay men, Robert’s type, paranoid and nervous about keeping up appearances, would stay away from him, not wishing to be associated with his taint.

      I don’t think, though I’m guessing, Jonathan killed himself for any other reason than a broken heart, he really loved Robert. The impression is given that Jonathan would sometimes dress up as a woman in public, though not of course when meeting Rob’s boss. Jonathan was a good bit older than Rob, and I think therefore braver, more confident, more assured in his sexuality. It wasn’t the big deal to Jonathan that it was to Rob. And even then, it wasn’t really a big deal at all, in my opinion. They only met, nothing suspicious happened.

      I don’t think there’s a conspiracy, beyond inevitable fate, that led to Jonathan’s suicide. Of course it was only fate that steered Robert to meet Lovecraft. In this story, fate is a powerful force, with a strong agenda. Maybe the Stell Saps are manipulating things somehow, on a cosmic level. We haven’t seen any manipulation of fate actually being performed, but this story has Alan’s weird idea of solid time running through it.

      I had imagined #10 was the end of Robert, but from the covers of the next issue, perhaps not, perhaps he’s still in it. I thought maybe #11 and #12 were going to be set in the future / present / recent past actually (2007, during Neonomicon). Perhaps not.

      Like

  17. Actually, guys – dwell on the possibility that the denouement of the series may be a Jewish man at the cusp of the 1930s, having dwelt among superstitious conspiracy theorists and manic xenophobes, strolling – perhaps against his will – into a gas chamber to die…

    Potentially as controversial as #6!

    Liked by 2 people

    • So what you’re saying, is that Robert started early?

      Actually, Alan’s evil double from the Qliphoth, that is Gr-nt M-rrison, in the first book of Zenith, did a Nazi occult / Lovecraft monster crossover. A Nazi cult grew a superman body to hold Yog Sothoth, with the eventual plan to build several more during WWII.

      Don’t suppose it’s an original idea. Still, credit where it’s due, the Zenith series was pretty good. Probably the best thing he’s written. He’s written a complete load of old shite, mostly, since.

      I don’t suppose the Nazi / Lovecraft idea was an original one though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you are right about the chambers in big cities.

        But, we still have “The Haunter of the Dark” where Robert is clearly found dead in his room in Providence, so will it make any sense for Moore to change that, when he was building everything up to this point to match HPL’s story? I really doubt poor Bobby will ever leave Providence now(

        Now, there was a skeleton of the reporter in the story, right, which was not in the comic at all, so yeah, Moore doesn’t follow the story up to the letter, and anything is still possible.

        Liked by 1 person

    • But they’re not superstitious–it’s all real! Plus, Robert’s on the cusp of 1920–a different feel to the times altogether. Also, I would be xenophobic against fish people, but maybe that’s just me. But I remember how the Innsmouth folk were in HP’s story…not very nice.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That would be awful(
      But probably yeah, we are going to at least see some more concentration camp imagery…

      That if his room will be linked to the gas chamber where Lily died, in space and time, like it was to the Steeple? That he would die there as well, and then be found dead in his room in Providence?
      But, if the exit chambers are real in this reality, there must be one in Providence, too.

      BTW, the exit chambers in “Repairer of Reputations”: weren’t they meant to be mere main character’s delusions, not reality? In all other “The King in Yellow” stories, where the narrator is reliable, they are never mentioned. I was sure the chambers exist only in the cloud cuckoo land where the “royal” main character lives, along with his majestic crown and other nonsense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve read “Repairer”, and I don’t think any of the other, non-mad, characters mention the exit chambers.

        I think the Exit Chambers are a new thing in the USA, so perhaps only big towns like New York will have them. Providence doesn’t seem large enough or modern enough. Not enough people to keep a suicide amenity in business, and the people seem much more conservative. That, and it’d be a liability in a town with a mental hospital.

        I don’t think Alan will pull the folding-space trick with the steeple again, it’d seem like a gimmick, and would take away from the horror if it keeps happening to poor Robert. But then, it is on the cover. But there’s another issue to go after 11. Maybe Robert visits the chamber to ask about Lily? Or maybe he kills himself, or worse, tries to, but ends up in some fate worse than death. Now we know there is one.

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  18. Page 8: “It’s made you what you are“: it’s pretty clear to me that this is referring to Lovecraft’s prejudices, which have just directly targeted Black (unknowingly). This is shown by the darkening of Black’s facial expression ever since page, and by the followup: “Oh, I doubt I’ll even crack a smile.”. Black is, understandably, hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s just struck me, would Khalid Ibn Yazid be one of the Yazidi people? From Issue 2.

    Other thing occurs to me, is King Peacock from Top 10, he’s black, so is his wife, where the Kurdish Yazidis are quite pale, some with blue eyes. So it’s a bit unusual for the King to follow their religion, I don’t imagine they have many converts. Wonder how that happened?

    Like

  20. By the way, am I the only person here who suddenly really wants to read aloud a potentially cursed and forbidden book to a secret lover while together in bed?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hi. I see that it’s been noted that Johnny Carcosa’s outfit resembles (but not exactly) Jonathon’s suit from PROVIDENCE #1, but I’d like to add that during Black’s dream in PROVIDENCE #3, Jonathon appears in bed with Black and on a departing train. His suit during these scenes has changed, and matches what we would see Johnny Carcosa wearing later: Black bow tie and white handkerchief (though the tie is undone). If I wear to speculate, I’d say that the undone bow tie could represent a halfway mark between the necktie we see in #1, and the formal wear we see in #10.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. The lady being picked up is actually the one shoving her face into the ground. She’s on the right side at the end, with the same clothes. She’s not the one clawing at her face.

    Like

  23. How’s this for a connection, guys – in a story paying homage to Lovecraft’s “Haunter of the Dark”, which itself was written for Robert Bloch, he has Robert Black haunted by a crumbling, craggy ruin of a building in which the *mother* of Johnny Carcosa – whose hair and eyebrows bear a passing resemblance to that of Anthony Perkins – is staring silently out.

    Pause for thought. Perhaps Bloch was thinking of his own mentor, in a way, when he wrote “Psycho”?

    Liked by 3 people

    • A socially awkward young man with an unhealthy relationship with his mother? Maybe a little similar, but I don’t think the shower scene works with Howard tossing cutting retort letters over the shower curtain.

      Like

  24. The visual representation of Johnny Carcosa reminded me of this part of a long discussion between Alan Moore and Dave Sim about From Hell printed in the back of Cerebus #2117-220 in 1997. Moore says:

    “Now, moving on to what you actually asked about. which was where I stood on the Free Will vs. Determinism issue: if Stephen Hawking is correct when he suggests that Space-Time itself is a fourth-dimensional solid probably shaped a bit like an egg or an American football, with the Big Bang at one end, the Big Crunch at the other, and all other moments suspended forever somewhere between, then I don’t see how Free Will can possibly exist. Time, while it is not actually the fourth-dimension in the sense that H.G. Wells popularised it as being (after the theories of C. Howard Hinton, funnily enough), is, as I understand it, more properly conceived as the shadow of a fourth spatial dimension perceived by human consciousness.

    What this means is that our view of our own three-dimensional body is limited: if you had fourth-dimensional vision and were standing at a point outside our continuum, you would perceive your human semblance as a form of horrifically long millipede that would wind back and forth over every landscape you have ever or ever will cross during the course of your life. The millipede tapers slightly at both ends. At one end is genetic slime and at the other extreme is dust or ash. Now imagine that each section of the millipede is one instant of your life from birth to death, all fused together. The way our perception of time works in this analogy is like a peristaltic ripple of awareness that starts at one end and passes through every segment in the chain of the millipede’s body in sequence. As each individual segment is lit up by awareness, it only has awareness of what it is, i.e., a segment located at certain co-ordinates. When the awareness moves on to the next segment in the body, it is aware of itself as a nearly identical segment at a new co-ordinate, and it makes the reasonable assumption that it is the same segment and that the segment has moved. In fact, the segment is unwittingly part of a larger organism, and the only movement is the movement of its awareness through that’ organism’s convoluted form.”

    http://www.linkworthy.com/Moore/Correspondence3.htm

    The whole interview/discussion is great btw! It’s Moore on the concept of the fourth dimension after having completed From Hell in 1997. Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you’re referring to the release date on comixology, They’ve mixed-up Providence 11 with issue 7 of Cinema Purgatorio.
      On the Avatar web site it shows a November 30 release date (which is pretty near to December). But, my realistic hopes aim towards a November 9, nothing official, just a hunch based on past releases.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nice hunch!

        Seriously, I’m completely utterly pissed off with this. It isn’t good enough. I won’t repeat myself going on about how every other frigging comic manages a publication schedule.

        But, whose fault is this? Somebody is treating fanatically loyal readers like dipshits. It’s not fair, we buy Alan / Avatar’s stuff, we love the guy and his work. They owe us comics within, say, 3 or 4 months of the date they’re promised.

        I can’t think of any industry you could do such a half-arsed job in, and expect to survive. Since this happens with Moore comics a lot, is it Alan to blame? Or is it just what happens in the more indie, higher-brow comic market?

        Makes me wanna start reading X-men or something. Or the endless, cascading rainbow of Multifariously Hued Lanterns. Why not? Wonder how the Hulk’s doing this week? Maybe he’ll smash some shit up, then feel guilty about it. Maybe Robert Louis Stevenson’s ghost will sue Marvel for ripping off his character. Or Jack Kirby’s ghost.

        Like

  25. Just received an answer from Avatar, Providence 11 is schedule for an end of November release. They’ll pass a note to the Comixology web site for the mix-up.

    So, another 5 weeks of wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been on schedule for a number of dates. That means nothing.

      Do you think this is some sort of prank or something? Or a magickal lesson? On the nature of time, since, in Alan Moore’s view, every comic he’s ever written or going to write already exists in the great rugby-ball shaped 4-D Universe of solid time. And perhaps, since fiction is just as real as real, so exist Halo Jones books 4 – 9. And Halo Jones herself, up in the 90th Century.

      Very pissed off with this. I can take a delay with good humour and a little bit of sympathy. 2 delays and somebody owes us an explanation. But this has gone beyond taking the piss and into full insult. If it were me, at the very least I’d apologise. Perhaps offer some special offer, personally autograph every issue 11. Nobody deserves treating so shabbily.

      Of course it’s only comics and I’m not starving to death, but within the bounds of what it is, this is grevious.

      Meanwhile, what’s going on in Purgatorio? Bugger all, really. That woman’s still watching those horrible films, and giving away precisely nothing about what’s actually going on. I wonder if Alan knows what’s going on in the strip? Maybe these little breadcrumbs don’t actually go anywhere, and it’s just for atmosphere and to keep us waiting for the next issue, that also explains nothing. Next month they’ll start showing episodes of Lost. That’ll keep us guessing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • i’m telling you man, just boycott the last two issues and wait for the trade paperback, you’ve waited this long. with a whole 2 or 3 weeks until the next issue, it’s like infinity, what’s the point really

      Like

      • It was 2 or 3 weeks a couple of months ago. And it’s still not good enough. You disagree, you think this is reasonable?

        Like

      • the first i remember any actual release date being put out there was when we saw the avatar november 2016 solicitations and all the new covers. it being november 2016 now i’m not sure how you can argue that the issue is 3 months behind, unless you’re still demanding that the issues come out on a strict monthly basis regardless of that not being promised. #5 came out over a year ago, so i’d say the dream of 12 issues in 12 months is long dead. you didn’t subscribe to a service that’s not delivering, you’re buying individual books that come out when they do. the position of being such a huge fan that you have to genuinely chastise the creators and publishers, the people who are giving you this art you like so much, for not giving it to you fast enough, is a strange one. we all want them to come out tomorrow, but what’s the use in complaining?

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      • …particularly when we feel comparatively close to the next release. personally, i’m just hanging in there biding my time, trying not to get too excited like the rest of y’all i’m sure. if it’s released this month, i’ll be happy.

        Like

    • That ain’t all. There is no listing for PROVIDENCE #12 in the Avatar January 2017 solicitations on bleedingcool.com (which is owned by Avatar). Looks like we won’t see it until February at the earliest. This isn’t especially unusual for the last few issues of Alan Moore comics series to trickle out at increasingly longer intervals going back to WATCHMEN in the mid eighties. The final issues are well worth the wait as Mr. Moore always sticks to his landing (IMO!).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just asked my comic shop for Providence #11 release date and it’s listed for November 30.

      So just a little more than 10 days of wait. That’s bot so bad.

      On the positive side, the increasing wait between issues of Providence has forced me to reread AM Swampthing run, it’s been at least 20 years since Ive read these comics and kind of forgot how good they were. I’m reading the black and white essential version…the art is so gorgeous in black and white, let me tell you that the colors never did justice to Bissette and Tottleben.

      Anyway, all this to say that came upon a beautiful sentence in issue 24, page 1, panel 4, where Moore is describing each member of the Justice League in prose style, without naming them. Here’s the result for Flash: “There is a man who moves so fast that his life is an endless galley of statues.”

      Kind of resonate with the time theory Moore is so advocate in Jesusalem and Providence.

      Like

      • Avatar’s website says Dec 10th. Of course that’s today. Come the 10th, it could say anything. There might not be an issue 11. It might be some sick joke, where we’re on the edge of our seats from now until Doomsday.

        Like

    • Here’s the answer I’ve received from Avatar yesterday when asking for the release date of #11:

      Marc – should be Dec 7 unless the Thanksgiving weekend bumped it a week further. But that is last we’ve heard.

      Like

      • Since “shipping day” in comics is always Wednesday (that is: ships Tuesday for sale Wednesday), it would be December 7 (or 14 or 21) not December 10th.

        PROVIDENCE #10 was released August 10th. That means it would be (almost exactly) four months between issues. And since there is no PROVIDENCE #12 on Avatar’s February solicitations, we won’t see it until March at the earliest. That’s another three months (from today) or a shocking seven months since the last issue was on sale.

        Like

      • Also, rumor has it that the last two issues will be 40 pages of comics with no back matter (as Robert black’s journal is at an end?). We’ll soon see.

        Savor this issue. You won’t see #12 until March 2017 at the earliest.

        Like

  26. There is this one panel, where Lovecraft is handing Robert Black his Commonplace Book back that somehow feels reminiscent of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam … or at least the Flying Spaghetti Monster version of that Sistine Chapel fresco if you’d prefer. The latter comparison seems more appropriate, given the circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I wonder just how much time Howard Charles had to resurrect his ancestor Japheth Colwen between Issues #9 and 10? This is, of course, assuming that Colwen wasn’t already masquerading as Charles when he and Robert met and had sex the first time … I never always bought it, in “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” that someone as clever and patient as Joseph Curwen wouldn’t have been able to figure out the mode of speech and the manner of the times far more quickly than H.P. Lovecraft gave him credit for.

    Like

  28. Apologies if this has been mentioned already, but has anyone else been reminded by the opening to Black’s proposed Marblehead of the book and film, Picnic At Hanging Rock? In that, five students from an Australian girls’ school in 1900 are on a sun-baked idyllic picnic at the titular rock when they disappear without trace. One is later found alive, but is unable to tell anything of what happened. Speculations flow as to whether the girls were killed in an accident, abducted and murdered, or something much, much stranger. Moreover, the story contains undertones of sexual ambiguity and racial and class prejudice, and themes of fate and predestination hang over the whole thing.

    And not only that, although the tale is actually entirely fictional, it’s often mistakenly believed to be a true story…

    Like

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