Providence 12

Providence 12 regular cover - art by Jacen Burrows
Providence 12 regular cover – art by Jacen Burrows

Below are annotations for Providence, No. 12 “The Book” (32 pages, cover date March 2017, released 5 April 2017)
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: This is the final issue of Providence. Basic annotation are up, comments are open now.

Cover

  • The bridge is a hybrid of two bridges that span Bridge Street in Manchester, NH. The railing belongs to the 1888 MacGregor Bridge (or Bridge Street Bridge) seen in Providence #5 and #6. The supports appear to belong to the present day highway bridge that occupies the same site today

Page 1

panel 1

  • The speaker is FBI director Carl Perlman, from #11, Neonomicon, and The Courtyard.
  • “They’re like spores” echoes Lovecraft’s sonnets Fungi from Yuggoth, the actual fungal entities in his fiction from Yuggoth, and Moore’s early efforts like The Courtyard which sprang from Lovecraft’s sonnets, which were to be titled Yuggoth Cultures (eventually the name of a separate series from Avatar Press).
  • The books:
    • On the right: Three Tales of Terror (1967, Arkham House), with cover art by Lee Brown Coye; a collection of Lovecraft’s fiction in hardcover.
    • Bottom Left: Leaves (Summer 1937, Dragon Fly Press), by Lovecraft’s friend R. H. Barlow and containing tributes to him.
    • Top Left: Lovecraft at Last (1975, Carrolton-Clark) by Lovecraft’s friend Willis Conover, the first edition; a biography/memoir of Lovecraft.
  • Panelwise, the “camera” movement on this page is odd. Panels 1-3 form a gradual, slowing zoom sequence. Panel 4 shifts the frame to the right.

panel 2

  • Any effective narrative acts as a contagion” is Perlman is discussing the Cthulhu Mythos as a kind of meme or infohazard.
    • It is perhaps relevant that, shortly before this issue came out, the notion of “weaponized narrative” began to spread through the press.
  • The books:

panel 3

  • “If half of this is true, then Lovecraft and his stories were engineered to cause what’s happening now.” – Perlman is recapping Providence #1-11, basically.
  • Sax” is FBI Special Agent Aldo Sax, protagonist of The Courtyard and supporting character in Neonomicon.
  • Brears” is FBI Special Agent Merril Brears, protagonist of Neonomicon.

panel 4

  • “An imaginary volume that’s generated several real ones, along with a bunch of screwball occultists insisting it’s all true.” refers to, as touched on briefly in Providence #11, Lovecraft’s fictional Necronomicon generated many allegedly real versions, and some occultists do take it seriously, as discussed by Harms & Gonce in The Necronomicon Files.
  • Perlman’s right hand is prosthetic; his original was cut off by Sax in between The Courtyard and Neonomicon.
  • Robert Black’s Commonplace Book, which ran in Providence #1-10.

Page 2

panel 1

  • “The Book” refers to the first sonnet in H. P. Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth cycle, and can be taken as well to refer to the Necronomicon, Black’s Commonplace Book, and/or Hali’s Booke. One particular section that resonates:

    Trembling at curious words that seemed to keep
    Some secret, monstrous if one only knew.

    • Commenter Lalartu also draws a connection with Lovecraft’s unfinished short story of the same name, which contains the following passage:

      Nor could I ever after see the world as I had known it. Mixed with the present scene was always a little of the past and a little of the future, and every once-familiar object loomed alien in the new perspective brought by my widened sight. From then on I walked in a fantastic dream of unknown and half-known shapes; and with each new gateway crossed, the less plainly could I recognise the things of the narrow sphere to which I had so long been bound

  • Carl Perlman is front right. On the left is Agent Barstow. In the rear, looking out the window at the silhouettes of nightgaunts is Agent Fuller.
  • On the television screen is Yog-Sothoth manifest as the Quabbalistic Tree of Life above Club Zothique in Red Hook, borrowed from Providence #11, P29, p1.
  • Saint Anselm College Library, in Manchester, NH, is Providence‘s analogue to Miskatonic University Library in Arkham, where a copy of the Necronomicon was kept.
  • “You think that could be where we find Merril?” shows that Perlman is still focused on Merril Brears, possibly because she engineered the escape of Aldo Sax, or out of sense of responsibility since she was captured and raped under his command, but also possibly because he still has romantic feelings for her.

Page 3

panel 1

  • “Or Salem where Merril was held captive” refers to Merril Brears held captive by a Dagon cult in Salem in Neonomicon #3-4.
  • “But this cult” is Perlman using the typical Mythos nomenclature for any group that worships or interacts with the Mythos, made popular through the Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game; it may show that he is unconsciously perpetuating the meme.
  • “The church in Brooklyn” is now Club Zothique, which featured in Providence #2, The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Lovecraft’s “The Horror at Red Hook.”
  • “Rubber bat things” are Nightguants. Lovecraft described them as:

    But every night I see the rubbery things,
    Black, horned, and slender, with membraneous wings,
    And tails that bear the bifid barb of hell.

panel 2

  • Since Perlman only has one flesh-and-blood hand, he puts the jacket on his right arm first.

panel 3

  • “Besides, when she sprung Sax” was shown in Providence #11, P28, p3-4.
  • “One of the witnesses said she looked pregnant.” refers to Brear’s pregnancy after being raped by a Deep One, as revealed at the end of Neonomicon #4.

panel 4

  • Commenter Charles points out that this panel and the following page are very similar to the ending of the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds (1963), where the protagonists

    are slowly and carefully trying to reach their car and pull it out and drive off in it without attracting the attention of the birds that are on roofs and trees and phone poles looking down at the puny human’s little car and ready to attack it at any moment.

Page 4

panel 1

  • Nightguants visible on the roofs.

panel 2

  • “invasive species” normally refers to an organism from another part of the Earth, “invading” a new habitat that has no defenses against it. While technically still true here, this is closer to a case of “alien invasion”, where the Earth itself is under deliberate attack by creatures from another planet. Or, as here, another kind of reality.

panel 3

panel 4

Page 5

panel 1

panel 2

  • “This…it all feels like I’m dreaming.” is a possible reference to the prophecies in Hali’s Booke, that the Stella Sapiente and Wheatleys were trying to bring about.
  • “Dreams and our world are two extremes of a bi-polar reality, that can flip from one state to another.” – More insight than Perlman might otherwise be credited for. This interpretation contrasts with, for example, that of Grant Morrison’s overlapping realities in The Invisibles.

panel 3

  • “It shifted in our favor aeons ago, commencing human history.” – This is similar to the conceit of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman story “A Dream of a Thousand Cats“.
  • “A propaganda weapon…” refers to propaganda as media content designed to sway opinion towards a certain point of view.

panel 4

Page 6

panels 1-3

  • The spread with page 7 shows the city of Pittsburgh. As spotted by commenter FRITZSTRIKER the view is downtown Pittsburgh as seen from the I-579 southbound lane, specifically the Convention Center off-ramp.
  • Perlman is providing exposition explaining the events of Providence #1-11. The cityscape in the back shifts to being covered in strange growths, much of it underneath the protective dome. Ironically, one of the intended functions of these domes was to protect from “invasive species” such as those in HPL’s “The Color Out of Space” (see P9, p1), which they have manifestly failed to do.
  • The anti-pollution domes covering the major urban areas are depicted in Neonomicon and mentioned in The Courtyard. See explanation in Neonomicon #1 annotations P9, p4. They are mentioned in #5 P14, p3 and shown under construction in #11 P23, p1.
  • These two pages form a comics polyptych.

panel 1

panel 2

panel 3

  • Note the first turquoise growths on the roof air conditioner unit.

Page 7

panel 1

  • “Has that ever happened before, with any work of fiction?” refers to Lovecraft’s Mythos forming one of the earliest shared universes, one in which he encouraged others to borrow and expand upon. While many works of fiction had inspired sequels by subsequent writers and even led to their fictionalization (Virgil, for example, appears in Dante Alligheri’s Inferno; the various stories of Atlantis all derive from Plato’s accounts, etc.), in terms of contemporary commercial and popular fiction, the Cthulhu Mythos was essentially unique in its appeal and accessibility right at the beginning of organized fandom and pulp magazine production.
  • “Well, probably not since the first Christians didn’t realise the Gnostics were being symbolic.” references the Gnostics, a group of interrelated belief systems that emerged from Judaism which coincided with (and to a degree were influenced by and may have influenced) early Christianity. Much of Gnosticism was concerned with possessing a special knowledge (gnosis) known only to the initiated, and their writings and beliefs were often ensconced in symbolism. Gnostics in general became heretics to the early Church, their writings destroyed and followers prosecuted. It has been claimed that the story of Jesus Christ originated as a Gnostic parable that was not intended to be taken literally.

panel 2

  • “It changes as you look at it” touches on ideas that reality is all essentially a matter of perception, such as Plato’s allegory of the cave. In a more contemporary context, compare it to Schrödinger’s cat, where the reality is determined be perceiving it. This could imply that the more aware one is of the Dreamworld, the more aware one becomes, a kind of feedback loop. This also echoes a comment made by Randall Carver in Providence #8, P13, p1: “Reality might be in a different state where it is unobserved”

panel 3

  • “This feels more Dreamlike all the time. There’s that acceptance, like everything that’s happening is somehow normal.” – A phenomenon usually called “dream logic.”
  • “The world inside us… that’s changing too. Maybe that’s the only world that’s changing.” – Suggesting that the Dreamworld and the “real world” coexisted all along, it was (and is) only human perception that shifts.

Page 8

panel 1

  • The plethora of cats suggest a connection with Lovecraft’s “The Cats of Ulthar”; noticeably they are all white, similar to those Black and Carver encountered in Providence #8. It is possible that the lack of people is due to the cats having killed them, as happened in “The Cats of Ulthar”.
  • “I-I think this is what they call Lovecraft county.” should probably be “Lovecraft Country“: a term used by many for the fictional geography described in Lovecraft’s fiction (Dunwich, Kingsport, Innsmouth, Arkham, and the Miskatonic River Valley), and by some readers to refer to the state of mind that is Lovecraftian fiction.

panel 2

  • “I can’t remember if I have a boyfriend” is possibly a reference to Agent Barstow becoming aware of her own fictional nature. She’s never mentioned a boyfriend before, so does she have one or not? The readers don’t know, and now neither does she.

panel 3

  • Panels 2-3 show form a fixed-camera sequence showing the car has become Jenkins’ car from Providence #5 & #6
  • “So I’m thinking Beeks or one of the cultists, but then why wouldn’t Merril tell us?” shows that Perlman has yet to put two-and-two together that the Deep One (killed by the FBI in the raid in Neonomicon #4) had raped Merril Brears.

panel 4

  • This panel echoes the “Welcome to Manchester” panel from Providence #5, P1,p1. Except now, they are in Arkham, Lovecraft’s fictional city.
  • “Why did I say Manchester? Is that even a real place?” shows that the agents are already having trouble discerning the waking world from the dream world, so that even their memories are affected. Their “real” world is now that of Lovecraft’s fiction.
  • “M-maybe in England.” – Manchester is also a city in England; ironically, Lovecraft’s Dunwich also has a British echo in a sunken town in England.

Page 9

panel 1

  • “Roulet, Japheth Colwen, the witch-woman Massey” are the founders of the Stella Sapiente, first described in Providence #2, and encountered by Black throughout his journey.
  • “This is where the meteorite fell that prompted us to build our city-domes.” is the Providence version of “The Colour Out of Space,” described in Providence #5.

panel 2

  • “I’m assuming that’s was what’s called a Deep One” again refers to the events of Neonomicon #4, where the Deep One was shot by Barstow.
  • “Even in Lovecraft, it only works human male to marine female” is true insofar as “The Shadow over Innsmouth” goes. Though in Lovecraft’s notes he implies that male Deep Ones may have also raped human females: “All opponents killed off—many women commit suicide or vanish.” (Collected Essays 5.249)

panel 3

  • “Is it…is it Merrimack” refers to the Merrimack River which flows from New Hampshire to Massachusetts, and flows through Manchester, NH.
  • This view is comparable to issue #5 P1, p4.

panel 4

  • The agents have arrived at Saint Anselm College‘s Alumni Hall, as shown in issues #4-5. (Though it is now named Miskatonic.)
  • In the sky is what appears to be the Northern Lights, but actually the first sign of Azathoth (see P18, p1).

Page 10

panels 1-2

  • “Students dancing. Didn’t I hear Miskatonic was a Catholic university?” references how, before Vatican II, dancing was considered an opportunity for sin among Catholics, and is still regarded as such by some traditionalists.
  • “Guess that would explain its professors chanting incantations in Lovecraft’s Dunwich story.” refers to “The Dunwich Horror” though Perlman’s logic is getting confused: “The chanting of the men from Arkham now became unmistakable, and Wheeler saw through the glass that they were all raising their arms in the rhythmic incantation.”
  • “It sounds like the Stella Sapiente were on good terms with the Catholic church” was mentioned in Providence #9, P6, p3: “We’ve always enjoyed a close relationship with the Catholic Church.”
  • Borrowing a law enforcement agent’s gun, would, of course, never happen in real life. This reinforces the dream state setting.

panel 3

  • “The ‘Haunter of the Dark’ Church in Providence, wasn’t that Catholic too?” refers to St. John’s Church in Providence, RI, which served as the inspiration for the church in Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark,” as detailed in Providence #9.
  • “His Festival, it’s hard to untangle that from Christmas” refers to Lovecraft’s “The Festival”. The second paragraph of “The Festival” begins:

     It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind.

    Christmas celebrates the nativity of Jesus, so Perlman might be having a subconscious preconception of what is to come.

Stephen from The Courtyard #1 P10,p2 – art by Jacen Burrows

Page 11

panel 1

  • Playing the guitar is Stephen, one of the people Sax was investigating in The Courtyard where he is also pictured playing a guitar. He is wearing his orange inmate’s uniform from the Haven Secure Psychiatric Institute, and surrounded by a circle of heads and hands. In The Courtyard, it was noted that the serial killers cut off their victims’ heads and hands.
    • Commenter Sharkophagus points out that two of the heads here appear to belong to fellow escapees from Haven (just behind Stephen and one head to the left of him). This leaves only Aldo Sax unaccounted for (so far).
  • Stephen’s guitar has no strings. This does not seem to stop him producing music, however, as Pearlman seems to have heard some on P10, p3. Alternatively, it may be “soundless”; see notes to P12, p1.

panel 2

  • “Aldo and the Dho-Hna lady” are Aldo Sax and Merril Brears. “Dho-hna” is an Aklo term given in The Courtyard: “There lies our dho-hna: a meaning bestowed retroactively by forms as yet unachieved but implicit” and “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.” In Neonomicon #3, P22, p3, it is used by the Deep One to refer to Brears’ pregnancy. In Hali’s Book, as seen in Providence #6, P37, it is defined as “That intrusive force whose entry inflicts a new significance.”
    • Commenter BillMessick points out that, phonetically, “dho-na” is similar to “madonna”. Commenter Sharkophagus adds that the missing syllable is “ma” (or “mother”).

panels 3-4

  • These panel sets up a page-turn reveal. The agents “just go” but the reader is not allowed to.

Page 12

panel 1

  • The remains of his victims have had their chests splayed open in a star-like configuration, as was shown in The Courtyard. Interestingly, there is little blood, so they were presumably butchered elsewhere. Their mutilated state does not seem to prevent their dancing.
  • Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth poetry cycle, poem “IX. The Courtyard” concludes as follows:

    […] swarmed with dancing men:
    Mad, soundless revels of the dragging dead—
    And not a corpse had either hands or head!

    (Thanks to commenter Lalartu for pointing this out.)

panel 2

  • “Kinda made me wish I’d married and had children” shows that Fuller has already forgotten his wife and children.

panel 3

  • “Did we arrive here on foot?” shows memory loss getting exponentially worse. The sunken front hub of the car can be seen just on the bottom left corner of the panel.

Page 13

panel 1

  • The car has become overwhelmed with the verdant growth.
  • “The woman who wrote Peyton Place came from? Grace Something?” refers to the 1956 novel Peyton Place by Grace Metalious, who was born in Manchester, NH.

panel 2

  • David Lynch” is a famous American film director, especially known for Twin Peaks, another town with secrets. Lynch is not from Manchester, however.
    • Commenter Malcolm Greenberger points out:

      This is in reference to the fact that the primary and strongest influence on Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” was Peyton Place- not so much the novel, but the little-remembered 1957 film, and, more importantly, the popular soap opera of the same name that ran for 5 seasons in the mid-1960’s. Twin Peaks was a post-modern take (and slight parody) of the soap opera, which is considered the first American prime-time soap opera in TV history, and which also was about the dark secrets that lie beneath your average American town.

      Point being, if stories are spores that infiltrate our world via culture, Arkham is an uncanny epicenter of these spores: Lovecraft -> Metalious -> Lynch. Here we are in 2017 and Twin Peaks has returned, stronger and eerier than ever, carrying on the Lovecraftian tradition of detailing the horror that lies beneath our small-town American sheen to a new generation of viewers. The original Twin Peaks itself irrevocably altered the way television was made and consumed, so in a very real and tangible manner, Arkham has reshaped our notion of reality.

panel 3

  • “I mean, it kinda makes sense that people used to burn so many of them.” references how, historically, book-burning has been a method of suppressing certain narratives that opposed that of those in power.

panel 4

Page 14

panel 1

  • Left to right: Increase Orne, Etienne Roulet possessing a young host, and Shadrach Annesley.
    • Annesley’s bag may perhaps contain “eating utensils”.

panel 2

  • “Both of them are my juniors…” refers to Etienne Roulet’s consciousness being several hundred years old.
  • Orne takes Agent Barstow’s hand, in a gentlemanly gesture, appropriate to his upbringing.
  • This panel marks the beginning of a “divide and conquer” routine, where each of the three newcomers leads one of the FBI agents away from the others.

panel 3

  • “I’m the last senior of the order that’s left. The twentieth century, it was very… demanding” suggests that neither Hekeziah Massey nor Japheth Colwen survived.
  • “Naow” is pastiching Lovecraft’s rural New England dialect in stories like “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth.”
  • “Dutchy” possibly means either German (Deutsch) or Netherlands Dutch.
  • Increase Orne takes Agent Barstow by the arm, another gentlemanly gesture.

Page 15

panel 1

  • “After our great success in 1919” refers to the events of Providence, with Robert Black as the Herald meeting H. P. Lovecraft as the Redeemer.
  • Panels 1-4 form a gradual zoom. The characters are walking east on Armory Street, compare to present day street view.

panel 2

  • “Japheth, we lost him in 1927 when his reinstatement was interrupted. We couldn’t even recover the salts.” refers to Providence‘s analogue of Joseph Curwen, who reconstituted himself with “essential saltes.” This follows the events of Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (written in 1927), see Providence #11, P19, p1.
  • “Then in ’28 there was the business at Saint Anselm with that retarded half-god of the Wheatleys.” refers to Wilfred Wheatley and his brother, and the events of “The Dunwich Horror” (written in 1928), see Providence #11, P19, p3.

panel 3

  • “First dear Hekeziah perished and her house was pulled down.” refers to Hekeziah Massey, the Providence analogue for Keziah Mason, referencing the events of “The Dreams in the Witch House” (written in 1932), see Providence #11, P21, p1.
  • “Pauvre Heki!” is “Poor Heki” in French; Etienne Roulet’s native language and presumably a pet name for Hekeziah.
  • “Soon after that, I myself had a close call” refers to the events of “The Thing on the Doorstep” (written in 1933), see Providence #11, P21, p2.
  • “And in 1937 when the Redeemer died, he was almost unknown.” references how H. P. Lovecraft died in 1937, in relative obscurity.

panel 4

  • “There are others gathered at the manger” is another reference to the Nativity of Christ.
  • This panel sets up a page-turn reveal.

Page 16

panel 1

  • Left to right:
    – a Mi-go (aka fungi from Yuggoth, from Lovecraft’s story “The Whisperer in Darkness”) holding the Shining Trapezohedron (from “The Haunter in the Dark” and issue #9)
    Aldo Sax wearing his Haven inmate uniform
    – a heavily pregnant Merril Brears holding Hali’s Booke
    – first appearance of S. T. Joshi, a renowned Lovecraft critic and biographer
    – a woman inhabited by a member of the Great Race of Yith (from Lovecraft’s story “The Shadow Out of Time”)
    – the brain of Ambrose Bierce in a cylinder held by another Mi-go.
  • The corrupted traffic light is green, while the uncorrupted one is red. This perhaps symbolizes that the changed reality wants our viewpoint characters to go forward, while the original reality is (futilely) signaling them to stop.
  • The setting is the eastern approach to the Bridge Street Bridge in Manchester, NH. Compare to present day street view.
  • Panelwise, from here through the end of the issue, the panel borders are ruler-straight, indicating paranormal perception.

panel 2

  • “Carl? Fuller? Where am I?” is Agent Barstow having suffered the same fate as others that crossed Increase Orne, following Lovecraft’s “The Terrible Old Man,” her spirit trapped in a “vital-jar.” See Providence #3, P7, p4.
  • Shadrach Annesley, the cannibal, is wiping blood from the corner of his mouth, implying he’s killed and/or eaten Agent Fuller.
  • “The moment of the Dho-Hna.” – See annotation for P11, p2.
  • “Come, monsieur” is Roulet’s French slipping in again.
  • “She looks…well, radiant” – “Radiant” is a common term to describe someone who is pregnant.

Page 17

panel 1

  • “Aldo Sax… who invented anomaly theory.” is from The Courtyard. Perlman’s memory lapses are starting to feel like progressive dementia.

panel 2

  • “Carl, that was all just a dream, everything in Salem.” is technically true, from a certain perspective.
  • Merril Brears’ nipples have darkened, as is typical for pregnancy, and she has let her hair grow out since Neonomicon.
  • “About me cutting off your hand.” happened between The Courtyard and Neonomicon.

panel 3

  • “Perlman, I’m still somehow fully conscious. I’m in a hell of melting facts. There’s no way out.” is Sax apparently fully aware of everything, unlike the dreamlike state that Perlman is in. This might be what the Stella Sapiente had intended, or it could be because the swastika Sax carved into his head is somehow warding off the dreaming influence. Commenter matthewkirshenblatt points out the irony that a madman like Sax is arguably the only sane human being left.

panel 4

  • “Our three wise men” recalls the three Magi of Jesus’ Nativity; the magi were followers of Zoroaster, and helped give rise to the image of the magician. Commenter Seigor points out that, traditionally, the three consist of an old man, a middle-aged man, and a young black man – matching (at least visually) the trio shown here.
  • “carrying important dignitaries” – The copper cylinder’s contents are discussed on P20. The other dignitary is the Shining Trapezohedron, which Johnny Carcosa identified as “an abstraction” of Hastur (#10, P23, p1). (Thanks to commenter MS for noting the Hastur connection.)

Page 18

  • Azathoth” is Lovecraft’s Daemon Sultan, the nuclear chaos at the heart of the universe.
  • The bridge is transforming, with both railing and supports changing. On the left is the present day highway bridge (apparently the second Notre Dame Bridge – built c. 1988.) On the right is the 1888 MacGregor (or Bridge Street) Bridge where Black met Elspeth Wade (possessed by Etienne Roulet) in Providence #5.

Page 19

panel 1

  • “Although I’d note an abscence of piping” is from The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath:

    There were, in such voyages, incalculable local dangers; as well as that shocking final peril which gibbers unmentionably outside the ordered universe, where no dreams reach; that last amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the centre of all infinity—the boundless daemon-sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin, monotonous whine of accursed flutes; to which detestable pounding and piping dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic ultimate gods, the blind, voiceless, tenebrous, mindless Other Gods whose soul and messenger is the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep.

panel 2

  • The Aklo reads IA’Y-AZU. This appears in Hali’s Booke (#6, P37) as “IA’Y-AZV, which is said WZA Y’EI, is THE VAST UNSPOKEN NEGTION THAT WORDS BRING, AS THOUGH AN ABSENT SHADOW.” In “The Courtyard”, “Wza-y’ei is a word for the negative conceptual space left surrounding a positive concept, the class of things larger than thought, being what thought excludes.” (Thanks to commenter Valdo for noticing the mirror-reversal here.)
    • The fact that this appears in its written form, rather than its spoken form, may be of some significance.

panel 3

panel 4

Page 20

panel 1

panel 2

  • “Tzzertainly” includes the zz’s representing the mechanical buzzing of the speaker, mentioned in “The Whisperer in Darkness” where human souls are carved onto cylinders.
  • “But as Marcuzz Aureliuzz izz my father” is a reference to Marcus Aurelius Bierce, the father of Ambrose Bierce, noted journalist and inventor of Hali and Carcosa.

panel 3

  • “O-on the contraty. I-I believe I know precisely who that was.” refers to how, in addition to being the foremost Lovecraft scholar, S. T. Joshi is also a leading scholar on Ambrose Bierce.

panel 4

  • On Brears request to “use your coat as a birth-rug” commenter easternheath notes that this is the second time the reader sees a publicly naked Brears utilize a coat from older gentleman bystander. The first time was in Neonomicon #4 P3, after she emerged from the sea.

Page 21

panel 1

  • “In our species, the male has the gene for limiting growth. In theirs, it’s the female. It’s like with ligers.” – Ligers are the offspring between a male lion and a female tigress; they grow substantially larger than either parent species, as female tigers do not have the gene that limits growth.
  • Panels 1-4 form a zoom sequence, gradually isolating the focus on Brears and Perlman.

panel 2

  • “Izz it the one who mockzz?” – The one approaching is Johnny Carcosa, an avatar of Nyarlathotep, who is associated with mockery. From The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath:

    Only to taunt had Nyarlathotep marked out the way to safety and the marvellous sunset city; only to mock had that black messenger revealed the secret of those truant gods

  • “You know, of all the pantheon, I’d always wondered why he was most humanoid.” refers to how Cthulhu is often depicted as humanoid.

panel 3

  • “Jesus, Merril…” and “Y-yeah, but more extreme [than Jesus’ birth]” comprise another Nativity reference.
  • “He’s going to be their hierophant, dreaming a new planet…” references how, in “The Call of Cthulhu,” Cthulhu is referred to as “great priest”, literally a hierophant.
    For what it is worth, Moore refers to himself as Glycon’s “surly hierophant” in his God Is Dead one-shot P10,p3.

panel 4

  • “Yeth. Exithtenth ith a thingle thtep from the thublime.” – “Yes. Existence is a single step from the sublime.” Spoken by Johnny Carcosa, avatar of Nyarlathotep.

Page 22

panel 1

  • In the center is Johnny Carcosa, from The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Providence #10.
  • “You thee how eathily it all thlips away? How it thubmitths before a thtronger ficthion?” – “You see how easily it all slips away? How it submits before a stronger fiction?”
    “Submits before a stronger fiction” suggests that the Mythos is a narrative that is replacing the “real world” narrative that we know – again, the overtones of an invasive species or conquest.
  • “Mith Brearth, pleathe be athured that thith thervith thyall not go unapprethiated.” – “Miss Brears, please be assured that this service shall not go unappreciated.” All of those who “serve” the Mythos appear to get their rewards.
  • “If you would athume your pothithion…?” – “If you would assume your position…?” Position meaning the birthing position, but can also mean to take on a given role (in this case, the Mary role).

panel 2

  • “Thertainly. I think that between the dignitarieth would perhapth by betht.” – “Certainly, I think that between the dignitaries would perhaps be best.”
    Perlman may be a dignitary, perhaps by setting in motion the current events. He is the person who initially assigned the case to Sax prior to The Courtyard. He somewhat resembles the biblical Joseph in that he slept with Brears before Neonomicon. Alternatively, the phrase “dignitaries” was earlier used by Brears to refer to those carried by the Mi-go (that is, Ambrose Bierce and the Shining Trapezohedron).
  • “Monthieur Roulet, do you thtand ready to pronounth the nethethary incantathionth?” – “Monsieur Roulet, do  you stand ready to pronounce the necessary incantations?”
    The whole set-up has the air of ritual; it seems that a ritual with incantations is necessary for the birth to be a success.

panel 3

  • “Oh, yeth. The world will be ath it thyould be. Now, if you pleathe…” – “Oh yes. The would will be as it should be. Now, if you please…”

Page 23

panel 1

  • “Carl, this is all your fault.” is a bit cliche, but a common thing for mothers-to-be to say in the labors of birth.
    Commenter Joseph Thomas points out that this resonates with:

    Neonomicon #4 P8,p1, where Carl says, “And a lot of that, what you went through, a lot that’s my fault.” She responds, aptly, “I believe in fate, Carl. I really believe in fate.” There’s a nice complexity here: if it’s Carl’s “fault” that she ends up pregnant then it wasn’t Providence; here Merril states that what’s happened is fated, but once her fate comes to pass – giving birth to Cthulhu – she briefly recants, placing blame on a freely acting human subject (Carl).

  • “And now behold, for the great sea gives up its lamps…” is very Biblical-sounding, recalling Revelations 20:13 (“The sea gave up its dead”), and recalling that famous couplet from the Necronomicon: “That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die” from “The Nameless City” and “The Call of Cthulhu.”

panel 2

  • Increase Orne is holding up the vital-jar containing Agent Barstow.
  • “When shall the heaven know a marvellous confusion, and the old stars be returned to us.” is reminiscent of “Some day he would call, when the stars were ready, and the secret cult would always be waiting to liberate him.” from “The Call of Cthulhu.”
  • Commenter That Fuzzy Bastard notes:

    To witness the birth, along with the three wise men, there are also three helpless victims: Barstow in the Terrible Old Man’s jar, the nameless possessed woman, and the equally nameless boy whom Roulet erased. One thing that keeps this book solidly in the horror genre, even in this most cosmically accepting scene, is that it keeps those victims of awful violence prominent. And it’s in keeping with the political vision of America underlying this story that the anti-Nativity features three old white men and their black and female victims.

panel 3

  • “Pope of sleep” is Cthulhu; “Unto his mansions” recalls “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.” from “The Call of Cthulhu.”

panel 4

  • “…and in great rejoicing is the world forgot.” is already happening, as shown by the memory loss plaguing Perlman, Fuller, and Barstow.

Page 24

panels 1-8

  • Panelwise, this is Providence‘s first and only use of a stacked 8-panel page. The panels alternate between the parties assembled and the newborn Cthulhu. The fast panel rhythm is perhaps meant to echo the contractions and rapid heartbeat/breath that accompany birth.
  • Note that Moore is sometimes credited with the first comics depiction of a birth, in book two of Miracleman. Commenter “t” points out that “While the birth in Miracleman was certainly more graphic, the first comics birth award should probably go to Sabre #7, December 1983.”

panel 2

  • First appearance of Cthulhu.
  • Commenter Tom points out the newborn is folded within the “caul of Cthulhu.” Moore would be aware of the wording as one of his autobiographical works is titled “The Birth Caul.”

panel 3

  • Again Orne holds up the vital-jar containing Barstow.

panel 4

panel 5

  • “A-an octopus, a dragon, a human caricature…but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful…” is from “The Call of Cthulhu.”

panel 5

panel 6

panel 7

panel 8

  • The eye, with its elongated pupil, resembles that of an octopus.

Page 25

panel 1

  • “it’s more like a folded jewel, o-or a cabbage…” – Brears is perhaps perceiving higher-dimensional fractal attributes of Cthulhu that are not apparent to the reader.
    • Commenter Brian J. Taulbee writes

      Moore in the past has expressed a great appreciation for the subtlety and skill that Lovecraft employed in “describing” Cthulhu; really, as Moore points out, Lovecraft gives you a list of things that Cthulhu is sort-of like, but not really. It’s truly indescribable. Moore has fun with that idea here, adding “a folded jewel” and “a cabbage” to the list of not-quite-accurate Cthulhu descriptors. Now Cthulhu doesn’t quite resemble things from the animal, vegetable, AND mineral groups!

  • “You thyould thupply him with thuthtenanth.” – “You should supply him with sustenance.”
    This implies Brears should breastfeed, which she does in the following panels.

panels 2-4

  • These form a fixed-camera sequence. This serves to slow the action back down after the speed of the previous page.
  • The nature of these tiny tentacles is unclear. This may be part of a deliberate attempt by Moore to give Cthulhu some physoical details which are mysterious and uncanny, while still keeping the same “general outline“.

panel 3

panel 4

Page 26

  • While there is considerable bloody fluid on the jacket, there is no obvious sign of a placenta. Not that there necessarily was a placenta involved in this pregnancy. Neonomicon, in its first and last pages, did seem to show an umbilical cord, but there was no cord-cutting depicted here.
  • Agent Barstow appears to be speaking from her vital-jar, but her dialogue is illegible, even magnified.

Page 27

panel 1

  • “It’th betht you path him to me. I mutht take him to the waterthide before he ith heavy with thleep.” – It’s best you pass him to me. I must take him to the waterside before he is heavy with sleep.”
  • “He hath many thouthanth of mileth to croth before he can retht and dream.” – “He has many thousands of miles to cross before he can rest and dream.”
    This suggests that Cthulhu must go to the Pacific Ocean coordinates specified by Lovecraft as the location of R’lyeh.
  • Shadrach Annesley is approaching from the left foreground. His fingers are bloody at the tips (thanks, commenter keshavkrishnamurty).

panel 2

  • “Shadrach, it is nothing short of certain fact that you’re a cretin to your lusts.” implies that the cannibal Annesley has killed and eaten Sax.

panel 3

  • “No. He ith barely aware of thith univerth, thave ath a dream of hith.” – “No. He is barely aware of this universe, save as a dream of his.”
  • “Tho long, Mith Brearth. Take care of yourthelf, huh?” – “So long, Miss Brears. Take care of yourself, huh?”
    This is perhaps an expression of Lovecraftian gods indifference to humanity.
  • Commenter keshavkrishnamurty points out:

    Way back in Providence #1 [P3,p1] we had ol’ Freddie Dix talking about the Jersey Devil, the tale of a woman who gave birth to a winged monster that swiftly left her and had its own existence in the world outside. Brears gives birth to the winged Cthulhu who is swiftly taken away from her and migrates to his place in the world.

panel 4

  • “New York already seems like an impossible Dunsany fantasy.” references how in Dunsany‘s “Idle Days on the Yann,” in the dreaming world the waking world seems like a fantasy.
  • “I think it’s Yuggoth now.” refers to Yuggoth as the fictional planet of the Mi-Go, or Fungi from Yuggoth, in Lovecraft’s fiction.

Page 28

  • “I think maybe it’s always been Yuggoth.” shows Perlman’s thoughts as binary: Earth and Yuggoth are the two extremes – always coexistant, but few could see it.
  • Echoing accounts of Jesus Christ, Carcosa, in the role of John the Baptist, baptizes Cthulhu. Though this is more of a release than a baptism, as Cthulhu, instead of being lifted back out of the water, will presumably swim off to R’lyeh.
  • The multiple wing/fin-like extremeties emerging from the water are presumably another attempt by Moore to make the now-familiar general shape of Cthulhu seem uncanny and disturbing.

Page 29

panel 1

  • “Philosophically, I can’t object to that. I don’t imagine Lovecraft would have objected either.” The idea of human history as a feeble and temporary construct on an inherently chaotic existence is very much in keeping with Lovecraft’s philosophy.
  • “Wh-where are Lovecraft’s characters left? Because that’s what we’ve ended up as…” again, mixes the real and the fictional (and the metafictional!), as Brears at least recognizes she is a character in a story, at least on some level.

panel 2

  • “Don’t think I’m not aware of the irony.” – Not that Joshi hasn’t been made a fictional character in a Lovecraftian story before, but he would be well cognizant of being dragged into one.
  • “Our principal options would seem to be madness or suicide.” refers to how many (not every) character in a Lovecraft story ends up mad (such as de la Poer in “The Rats in the Walls”) or suicidal (Arthur Jermyn in “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jerymn and His Family.”)

panel 3

  • “No. No, there’s I can’t agree with you.” is typical of Joshi, an eternal critic.
  • “if your mind were altering, and you weren’t aware of it, that would be unspeakable.” – Brears’ mind has been altered. She does seem to be aware of it, which makes the horror less for her, but arguably more horrible for the reader.

panel 4

Page 30

panel 1

  • First appearance of Shub-Niggurath. The lower body appears as fractals of a pregnat female pelvis and upper legs.
  • The substructure of the MacGregor Bridge is visible in the upper left. The view is from the north, similar to this present day street view.

panel 2

  • “That may be Lovecraft’s Shub-Niggurath. In one of his letters, I think he described her as a kind of cloud.” refers to Lovecraft’s letter to Willis Conover, 1 September, 1936: “Yog-Sothoth’s wife is the hellish cloud-like entity Shub-Niggurath […]” (Selected Letters 5.303)

Page 31

panel 1

  • “I’ve never been convinced by the ‘Elder Sign‘ argument. It always seems like one of Derleth’s embellishments.” refers to how the Elder Sign (sometimes a swastika) features in many August Derleth’s Mythos stories, particularly in Trail of Cthulhu, as a sort of ward against Mythos creatures. The Elder Sign is mentioned by Lovecraft in “The Shadow over Innsmouth” and At the Mountains of Madness.

panel 2

  • “Carl, I… I don’t think this is that kind of story.” echoing one of the major criticisms of Derleth’s stories, where humans can (and do) fight back against the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • “I think we should learn to dwell amidst wonder and glory forever” echoes the last line of “The Shadow over Innsmouth“:
    “We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many-columned Y’ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.”

panel 3

  • “But as a existential position, you may have a point.” points to Joshi as the consummate literary critic (choosing to stop and debate about a slightly arcane literary point-of-view), marked against Brears’ optimism and Perlman’s desire to fight.
    Taken together, Joshi, Brears, and Perlman can be seen as each representing the three major reactions to Lovecraft’s work: the literary critics who largely accept the stories and philosophy, yet analyze his life and shades of meaning (Joshi), those who wish a more proactive stance similar to the Derleth Mythos (Perlman), and those who accept Lovecraft’s stories at a more personal or spiritual level (Brears).

panel 4

  • “As far as anybody knows this is a predetermined universe, without free will.” is technically true, since their universe is a comic book script, and from a mechanistic point of view accurate as well.
  • “It’s all destiny. It’s all providence.” This is in the sense of “divine providence,” the foreordained outcome; this could refer to Alan Moore as the author, but it could also refer to Cthulhu as an idea that creates the conditions for his own existence over the course of The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Providence. It reinforces the notion that all the moves and decisions that the characters made throughout the series were, to a large extant, already determined – a view of time where all the characters’ actions had already happened, frozen in pages that just hadn’t been read yet. The reader, then, is the one that makes this a story by reading the pages in order.
    These of course echo Moore’s predetermined eternalism theories of time, explored extensively in Jerusalem – see Providence #2 P31.

Page 32

panels 1-4

  • The page layout echoes the first page from Providence #1, similar to how Black retraced the steps of Lily in Providence #11.
    • Commenter Sharkophagus points out:

      Look at the lovely dichotomy, too – Lily as an individual actively seeking to destroy themselves, Carl as [a representative of] all of humanity passively accepting the destruction of the world around them.

  • This page differs from that opening page in that Perlman is not actually destroying pages of Black’s text, but separating and dispersing them, perhaps analogous to spores (as discussed on P1 above).
  • The page depicted is from Black’s Commonplace Book pages 32 and 33 from Providence #8.
  • The passage in panel 1 is near the end of Black’s recounting of a complex dream, which we now see to foreshadow the events of this issue. The dream is on a bridge which is “like the flat and functional affairs you’d find in somewhere like Salem or Athol.” On the way, he meets “a young man […] with a bright yellow cravat pulled up absurdly to conceal his mouth” – Johnny Carcosa. The bridge changes to resemble “the long bridge in Manchester across the Merrimack”. On the bridge, he sees Mr. Orne, Mr. Annesley, and “a small Negro child dressed up in a scaled-down tuxedo and puffing […] on a gigantic cigar.” Next, “a defeated-looking man in middle age who may have had a withered hand […] tearing a book to pieces” – Perlman. After that, he sees a crowd , including Ambrose Bierce, and “a naked woman, calm and unembarrassed by her public nudity […] appeared to be in the later stages of a very bulbous pregnancy […] had an intact copy of what looked like Hali’s Booke”. The dream is intertwined with Lily’s suicide throughout, and the image from the first page of Providence, of Lily standing on a bridge, tearing up Black’s love letters.

panel 2

panel 3

  • Another difference between this page and #1 P1 is the asymmetry of Perlman’s hands, perhaps symbolic.

panel 4

  • Nightgaunts fly in the distance.
  • Aklo: “AGNADIUORP” Taken backwards, “Prouidanga,” as close to a phonetic rendering to “Providence” as you can get in Aklo, considering that in Latin “u” and “v” were the same letter, and “g” occupies to position for “c” in the Aklo alphabet. It being recalled that Aklo in Hali’s Booke was mirror-writing, so it would have been reversed. See Providence #6.

Back Cover

This quotation from Lovecraft serves to express most of what Moore spent the issue describing, and which the series as a whole has led up to.

245 thoughts on “Providence 12

  1. Thanks for this set of annotations, and for all the others. I liked your interpretation of Joshi, Brears and Perlman as representing the three major responses to Lovecraft’s oeuvre. Moore would be closer to the Brears response (existential, spiritual). In the debate over whether it’s the horror or the dream that is primary in Lovecraft, Moore seems to come down on the side of the dream. True, Brears says that as far as they know it’s a deterministic universe, but Johnny Carcosa affirms that the world is a fiction that easily submits to a stronger fiction, so determinism may not be the last word.

    Like

  2. Page 3. Panel 4
    Page 4. Panels 1 through 4
    “Let’s get on the road. i figure we take it nice and slow until we’re in the car.”

    “Well they’re not doing anything, they’re just watching us…”

    “I’m starting her up. we’ll find out if I can crawl us out of here without upsetting them.”

    More than anything else, This entire sequence really reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s last closing scenes at the end of his classic man vs nature movie ‘The Birds’ (1963)
    (man loses by the way)
    in an apocalyptic ending which Teppi Hedron and Rod Taylor and company are slowly and carefully trying to reach their car and pull it out and drive off in it without attracting the attention of the birds that are on roofs and trees and phone poles looking down at the puny human’s little car and ready to attack it at any moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well done on this whole series of annotations. A Herculean task at last complete.

    Page 1. Panel 4.
    One of the occultists whom Lovecraft made a significant impression on was Austin Osman Spare, his friend and patron Kenneth Grant wrote: “It is evident that both Lovecraft and Crowley were registering communications from an unknown source. The equally sensitive, and, in his way, equally austere, Austin Osman Spare, also sensed these forces looming behind Lovecraft’s work. The present writer once gave Spare a volume of Lovecraft’s stories to read. It inspired him to illustrate the horror of these vast cosmic presences. He felt them pressing on his consciousness, almost paralyzing movement. ”

    Which chimes nicely with the line in #11 about ‘I hear a lot of people who’ve worked with it have these dreams, about something pounding on the other side of a door, or wall.’

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Page 12, Panel 1: The headless bodies are indeed dancing, as is evident from their positions. It is also reminiscent of the small headless figures present and dancing near Lilith in Providence #11 while Tom Malone watches Suydam’s resurrection.

    Page 27, Panel 1 : Look closely at Shadrach’s fingers and you can see that they’re stained with blood, which confirms that Increase Orne’s comment on the next panel is about him cannibalizing Aldo Sax.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m actually very disappointed.
    We have a nicely paced 11 books and then Moore pukes out an ending in a rush to the finish line. Suddenly Perelman is present and others. And the massive exposition by Joshi et al to explain what is going on.
    It feels very off to me. And while that shift in tone and pace is deliberate, it doesn’t work for me.

    Also, the anti-Rorshach ending was more cute than profound. It was so derivative. “Last time the world order seemed locked down, a book was set to change it. Ha ha, you thought the same might happen but I fooled ya. Neener neener neener.”

    And that cuteness extends to the sly winking cannibal moment (“look, remember me ha ha ha”)

    I love the carcosa perspective. I love the dreamlike acceptance of inevitability. And I love his message about reality.

    I just felt the tone and pacing were off and rushed.
    Moore spent years with these books unfolding a mystery and then he suddenly rushes an ending. I understand Moore’s theme regarding the power of books and words, and why the ending centered on the book. But it also felt a bit too repetitive of Watchmen.

    This was so close to being a classic.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with Charles above–the sequence on pages 3 and 4 evokes the conclusion of THE BIRDS. There are close-ups on Rod Taylor’s feet as he struggles to avoid stepping on any of the birds, similar to the close-ups on Perlman, Barstow and Fuller’s feet on page 4, panel 2.

    Thanks so much to Joe, Robert, Alexx, and everyone for their hard work on these annotations!

    Like

    • Joe, Robert, Alexx, the three wise men of this dimension: Let me be another to say thanks for everything you’ve done! This site is a wonderful addition to our universe.

      I love the looser, more associative style you brought to this issue’s annotation, like including the (really interesting!) link to “weaponized narrative”. Seems appropriate to the shift in tone of the finale. And so many great side connections too– I love the idea of Perlman as Joseph, and of the comic characters as eternally frozen in time on their pages.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Random thoughts:

    The tone of this final issue is really unique (although it’s in keeping with the whole series). There’s evil here (Shadrach chowing down on people) and horror (the tulip people dancing, the final fate of Barstow), but they really do feel dream-like, and, oddly, funny. This is the funniest issue of the series by far. I mean, the tulip people ARE horrible, but they’re also absurd. Shadrach leading Sax off-panel to eat him, only to miss the birth of Cthulhu (and then to be upbraided for it by the Terrible Old Man) is goddamn funny. Joshi’s relentless pedantism (arguing that the ending of The Shadow over Innsmouth is horror even in the face of Shub-Niggurath coming down the mountain) is endlessly droll. It’s a much gentler version of the Stars Coming Right than I expected, with much less malice (CERTAINLY much less malice than lurks in the pages of Grant Morrison’s recent miniseries Nameless). Carcosa, for example, is his usual business-like self. He bluntly informs Brears that Cthulhu won’t remember her at all (which is rather sad for a mother), but Carcosa’s not mean about it.

    The woman who’s possessed by a Yithian (which is also quite amusing) really reminded me of the depiction of the cubist woman in one of the final issues of Promethea. As the enlightenment wave spreads, we see people transforming into idealized versions. One woman becomes a cubist depiction of herself. However, mechanical viewing devices reveal that nobody’s actually physically changing, and that it’s all in their heads; that woman is simply contorting herself up. She greatly resembles the Yithian here. Speaking of Promethea, it’ll be interesting to compare these two apocalyptic Moore works now that they’re complete.

    Moore in the past has expressed a great appreciation for the subtlety and skill that Lovecraft employed in “describing” Cthulhu; really, as Moore points out, Lovecraft gives you a list of things that Cthulhu is sort-of like, but not really. It’s truly indescribable. Moore has fun with that idea here, adding “a folded jewel” and “a cabbage” to the list of not-quite-accurate Cthulhu descriptors. Now Cthulhu doesn’t quite resemble things from the animal, vegetable, AND mineral groups!

    As for the final fate of Black’s commonplace book, I think it’s a way of Moore telling us that the old order is truly gone. The issue repeatedly stresses that viral ideas can change the world dramatically, and that they usually get their start in print. Had the commonplace book survived, maybe it could have served as the seed to eventually bring “our” reality back. Now…not so much.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Great thoughts. I think this is also the most beautiful issue of the series. The full page spreads depicting Cthulhu’s first feeding and release/baptism with the whole dreamcast looking lovingly on are strangely moving, and the bizarre beauty adds greatly to the horror/insanity of the moment. And I love Joshi’s expression as he looks on while Brears suckles Cthulhu. The “that isn’t the sky” / Azathoth reveal was another lovely moment, and the attractiveness and colorfulness of the dream flora/fauna, contrasted with the drabness of the cityscape in the double page polyptych (what an appropriate word!) makes the whole transformation to the new reality horribly compelling and appealing.

      Maybe it’s because I was on team dream all along, but I thought this issue was delightful and it ended the series for me in a very satisfying way. For me it retained the weird tension of the series while adding a celebratory element and further articulating Moore’s ideas about the scope and singularity of Lovecraft’s works and imaginational accomplishment, with creepiness and laughs for good measure.

      Dug it.

      I would also like to join in the many kudos to the annotators and thank my fellow commenters as well – like many of you I have been obsessed with this series to a crazy degree for almost two years now, and it’s been great to come to this site to offload some of that mania, and also to keep it going.

      Like

    • I noticed an interesting distinction between between Lily’s destruction Robert’s letter, and Perlman’s destruction of the Robert’s book: Lily had a single stack of pages that she tore in half, but Perlman tore the book in half at the binding, leaving the pages whole. It’s conceivable that some of those pages might eventually be found by someone.

      Like

      • This is of course if anyone can perceive them, or what they mean. It is a nice parallel too with Hali’s Booke in that we don’t even know if the banishing rituals even are banishing rituals or something that was lost in translation or not perceived properly by humans.

        Still, there is always that ambiguity that Watchmen’s ending, that the revelation that there was a surviving sex worker in From Hell messing up Gull’s ritual, and that ultimately Moore himself is known for. Perhaps some hope: a sprinkling of another spore that *might* take root in a fertile subconscious? Who knows.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Regarding the last page of #12 and Perlman’s actions with the commonplace book – on the penultimate page Perlman was looking for a some clue, or some way, to stop what was happening as he read the commonplace book – he says “There’s… there’s stuff in here he copied down from Hali’s book. He said there’s information… symbols that can stop all this!”

        As mentioned in the notes above, the page from the commonplace book that we can see in the last page of #12 is from the entry in #8, specifically from the dream sequence that Black write’s about where he’s on the bridge with Brears. In that entry, the page before the one we can see, says:

        “… when I next glimpsed Lily standing at the rail ahead of me I realised that I’d been mistaken: this was a defeated-looking man in middle age who may have had a withered hand or something, and he wasn’t scattering confetti but instead appeared to be tearing a book to pieces and then casting the ripped pages down into the rushing Merrimack.”

        Perlman has just read about himself tearing the book and casting the pages – and does just that, either because he’s accepting fate and his part in the narrative, or because he thinks this is the clue he’s been looking for “to stop all this” or as others have pointed out, to cast the pages/spores for the next narrative .. or sequel.

        That whole dream sequence in #8’s commonplace book describes the ending in #12, including the location and all the people there: Brears, Perlman, Orne, Annesley, Roulet, Bierce, Carcosa, etc and the fact that Brears is holding Hali’s book. It also describes the momentous significance and inevitability of the moment and how the distance between the two realities (sides of the bridge) shrinks until virtually indiscernible.

        Upon waking Black, making the commonplace book entry, describes the dream as an idea for the beginning of a story and because of its importance feels compelled to write it down. He’s also struck by the significance of the bridge and it being ‘liminal’ – definition: ‘transitional or initial stage of a process, or, occupying a position at, or on both sides of a boundary or threshold.’

        Liked by 2 people

      • Also, and I think I may have read this before in another thread but can’t find it at the moment – but has it been mentioned that Black could be the father of Brears’ offspring?

        Apologies if discussed elsewhere, but might explain that whilst Black doesn’t appear to be present at the ending (beginning) on the bridge he had a significant part to play in it (Brears’ pregnancy) should he have been reincarnated as the rapey Deep One (or incarcerated in it).

        Like

    • I’m really digging this idea above of the commonplace book being a potential seed.

      As Brian J. Taulbee put it: “Had the commonplace book survived, maybe it could have served as the seed to eventually bring “our” reality back. Now…not so much.”

      And, as Dave Seidel noted “Pages falling like spreading seeds….”

      In an inverted sense, could Robert’s breakup letter with Lily be the seed that set forth this whole story?

      I know there’s the distinction that Lily actually tore the pages of the letter, while Carl tore the book in half (keeping the pages intact), but my point is that the “seed” of the breakup letter already implanted within Lily before she tore it up.

      Had Robert not written that letter, Lily would not have killed herself, Robert would not have set off to write Marblehead, and the Stella Sapiente’s prophecy would never have been fulfilled.

      In other words, did Robert’s written rejection of LOVE CRAFT the scenario that ultimately plays out through this series?

      [I swear that wasn’t just so I could make a dumb pun haha.]

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! I was also really struck by that parallel.

        There’s something very lovely and sad about this last link between two kinds of writing: the book of prophecy that could’ve saved the world, and a simple Dear John letter. From the cosmic to the very personal, from a text meant to be read by (or onto…) everybody to a text that could only be read by one other human being.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ That Fuzzy Bastard –

        “From the cosmic to the very personal, from a text meant to be read by (or onto…) everybody to a text that could only be read by one other human being.”

        Wow, yeah totally!

        Robert’s Dear John letter forever changed the individual world of Lily, erasing her existence.

        This lead to Robert’s commonplace book (a gift from Lily) forever changing the collective world of…the entire material world, erasing its existence!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah well, wouldn’t be the first time a cross-dresser complained about their existence being erased by something.

        Like

      • Interestingly, on Page 5, Panel 1 of Providence #1, when we see the torn pages float downstream of the bridge in Bryant Park, several of the pages from Black’s letters appear to have been pulled apart in the same manner that Perlman does to the commonplace book rather than torn in the middle. Either this is an art goof, or Lily didn’t rip them all up but rather cast some aside so that evidence for a motive could be found.

        Like

    • The droll tone that Brian describes sat poorly with me. I prefer Neonomicon’s subtle intimations of coming horrors to Providence’s blunt, bland, dreamlike spelling-out of things and events we all knew were coming. It makes for dull reading to have characters calmly point out how this is Yuggoth, and always had been Yuggoth, and hey look, that appears to be Shub-Niggurath over there.

      There really was no need for this tie-in. Providence could’ve and IMHO should’ve ended in Black’s suicide booth.

      Like

  8. I feel like there’s a “Missing Panel” – one that would connect the final page with the first page of #1 – which would be a lost-looking Robert Black, in the middle of the bridge, as he described in his dream in #6. In both cases, the figure on the bridge is desperate for Black to show up and save them, but knows in their heart that it’s not going to happen.

    Look at the lovely dichotomy, too – Lily as an individual actively seeking to destroy themselves, Carl as all of humanity passively accepting the destruction of the world around them. And in #6 – the midpoint in the story – Robert dreams of literally standing in the middle of the bridge, and is simultaneously in the middle of the in-universe journey from Lily to Carl.

    Note also the colouration of the bridge in the final panel: “For Black is the messenger, and Black is his path.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Also, the dreamy logic allows for a much looser feel, the same way that the final pages of “The Black Dossier” in The Blazing World allowed for Kevin O’Neill to play with space and poses. I like the way that even we, the audience, are forced to just accept the logic of it the way that a dreamer does – e.g. Shadrach just apparently devouring an entire human being raw in a couple of minutes, off-panel.

    Liked by 3 people

      • And it has a similar motif: the fictional characters looking out at the readers, then turning away from us and returning to their world. Mixed, in this one with the sadness and horror of a once “real” person left behind in the “fictional” universe.
        Now I’m wondering how many Moore works specifically end that way, with a world looking away from or to another world (sometimes one specifically embedded in a text). We’ve noted the ends of Promethea and Watchmen as very similar. And yeah, Black Dossier too. In some ways the end of Swamp Thing’s Moore run, with the two hands shaking, was a (slightly vulgar,”comic-book-y”) version of the motif, and I guess one could stretch it to “representatives of an old world look upon a new world” and include the last panel of The Forty-Niners… Ach, what a time to be unable to find my copy of A Small Killing!

        Like

      • @That Fuzzy Bastard – you could also see a parallel with the end of Moore’s “Miracleman” run – a despondent figure looking out into the night sky of a new world and not knowing what’s going to happen next…

        Liked by 1 person

    • My theory is that Shadrach doesn’t eat them entire, unless the changing reality allows him do it so faster than would seem to be physically possible. Based on his apparent gustatory predilection for men (at least we’ve only seen him associate with men, and as a sailor we would have spent a lot of time in all-male populations), I think he is eating…a specific part. You know, something easily removed and quickly eaten.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Also also, how weirdly timed was Ettienne Roulet’s final form? I mean in that Moore planned it from at least #6 (where Black describes the small [n-word] child in a tux smoking a cigar), and yet it has creepy conceptual connections to the plot of recent breakout horror film “Get Out” – i.e., predatory white people finding new life by stealing the bodies of innocent black people, enslaving them symbolically.

    Also also also, worth noting that cigars are a treat typically broken out to guests at a birth by an expectant father…symbolism!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I had just that thought about Get Out! It’s a weird bit of synchronicity that they should come out so close together– great minds thinking alike, or perhaps a darker magic…

      Given how much we know about Roulet, one can only imagine the horror that this old white man inflicted on the host. Considering the behavior of the “three wise men”, Moore has retained the low opinion of old American families that he had as far back as American Gothic!

      Liked by 1 person

    • And in an extra does of synchronicity or irony, the first use of the trope– white men possessing black bodies in order to act out racist fantasies–that I can recall was in The Invisibles #10, by The Betrayer Grant Morrison.

      Like

  11. Very much enjoying your notes! But, I must point out that “Dr. Strangelove apparently suffers from diagnostic apraxia (alien hand syndrome)” [Wikipedia]. He does not have a robotic arm, even if it seems to act robotically at times.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for the outstanding work on the annotations, Joe! And thanks to everyone else on this board who contributed their thoughts and ideas. And thanks most of all to Alan Moore who has proved once again that comic books can be so much more than disposable entertainment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not just Joe – don’t forget Robert (the Lovecraft scholar who does more than 2/3rds of the work here) and Alexx (the superstar commenter who Robert and I brought on board who has done a ton, too!)

      Liked by 2 people

      • My sincere apologies for omitting Robert and Alexx in my shoutout!! You’ve done an amazing job!! May Oannes keep you safe within his mouth!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. The cityscape on pages 6 & 7 (at least the discernible part of it on page 6) is downtown Pittsburgh as seen from the I-579 southbound lane, specifically the Convention Center off-ramp. Ironically, Perlman & Co are driving in the wrong direction, possibly another indication that reality is changing to a dream.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@40.4461922,-79.9906662,3a,75y,227.99h,92.29t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGM41BWpujOhOih7g-RjDzw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Liked by 1 person

      • Anytime Joe. I went to college in Pittsburgh and the U.S. Steel Tower is an obvious landmark for that city if you’re familiar with it. But most of the time the ‘Burgh is photographed from either the Golden Triangle or up on Mount Washington, which both are far more scenic than a shot from above the Greyhound station (as illustrated gorgeously here my Jacen Burrows).

        Like

      • I’m not sure Perlman’s home is meant to be in Pennsylvania, much less Pittsburgh, given Agent Barstow’s comment on page 6 (“We just left your place and we’re in Pennsylvania.”) My guess is Perlman lives near D.C. where the F.B.I. is headquartered. But that’s just a guess, given driving from D.C. to Pittsburgh is essentially the wrong direction if headed to eastern Massachusetts. Maybe also an indication of the “dream state” they’re all in?

        Like

    • Looking at page 6 & 7 as separate images of the cityscape, in a bit of foreshadowing the frame of the dome resembles a large bat wing similar to the dreamscape cover featuring Cthulhu enfolding the city in his wings.

      Like

  14. I’ve almost cried with joy.

    So dreamlike. So powerful. So gorgeous.

    Is a person commiting suicide on page 10 HPL or just some local professor? Can’t understand that exactly.

    Really enjoyed the panel with “dancing men: Mad, soundless revels of the dragging dead — And not a corpse had either hands or head!” – probably one of the best in the whole “Providence”. And the way how the last page echoes the very first. And landscapes. And gods. And dream logic. And… ehhh, that just was glorious.

    We’ve waited for two years, and finally it’s here. That’s the end, and the beginning. Let’s celebrate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m also looking forward to more theories about that mysterious professor.

      I loved the whole dance sequence – I didn’t really want to turn the page, because in some ways I wanted to just let that “let’s just go” panel end the bit, leaving the inevitable pile of headless/handless bodies and blood unseen. A descent into outright gore would have a step backwards into Courtyard/Neonomicon territory. Seeing the bodies capering about, however, with a marked lack of blood splatter anywhere, was imagery worth revealing.

      Do we think the fact that the guitar has no strings is an intentional choice? Because it sure adds to the weirdness.

      Like

      • The professor could have been Peabody, from the Lovecraftian episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery ‘Professor Peabody’s Last Lecture.’

        Like

  15. So Carcosa was lying all the time. Brears isn’t going to be a goddess after all? In fact she’ll be forgotten.
    Did Carcosa ever say anything that was true? Possibly not. I can’t recall anything.
    He is not so much Thrice-Mighty Hermes and much more A Liar and The Father of Lies.

    Like

    • Carcosa wasn’t lying at all. He didn’t say that Cthulhu would remember Brears. He said that she would be rewarded. And in a way she did get to be a goddess: through carrying him. Also, while Cthulhu might not remember Brears, at least not in the way that a multi-dimensional lifeform would compared to us third-dimensional ones, everything else in this eerie pre-determined universe of malevolence and indifference will.

      And the fate of humanity isn’t … clear. Alan Moore has to leave at least one more thing ambiguous.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In addition, she WAS a goddess when she was carrying Cthulhu. Carcosa never said she would necessarily remain that way. And that is just a perspective. She probably wasn’t an actual, literal goddess: whatever that means.

        And as for Carcosa’s quote there, it reminds me of what Merril Brears actually went through, with her sex addiction, with her rape, with Carcosa actually talking with her during it, and — in his own way — genuinely hoping she will be better after her experience and in this old world new again. That said, it could also be indifference and compared to the Messenger from Azathoth, what is a god really?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brears herself says to Sax in Neonomicon 4 – that humankind are “Pretty much vermin” in the new order of things. So I think if Yuggoth were happening, and my fate was a cast off comment to care of myself whilst the main antagonists of the human apocalypse were wandering off in the other direction I’d be pretty happy about it – I’d call that a result.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ matchman: Yeah, humankind got off rather easy at the end of that, considering how it might have gone. Though who knows what their world will be like now that Shub-Niggurath is going to be wandering around the woods.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I think that the analogy would be Mary (Jesus’ mom). Definitely she’s not a goddess, but the closest thing to it that Christianity has. Worshiped like a goddess, revered, portrayed, sculpted…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes… and Mary, the Virgin Mother, also bears the mantle of her progenitors like Isis or as Stella Maris “The Star of the Sea” in which that sea may be our prenatal sense memory of floating in amniotic fluid, hearing and dreaming a world we have not physically entered yet.

        Belief systems don’t simply disappear overnight and are more likely subsumed into new traditions. In the end even Yuggoth is not immune to syncretism, evinced (as in Levin’s “Rosemary’s Baby”) with an inverse nativity. In “Providence” we get a more extreme spin where the mother of the new messiah is not virginal but a raped former sex addict.

        While I did not find this finale a completely satisfying one, it was enjoyable sharing the entire reading experience with the similarly minded via this discussion board. I very much enjoyed the addition of S.T. Joshi as a possibly mocking analog/surrogate for “us,” the Lovecraft scientists.

        Like

    • Gods and goddesses (and religion in general) are implied to be part of our perception of Yuggoth – fragmentary perception of an underlying state we can’t fully understand. So perhaps Brears (and Joshi and Perlman) gets to become the inverse equivalent of a goddess – a fragment of mundanity, part of the dream of Earth that Yuggoth has. The powerless figures that haunt the Dreamworld turn out to be mothers, critics and cops.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Brears admits at the end of Neonomicon that her mind has been manipulated. By the end of Providence she is indeed the inverse of a goddess – without agency or power. She has been lied to and used. And finally cast aside.

        Like

  16. I enjoyed this final issue, but the breakdown of reality didn’t seem to be quite horrific enough in how it affected the final three survivors.

    Sax’s reaction – incredulity that he is still conscious at all in such a world, and horror at being trapped in a “hell of melting facts with no way out” – was a lot more chilling than the resignation and acceptance of the last four pages.

    It would have been horrific to see the characters accept a new and abberant state of being that was totally alien and incompatible with all human values, but I don’t feel that Moore achieved that. Leaving the characters wandering the fey and romantic world of the Dreamlands while debating Lovecraft’s fiction isn’t alien enough. The Dreamlands are as cosy as Lovecraft gets! If you can see the Shub-Niggurath storm in the distance and avoid it, then it’s no more threatening than the stormy regions of Hyrule or Glorantha.

    Don’t get me wrong, the transition to the Dreamlands was creepy and effective at times, but I think it should have struck deeper at the fabric of reality, culminating in the total destruction of the possibility of any kind of human-comprehensible ontology. The idea that Joshi could be a “Lovecraft scientist” implies that the strange new world is susceptible to rational inquiry, that they can reverse-engineer the rules of the Dreamlands supplement and enjoy a successful campaign, or at least a coherent existence.

    It would have been more horrifying for the final three to be more comprehensively lost and damned, left in a state beyond human understanding: here I’m thinking of the ontological uncertainty at the end of Grant Morrison’s Nameless or Stross’s A Colder War. Imagine if Robert Black’s experience in the witch house had never ended.

    I also feel like putting Ambrose Bierce in a brain canister with about 3 lines of dialogue was a missed opportunity, and Bierce should have taken the Joshi role. Just have Bierce step through a tear in reality from where/whenever he disappeared from straight to the end times, and you have a far more charismatic and vital presence for the final scenes (provided you can do a decent Bierce impression, which Moore undoubtedly can).

    Overall, the series is an incredible achievement by Alan Moore. Thanks to the team behind these annotations, without whom I wouldn’t have appreciated half of what Moore has accomplished.

    Like

  17. Leave it to Moore to adorn Shub Niggurath with a myriad of vaginas! She is after all “the goat with a thousand young”.

    Like

  18. So after reading the last issue of Providence, some words on the Speculations post and Twitter, and eventually sleeping on it like a good Dreamer, here are some of my thoughts.

    There was a comment made by Jog about Robert Black being ahead of his time, or perhaps literally “a herald” in being completely oblivious to the underlying eldritch Dream reality around the world even as it faced him plainly. In terms of the Dreamer Prophecy or literature as spores or a virus, I’m leaning towards Robert being a lot like this Old World turned New again’s “Patient Zero” or at least a transmitter of the infection that ultimately takes our world “back to the start.” Talk about a Lovecraftian homage to the protagonist realizing growing horror and foreshadowing.

    I got a little over-ambitious and started to make some faulty anomaly theory between the serial killers and the swastikas and pentagrams in the Kitab. I thought that perhaps Sax and the others had actually been committing those murders as something of an allergic reaction towards Aklo and the nature of the true fourth dimensional reality that they found themselves suddenly privy towards. But the flower-like carvings on their victims were NOT in fact pentagram shaped. And after a conversation with Robert Derie, and a response from Greenaum, it does seem like the killings are more of an appreciation towards this eternal reality, or a way to make people resemble their fourth dimensional selves.

    I think what got me was Aldo Sax’s swastika on his forehead and how he can see the truly distorted cosmological constants made of facts around him. The irony is the madman serial killer may well be the only sane person during this rewriting of reality, and of course he gets eaten. If you recall, the swastika is mentioned in the Kitab, or Hali’s Booke as something of a ward against aquatic beings: which given how Cthulhu is the Dreamer and is affecting reality retroactively, it makes sense that Sax can still see the truth and isn’t affected by the rewriting as Joe, Robert, and Alexx seem to suggest in their annotations. But I have also mentioned that much could have been lost in translation between the Kitab and Hali’s Booke, and you also have to consider the motives of the beings — the Starheaded beings — that transmitted the ideas to its creator to begin with.

    I do appreciate the idea of the Mi-Go and the Elder Things being conflated with one another. That was the idea I got at the end with the meeting and how the Mi-Go there, if they were, seemed to be star-shaped and have wings. The delegate from Yith was an excellent touch as well and something that both it and Roulet both seem to have in common. He had to have been inspired by this from somewhere: or at least they had a role in shaping the Kitab. Of course out of all the elder Stella Sapiente, Roulet would be the one to survive: and the way he talks about Orne and Annesley makes me believe he has been body-switching for much longer than he had in colonial times. Perhaps he was even older than Japheth and Hezekiah. I love the fact that what’s happening now was beyond even the scope of the oldest Stella Sapiente. They are just trying to catch up.

    It’s all at a singularity at this point. The coven that engineered the continuance of the memetic reality-altering virus, representatives of the beings that made the knowledge possible through the Kitab at all, and even a representative of the human literary dissemination and criticism that spread it throughout the world along with the human agents that made it all possible. They all come together to see this … rather cute Cthulhu child be born.

    I have some criticisms as well, of course. The fact that Orne and Annesley are the only survivors aside from Roulet is just … they just seem like they are there after their little scene a few issues back. I do kind of wish that Colwen and Hezekiah had somehow survived, but they were on that train Robert saw so it makes sense that they didn’t make it.

    As for our “living Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder,” I feel like it was a bit disappointing. Don’t get me wrong: Ambrose Bierce was integral to a lot of this development and he had been mentioned by Carcosa before (even though Lovecraft did mention Marcus Aurelius at one time, it was not at all the same thing), he just feels tacked on. I mean, if he’s there after all of his good work, where is Lovecraft? Where is Robert — you know the protagonist we had been following for eleven issues to the point where his end in Issue 11 felt like end to the series? Or, better yet, where is Khalid ibn Yazid who had been dictated the whole Kitab and the Dreamer Prophecy to begin with? Why is it just Bierce? I feel like it is something of a missed opportunity and I can see why some commenters here prefer Issue 11 as the end, even though I also appreciate Issue 12 in its own way.

    Watching the minds and perceptions of the characters get re-written, watching a reality get retroactively re-made, was a strange experience in Providence 12. It wasn’t just horrifying. It was also sad. The journey is over. It has begun. Freewill is an illusion in that world. The characters know they are characters in a story beyond their dimensional understanding.

    The story begins not with a bang, but the last whimper of humanity. It kind of makes you wonder just how humanity managed to hold onto its small, fragile bubble of reality over the vast eldritch Dreamlands at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Also, there is one more point I want to make.

    A few of us have been talking about The Black Dossier and the Blazing World. It reminds me of Prospero. Perhaps it’s also something of a callback to the end of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series too that makes the reference in my mind, but if Alan Moore is retiring from comics — at least full-time — the fact that Carl Perlman rips up Robert Black’s Commonplace Book at the end of Providence being reminiscent of Prospero destroying his books at the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, speaks volumes and resonance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Remembering also that (it’s widely theorised) Prospero’s “I’ll drown my book” was perhaps Shakespeare’s riposte to his old colleague Christopher Marlowe, who has Dr. Faustus scream “I’ll burn my book!” just as demons drag him away to hell.

      The distinction being that Prospero, a ‘white’ magician, gives up his magics when they have served their purpose and returns to heaven, whereas Faustus, a ‘black’ magician, does not repent until it’s too late. Hard to say which the analogues are; but as Carl throws the book into the river he comes closer to Prospero, and perhaps Sax – who is trapped in a ‘hell’ and dragged off to a gruesome fate – is the Faustus.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Now all I can think about as Perlman rips Robert’s book apart and gently tosses it off the bridge — the transitory state between different places and the material realm and the spiritual — sprinkling those seeds, those spores, those ideas are Doctor Manhattan’s words to Adrian Veidt:

        “Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • And, of course, Carl’ arms are spread exactly as Jon’s were when he dematerialised – open-palmed.

        Like

      • Perlman was always meant to rip the book and cast it into the river – as preordained in Black’s dream laid out in #8’s commonplace book entry.
        in #12 Perlman has just read about himself ripping the book – and then does just that.
        A puppet that can see the strings?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely, and spot on – all very cyclical – even Perlman’s reaction to the changing world and his part in sowing the seeds/continuing the narrative.
        I was just struck by the fact that he must have just read about himself doing it and did it anyway – locked into the cycle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There’s some speculation that Black is trapped inside the meteorite/trapezoid – wouldn’t it be more delicious if, in keeping with dreamy imagery/metaphor, the last vestiges of his consciousness is inside the book – and those final panels are the *real* death of Robert Black, now and forever…

        Liked by 3 people

      • Also, in addition to a bridge between an intermediary between worlds and decisions, water is life itself. Not only is it life, in that it spreads to other places bringing life and other ideas with it, but it is a conduit to allow magic to be channeled.

        Also, we can look at the ocean as representative of the subconsciousness, or a river or stream as a stream of consciousness. There is so much symbolism to play with here when you look at the travel of those pages off the bridge, torn palatable and easy to digest or spread, and carried by the currents of the water.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. There are rumors that Moore will start work on a new Lovecraft project for Avatar with artist Gabriel Andrade. Hmmmmmmmmm. Given the wide-open way this series ended, I wonder. Will we see Brears, Joshi, and others explore Yuggoth?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A couple of parallels to earlier Moore works – apologies if these have already been mentioned on other comment threads (I’ve read all the entries, but not the comments).

    First, I was tickled by the way Moore’s using some of the tricks he developed way back in his 2000AD days – the way in #12 that reality shifts around the protagonists with them not really noticing first cropped up in his work in “Doctor Dibworthy’s Disappointing Day”, 35 years ago! And the car’s eye view / time distortion stuff in #5, #6 and a bit in #12 is very reminiscent of his classic Future Shock “Ring Road”.

    Second, Promethea. The apocalypse in Promethea is preceded by the protagonist’s journey up the kabalistic tree of life. If the Providence apocalypse is its inverse, maybe Black’s journey is also kabalistic? In #2, Suydam tips us off to this, parrying Black’s mention of the kabbalah by saying that he’s working on the Qlippoth, its inverse. Are the 10 stages of Black’s journey in Providence #1-#10 a Qlippothic odyssey? Not knowing any more than what Wikipedia can tell me, I don’t know. But the tree of life of course shows up as Yog-Sothoth in #4 and #11-#12, and my understanding of the Qlippoth is that it’s not the opposite of the tree of life, but its shadow – the inevitable other part of a necessary duality. (Look at the cover to #1 – the shadow of the tree creeping across the brickwork, kind of like the Yuggoth growth in #11-#12…!) If anyone’s explored this parallel in more depth, I’d love to read it.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. What’s in Shadrach’s little leather bag? Looks like an old-style doctor’s bag, possibly full of surgical tools.

    Like

  23. A few points that I believe have not been mentioned, and if they have, I apologise:

    First, it seems to me that the panel borders do not abruptly become straight, but rather become increasingly straighter form the first scene onward (where they are the least straight) up to the bridge (where they become ruler-straight).
    Symbolically, this ties in perfectly with the gradual transition of human reality into the dream-world of Yuggoth, both having their climax at the birth of Cthulhu.

    A point that seems to have been missed in the initial annotations is the Aklo phrase spoken by the Mi-Go: IA’Y-AZU. Remembering that Aklo is read from right to left, we get UZA-Y’AI, and taking into account the Aklo version of PROVIDENCE written at the end of the issue, we see that U is used for the V-sound, as was rightly pointed out in the annotations. Adding the pronunciation given in the Kitab and Robert’s notes of the diphthong EI, we get WZA-Y’EI, an already familiar phrase.
    (However, it’s unclear why the Aklo symbol for V has been abandoned, thus changing the spelling given earlier)

    Lastly, the dignitaries. There are two of them, and both are carried by the Mi-Go, as Merril mentions them in the plural: “Those ahead are Mi-Go, carrying important dignitaries”
    OK, one of them is Bierce in the cylinder, but what about the trapezohedron? Unless we are to think of the rock as a dignitary in it’s own right, could there be a possibility that the Herald’s consciousness was somehow placed in there after his suicide? After all, he did come on pretty direct contact with it earlier. I agree with matthewkirshenblatt on the point that Robert’s absence from the event would be strange. I would rather like to think that he observed silently from inside the rock. Maybe this was the promised reward, just as Hali became a lake. This is speculative, i’m aware, but perhaps it works.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmm … well, Robert did have … exposure to the trapezohedron if you recall. I … wonder … I mean, it would be hard to bring Hali there as he is a lake, and who knows about Lovecraft. I suppose the danger in bringing Lovecraft would be that he would be too … big. And it would be too obvious. And as for the trapezohedron, well, it’s there to allow the physical transition of the world: to create that plant life that we had been seeing spreading from the well it fell into and onward. It probably doesn’t contain another intelligence aside from possibly its own, but it is a nice thought that Robert is there somehow.

      Liked by 1 person

    • In #10, Carcosa refers to the Shining Trapezohedron as “an abstraction of Hastur”

      the exact quote is “I’m saying that in naming something formless, they bestowed identities. Bierce shaped me. This stone is an abstraction his creation Hastur. Hastur is the thing itself, that cannot be described.”

      While reading #12 I assumed this was Moore’s way of allowing Hastur to be present (like Azathoth and the other mythos gods) watching over the birth.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Regarding the panel borders, you may be right. In earlier issues I thought that the roughness was thinning, but it’s basically imperceptibly slow, so I found it difficult to be sure of. In issue 12, there is something else happening that I can’t quite put my finger on conclusively yet, but the overall panel height seems to vary a bit – the top and bottom margins shrink slightly – almost as if the page frame is breathing… I can’t tell if it’s random slight printing differences, or a real thing. Anyone else see this and see a pattern?

      Like

      • I think it’s very notable that Cthulhu’s pupil, here and in the Pantheon cover (which I got, it’s gorgeous) is a rectangular shape – in a way the entire thing definitely is his ‘dream’, so it makes sense that we’d see it from his P-of-V.

        In that sense, the shifting shape could be analogous to deep breaths during dreaming sleep *or* the pupil contracting and expanding – becoming straight as Cthulhu ‘focuses’ on images more true to his reality, and turning fuzzy again as he shifts back into ‘dreaming’ about the supposedly-real world of Robert Black, Merril Brears and Aldo Sax.

        This also neatly explains who was watching Robert and Hekeziah in Providence #5…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well it’s definitely present in my issue, but i don’t know that there’s a pattern to it beyond Burrows just cutting a little loose. the “misaligned” panels first appear on 8/9, continues for the next few pages then are mostly gone by the time the borders are straight again. I don’t think it’s a printing thing, as the very top and very bottom panel-borders on a page are BOTH closer to the edge than its accompanying page. But I say it’s random.

        as far as the edges, it’s such a hard call about whether they are “straightening”, but there is still a definitive point where they actually straighten as opposed to just a gradual imperceptible shift. and if you look at the previous page, they’re more wavy than you’d expect being just a notch away from razor straight.

        Like

      • well the pages i see it on are: 8/9, 10/11, 12/13,14/15,16/17… then much less obviously and pronounced from pg 20 on. Seems more pronounced with the splash pages after that point. it’s very hard to tell if there’s a method to it or if it’s just a case of Burrows being less rigid between pages (purposefully or otherwise), but I definitely wouldn’t call it a gradual increase in “breathing”, more something that’s just present on and off for most of the issue. I don’t remember this being the case in past issues, however, despite the minor irregularities in panel shape/size

        Like

      • I agree with MS that it wasn’t present in previous issues, at least not deliberately. There it would do an abrupt switch to signify the presence of some element of the dream-reality at times and places where it would intersect with, or intrude into the then-dominant human reality. In this issue, however, the human world is not any longer dotted here and there with interruptions from the dream-world. Rather, it transitions as a whole into Yuggoth, and it does so gradually. If the panels did indeed not gradually straighten, then it would be left to explain why a certain panel would be chosen to start the straight borders, since everything in this issue happens in the same continuum, without obvious shifts into what was called “supernatural perception” in these annotations. The one point at which it would perhaps make sense is Cthulhu’s actual birth, but by that time the lines were already straight.

        Regarding the misalignment of the panels, I doubt that there is any significance to it. I agree again with MS, it seems random.

        Like

  24. sorry, by both having a climax at the birth of Cthulhu, I meant the transition of one world into another, and the lines becoming progressively straighter. (and not that the two worlds had some climax together, which my clumsy wording might have implied)

    Like

  25. Damn, you guys work fast!

    I just want to say thanks to Joe Linton, Robert Derie, and Alexx Kay (as well as all the insightful commenters) who gave life to these wonderful annotations. I would have had no idea what the hell was going on without it.

    The coolest part being that as I learned more about HPL as the series (and annotations) progressed, I became increasingly “in on the joke” as to what everything meant – all leading to this phenomenal final issue featuring mind-blowing concepts in every panel.

    If Providence itself is indeed a spore, then your annotations and comments are the cold, miserable weather that weakens the immune system and allows the infection to spread. And I can’t thank you enough for that.

    You’re all heralds writing in a 21st Century digital version of a commonplace book.

    P.S. Forgive me if this was mentioned and I missed it, but in regards to Merril Brears being called “Dho-Hna” – this could also be somewhat of a pun on the word Madonna, like ‘donna.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. First, another congrats on the amazing annotations – a perfect guide book into this strange AM/HP dreamland.

    Second, it was so wonderful seeing ST Joshi in the funny pages!

    Quick story: I met ST back in the 80s when I went to Providence with a film adaptation of THE MUSIC OF ERICH ZANN. Going to Brown’s library I asked if anyone would be interested in watching it. The receptionist said there’s someone in the basement who might — and there was ST pouring over a box of HP’s cramped letters like the mad Lovecraftian protagonist he has finally become.

    Again, great site and a heartfelt good night.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. As others have said here many thanks to you all for the great work on the annotations to the whole series – and other insights and features. I’ve enjoyed reading them and all the comments. Has all vastly widened my enjoyment of Providence and I look forward to reading more as we learn more. Cheers!

    Like

  28. Also, I really like how Annesley looks back at us on page 16, panel 2 after eating Fuller. Because a metafictional wink and a fourth wall nod is easy when a reality is being retroactively rewritten and one person’s narrative has been literally consumed by another. And because why the hell not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes… Theres a whole thesis to be written about that look to the audience in Moore’s Lovecraft cycle, from “Randolph Carter” in Neonomicon to Annesley here. And perhaps with a nod to the end of From Hell, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very interesting observation. I also felt in issue 11 that when Black sees the car resembling Jenkin’s, rather than freaking out about the car, he was really freaking out because he was seeing the reader looking back at him.

        This seemed to be emphasized by the next panels zooming in on Robert’s face and then to his eye as he looks directly at us in horror, realizing he’s a fictional character.

        Liked by 1 person

  29. New England. Merrimack River. Jack Kerouac. Haunted. Fantastic Annotations, Thanks to All Involved! Thank You Alan & Jacen!

    Like

  30. Agree with the above that Robert Black is likely contained in the black meteorite; would also be an interesting echo of Moore’s work on Supreme, in which the villain of the piece ends up absorbing so much Supremium (analogous to Kryptonite – the book is a really fun riff on silver-age Superman stories) that he is transmuted bodily into the meteor that crashes into earth and gives the infant Supreme superpowers.

    I suspect on rereading we’ll find clues that Black is removed from time and then placed back into the continuum as the meteorite, rendering him both powerless and also able to perceive the entire sequence of events unfolding before him again and again, actually. A good indicator of this off the top of my head: Time gets weirder and weirder as he approaches it.

    Agree too that all of Providence kind of feels like the dark reverse of Promethea, in which the world is transformed by the arrival of an unknowable god. Except here it’s all destroyed and made terrifying whereas in Promethea it’s this kind of optimistic, heavenly place. Perhaps I’m overreaching here but this is something Moore touches on in Promethea itself in the Mars issue, where Sophie and Barbara visit the qlippoth of Asmodeus, who suggests to them that every one of the spheres has a qlippoth – a dark side to contrast the light. In examining all of humanity’s worst impulses – racism, classism, sexual bigotry, suicide, etc – perhaps Moore has written the qlippoth of Promethea?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’d be interested in seeing those clues, since it’s not something I guessed at. It would make sense in contrast with the “Always This Moment” pronouncement from Johnny Carcosa. What would be the connective tissue between Black’s death and the shining trapezoid?

      Like

      • well I think Johnny Carcosa is in/of the meteor. Maybe when he, uh, services Robert he’s also pulling him into the object itself, and that realizing he’s both a part of the whole continuum and alive outside of time AND still doomed to live out the rest of his life drives him to end that life as quickly as possible?

        Like

      • Regarding Sam’s comment: perhaps Carcosa got more from Robert than one might expect (Carcosa isn’t human, after all), such as an essential part of his lifeforce. Which, along with the experience itself, may have further contributed to Robert’s unraveling.

        Like

      • Hurm. They are connected thematically – Carcosa as an avatar of Nyarlathotep is a ‘messenger’-type deity, not unlike Hermes/Thoth/Hermes Trismegistus – one of whom appears in Black’s Commonplace Book. It would also explain Carcosa’s more gentle, apologetic approach to Brears as opposed to his brutal ‘rewarding’ of Black – the idea becoming infected with characer traits of the author as it is reinterpreted.

        Of course, if we’re reading symbolism into everything, Moore himself could be another avatar of Nyarlathotep – who famously went around with a frightful prophetic cinema reel…

        Like

      • haha i gotta say it’s an EXTREME stretch for me to imagine that Robert Black is in the trapezohedron. I’d love our dear protagonist to be present in this issue, but to me there just are no indications of this whatsoever beyond conjecture. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but i do not think Moore has given us any clues to suggest this is true. And I do think it’s the kind of thing that would be blatantly hinted at (especially in an issue where things are spelled out for us the entire page count). We get some very easy clues about Ambrose Bierce being in that cylinder but NOT any indications that Black is in the stone? seems weird, and not Moore’s style. if #11 had unexplainably ended on an image of the trapezohedron, or something in black’s dream about the climax, i might be more on board.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Except there, Moore gave the reader a choice – it was up to us whether the journal got published or thrown away – in keeping with the style of classic ongoing comics, with their “to be continued” attitude; whereas here, recalling the resigned fatalism of Lovecraft’s works, we just have to accept that all hope is lost.

      Liked by 3 people

  31. I like also the parallel between the birth here and the birth in Miracleman – makes me compare the final pages here with those of Moore’s Miracleman run. That despondent figure, in a massively altered world, accepting of the changes but uncertain about what happens next…

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Important to note too that as baby Cthulhu swims down to a literal R’lyeh to dream, the first and final page of Neonomicon is given a triple meaning, as is its caption: “It’s the end and the beginning. He’s beneath the waters now, but soon, in only a few months, he will come forth. And until then he sleeps. And dreams.”

    R’lyeh is no longer Brears’ womb and the waters are no longer amniotic fluid. I don’t know if Cthulhu will come forth “in only a few months” but if he does it will be into a very different world, and the world he’s dreaming into existence is our own.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. (Twin Peaks SPOILER ALERT)

    I haven’t read Peyton Place but it seems that it includes incest, lust and murder. Here comes a thought:

    PROVIDENCE: We have a spirit (Etienne Roulet) possessing a man (Edgar Wade) that kills his daughter (Elspeth Wade) and few years later rapes her using Black’s body.

    TWIN PEAKS: We have a spirit (Bob) possessing a man (Leland Palmer) that rapes and kills his daughter (Laura Palmer).

    I think Lynch and Moore are the two great magicians of our times and this reference makes me very happy :). It’s a very good end/beginning, with that creepy shift of our reality, the Mi-Go, the Great Race of Yith, Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath, Joshi, … Maybe a bit overexplained, with ideas that Alan Moore has said before in interviews and two characters of a minor comic closing this indispensable one, but anyway, I think Providence is between Alan’s best works.

    Thanks again to Joe, Robert, Alexx and the commenters.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Great connection to Lynch! I was gobsmacked by the Black/Wade possession issue, and didn’t make the connection to Twin Peaks. Looking forward to the return to Twin Peaks coming soon.

      Like

  34. Don’t know if this just being too obvious, but on p25 p1 Sax begins to freak out while viewing the birth, which ties in with his female genitalia issues from The Courtyard and I think re-iterated in the final issue of Neonomicon.

    Initially in The Courtyard I felt that aversion was a call-back to Lovecraft himself being both asexual (in his writings) and Sax sharing his racist under-tones, but could it be something more? We don’t get a lot of details about the other three captured “serial killers”, but what if they also shared Lovecraft and Sax’s xenophobias? Perhaps something in their psyche made them susceptible to Aklo in addition to their random exposure? Lots of fans were exposed, but only a few started sculpting. Sax’s state of Leng would have shown him the birth of Chthulhu and maybe the abandonment of our reality permeated his reactions to such things retroactively? If the other killers showed similar penchants I’d suspect an intentional theme by Moore.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I dunno, Leng-o-vision doesn’t seem to let people see the future, just the present / recent past overlaid on itself. Merrill and Sax knew what was going to happen, but they hadn’t actually seen it.

      The hobo who was one of the killers, was found with DMT up his arse. I think that’s the key, DMT + Aklo. DMT to put the brain into the right receptive state. DMT exists naturally in the body, so perhaps at some time past we all had lots more DMT and some freaky Great Old Ones spoke Aklo and we were all their slaves. Or their past selves, or future, or whatever, something weird anyway.

      All of them had heard Aklo, I think, had the “virus” passed to them.

      We can’t really say why those people specifically, because we know almost nothing about them. But we have seen the process in action on Sax. He was a bit eccentric, but stable and normal enough to be employed by the FBI, they don’t take obvious fruitcakes. Sax specifically notes that the three killers have seemingly nothing in common, that’s why they’ve put him on the case, he specialises in making connections where there seemingly are none.

      Maybe the details of the grand plan needed for Merrill to have a few assistants, so that’s why they were there.

      Like

  35. Great issue, and great annotations by everyone; definitely this providential trip wouldn’t have been so exiting without this blog, thanks to Joe, Robertus 😉 and Alexx, and to everyone who followed this blog (like me) with the same attention as to the comic.
    I read some other commentators saying: “thanks… it’s been great…, etc. in a Game-over tone, but if Alan Moore continues being Alan Moore, then I’m sure there will be more lovecraftian facts and details that will continue emerging from the depths of this (near perfect) comic, in the meanwhile I’ll keep reading you guys and gals.
    Oh! and one more thing, I can not help but giggle a bit when I imagine S. T. Joshi saying something like: “In your face L. Sprague de Camp!” when he sees himself witnessing, in the comic, the nativity of Cthulhu. Ho-ho-ho!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Random, non-critical identity questions I have: Who is the Miskatonic professor? Who is young black man possessed by Roulet? Who is the woman inhabited by the Yith? (These are possibly unanswerable, which is fine.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m pretty sure Roulet possesses Elspet’s great-grandson or something.
        What’s weird is why the Yith woman behaves so strangely? In HPL’s story the alien who inhabited the human body, looked normal.

        Plus what I really don’t understand is why Bierce in present, but Abdul, Black and Lovecraft are not? Okay, perhaps Black and HPL are dead for good. But what about the Arab?

        Like

      • If you read “The Shadow Out of Time,” you will find that the Yithian possessing Peabody didn’t, in fact, know exactly how to act like a human being: which is why everyone thought the Miskatonic Professor had a nervous breakdown at the time: at least in the Lovecraft story, though it is also hinted upon in Moore’s Providence text as well. Still, if anything, the way the Yith controls the woman’s body makes her look like she has suffered the effects of a stroke or organic brain damage if nothing else.

        Like

      • I think the Yithian is just possessing some random woman. Or she might be from some cult somewhere and Johnny’s corralling her along.

        She’s acting weirdly because she’s trying to see out of her hand. She’s lifting it up high to get a better view. Merrill explains to her that that’s not how it works in humans. The Yithian is perhaps not an experienced pilot of humans.

        Like

    • Abdul Alhazared is Khalid “Hali” ibn Yasid in this book, and he’s now “a lake of flourescent gas near a star in Taurus”. Hard for him to turn up, unless he was somehow mixed up inside Azathoth.

      Like

  36. By the way, a point I forgot to mention yesterday.

    It seems to me that everyone forgot about the section of Hali’s Booke that is almost _exactly_ represented in the issue.

    “The one that is like to a door all made of orbs shall be first manifest (…) The one whose self is a constellation and who is beyond all naming and all knowing (…) The one with many faces who is their dread voice (…) She who is the fertile cloud which procreates without cease (…) And at last the one that shall dream a new past that can include his birth, his sovereignty, and his dreaming”

    The gods appear right in that order: Yog-Sothoth – Azathoth (constellation-like!) – Nyarlathotep (Carcosa) – Shub-Niggurath – Cthulhu.

    Well, the Goat actually arrives after Cthulhu’s birth, but I guess she was just crossing the woods or something.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Plus the almost literal interpretation in Black’s Commonplace book were the events are described in detail in his dream sequence.
      And when we get to the \climax’ in #12 Brears appears to be holding a copy of Hali’s booke and Perlman has a copy of Black’s commonplace book.

      Like

  37. If Carcosa “is” Hermes it’s worth remembering that the elusive Hermes wasn’t just the messenger god, but the god of liars, thieves, travellers, of liminal situations, of interpreters and translaters and commentators. Interpretive analysis is called Hermeneutics after Hermes. This whole thread is Hermeneutics. And the whole of PROVIDENCE is an interpretive analysis of Lovecraft’s fiction. And it turns out reality melts into Hermeneutics too. So Carcosa is running the whole metafictional show

    Liked by 4 people

      • Hermes is supposed to bring wisdom, isn’t he? Robert’s been completely clueless. If Hermes is a postman, Robert is an envelope.

        Like

    • I’m just saying, look at that commonplace book cover! and of course his official title of Herald/Messenger.
      Intentional parallels between carcosa and robert black, or just muddled thematics?!

      Like

  38. Aw geez. That was lovely.

    It was great seeing Jasen Burrows get to go full-on P. Craig Russell psychedelic for such an extended time. I feel like this is the issue his art has been building towards ever since those lovely Ditko-ish spreads towards the end of The Courtyard.

    But daaaaaamn, I can see why this issue took longer to color than earlier ones!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Also, along with the psychedelia, this is also the issue where some of the physical stiffness of his characters pays off. The David Lynch reference snapped it into focus for me: many of the characters have been as eerily nonchalant and off-kilter as a figure from a Lunch movie. The woman with her arm raised could easily be a minor character in Fire Walk With Me. And in retrospect, it seems oddly right that a terrified Black, fleeing the Witch House, should put on his shirt with a somnambulistic torpor. That’s just how a Lynch character would do it

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Page 10, panel 1 – “Borrowing a law enforcement agent’s gun, would, of course, never happen in real life. This reinforces the dream state setting.”

    This somewhat echoes Merril Brears and Agent Lampur giving up their guns (and clothes) to the cult in Neonomicon, since that would also never happen in real life (although Brears and Lampur did this years before the reality-shifting dream state setting that’s going on here).

    Like

    • I think it is important to remember that this series (Courtyard, Neonomicon, Providence) has never been in the “real world”. There has been domes over cities, Farrakhan Day, and Suicide Gardens. The entire series has methodically pulled at the threads of reality since the very beginning.

      If this ends up being the final Lovecraftian work by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, it is a fitting one. I have enjoyed their work since the very beginning with The Courtyard and I plan to keep these issues nearby at all times for the rest of my days. In fact, over the last year and a half my Providence issues have gone back and forth to France with me twice. I plan on getting the series professionally bound so it can sit aside my Lovecraft editions on the shelf.

      I live in an industrial city located along the Merrimack river Northern Massachusetts , and have my entire life. I was introduced to Lovecraft around 11 years old at my local Library. I live in Lovecraft Country… 25 minutes from Arkham.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve lived in southwest New Hampshire for 20 years, about an hour from Manchester. The views of the bridge in the reveal when the Magi+1 come upon Brears et al. is familiar to me (even more to my wife, who has spent more time in Manchester than I). And I have driven through Athol (or very near it) many times. I’ve never had an occasion to stop there, and it’s even less likely after reading this book.

        Liked by 1 person

  40. I wonder if it is implied that the cats had eaten the people in the houses, since they appear at the same time the absence of people on the street is being questioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Thought everyone here would enjoy this – I was recommending the series to someone today, and put it this way: “You know how Jesus always said he hadn’t come to end the law of Moses, only to fulfil it? That’s what Alan Moore has done with the works of HPL.”

    Like

  42. Hey, Joe Linton: you might add, to your annotation for page 23, panel one,
    “is a bit cliche, but a common thing for mothers-to-be to say in the labors of birth”
    that Merril’s line, “Carl, this is all your fault,” is a direct reference to Neonomicon issue 4, page 8, panel one, where Carl says, “And a lot of that, what you went through, a lot that’s my fault.” She responds, aptly, “I believe in fate, Carl. I really believe in fate.” There’s a nice complexity here: if it’s Carl’s “fault” that she ends up pregnant then it wasn’t Providence; here Merril states that what’s happened is fated, but once her fate comes to pass – giving birth to Cthulhu – she briefly recants, placing blame on a freely acting human subject (Carl). So is the end of the novel fated, was it really providence, or does it only seem so because it comes to pass, because it’s the end result of humans acting freely, making choices? From outside of time, it looks like we have no free will (because the beginning and ending and all in between exist simultaneously), but that whole of simultaneous time exists as it does because it’s the result of the choices we make from within time. Black chooses to leave New York, to write his book, just as Carl chose to put Merril on this case, even knowing (or perhaps because he knows) of her sex addiction.

    Likewise, Moore and Burrows’ Lovecraft work, once finished, exists simultaneously – we can read the final page of Providence and then go back and check out Neonomicon #4 (they both exist, are unchangeable) – but, metafictionally, they exist only because of the choices Burrows and Moore made while writing and illustrating the books: their choices created the whole that we can now view from outside its narrative world.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s