Providence 3

Providence #3 regular cover, art by Jacen Burrows
Providence #3 regular cover, art by Jacen Burrows

Below are annotations for Providence #3 “A Lurking Fear” (40 pages plus covers, cover date July 2015 – released August 12, 2015)
Writer: Alan Moore (AM), Artist: Jacen Burrows (JB), based on works of H.P. Lovecraft (HPL)

>Go to Moore Lovecraft annotations index

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

WARNING: SPOILERS!

General: Providence #3 is out. Issue 3 covers have been publicized via this Bleeding Cool article. A tiny bit more preview material is at this Avatar Press article. Read our Providence #3 preview here. We’ve got basic annotations published, and will continue to revise and refine. We suggest reading Lovecraft’s story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” if you want to understand Providence #3 references.

Cover

  • The regular cover depicts Salem, Massachusetts.
  • In Providence #2 P30, Black writes that he’s thinking of going to Boggs Gold Refinery, which is in the fictional town Innsmouth from Lovecraft’s story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” In Neonomicon, Moore and Burrows associated Innsmouth with the real-world Salem. Neonomicon locates Boggs’ tunnels (Neonomicon #2, P15) in Salem. Leonard Beeks states “Jack Boggs was who Ech-pi-el based Obed Marsh on” (Neonomicon #2, P15,p2.) Obed Marsh is a central character in “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” More background here.
  • The cover depicts Lovecraft’s description of Innsmouth, with “sagging roofs” and two of “three tall steeples.”
  • Both Providence #1 and #2 covers depict locations at, apparently, slightly later dates that the comics’ internal 1919 setting, so the Salem shown could be somewhat more recent.

Page 1

panel 1

  • The hand belongs to Robert Black, Providence‘s protagonist. The location is Salem, Massachusetts. The date is July 23, 1919.
  • The pamphlets for St. Jude’s are visible, see P35.
  • This panel is repeated at the top of Pages 3 and 4. Though the panel is still, the reader’s imagination fills in the act of ringing the bell.

panel 2

  • As in earlier issues, flashbacks are shown in sepia tone. Similar to the structure of Providence #2, Moore and Burrows fill in very recent backstory that has taken place since the prior issue.
  • Black has wandered into the 1919 Actors’ Equity Strike.
  • The hand on the right belongs to Charley, who was introduced in Providence #1 P7,p1.
  • Nancy Cunard” was an heiress and writer, known for wearing elaborate jewelry.
  • Many of the men in this scene are wearing straw hats, which were very popular during the era for summer wear. Lovecraft himself wore such a hat, as shown in this photograph:

    H. P. Lovecraft, June 1919
    H. P. Lovecraft, June 1919

panel 3

  • “Bill Fields” is better known as W. C. Fields, a famous comedian.
  • Prohibition” refers to the very recently approved ban on alcohol which took effect June 30, 1919.

panel 4

  • Vaudeville” is a genre of popular theater entertainment; W. C. Fields worked as a vaudeville comedian before switching to cinema.
  • “What went on in poor old Russia” apparently refers to the 1917 Russian Revolution. It’s also worth remembering that H. P. Lovecraft’s wife was an émigré from the Russian Civil War.

Page 2

1919 Actors Strike historic photo via Flickr
1919 Actors’ Strike historic photo via Flickr

panel 1

  • Burrows appears to have based this page on this historic photo of the 1919 actors’ strike.
  • The location is 45th Street, just east of Broadway, in New York City. This is in the Times Square area where Black lives.
  • The issue’s title “A Lurking Fear” references the 1922 Lovecraft’s short story “The Lurking Fear.” While not largely connected with the events of Lovecraft’s story, “The Lurking Fear” has been cited as a precursor to some of Lovecraft’s themes of inbreeding, degeneration, and biological determination that appeared in 1931 in “The Shadow over Innsmouth.”

Page 3

panel 1

  • Repeats P1,p1 above.

panel 2

  • Again sepia tone indicates past.
  • The birthmark on the man’s face re-emerges in Black’s dreams on P18,p2, and as a facial tattoo on P30.

panel 3

  • This panel contrasts with the lower-class bus ride on Pages 25-26 at the end of this issue. Both feature mother and child waving at a transit window.
  • “More people like us” overtly portrays the woman’s xenophobia or class-awareness.

panel 4

  • “Fisher Fast Freight” is obscured to resemble “Fish Fast Fright” which is in line with the “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” fishing, water, and sea themes. This was noted by commenter lonepilgrimuk.
  • In the lower right a black cat is visible. Black cats have cameos in three of four Neonomicon issues, and may tie in to Lovecraft’s life and works. See annotations for Neonomicon #1 P17,p4.

Page 4

panel 1

  • Repeats P1,p1 above.

panel 2

  • First appearance of Zeke Hillman, proprietor of the Hillman Hotel.
  • Salem/Innsmouth residents’ speech, apparently much slower than others, is given its own font.
  • The setting is made clearer. This is the hotel where the protagonist of Lovecraft’s story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” (Story hereafter abbreviated as “Innsmouth.”)

panel 3

  • “Black… down as Mr. Block” refers to real-life writer Robert Bloch who Robert Black is at least partally based on. See some further notes on Black/Bloch where he first appears in Providence #1 P2. Noted by commenter max.
  • “Out of her depth” is one of numerous references to water, sea, and fishing – reminiscent of “Innsmouth.”
  • Commenter dvn61 points out the clever positioning of Hillman and the marlin behind him. This perhaps hints at the way Innsmouth folk, descended from humans mating with “Deep Ones” a race of undersea fish-frog-people, late in life metamorph into fish creatures and “take to the water.”

panel 4

  • The reader’s first clear look at the face of the proprietor who has the “Innsmouth look” from Lovecraft’s “Innsmouth.” Innsmouth’s population is largely humans interbred with a race of undersea fish-frog-people. Lovecraft described the Innsmouth look as “Some [Innsmouth folk] have queer narrow heads with flat noses and bulgy, stary eyes that never seem to shut, and their skin ain’t quite right. Rough and scabby, and the sides of their necks are all shrivelled or creased up. Get bald, too, very young.” Black goes on to describe the Innsmouth look in his Commonplace Book (see P33 below.)

Page 5

panel 1

  • Black literally gives the clerk a sidelong glance.
  • The collar of the innkeeper’s shirt hides any tell-tale gills, but the skin on his neck is notably wrinkled – see also the Innsmouth look described above on P4,p4 notes.
  • Black is wearing the same green tie as when he met Malone in the last issue.

panel 2

  • “Berth” is another nautical term, which can mean either a port or harbor where a ship can moor, or a bed or other place to sleep on a ship.
  • Bogg’s Refinery is Providence‘s analog for Obed Marsh’s gold refinery from “Innsmouth.” In Neonomicon #2, Moore and Burrows reveal that Lovecraft based Obed Marsh on Jack Boggs. See this blog post for further explanation. Tobit Boggs, by extension, is the equivalent of Barnabas Marsh, his grandson.

panel 3

  • “The Boy Boggs” contrasts with “Old Man Marsh” in “Innsmouth.” It also resonates with KingGeorge’s frequent use of the word “boys” in Providence #7.
  • “The square your bus come into” references similar events in “Innsmouth.”
  • “St. Joad’s” is a reference to sonnet XXV in Lovecraft’s cycle Fungi from Yuggoth: “Beware St. Toad’s cracked chimes!” Aghast, I fled—
    Till suddenly that black spire loomed ahead.
  • “The Lodge House” – In “Innsmouth,” the Esoteric Order of Dagon was situated in what was the Masonic Lodge.
  • The view out of the window includes the same windows and chimney as when Agent Brears looks out of hotel window in Salem in Neonomicon #2, P4,p1. It is possible that these stories take place in the same room, though it appears that the Providence room is slightly lower than the Neonomicon one. The furnishings, beds, and windows are different.
The views of Salem/Innsmouth from the hotel window in Providence (left) and Neonomicon (right.) Art by Jacen Burrows.
The views of Salem from the hotel window in Providence (left) and Neonomicon (right.) Art by Jacen Burrows.

panel 4

  • “Lest you plan on swimmin'” again a nautical reference.

Page 6

panel 1

  • “Hillman Hotel” is Providence‘s similar sounding analog for Lovecraft’s Gilman House hotel in “Innsmouth” where it is described as a “building with remnants of yellow paint” as shown here.
Oannes
Oannes illustration from Curious Myths of the Middle Ages by Sabine Baring-Gould – via Wikipedia

panel 2

  • “Friends of Oannes” appears to be Providence‘s analog for Lovecraft’s Esoteric Order of Dagon, again from “Innsmouth.”
    Oannes was a figure in Mesopotamian religion, and was considered identical to the Sumerian Dagon. Perhaps coincidentally, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy/B.P.R.D. universe (which clearly draws from Lovecraft mythos) also features an Oannes Society.

panel 4

  • Saint Jude was one of the Apostles of Jesus, the patron saint of lost causes – a rather fitting figure for a fishing town, where the sailors and fishermen might have to be buried at sea. Presumably, the “Joad” on page 5 represents something of the local accent.

Page 7

panel 1

  • The name of Providence‘s equivalent to Innsmouth’s Manuxet River is the real life North River, mentioned on P5,p3 above.
  • Boggs’ Refinery uses an old-fashioned water wheel.

panel 2

  • Boggs’ Refinery – see P5,p2 above.

panel 3

  • “Salvage” is a technical term for recovering a ship, or its cargo or other property, when it has wrecked. “Wash up at my door” is similarly nautical.
  • The voices from off panel belong to Increase Orne and Tobit Boggs – see next panel.
  • Increase Orne mentions “a clergyman” who is likely Reverend Dominie Vanderhoof whose soul is imprisoned in a bottle in Lovecraft and Wilfred Blanch Talman’s “Two Black Bottles.”
  • The two-pronged device leaning on the wall (or right) looks like some sort of foundry tool, similar to crucible tongs.

panel 4

  • First appearance of (left to right) Shadrach Annesley, Tobit Boggs, and Increase Orne.
  • “Captain Shadrach Annesley” was first mentioned in page [9] of Suydam’s pamphlet (Providence #2 P38) as the “commander of the very vessel which transported Etienne and Mathilde Roulet to America.” They brought with them Hali’s Booke of the Wisdom of the Stars (or the Kitab) which is Providence‘s version of Lovecraft’s Necronomicon. According to Suydam’s pamphlet, that voyage took place in 1686, so Annesley is more than 250 years old.
    The implication is that Annesley is using one of the Kitab’s four methods of prolonging life (see Providence #2 P11,p4.) From Annesley’s interest in the Regnum Congo cannibals, later remarks from Annesley (implying he’d like to eat Black P9,p1 below) and from Boggs (that Annesley’s house was hit by lightning, a reference to Lovecraft’s story “The Picture in the House” P11,p2)  the implication is that Annesley is prolonging his life through diet, specifically cannibalism.
    “Shadrach” is a Biblical name; no direct equivalent appears in Lovecraft’s fiction. Moore might be referring to a character with a similar Biblical name like Ephraim Waite from “The Thing on the Doorstep.” Another possible inspiration is the 18th century religious leader Shadrack Ireland. In mannerism, he resembles the farmer from “The Picture in the House.” The surname Annesley occurs in Lovecraft in Henry Annesley, in “From Beyond.”
    More on Annesley appears where he is interviewed in the parish newsletter on P39-40 below.
  • Tobit Boggs, mentioned above, is the grandson of Jack Boggs. He is Providence‘s analog for Barnabas Marsh, grandson of Obed Marsh, from Lovecraft’s “Innsmouth.”
  • Increase Orne recalls both the historical figure of Increase Mather, and the various Ornes that populate Lovecraft’s fiction, including:
    – Benjamin Orne of “Innsmouth,”
    – Capt. James P. Orne of “The Horror at Martin’s Beach,” and
    – Simon or Jebediah Orne of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (a sorcerer and associate of Joseph Curwen)
    Given the circumstances, the latter is most probably the model for Increase Orne. His interest in vital-jars, his cane, his residence in Marblehead, and Boggs (P9,p3 below) and Black (P33 below) calling him “terrible”suggest he is also the titular “The Terrible Old Man.”
  • “Vital-jars” (shown next page) refers to souls trapped in glass jars in Lovecraft’s “The Terrible Old Man.”
  • debry
    A page from ” Thomas Huxley’s Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature”, showing a portion of the de Bry bros. cannibal butcher-shop.
  • “Book o’ Afrikee” refers to the Regnum Congo from “The Picture in the House.” It is a real book, featuring sensational de Bly brothers illustrations of a cannibal butcher shop among the Anziques – but as they had never seen an African, the features were of Caucasians. (As commenter bobsy pointed out, Moore utilized an image very similar to the de Bly’s in Crossed Plus One Hundred #6 P16,p4.)
  • “Doubloon” – A gold coin valued at two escudos and worth four dollars in the days of the early American colonies; made famous by innumerable pirate movies.

Page 8

panel 1

  • Left to right: Increase Orne, Tobit Boggs (who has the Innsmouth look), and Shadrach Annesley.
  • The coins are gold doubloons; you can tell by the cross and the seal upon their back. This references’s Lovecraft’s story “The Strange High House in the Mist” where the Terrible Old Man “buys groceries with centuried Spanish gold.”
  • “Pastor Sleet” is probably the double of Pastor Guilliam Slott, from Lovecraft and Wilfred Blanch Talman’s” “Two Black Bottles.” Like the Terrible Old Man, Slott imprisoned souls in bottles.
  • Enlarged text of word balloon coming from jars. Image via commenter David Car Mar
    Enlarged text of word balloon coming from jars, from Providence #2, Pages 8 and 9. Image via commenter David Car Mar

    Text coming out of the left jar: “I am mad, I am mad forever, and God is the shit of nothing, nothing…”

  • The text of voices coming out of the center and right bottles (and on P9,p2) are nearly indiscernible. Commenter David Car Mar was able to enlarge them using a microscope camera – and the three are the same “text” but not in any font/language we’ve found.

panel 2

  • Mr. Suydam is Robert Suydam, from Lovecraft’s “The Horror At Red Hook,” featured prominently in Providence #2.
  • The panel on the left if, of course, the de Bry brothers illustration of the cannibal butcher shop of the Anziques.

Page 9

panel 1

  • The real town of Marblehead, Massachusetts was the basis for Lovecraft’s fictional town of Kingsport, where “The Terrible Old Man” takes place.
  • Annesley’s statement “Smells to me like you’re a Jew,” outs Black relatively quickly, and throws him off-guard. This passage hearkens back to old stereotypes that foreigners smelled bad (possibly due to their diet.) In the context of the cannibalistic overtones of “The Picture in the House,” however, this takes a darker connotation: Annesley would like to eat Black. So it is more along the lines of “Fe Fi Fo Fum.”

panel 2

  • Salmagundi” is a 17th century dish of a varied salad with meat, oil, vinegar, and spices. This term reinforces the archaic speech and nature of the three men.
  • Speech from the bottle – see P8,p1 above.
  • “Old Comstock” has been suggested by commentator bobsy to be Anthony Comstock, the notorious anti-pornography advocate and prosecutor.

panel 3

  • “Increase, you’re just terrible!” reinforces Increase Orne’s connections to “The Terrible Old Man.”
  • The gas leak also refers to the events of Providence #2. If Suydam told Boggs about it, it means that he has already warned him that Black might be snooping.

panel 4

  • The strange golden helmet recalls the treasures brought up by the Deep Ones in “Innsmouth.”

Page 10

panels 1-2

  • “An Arab work of alchemy…” and “Mr. Hali’s book” refer to Hali’s Booke of the Wisdom of the Stars (known also by its Latin name Liber Stella Sapiente and its original Arabic name Kitab Al-Hikmah Al-Najmiyya) which is Providence‘s analog for Lovecraft’s Necronomicon. The book is first mentioned in Providence #1 P15,p3, but explored in much more detail in Suydam pamphlet pages at end of Providence #2 P32-40. Generally these annotations refer to this book as the Kitab.

panel 2

  • “Garland Wheatley” would be Moore’s equivalent of Old Wizard Whateley from Lovecraft’s story “The Dunwich Horror“, who had a rare English translation of the Necronomicon written by John Dee. Suydam’s pamphlet mentions Dee’s received Enochian alphabet in describing the Kitab – see Providence #2 P30.
  • Athol, Massachusetts is a real-world town that was the inspiration for Lovecraft’s Dunwich from the story “The Dunwich Horror.” Lovecraft’s fictional “Sentinel Hill” seems inspired by “Sentinel Elm Farm” in Athol. Moore mentioned accumulating information about Athol during early Providence interviews, for example see here.
  • “That order” is the Worshipful Order of the Stella Sapiente, the American coven associated with Liber Stella Sapiente (aka the Kitab – see above panel), Providence‘s Necronomicon analog. See Suydam pamphlet pages at end of Providence #2 for extensive background.

panel 3

  • “Stell Saps” is Boggs’ shorthand for the Worshipful Order of the Stella Sapiente – see above panel.
  • Here, Moore draws together the disparate elements of Lovecraft’s mythology, establishing connections between the Stella Sapiente/Necronomicon and the Wheatleys/Whateleys and the Boggs/Marshes.
  • “Since they drew down the stone in ’82” is a reference to the events of Lovecraft’s short story “The Colour Out of Space.”
  • “Forty year afore that” would 1842 or thereabouts. The ‘epidemic’ in “Innsmouth” occurred in 1846, so that would be about right for Jack Boggs’ return from the Indies.

panel 4

  • “Captain Jack Boggs” is Providence‘s analog for Lovecraft’s “Innsmouth” patriarch Obed Marsh. Boggs’ tunnels appear in Neonomicon. See this blog post for Neonomicon references.
  • “Grandma Pathithia-Lee” is Obed Marsh’s wife, from the south seas, named “Pth’thya-l’yi” from “Innsmouth.”
  • “Harrison and them” are possibly the equivalent of the other “gently bred” families in “Innsmouth” (the Waites, Gilmans, and Eliots.) Probably Moore is forging further connections with the sea captains that Corwen dealt with, discussed in Providence #2.

Page 11

panel 2

  • Note the lack of population; the town streets seem deserted.
  • “Shadrach Annesley” – see P7,p4 above.
  • Annesley’s house “hit by lightnin'” refers to the events at the end of “The Picture in the House.”

panel 3

  • “Your Wades and your Burens” is again possibly a reference to the other “gently bred” families of “Innsmouth.” Notably, “Buren” is a Dutch name, and may indicate a connection to the Prinns; Ludwig Prinn was created by Robert Bloch, an alchemist, necromancer and author of De Vermis Mysteriis mentioned in Lovecraft’s stories “The Haunter of the Dark,” “The Diary of Alonzo Typer,” and “The Shadow Out of Time“; it may also be a reference to Whipple Van Buren Phillips, the grandfather of H. P. Lovecraft. In Providence #4 P9,p4, Garland Wheatly also mentions “Old Wade” of the Stell Saps in the same vein as Boggs does here. Providence #6 finally confirms that the Wades, particularly Edgar Wade, is a member of the Stella Sapiente.
  • The swastika also recalls one of Lovecraft’s early depictions of the Elder Sign from “The Shadow over Innsmouth“:

“In some places they was little stones strewed abaout—like charms—with somethin’ on ’em like what ye call a swastika naowadays. Prob’ly them was the Old Ones’ signs.”

Before World War II, the swastika was a traditional good luck symbol in many cultures; its association with the Nazis led to its general abhorrence for most purposes.
It is perhaps coincidental, but swastikas appear a fair amount in The Courtyard and Neonomicon – see annotations for Neonomicon #1 P6,p3.

panel 4

  • Collins Cove” and “Derby Street” are actual Salem locations.
  • “Big-eared, crowdy-eyed” is a pejorative toward regular humans from those with the “Insmouth look” who are bug-eyed and possess small ears.
  • Note the difference in the size of Boggs’ and Black’s feet. One aspect of the Innsmouth look is “inordinately immense feet” which would act like swim fins when fish-people take to the water.

Page 12

panel 1

  • “A fill-foot,” spelled “fylfoot,” is a synonym for “swastika.” The svatiska is a related religious symbol associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism in India and the rest of Asia.
  • “Out on the islands it’s [a swastika is] is a superstition, means bad luck or worse” again (see P11,p3 above) reference’s Lovecraft’s Elder Sign. In “Innsmouth” Obed Marsh sails to the south Pacific Islands, known as New Caledonia, where he encounters Kanak people and begins breeding with the fish-frog Deep Ones. Marsh encounters the Elder Sign there in 1838 when “he faound the island people all wiped aout between v’yages. Seems the other islanders had got wind o’ what was goin’ on, an’ had took matters into their own hands. S’pose they musta had, arter all, them old magic signs as the sea-things says was the only things they was afeard of.”
  • “Bate” here, which Black probably hears as “bait,” is used in the sense of abate – to reduce, to diminish.

panel 2

  • “Pathithia Lee” – see P10,p4 above.
  • “Didn’t want different races breedin’ together” is a reflection of the racism of the time, which opposed miscegenation, and the idea of which in a more fantastic form underlies much of “Innsmouth.” Nor was the idea of mixed race marriages with Pacific islanders unfeasible; Lovecraft himself was aware of a colony of Fiji Islanders who lived on Cape Cod, which he refers to in “Innsmouth“:”You’ve probably heard of the Salem man that came home with a Chinese wife, and maybe you know there’s still a bunch of Fiji Islanders somewhere around Cape Cod.”
  • “They’re sore about us takin’ places like Saint Joad’s and their Mason’s lodge” is a reference to how in “Innsmouth,” the Esoteric Order of Dagon essentially ran out the churches and took over the Masonic lodge.
  • “They’d like to see us all locked up someplace” echoes the “concentration camps” mentioned in “Innsmouth,” where the Innsmouth fish-folk were interred after the government raid:  “Keener news-followers, however, wondered at the prodigious number of arrests, the abnormally large force of men used in making them, and the secrecy surrounding the disposal of the prisoners. No trials, or even definite charges, were reported; nor were any of the captives seen thereafter in the regular gaols of the nation. There were vague statements about disease and concentration camps, and later about dispersal in various naval and military prisons, but nothing positive ever developed.”
    This theme of internment, which eerily parallels the interment of Japanese Americans during World War II, has been picked up by some later authors, such as Brian McNaughton in “The Doom that Came to Innsmouth” and Ruthanna Emrys in “The Litany of Earth.”
    Like McNaughton and Emrys, Moore is inverting Lovecraft’s sympathies. Instead of Innsmouth’s half-breeds being sinister and scary, here Moore and Burrows present them as sympathetic and persecuted.

panel 3

  • “Friends of Oannes” – see P6,p2 above.
  • The date on the Friends of Oannes flyer is 18 July 1919, the day of Black’s dream; see P31.
  • “An island word for the almighty” – see P12,p1 above.

Page 13

panel 1

  • “My granpappy” is Jack Boggs, analog for Obed Marsh.
  • There’s an interesting play on “Herald” first subtly mentioned here, and made clearer in the Commonplace Book on Page 34 below. (It’s also referenced a few more times this issue – see P20, p3-4, plus possibly P23,p3.) The New York Herald is the newspaper that Black worked for, but he had not told this to Suydam or Boggs. So it seems that Black is perhaps a herald of some new age, perhaps of new gods. This thread will be made clearer in future issues.
  • First appearance of Negathlia-Lou Boggs. She has the Innsmouth look and bears a distinct resemblance to the “Mrs. Boggs-Marsh” of the Women of HPL variant cover for this issue.
  • The device Negathlia-Lou is using is an abacus, which is very widespread, though more common in Asia during this period, it was far from unknown in the United States. This abacus uses small seashells instead of beads, and lacks a “home column” or equivalent.

panel 2

  • “P’hliz t’michu” is rural dialect (or possibly speech impediment) for “pleased to meet you,” phrased in such a way as to resemble Aklo. (For basic explanation of Aklo, see annotations for Neonomicon #1, P6,p3)
  • On the board, the tally-marks are grouped in fours, not five as is common. This may indicate a base 4 system.
  • “Rum-Run” refers to the smuggling of rum. This smuggling – to avoid taxes – was present all the way back to the Colonies. The term “rum running” is of uncertain age, however, and may not date back before Prohibition, which began 1919.
  • “It were people” refers to human trafficking, which is a common connection point between the Boggs and Robert Suydam’s operation in New York (as it was in “The Horror at Red Hook“), as well as Joseph Corwin (as in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward).

panel 4

  • These tunnels are, of course, the setting for much of Neonomicon #2-4. The trap door seems identical to that in Neonomicon 2, P14-15, indicating that this may be the future site of the Whispers in Darkness shop.
  • Once again, Black is descending into the underground. In terms of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, this marks part of Black’s heroic journey or initiation into the underworld.
  • Panelwise, the black beneath the trap door extends into the black comics gutter, perhaps

Page 14

The tunnels are substantially similar to those depicted in Neonomicon, so only differences will be mentioned.

panel 1

  • “she’s quite a catch: – Commenter Shecky points out that this is a double meaning: “Catch” as in “a desirable woman” and as in “catching a fish.”
  • “They don’t mind it in the mouth” – i.e. they are not against oral sex, which was often considered unusual or vulgar in the early 20th century.
  • Commenter dcbooks70 suggests that this “in the mouth” is play on “Innsmouth.”

panel 2

  • “Redskins” – Native Americans. Lovecraft mentions relatively few Native Americans in his writings, but the intimation that the tunnels are older than even suggested in Neonomicon is another layer of the onion peeled back, extending the mythology even farther into the past.
  • “Like stuff on a men’s room wall” – A reference to the habit of some folks to avail themselves of the anonymity of the restroom and the privacy from women to write or draw sexual graffiti. As popular in ancient times as it is today.
  • The pictures largely depict sexual acts between men, women, and frog-like Deep Ones with exaggerated sexual characteristics. Notably, the images of star-headed beings or the truncated-pentagram-with-tentacles symbols from Neonomicon are not present.

Panel 3

  • “Marryin’ don’t work the other way” – Lovecraft did include intimations of male Deep Ones raping female humans in his notes to “Innsmouth,” but did not include them in the final draft. It is possible that Moore is referring to the intimation in “Dagon” that the Deep Ones continue to grow throughout their lives – which, if it was limited to the male Deep Ones, would be difficult to hide. This may be reflected in the drawings, where the Deep Ones seem much larger than the humans.
  • A notable difference from the tunnels in Neonomicon is that the door at the end of the tunnels is barred.
  • The Kitab/Hali’s Booke/Stella Sapiente apparently also includes information on the Deep Ones.

Panel 4

Page 15

panel 1

  • This underground dock appears to be where the room where the Deep One rapes Brears in Neonomicon was built. Here, we see that the original underground chamber was a natural cavern.
  • “The door, they made it out of cedar-wood and beaten bronze, the way they’d been instructed” refers back to the orgone energy accumulator instructions in Kitab as explained in Suydam’s pamphlet pages at end of Providence #2, and is identical to the “layer of wood and metal” in Neonomicon #2, P16.
  • “By the book” is a colloquialism in English for having done a job properly, but in this case Boggs literally means, in accordance with the instructions in the Kitab.

panel 2

  • Black’s reaction no doubt comes from the similarity between this underground space and the one in his “vision” under Red Hook. The similarity of underground tunnels and natural chambers in both locations (as well as the suggestion of orgiastic rites) suggests common features of the cult practices in both locations.
    • Commenter Shecky points out:

      […] there’s another possibility: as in Neonomicon, Black may be suddenly and uncomfortably aware of sexual arousal due to the orgone energy in the area, as you mentioned in Page 15, panel 1. Given that the only potential partner in the vicinity is an old fish-man, it might explain why he feels the need to get the hell out of there.

Above: Providence 3 Px,px. Below: Neonomicon
Similar scene 1919 and 2006. Above: Providence #3 P15,p3. Below: Neonomicon #2 P14,p1. Art by Jacen Burrows

panel 3

  • The outside of the Boggs Refinery offices are very close in layout to the Whispers in Darkness shop in Neonomicon, right down to the gate on the left, reinforcing the idea that they are identical. Compare with Neonomicon #2, P14.

Page 16

panel 1

panel 2

  • Black is reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, about love and adultery in Puritan Boston, Massachusetts.

panel 3

panel 4

Page 17

panel 1

  • The black-and-white panels now indicate a dream sequence.

panel 2

  • In the bed next to Black is his former lover Jonathan/Lillian ‘Lily’ Russell who committed suicide in Providence #1.
  • The walls are bare earth, perhaps indicating that the room is notionally a grave.
  • “We… live so far underground” is a reference both to their closeted homosexuality and to Black’s recent journeys underground, past and present mixing.
  • “What if there’s a gas-leak?” – A reference to the “gas-leak” cover story in Providence #2.
  • “Wearing my hair down” is gay slang for being open about one’s homosexuality.
  • “Peacock-feather me in tarry wisdom…” – A confusion of “Tar and feather” (a form of social ostracism and punishment) and peacock feathers and Starry Wisdom from his visit with Suydam in Providence #2.
  • Panelwise, the edges of the panels go from uneven hand-drawn to tight straight edges. In Moore and Burrows Neonomicon #3 and #4 this panel transition would indicate going into a higher plane of reality. We need to look more closely, but even the overall roughness of the all the panels in Providence appears to be smoothing some (especially on the right and left verticals – nearly straight lines throughout)… perhaps indicating Black’s narrative submerging into the Cthulhu mythos milieu.

panel 3

  • Russell has turned into Black’s former co-worker Prissy Turner (who, as far as we know, is probably a female, sans male genitalia, in real life.) The bed is now in the Herald offices. To the right is their co-worker Freddy Dix.
  • “Camp” is an exaggerated form of behavior that marks one out as homosexual or transgender. It also may begin the allusions to concentration camps, see P18,p1.
  • “The president wants all us women to have one” – A reference to women’s suffrage; Black’s subconscious is conflating male rights with male genitalia.
  • “Gas-leak” – Again, a reference to the underground sequence cover-story in Providence #2.

panel 4

  • This appears to be Jonathan/Lillian Russell again. The setting has shifted to an elevated train.
  • On the right is Ephrahim Posey, Black’s boss who appeared in Providence #1.
  • In this panel, and the following two on page 18, the train is largely filled with striking Equity actors (see pages 2-3).
  • “I like seafood, but I can’t abide fish” may be a subtle jab at Lovecraft’s distaste for seafood, particularly the smell. Some critics have equated this with a dislike for women, following the popular association of the smell of women’s genitalia with that of fish. Black is essentially saying is that he isn’t interested in women sexually.
  • “You made me love you, Robert, I didn’t want to do it.” refers to the popular 1913 song You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want to Do It). (Lyrics were by one Joseph McCarthy. No relation to the infamous U.S. Senator, but given the anti-Communist themes prevalent in Providence, this seemed worth mentioning.)

Page 18

panel 1

  • With “cattle-train” the dream begins to invoke the WWII Holocaust, which targeted Jews, homosexuals, and other “undesirables,” but which won’t take place for another 20 years. Cattle-trains were used to take victims to German concentration camps. More directly, concentration camps mentioned in Lovecraft’s “Innsmouth” as the fate of Innsmouth’s sinister fish-people residents:
    “Keener news-followers, however, wondered at the prodigious number of arrests, the abnormally large force of men used in making them, and the secrecy surrounding the disposal of the prisoners. No trials, or even definite charges, were reported; nor were any of the captives seen thereafter in the regular gaols of the nation. There were vague statements about disease and concentration camps, and later about dispersal in various naval and military prisons, but nothing positive ever developed.”
  • Moore’s blurring of time is perhaps showing that Black’s dreams are able to prophesy the future – possibly this is part of Black’s herald status – see P13,p1 above.
  • “I’m not crossing the picket” This seems to be simultaneously a train and the Actor’s Strike.

panel 2

  • The facial birthmark from P3,p2 above reappears.
  • On the right is the suicide chamber from Providence #1.
  • “Some place to take a leak” – A transition from the “gas-leak” to the need to urinate; Moore is playing with words here, switching between homonyms.

panel 3

  • Bryant Park, in New York City, is depicted on P1 of Providence #1.

panel 4

  • The setting on the left of Black’s head is unknown; it doesn’t quite match any of the backgrounds seen yet. (It may be a New York City subway station?)

Page 19

panel 1

  • “Sarlem, Nathachusetts” – A mix-up of Salem, Massachusetts and Sarnath, a city in the Dreamlands, notable in Lovecraft’s “The Doom That Came to Sarnath.”
  • On the right, made clear in the following panel, is Tom Malone from Providence #2.
  • “The business with the gas-chambers” again refers to the Holocaust, or at least the exit gardens.
  • There is an “A” on the back of Black’s jacket, representing the Scarlet Letter from the novel that Black was reading before bed; the “A” means “Adulterer,” and may represent Black’s feeling of having betrayed Lily.

panel 2

  • This seems to refer to events in the future, after Black has written the book he is currently researching.
J. Edgar Hoover photo, detail from The Courtyard #1, P22,p2, art by Jacen Burrows
J. Edgar Hoover photo, detail from The Courtyard #1, P22,p2, art by Jacen Burrows

panel 3-4

  • These panels are set in Providence‘s near future (see P18,p1 regarding Black’s dreams as prophesy.) The panel depicts Moore and Burrows version of J. Edgar Hoover‘s 1927-28 investigation into the events of Lovecraft’s “Innsmouth,” which take place nearly 10 years after Providence’s 1919.
    This scene is depicted in The Courtyard #1 P22,p2 (see image right) with Hoover in Salem/Innsmouth, though the town is not mentioned by name, but as “some backwater seaport in Massachusetts” whose name has been blacked out.

panel 3

  • “infestigated” – Moore is playing with words here, the idea of an “infestation” and an “investigation”
  • “undermen” – An echo of the German untermensch, or sub-human, used to refer to “inferior races” – but also here echoing the underground activities of the groups
  • “Sarlath” is possibly Moore’s equivalent of Lovecraft’s “Sarnath.”
  • “Sluice” – To wash away or wash out with water”.
  • “Finally, a saline solution” – Saline is a solution of salt in water, often used as eye drops; again Moore is playing with words, referring to the aquatic origins of the Deep One hybrids, and to the Nazi “final solution”.

panel 4

  • The two men on the right are J. Edgar Hoover (front) and his alleged lover Clyde Tolson. (Thanks to commenter Giz for identifying Tolson.)
  • “something smells fishy about them island women” – Black’s mind working out the intimations that Boggs had made of the Deep One women
  • “hebrewsexuals” – A conflation of Black being undercover both as Hebrew and a homosexual.
  • “under the covers” – Literally meaning, the creature under the sheet, metaphorically referring to what’s happening in the bedroom, i.e. sexual matter
  • Tolson’s hand is apparently fiddling with Hoover’s trousers, probably suggesting again closeted homosexuality
  • “Trawling me” – A fishing technique involving a net or seine; also used as a metaphor for searching.

Page 20

panel 1

  •  Turner now spots the Innsmouth look.
  • “Camp” can mean “gay” in this context.
  • “Camp” and “concentration” again refer to the concentration camps from Lovecraft’s “Innsmouth” and from the Holocaust. Moore is inverting Lovecraft’s tropes. Moore is associating Innsmouth folks with persecuted innocents, especially WWII Jews. “Masterwork” evokes “Master Race”.
  • “You Marblehead” – A mix of “you blockhead” (meaning, “you idiot”) and a reference to Marblehead, Massachusetts.

panel 2

  • “My work, it’s going to make me free…” – In the German concentration camp of Auschwitz, the sign over the gate read “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work makes you free.”)
  • Note the fish-scales appearing on Turner’s leg.

panel 3

  • The drawings are similar to but don’t seem to match any on the walls of Boggs’ tunnels; the figure with the antlers may be a reference to the similar figure in True Detective.
  • The far wall, with bricks above and tiles below, (shown here and subsequent panels) matches that of Neonomicon‘s underground pool chamber, shown starting Neonomicon #2 P18. The drains (and shape of the room) somewhat resemble Neonomicon‘s underground changing room, shown starting Neonomicon #2 P16.
  • “Schwartz” is German for “Black.” Many European immigrants changed their names for more English or American-sounding names when they emigrated to the United States.
  • “Robert… the herald” is another reference to Black as herald. See also P13,p1 above.

panel 4

  • “You’re the herald, all right” – see P13,p1 above.
  • The suicide chamber mortician appeared in Providence #1 (beginning P14) standing in similar postures as shown here. As far as has been shown to this point, the mortician never appeared in Black’s presence. Similar to including future events (see P18,p1 above) Black’s dreams are able to envision contemporaries he has (most likely) not met.
  • The figure of the mortician is dressed in severe black, which stands out on the page; Nyarlathotep is sometimes known as “The Black Man,” such as in Lovecraft’s “The Dreams in the Witch House.”
  • “flapping and gasping” – Fish taken out of the water begin to asphyxiate, flopping around and gasping for breath. Exit gardens work on a similar principle.

Page 21

panel 1

  • The swastikas on the wall are more clearly similar to Nazi swastikas now.

panel 2

  • The fish have the faces of Boggs and his wife.
  • “Make you wear Little Stars” – A reference to the Nazi practice of forcing Jews to wear the Star of David, so they could be easily identified, conflated with the “Starry Wisdom.”
  • The use of the word “swamp”, besides being another evocation of water, also recalls the first time that Moore wrote a dream sequence packed with densely overlapping verbal and visual imagery, Swamp Thing #22, “Swamped”.
  • “Bogged down” – A pun on the name, but indicative of the racial sentiment at the time, as sometimes expressed by Lovecraft, that measures had to be taken to preserve the white race and civilization from miscegenation.

panel 3

  • “Bigger fish to fry” is a common saying meaning that there are more important matters to deal with. But “fry” can also mean juvenile fish, which seems relevant to this issue’s themes.

panel 4

  • Now Tom Malone is in Black’s bed, reading The Scarlet Letter.
  • “Unnameable” – Recalling a characteristic term of Lovecraft’s.

Page 22

panels 1-4

  • Oddly, when Black awakens, the panel borders don’t transition back to being particularly rough.

panel 2

panel 3

panel 4

  • The window is open. When we last saw it (P16,p3), it appeared that Black had just closed it in preparation for bed. Did he change his mind? Or did someone else open it while he slept? (Thanks to commenter DC Books.)

Page 23

panel 1

  • Repeats P1,p1.

panel 2

  • “pay his reckonin'” means, on a literal level, “pay his hotel bill”. However, it can also mean “submit to fate”.

panel 3

  • The Parish newsletter features Oannes prominently, suggesting a closer connection to the “Friends of Oannes” than coincidence. The phrase printed beneath is a variant of the King James Version of Matthew 4:19; see P35.
  • “Glad I got to meet the feller all the talk’s about” is probably another reference to Black as the herald of some kind – see P13,p1 above. People are apparently already talking about him.
  • “Athol” and “Garland Wheatley” were mentioned above – see P10,p2. Athol, a real town in Massachusetts, is Providence‘s equivalent of Lovecraft’s Dunwich. Black is traveling to meet the Wheatleys/Whateleys, who have an English translation of the Kitab.

Page 24

panel 1

  • The woman’s mouth appears to have the Innsmouth look.

panels 2-3

  • These panels form a fixed-camera sequence, indicating the passing of time.
  • The second building from the right has a gambrel roof, a staple in Lovecraft’s descriptions, including that of Innsmouth.

panel 4

  • “Misery Island” is apparently Providence’s analog for Devil Reef in “Innsmouth.”
  • The bus driver is Joe Sargent from “Innsmouth,” also spotting the Innsmouth look.

Page 25

panel 1

  • The passengers faces are concealed to both the reader and to Black. Below they are revealed to have the Innsmouth look – see description P4,p4.

panel 2

panel 3

  • The swim out to Misery Island recalls a similar scene recalled by Zadok Allen in “Innsmouth.”

panel 4

  • The “sunk’uns” (sunk ones) are the aged interbred human-Deep-One inhabitants of Innsmouth who take to the sea as they get old.
  • The bus ride – complete with mother and child – to the train ride at the beginning of the book, another example of Moore’s tendency to mirror the narrative in layout.
  • The man, of course, has the Innsmouth look – note the wrinkled neck resembling gills. The partially shown passenger on right also spots telltale neck wrinkles.
  • “Gargees” – Possibly a shortening of “Gargouille de la mer” from Neonomicon #4, P20,p3.

Page 26

panels 1-2

  • These two form a fixed-camera sequence.
  • All of the passengers, other than Black, clearly have the Innsmouth look- see description P4,p4.

panel 2

panel 3

judge015

panel 4

  • Black is reading a copy of the August 1919 Judge magazine (often published before the beginning of the month).

Page 27 – Commonplace Book

July 1st

  • “Posey” is Ephrahim Posey, Black’s boss at the New York Herald.
  • “Prohibition has passed” refers to the U.S.’s nationwide ban on alcohol. According to Wikipedia, the initial Wartime Prohibition Act took effect June 30, 1919, with July 1, 1919, becoming known as the “Thirsty-First.”
  • “All this stuff with the actors” is the 1919 Actors’ Equity Strike depicted on P1-2 above.
  • Though Black states that he doesn’t “see where this is going to end except in trouble,” his prediction is wrong. At least from reading Wikipedia, the strike appears to have ended with little trouble. This is perhaps in contrast to Black’s dreams being able to see the future (see P18,p1 above.) Black’s conscious brain is not able to see the future.

July 3rd

  • “Ah, frailty thy name is Robert” is a phrasing Black has lifted from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The original states “Frailty thy name is woman” hence it also alludes Black’s homosexuality blurring gender, referring to gay men in female terms.
  • “Pious status as a widower” references Black’s lover Russell’s suicide in Providence #1. Even though they weren’t married in any legal or religious sense, Black was very attached to Lily. Compare with the scarlet letter on his jacket in P19,p1.
  • “My usual haunts around Times Square” refer to places where Black meets men for homosexual sex. Times Square is, of course, a bustling major destination intersection in mid-Manhattan. In Providence #1 (P29) Black mentions that he lives in the Times Square neighborhood. In Lovecraft’s time, it was (and still is) a neighborhood where homosexuals lived openly, according to Alan Moore – see quote in annotations for Providence #1  P9,p2.
  • Tom Malone is the detective Black has a crush on – see Providence #2, P2.

Page 28 – Commonplace Book

July 3rd continued

  • “Yeats and the Celtic Twilight” refers to William Butler Yeats. W. B. Yeats is a famous Irish poet who participated in the Celtic Revival or Celtic Twilight, a literary resurgence of utilizing traditional Irish literature, mythology, and folklore. Yeats was also an occultist, a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
  • “A well-dressed young fellow with pomaded hair… [with] some sort of gag tied across his mouth that tended to distort his speech in some way” is Providence‘s first reference to Johnny Carcosa, who appears in The Courtyard and Neonomicon.

    Jean Deville, The Treasures of Satan (1895)
    Jean Deville, The Treasures of Satan (1895)

Page 29 – Commonplace Book

July 3rd continued

  • “Some malefic deity that’s been cast down to an aquatic hell beneath the sea […] a creature human in its basic form though reminiscent of both octopus and dragon” – A reference to the Cthulhu, as described in Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” : “yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature.”August Derleth in particular would elaborate on the parallels between Cthulhu’s imprisonment and Satan and the rebel angels being cast out of Heaven in Christian mythology, though Lovecraft never stated or chose to pursue such connections, which has divided fans about Derleth’s interpretation of the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • “Milton” is John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, a seminal epic poem of English literature based around the casting out of Satan and his legions from Heaven, and the creation of Hell.
  • “Visions… could only be expressed… by the creation of a whole new language” refers to Lovecraft’s use of invented languages. In Providence/Neonomicon/The Courtyard these are Aklo. Moore refers to the linguistic technique as “glossolalia” in some interviews.
  • “Stein or Eliot” refers to Gertrude Stein and T. S. Eliot. These authors are noted members of Modernism, which sought to reject traditional styles in favor of breaking new ground. It’s interesting to note that Black has a high regard for the contemporary artistic and literary movements of the period, which were largely anathema to Lovecraft’s antiquarian interests.

July 7th

  • Guillaume Apollinaire” is a French poet, writer, and art critic associated with Cubism, Orphism, and Surrealism.
  • The story of the tattooed man has parallels with other weird works, notably Edgar Allan Poe’s conte cruels.

Page 30 – Commonplace Book

July 7th continued

  • The position of the tattoo on the cheek recalls the birth-mark on the face of the train conductor – see P3 above.

Page 31 – Commonplace Book

July 7th continued

  • The “Gothics” refers to Gothic fiction, a literary genre that combined horror and Romanticism; Lovecraft’s fiction falls into the modern Gothic.

July 10th

July 12th

  • “The Dreadful Mask” is something of an inversion of Lovecraft’s “The Outsider.”

July 19th

  • While sharing similarities to the dream sequence on P18, this takes place several days before Black’s journey.

Page 32 – Commonplace Book

July 19th continued

  • Some parallels with the stories in The King in Yellow, but continues the themes of hiding and disfigurement of the earlier stories – echoing in some ways Lovecraft’s idea of the “Innsmouth Look,” but more personally showing how Black’s life is influencing the themes of his fiction.

July 24th

  • Black is writing the day after the events of the comic proper.
  • The “Pequoig Hotel” was an actual hotel in Athol, MA. Though it is no longer a hotel, the building is still adorned by the word “Pequoig” (Google street view) and is located at the actual “corner of Exchange and Main [Streets] in Athol” (Google maps.) Pequoig is the name of the Native Americans in that area.
  • “Actors picketing” – see P1-2 above.
  • Penn Station” is the main NYC inter-city rail station.
  • “Bill Fields” – see P1,p3 above.
  • Eddie Cantor” was a Broadway actor.
  • Bolshevik” is the Communist faction that eventually became the leading party in Russia. It is used as a general term for socialists in the United States and other countries, particularly those that favored collective bargaining such as unions.
  • Salem “had a fire just a few years back” refers to the Great Salem Fire of 1914.
  • “Bus pulled into a semi-circular enclosure backing onto the North River waterfront” matches the description of the town’s “large semi-circular square” in “Innsmouth“, see also this map of the fictional Innsmouth.

Page 33 – Commonplace Book

July 24th continued

  • “1914 fire” again refers to the Great Salem Fire of 1914.
  • “Hillman Hotel” – see P6,p1 above.
  • “Zeke Hillman” – see P4 above.
  • “Nearly everyone has the same look…” describes the “Innsmouth look” – see P4,p4 above.
  • “Boggs Gold Refinery” – see P5,p2 above.
  • “[Robert] Suydam” – see Providence #2, P7,p3.
  • Tobit Boggs, Increase Orne, and Shadrach [Annesley] – see P7,p4 above.
  • “Bear-like” is a bit of homosexual slang (although probably anachronistic); a “bear” is a larger, hairer man that keeps to a masculine persona, in contrast to effeminate or “camp” behavior.
  • “Naumkeag” is the Native American name for Salem’s North River.
  • Annesley’s home “hit by lightning in the 1890s” refers to Lovecraft’s story “The Picture in the House.”
  • “Gobble me up” is an unknowing pun by Black, who mistook cannibalistic interest for sexual interest.
  • “Stella Sapiente” and “Hali’s Book” – see P10,p1 above.
  • “Dr. Alvarez” – see Providence #1, P12,p1.
  • “Garland Wheatley” – see P10,p2 above.
  • “Something about a stone in 1882” – see P10,p3 above, refers to Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space.”

Page 34 – Commonplace Book

July 24th continued

  • Black as “the herald” – see P13,p1 above.
  • Suydam, Gerritsen, and recovering from being gassed – see Providence #2. Note that Black did not mention his employ at the New York Herald newspaper when recovering – see Providence #2, P24-25.
  • Marblehead is, aside from being a real life town and an inspiration for Lovecraft’s Kingsport, the name of a novel by Richard Lupoff that stars H. P. Lovecraft.
  • Calling attention to the misquoting of Matthew 4:19, visible on the facing page.

Page 35 – Parish Newsletter – cover

  • The crossed figures are an oar and a bill-hook; the figure in the book is Oannes.
  • The phrase printed beneath is a variant of the King James Version of Matthew 4:19:
    – KJV: And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
    – St. Jude’s: And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishes of men.

Page 36 – Parish Newsletter – Reverend’s note

  • The word-play on these pages echoes that during Black’s dream-sequence. There are too many to go into each slip in great detail, but a few are worth calling out:
    • “sumer” – A play on the season “summer” and “Sumer,” the region where Oannes/Dagon worship was prevalent
    • “Oannes look” – A play on “the Innsmouth Look”
  • The text quoted does not come from any of the regular books of the New Testament, but may be an apocrypha or other not-widely-known gospel; notably it has no obvious connection to the Epistle of St. Jude. However, it does touch on several aspects of Christ’s gospel in the New Testament, such as the miracle of walking on water; further it uses specific language from the gospels, such as the “scales falling from their eyes” (Acts 8:19), and the general refusal to acknowledge him – compare with Wilbur Whateley in “The Dunwich Horror,” which (based on Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan”) is a sort of diabolic pastiche of the conception and crucifixion of Jesus.
  • “the idel of the Philistines” – Mentioned in 1 Samuel; Dagon (identified with Oannes) was a Philistine god that appeared as combination of man and fish.
  • “through black abysses to dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever” – Echoing the end of “Innsmouth”:”[…] 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.”

Page 37 – Parish Newsletter – Reverend’s note

  • “Old Signs” – Elder Signs, swastikas, see P11.
  • “Promised no land” – Echoing Matthew 5:3 and similar ideas of the meek inheriting the “promised land.”
  • “Rupture” – A parallel of the Christian eschatalogical concept of “Rapture“, but with the idea of a bursting membrane, possibly as a reference to a Grant Morrison-style cosmology like that shown in The Invisibles, where the Old Ones will “break through” (rupture) the membrane between universes.
  • “more than one but less than many” – This phrase, which appears again on P38, seems to indicate something like “few” or “a couple”. Note that here, it refers to exactly two people. Does Deep One culture have no specific concept of “two”? They are capable of using significantly larger numbers in dates, at least…
  • “Close-eyes” and “Little-foot” – disparaging descriptions of non-Deep One hybrids; compare with Boggs’ “big-eared, crowdy-eyed” comment from P11,p4.
  • “pink boiled sex-stick of a dog wrapped up in bread” – A hot dog
  • The joke recalls an old Gary Larson cartoon of a fish’s revenge on fishermen, concealing the hook in appropriate bait.
  • “yh’naghu” and “yh’nak’hu” – The pastor is including Aklo language lessons amid the parable. The “repeated many times by voice and in air” recalls the concept of mantras in occult practice.
  • “…an noise that is not voluntary and is not itself an unpleaseant thing” probably refers to laughter, which the locals are capable of, but clearly not very familiar with. (Thanks to commenter Pete).
  • “roe” are Fish eggs. In this context, they are children.
  • “Oannes keeps you safe within his mouth” refers to mouthbrooder fish, which hold their young inside their mouths. Though it also sounds like “Innsmouth.”

Page 38 – Parish Newsletter – Notices

  • The whole tone combines the banal, folksy small-town church business and style with references to esoteric subjects.
  • “Golden mitre” – A mitre is a bishop’s distinct conical cap; in context, this may refer to the odd golden helmet spied by Black in P9,p4.
  • “a Historical Society” – A callback to Lovecraft’s “Innsmouth,” where the Newburyport Historical Society purchased such a piece from a pawnbroker who took it from an Innsmouth man, and which they held on to despite “the insistent offers of purchase at a high price which the Marshes began to make as soon as they knew of its presence, and which they repeated to this day despite the Society’s unvarying determination not to sell.”
  • “The Great Dry Cull” – Apparently a reference to the First World War, from 1914-1918.
  • “more than one but less than many” – Possibly a discreet in-joke to the Discworld Trolls’ method of counting in base four – “one, two, three, many” – which would correspond with the Boggs’ tally-marks being grouped in four.
  • “Grand Eel” – The Esoteric Order of Dagon, and apparently the Friends of Oannes, were at least superficially based on Masonic orders which were widespread at the time. “Grand Eel” and “Master of the False Lights” recalls similar titles, such as the Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, and the ranks of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
  • “Viking vishitors” – A reference to the Viking discovery of North America, particularly their camp at Vineland. Pre-Colombian European contact was a recurrent topic in some of Lovecraft’s letters to his friends, and possible Viking legacies or remainders are still popular today, though a combination of real and pseudohistory.
  • “man-herders of the old Bering bridge” – Referring to the crossover of the ancestors of the Native Americans across the Bering Strait from Siberia to North America; during the last Ice Age the sea level was low enough to create a land-bridge on which humans and animals crossed to the continent.
  • “fingers-many” – five fingers “many” times. If “many” is 4, this would be age 20.
  • “shedding and removal of the infant-sex-stick” – Something close to circumcision, although it sounds more involved.
  • “the rut” – Ritual orgies at certain times of the year are a hallmark of certain pagan and pre-Christian religions, thought by some anthropologists as a way to coordinate pregnancies.
  • “no ilcohol” – Prohibition extends even to Dagon cultists, apparently. Possibly because it makes them “il” (ill).
  • “breaking off of the sex-stick inside to thwart other maters is no lunger encouraged” – A tactic of the wasp spider; the implication seems to be that the Deep One hybrids can regenerate their genitalia as necessary, and so some have pursued mating strategies to deny other males access to females after sex.

Page 39 – Parish Newsletter – Notices

  • “misborn may in good conscience be commendaed to the bosom of Oannes” – Infantcide, in so many words, where imperfect or unwanted children are exposed to the elements to die.
  • Shadrach Annesley’s account drives a connection between the Stella Sapiente history of Providence #2 – including Colwen, Massey, and Roulet and the Friends of Oannes. Again, Moore is establishing a history and tighter connections between the disparate elements of Lovecraft’s Mythos.
  • “Amoskeag Falls” – A reference to an area in New Hampshire inhabited by the Pennacook people, related to the locale of “The Whisperer in Darkness.”
  • “lightning-struck” – Another reference to the end of “The Picture in the House.”
  • “whatever it may be a fellow’s looking for within it, there he’ll find it” – The beginning of attributing magical characteristics to the book, beyond the actual knowledge or sections it may contain.
  • “Four paths around the graveyard” – referring to the content discussed in Providence #1:
    • “required considerable ice” – Dr. Alvarez’ method, based on “Cool Air”
    • “revitalising them what’s passed either with fluids or a preparation of their powders” – the “Essential Saltes” method of Colwen/Curwin from “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” and possibly the vampirism alluded to in “The Shunned House.”
    • “the putting elsewhere of a fellow’s essence” – This refers to both the soul migration from “The Thing on the Doorstep” and the tiny bottles with suspended lodestones from “The Terrible Old Man” and “Two Black Bottles.”
    • “healthy eating” – The cannibalistic diet of “The Picture in the House,” and possibly ghouldom such as in “Pickman’s Model.”

Page 40 – Parish Newsletter – Notices

  • A retelling of the backstory of “Innsmouth,” essentially, recalling many of the essential historical events (albeit in a more favorable light). Notably, the break between the Worshipful Order of the Stella Sapiente (“Wise and Starry folks” – a play on the Starry Wisdom church from “The Haunter of the Dark”) and the Friends of Oannes came in ’46 after the Deep Ones rose up to massacre townfolk in reprisal for their treatment of Boggs and the other Dagon cultists, an event that was blamed on “plague.”
  • Naumkeag” is the name of the Native Americans that lived in the Salem area, and also their name for the North River. According to Wikipedia, it derives from native words for “fishing place.” Salem is situated on the actual Naumkeag River, here apparently standing in for the Miskatonic or Manuxet River. 
  • “black pudding” – A kind of sausage made from congealed blood.
  • “Satorday” – Possibly a reference to the old SATOR magic square.

Back Cover

  • Taken from Lovecraft’s Selected Letters 3.423. It’s worth mentioning that the date on the letter is given as 31 October 1931 in Letters to Elizabeth Toldridge & Anne Tillery Renshaw.

>Go to Providence #4
>Go to Moore Lovecraft Annotations Index

Advertisements

89 thoughts on “Providence 3

  1. Great stuff, really enjoy/appreciate the work you are putting into Providence here. This issue is a bit of a annotator’s rabbit hole what with all that allusive Joycean dream-language, so be careful not to follow all this too far!

    A minor thing:
    Regarding ‘the Wheatley split’ this is more occult subculture in-jokery, continuing on from the previous issue’s digs at the excessive cost of buying Kenneth Grant books. There’s a quote from 80s chaos magician and all-round righteous dude Ramsay Dukes* along the lines of ‘when magic distanced itself from all the spooky Dennis Wheatley stuff it shot itself in the foot. Because the spooky Dennis Wheatley stuff is where it’s at.’ This quote is widely understood and repeated in certain circles of harder-than-thou occultists – the handiest reference for all this is probably via Phil Hine’s book Pseudonomicon (which itself, as the title suggests, is quite germane to a lot of what’s going on in Providence.)

    Wheatley is a trashy, upper class, right-wing misogynistic British novelist active from around the 1930s-70s, a friend of both Aleister Crowley and Ian Fleming. His books and the films adapted from them are widely known for presenting occultism in a theatrical, even hysterical manner, as an extremely dramatic, messy and dangerous activity. This approach stands/stood in contemporary opposition to the fluffier side of what might get called New Age-ism or ‘respectable’ pagan formations like some interpretations of eg Wicca, which have a much less heavy metal emphasis than Wheatley on quite similar occult material, and which more macho strains of occultism are often at pains to define themselves against. (I love the hint at a factional split among Cthulhuites. Hardcore Old Ones vs ecstatic upstart goat spawn?)

    Also, another minor thing, but aren’t they all: Providence is well served by reading Moore’s other recently concluded horror book Crossed +100 issues 1-6. He was clearly working on both titles at once and ideas have crossed-over (see what I did there?) and are expressed in both texts. The old pic of the cannibal butcher’s shop (included in your post above) has been used quite deliberately within and on one of the covers to issue 6; and the ‘Cthulhu-worshippers as oppressed Jews (c.1919) or Muslims (c.2015)’ trope is echoed quite clearly with Moore’s presentation of the ‘evolved’ Crossed tribe.

    (I think this is quite a troubling line for Moore to take really. The parallels seem sympathetic and legit at first glance, but within the narrative there’s a danger that you could get stuff like ‘but these Jews/Muslims _really are_ evil devil worshippers, so it’s OK for them to be the baddies and cast them in negative, racist stereotypes’, which is of course worryingly bullshit. Anyway, more time to discuss all that later as the series progresses.)

    *There’s a case to be made that Dukes’ 80s-90s interpretation of occult demonology (in a nutshell, deliberately ascribing life-like attributes – desires, thoughts, fears etc – to ‘dead’/inanimate objects or concepts) successfully preceded and anticipated the more mainstream acceptable Speculative Realism school of modern philosophy. The SRs all *LOVE* Lovecraft of course, and Moore mentioned in an interview somewhere that he came across SR in his research for Providence, and that although he wasn’t directly influenced by their ideas, he did notice some parallels between the work of Harman, Brassier et al and some of his own conclusions about the nature of the Cthuhu-dudes….

    Sorry, I’ll stop.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t help but notice the very specific hair color choices for Black and Brears. Particularly in light of how the “herald” dialogue seems to mirror the “annunciation” dialogue in Neonomicon.

    Like

  3. Regarding Page 20: Panel 1, “Innsmouth” Prissy Turner is shown being dragged into an internment camp. This could possibly be a reference to the following passage from “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”: “Keener news-followers, however, wondered at the prodigious number of arrests, the abnormally large force of men making them, and the secrecy surrounding the disposal of the prisoners. No trial, or even definite charges, were reported; nor were any of the captives seen thereafter in the regular gaols of the nation. There were vague statements about disease and concentration camps, and later about dispersal in various naval and military prisons, but nothing positive ever developed.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Regarding Page 21: Panel 3, During his dream sequence, Black is seen speaking to the operator of the Exit Chamber from Issue 1. When Black voices his regrets about having to leave, the man nonchalantly replies “Oh, we’ll get round to you soon enough”. Given that the walls of the room are festooned with swastikas, I take this as a reference to the impending Holocaust. Being both Jewish and gay, Robert Black (or should I say Robert Schwartz) would have been a victim of the Nazi terror.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You said above that there are ‘numerous references to water and sea,’ but I would suggest expanding that to include references to fishing, too. In 14/1 Boggs refers to his wife as ‘quite a catch’, and there’s lots of references to fish and trawling in Black’s dream, as well. ‘They’ve gutted their community,’ ‘bigger fish to fry,’ ‘something smells fishy’, ‘hooked up in this’, ‘flapping and gasping’, all in there somewhere.

    Has anyone pointed out, by the way, that a bog and a marsh are pretty much the same sort of thing?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. With respect to Increase Orne, there’s another Orne in Lovecraft’s works who is relevant: Granny Orne, possibly the oldest resident of Kingsport (maybe even older than the Terrible Old Man). Given that Increase Orne is from Marblehead, which was Lovecraft’s inspiration for Kingsport, I’d wager that Increase Orne is a mash-up of the Terrible Old Man (especially because of the talking bottles) and the wizard-friend of Joseph Curwen, as mentioned in the article.

    Boggs’ comment down in the tunnels interests me. He says, “Mainly we had females through here. Marryin’ don’t work the other way. Something to do with what makes critters stop growin’, I’m told.” This makes me think that Deep One hybrids are normally only possible if a human male breeds with a Deep One female, and not the other way around. This makes what happens to Brears in Neonomicon unique (as if it already wasn’t).

    Liked by 2 people

    • yep… the precise significance of those spikes, and why they are pointing at black (and specifically at his right arm) is yet to be made clear though. hmm… lots of bent arms on these pages! [partial swastikas]

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Perhaps this has already been mentioned elsewhere

    Page 4, Panel 3, fudging the protagonist’s last name to Block, first name Robert, renders him Robert Block, close enough to Robert Bloch (friend of Lovecraft and occasional mythos writer) that it’s probably no coincidence

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks! As someone who isn’t intimately familiar with Lovecraft’s work, and who also hasn’t read Neonomicon (now planning to after Providence concludes or possibly just during one of months waiting for the next issue), these annotations are immensely useful and enlightening!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A few things:

    1. Oannes as a substitute for Dagon also made sense to me given Oannes’ role in the ancient astronaut mythology. Robert Temple’s 1976 book “The Sirius Mystery” was the first to propose that Oannes was an actual amphibian alien who helped give civilization to the inhabitants of the Near East, an idea which is still present among ancient alien popularizers. This has obvious parallels with Lovecraft’s own use of aliens coming to Earth and being seen as gods and/or giving advanced knowledge.

    2. The conflation of Salem with Innsmouth makes addition sense given that in the early 1800s Salem was actually home to an extensive trade network with Asia and the Pacific Islands. I don’t know if Moore knew this, but it’s a great point of syncretism between the two towns.

    3. Nathaniel Hawthorne was actually from Salem (and one of his ancestors was one of the judges in the witch trials) so Black reading one of his works in Salem makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Page 19 / Panel 3: A Saline Solution.

    There’s an erotic novel called The Saline Solution, by Marco Vassi, whose Wikipedia profile says, ‘He was married three times, but was well known for sexual, drug, and alternative-lifestyle experimentation. He viewed life as the theory and practice of liberation, an exploration of being sexual, that is an all-sexual being, bisexual, and homosexual. Vassi coined the term metasex, which meant any sex outside the bounds of heterosexual marriage. So it’s possible that’s in the mix here.

    Also there’s the Nazis’ idea of the Final Solution – “Endlösung der Judenfrage,” the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” – their plan to eradicate all the Jewish people in Europe, by whatever means they could, including gassing, which is also part of the dream narrative here.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. In the joke about the hot dog, I think the repeated sound in the air is laughter (at the joke) but described by someone who doesn’t laugh or know what laughing is. It’s an “involuntary and not unpleasant” sensation as experience by a being to whom the concept of laughter is alien.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. -Page 19, panel 2: Also could be a reference to the decadent literature Black fancies. Censorship around obscenity was much stronger back then.
    -Page 20, panel 2: Also a reference to the Great Work of magic/occultism, the end goal of which is spiritual liberation, freedom

    Like

  13. wow..! this is… already very, very interesting stuff and i’m sure it’s going to turn out to be mindblowing -!

    you guys are doing a great job here, especially with all the detailed HPL refs – very useful and much appreciated. without re-reading lovecraft myself (which i haven’t done for some years, and am resisting for the time being) i would have missed tons of these.

    so, this is where the “jewish question” really starts to come to the fore – and of course with the time-bending (already flagged up in #1, but becoming far more explicit now) that’s going on, and the holocaust adumbrations, the chapter title *the yellow sign* itself acquires a very specific significance which it did not previously seem to have. *a lurking fear* – i am still mulling this one over. the whole-page panel on p2 can’t just be a picture of lots of men in hats – it probably would be with any other writer, but not in AM’s case; why THAT image with THAT title? so i spent a little while trying to “unsee” it – the sea of hats kinda looks like frogspawn, but as interesting as that is i’m not sure it’s relevant; for a while i thought i’d got it, misremembering black as being hatless (circumcised) but of course i was wrong there, so… hmm. (that woman standing behind black, though… important. but why, dammit?! whatever it is exactly which the wrap or stole is supposed to resemble, *nobody wants it* – as charles points out.) the repeated panel 1 (pp 1,3,4) is nagging at me as well but i can’t get my head round it yet. he rings the bell three times, which may be linked back into the “herald” stuff as we’re beginning to see; but the image itself contains more than just that. the swordfish… observe p4 panel 3, where the spikes appear to be coming out of zeke hillman’s head, and pointing to black’s hand… the seemingly-innocuous, but complex and very careful panel layouts on p16… the boy on p3, saying “goodbye, father! goodbye…” (ok, so he has a bent arm reminiscent of a swastika… and the subtext of his mother’s speech is reflected in black’s reading a magazine called *judge*… but there’s more, there’s mo(o)re..!) i can’t figure it out at all yet, but very possibly this is just because we have not yet seen enough of the story: once everything has been revealed, the layers of symbology will presumably make sense!

    the title, though, pretty much has to be linked to black’s dread of being outed (both for his ethnicity and his sexuality) – and also to the lurking anti-semitism which is going to become such a huge issue “soon enough”… ah, i keep resolving to stop trying to unpick it all and just enjoy the ride, dissect it all afterwards – but i can’t help myself 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  14. In Page 19, panel 1, Robert Black got an “A” marked on his back. He was reading “The Scarlet Letter” before and, in this book, the protagonist, Hester Prynne is forced to use an “A” borded in her dress because she was an adulterer. Black with an “A” means he is feeling himself like an adulterer for being interested in Tom Malone short after Lily die.
    Once again, I beg your pardon for my bad english.

    Like

    • Your English is fine – but I think we already noted that – P19,p1 says “There is an “A” on the back of Black’s jacket, representing the Scarlet Letter from the novel that Black was reading before bed; the “A” means “Adulterer,” and may represent Black’s feeling of having betrayed Lily.”

      Like

  15. In pursuit of adding some minor but interesting historical context to the discussion of Marblehead as a place and an unflattering term used for Robert by the “dream Prissy”, I’d like to point out that three United States Naval vessels were named after the Mass. seaport.

    The second of these cruiser class ships, built in Boston, was involved in the Spanish-American War – which as we’ve noted was precipitated in part by the “yellow journalism” agitation of media moguls of their time Hearst and Pulitzer – and was crucial in securing the Marine’s landing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    The ship was re-commissioned in 1917 to participate in WWI maneuvers. It was officially taken out of service on August 21, 1919, about a month after the events of current issue Providence.

    Like

  16. Great work! I have a few potential contributions:

    Page 7, panel 4
    “My salts” may be a reference to the “essential Saltes” from The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. The expression would perhaps be an equivalent to “By my soul”.

    Page 14, panel 3
    “Marryin’ don’t work the other way”. I thought this a possible reference to the fact that male Deep One genitalia is so large as to injure a typical human female. The depiction in Neonomicon is certainly… daunting. And the impregnation that happens in Neonomicon does seem unprecedented. On the other hand, the lack of prior race-mixing in that direction might have to do with the *pregnancy* being harmful to the human female, not the conception.

    Page 18, panel 2
    “Some place to take a leak” Back in issue 1, p.5, where Jonathan approaches the exit garden: On first reading, not knowing that this was a world where exit gardens existed, but having some foreknowledge that gay history would be part of the story, seeing a lone (and lonely?) man approach a building in a public park, I assumed it to be a public restroom, long associated with (sordid, anonymous) gay sex. In this context “some place to take a leak” takes on another potential layer of meaning.

    Like

  17. Forgive me if this humour seems crude, but in our comparisons of Black/Block/Bloch I must point out that words spelt differently but sounding the same are homophones – perhaps another juvenile joke on Mr. Black’s inclinations?

    Like

  18. Page 12, panel 4

    I note an anomaly in the painted sign on the glass window of the Boggs Refinery door. Shown from the inside looking out view, the letters are therefore reversed, except for the number 4 in EST 1754, which is the other way around, appearing “correct” to the reader but reversed to the characters outside.

    As already noted, 4 seems to carry some importance based on Negathlia-Lou’s abacus and chalk slate tallies on page 13.

    Like

  19. The tiny text from the vials is readable with a magnifying glass – however it appears to be in a different language. Can anyone translate..?

    Like

  20. Minor nitpick here, but in the final panel of issue 3, Black’s bus is shown heading off to Athol while passing a sign that reads “Athol 42 Miles”. I live in central Massachusetts and it’s about 82 miles between Salem and Athol.

    Like

  21. On P23,p2, Hillman says that Black has “come to pay his reckonin'”. Perhaps this is an allusion to the Holocaust, as well as a foreshadowing of future events in this series.

    Like

  22. So, I had a thought about Robert Black and where this story is going. What if Robert Black becomes H. P. Lovecraft at the end? The fictional time period is close to when he starts publishing novels. It would explain why we are getting this tour through the stories and locales of Lovecraft. Also, the commonplace book is becoming more and more a storehouse of writing ideas. Providence = Providence, R. I. where Lovecraft was born and where he returned to write his fiction.

    Like

  23. First of all, thanks for all the great work. It has become a ritual for me to visit this site after each new reading and I always find something that I missed.

    In the 2nd panel of the final page of the dream sequence the word “swamp” is written with a bold font. This immediately led my thoughts towards The Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #22 by Moore titled “Swamped” which features a strikingly similar type of dream sequence dealing with a passed away lover among other things. It is also using the same type of wordplay found in Black’s dream.

    On a final note I agree with Parker that it would be interesting to find out what the other “bottles” are saying.

    Like

  24. What a stunning issue, so rich and complex, as demonstrated in the annotations and comments above. Here are some further thoughts. Page 17, panel 2 / Page 19, panel 4 / Page 20, panel 2 – Robert Black says “The people in my office mustn’t know that we [a Jew and a homosexual] end up together in the showers”; J. Edgar Hoover says “They’re hebrewsexuals. They end up together in the showers” – the Nazis sent Jews and homosexuals to concentration camps where many died in the gas chambers, which the guards told them were showers where they had to go to be disinfected; on Page 20, panel 2, Robert appears to be standing at the open gates of a concentration camp, looking in to the “showers” Page 17, panel 4 – Jonathan / Lillian “Lily” Russell says “You made me love you [Robert] I didn’t want to do it” – these are the words of a popular song, first published in and recorded by Al Jolson in 1913. Page 23, panel 3 – Zeke Hillman refers to the Parish Newsletter as “Joad’s codes”, suggesting that the contents can be read by anyone but only fully understood by the parishioners because the newsletter contains coded references. Page 36 “from the Gaspel according to St Joad itself, wherein it is written “And his mother was Mery”” – this may foreshadow events in Neonomicon relating to FBI Agent Merril Brears. During the dream sequence in issue 3, on page 7, panel 3, Johnny Carcosa tells her “What thith ith, ith you’re a nun, thee, athian Merry”. One final thought, which admittedly is a bit of a stretch, concerns Reverend Hillman’s “joke” on page 37, wherein the words “yh’naghu” [opposite] and “yh’nak’hu” [cutting and eating of men] are confused. One suggested root of the name “Dagon” is the Aramaic word “dgn” [be cut open]. It will be interesting to read the views of others.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. ““Gobble me up” is an unknowing pun by Black, who mistook cannibalistic interest for sexual interest.”

    Black, horribly, may not be totally mistaken. In the book “The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft,” Leslie Klinger annotates the part in the story “The Picture in the House” where blood drips from the ceiling onto the book. In the annotation, Klinger quotes from P.S. Owens and points out that that the cannibalistic old man was eating someone upstairs in his house when the narrator interrupted. This means he was likely eating that person in his bedroom, and not in his kitchen or larder which would be on the ground floor or in the basement. As Klinger quotes Owens, this adds “a carnality to the carnivorousness”, a sexual element to the cannibalism. Accordingly, the old man’s interest in Black may be cannibalistic AND sexual. This would fit in strongly with Moore’s apparent theory that much of the cosmic horror that Lovecraft explored was, at its base, sexual.

    It helps that Moore himself wrote the introduction to Klinger’s book.

    Like

  26. “Gas leak” references at beginning of dream sequence are not just references to events of issue #2, but also the first bit of Holocaust imagery to appear in this sequence.

    Like

  27. About the “lines” coming from the bottles on page 8 (and on page 9), I believe it’s Hebrew. Compare these with translations of phrases from Hebrew into Portuguese, and draw your conclusions. By the way, I do not speak Hebrew.

    Like

  28. “Yeah. They think it’s leaking from the future.”

    This line from Black’s dream reminded me of the comments regarding aklo from Neonomicon 4’s annotations:

    “The wza-y’ei of this is, of course, —->that the future extrudes a curtailing force into the present. a meaning bestowed retroactively by forms as yet unachieved but implicit.<—- I see that the Lloigor are simply ourselves, yet unfolded in time to an utter condition beyond the fhtagn of our usual perceptions.”

    There's something fascinating — and in this case, undoubtedly sinister — about the idea of the future influencing the present.

    Like

  29. Ack! Sorry, friends, the Old Ones reached through the folds of time and space to disrupt my cut-and-paste from Neonomicon 4’s annotations:

    “The wza-y’ei of this is, of course, ***that the future extrudes a curtailing force into the present.*** […] There lies our dho-hna: ***a meaning bestowed retroactively by forms as yet unachieved but implicit.*** I see that the Lloigor are simply ourselves, yet unfolded in time to an utter condition beyond the fhtagn of our usual perceptions.”

    [The asterisks are my emphasis.]

    Like

  30. Ooo, one more thing — and it’s nit-picky, forgive me. Regarding bears: in my own experience as a gay male, it’s their stocky, hairy physicality that connotes bearishness most — not necessarily where one falls on the “straight-acting” scale. (Though, the pro-masculinity faction definitely exists.) To my mind, their primary contrast are those gays who eschew bodyfat for smooth, gym-hardened bodies. Like, well, just google “circuit party.”

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I know I’m not adding much to the conversation here; still, knowledge is knowledge.

    The straw hats they are wearing at the actor’s strike were commonly called “boaters,” especially on the east coast.

    Like

  32. Quick note… I’ll probably have more, I’m reading through this again while I wait for issue 6, probably give the others a quick brush over too…

    In p5p1, Robert appears to be looking at a portrait, presumably a Hillman family member. A woman. Wearing a very high collar! In fact it looks like a veil, covering all her head apart from the face. Perhaps her last portrait before she went or a long swim. You can’t tell from the picture, but maybe she’s funny enough looking to draw Robert’s attention, even he looks unnerved, and he spends most of his time being oblivious to monsters and demons.

    Like

  33. Just curious, in p.16 panel 1 is there any significance to the fact that all of the keys to the rooms are missing, suggesting there is no vacancy? Seems strange in a town where there aren’t many people out and about on the streets , much less any tourists. Although it would be a pretty popular destination to those privy to the particulars of the area….hurm…

    Like

  34. P6.p2
    I’ve recently been rereading both HPL and Hellboy. Hellboy is so soaked in Lovecraft influence that it is hard to ascribe similarities to coincidence. At the least, I suspect parallel development of the name Oannes as a desire on Mignola and Moore’s part to suggest a similarity with Dagon, but not use the actual name.

    P9.p2
    Is it perhaps worth pointing out that Annesley is comparing Black’s smell to that of a food item?

    P13.p4
    Regarding the possible use of a base-4 system: Lilith from issue 2 only had 4 ‘fingers’ per hand…

    P19.p3
    I’d like to repeat an earlier commenter in pointing out that “saline solution” is also reminiscent of “final solution, continuing the Holocaust theme.

    P19.p4
    Blake’s demand, as a newspaperman, to know what is going on, recalls the following from “Innsmouth”: “Complaints from many liberal organizations were met with long confidential discussions, and representatives were taken on trips to certain camps and prisons. As a result, these societies became surprisingly passive and reticent. Newspaper men were harder to manage, but seemed largely to cooperate with the government in the end.”

    p21.p3
    “Oh, we’ll be getting round to you soon enough.”
    Foreshadowing? Will Black commit suicide at the end of this story? It’s certainly a common Lovecraftian protagonist-fate…

    Liked by 1 person

  35. The Index page has a broken link to the Moorecraftian Timeline.

    P14.1
    “They don’t mind it in the mouth” There may be more levels to this phrase among Innsmouth folks, given the frequent references to fish-hooks in the church pamphlet.

    P29
    July 3rd
    “Some of the images that can boil up out of the human mind are such that they can only be described with form and color, statements in themselves that he no rationale or explanation. Such things are most probably beyond the reach of words, or any way beyond the reach of our current vocabulary.” Is Moore having Black subtly build a case that comics need to be invented?
    July 7th
    Is it worth noting that Apollinaire is misspelled in the text?

    P31
    July 12th
    The character described here is, of course, Black himself, metaphorically. He hides his religion and sexuality behind a mask of “normality”. His attachment to this mask caused him to behave in a monstrous manner, rejecting Lillian.

    P36
    “And his Mother was Mery” refers to the events of Neonomicon.
    In this version of the parable of the loaves and the fishes, note that the loaves are not considered food at all, or at least not sufficient food. The bringing of abundant fish, and the linking of this to worship of new gods, resonates with the back story in “Innsmouth”.

    P37
    “wracklessness” This is at *least* three-meaninged: “recklessness”, etmylogically a lack of “reck”, or “reckoning”, or “caution”; “wrack”lessness, i.e. a lack of (ritual?) torture; “wreck”lessness, a lack of shipwrecks. Shipwrecks would obviously be useful to an amphibious race, who could easily salvage from them.

    ““roe” are Fish eggs. In this context, they are children.” Well, maybe. I see a LOT of references here to unusual aspects of Innsmouth life cycles: “We’re all born into the same bucket” (P12.p3), “we striggle in the nets and pots of this earthly domain” (P37) and the many references to fish-hooks. The detachable “sex-sticks”. It *could* all be metaphorical, but…

    P38
    If “the rut” is indeed meant to coordinate pregnancies, then, combined with the immediately-previous birthday announcement, there is a suggestion that gestation (or the equivalent) takes nearly a full year. Further, if there is only *one* individual reaching maturity this year, this suggests that, like many marine species, the infant mortality rate is vast.

    Like

  36. P4 p3
    “..you people from up the shore.”
    Could be interpreted as referring to humans with no deep one ancestry, as opposed to something akin to “you city folk”. Metaphorically speaking, if grandpa was a literal fish man, the phrasing might reference both the height difference between surface and the deep (“up”); and the difference between land and sea “from up the shore”

    P4 p4
    “Possibly you’d care to follow me upstairs, if you’ve a mind”
    Could just be an unusually quaint turn of phrase, but to me it reinforces something we’ve seen in the Courtyard, Neonomicon and Providence. While the antagonists do some horrific things to the protagonists of all three books, they are not terribly proactive in their interactions with the protagonists. Sax, Breers and Lamper as FBI Agents all walk themselves into their own downfall as a result of their Law Enforcement investigations, and Black’s on the same track as a result of his book research. This quote just speaks to the theme of fate and the inevitability of Cthulu et al. ‘Hey, you can come upstairs and you’ll be dead or insane or worse in a few issues, or you can go home and live your life in peace (ha ha) but it doesn’t fuckin’ matter, bro, Cthulu’s comin’ either way.’

    Like

  37. I thought that maybe the indecipherable font from the bottles might be the Aklo featured in #6 – no such luck. There’s some similarity, but nothing definite.

    It DOES have more in common with the Martian language from the second volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Quite strongly

    Like

  38. The man who tells Black the fishpeople in the bay are “just seals” bears a striking resemblance to character actor Don Knotts. Knotts starred in The Incredible Mr. Limpet, where an a man becomes a talking fish.

    Additionally, Brad Bird has mentioned that a Jim Carrey led reboot of Limpet was abandoned after test footage of a fish with Jim Carrey’s face came out looking like “something that, if you saw it while swimming, would make you jump out of the water and tell people the world was ending.”

    Like

  39. Thanks for the detailed analysis. Being raised on King James bible, and remembering “a greater than Jonas (Jonah) is here,” I thought Oannes referred to Jonah. Knowing Alan Moore, I thought that perhaps in his version of Jonah, Jonah would be “swallowed” by the great fish in a moore sexual way.

    Like

  40. p. 37 – the reference to ‘great Oannes’ – possible wordplay alluding to ‘Great (old) Ones’ in the Innsmouth dialect?

    Like

  41. Page 20, panel 1: «This is all because of your book, you marblehead!».

    I think this is an early clue that tell us Robert Black is the herald.

    marblehead – mARbLeHEaD

    Like

    • Marblehead is the town that inspired Kingsport in HP’s work. And as we now know, was going to be the title of Robert’s book.

      Like

      • Yes, I know…, AND the title of Robert’s book includes the letters H, E, R, A, L, D, it’s great. I think it makes sense: «This is all because of your book, you herald!».

        By the way, the title «Marblehead» has been translated as «El heraldo» in Spain (Providence 3). It’s very hard to translate Alan Moore, if not impossible…

        Like

      • Nah, you can’t make anagrams with extra letters in. You could take the letters from a panel in the comic and make up “LILY IS SECRETLY JOHNNY CARCOSA” if you look hard enough.

        “Marblehead”, as in “rock-head”, she’s calling him stupid and also mentioning Marblehead, a Lovecraft / Robert Black reference, that’s all. You can’t just selectively take letters out of words, doesn’t make sense. You’re reaching too far!

        Like

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 )

w

Connecting to %s