This page includes very minor errors that we found reading and re-reading Providence comics, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows. This is not a critique of the comic. None of these are a big deal.
This page lists things that appear to be typos or very small mistakes – though we could be wrong. We think that this stuff might be corrected in something like a collected edition, but if it is not, no problem. (Note that we did report these to Avatar Press, and several of them have been corrected in collected editions. Corrected items are marked with an asterisk below.)
>Go to Moore Lovecraft Annotations Index
- Cover, P15,p1 – The entry to #317 does not appear to have steps leading down to the door, but those steps are clearly shown on P21,p1.
- P8,p1 – There seems to be a discrepancy on the date, the headline appears to be June 17, 1919, but the Commonplace Book (p30) sets the date at June 5, 1919. Issue #2 Commonplace Book entries start at June 9, so the June 17 headline appears to be incorrect (perhaps could be explained as just a subtle difference between Providence‘s world and ours.)
- P11,p2 – “Sí?” should probably be punctuated “¿Sí?”
- *P14,p1 – The record label was changed for the collected editions. Perhaps the original one was anachronistic? Or perhaps they just wanted to show it with scuff marks so that it would be easily identifiable as the same record we see in #11.
- P14,p2-4 – There appears to be a coloring error on the floor in panel 3 – the white and green tiles have shifted. It is most noticeable under Russell’s feet: that square goes from green to white to green.
- *P15,p1 – The word balloon should be probably be coming out of the fifth window up, not the third. (corrected in collected edition)
- P17,p3 – “pretences” is a British spelling of what Americans would more commonly write as “pretenses” – Grammarist says they’re both OK.
- P18,p1-3 – The doorknob on the inside (p3) should be on the left, given this is the other side of the door shown on panels 1-2. (Thanks commenter Chris)
- P22,p1 – The label “The New York Herald” is missing. It should appear in the (currently blank) rectangle above the central arch.
- P7-8-9-10+ – Could be perhaps just light and shadow, but Suydam’s pants and jacket appear to be black on P7-8, which does not match his olive-colored pants and jacket on later pages. Suydam’s hat also appears to lighten in tone from P8,p1 to P9,p1 to P9,p2. Black’s hat remains the same.
- P12 p1-3 – The green book’s spine appears to read Arcadia but should probably be Aradia.
- P30 – The first indent, before “clearly wondering” appears to be unnecessary.
- P12,p4 – The 1 and 4 in “1754” are forward, and perhaps should be backwards (compare to P15,p3.) Thanks commenter skeletonpete.
- P26,p4 – The sign states “Athol 42 miles” but the actual distance is about 82 miles. Thanks commenter Daniel Thomas
- P29, July 7, line3 – Guillaume “Appllinaire” is misspelled, should be Guillaume “Apollinaire.”
- P8-9 – The pin on Garland Wheatley’s right (readers’ left) lapel, is visible on P8 and P11, etc., does not appear on P9.
- P23,p1 – A section of fence is missing to the right of Black’s head – compare to p3. Thanks commenter Seigor.
- *P13,p2 – “Dennis” should probably be “Denis” referring to the actual Denis M. Bradley.
- *P17,p4 – British spelling “realised” should probably be the American spelling “realized.”
- P23,p4 and P24,p5 – These panels should probably have a rough hand-drawn border (instead of the straight lines) to match the panels preceding and after it. (It appears to have been copied from P20,p4 and P20,p1 where they have the proper straight line outline pertaining to paranormal sequences.)
- P28 line 32-33 – “It’s where live but it ain’t where I’m from” is aguably missing an “I” – should perhaps be “It’s where I live…” Perhaps Black writing in a hurry left this out.
- P28 last line – Hamsters were not domesticated until 1939.
- P32 line 13 – Repeats “Dennis” which should be “Denis” (see P13,p2 above – though it is not a stretch to assume Black is just using a common spelling, given he heard the name spoken.)
- P32 line 17 – British spelling “centre” should probably be the American spelling “center.”
- P37 line 10 – Commenter Leslie S. Klinger notes that “Baron” here appears to be incorrect. It could probably be replaced with “Victor.” Per Klinger, the baron title was introduced in a 1930s film, not the 1818 novel.
- P37 line 11 – British spelling “galvanising” should probably be the American spelling “galvanizing.”
- *Back cover: quote is same as issue #4.
- *P8,p3 – There appears to be an extra space before the comma “…Paisley , our head…” should probably be just “…Paisley, our head…”
- P27 line 8 – Properly “Chamber‘s” would be “Chambers’“.
- P31 line 13 – British spelling “labouring” should probably be the American spelling “laboring.”
- P32 line 6 – British spelling “labours” should probably be the American spelling “labors.”
- P9,p3 – Black’s glasses are on his face – and there’s also a pair on the table beside him. Thanks commenter Konstantin.
- *P18,p3 – “The do not work hard like us” should probably be “They do not…” Thanks commenter Pete Von Sholly.
- P30 line 32 – “Mrs. Macey was Mr. Jenkins mother” might be better grammatically as “…Mr. Jenkins‘ mother.”
- P35 – Perhaps Black is just confused, but he refers to “Boston’s governor Mr. Coolidge” who was actually governor of the state of Massachusetts, not the city of Boston.
- *P6,p3 – “Warren” should probably be “Warner.” Harley Warren is Lovecraft’s fictional name; here Carver is presumably referring to the Providence analogue Harvey Warner.
- *P17,p1 – The word balloons appear to be misplaced; Black’s points to Carver, and vice versa. Thanks commenter Seigor.
- P29 line 28 – “Carter” should probably be “Carver.” Randolph Carter is Lovecraft’s fictional name; here Black is presumably referring to the Providence analogue Randall Carver.
- P33 – “paintings of Delvaux” is an anachronism, as he didn’t start painting until the 1920s.
- *P3,p4 – There are two small rectangles marked X (along the bottom) that appear to be missed blacks. Compare to this Burrows art with Xs marked.
- *P8,p3 – Charles says “Jacques Roulet” where he probably should have said “Etienne Roulet”. It’s possible that Charles is nervous and misspoke. Jacques is the French grandfather of Etienne; there’s no indication that Jacques ever came to the U.S., according to Suydam’s pamphlet pages  to  in Providence #2 P33-35. Thanks commenter Seigor.
- P10,p1 – “Ruttenberg” should probably be “Rutenberg” the historic neighborhood shown on the map on Providence‘s endpages. Thanks commenter Sithoid.
- *P11,p4 – “It’s secret chief” probably should be “Its secret chief.”
- *P17,p2 – “in hospital” is a British idiom; an American like Black would likely say “in the hospital”.
- *P22,p3 – “Though so inform is he that your grandfather… demands the respect due to the elderly” should probably be “Though so infirm…” (Thanks commenter Pete Von Sholly)
- P25,p2-4 – It is probably just the light of the setting sun, but H.P. Lovecraft’s tie appears very blue here, where earlier in the issue it looks gray.
- P27 line 27 – “…was evident that they were mean to be something specific” should probably be “…they were meant to be…”
- P34 line 28 – “…I’d made to much of all this…” should probably be “…I’d made too much of all this…”
- P39 line 3 – “Tough I’m sure the conversation… was upsetting” should probably be “Though I’m sure…”
- P40 line 4 – British spelling “centre” should perhaps be “center“
- P2 and P3,p2 – Black’s tie appears to be gray/green here, where later in the issue (P6,p1 and P8-13) it is clearly red.
- P8,p2 – Black’s Commonplace Book appears darker than (and lacks the floral design) in Providence #1 P27.
- P16,p3,4 (and P40) – The FBI, as such, did not exist yet. In 1919, it was still the Bureau of Investigation.
- P30 – British spelling “favourably” should perhaps be “favorably”
- Black’s tie changes color several times on what appears to be the same day. Gray P1p3, P3p1; aqua P5; gray again P8p1; black P7, P9-11; gray again P12p3; black again P13.
- P9,p2 – Black’s right (reader’s left) eyeglass should probably be cracked – similar to P11,p1 in same scene.
- *P20,p4 – “July” should be “June.” Lovecraft’s first letter to R. H. Barlow was dated 25 June 1931.
- P21,p4 – The pistol Robert E. Howard committed suicide with should be an automatic rather than a revolver. It was a .380 Colt Automatic, year of make unknown.
- P30, panels 2 and 4 – Same as issue 1 P18,p1-3, the doorknob on the inside (p4) should be on the left, given this is the other side of the door shown on panels 1-2.
- *P1,p4 – “Necronomcon” should probably be Necronomicon.
- *P7,p1 – British spelling “realise” should probably be the American spelling “realize.”
- *P8,p1 – “sattelite” should be satellite.
- *P8,p1 – Lovecraft “county” should probably Lovecraft “country.”
- P22,p3 – Both Brears and Perlman are holding what is apparently the same coat. Thanks commenter Sydnei Monteiro.
- *P31,p3 – “Aren’t you it’s last remaining scientist?” should probably be “its last remaining scientist.”
29 thoughts on “Providence Nitpicks”
“Chance would be a fine thing” is a coloquial expression meaning ‘a chance of x, would be a fine thing, but its very unlikely I’ll have that chance.’ So the punctuation is correct.
“of a Friday night” is correct grammar, and particularly how an Irish person would say it.
You’re going to have to give Mr Moore a bit more slack. Many of these “errors” are not erroneous at all. I’d trust Alan’s skill with language over some random pedant on the Internet.
The fact you didn’t even know “[the] Chance would be a fine thing” is a common saying in Britain, really proves that the people on this site aren’t qualified to correct Alan’s work. This page would best either be dropped, or at least restricted to more notable errors. And you should CERTAINLY give the spelling and grammar correction a miss. Alan, a published author of some years, knows what he’s doing. This lot seem not to.
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I make no claim to be “qualified to correct Alan Moore’s work.” We keep this nitpick page to post stuff that appears to us to be very minor errors. Mostly we keep the list here, because it would be distracting to draw attention to these nitpicky items in the body of the annotations pages.
I am a big Moore fan, and looking to get deeper into his work. Neither of the authors here are from the UK, so we’re unfamiliar with common sayings there – we rely on you and others have been able to point out where we’ve missed things or gotten them wrong.
I know when I spot things that I think may be incorrect, my first hunch is that it’s not an error on Moore’s part, but something either that I don’t understand, or an error that may have been introduced by someone who is collaborating with Moore.
Thanks for making me aware of specific UK usage.
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Just a quick one, but Malone would speak one of the Irish dialects of English. All countries have their own variations of their language, and within Britain, there can be a dozen different dialects within a hundred mile radius. Britain has perhaps a couple of dozen very different accents and dialects, with hundreds of variations. Each one has it’s own unique words and variations of grammar.
In any case, Malone is speaking colloquially. He’s a copper, not a professor of English. “Us” is not a grammar mistake of Alan’s, it’s one of Malone’s, his fictional character. Fictional characters often have idiosyncracies, including of language. He’s supposed to speak like that. It’s not an error. Unless you’re going to start correcting the language of the characters as well as the author.
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I agree many characters commit errors because Alan wanted to indicate their origin, culture etc. I’d say I read him say something about an error in Providence #1 which indicated the character was not very well-read.
Later on it becomes clear when so many characters talk so wrong (because of deformations of the vocal apparatus and/or ignorance, slang, or some mix as the curios preference in Providence #3 for choosing existing homophone words related with their culture, as ‘sea’ instead of ‘see’).
But of course some errors can leak as that “Sí?” without the first ¿, and many graphic ones as you’ve shown.
I hope they will have these annotations into account in future editions.
Providence 3 – Not only the 4 is forward in “1754”, the 1 too.
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Maybe the Arcadia book is there because he studies the origins of the adoration of the god Pan (and there’s Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan” influence on Lovecraft’s Dunwich Horror). This Pan may be too the origin of Satan, Baphomet, etc. christian representation as a male goat, specially in witch covens.
From Wikipedia: “In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan. ”
From Spanish Wikipedia, freely translated:
“Arcadians were a rural and humble town, so they couldn’t honor fertility with a bull, so they began adoring the goat. With time this figure was assimilated to the god Pan.”
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In terms of British versus American spellings: In New England, where most of Providence takes place, many of the toponyms use British spellings because they were settled well before Daniel Webster came along with the spelling reforms of his dictionary. And of course, Lovecraft, being a whiggish anglophile, preferred to use British spellings in his own work.
As to how many of these instances were intentional and how many were mistakes by Moore or by his editor is open for debate.
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In #7–21 Henchman street appears to actually be 22 Henchman street. What’s up with that?
Yes – I agree – I’ve been meaning too add that to this page… though it doesn’t seem like something that’s easily fixed.
I imagine that’d involve changing the address from 21 to 22 in Providence #4 and all the commonplace book entries – that’s a shame, because the address was so admirably consistent throughout the issues!
The error that can’t be corrected involves the door on 58 F street, Randall Carver’s house – that glass-paneled front door is the very same one that exists at present, in 2016 (I live in Dorchester myself so I was able to verify it – you can see it on Google Street View). I think any doors of that sort made a century ago would have needed a lot more glass framing and I don’t remember seeing any in Boston’s older buildings at all, unless they are modern retrofits. Sadly, there aren’t any images of F street from back then so there’s no way to know what the front door would have looked like in 1919.
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Anyone else realize Providence #7’s stuff is listed under #8?
corrected – thanks!
– Providence 4
Page 23, panel 1. A piece of fence is missing to the right of Black’s head (see panel 3).
– Providence 8
Page 17, panel 1. I think the word balloons are exchanged between Black and Carver.
– Providence 9
Page 8, panel 3. Howard Charles says “Jacques Roulet” instead of “Etienne Roulet”. Do we suppose that it’s his mistake?
I know Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows have paid attention to the phases of the moon but…
– Providence 3 (July 24th, page 25): Waxing crescent. Shouldn’t it be waning crescent?
– Providence 4 (August 4th, page 26): Waning crescent. Shouldn’t it be first quarter? Furthermore, waning crescent can’t be seen in the first hours of the night.
– Providence 5 (August 18th ?, page 13): Waning crescent. It could be right more or less, but again, that phase can’t be seen in the first hours of the night.
– Providence 5 (September 9th-10th, page 23): Full moon. Right.
Please, tell me if I’m wrong, all I want is this masterpiece (the best since From Hell for my taste) being as perfect as possible.
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I’ve added all these – but I left out the moon stuff… because it feels too nitpicky even for me!
Moore has talked a lot about phases of the moon in Providence– he was apparently really impressed that HPL caught a moon mistake in one of his stories– so I suspect that any apparent errors are quite deliberate.
I went through Suydam’s pamphlets in Providence #2, and it turns out that Japheth Colwen is the most shadowy of the three founders of the Stella Sapiente. Massey and Etienne Roulet have known birthdates and histories; he does not have anything prior to the mid-1600s. The pamphlet further states that there’s substantial doubt about Japheth Colwen’s age since he never grew old (true to the Case of Charles Dexter Ward), and even a suggestion that he came aboard the Mayflower in 1620. Suydam’s pamphlets suppose that Jacques Roulet actually saw or had the 1498 copy of Liber Stella Sapiente with him – Robert explicitly identifies the copy that he finds in the steeple as an incunabula (published before 1501) – which suggests that this is indeed Jacques Roulet’s copy of the book, and that Japheth Colwen worked with him and presumably brought it over to America in 1620. I think Howard Charles is actually entirely correct – Colwen associated with Jacques Roulet and later with Etienne. I have no idea if his villainous ancestor will turn up in Providence #10, but if he does, we might have a definite answer as to whether Colwen associated with more than one Roulet.
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That’s too early for appearance jf Colwen himself, I suppose. If biography of Howard Charles follows one of Charles Ward accurately (and from #9 it seems so), it won’t be before 1927 that Colwen is resurrected. So I think we’ll see Colwen only in flashbacks (or possibly in Robert’s dreams or even his visions in Shining Trapezohedron).
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^ damn it would be weird if they got those phases wrong considering how much attention he clearly has said he put into it.
I think this is a great section to have, so maybe some of these little nitpicks don’t have to live on in hardback/paperback form.
in #5 (pg. 23, p. 4), there is a panel whose edges should be hand-drawn (reality) but instead are razor straight (unreality). Fairly clear Burrows just copied/pasted the panel (pg. 20, p. 4) from the “still-dreaming” version of running out of the house (probably due to the alleged complexity of drawing the witch-house!) I can’t tell if there’s a slight color difference between the panels or not.
Also, technically #8 has a similar issue, where the last “vertical” panel of the Carver dream sequence is razor-straight even after they’ve woken up. But for logistics/aesthetics I could forgive that one!
I’ve been loving the straight-edge panels since #2! There’s one thing that remains to be revealed: what is the significance of the yellow-edged panels? they appear in #2 leading into and out of the Lilith sequence, in #5 the first panel of Black’s dream is outlined, and in #7 as Black descends into the cellar it’s two whole pages of yellow outline (curiously, the entire King George scene after that hand-drawn edges rather than straight. compared to the semi-similar Lilith scene, seems strange?)
We already had that panel border item from issue 5 noted. I think that the panel border for #8 could go either way… it’s still a kind of magical moment… the straight borders are kind of coming down from the experience. My guess is that the yellow borders take place where the panel is so black that it would be difficult to read without one… but we’ll have to evaluate after the series ends and see if there’s a non-mundane logic to them.
Whoops on #5! I’d tend to agree about the yellow outlines simply defining dark panels, except that in #2 when they first appear, there is a curious chronology to it. That first page begins with Black at the bottom of the stairs with the flashlight (a lot of black obscuring the frame, and it looks fine), the second panel is the closeup of him shining the light on the pentagram on the wall, which shifts into straight-edges (no yellow border, and again a lot of the frame is obscured by darkness), and then the 3rd panel is where the yellow shows up, when Black turns around to see the trapdoor. That panel is no more borderless or dark than the previous two.
Also, looking back, the border around the panel when Black “wakes up”, with Cornelia and Suydam staring down at him, is also a straight-edge panel (which might be a mistake?) so that’s weird.
A very small nitpick from issue #8:
On p. 30 of the Commonplace Book, Black calls the landscape of Carter’s story “surreal”. The term was first used by Apollinaire in 1917, in the program notes for a ballet. It didn’t enter general use until 1924, with Breton’s publication of “The Surrealist Manifesto”.
Black is probably referring to de Chirico, whose paintings from 1911 – 1920 are indeed totally surreal, but that word wasn’t used to describe them. In 1919, it’s unlikely (though I guess not impossible) that Black would be familiar with an obscure critical term that had not yet appeared in any English-language publication.
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• P1, p4 – “Necronomcon” should probably be “Necronomicon”
• P8, p1 – “Sattelite” should probably be “Satellite” (?)
I think it’s in Providence 7 where Black describes the car Jenkins was driving as smelling like a hamster – however the hamster wasn’t domesticated until the 1930s.
It’s issue #5, but otherwise, good catch! Added.
#12,P24,p3: Merril still holds Carl’s coat, which, however, is holding the same coat on the floor. Nitpick? Sorry for the lousy English.
Good catch – added!