Annotations to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Nemo’s Heart of Ice

By Jess Nevins

 

Updated 22 March 2013. Updates in blue.


Page III. “Mobilis in Mobili” is Captain Nemo’s motto in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: “mobile in the mobile medium.”

Page IV. “Kôr: The World’s Largest Liner.”

In the Allan Quatermain and Ayesha novels of H. Rider Haggard Kôr is the capital of a long-dead civilization.

 “White Star. Titan Line.”

In real life the Star Line was a famous British shipping company. They are best known as the owner of the Titanic. But, of course, in the world of the League, where many historic items and people have been replaced by their fictional analogues, there was no Titanic, there was the Titan, a Titanic-like passenger liner which, as described in Morgan Robertson's novella Futility or the Wreck of the Titan (1898), is destroyed by an iceberg.

Adam M. adds, " In your annotations for League Vol.1 #5, I see you make mention of the 1892 book "From the Old World to the New" written by WT Steade (who incidentally died on the Titanic in 1912). The white star ship called "the majestic" comes to the aid of another liner struck by an iceberg. Maybe Kor is using both names to imply security when it advertises itself as the World's Largest Liner?"

Eamonn Clarke writes, "The Kor poster on page IV is an homage to the famous Normandie art deco poster."

Page V.  Ross Byrne writes, "'Alan Moore - Hemp master and manatee keeper' -  could 'Hemp master' be a subtle nod to Lord Dunsany's The Hashish Man, from which story Lovecraft took the name 'Mountains of Madness?'"

          Tim Collins writes, " 'Seaman Staines' on page V is a reference to the popular urban myth that Captain Pugwash contained names with crude double entendres. Creator John Ryan sued newspapers The Guardian and The Sunday Correspondent for printing the legend."

Text Page 1. Panel 1. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “Pier 13 - there are two films that I can find with Pier 13 in the title: Pier 13 (1940) and The Woman on Pier 13 (1949). However, there’s also Me and My Gal (1932) which, according to this was based on a story called “Pier 13,” it says ‘ere, and the 1940 film is a remake of it. So this is my best guess for what the Pier 13 here refers to.”

            Joyce Cunyus, Julian Solis, and Steven Whyte, among others, note the presence of E.C. Segar's Popeye the Sailor on the left. 

Panel 2. “In case there aren’t any newspapers where you come from, I myself am a publisher of some influence.”

            As is revealed on Page 4, Panel 2, the speaker here is “Mr. Kane,” a.k.a. Charles Foster Kane, the star of Orson Welles’ and Herman J. Mankiewicz’s Citizen Kane (1941). In Citizen Kane Kane is a megalomaniacal newspaper publisher.

            Again, in the world of League historical people are replaced by their fictional analogues. So we can theorize that in the world of League there was no William Randolph Hearst (the model for Kane), only Charles Foster Kane.

            Panel 3. I don’t know who the gentleman in the tuxedo is meant to be a reference to. The woman is the current queen of Kôr, that much is clear from the text, but if she is a reference beyond that I’m unaware of it.

            Padraig O Mealoid writes: “This is Ayesha - she's specifically named later on - and Leo Vincey, who turns up in both She and Ayesha, and who she believes to be the reincarnation of her lover, Kallikrates.

            “I don’t know why Kane and his chauffeur both look so pained when Vincey is speaking, unless it’s just because they both find him annoying.”

            My only reluctance to name her as Ayesha is that in the Black Dossier (“Life of Orlando,” page 7 panel 1) Ayesha is said to have remained in China after her incarnation there, which presumably would have been during the events of Heart of Ice.

            “…to my estate in Florida.”

            In Citizen Kane Kane’s estate, Xanadu, is located in the “deserts of the Gulf Coast” of Florida.

            Panel 5. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “‘One word from me could start a war or bring down a government...’

I think this, as much as anything, is also a comment on Rupert Murdoch, who also felt he was a powerful and untouchable newspaper man.” Filip Vukcevic writes, "Not to dispute Padraig's note, as it is pertinent, but I think this is specifically referring to William Randolph Hearst (who Kane is a satire of) who famously DID start a war, almost single-handedly, with Spain in 1898. Here's the pertinent quote from his Wiki page: "Nonetheless, through his newspapers and magazines, he exercised enormous political influence, and was sometimes blamed for pushing public opinion in the United States into a war with Spain in 1898." Ian Wildman adds, "This is based on a similar (if most likely apocryphal) story attributed to the artist Frederic Remington.  While in Cuba, and mentioning the placid political situation on the supposed eve of fighting, Hearst was said to have responded "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."" Gabriel Neeb adds, "It refers to a line in CITIZEN KANE where Kane says, "You provide the prose poems and I'll provide the war." Which is meant to mean that his influence started the Spanish-American War... which eventually got us the Panama Canal."

Page 5. Panel 1. The gentleman in the black shirt with the arrow in it is Broad Arrow Jack, who was created by E. Harcourt Burrage and appeared in the penny dreadful Broad Arrow Jack (1866). As has been established in previous issues of League, Jack is the lover of Janni Nemo and the father of Hira Nemo.

            Padraig O Mealoid writes, “However, at the point we’re at here, Jack isn’t Janni’s lover yet.”

Page 6. Panel 2. “I mean, just look at him. The original Steam Man of the Prairies.”

This is a reference to Edward S. Ellis’ “The Huge Hunter, or the Steam Man of the Prairies” (Beadle’s American Novels, 1868), the first Edisonade.

“Uh, well, not exactly, sir. I hear the original’s in the British museum. My father’s version kind of, uh, adapted the original design.”

The speaker here is Frank Reade, Jr. Reade Jr. As detailed here, there were three Edisonade heroes by the name of Frank Reade. The first, Frank Reade, was created by Harold Cohen and appeared in four dime novels, beginning with “Frank Reade and His Steam Man of the Plains, or, The Terror of the West” (Boys of New York, 1876). Frank Reade’s “Steam Man” was an essential duplicate of the first “Steam Man.”

            Frank Reade, Jr. (as mentioned, the speaker here), was the most popular of the three Frank Reades, and appeared in 179 dime novels from 1879 to 1899.

            Padraig O Mealoid notes that the original Steam Man of the Prairies is seen on panel 4 of page 23 of part 6 of the first volume of League.

            Panel 3. I don’t know who the painting is of. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “I think it may be meant to be Kane's mother, Mary Kane, who was played by Agnes Moorehead. Although, having said that, she appears to be holding a pen, which is possibly a clue of some sort...”

            Ian Wildman writes, "In Citizen Kane, it is the signing of certain documents that allows Kane's mother to insure him of his financial independence and future success.  Hence her holding a pen would be of great import to him" Eamonn Clarke also noted this. 

            Panel 4. The speaker on the left, who mentions “Swyfte Industries,” is meant to be Edward Stratemeyer’s Tom Swift, the archetypal 20th century Edisonade boy inventor. In his original series Swift worked for the Swift Construction Company; in the Tom Swift, Jr. books, the company has become Swift Enterprises.

            Greg Arnott writes, "the whole key to Tom Swift's character is Alan Moore's Frankenstein's Cadillac article on science fiction and it's influence on the real world. It's found in Dodgem Logic 4. He also mentions how Swift's attitude is analogous for American attitudes in an episode on The Infinite Monkey Cage. He makes a point of mentioning Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle."

            “I bet it knocks Readestown and Wrightstown into a cocked hat and all!”

            Frank Reade’s base of operations is a facility into Readestown. “Wrightstown” is a reference to a similar facility operated by Jack Wright, a Frank Reade Jr.-like Edisonade boy inventor created by Luis Senarens (who wrote most of the Frank Reade, Jr. stories) and appearing in 120 stories from 1891 to 1899.

            I don’t know what the “Rose” picture on the left is a reference to. Padraig O Mealoid points out the bleedin’ obvious: “What we’re seeing is part of the word Rosebud, written on the sled of that name, and which is the past word spoken by the dying Kane. The person on it is probably Susan Alexander Kane, his mistress and later second wife.”

On the right side of the panel is the Maltese Falcon, the jewel-encrusted statue from Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon (1930) and the 1941 film with Humphrey Bogart.

            Panel 5. The “Don Q” painting is a reference to Kate and Hesketh Prichard’s grim Spanish bandit, Don Q, who appeared in a number of stories and novels from 1897 to 1922.

            Padraig O Mealoid writes, “Is the pterodactyl head some sort of reference to Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World? There was a film made of Lost World in 1925, the year this book is set in which would lend a bit of weight to that.” Rafael Jasso adds, "Here's some interesting information from the IMDB entry on Son of Kong: 'One of the scenes involving pterodactyls flying in the far background was matted into Citizen Kane during the scene where Kane and "friends" make for the beach from Xanadu - this was done to save production costs.'"

Page 7. Panel 2. “…somewhere within the impenetrable fog banks of the Riallaro Archipelago.”

            The Riallaro Archipelago appears in John Macmillan Brown's Riallaro, the Archipelago of Exiles (1901) and Limanora, the Island of Progress (1903), both about island utopias near the Antarctic.

“Nevada Smith furious as Congress block national urine storage scheme.”

            This is a reference to the film Nevada Smith (1966), a Western about a cowboy tracking down his parents’ murderers.

            I confess to not understanding the “urine storage scheme” reference.

Padraig O Mealoid corrects me, “I think this is a reference to Howard Hughes, who used to store his urine in jars. Also, Hughes’s life is said to be the inspiration Harold Robbins’s book The Carpetbaggers, which also featured a character called Nevada Smith. The film Nevada Smith is a sort-of prequel to The Carpetbaggers, too. Inter alia, Nevada Smith would seem to be the inspiration for the name Indiana Jones.” Ian Wildman writes, "The character of Nevada Smith originally appeared in Harold Robbins' "The Carpetbaggers," which dealt with a fictionalized version of Howard Hughes (The movie "Nevada Smith" was a prequel to the film version from 1964).  However, the Hughes analog in "Carpetbaggers" was Jonas Cord (who also had some inspiration from William Lear of Lear jet fame); Nevada Smith was more based on Tom Mix and Hopalong Cassidy, as a former cowboy who finds fame and success in movies produced by the Hughes-like Cord."

Dana Johnson adds, "This immediately made me think of the political infighting around the proposed nuclear (uranium?) waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada."

Graham Tedesco-Blair writes, "The “urine storage scheme” mentioned in Page 7 Panel 2 might be reference to "Urinetown," a satirical musical about an evil corporation who hordes urine during a drought. More here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinetown"

            Panel 3. The stone in the background shows a four-armed Green Martian, from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter novels and as seen in League v2n1.

            Panel 4. I don’t know what that’s a statue of—a Grey? Sidney Osinga corrects me: "However, I think that it is of a Sorn, previously seen in LoEG vl.2, issue 1. There are many features in common between the two."

            Padraig O Mealoid writes, “The Grey and the four-armed Green Martian - are these a reference to the War of the Worlds? Orson Welles, who directed Citizen Kane, also produced the infamous 1938 radio broadcast of WotW, so there's some sort of connection there.”

Page 8. Panel 2. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “: ‘...that Antarctic expedition of his.’

Nemo’s Antarctic expedition is mentioned in part six of The New Traveller’s Almanac (NTA) in League Vol 2, with extracts from his logs, which is what we see Janni reading here.

 Page 9. Panel 2. “It’s mostly based on Moritz Rotwang’s Berlin Metropolis.”

            This is a reference to the Fritz Lang movie Metropolis (1927). Dr. Rotwang is the architect of the dystopic city. Ross Byrne corrects me: "The main architect and overseer of Metropolis was Joh Frederson. Perhaps Reade was led to believe Rotwang, who created the automaton Maria, was responsible for the design of the whole city, or, in the world of League. maybe he was, and Frederson took all the credit..."

            Panel 3. “…his electric rifle’s a piece of junk.”

            Tom Swift and HIs Electric Rifle (1911) is the tenth Tom Swift novel. The titular gun is Swift’s invention. Damian Gordon writes, " the real-world Taser was developed by Jack Cover named it after his childhood hero Tom Swift and it stands for "Thomas A. Swift's electric rifle"" Jerome Wicky and Graham Tedesco-Blair, among others, also noted this.

Page 11. Panel 2. “Megapatagonia” is a reference to Nicolas Edme Restif de la Bretonne’sLa Découverte australe Par un Homme-volant (1781). Megapatagonia is an archipelago which is exactly opposite France and so its culture is an inverse of the French, down to its capital "Sirap."

            As established in Black Dossier Megapatagonia is part of the Blazing World (from Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World) and is inhabited by animal-men, as seen here.

               Panel 3. I don’t know who the dog is, if he is indeed intended to be a reference. Lance Parkin writes, “the dog is Dogtanian, an actual French-speaking dog.”

             Panel 4. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “‘...by Durg...’

“Durg is a city in Chhattisgarh state, in Central India. Why Janni might be using it to swear on, I have no idea. Perhaps it is meant to represent Shiva Durga. ShivDurga says that ‘Durga represents the Divine Mother,’ which seems like just the kind of thing Jannie might swear by.” Greg Arnott adds, "Durg is Durga the Hindu Goddess of the Triumph of Good Over Evil."

Page 12. Panel 2. “Mawson” is presumably a reference to Sir Douglas Mawson (1882-1958), the Antarctic explorer. Possibly in the world of League he established some sort of permanent base? Padraig O Mealoid adds, “In New Travelers’ Almanac Nemo’s journal reads ‘I took a party of twelve men and several sleds ashore not far from Mawson, off the Amery ice shelf...’”

Panel 5. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “‘...before we rendezvous with the Nautilus by the Weddell Sea.’

“In NTA, Nemo’s journal continues ‘...leaving my first mate to take the Nautilus around the continent and meet us on the coast of Palmer Land, beside the Wendell Sea.’

“Despite apparently wanting to exorcise the ghost of her father, Janni is actually taking exactly the same journey as he did.”

Page 13. Panel 2. “Mr. van Dusen” is Jacques Futrelle’s Professor Augustus S.F.X. van Dusen, the “Thinking Machine,” from 48 stories and 2 novels (1905-1912). He is a brilliant crime-solver, scientist and logician.

“…the underground empire of the Alondsons.”

The Empire of the Alsondons was created by Robert-Martin Lesuire and appeared in L’Aventurier Français. Padraig O Mealoid adds that this was mentioned in the New Travelers Alamanc.

“Allied with Antarctic France, as I recall.”

Antarctic France was created by Robert-Martin Lesuire and appeared in his L'Aventurier Français (1792). Padraig O Mealoid adds that this was mentioned in the New Travelers Alamanc.

I’m not sure who “Mistress Kidd” is a reference to. Padraig O Mealoid writes: “Mistress Kidd - There are several pirates called Kidd that this could be some sort of reference to. There’s William Kidd, a Scottish sailor accused of piracy at the end of the 17th century. He’s the basis of the 1945 film Captain Kidd. There’s also the 15th century English pirate William Kyd. As it seems that the crew of the Nautilus are descendents of various nautical fictional characters, like Janni Dakkar herself, it’s possible that she’s meant to be descended from one of those, or more specifically from a fictionalised version of them.”

“Tsalal” is a reference to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838).

I’m not sure who “Jake, Junior” is. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “I think Jake Junior is likely to be the descendant of Cut-Throat Jake, captain of the Flying Dustman, and Captain Pugwash’s mortal enemy. At least one more remnant of Pugwash’s crew will turn up later. And, although Mr Mate, which is what Van Dusen addresses someone as, is probably a standard ship’s title, I would like to point out that there was a character only known as Master Mate on the Black Pig, Pugwash’s boat.”

Page 14. Panel 1. “No name” is likely a reference to Luis Senarens’ pseudonym while writing the Frank Reade, Jr. stories. Padraig O Mealoid differs with me: “No Name also reflects the name Nemo, which means no-one.”

Panel 4. “The Ice-schooner” is exactly the sort of super-vehicle that the Edisonade boy inventors created in their stories. Paul di Filippo notes that Michael Moorcock wrote, The Ice Schooner.

Page 15. Panel 5. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “This is where Ayesha is specifically identified as the woman with Kane earlier on.”

Page 16. Panel 3. “The Iron Mountains” appear in the anonymously written Voyage au Centre de la Terre (1821).

Page 17. Panel 2. The plaque to the survivors of the good ship Mercury is a reference to Voyage au Centre de la Terre.

            Padraig O Mealoid writes, “The survivors of the good ship Mercury is also mentioned in NTA. Actually, as the original annotations for it say, ‘This is likely a transcription error; the Mercury’s shipwreck appears in Voyage au Centre de la Terre, but in that story it is said to have shipwrecked in 1806, not 1906,’ it seems that AM and KO’N were paying attention, as the date is now given as 1806.

            Also, I can’t help wondering if the Good Ship Mercury is also an oblique reference to the ‘Good Ship Venus.’”

            Panel 3. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “‘She’s a dame and a darkie.’

“Moore sometimes like his nasties to be nasty all round, but there does seem to be some suggestion that the Tom Swift stories really were like that. In this article it says:

‘African-Americans were heavily stereotyped and referred-to in what are now considered "racist" terms. Colored, darky, coon and nigger were all terms used unabashedly to describe persons with other than white skin. These folks also were invariably portrayed as poorly educated and spoke in a deep-south slave-patois.

Women were relegated to the status of ornaments. It was considered "curious" for a female to drive an automobile, or to go unescorted. All but older matronly types (like Mrs. Baggert) were considered flighty and easily frightened.’”

Page 19. Panel 2. “Subterranean Pluto” is a reference to Voyage au Centre de la Terre. Gabriel Neeb adds, "Okay. But the great black void looks like the void from the alien void in THE THING."

            Panel 3.  I don’t know who “Old Tom” is a reference to. On Page 24 he’s described as a mute and as the descendant of a line of cabin-boys. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “Old Tom is presumably descended from Tom the Cabin Boy, who served on the Black Pig under Captain Pugwash.”

Page 24. Panel 4. “Present Land” is a reference to The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Padraig O Mealoid adds, “RE: Present Land - according to an entry on this site, quoting from your own Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana,

‘Present Land, near the South Pole, was discovered by Mr. Arthur Gordon Pym (of Nantucket) in 1928; his narrative, eponymously titled, was conveyed to us by Edgar Allan Poe in 1838. Present Land, covered by a thick mist, is a ‘phosphorescent plateau’ of steep mountains whose broken slopes are filled with caves and water-filled craters. The flora of the land is strange, with bushes of plants similar to white, glowing coral and tall trees like spun glass. The natives of the Present Land are androgynous, semi-transparent humanoids. They are gentle and graceful and have large eyes with short hair. They communicate in a musical language and worship a white figure which is ‘shrouded’ and ‘very far larger in his proportions than any dweller among men;’ they worship this being with cries of ‘tekeli-li.’ The Present Land puts out what seems to be some sort of radiation which erases the memory and produces complete contentment.’

“Which certainly explains some of what happens later. And, again, Nemo himself came upon Present Land, as noted in the annotations for League Vol 2, #6.

Page 26. Tom Jordan writes, "Kevin has designed the clouds to look vaguely octopus like, no doubt in tribute to the Great Cthulhu."

Page 27. Panel 2. These natives appear in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

            Panel 3. Jack is looking at the molecules of a shoggoth, one of the monsters from H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Mountains of Madness.” Padraig O Mealoid disagrees: “That’s not Jack, that’s the Mistress Kidd, I think. There is a Mistress Sally Kidd mentioned in the text section at the back, but I think she might be the daughter of the Mistress Kidd here.”

Page 28. Ross Byrne writes, "This gigantic statue of the Elder Thing-headed sphinx is from Jules Verne's The Ice Sphinx, or An Antarctic Mystery (1897), in which novel the protagonists stumble upon the monolith seen here, as detailed in the Wikipedia entry "The combined crews of Halbrane and Jane decide to try to make it north in their newly acquired boat. They make good progress, until they notice the appearance of strong magnetic forces. They find the source of it, the Ice Sphinx: A huge mountain magnetically "charged" by the particle streams that get focused on the poles through Earth's magnetic field."  Added to which Moore has developed the fluctuations in time perception seen in some post-modern novels and sci-fi stories." Jonathan Carter and Gregoire Petit also mentioned this. 

Page 30. The white figure is from The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

Page 32. The Mounts of Madness is a reference to H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Mountains of Madness.”

Page 34. The underground city is from H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Mountains of Madness.”

Page 35. Panel 3. “I thought they seemed manufactured, possibly as work-animals.”

The shoggoths, servitors of the Elder Things, were manufactured beings. David Errington adds, "am I the only one who sees a resemblance between the shape-changing "utility organism" and John Carpenter's "The Thing" (and of course, the creature in John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There" from which it was adapted)?" Sam Tung also noted this.

“You know, I remember hearing of similar legends in some book of blasphemous Arab fairytales.”

This is a reference to Lovecraft’s Necronomicon.

Page 40. The creature on the ground is one of Lovecraft’s Elder Things.

Page 41. Panel 3. “While incarcerated in supposedly escape-proof Chisholm Prison, I achieved proficiency in calculating odds.”

            This is a reference to Jacques Futrelle’s “The Problem of Cell 13,” a story in which Professor van Dusen accepts a challenge to find a way to escape from the escape-proof Chisholm Prison.

Page 46. “Jean Robur” is a reference to Jules Verne’s Robur the Conqueror.

“Mors” died is a reference to the German dime novel aviator Captain Mors.

Page 47. Panel 1. The “huge sphinx” is a reference to The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

Page 48. Panel 1. I had assumed this too obvious to note, but clearly not: "Tiger Lily" is Swifte's version of "Tekeli-li." 

             Padraig O Mealoid writes, “Tiger Lily: There’s a character called Tiger Lily in Peter Pan, and in the Rupert Bear cartoons, both of which pre-date 1925, so could possibly be in the frame here. However, as the former in a Native American princess, and the latter a Chinese girl, they don’t really sit well with Swyfte’s racist and misogynist character, but I offer them for what it’s worth.

            There’s also a certain amount of general suggestion that a Tiger Lily flower is used an allusion to the vagina in art, when I go searching on the ‘net, without my being able to actually pin anything down.

            Panel 2. Ross Byrne writes, "Tom Swyfte enduring a stay in a 1920s mental institute after encountering a shoggoth, is a very Lovecraftian fate, as seen in numerous stories, especially The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. The shaven head and probable electro-shock therapy may be a table-turning gesture by Moore on the unlikeable Taser creator."

            Panel 3. “Maybe it’s his nickname for his wife’s privates”

            “Rosebud,” the important word from Citizen Kane, was William Randolph Hearst’s nickname for the clitoris of his mistress Marion Davies.

            I’m not sure who “Jedediah” is. Padraig O Mealoid writes, “Jedediah is Jedediah Leland, Kane's best friend and the first reporter on the New York Inquirer.”

            Panel 4. “A New England university’s proposing an expedition.”

            This is a reference to the Antarctic expedition of “At the Mountains of Madness.”

Text Section.

Adam M writes: "Hildy Johnson"

Reference 1: The real world person that the character of Hildy Johnson was named after in "The Front Page" is said to have been a court reporter for the Chicago Herald-Examiner in the 1920s as mentioned here: http://garyweiss.blogspot.com/2011/06/fictional-hildy-johnson.html

Reference 2: "The Front Page" was a hit Broadway comedy about tabloid newspaper reporters on the police beat, written by former Chicago reporters Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur which was first produced in 1928. For list of Appearances of show on Broadway see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Front_Page

It should also be noted that "The Front Page" play was later adapted into a movie version by Charles Lederer, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. In this version, the characters of Walter Burns and Hildy Johnson are male with Hildy's fiance obviously being female. For more on why movie version made these changes see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His_Girl_Friday

Other parts of the play that were removed in the movie version involved topical references to the 1920s, and jokes about Prohibition. http://www.filmsite.org/hisg.html

Reference 3: "His Girl Friday"-a 1940 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks centered around the characters of Walter Burns (hard boiled editor for the Chicago Paper "The Morning Post" played by Cary Grant) and Hildy Johnson (ex-wife of Burns and former star reporter looking for the next big scoop; character is played by Rosalind Russel). Walter Burns learns that his ex-wife is about to marry bland insurance man Bruce Baldwin (played by Ralph Bellamy) to settle down to a quiet life as a wife in Albany, New York. As a result, he becomes determined to sabotage these plans, enticing the reluctant Hildy to cover one last story, the upcoming execution of convicted murderer Earl Williams (played by John Qualen). For more on the movie see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His_Girl_Friday

"A Perfect Match...And a Perfect Fuse!"

An attention getting tagline such this would be something Walter Burns and Hildy Johnson would try to put on the Chicago based paper "The Morning Post". They're both on-the-go people and this following exchange aptly summarizes their relationship (derived from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032599/quotes?ref_=tt_trv_qu)

Walter Burns: Sorta wish you hadn't done that, Hildy.

Hildy Johnson: Done what?

Walter Burns: Divorced me. Makes a fella lose all faith in himself. Gives him a... almost gives him a feeling he wasn't wanted.

Hildy Johnson: Oh, now look, junior... that's what divorces are FOR!

Observations of Hildy Johnson in League World:

1928 (marked by this date to go with 1st appearance of "The Front Page" play on Broadway)-An "adaptation" of the events of "The Front Page" take place. The reason the events in the League world are an "adaptation" of the events seen in the play "the front page" can be explained as follows... According to wikipedia, "His Girl Friday" (January 1940 movie version of "The Front Page") had the working title of "The Bigger They Are" while in production from September 27 to November 21 1939. Alan Moore might be making a gay reference out of this making the version of events that appear in the League World in 1928 different from what portrayed in the play in 1928.

 1938-Hildy Johnson (still residing in Chicago area working for Morning Post presumably) attends the marriage ceremony of Armand Robur and Hira Dakkar. Presumably, this is either a pseudonym or underwent a sex-schange operation before 1938.

 "Being picked up from the Chicago waterfront at midnight (and let's face it girls who hasn't been?) only to be transported by a jet black and deleriously baroque submersible "

 In the real world, it seems the 1920's lakefront was a prominent area for Chicago nightlife where various classes of society intermingled from socialites (flappers who'd be picked up on the waterfront for a night on the town) and other white collar workers to the more blue collared variety. There was also a lot of criminal activity too (hence perhaps sometimes one would enter the wrong "black" vehicle?). With Prohibition lasting from 1920-1933, there were a number of bootlegging operations such as that run by Al Capone who was one of the most notorious gangsters in the Chicago area during this timeframe. "The Front Page" contains some references to the 1920's along with jokes about prohibition but I'm not sure what these are?

 As a journalist, Hildy Johnson has presumably mingled with Chicago nightlife. Perhaps at times sinking to certain lows (as figuratively shown by boarding a "submersible") to get a scoop on a story?"

L. Byron and Rodger Kibble, among others, also noted Hildy Johnson's origin. 

"unshaven murderesses"

These are the pirates presumably cross-dressing again as depicted earlier in Nemo: Heart of Ice by Kevin O Neill when they're looting Ayesha's treasures. Presumably they've picked up some 1930's era women's clothes from one of the warehouses on the Chicago waterfront.

Going by notion Hildy is a transexual, gay, or bisexual (as mentioned in previous e-mail), this type of turn of phrase is something he'd use to describe this disturbing imagery. He also puts down the craft as "deleriously baroque" to describe what he sees as offputting. Janni Dakkar finds his use of turns of phrase (what Hildy calls "bon mots") funny such as the "warlord debutante" used to describe Janni herself.

Perhaps, a turn of phrase can also be used on Hildy himself. Alan Moore may see the events of the play "The Front Page" as actually happening in the League world but with a slight twist (this is a off of the working title of the movie adaptation "His Girl Friday" called "The Bigger They Are"). Therefore, Hildy can be seen as a "gay straight" man. He tries to go straight by marrying a wife but work and his boss keeps leading him askew...

L. Byron writes, "the colossal simian cadaver being kept refrigerated by the New York Port Authorities' in 1933 is of course King Kong."


 Thanks to: Johan Aberg, Greg Arnott, Greg Baldino, Alan Barnard, Charlie Beck, Jeff Black, Ross Byrne, L. Byron, Jonathan Carter, Rory Christie, Eamonn Clarke, Tim Collins, John F. Croot, Joyce Cunyus, Paul Di Filippo, Rich Drees, David Errington, Damian Gordon, Larry Hardesty, Ralf Haring, Rafael Jasso, Harold Jenkins, Dana Johnson, Tom Jordan, Jack Kessler, Rodger Kibble, Keith Kole, "Light Bringer," Adam M., Steve Mattson, Johnny Miller, Gabriel Neeb, Padraig O Mealoid, John Orloff, Sidney Osinga, Lance Parkin, Michael Peake, Gregoire Petit, Jim Purcell, Ed Quinby, Patrick Ryall, Julian Solis, Graham Tedesco-Blair, "Vegas Rudeboy," Sam Tung, Pete Von Sholly, Filip Vukcevic, Steven Whyte, Jérôme Wicky, Ian Wildman, J. Wyburn. 

Annotations to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Nemo