Annotations to


This is Information,

9-11, Artists Respond, Volume one


Annotations written by Ng Kiat Han (e-mail:


Updates in BLUE.


Page 185 (Page 1)


Panel 2                                                   A left hand is depicted holding the card.  This image is repeated on Page 2 Panel 7, Page 5 Panel 6 and Page 6 Panel 4.


Card tower pictures.

The Twin Towers were (and still are, more than before, actually) hallowed monuments of Americana for a good many years, and its aesthetic appeal is indeed very apparent. A card castle, similarly, is really cute to look at, but any innocuous projectile, like a ball, or a mis-swung arm could make it crumble. So too, could the WTC castle be toppled by missiles disguised as planes.



Panel 7, 8, 9                                          The left hand is shown sticking out. 


Page 186 (Page 2)


Panel 2                                                   The left hand is holding the TV remote.  This image is repeated in Page 3 Panel 2.


Panel 4                                                   Real newsphoto of people falling.  Reports noted several instances of jumpers, and one of a man and a woman holding hands as they fell..




Panel 5                                                   Image of hands clasped.  This will be repeated.  Note the (slightly) different skin tone of the two.


Panel 6                                                   I honestly could not find the Tarot card Alan Moore used in his story.  I found several others, but none featured two falling people holding hands like the one in Panel 4.  It was a surreal touch Alan Moore put in, if it was made up.














Page 187 (Page 3)


Panel 1 and 2                       The Rev. Jerry Falwell is famous for being the voice that branded Tinky-Winky (of the Teletubbies) gay, casting doubt and question marks on the BBC children’s show in 1998, among other things.  He also called (celebrity lesbian) Ellen DeGeneres “Ellen DeGenerate”.  Go figure. 


                                                Fallwell announced that God was angry with the nation for abortion, homosexuality, et al, and therefore allowed the 9-11 tragedy to happen.


Falwell said, "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked."


He also famously said, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.". He later apologised.



Panel 7                                   That scene could very well be (I’m really just guessing, but I checked Snakes and Ladders, and it does seem possible) Westminster Hall, Northampton and the statue that of Oliver Cromwell.


                                                Fifth Avenue, in NYC, is infamously a traffic jam-worthy site.  And policemen would do some hand waving motion, ie a meaningless ‘semaphore’, to control traffic.


Page 188 (Page 4)


Panel 7                                   The “Bars and Mullets” was the Coat of Arms of the Washington family. In the 19th century there was a belief that these design elements of G. Washington's arms were the direct antecedent of the U.S. flag.  One of the members of the family was Lawrence of Washington, who was Mayor of Northhampton.  His progeny, evidently, brought cohesion to the (then) new nation of America and reportly brought the family coat of arms into its flag.




Page 189 (Page 5)


Panel 4                                   The Mahdi uprising against the Turks (and their British allies) in Sudan happened in 1881, where a religious leader, Mohamed Ahmed El Mahdi, led a revolt against the Turkish government as it was them who occupied Sudan.  El Mahdi led a successful movement for religious and political reform, and it triumphed with the capture of Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. The British sent a General there, a General Charles “Chinese” Gordon, and he was killed by the Mahdist forces.  He was dearly missed, and we know that even Queen Victoria mourned.  1885 then, was the year Khartoum fell to the Sudanese.


“Conan” is Cockney slang (from Conan Doyle) for “Boil” and “Khyber” (from Khyber Pass) is slang, too, for “Arse”.  Read “Boil up the ass” in this panel. The Khyber Pass is in the Hindu Kush mountain range, where it connects the northern frontier of Pakistan with Afghanistan.  The reference is in the Cockney, not the geography, I’m sure.


Panel 6                                   Card castle again.


Panel 7                                   Black chess pieces are the Turbanned, scimitar-wielding , robed folk, evidently the Freedom Fighters of the Great Jihad.


Panel 8                                   Lady Liberty is clearly the one tied up, but I’m unable to ID the villain.  IT seems as though it is a common stereotypical conventional persona.


Panel 9                                   “Choose your next witticism carefully, Mr. Bond. It may be your last.”


- Auric Goldfinger


was the original quote from the Bond franchise, and it was rewritten to fit the story.  Cute.


Ernst Blofeld was the villain in “From Russia with Love”, and the Moonraker was a Bond film where the space shuttle Bond was in was named “Moonraker”.  The annoying abundance of alliteration in popular culture probably led Alan Moore to label Bin Laden a “Beige Blofeld” (after Bin Laden’s monotonous monochrome sash) and “Mujahedin Moonraker”, since Afghanistan is where, after all, the Mujahedin freedom fighters came from.  Note the characteristic TV multi-screen behind the villain and the white cat he is stroking.  Blofield appears with a white cat in “From Russia with Love”, and that was obviously an obvious inspiration for Austin Powers’ Dr Evil.


Page 190 (Page 6)


Panel 1                                   From left, the characters are




“Great White Explorer”,

US soldier brandishing M16 with the Star and Stripes (Bars and Mullets ???) emblazoned on his right sleeve. 


All these are _stereotypical_ pictoral depictions of these characters.  All of these folk, however, are _staunch_ adherents of what they believe in.


“We are all puppets, Laurie.”

- Dr Manhattan, Watchmen – Alan Moore, 1986


Panel 3                                   Clasped hands image again.


Panel 4                                   Card castle image again.



Panel 5                                   Tarot card image again.


Tarot references.

The Tarot deck has many magickal connotations, and chief among them is that "The Tower" is a very strong symbol for destruction. Leaving out the occult interpretation of the card, it shows 2 people falling towards the ground from a great height and the building behind them is in flames.

Tarot decks don't normally show the 2 holding hands, so Kiat Han was right in his supposition, but Moore was true to the rest of the card. The story behind that scene in the card is that the 2 were sent tumbling from the tower by forces too swift and sudden for them (or us) to know or understand. The full name of the card is "The Lightning-struck Tower". There is a strong element of 'shock' in that scene in the card, and it _is_ very shocking when we see the numerous parallels the card has with the actual event.

The Magician Moore very likely intended this further extrapolation, that in the midst of death, America was also in life. The "Tower" card is a symbol, as stated above, for Destruction, but it also represents the Death-Birth-Death-Birth Cycle, which is the whole concept of re-creation, and the passage of events and emotions would make room for new ones. There is, after all, a strong abundance of light (life, and the promise of life) in the picture. Moore knew, too, that a glorious new spirit would be formed from the embers of the dead.



Panel 6                                   Black-white chess pieces image again.


Panel 7                                   Left hand image again.  Is Alan Moore lefthanded???  Perhaps, and perhaps not.  I might be very wrong, but leftys do feature in several instances of Moore’s work.  I found that Hira Manish, Moloch (from Watchmen) were lefthanded, and that the real Jack the Ripper was suspected to be a lefty.  I don’t suppose Moore intended any real significance, but the image presented here was, I figure, a prominent news picture at that time.


I’m unable to ID Jim Osbourne.



The story annotated above is without question, one of the most beautiful and heartwrenching I’ve read about the tragedy.  While it is very natural for people (or nations) to fight in response to provocation, Moore and Gebbie’s story was not about retaliation at all, as with all the other stories in the memorial editions.  Their approach was simple, and very heartfelt and enormously emphatic. 


This work was saluted in ‘Alan Moore, Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman’, a fitting tribute to a truly extraordinary person.  Dylan Horrocks heaps appropriate praise on it, and justly so.


Moore shows, very deftly, that he can be "with you " and "against you" at the same time. His heart clearly goes out to the victims of the disaster, but he doesn't at all subscribe, or even like, the "either-with-us-or-against-us" slant. Excellent work.


Updates (in blue) by Kay A. Ching (e-mail: – eliminate “nospams” to e-mail)






Ng Kiat Han