Notes on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen v2 #6

by Jess Nevins.

Now available from MonkeyBrain Press: Heroes and Monsters, The Unofficial Companion to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Updated on 15 September. Updates in blue.

(The text here, except where otherwise credited, is © copyright 2003 Jess Nevins, and may not be duplicated, in part or in whole, without my permission.)

(Additions and corrections are of course appreciated.)

Cover. Bill Stiteler (and Mark Coale) points out that the blood in the water in the lower lefthand corner of the page forms a question mark, the motif of the League.

Inside Front Cover. "Egyptian Hall" was a kind of museum-cum-exhibition hall; The Egyptian Hall site is a good, brief explanation of it.

Pages 2-3. Presumably (and this is a safe guess, knowing Kevin O'Neill's research habits), "Dr. Ridge's Food" and "Marigold Flake" were all products used during the late 19th century. The "Pears" on the side of the building is an advert for Pears Soap, an English soap produced by the Pears family from 1789 through 1914 and still sold today. The Fry's of "Fry's Cocoa" is a reference to J.S. Fry & Sons, a British chocolate and confectionary maker. In 1847 Fry & Sons sold a “Choclat Delicieux a manger,” thought to be the first chocolate candy bar. In 1919 Fry’s merged with Cadbury’s.

Steve Smith, among others (including Tristan Sargent), points out that the name of the stop, "Wildwood," is a reference to the Wild Wood in Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows.

The rabbit being torn to pieces by foxes in the lower righthand corner of this panel is Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit.

Page 4. Panels 3-5. "Luckily, a Gypsy woman lives nearby, who can placate him...I mean that for a substantial sum of money, she will have congress with him. She is a robust woman, I understand, though of mature years. In fact, if I recall correctly, I believe I heard she was a grandmother."
I think this is a reference to Maleva, the Romany woman whose son Bela was the werewolf who bit Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man (1941). Not so, or at least not only or even primarily so. A few people, including Alex Naylor, Steve Green, and HC Beck, corrected me on this, but Stuart Nathan gave the most complete account, so I'll let him say it:

You've missed a trick on the mysterious Gypsy woman who would have sex with the hybrid bear (page 4, panels 3-5). Alan Moore is referencing the OZ Trial here.

Some background for you: OZ was an underground magazine in the 60s, published in London by three hippes — Jim Anderson, Richard Neville and Felix Dennis. In 1970, they turned the magazine over for one issue to a bunch of teenagers, who produced the 'schoolkids' issue'.

As you might expect, it was completely obscene.

Unfortunately, the Law thought it was literally obscene.

the tamest of the obscene Rupert panels The thing that caused the trouble was a six-panel cartoon put together by a kid  called Vivian Berger. He'd taken a Robert Crumb strip and superimposed the heads of characters from Rupert the Bear onto the Crumb characters. One panel showed Rupert, with an enormous erection, having sex with an unconscious 'Gypsy Granny'.

Now, as you know, Rupert was the most popular children's cartoon character in the UK at the time.  Deeply nostalgic for pre-war days, and very conservative, and therefore guaranteed to wind up the establishment.

Neville, Anderson and Dennis were sued for "among other things, conspiring  to "corrupt the morals of young children and other young persons" by producing an "obscene article", sending said article through the mail, and publishing obscene articles for gain. Had they been on trial for obscenity alone, the maximum penalty would have been a fine of £100 or 6 months imprisonment. However, the use of an (archaic) conspiracy charge meant that there was no limit on the fine or sentence that could be imposed." (quotes taken from the Rupert the Bear Controversy page).

And they were found guilty.

The trial was a cause celebre - it was basically the Hippes vs. The Man, Round 2 (Round 1 had been the obscenity trial over Lady Chatterley's Lover in 1963). The OZ editors were represented by John Mortimer, now famous as the author of the Rumpole of the Bailey novels (and Emily Mortimer's dad). 

The editors were sentenced to a variety of fines, deportation (in the case of Anderson and Neville, who were Australian) and prison sentences ranging from 9 to 15 months - all were quashed on appeal. Felix Dennis, the youngest of the three, and who was famously given a more lenient sentence because the judge said he was also 'the least intelligent', is the founder and owner of the company which published MAXIM and STUFF and is one of the richest people in the UK. Anderson, who was a doctor, was a prominent campaigner against inner-city poverty and died a few years ago. Neville is now a 'professional futurist' and lectures around the world. He's still defiantly counter-culture.

Panel 5. I'm unaware of the significance, if any, of the head of Moreau's walking stick.

Page 5. Presumably the black trains of MI5 would be the equivalent of modern black helicopters: the supposed craft by which the agents of the conspiracy (in this case, the Freemasons) travel the country.

Panel 4. Peter Ayres (and Boyer Alseth) points out what I should have noticed--that there's a "007" on the side of the train. This is a reference to the Rudyard Kipling story ".007," which is about the life and times of a train engine. (For more information on it go to his entry on my Fantastic Victoriana site.)

Page 6. Panels 2-3. "I've a nephew, who sometimes visits. An artist living abroad, sometimes he comes up here and paints my 'chimerae,' as he calls them. I tell him, 'Gustave, our work is excellent, if only you would finish it!'"
This is a reference to the French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau (1826-1898). His Chimeras (1884) were true chimerae, mixtures of beasts, as can be seen in this detail from the portrait.

Page 7. Panel 7. James Burt contributes this:

the tunnel mouth looks like that of the Clayton Tunnel. This is in Sussex on the London to Brighton line and goes underneath the South Downs for over 2000 yards.  This means that a slight liberty with geography has been taken, as I cannot think of any forests near here that would fit for the location of Moreau and it is not possible to see London.  The tunnel was built in the 1840s and it is thought that the unusual castellated design was to give an impression of strength so that passengers did not fear a collapse.  The northern entrance includes a signalman's house.

The windmill in the same panel is Jack, of the Jack and Jill windmills, which I think has been moved somewhat.

Page 9. Panel 1. The "H. Smith" of the newsstand is a reference to British bookseller W.H. Smith.

The "Food Stores Crisis" on the placard is a reference to the starving state of Londoners before the complete evacuation of London during War of the Worlds.

Page 11. Panel 1. Cyberperson (echoed by Robert Mohl) says that this panel, "with all the soldiers barricaded on the river bank, is very similar to the scene in the 1953 motion picture The War of the Worlds when the U.S military is observing the atomic bomb being dropped on the Martians. Given when eventually happens, this seems appropriate."

Martin Linck says,

Did you notice the uniforms worn by the British Army...? The brightly-colored home service uniforms and mounted officers are gone, replaced by khaki drab more in line with WWI. Very interesting; the army seems to have rocketed through 30 years of military innovation between the first issues and this last one. It's not totally implausible; the first soldiers may have been wearing dress uniforms, while these more recent arrivals may mean serious business, and turned out in battle fatigues for the occasion.

Pages 12-13. Panel 1.  Peter Ayres says, "The Monument is visible (in pudding lane) to the north; however,  the stylised fireball of 'our' monument to the Great Fire of London has been replaced by a posed figure; perhaps a member of the 17th century League responsible for halting the blaze.".

Pages 14. Panel 1.  "And inside that, there's just a useless, wheezing blancmange." Several people, including Jason Adams and Bill Stiteler, point out that this may be a reference to the Monty Python's Flying Circus skit, "Blancmanges playing tennis" (Season 1, Episode 7, 30 November 1969), in which Earth is invaded by alien blancmanges whose ultimate goal is to win Wimbledon.  At the end of that skit, the aliens are defeated by being eaten--see Page 21, Panel 7.

Page 16
I desperately want to own the original art for this page.

"You should see me dance the polka, You should see me cover the ground" is a reference to the 1941 film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in which Ingrid Bergman sings this song and Dr. Jekyll hums it before he transforms into Mr. Hyde. The song itself was composed in 1887 by George Grossmith, of Gilbert and Sullivan's troupe.

Tristan Sargent says, "the way Hyde walks in full view toward a tripod has a similarity to the narrator's climactic approach of the dead tripod in the novel of War Of The Worlds."

Page 18. Panels 2-5. Steven Smith wonders if "the scenes with Hyde could be a homage to the Warner Bros Loony Toon cartoons.There's probably to many examples to quote of various characters been burn to a crisp then recovering."

Page 19. Panel 1. Robert Mohl notes that this panel is very similar to the Martian "spycam" scene in the 1953 War of the Worlds

Page 20. Panel 1. The men falling from the Tripod are humans that the Martians are using as feedbags; Wells' Martians do not eat but rather "took the fresh living blood of other creatures, and injected it into their veins."

Panel 4. The secret to the Martians' language is to read it in the mirror (as per Kevin O'Neill himself), but even doing that the only words I can make out are the first two: "Dam you." Just about everyone in the known universe (well, okay, not that many, but 84 people at last count) wrote in to correct my (in retrospect quite obvious) mistake. What's happening here is that Hyde is saying to the Martian, "Can you hear me in there?" and it is being translated by the Martian's Tripod into Martian. The first three people to point this out to me were Richard Powell, Ola Hellsten, and Allyn Polk.

Page 21. Panel 5. "General Kong," among a number of others (including Patrick McCaw and Tristan Sargent), points out that Hyde's greeting of the alien in this panel is similar to a scene in Independence Day when Will Smith opens an alien spaceship and says, "Welcome to Earth."

Page 23. Panel 5. In H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds the Martians are brought low by their susceptibility to Earth bacteria and because their culture is free of bacteria and the like:

The last salient point in which the systems of these creatures differed from ours was in what one might have thought a very trivial particular. Micro-organisms, which cause so much disease and pain on earth, have either never appeared upon Mars or Martian sanitary science eliminated them ages ago. A hundred diseases, all the fevers and contagions of human life, consumption, cancers, tumours and such morbidities, never enter the scheme of their life.
Page 24. Panel 3. The "wife and child on Lincoln Island" are Moore's invention. In The Mysterious Island, the sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nemo lives alone on Lincoln Island.  

Page 25. Panel 1. Tristan Sargent says, "The parting scene between Mina and Allan - there's a heavy emphasis on autumn leaves (which are, as it happens, extremely unlikely on September 30th in England - leaves don't really discolour and fall until around mid/late October here, except as a result of exceptionally hot, dry summers).  Well, I seem to remember Jeff Wayne's musical album of the War of the Worlds includes a love song called Forever Autumn which (obviously) heavily features Autumn imagery, and has the refrain 'now you're not here' - I can't help but imagine this to be the ''soundtrack' to this scene."

Panel 7. The "ladies' commune in Scotland called Coradine" was mentioned in League v2 n1 page 31. It is from W.H. Hudson's A Crystal Age (1887) and is a kind of utopia set in northern Scotland.

"The New Traveller's Alamanac: Chapter Six"

Page 27. “Logbooks loaned to the current editors by a Miss Diver...”
"Miss Diver" is mentioned in the Almanac to League v2 n3 and n4; she is Jenny Diver and appears in John Gay's Beggar's Opera (1765) and Bertholt Brecht's Three Penny Opera (1928).

"...a daughter that she has named Janni, for her mother..."
Ian Wildman says, "I'm almost positive that Jenny Diver, the oft-mentioned inheritor of the Nautilus
in the Almanacs, is "Janni," the daughter Nemo is returning to at the end of the issue." I'm of the opinion that Jenny Diver is Nemo's wife, but the only way to answer this for certain is to ask Moore himself, which I will do.

"...the islands of the archipelago called Megapatagonia..."
Megapatagonia was the creation of Nicolas Edme Restif de la Bretonne and appeared in La Découverte australe Par un Homme-volant (1781). It is an archipelago which is exactly opposite France and so its culture is an inverse of the French, down to its capital "Sirap."

" almost identical archipelago that ran not from Tierra del Fuego to Earth's southern pole, as was the case with Megapatagonia, but instead stretched from the Orkney Islands in the north of Britain to the planet's arctic reaches, called the Blazing World."
The Blazing World was mentioned in the Almanac to League v2 n1. It was created by Margaret Cavendish and appeared in Observations upon Experimental Philosophy (1666).

"...circling the shining island of fire-elementals called Pyrandia..."
Pyrandia was created by Jean Jacobé de Frémont d'Ablancourt and appeared in his Supplément de l'Histoire Véritable de Lucien (1654). Pyrandia is the country of the Firemen, whose skin is made of flame and who live as long as they have something to feed their fires.

" an area called by some the Academic Sea, we discovered...three-sided Caphar Salama."
The Academic Sea and three-sided Caphar Salama were created by Johann Valentin Andreae and appeared in his Reipublicae Christianapolitinae descriptio (1619).Caphar Salama and its capital Christianopolis are a kind of utopia.

"...we discovered the Leap Islands..."
The Leap Islands were created by James Fennimore Cooper and appeared in The Monikins (1835).

Page 28. “...putting into Aggregation Harbour on the Isle of Leaphigh we found a society that was less eerie and unnerving than the backwards-speaking half-world we had lately quit. The folk of the Leap Islands are not mere degraded humans but are rather monkey-men called Monikins...”
Aggregation Harbour, the Island of Leaphigh, and the Monikins appear in James Fennimore Cooper's The Monikins.

"...the wealthy, pious city Christianopolis that I would have gladly sacked were it not fortified in so impregnable a fashion..."
Christianopolis appears in Johann Valentin Andreae's Reipublicae Christianapolitinae descriptio. The city is overtly Christian, hence Nemo's distaste for it. It is quite impressively fortified with several towers, walls, and a single impregnable citadel.

"...the capital of a place I've heard tell of that is called Antarctic France. Although there are intriguing rumours of immortals that survive the centuries encased in ice..."
Antarctic France and the ice-enclosed immortals were created by Robert-Martin Lesuire and appeared in his L'Aventurier Français (1792).

"The island is called Tsalal..."
Tsalal was created by Edgar Allan Poe and appeared in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838).

“...where the schooner Jane Guy, come from Liverpool, was wrecked in 1828, its crew and passengers reportedly all massacred by the fierce, sturdy blackamoors that are this curious isle’s inhabitants.”
This is an accurate representation of the events of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

“Then there is the great aversion of the natives to the colour white, which seems to be connected with some awful figure from the island’s ancient folklore, their great dread for which is conveyed by a stream of frantic, chattered syllables that sound like ‘Te-ke-li-li.’”
This, too, is from The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, but also incorporates some Lovecraft. In Pym it is “gigantic and pallidly white birds” which scream “tekeli-li.” H.P. Lovecraft, however, wrote a kind of sequel to Pym, At the Mountains of Madness (1931), in which the monstrous Shoggoth utters the phrase.

“Knowing Tsalal to have connections with a place called Present Land...”
Present Land is from The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

“...the chasm that provided entrance to the underground Empire of the Alsondons.”
The Empire of the Alsondons was created by Robert-Martin Lesuire and appeared in L’Aventurier Français.

“...we drew close to the ring of icy peaks, the so-called Iron Mountains that surround the plateau...”
The Iron Mountains appeared in the anonymously written Voyage au Centre de la Terre (1821).

“...the arrival at this spot of the survivors from the shipwrecked whaler Mercury during November in 1906.”
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.

“...a vast hole, apparently quite bottomless, that only later did I think might be the mythic aperture which leads to the vast subterranean world called Pluto...”
The polar passage to Pluto appears in Voyage au Centre de la Terre.

“...we continued into Present Land, at which point I discovered that my timepiece had quite simply stopped, all moments here being subsumed within the present.”
Hence the name “Present Land.”

“I have disturbing intimations of a tall white shape, much larger than a man, that coincide with memories of one of my crew screaming, and half-glimpses of a kind of sphinx...”
The white shape is from The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; the sphinx is from an informal sequel to Pym, Dominique André’s Conquête de l’Eternal (1947). Jean-Marc Lofficier, Fabio Blanco, and Scott D. Hamilton correct me and point out that the white sphinx is from Jules Verne's sequel to Pym, The Ice Sphinx (1897). 

“All I may know with certainty is that when we at last arrived on the far side of that ringed range, close to a group of peaks that I’ve since named the Mounts of Madness...”
The “Mounts of Madness” are a reference to the "Mountains of Madness," a reference to Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. In Lovecraft’s novel the mountains are only informally given that name by the narrator.

“It seemed the long-abandoned and half-buried relic of some citadel...”
This and the following sentences are references to the City of the Old Ones in Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness.

“I do not wish to pain myself with the detailed recounting of what happened in those hellish tunnels, save to say that we encountered something that might best be characterized as intellectually precocious slime or froth.”
The slime is a Shoggoth.

“I had crossed above the subterranean land known as Kosekin Country...”
Kosekin Country appears in James De Mille’s A Strange Manuscript found in a Copper Cylinder (1888).

Page 29. “...or by some accounts Plutonia...”
Plutonia is from Vladimir Obrutcev’s Plutonia (1924).

“...the services of an old Czechoslovakian ex-naval man named Rudolf Svejk...”
Rudolf Svejk is from Jaroslav Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk (or Schweik) (1912).

“...the briefly-famed Elisee Reclus Island...Cristallopolis, a geyser-heated colony of France...Maurel City, a near-simultaneously established colony, this time American...”
Elisee Reclus Island, Cristallopolis, and Maurel City all appeared in Alphonse Brown’s Une Ville de Verre (1891).

Mounts of Madness
Steve Smith, among others, notes that the Mounts of Madness are based on the helmet of Torquemada, from Kevin O'Neill's earlier Nemesis the Warlock.

Page 30. “...headed on past Vichebolk Land...”
Vichebolk Land appears in André Lichtenberger’s Pickles ou récits à la mode anglaise (1923).

“...that odd ensemble’s senior member Lemuel Gulliver claimed he’d discovered Vichebolk Land in 1721...”
This, too, is from Pickles ou récits à la mode anglaise.

“...we saw, wading along the icecap’s coastline, two gigantic and bipedal reptiles...the North Pole Kingdom...”
The North Pole Kingdom and its population of civlized dinosaurs were created by Charles Derennes and appeared in Le Peuple du Pôle (1907).

“...the claw-carved ice caves that comprise the region called Polar Bear Kingdom...”
Polar Bear Kingdom and its polar bear citizens appeared in Mór Jókai’s 20,000 lieues sous les glaces (1876).

“...had been lately visited by representatives of an American who manufactured phosphate drinks and was most anxious in securing the pictorial rights to any suitably appealing bear activity, for purposes of advertising.”
This is a reference to the 1993 “Polar Bears” ad campaign created by (C.A.A.) for Coca-Cola.

“...the representatives had next struck further north in hope of finding an elusive polar witch-doctor with whom they sought to make a similar agreement.”
This is a reference to the famous 1930s Coca-Cola ad campaign which featured Santa holding a Coke. (And before anybody writes to me: no, Coke did not invent Santa Claus).

“...the mountain-door of nearby subterranean Mandai Country...”
Mandai Country appears in Hirmiz bar Anhar’s Iran (1905).

“...Gaster’s Island, sometimes called the island of the Belly-Worshippers, and even saw one of the isle’s processions as it wound along the shore, holding a hideous idol-figure of the island’s ravenous god Manduce aloft.”
Gaster’s Island and Manduce appear in François Rabelais’ Le quart livre des faicts et dicts du bon Pantagruel (1552).

“It appeared to be a veritable sea of frozen words...”
The Sea of Frozen Words appears in François Rabelais’ Le quart livre des faicts et dicts du bon Pantagruel.

“...the German word ‘Volk’...”
“Volk,” in German, means “folk.”

“...the word ‘optative’ (which we believe may be connected with Greek grammar)...”
The Oxford English Dictionary's definition of “optative” is “1. Grammar. Having the function of expressing wish or desire. 2. Characterized by desire or choice.”

“...the delicious-looking word ‘Vulpecula’...”
“Vulpecula” is a small northern constellation between Hercules and Pegasus.

“...the stark volcanic rock known as Queen Island, as discovered by the most unfortunate Captain John Hatteras in 1861.”
Queen Island and Captain Hatteras appear in Jules Verne’s Voyages et Aventures du Capitaine Hatteras (1866).

Page 31. “...giant Thule...”
The island of Thule, ten times as large as Great Britain, appears in Diodorus Siculus’ The Library of History (1st century B.C.E.), Strabo’s Geography (1st century B.C.E.), and Procopius’ The Gothic War (4th century C.E.).

“...fabulous Hyperborea.”
Hyperborea is first mentioned in Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia (1st century C.E.) and his Inventorum Natura (1st century C.E.).

“Thule, with its demon-worshipping and hide-clad savages the Scritifines...”
I’m not sure which classical account of Thule the Scritifines appear in. Damian Gordon says it's from Robert E. Howard's "The Mirrors of Tuzan Thune."

“ the freakishly warm territory called The Back of the North Wind...”
The Back of the North Wind appears in George MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind (1870).

“We have already met one of the somewhat wistful-looking folk that live here, who explained that this land was the realm of the North Wind himself, an elemental and titanic figure, seldom wholly visible save when in belting rain or snow, who sat at some kind of portal near the ice-bridge that we’d seen, joining Hyperborea with the polar icecap. We bade adieu to this rather forlorn and sorry chap (in old and faded naval uniform, if I recall correctly)...”
The “elemental and titanic figure” is from MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind, but I’m not sure about the chap in the naval uniform. Damian Gordon wonders if the man in the naval uniform might be the captain of the Titan in Morgan Robertson's novel Futility

“The picnic I had started to describe above was interrupted when we were surounded by a group of most insistent...well, I dare say one would have to call them toys, since they were none of them a living being in the strict sense of that phrase, though they possessed both animation and intelligence. Bursting from out the undergrowth to ring us round came hordes of what appeared to be diminutive stuffed bears, their glass eyes glinting with an eerie, keen intelligence. Commanding them from his bright yellow vehicle was what looked for all the world to be a small boy made from painted wood, his conical blue hat tipped with the tiny bell of silver that had first alerted me.”
There are a number of possible sources for the animated toys at the North Pole. The “small boy made from painted wood” could be Pinocchio, although I don’t recall him ever having a blue hat tipped with a bell. What I’m actually reminded of is Hermey the Elf from the Rankin-Bass, Romeo Muller-written Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). Damian Gordon answers this for me: it's Noddy, from Enid Blyton's Noddy Goes to Toyland (1929) and sequels.

“Their realm, the quaintest little town, with houses that seem made from building-blocks, is Toyland.”
Toyland was created by Enid Blyton and appears in Noddy Goes to Toyland. Toyland is a country populated by toys and nursery rhyme characters. Gabriel Neeb says that Toyland originated in Victor Herbert's play Babes in Toyland (1903), but I'd never heard of Blyton being influenced by Herbert.

“Apparently, sometime around 1815, an inventor by the name of Spalanzani had enlisted the assistance of a manufacturer of spectacles, a doctor named Coppelius, to help with the construction of a mechanism so ingenious in its working that it might be said almost to think and live...the beautiful doll-woman that resulted from this partnership was named Olympia...”
Spalanzani, Coppelius, and Olympia (or “Olimpia”) appear in E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Sand-Man” (1817).

“...her consort, who, although he might be honestly described as artificial or constructed life, was not by any means a toy. For one thing, it appeared that he was fashioned out of human flesh, his musculature rather frighteningly pronounced, as with an anatomical exhibit. We learned that this at once horrific and yet somehow noble individual was the creation of a young, ambitious European doctor who had known Doctor Coppelius and, two years after the creation of Olympia, had sought to emulate the elder man’s achievement by constructing his own artificial being, this time from the fragments of dead men and galvanised by an electric current.”
This is the Creature, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818).

Page 32. “ underground realm of vast size called Pluto or Pellucidar by some...”
The underground land of Pellucidar appears in a number of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels, beginning with At the Earth’s Core (1922).

Atvatabar was created by William R. Bradshaw and appeared in The Goddess of Atvatabar (1892).

“...or else Ruffal by others...”
Ruffal appears in Simon Tyssot de Patot’s La Vie, Les avanture, and le voyage de Groenland du Révérend Père Cordelier Pierre de Mesange (1720).

“We were told to steer clear of Evileye Land...”
Evileye Land appears in Apollonius of Rhodes’ Argonautica (2nd century B.C.E.) and Pliny the Elder’s Inventorum Natura.

“...the territory of a powerful and ferocious arctic ‘sha-man’ or witch-doctor who dwelled slightly further to the north...”
This person will be explained below.

“...Toyland was occasionally visited by someone she described as a ‘bold, fearless black balloonist,’ an explorer that she thought we might well be advised to meet.”
Got me, folks. Damian Gordon is reminded of Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Balloonist." Captain Ben Hilton says,

I could well be way off base, but I think that the "bold, fearless black balloonist" could be none other than Jim from Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer books. In the third book in the series, "Tom Sawyer Abroad" Jim, Tom and Huck find themselves in possession of a dirigible in which the travel across North Africa and back. If I remember right, in the fourth book "Tom Sawyer, Detective" Jim is nowhere to be seen, and mentioned only in the past tense.
Peter Ayres asks, "As for the black balloonist- could it be Lee Scoresby from Philip Pullman's Northern Lights? Or are we back with Fergusson?" Philip Graves wonders if this is a reference to Enid Blyton's Golliwogs.

“...a strange and mournful figure crouched before a deer-hide wigwam howling penitently...he wore, as his magician’s robe, a fresh-flayed reindeer hide reversed so that the skin was outermost, its bloody red by now turned almost black, lined by the fur inside that sutck out in a trim around the garment’s edge...he told us between moans of anguish that he was the ‘sha-man’ of the North Pole, charged at the mid-winter solstice with delivering the gift of cheer to all the homes on Earth...this breach of the magician’s most important yearly ritual was met by the witch-doctor’s fierce invisible familiars, or ‘little helpers’ as he called them...”
I don’t really have to explain who this is, do I? Doug Jourgensen adds, "There is quite a bit of information about the Santa Claus-as-psychedelic-shaman. Apparently the mushroom amanita muscaria plays a role in Siberian myths about a flying shaman/reindeer herder gifting households with the mushroom.  One of the many precursors of St. Nick.  A couple of links:  Santa Claus and the Reindeer Connection, Mushrooms and Mankind, and Amanita Muscaria."

“...past the meteoric aggregate some call ‘The Real North Pole’...”
The Real North Pole appears in M.P. Shiel’s The Purple Cloud (1901).

“...the Sea of Giants...”
The Sea of Giants appears in Tommaso Porcacchi’s Le Isole Piu’ Famose Del Mondo (1572).

“...coming into Peacepool by Jan Mayen’s Land. Peacepool itself, where there is said to live an enigmatic and benign old woman known as Mother Carey...”
Peacepool and Mother Carey appear in Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies (1863).
Inside Back Cover. Bill Stiteler says, "The advertisement of a cure for drunkenness. In "The Road to Wellville," a cure similar to this was revealed to contain opium. It "cured" the drunkenness by putting the user into such a stupor that he couldn't go out to drink... of course, you ended up addicted to opium, but hey! At least you got away from Demon Rum..."

Back Cover

“I feel a wonderful peace and rest tonight. It is as if some haunting presence were removed from me. Perhaps...”
This line is from Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), at the point in the novel when Dracula has left England and is returning to Transylvania. 

E-texts, in order of their mention

The War of the Worlds

The Mysterious Island

A Crystal Age

Beggar's Opera

The Monikins

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym

At the Mountains of Madness

A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder

The Five Books of the Lives, Heroic Deeds and Sayings of Gargantua and Pantagruel

The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian


At the Back of the North Wind

"The Sand-Man"


At the Earth's Core


The Purple Cloud

The Water Babies


Thanks to: Alicia, a treasure beyond rubies; James Burt; Damian Gordon; Gabriel Neeb, Richard Powell, Ola Hellsten, Allyn Polk, Alex Naylor, Stuart Nathan, Captain Ben Hilton, Peter Ayres, Joseph Nixon, Fabio Blanco, Jean-Marc Lofficier, Ian Wildman, Jason Adams, Cyberperson, Edward Rogers, Dominic Fox, Charles Roig, Emmanuel Seyman, Mark Irons, General Kong, Martin Linck, Boyer Alseth, Bill Stiteler, Patrick McCaw, Mark Coale, Peter von Sholly, George Sandeman, Steve Green, HC Beck, Steve Smith, Brendan McGuire, Moony Girl, Tristan Sargent, Keith Kole, Robert Mohl, Adam Goldman, Scott D. Hamilton, H Jameel al Khafiz, Al Roderick, Tara Wells, Adrian Brown, Paul Rush, Elliott "Mr. Television" Kalan, Ray Yamka, Ted Anderson, Doug Jourgensen,  Philip Graves, John Rudolph Jr., Kiat Han Ng, Alexx Kay, Bill Svitasky,

The Original Series

Go way, way back to issue #1

Go way back to issue #2

Go back to issue #3

Go back to issue #4

Go back to issue #5

Go back to issue #6

Enjoy some lagniappe with the League hardcover

Tide yourself over with the Game of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Marvel at the images from the French version of League




Volume 2

Go back to issue #1

Go back to issue #2

Go back to issue #3

Go back to issue #4

Go back to issue #5


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Write Jess Nevins