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Moon River

25 April 2001...June 2001
(24 pgs.)


Nice effect of the "O" in Promethea being the moon. The houseboat on the Styx is visible just behind the faceless Charon. Promethea's caduceus seems to split the cover in half. A few stars visible in the sky. Nice profile view of Promethea. Note it is attempting Virgil Finlay.

The title comes from the Henry Mancini song Moon River but could also be a reference to this Chinese legend.
Anonymous says that
the presence of the hare, which appears twice, suggests an allusion to the Chinese moon myth.

Stacia buys a copy of the Fantastic Art of Grace Brannagh. Charon takes Promethea to a Houseboat on the Styx which comes from a book of the same name by John Kendrick Bangs, who is Sophie's great great grand uncle. Mr. Bangs takes Promethea up to a moonscape where she finds Barbara/Promethea(5) talking to her late husband. It turns out that he isn't really her husband but just her memory of him. Baron Munchausen and Lucian show the 2 Prometheas through Yesod to the lunar realm. At a train station they board a train which will take them on to to the solar realm.
Back in Malkuth Stacia manages to turn into Promethea after painting a picture of her.

More quotes still to be added
"The ancients thought the dream world and the dead's realm to be one. Where elese do we meet the departed, save in dreams?" - Charon, pg 2
"Mainland Hades is for real people, at least half fanciful fictions go elsewhere." - Charon, pg. 3
"...Coins or pentacles, that's one of the four magical weapons. It represents earthly awareness..." - Promethea(6)
"Exactly. You won't need earthly awareness here." - Charon, pg 5
"When romance meets the swords of reason; when you awaken from a beautiful dream...there's cruelty." - 9 of swords, pg 13
"Our Baron here is a common braggart, whose tales of having visited the moon are frankly implausible...whereas I, Lucian, was carried there by a monstrous water-spout, as reliably recounted in my True History." - Lucian, pg 14
"So you're the real Baron Munchausen?" - Sophie
"Hardly there wasn’t' one." - Baron Munchausen, pg. ??
"Scent is the faculty most closely linked with memory." - Lucian, pg 17
"There's the Abyss where the Thames usually is." - Promethea(6)
"Abyss that sounds heavy." - Promethea(5)
"Oh you'll find Steve long before we reach that." - Promethea(6), pg 21


Reality Creator Workbook Series

Page 1 Panel 1: Note the 5 Swell Guys poster, the Weeping Gorilla doll with 15 mad phrases and the comic book being read by the proprietor. The style of lettering on the title Mystake seems to point to a similarly titled comic book Mystic.
Panel 2: Some Chucklin' Duck merchandise becomes visible.
Panel 3: Note under what looks like a gnome on the cover of The Fantastic Art of Grace Brannagh that the book is edited by J. Co(x)?
Panel 4: Painted Doll T-shirt with 1 million killed visible.
Panel 5: Superman like poster becomes visible
Pages 2-3 Top Panel: Fish jumping out of water turning into submarines. Note the elephant and screaming faces in the rocks.
Page 2 Panel 3: The Styx.
Page 3 Panel 4: The Houseboat on the Styx. See page 7.
Page 4 Top Panel: For an explanation as to why there is a rabbit or hare carved on the rocks see here.
Page 5, top Panel: The Nancy Nox - name taken from A Houseboat on the Styx.
Panel 2: That will do nicely: This line always reminds me of an old American Express slogan. It's actually a trademark and service mark of American Express in the UK.
Panel 4:
"..the swellest social set in all Hades"
"The Associated Shades"
- Both expressions taken from A Houseboat on the Styx.
Page 6 top panel:
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes doesn't actually appear in A Houseboat on the Styx but he does have a major part to play in its' sequel The Pursuit of the Houseboat.
Page 6, Panel 4:
"I'll have you know Chaos was my grandfather! Erebus and Nox were my parents"
is almost a direct quote from Chapter 1 of A Houseboat on the Styx:
"I'm pretty well connected even if I am a boatman...With Chaos for a grandfather , and Erebus and Nox for parents, I've just as good blood in my veins as anybody in Hades."
Chaos More information here.
Erebus More information here.
Pages 6-7 top panel: Visible on the steps is Pan.
I asked JHW3 to identify some of the shades on the houseboat. His reply
Some of the shades on the house boat and elsewhere are made up of unknown individuals and some are more famous. The woman that seems to be flirting with Pan is no one in particular, just a woman who is intrigued by his beastly nature.
A couple that you haven't guessed at are Shakespeare, Napoleon, but a lot of them are random people from various periods of time. Just regular people who have since passed away.

Page 7, Panel 2: Medusa is having cocktails with another unknown person.
Claire Jordan adds:
Ganesh in the background behind Medusa and her friend. Note faces in the yellow smoke coming from the chimneys (ditto on page 8)
Panel 4:
John Kendrick Bangs.
Here is a quote from Jess Nevins essay "On Crossovers" 1897, when John Kendrick Bangs wrote the The Pursuit of the Houseboat, the sequel to his 1895 book A Houseboat On The River Styx. Houseboat was the book that spawned the phrase "Bangsian fantasy," or a fantasy of the afterlife in which the ghosts of various famous men and women come together and have various, usually genial, adventures. However, Houseboat featured the ghosts of real people, from Dr. Johnson to Shakespeare to Homer to Napoleon. Pursuit took this idea a step further and showed the ghosts of fictional characters, including Sherlock Holmes, Shylock, Lecoq, Hawkshaw, and Old Sleuth, interacting, trying to solve the mystery of the missing houseboat, and competing with each other.
Panel 5: A Houseboat on the Styx
Pages 8-9 bottom panel: The flying fish are now turning into airplanes. Note the elephant rock.
Page 9 Panel 1:
Dr. Johnson or to give him his full name Samuel Johnson
Confucius and also here
Claire Jordan adds
note Mr Bangs, who presumably isn't familiar with Tarot, refers to the Nine of Spades rather than its Tarot equivalent the Nine of Swords.
Pages 10-11: The constellations in the sky form the astrological signs of Pisces, Taurus and Cancer.
I can't recognize all the people at the tables but two that look familiar seem to be
Cyrano de Bergerac also see here
Cleopatra and also here
Page 10 Panel 4/Page 11 Panel 1:
The unnamed 9 of swords reveals his brothers' names and their occupations:
Bernie 9 of coins runs Club Gain
Jimmy 9 of cups Lido of Happiness
Vito 9 of Wands Tower of Strength Gymnasium
Note the seashells on the wall and flowers and also the chessboard pattern with stars and the moon alternating on the squares.
Pages 12-13: Does anyone know who the headless cook might be?
Claire Jordan writes:
I don't *think* the cook is headless - I think he just has his face partly turned away, and very sketchily drawn.
Constellation Leo visible in the sky.
Another hare statue visible. That looks a bit like Elizabeth I to me in front of the food stall. The Hindu elephant headed deity Ganesha but I'm not sure who the two lovers are. Baron Munchausen and Lucian visible at a table. They will be named on the next page.
Page 14 Panel 2:
Page 15 Panel 3: Miles Kurland points out that
"Hardly. There wasn't one. Being a shade, I'm more Munchausen by proxy."
There's a medical condition, "Munchausen Syndrome", which is a 'factitious disorder' i.e. hypochondria. There's also a condition known as "Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy" - in which a person acts as if an individual that they are caring for has an illness, when in fact they are healthy. Here's a citation
In either case, it's a sign of a pretty serious need for attention at any cost... and a form of mental illness (which is, of course, lunacy - appropriate to Yesod!).

Page 15 Panel 4:
Despite what Baron Munchausen tells Sophie there really was a Baron Munchausen. Being the Baron he's probably just lying.
Here are the details sent by TL.
Karl Friedrich Hieronymus Freiherr von Münchhausen
German officer and author, born May 11, 1720, estate Bodenwerder, Hannover; died February 22, 1797.
Karl Friedrich Hieronymus Freiherr von Münchhausen, also known as "the baron of lies", initially served as a page to Prince Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig, and later as a cornet, lieutenant and cavalry captain with a Russian regiment in two Turkish wars. In 1760 he retired to his estates as a country gentleman.
He became famous around Hannover as a raconteur of extraordinary tales about his life as a soldier, hunter, and sportsman. After the death of his first wife, Münchhausen married a 17-year old noblewoman. This marriage was an unhappy one which constantly drove him to debt and caused scandals.
A collection of extraordinary tales appeared anonymously in the magazine Vademecum für lustige Leute (1781-1783), all of them attributed to the Baron, though several can be traced to much earlier sources.
The man who created the Münchhausen myth was a family friend, a penniless scholar and librarian professor from Kassel, Rudolf Erich Raspe (1737-1794), who had had to flee England because of thefts. Raspe used the earlier stories as basic material, extended it, translated it into English, and published it anonymously in a small volume in London in 1785: Baron Munchhausens Narrative of His Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. The book was a great success and the second edition was translated into German in 1786, in 1798 further extended with eight stories by the poet Gottfried August Bürger (1747-1894) and soon became a truly popular book.
This became the prototype for the subsequent genre of the Münchhausen wonder tales. In 1788 Bürger added another five wonder tales to this collection and brought out an enlarged second edition. The later and much larger editions, none of them having much to do with the historical Baron Münchhausen, became widely known and popular in many languages. They are generally known as The Adventures of Baron Münchausen, and the English edition of 1793 is now the usual text. It has been translated to and plagiarized in most European languages, and has been filmed several times. A German production of 1943 in Agfacolor was also intended as Germany’s (and Goebbels’) "Gone With the Wind." It wasn't even close. It was remade by director Terry Gilliam as "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" in 1989.
If you read German, you will find most of his stories in extenso on the Internet. Bibliography:
Karl Friedrich Hieronymus Freiherr von Münchhausen: Vademecum für lustige Leute. 1781-1783.
Rudolf Erich Raspe:
Baron Munchhausens Narrative of His Marvelous Travels and Campaigns in Russia.
London, 1785.
Gottfried August Bürger:
Wunderbare Reisen zu Wasser und zu Lande. Feldzüge und lustige Abenteuer des Freiherrn von Münchhausen, wie er dieselben bei der Flasche im Zirkel seiner Freunde selbst zu erzählen pflegt.
This book appeared anonymous in 1786, published by Dietrich in Göttingen. It was not until 1798, four years after Bürger’s death in poverty, that the author’s name became known.
Karl Immermann:
Münchhausen. Eine Geschichte in Arabesken. 1839.
"who says ve Germans don't haf humour" (Mrs. Anna Sprengel as quoted by affable Al)
Note the discrepancy between Page 15 panels 2-3 and the bottom panel. When they cross the lantern-bridge Sophie and the Baron are in the lead whilst Barbara and Lucian follow but coming down the stairs the opposite is true.
Pages 14-15 bottom panel:
I won't spoil it now by revealing what all those birds are but we will all find out in Issue #23.
Page 16-17 Top panel: Aquarius in the sky.
All the clocks read 9 o'clock which is appropriate for the 9th sephiroth.
Page 16 Panel 4: The Sun and the planets with their signs visible on them are Mercury, Venus and Jupiter
Page 17 Panel 3: Appropriately enough the scent of jasmine is supposed to help some people to sleep
Pages 18-19 top panel: Shrine to Endymion
Here is an online version of Lucian's True History
Page 19 Panel 4: Especially in this panel I am reminded of Terry Gilliam's version of Baron Munchausen.

When I asked JHW3 about the resemblance his reply was:
he was based Terry Gilliam's film version but we had to actually go back and change his likeness from the actor due to legal reasons. Originally I had drawn him to look like the actor but we couldn't keep it that way.
Page20-21: According to Thomas Lautwein:
The scene at the station is obviously an allusion to the pictures of Paul Delvaux (Belgian surrealist, died in the 80s). Stations, naked girls and skeletons are typical elements of his paintings, whose dreamlike atmosphere fits well to Yesod. Here you can find a list of his most famous paintings.
Page 20: Top Panel:For Alan's 50th Birthday I wrote up a more detailed description of this top panel which can be found (along with the panel itself) at A Long Awaited Party. The man in yellow is Isaac Newton
The image looks like it is based on this portrait:

Page 21: Top Panel: Here is the full version of the Kabbalah mapdone by John Coulthart

Image Source

Compare the Sephiroth map to the original London Underground on the links below
London Tube Access Guide
Large Print of Map
History of the Tube Map
Note Alan Moore shaking hands with artist JHW3 as he greets him and his wife Wendy.

Image taken from Arthur Magazine #4

JHW3 writes:
"we have never been face to face so what better way to meet than in the dream world. This was done to also signify the beginning of our own journey".
Chad Raymond asks about the tattoo just visible on JHW's arm (not visible in image above sorry)
it resembles the exterior design of Stacia/Grace Promethea's sun sigil. Perhaps as Sophie is an extension of Alan Moore, Stacia is JHW3's persona?
Also note Elvis Presley with his back to us just over Alan's right shoulder.
Compare the rings shown here with the rings Alan Moore is wearing in this photo:

Page 21: Panel 2: Also from JHW3:
"The man pointing the way and commenting on the book is Rick Veitch. When he is mentioning the book he is refering to the Promethea comic itself. Makes you head hurt just a little bit doesn't it?"
Pages 22-23 top panel:
I asked JHW3 about the the woman in the turban with the arab letters on her back and his reply was that she was
my sister-in-law. At the time she was facing a major change in her life and here I wanted to depict her deciding which direction to take in her life, stay in the shadows or move towards illumination.
The number 9 has fallen on the ground whilst 8 is buried in the ground just above the train. Behind the train some oil pumping machinery and below the train it looks like some sort of steam contraption is buried in the ground. The Icons of Science and Reason are clearly visible here. Just in front of the pyramid a naked boy and girl are dancing with their backs to us. Reminds me of Tarot Trump Card XIX: The Sun in Issue #12.
We can see a route 30 sign next to the train tracks and on the other side of the pyramid a polyhedron. The sun has a face like the one seen in previous issues.
Claire Jordan adds
- note giant blue human head with brain exposed, and chap in glasses and strange columnar hat sitting looking at the train
Page 23 panels 2-3: Flying beside Barbara are what look like bird brains to me.
Page 24: Nice revelations in scenery as Stacia slides off the panels. Appropriate sword in picture seen on Panel 5, Weeping Gorilla quote finally revealed on Panel 6, the little doll at the bottom right hand of this panel reminds me of Felix the Cat.
Claire Jordan writes
the sword in the picture is on the cover of "The Art of Grace Brannagh" - earlier when we saw the gnome on the cover he was sitting by the bottom/point of this sword, and now we see the top/hilt. Note there seems to be a colouring error: if you look at panel 4 there's another book, plus some other small object, in front of "The Art of Grace Brannagh" - in the panels above this book and object appear as transparent outlines, not filled in


Page frozen: 23 December 2003