Red Sepulchre, Part 3 of 4
Annotations By : Adrian Brown
Click Here for issue synopsis
WARNING ! May contain VERY BIG SPOILERS, so please do not read on if you want to wait and receive the most excellent denouement of Mr Carey's tale.
Notes on this month's cover: Marcelo Frusin's name is spelt wrong.
The illustration shows a triangle, but the two sides that John is torn between become rather more blurred in this issue.
We find out that John's Mother 's name was Quinn. I don't think we've been told that before.
Aloysius (pronounced "Aloo-ishus") is a name most well known for being the middle-name of Tony Hancock, a dour Brummie comedian of the Sixties.
The White Man's Burden is a poem by Rudyard Kipling (1899) as an appeal to the United States to assume the task of developing the Philippines, which they had recently won in the Spanish-American War. It is an old-fashioned paternalistic tribute to the role of Imperialism in developing the "Colonies".
By 1840, there was already a long history of insurrection against the British Empire in India, often by the local cults. Phansigar is cited by Sax Rohmer in his book "The Insidious Fu Manchu". He uses it as a sort of Thuggee - a cult of religious stranglers.
THUG, s. Hind. thag, Mahr. thak, Skt. sthaga, ‘a cheat, a swindler.’ And this is the only meaning given and illustrated in R. Drummond’s Illustrations of Guzerattee, &c. (1808). But it has acquired a specific meaning, which cannot be exhibited more precisely or tersely than by Wilson: “Latterly applied to a robber and assassin of a peculiar class, who sallying forth in a gang…and in the character of wayfarers, either on business or pilgrimage, fall in with other travellers on the road, and having gained their confidence, take a favourable opportunity of strangling them by throwing their handkerchiefs round their necks, and then plundering them and burying their bodies.” The proper specific designation of these criminals was phansigar or phansigar, from phansi, ‘a noose.’
(Reference material here and here)
Jabalpur, is actually in the Central Provinces in the province of Madhya Pradesh, and was a major point on India's central North South road and so tactically important. Mind you the British Army was all over India at that time.
Shumseea and Bhutote are referenced in the above notes, and there is a clear hierarchy among the Phansigar before you progress to the most holy role of the man with the noose.
"Honor" ? I guess John is still fresh back from the US.
Remember that Fredericks is from Zimbabwe, and left because of political changes in that country. So "darkie Sunday school" is in keeping with his upbringing in the more racist bastions of that society.
Jamadar Goor may have had a senior position in the cult. Goor means holy.
Kali, the death Goddess is well-documented in all sorts of places, you don't expect me to reference ALL of this stuff, do you ?
Gangrene occurs after blood restriction. Although not shown in the illustrations, I wonder if the Thuggees would leave their victims with the noose around their neck ? Death by strangling is often caused by stopping the blood supply to the brain, but the legs ?
We'll have to assume that Aloysius fell onto his leg and stopped the circulation. (see page 2)
From previous notes, we may have noticed that Gemma was not necessarily an unwilling victim in this affair. Here she turns out to be excited by the whole prospect of getting involved in her Uncle John's work.
I have always thought of "twot" as a Southern version of "twat" - a less vulgar use of the female genitalia in the British swear word hierarchy. If you thought it was an item of Nun's apparel, you have been misled by a poem from around 1660, when that well known and scurrilous poet Anon stated:
"They talked of his having a Cardinal's Hat,
They'd send him as soon an Old Nun's Twat."
John apparently gives Gemma back her postcards.
Gemma has clearly been duped by Fredericks, and flattered by her connection to John.
We heard in an earlier issue that they thought "any old Constantine would do".
Our horned demon from the previous issue.
"Son of Adam" is the term for "man" from the Narnia books of CS Lewis along with "Daughter of Eve" for "woman". They probably only apply to Christian-folk.
I like the implication here that the tenancy agreement "Pets to be kept on a leash" clause is strong magic.
An "auger hole" is a hole made in wood or ice.
An "augur hole" would presumably be a pun on this - and an augur is a prophet or seer.
I guess that, if a demon were summoned in this way, then they would not be fully able to manifest ?
Clarice has turned out to have the upper hand on a couple of occasions now. There's always a chance her apparent actions are not what they seem.
Back at the boxes from Scrape Gillis's collection, no progress has been made.
Page Nine: I WARNED YOU !
You know that the Phansigar are stranglers, right ? So, what do you suppose that empty bag is all about ? Let's just say that my theory is correct and John has made the same connection. Is he now getting Fredericks' men to sort him out a more conventional weaponry ?
This insight to Fredericks shows a weakness for the first time.
Jung says that it is important to treat dream symbols as content not yet consciously recognised by the dreamer, rather than fixed characters transferable from person to person.
On the other hand: "To see a wolf in your dream, symbolizes beauty, solitude, mystery, self-confidence and pride. You are a loner by choice. Negatively, it represents hostility and aggression. It may also reflect an uncontrollable force or situation in your life."
Pages Eleven & Twelve
Clarice's trusty demon walks around in Packer's body. And kicks ass ! (I know that some of the fans of Brian Azzarello's run like that sort of thing. I'm playing to the audience here, so bear with me.)
I was looking at the demons in older issues and they are often caricatures of human facets.
Myself, I prefer the Amicus / Hammer Horror version with the cloven hooves and horns.
They know that John's not daft enough to try and use the weapons, but do they know what else he can use in that room ?
Is Map using mirrors to put himself about here ?
Kent is a county to the South East of London. It is as close as we get to France.
"Gutta Inferna" = "a drop from below" as in a droplet rather than a fall, and below as in Hell. One story of stolen light is that of Loki's theft of the jewel Brosingamene from Freya. He hides it by not carrying it on his person. It's a tale that represents the passage of the seasons, as Freya has to hand it over to Loki for half of the year, and the world grows cold with her grief.
I have two theories about what John is planning. One relates to Clarice's apparent death on the final page, the other relates to John's method of getting the Red Sepulchre out of Fredericks' hands.
Pages Fifteen & Sixteen
More hot demon versus the mob action ! (We're starting to get worried about Ade here at STH Towers)
Of course, the demon chained to a human host is well-known to the Vertigo fringes of the DCU - who can forget Jason Blood and his rhyming pal Etrigan ?
As John says to Map, Josh Wright is a more formidable opponent. Immediately realising that the Demon is bound on this plane to Packer's body.
Josh refers to Clarice and her "pet Zombie" making reference to the fact that Albert is already dead. But he knows they survived the fire at the Tate Club.
I don't think it is coincidence that John turns up now. I think he's as much planting the suggestion that he goes with Josh as it is the latter's idea. However, there's still the threat to Gemma to deal with.
Josh confirms that it was the Tate Gang who tried to kill John and Fredericks men who saved him (from #177 page 18). This is clearly because they needed him to identify the Red Sepulchre.
Maida Vale is in Central London, just North of Paddington, by the Lord's Cricket Ground.
Now, my theory that Fredericks place was in the Richmond area seems to be off, as John says "Albert's got a gaff down there" suggesting south of where they are. Perhaps it's somewhere like Harrow.
A "gaff" in this sense is a place of dwelling, but note that it can also mean a trick - as in "blow the gaff" = give away a plot or secret.
Most of Maida Vale is apartments within what were once single houses.
On the next page, this is referred to as looking like a warehouse, maybe a conversion ?
Every now and then Clarice looks too young, but Frusin's artwork has been so much more expressionist than usual.
After my comments about the alleyway in Soho last issue (page 7, panel 4), I owe him a sort of apology. I found a street that looked like it might have been the place ! Much smaller cobbles than shown, but an old style street lamp and pedestrianised. (Only problem, it was in Covent Garden.)
Incorrect spelling of auger hole on this occasion. That's the polar engineering spelling.
Pages Twenty-One & Twenty-Two
Now, I may be wrong, but this strikes me as a stage magician's trick. Peake says it looks like a warehouse, and perhaps it is. The "stolen light" might be a trick with mirrors.
Of course, we're directed to see that John and Clarice are talking to each other "through the window", but we've also been told that there's a trick being set up.
"He's a slippery bastard, but he stands by his friends."