Crossed Plus One Hundred 1
Below are annotations for Crossed Plus One Hundred, No. 1 “124C41+” [One To Foresee For One More – see P2] (24 pages, November 2014)
Writer: Alan Moore, Artist: Gabriel Andrade
>Go to CPOH annotations index
>Go to CPOH timeline
>Go to CPOH language/glossary
>Go to CPOH background, cast of characters
Note: some of this stuff is obvious, some very very obvious but you never know who’s reading this. Apologies for stuff that’s too obvious. If there’s stuff I missed or got wrong, let me know in comments, or email linton.joe [at] gmail.com
General: This is the first Crossed Plus One Hundred issue. Overall the story sets up a central band of characters and their year 2108 post-apocalyptic nearly-ecological-paradise world. The crew is exploring cities in Tennessee, looking for books and other materials that will help explain human history.
Cover (regular cover shown above – see variant covers here)
- Legible book titles on the left shelves (all left to right, top to bottom) include:
– “WAJCH??” might be Alan Moore’s Watchmen.
– “DAN BROWN” refers to Dan Brown the best-seller author of The DaVinci Code.
– “GEEK BOOK” (2 copies)
– “SOFT [?]”
– “TWO [?]”
– “MOB[I?]DICK” is presumably Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
– “East Coast“*
– “E Z“
– “Economy“* [?]
– “[?]AT[?] STEPHEN KING”* is by Stephen King, best-seller horror story author.
– “DARK TOWER STEPHEN KING”* is Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.
Legible book titles on the floor include:
– “1984” is the political science fiction novel 1984 by George Orwell.
– “[?] of the Stars” could be another copy of Lord of the Stars (see 4th item below)
– “Asimov” refers to science fiction author Isaac Asimov.
– “BIONIC [?]”
– “EARTH [?] WORLD”
– “Lord of the Stars” is the out-of-print 1969 juvenile science fiction novel Lord Of The Stars by Jean Sutton and Jeff Sutton
- Legible book titles in the cart include:
– “SCI-FI ADVENTURE”
- Legible book titles on the right shelves include:
– “MOORE?” is presumably Alan Moore.
– “HIS[tory? of?] AMER[ica?]”
– “AB[?] LIN[?]” is likely U.S. president Abraham Lincoln.
– “LOR[?] RIN[?]” presumably, given the image on the cover looks like someone with a wizard hat, it is The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. LOTR is featured in CPOH2.
– “FIS[h?] T[?]”
– “P[?]OSOFY“* maybe Philosophy?
- *Books I’ve asterisked are shelved upside down. This could be just random, but perhaps it indicates that the East Coast, the economy, etc. are really screwed up. It could be that these upside down books are placed in the wrong section and not related to the books around them.
- In Bleeding Cool No.14, there’s a bannerless version of this cover, with a few more legible book titles above. See miscellaneous variants page for those.
- See also variant cover page.
- Chronological note: this foreshadowing page one takes place midway through the issue (it takes place after page 13, before page 21.) Panelwise, the comics gutters (space in between the panels) on P1 are a dark-teal color, which matches the gutters from P13-24.
- The building on the left is an abandoned Starbucks. Note the rectangular sign ending in “KS” and the circular sign at the top which resembles Starbucks mermaid logo. Moore is commenting on the downfall of corporate America. In CPOH Taste Test sample script, Moore’s description for this panel states “a row of derelict and overgrown stores including one that might have been a Starbucks, its doorway now a gaping hole and it signage long since illegible.”
- The boy in the purple frock is named Forward Dietrich (see cast of characters here.)
- Panelwise: Page 1 establishes a three rows of 2-panels each 6-panel grid which predominates CPOH1, though often a 2-panel row is combined to form a single horizontal panel. The only exception to the 3-rows are P2 (splash page), P18 (wolves), and P22 (Forward’s burial.)
Further, there’s a deliberate sparseness that Moore has chosen to employ throughout CPOH. Per the Mort Weisinger rules (that Moore says he has generally followed elsewhere), typical comics pages have a maximum 210 words: basically 35 words per panel, and 6 panels per page. In his Bleeding Cool No.14 interview, Moore stated that, in CPOH, he has deliberately pared down the words to “160 words maximum” and has limited himself to “3 balloons a panel, with a maximum of 20 words per balloon.” Per Moore “that seems to me to suit the way that people in that world would be thinking” and further says that this technique conveys a sense of isolation.
There are no captions (other than Future Taylor’s journaling) and no thought balloons.
Overall. this makes for a fairly sparse, fairly open, fairly calm feeling… which is sort of the calm before the storm (of Crossed horror.)
- The circular table (upended) and chair look like ones from Starbucks.
- These naked people are “the Crossed” – similar to zombies but more intelligent, more depraved. You can spot the Crossed because they have cross-face markings. If you’ve never read a Crossed comic book before, see some general background at the Crossed page on Wikipedia.
- “Packemin” is Crossed-zombie speak for “pack coming.”
- Forward (boy in frock) has the cross-face markings, but he is not Crossed. He is clothed, and does not speak Crossed-speak (see P1,p6.) For explanation, see Page 13 below.
- This is the first time that Forward has seen actual live Crossed, so he is enthralled to check them out, but also trying to keep away from them so they don’t kill and eat him.
- In his script notes, reproduced in CPOH Taste Test, Moore makes it clear that these “all red haired” Crossed are “all part of a single family.”
- Another view of the Starbucks sign and logo, similar to P1,p1 above.
- “Movie” is CPOH slang for “awesome” or “epic.” (See CPOH glossary page.)
- Forward has the Crossed face markings, but he is not actually Crossed, because he is clothed, and does not speak Crossed-speak in this panel. See my explanation under Page 13 below.
- Panels 5 and 6 are more-or-less a fixed-camera sequence, though Andrade has adjusted the camera slightly to the left. The setting staying the same, and Forward taking a seat has the effect of slowing down and settling into the story slightly.
- In some ways, the transition from P1 to P2 is what I am calling a page-turn reveal, something Andrade and Moore use frequently throughout CPOH. Page 1 is a sort of prologue. Dietrich sits down to watch something epic. We readers turn the page and launch into the main stem of the CPOH story.
- The woman in the elevated seat area is Future Taylor (see cast of characters here.) The text in mixed-case lettering captions is Future’s writing in her journal. Moore has used somewhat similar journal narration before, notably Rorschach’s journal in Watchmen. Moore subsequently uses journals for Beau Salt (CPOH5 P12) and a similar Commonplace Book for Robert Black in Providence.
- Crossed Plus One Hundred takes place in the year 2108. This is one hundred years after the initial zombie plague outbreak, chronicled in the initial Garth Ennis Crossed series, which first came out in 2008.
- “AFAWK” is an initialization for “As Far As We Know.” AFAWK gets a lot use as a saying and even as a verb; see also my CPOH glossary page.
- “Wishful fiction” means science fiction literature, something Future Taylor is interested in, and a theme that Moore explores throughout CPOH. Future Taylor is lamenting that humans in the CPOH world have lost the optimism about the future that used to be found in sci-fi literature.
- Future’s crew’s heavily armored vehicle runs via a coal-powered steam locomotive propelling what’s apparently a highly armored school bus. Apparently gasoline has nearly run out, and now vehicles run on coal. From this URL (for a Design Sketch variant cover for CPOH2) it is apparently called a “battlebus.” In Moore’s script (in CPOHTT) he describes it as a “steam-bus.”
- The pile of skeletons (referred to by Future, on page 3, as an “ordinary bone-bunch”, “seventy or eighty peoples”, and “the seventh ossuary this run”) is from a whole lot of humans who fell victim to the Crossed.
- The story title “124C41+” is a reference to Hugo Gernsback’s 1911 science fiction novel Ralph 124c 41+. It is among the earliest American science fiction to imagine a sort of high-tech future utopia. The title foreshadows today’s texting; according to Wikipedia, “124C41+” means “One to foresee for one another.” Gernsback and Ralph 124C 41+ are mentioned later in this issue, see P12,p4-5, where Future Taylor writes that it is a word-joke that says “One to foresee for one more.” (See also this blog post about Ralph 124C 41+.)
- Panelwise, the gutters (space between panels) from P3-12 are light-navy-blue. This is different than Page 1 and Page 13-24 which are dark-teal. Page 2-12 takes place on July 12; pages 1 and 13-24 take place the next day. The two days form fairly parallel structures: early crew interactions on board the vehicle, travel to a new city, on-foot excursion into the city, Crossed encounters, and conclusion with moonlight settings as Future Taylor writes in her journal.
- There is a Y-shaped thing hanging from Future’s collar (our right, her left.) The clearest picture of it is on P14,p2. Based on an image in the upper left on the design sketch variant cover for CPOH4, commenter Damian identifies it as a bulldog clip that Taylor can use to fasten her collar together.
- “Tullahoma” and “Chooga” are the southeast Tennessee cities of Tullahoma and Chattanooga. See this Google map of the the CPOH places. CPOH1 mentions seven Tennesse cities (east to west): Jackson, Columbia, Lewisburg, Murfeesboro, Tullahoma, Chooga (Chattanooga), and Soddy-Daisy. Click on the screenshot of the map below to go to navigable Google map.
- “Lewisburg” is also a city in Tennessee. See Google map of CPOH cities.
- This panel introduces Robbie Greer (see cast of characters here.) His face and body are described as having burns (see P12,p1.)
- “Ossuary” usually refers to a container where a dead person’s bones are kept.
- “There’s coal at Soddy-Daisy till next doomsday” refers to Soddy-Daisy is a city in Tennessee. See Google map of CPOH cities. There were and are coal mines in Tennessee, apparently mostly in the northeast portion of the state. Soddy-Daisy has some early 20th Century history as a coal mining community, too.
- “He says burning coal harms the greenhouse layer” refers to burning coal generating greenhouse gases (CO2) which causes global warming. This is a big concern in readers’ 21st century world, but not a big deal in CPOH’s post-apocalyptic 2108. In CPOH’s world industry has pretty much collapsed, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions to basically nothing.
This dialogue continues into the next two panels.
The point here is made succinctly by Hannah Means-Shannon in Bleeding Cool No. 14 “If the Crossed outbreak hadn’t happened, environmentally speaking, there would have been another apocalypse anyway based on current predictions. It’s as if this horror sheds light on that horror.”
- This panel introduces: Archie Keller and Hope Giancoma. Left to right are Keller, Greer, Taylor, Giancoma, and Dietrich.
- It appears that good bras are hard to find in this 2108 post-industrial world. Hope apparently wears a kind of wrap cloth in lieu of a bra.
- The net bag on the right holds fruit. There’s a similar bag shown in Taylor’s quarters (P12,p2) and in CPOH2 P9,p6.
- “Chooga’s Crunk movement” are a kind of Christian ecological group of humans, apparently a fairly small group (and nothing to do with today’s crunk: a hip-hop dance.) What Crunk is becomes somewhat clearer when Future and Cautious talk about it later in this issue (P14) and the band erects a gravesite marker cross (P22) which Future describes as a “Crunk thing.”
At Sequart Emmet O’Cuana points out that Crunk is “a nod to the hysteria surrounding punk culture in the late 1970’s, but echoes Tolkien’s notes for a Lord of the Rings sequel where children would similarly dress and act like Orcs.”
- Robbie Greer says “Industry’s dead a century” which is to say that CO2 emissions and other human-caused global warming are no longer much of an issue, since humanity has declined so dramatically. (See p2-3-4 this page.)
- This panel introduces Cautious Optimism Kriswyczki, the young woman dressed in black.
- This panel is very classic Alan Moore; he uses transitions like this throughout Watchmen and elsewhere. Moore shows one image, with text describing something else, but the text and image deliberately coincide. Greer states “we could be talking about some kind of global disaster.” He is responding to Dietrich’s concern that coal is causing global warming, but, by Moore and Andrade framing the statement at a distance (including the pile of skeletons), it also refers to the global disaster that was the Crossed outbreak and devastation. For the CPOH crew the Crossed outbreak is clearly more devastating and more pressing, compared to global warming. (See p2-3-4 this page.)
- “If you can read this: you’re probably people” refers to a 1970s bumper sticker “If you can read this: you’re too close” which became a minor meme, spawning other versions like “If you can read this: thank a teacher,” etc.
- No clear significance to the piece of hardware (looks like a boomerang) on the ground that reads “NAVY.”
- “This is the corpse of Columbia…” does not refer to Washington DC (District of Columbia), but the city of Columbia, in the state of Tennessee. There are other references to Tennessee cities on P3,p1 above, and throughout Crossed+100 No.1. See Google map of CPOH cities.
- “Cautious is so polite with olds.” There’s a bit of irony (pointed out by commenter Brad C) that Taylor is pointing out how polite Cautious is, when Cautious just used what we see as an obscenity. In panel 2, Cautious just said “I’m fuck tight, archivist Taylor.”
- “She’s [Cautious is] a grown woman.” contrasts with Kriswyczki’s age, apparently she is in her late teens. I appears that kids grow up pretty fast in the CPOH world.
- “A browned-up place, in… a bigger browned-up place… on a completely browned-up world.” Brown is basically CPOH vocabulary for “shit,” so browned-up is the equivalent of “crappy.”
- Hope (woman with pony tail) is taking a cell phone out of the jacket pocket of the skeleton-driver.
- “That’s buddleia. It colonizes urbs… It draws bugs” refers to Buddleia, an actual plant, known also as Buddleja and Butterfly Bush. The purple flower in the foreground looks like this photo of buddleia (right). According to Wikipedia, Buddleia was called “the bombsite plant” because it was known to grow in bombed out areas in post-WWI Britain. It is an invasive species known to grown in partially paved areas. Taylor is describing the process of environmental sucession. After a fire, Crossed outbreak, or other disturbance, certain species take over (colonize) areas, spread, then later give way to a more diverse, more mature eco-system. “Urbs” are presumably urban areas.
Here is how Alan Moore described it in a September 2014 interview at Bleeding Cool:
Now there are still not many remaining people, and they are scattered in settlements across the world. … Vegetation would have altered. Most cities, as far as I understand it, would have been colonized by Buddleia, within 4 or 5 years. That would colonize most of our urban centers, and that brings in the butterflies, and most of the insects, which brings in the birds, which brings in other predators. And with the species that had escaped from botanical gardens and zoos, a lot of our western cities would be pretty tropical.
- Moore mentioned Buddleia in the 1998 story “Last night I dreamed of Doctor Cobra” in The Spirit: The New Adventures No.3. In that story, Moore touches on many of the themes he explores in CPOH, including: people in the far future (often erroneously) looking back at an obscure present day, future language, and wildlife returning to overgrown cities.
- “Birds, browning seeds” refers to the way birds will eat living plants’ seeds, then poop them out. Various plants are evolved to take advantage of this; see, for example, this article.
- The public library building they find is today’s Maury County Public Library, located at 211 W. 8th Street, Columbia TN. Above image is screen capture from Google maps street view.
- “Islamic… beanie” apparently refers to a kufi hat.
- “Murphreesboro” is another Tennessee city. See Google map of CPOH cities.
Legible book titles on the left shelves (all left to right, top to bottom) include:
– “The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction” is an actual book by John Clute and Peter Nicholls. It has its own website, too.
– “DAN BROWN” refers to Dan Brown the best-seller author of The DaVinci Code
– “Lovecraft” refers to horror fiction author H.P. Lovecraft. Moore explored Lovecraftian themes in The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and elsewhere. During Moore’s CPOH run, Moore and Burrow’s Providence came out.
– “Asimov” refers to science fiction writer Isaac Asimov.
– “P K Dick” refers to science fiction writer Philip K. Dick.
- Legible book titles on the floor include:
– “FISICS” or FISKS?”
– “1985” refers to the novel 1985 by Anthony Burgess, a tribute to George Orwell’s 1984.
– “I[??] CARVÃO[??]” Commenter Tim identified this book as the 2013 Brazilian sci-fi novel O Espadachim de Carvão (Portuguese for “The Coal Sword”) by Affonso Solano. (A 2013 novel is anachronistic here.)
- Legible book titles on the right shelves include:
– [??] Blues?
– “LORD[??] RINGS[?]” looks like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
– “HOB[??]” looks like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
- “Radionet” is shown in CPOH2 P10, where the crew use it to contact Chooga. It may be a kind of ham radio.
- The book Archie is reading is A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking.
- Interesting that Future Taylor finds Stephen Hawking “funny when you’re drunk, but it sads me up.” Today’s theoretical science is useless in the lower-tech world of CPOH. In some ways it is very Alan Moore to value story-telling, fiction, hope (what Moore might call “magic”) – more than actual science.
- Somewhat legible books on the right include: LO[??] which looks like it’s The Lord of the Rings from p3 above. Next to it is a book with a title that starts with S – so that could be The Silmarillion also by JRR Tolkien.
- Panelwise: The transition from Page 7 to Page 8 is a page-turn reveal. It is a comics trick that Moore is using quite a bit in CPOH (especially CPOH2 – see notes for P1, p6.) In the lower right corner a character notices something that the reader can’t see, then the reader turns the page and the surprise sight is revealed. It is used again in CPOH1 between P17 and P18, where Keller spots the wolves, then the reader turns the page and they appear.
- “Yoor fice es wrawng” is Crossed-zombie-speak for “your face is wrong” meaning that Archie doesn’t have the Crossed facial rash (he also has glasses.)
- “Ar wunner furg yoor maowth” is Crossed-speak for “I want to fuck your mouth”.
- There are a few more semi-legible book titles:
– “PAULO COELH[??]” this is Brazilian author Paulo Coelho who wrote The Alchemist.
– “SHIMA[?]” It’s unclear if Shima is the full word/name or just the beginning of it. It could be author Frank Shima who wrote Vencil, or Koji Shima who directed the sci-fi film Warning from Space.
– “AKIRA” refers to the Japanese post-apocalyptic manga (comic) Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo.
- “Furgmaw” is Crossed-speak for perhaps “fuck me”or “fuck mom.”
- “Lurgathuh fices!” is Crossed-speak for “look at their faces!”
- “Thuh ficezur wrawng!” is Crossed-speak for “their faces are wrong!” Again because the uninfected humans do not have cross rashes.
- “Sismaw, they kilt eatsturds.” is Crossed-speak for “sister-mother, they killed eats-turds.” Apparently that Crossed’s name was “Eats-turds” because he ate crap.
- “Reckun amha jack onnit” is Crossed-speak for “I recon I am going to jack off [masturbate] on it.”
- Half-legible book says “MAXI?”
- Hope (Woman with pony tail) is chewing out Forward (boy with purple smock) like a mother saying “I told you so” to a child. Looks like Forward was playing around, and might have gotten his face dirty.
- “Radionet” is first mentioned above – on P7, p4.
- “Under Mason Dixon” refers to the Mason-Dixon Line, the territorial boundary separating the state of Pennsylvania from Maryland and Virginia. It was sort of the dividing line between the North and South (free states and slavery states) in the US Civil War. In any case, Tennessee is well south of the Mason-Dixon line.
- “Radionet is oh-eight.” (For “radionet” see above P7,p4.) “Oh-eight” refers to 2008, the year of the Surprise (see glossary) which was the first big zombie plague outbreak. So if something is “oh-eight” it is wrong, screwed-up, fucked-up. Clearly there are zombies here, so the information Future got from radionet was wrong.
- “Bio-boobies” are booby-traps set by Crossed using their body fluids to coat bullets, sharp sticks, or even envelopes. (Thanks commenter dvn61danny.)
- “Bosol! Bafol!” is “Beau Salt! Bashful.” Beau Salt, serial killer and Crossed leader, and Bashful, Salt’s henchman, are not named until CPOH5. “Bosol” links these Columbia Crossed to CPOH2‘s Memphis Crossed, one of whom says “bosol” – see CPOH2 P19,p3. These are repeated in the next panel – see P10,p1-3 below.
- “Bosol! Bafol!” is “Beau Salt! Bashful!” – see P9,p5.
- The baby (with umbilical cord still attached) in panel 3, the large belly, large breasts, seem to indicate that this woman is pregnant. A Crossed pregnancy is a bit questionable per Alan Moore’s September 2014 interview at Bleeding Cool where he initially states that “the Crossed actually can’t reproduce” but then goes on to say:
But this is the problem with the Crossed, they can’t really have children. They are not going to survive. We allowed that there might be a tiny, tiny percentage that might select for not killing their own children. That you might get small, isolated outposts of inbred Crossed, that this was a possibility. But the others would be dying off in extraordinary numbers. And we worked out that certain tipping points would come. There’d be a time when the population of humans was starting to expand, the population of Crossed was receding dramatically, and also that a lot of the Crossed children that somehow managed to survive—if it happened in 2008—are going to be by 2060 relatively old Crossed. And they are not going to have been looking after themselves. So they are going to be easier to deal with, they are going to be less numerous…
- The books here have some writing that seems almost legible – though it is not clear if the writing is right-side-up or upside down. Looks like “NY03”? “30 [backwards-R]”?? and “DUNE? T?” Dune may refer to the Frank Herbert sci-fi novel.
- “F-first live ones I’ve seen” means this is the first time that Future Taylor has come into contact with actual living Crossed.
- “They were feeble, not like in footage” sounds like there are different types of Crossed. The Columbia Crossed were apparently not as strong as other Crossed Taylor has seen on videos.
- “I’d thought about sexing him, but… ehhh.” showcases 2108 survivor sexuality. Human survivors numbers are so small that many of them have sex pretty casually.
- Co-ed showering is probably just the crew’s way of preserving a limited water supply in a time of limited modesty, but there arguably a sci-fi reference: in the 1997 movie Starship Troopers, male and female soldiers all shower together.
- Panelwise: All of the panels (Page 12, panel 2-5 and Page 22, panel 1-4) where Future Taylor is journaling inside the vehicle conform to the 3-rows 2-panels-per-row format. I think that this creates some sense of crampness of the quarters she is in, and also perhaps is a reflection of her thoughts being inward focused.
- The device under the table on the left looks like a gasoline-powered electrical generator. This is the first and one of the only functional petroleum-powered devices in CPOH’s 2108.
- “First Alleghanian [Wishful Fiction] story (flying cars, food pills) was Hugo Gernsback, Ralph 124c41+, 1925. …That’s a word joke. It says ‘One to foresee for one more.’ ” This refers to the sci-fi book/story Ralph 124C 41+, noted above on P2. Future writes that Gernsback is “Alleghanian”; Alleghany is a county in West Virginia, and a river in that area. For Chooga residents “Alleghania” is among the last remaining human settlements, so American becomes Alleghanian.
- “Jackson” is a city in Tennessee, a bit west of Columbia and the other cities in this issue. See Google map of CPOH cities.
- Panelwise, the comics gutter color (the area outside the panels) color shifts from light-navy-blue to dark-teal. This denotes a shift from July 12th in Columbus to July 13th in Jackson.
- The voice is Robbie Greer, who is speaking angrily to Forward.
- “mouth stain” is lipstick, see more in panel 2 below.
- “You opsy like your mom was a century-fore-last ambulance.” To opsy (see glossary) means something like “to investigate” or “to perform reconnaissance.” It seems to require someone who is observant and quiet – the opposite of a 20th-Century ambulance, which goes fast, blares noise and lights. Robbie is telling Forward that he is too reckless, not careful enough to go scouting around when there may be actual Crossed in the area.
- The cross-face rashes on Forward’s face is a bit alarming; if the rash is real, then this would mean he is now Crossed. Why are the crew not freaking out? Is he contagious? Given his colleagues’ (lack of) reaction and Forward’s non-Crossed speech, he’s not a real Crossed zombie.
Looking a little closer here and on Page 1 (takes place soon after P13), Forward’s red markings do not reach his chin. His red marks are comparatively smooth compared to actual Crossed faces (for example P1,p4.) The mention of “Giancoma’s mouth stain” (her lipstick) in panel 1 above, means that Forward has put lip stick on his face, to resemble the Crossed’s face-rashes. This Crossed make-up is what Crunk folks do. (Crunk is a Christian sect explained more on Pages 4, 14, and 22.) Hope says to Forward “you look real sex.” (Moore mentions the lipstick in his script page in CPOH Taste Test, which states, describing P1, “on his [Forward’s] face, there is a cross drawn in lipstick.”)
- The crew is in front of the abandoned Starbucks (notice the “KS” sign), seen on page 1. In the foreground is the tire that Forward sat on in Page 1, panel 6.
- The sign “RE” “OOK[?]” is not quite legible.
- “By the Surprise, we’d already bought a couple centuries of extreme sky” is Future saying that greenhouse gases had already set global warming in place when “the Surprise” (perhaps the first big Crossed outbreak) took place in 2008. Global warming (or climate change) is already the source of more extreme weather phenomena today: storms, heat waves, etc. In CPOH, Tennessee’s extreme weather included tornadoes.
- The purple flowering plant in the bottom right is more buddleia – see P6,p2 above.
- The building pictured is the First United Methodist Church at 200 S. Church Street in Jackson, TN. See it on Google Maps street view here.
- “A fish-pedicure” is real spa procedure, watch one here.
- “Old addiction drugs” or “sugar” turn out to be salt. Oddly, though, this is stated but no white sugar-like stuff is depicted. There is a leafy plant that the characters do not mention.
- The framed image of the guy with a goatee is serial killer and Crossed leader Beau Salt – named in CPOH5. See also P23,p2-4 below.
- “Pee-aitch-something” refers to the letters “P H” on the photo in the previous panel.
- Panelwise: Archie Keller is seeing something that readers do not see yet. It is a little like the page-turn reveal (used above P7-P8, then again soon P17-P18, and all over in CPOH2 – see notes for P1, p6) but it is understated because readers aren’t turning a page, but just going from one side of the fold to the other. Keller’s spotting is also gradual – over the course of two panels. So, this reveal of the Crossed is somewhat highlighted, but the bigger reveal is that of the wolves when we turn the next page. All three of these reveal-transitions in CPOH1 pivot on the same character – Archie Keller – who notices things before we readers do.
- “Packemin” is Crossed-speak for “pack coming.” Wolf pack coming next page.
- Note that there are seven Crossed shown here. These are apparently part of the same group of Crossed who appeared on Page 1, panels 3-5, though perhaps not exactly the same people.
- “All red-headers” just refers to the Crossed’s hair color. Based on AM’s script in CPOHTT, he described this family of Crossed as all having red hair. Their hair does not look that red in P17,p1 (or later on P20,p5) but it does look pretty red in the foreshadow sequence on P1,p3-5. Could be a colorist mistake.
- “That’s a likely” is slightly odd. For the most part, 2108 speak doesn’t use adverbs (words ending in -ly). This panel is the only place where “ly” appears (likely and lively.) Greer is saying that it’s likely that Taylor’s statement (that these are a family) is true.
- “Lively, though” There seem to be different types of Crossed. Above in P11,p2, Taylor described the Columbia library Crossed as “feeble.” These Jackson Crossed are apparently livelier.
- Panelwise: Going from P17 to P18 is the issues’ big page-turn reveal (used above P7-P8, and all over in CPOH2 – see notes for P1, p6.) Keller sees the wolves before we do. When we turn the page – boom – the reader is let in on what the character already saw.
Page 18 (through 19)
- Panelwise, this single 2-page spread is one of only three deviations from the 3-rows per page panel rhythm established on Page 1. I think this is AM and GA showing visually (with great emphasis) that wolves have taken over. Similar to buddleia (see Page 6, panel 2-3 above), and explained more in the dialogue on page 19, with the human population dwindling due to the Crossed infection, other species have expanded where humans once dominated. The 2-page spread emphasizes the size and the dominance of the wolf pack.
- The double-page wolves spread also echoes a slightly similar double-page wolf pack image in Crossed No.5, P20-21.
- Panelwise: The 3-row panel begins to reassert itself, but the panels here read vertically downward. I think that this creates a somewhat frantic hurried pace, not found elsewhere in this issue.
Page 20 – no specific annotations.
- “Counting limbs and dividing, I make that three.” To the readers, this seems obvious from the number of heads on P20,p5 – but maybe the crew do not want to get to close to see heads, for fear of infection.
- “Four the wolves didn’t get, then.” Hope has done the math, tells us is that there are probably at least 4 Crossed still at large, given that there were 7 on P17,p1 and 3 were killed by wolves.
- “We go in with a soft-on, get infected, we’d run it back…” is Greer is saying that the current 6-person team is not fully hardened/militarized enough to fight lots of Crossed.
- “Chooga” is short for Chattanooga, TN. See Google map of CPOH cities.
- “We’re about three sextimes away” is not made clear in CPOH1-6. “Sextime” is some unspecified unit of distance, or time.
- “The Surprise was a boost for everything that wasn’t peoples, maybe.” The Surprise (see glossary) is the first big zombie outbreak in 2008. It killed off a lot of people, which altered the eco-system to give more vegetation and wolves more space to grow and thrive.
- The transition from P21p5 to P22p1 is another page-turn reveal. Though it is slightly different in that Kriswyczki hasn’t seen what’s coming next, as Keller had on early reveals. Kriswyczki mentions Dietrich, though, and we readers turn the page to reveal his fate.
- The dead body is Forward Dietrich, introduced on Page 1. His purple frock is just to the left of his head. The tire he had been sitting on (P1,p6) is visible on the left. The abandoned Starbucks is on the right.
- “It was fuck bad without much for burying” just means that there was not much of Forward’s body left after the wolves ate what they did.
- “Sounds churchface” seems to refer to the Crossed cross-faces as “churchface”; it means more-or-less “crazy.”
- “For a marker she made the Crunk thing out of sticks.” The “Crunk thing” is, of course, the Christian cross. Crunk (see glossary) is some kind of Christian ecology sect.
- “Crunk’s just a fashion-the-pan.” Fashion-the-pan is a mixed-up way of saying “flash in the pan” meaning a passing fad, something that won’t last. It is ironic that Future Taylor sees Crunk, which is a strand of Christianity, as a passing fad. Christianity has, of course, been around 2108 years at that point. It is interesting that Future is aware of churches (see page 15) but does not seem to associate them with Christianity, Crunk, or crosses.
- The simple wooden cross is somewhat reminiscent of the cover of Swamp Thing No. 55, written by Moore.
- “O-burgers” are ostrich burgers. It is not explained in CPOH1, but, at the time, an ostrich had appeared on the previewed design sketch variant cover for CPOH3. The domesticated ostrichs appear beginning in CPOH3. Alan Moore mentioned them in a September 2014 interview at Bleeding Cool:
So, by the time I’m talking about in Crossed +100, they’ve got different staple food items like Ostriches, a very good source of food. There’s talk already about Ostrich burgers being a lot better for you and generally than ordinary beef. The thing is, Ostriches can run very, very fast, and they could outrun the Crossed. You’d only need a few of them for breeding purposes. You could have quite sizable herds.
- Future is looking at the framed image she picked up back on P15.
- The framed image of the man with goatee (see P15,p5) seems to be some kind of serial killer who picked his victims at random out of a phone book. In CPOH2 Taylor provisionally names this man “Phil” and in CPOH5 his name is revealed to be Beau Salt, a fictional serial killer made up by Moore. “True Homicide” appears to be the name of a magazine. There was an actual 1950s magazine called True Homicide Cases, but I think that AM made up a fictional magazine that is more along the lines of various true crime TV shows. Here is what the reader can tell about Salt at this point:
– Some thing about him begins with PH (P15,p5) – most likely phone book.
– He picked his [vic]”tims from to the top right name on every seventh page of” [the phone book – is my guess]
– “Gomez, the only surviving witness, provided a photo-fit descrpt”[ion] – Photofit is a police tool for assembling an image of a suspect.
– “llas P.D. [Dallas? Police Department] admitted “if he started with A, this is potentially” [a lot of victims he killed?]
- Book spine says “Sci-Fi.”
- “I piped some wana early…” is Taylor smoking “wana,” short for marijuana. Future is smoking a pipe in the previous panels on this page.
- The “theory-jerk” is a discussion of various ideas about how the Crossed zombie disease got started back in 2008. Moore mentions this in his September 2014 interview at Bleeding Cool:
[The cause of the Crossed epidemic] might be a parasitical worm. But I’ve considered, what if the Crossed epidemic was a parasitical bacterium that was trying to get into the system of carrion animals, who would be having a feast of it? It makes you act in a manner where you’re libel to kill as many other people as possible before you yourself are recklessly killed. At which point, there’ll be a banquet for the carrion animals, and when the carrion animals are infected, there’ll be an endless food source for your host. Then I thought, “Hang on. Why doesn’t it affect non-carrion animals?” So, that doesn’t work, does it? And as to how the virus spread, I remember talking with Garth [Garth Ennis – creator of Crossed]. Could it have been a virologists’ convention? I was thinking, “Yeah, except it must have broken out in countries where they’ve scarcely even heard of virology”.
So none of these explanations exactly work. I think it’s best at the end of the day to leave it as a mystery. If there were a brilliant explanation that somebody thought up in the future that brilliant stories could spin out of, I’d say, “Go with that”. Of course, in the case of Crossed, that would be rather up to Garth. But for the moment, at least, I’m quite content with having it unexplained. That we simply don’t know.
- “Ho-ho” is the nickname of Hope Giancoma.
- Panels 1-3 are a zoom sequence. They depict the same scene as the “camera” moves back away from the subject. AM uses these sequences now and then, including on P1 of Watchmen.
- “Horrorballs” are the Crossed, possibly it is a phonetic way of writing “horribles.”
- “Stars are Wishful Fiction. Always there, fuck white, fuck clean. No Surprise for the stars. No infection.” It is interesting that Future is looking to the stars in a similar way to how the people did historically – for astrology, navigation.