Crossed Plus One Hundred 4
Below are annotations for Crossed Plus One Hundred, No. 4 “A Canticle For Leibowitz” (24 pages, released: April 15, 2015, with cover date: March, 2015)
Writer: Alan Moore (AM), Artist: Gabriel Andrade (GA)
>Go to Crossed+100 annotations index
>Go to Crossed+100 timeline
>Go to Crossed+100 glossary
Note: some of this stuff is obvious, some very very obvious… but you never know who’s reading this and what their exposure is to any given reference. If there’s stuff I missed or got wrong, let me know in comments, or email linton.joe [at] gmail.com
General: basic annotations are below – I am still adding to these, and will update map, timeline, and glossary within a few weeks.
- On the left, it’s Future Taylor (see CPOH cast of characters.)
- On the right is Mustaqba. Future mentioned him on P15,p5 of CPOH3, but his first appearance is on P4 below, and the reader doesn’t get a good look at him until P7. According to Wikipedia, “al-mustaqbal” means “future” in Arabic, so he is sort of Murfreesboro’s analog to Chooga’s Future Taylor. He and Taylor are both archivists. He looks a little more handsome on the cover than he does inside.
- As made clearer on Pages 4 and 7 below, the captions are archivist Mustaqba explaining history to a small class.
- “The Surprise” is the first big Crossed epidemic outbreak starting in 2008, see CPOH timeline.
- The black and white images (P1-3) take place in the past.
This panel shows a view of the 2008 plane crash that took place in the very first Crossed comic, Crossed No.0, on Page 8, panel 1. The three characters on the right — Stan, Thomas, Kelly — will go on to be among the lead characters in the initial Crossed Volume 1 story arc. (The building somewhat resembles the courthouse in Murfreesboro, shown on Pages 3 and 4 below, but it’s not the same building.)
- Scene possibly from an earlier Crossed comic – suggest?
- AM is explaining the historical backstory for CPOH, how human and Crossed populations rose and fell.
- Scene possibly from an earlier Crossed comic – suggest? Looks like maybe Crossed Badlands No.3 which takes place in snowy setting?
- Scene possibly from an earlier Crossed comic – suggest? Several Crossed series that take place in Japan aparently.
- The woman second from the right is a younger version of Oldwoman George, identifiable by her “DON’T CROSS ME” tattoo. Based on her presence, this appears to be Chooga circa 2070s.
- The site, as stated, is the human settlement in what was the city of Murfreesboro, TN, circa 2072.
- The building in the upper center right is the Rutherford County Courthouse, which has a Confederate Soldiers Monument shown in the panel foreground.
- “Murfreesboro, where the are Muslims since 1982” refers to the establishment of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. The Mosque was the subject of some controversy when some locals opposed its expansion circa 2010. Moore mentions Murfreesboro in his interview in Bleeding Cool No.14:
We chose Murfreesboro because we were looking for a place around there [Chattanooga], preferably on a river, or not that far away from one, where there could conceivably be an Islamic settlement, and we found that in Murfreesboro, there’s been a center of Islamic Studies since around 1980. …It’s been really controversial since around 2001, especially since the right wing press have said, “Oh, they are trying to take over America and impose Sharia law. They’re schooling bombers and terrorists. …
So, I’m thinking, “What would Islam be like?” in this world. It would obviously be heavily modified, and that would be interesting. But there’s no problem with oppressing women and homosexuals. A lot of the stuff of 20th century Islam is seen as unworkable in Crossed +100, and unnecessary, in the same way that Christianity through different periods has had to redefine what we now know of science, deciding, “We’re going to have to take a lot of this as allegorical”. …
So I imagined that Islam could’ve undergone similar changes and I had a re-think about it. There are not conflicts in the world in the same way that there are in ours in the comic. There is no automatic conflict between Islam and anything else. Everybody is a survivor and cooperation is necessary.
- The “Swanson Building” (photo) is today Murfreesboro’s City Hall and its tallest building, per Wikipedia. It’s mentioned but not shown in this panel; it does appear on P4 below.
- The site is Murfreesboro, TN. The year is 2108, the CPOH present.
- As much as I like Gabriel Andrade’s people, I think his landscapes are really strong this issue, including this view of city and the final page page below.
- The tallest building is the Swanson Building, below to the left of it is the Rutherford County Courthouse – see notes on these buildings on P3,p1 above.
- Similar to Chooga, there’s plenty of eco-friendly power here: windmills, solar photo-voltaic panels, bikes.
- The crew are walking down the street in the very middle of the panel – see next panel.
- “In the name of Allah, as merciful as is possible, sovereign of the day of surprise…” is an update of the Islamic prayer (?) “In the name of Allah… the Most Merciful Sovereign of the Day of Judgment…” (one source)
- The teacher is Mustaqba, in the white robe and brown vest. Readers get a much closer look at him starting on P7 below.
- The title of this issue “A Canticle for Leibowitz” is the title of a 1961 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Walter M. Miller, Jr. Each issue of CPOH references a “a famous work of science fiction” – see all those here. Canticle is actually the first distopian and post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel featured in CPOH, so it actually resembles the CPOH world quite a bit.
In Canticle, future monks preserve civilization by scavenging remnants from prior to their nuclear holocaust – analogous to CPOH archivists gathering pre-Surprise materials. Canticle‘s world is populated by humans and radiation-malformed “monsters” – not quite as threatening as the Crossed, though. The overall feel of Canticle is similar to CPOH’s Murfreesboro’s Islam – a recognizable religious community, greatly changed after a massive disaster.
Moore mostly uses Canticle to get Future Taylor thinking/writing about the role of religion in a post-Surprise world.
- These characters are, left to right, Archie Keller, Morning Addison, Future Taylor, Cautious Optimism Kriswyczki, Ima’am Fajr (first appearance), and Robbie Greer.
- “Ima’am” is a conflation of Imam (an Islamic leader, I think pretty much always male) and ma’am (a polite term for addressing a woman, short for madam.)
- “Kicking here by river” refers to the crew’s trip on the Tennessee River in CPOH3, P16-24.
- The “Ruth Ford Courthouse” is a clever female-leader-centric renaming of the Rutherford Courthouse, the older building pictured on P3,p1 and P4 above.
- This panel introduces archivist Mustaqba. According to Wikipedia, “al-mustaqbal” means “future” in Arabic. Future Taylor mentioned Mustaqba in CPOH3, P14,p5.
- “Tims Ford” refers to what is today Tims Ford Lake/Dam, on the Elk River about 50 miles south of Murfreesboro.
- “Chooga’s Civil War archive is standouting” appears to be a reference to the Chattanooga history center mentioned P1,p3 in CPOH3.
- “In Columbia, we salvaged some Islamic studies printeds” refers to the books Taylor and Keller found in CPOH1, P7.
- CPOH humans have pretty relaxed attitudes about sex in 2108. They couple often, heterosexually, homosexually, without necessarily partnering off exclusively.
- The sex here is very mutually pleasurable, in contrast to the rape depicted throughout most Crossed comics.
- “This picture we found in Jackson” refers to CPOH1, P15; this is the person Taylor provisionally named “Phil.”
- Mustaqba is checking out Taylor’s butt “only for purpose of archive” apparently means he’s going to remember it when he masturbates later.
- As Mustaqba explains on the next page, a “photofit” is one type of tool that police use to reconstruct a suspect’s face based on a crime witness’ description. Photofit was mentioned in the text (see CPOH1, P23,p2-5) that Future found on the back of the “Phil” image.
- “True Homicide” is from the text (see CPOH1, P23,p2-5) on the back of the image. 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.
- “[A photofit] is a crimer’s face, faked from a description.” is Mustaqba describing what my annotations explained on P9,p5 above.
- “…fit my PH” refers to the letters “PH” which appear on the photo, see CPOH1, P15,p5.
- “[D]ifferent infecteds somewhere?” – are there multiple strains of Crossed? discuss.
- I don’t get this joke yet… suggest? Commenter col1234 suggests the joke might be something along the lines of:
How do two archivists have sex? The get naked in bed, and talk about what they’re each reading
- The captions are Taylor writing in her journal.
- July 20th is the day after the end of CPOH3 (see timeline page.)
- Taylor’s science fiction book is the one she found on P7,p3 of CPOH1, and which she’s been reading all along.
- “Pride of Chooga” is the name of the steamboat, see CPOH3, P16.
- Nudie Wales is the name of one of Taylor’s crew. He first appears on P19 this issues.
- “Slim” is short for “Muslim.”
- “[D]isastered atomics and nukewear” – see CPOH3.
- “W.F.” stands for “Wishful Fiction” which is Taylor’s term for what is today called science fiction.
- “Walter Miller’s Canticle for Leibowitz” refers to the sci-fi novel A Canticle for Leibowitz, which gives CPOH4 its title (see P4 above.)
- The vehicles are battle-buses or steam-buses, similar to the one introduced in CPOH1 on P2.
- Apparently Taylor’s hair is bundled up because Mustaqba ejaculated into it. On P11,p5 above, Taylor wrote euphemistically “Mustaqba talked archive with me. Three times, once in my hair.”
- “… cover-words set up for talking on radionet” – they’ve arranged to speak about the sweep in code, just in case hostile forces can overhear. See P17,p3 below.
- As will be explained later, Greer is noticing the ring visible on the leg of the ostrich (lower left.) This marks the ostrich as belonging to the Chooga flock. See CPOH3 P4,p1 and P5,p2 showing rings on Chooga ostriches.
- “Brews” is short for Hebrews – Jews. “Christers” is short for “Christians.” See CPOH glossary page. Alan Moore, in an interview in print in Bleeding Cool No.14, has this to say about religion in CPOH:
The question of religion also arises. I don’t think there would be very much religion at all. I would imagine that it would be very difficult to keep belief in a benevolent God of any sort after the Crossed epidemic. And that would fit in with the fact that, as I understand it, people are getting less religious right now across the world. Apparently it’s even true in countries where the fact is very surprising to me, such as Ireland and America. There are even some Islamic countries where people are becoming less religious. I think that the spasms that all of the mightiest religions and even most of the religions have been in, certainly since the beginning of the 21st century, have started to put a lot of people off and make a lot of people question the actual benefits of religion. …
[A]pparently there is a trend away from religion, and I think that would only be exacerbated by something like the Crossed outbreak.
- Again, the mixed-case captions are Taylor writing in her journal.
- Apparently there are big speakers – “fuck big talkers” – that broadcast the call to prayers from the Swanson Building (see P3,p1 above.)
- “Tims Ford Dam” refers to today’s Tims Ford Dam, on the Elk River about 50 miles south of Murfreesboro.
- Robbie Greer “was rashing over something” refers to the ostrich controversy, see P13,p3 above and P17,p2 below.
- “Browns Ferry” is the nuclear disaster site shown on the last two pages of CPOH3. It’s where the crew will turn from the Elk River onto the Tennesse River.
- Isaac Asimov is a science fiction writer, who wrote Foundation and Empire. Based on the already publicized Future Tense variant covers, CPOH6 will reference that book.
- “The tape Ho-Ho [Hope Giancoma] found” is the videotape that Taylor began watching in CPOH3, P7.
- Taylor is watching the video mentioned in P14,p3 above.
- “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” is a common short sentence that utilizes all of the letters of the alphabet (called a “pangram”.)
- Taylor is conflating “elocution” (clear speech) and “electrocution” (electrically shocking, generally to kill a person) which are both shown on the tape.
- The scene is the dock at Chooga, the human settlement at Chattanooga, TN.
- On the left to right are Kriswyczki’s parents. On the right are Laura Taylor (hugging) and Oldwoman George.
- “Only deads” refers to the dead Crossed chained in the small boat, see CPOH3, P21-22.
- Flash Gordon is Taylor’s cat. Find references at CPOH3, P5,p4.
- The pieces of the puzzle that Taylor (and the reader) is trying to solve are sitting together on Taylor’s bureau: the framed photofit of the phonebook killer, Giancoma’s videotape of the Crossed being trained/tested, and the necklace with the vial of salt.
- The ostrich controversy was set up on P13,p3 above. Apparently the settlements’ ostriches graze, like cattle, and Murfreesboro folks have rounded up some of Chooga’s birds. This was foreshadowed in CPOH3, P5,p1-2 when Laura Taylor mentions ostrich supplies are “low … near twenty birds down.” (I suspect that this is setting up a crisis that will be exacerbated due to the lack of communications.)
- Sounds like “fruit-picking” is the code-word for the joint-settlement raid mopping the Crossed – see P12,p3 above.
- “Kuffir” is probably (according to this thread) “kaafir” (dis-believer), “kuffar” (plural of kaafir) or “kufr” (disbelief).
- The “Hooch Bag Ill” is what’s left of the sign that had read “[C]hoo Ch[oo] Ba[r & ]G[r]ill” see CPOH3, P5,p5 (image.)
- Looks like the horse-driven cart is loaded with coal, perhaps from Soddy-Daisy, for use as fuel for the steam-buses.
- “And but our sweep-gangs are opsying fuck more illbillies than we’d skulled” – sounds ominous: there are more Crossed out there than Chooga anticipated.
- Frank Giancoma, mentioned here, appears in the next panel below.
- The man in the blue jacket is Frank Giancoma, Hope Giancoma’s father. He’s pissed off (“fuck motived”) at the Crossed for having infected his daughter, leading to her death in CPOH2. He appeared several times in CPOH3.
- Panel 1 is the first time this issue that we see Nudie Wales (purple shirt) who was mentioned above (P11) and appeared in CPOH3.
- Keller’s and Wales’ closeness is explained next page.
- Keller and Wales are lovers. It helps explain why Keller “sex-declined” Kriswyczki earlier (CPOH2 P11,p1.)
- The “Appalachians” refer to the Appalachian Mountains.
- Kriswyczki selects a white-faced horse. It looks like a skull, and could be an allusion to the “pale horse” that the biblical Death rides. I think this is a bad sign, especially combined with earlier foreshadowing of Kriswyczki’s death (see CPOH2, P23, p3-4.)
- Future Taylor’s progression over the course of the series has been: battle-bus to steamboat to horse. She’s getting less mechanized, less armored. This is somewhat similar to the protagonist in Alan Moore and Oscar Zarates’s A Small Killing. If I recall correctly, he goes from airplane to car to bike to foot. (Check this xxx)
- “[F]lowers and pelvises” – both have sexual connotations. Pelvises would be human pelvis bones, so this forms a poetic contrast between life and death.
- The long knife at Taylor’s knee looks like the one that Greer carried in CPOH1 and 2.
- John Monroe appeared in CPOH3, Pages 10-14, where he used the word “see” a dozen times.
- Taylor’s words are Moore getting philosophical. In the past, whether religious or secular, fiction or history, “our story of ourselves” (especially for Americans) has been rooted in optimism, hope, progress. Post-Surprise, this is no longer the case.
- The forest, the woods, the party’s isolation, the threat of the unseen Crossed all make this feel pretty foreboding.