Harker Issue 4 - annotations
One day you'll see pictures of this cover in every branch of Starbucks in the land. This little sight gag very much reflects Vince's deep love for Starbuck's coffee mocha - a daily ritual for him, he has one every morning, and BOY does he grumble when we're away somewhere for a comic convention or some such and he can't find a Starbucks somewhere.
As I think I may have mentioned before, this street (Montague Street) is literally just around the corner from the British Museum, but please don't go staring at the front door of the two houses if you find them, because they're not really the homes of Satanists, we just made that bit up.
It really is illegal to smoke anywhere indoors in England, except in your own home. This is bound to be an ongoing issue for Harker, given his chainsmoking. I'm inclined to believe that he starts off every day really badly - Harker isn't a morning person.
Critchley is with the girl from the British Museum here - the one he chatted up in the first issue, and whom he mentions at the close of issue three.
Aleister Crowley was, of course, the famous English occultist, dubbed at the time 'The Wickedest Man in the World'. Should you be interested, there's a wealth of information on him in wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleister_Crowley
If you were wondering, Vince tells me that Critchley drives an Audi TT.
Page Three - Four
It'll become clear that what we're doing here is contrasting Critchley's lovely, sunny mornings with Harker's more miserable ones. I don't know why I find that funny, though maybe I just like torturing my lead character, who knows?
The owl story that Harker is relating is actually a true story. Vince is a very light sleeper and always has been, and for years he's amused me with stories of various wild animals that seem to keep him awake at night. For a couple of years he was harrassed most nights by an owl outside his window, whose hoots would keep Vince awake until the early hours. Even thinking about it now makes me giggle - Vince just finds the whole thing terrible irritating. Just this month he was plagued by wasps outside his window. Nature is against him, I think.
The deja vu that Harker experiences here is a premonition of his own near death, which occurs in that very same spot in issue six. Which is also why his back is hurting.
And here we see Harker and Critchley taking that short stroll around the corner to our Satanist's houses. We did think about providing a map in the collected edition (complete with Harker's car to drive around it) but decided against it, in case anyone knocked on the doors and asked to see the underground chambers. *cough*
Oh look, it's Mister Johnson. I wonder where he's off to?
Mre Johnson stays behind as her husband departs, which hints at the ongoing affair she's having with Randolph, revealed later.
Did Alan Moore really write a book on Demonology? Dennis Wheatley was a writer of occult fiction, who was especially popular in the 1960s and 1970s. I can thoroughly recommend the Hammer Films version of his most famous book The Devil Rides Out, which still has the power to chill, and which of course stars Christopher Lee.
As for the lever in the bookcase which opens the secret passage, I can only apologise, but it made me laugh.
Vince spent some considerable time designing a computer model of this chamber, as we thought we'd be using it again (basically so he could rotate it to be viewed at any angle), but in the end most of those scenes were cut and it barely got used. The method worked well for him though and proved a big time saver, so he's already used it since on interiors in Book Two.
The book referred to hear is, of course, The Book of Solomon, which the bookseller had retrieved to pass on to Harker and Critchley as requested. The book is later planted in Randolph's study by... well you probably know by now, but I won't say just in case.
And there's that authentic Moonchild poster again, which I mentioned in previous annotations. I really love old bookshops, so this seems a particularly gruesome death scene to me. And people say they want colour in our books! *shudder*
more annotations to come...