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Stickleback London's Burning


London's Burning is the sequel to the two earlier Stickleback stories. The first chapter appeared in 2000AD from the December 2009 Christmas edition (prog 2010) and the story continued in progs 1666-1676. At the time of writing it has not been collected in trade paperback so these notes refer to the pages as laid out in the 2000AD issues.

The best guide to all the references in this story comes from D'Israeli's own blog site and you may prefer to go there first and get the facts straight from one of the creators. However for completeness (and to amuse myself if I'm being honest) I have added my own set of notes as follows.

Prog 2010 - D'Israeli's blog post
Page 1, panel 1
. Again this image of St Paul's reminds of the famous photograph of the Cathedral during the Blitz in World War two.

Page 1, panel 2. A strange shadow crosses the moon.

Page 1, panel 3. The name on the factory refers to the character Harold Shand played by Bob Hoskins in the 1980 British gangster movie The Long Good Friday. There is a famous scene where Shand has several of his rivals suspended upside down in a slaughterhouse to try and find out who is plotting against him. Stickleback recreates this scene in the next panel.

Page 1, panel 4. As well as the The Long Good Friday reference this panel also contains an image of a Cow cut in half which is a nod towards the artwork of Damien Hirst.

Page 2, panel 4. Wide Duchesses refers to a size of British roofing tile.

Page 3, panel 2. Croesus was the legendarily wealthy King of Lydia.

There is an old saying that the streets of London are paved with Gold, this idea seems to have been popularised by the pantomime of Dick Whittington.

Page 4, panel 1. The character Grouty is a reference to the character genial Harry Grout, the crime lord who seemed to run everything in Slade prison in the popular British TV comedy Porridge.

Page 6, panel 1. Stickleback has a certain way with words, let's just leave it at that.

Page 7, panel 3. Mr Tickle uses the Ding Dong greeting popularised by the actor Leslie Phillips. He also refers to the familiar Actress and Bishop jokes.

Page 7, panel 4. This is another arcane expression for sex apparently made up by Ian Edginton.

Page 8, panel 1. The robot bomb is similar to the device used by Professor Thynne in the Mother London story.

Page 8, panel 5. The phrase "Thus perish all tyrants" may date back to Brutus at the assassination of Julius Caesar. Stickleback used the expression himself in Mother London.

Page 9, panel 1. Mr Estabez may be a reference to the magician Mr Stabbs from the children's TV show Ace of Wands.

Page 9, panel 3. Neil Young sang "The aimless blade of science slashed the pearly gates" in his song Thrasher from the Rust Never Sleeps album.

Page 9, panel 4. The White Lotus Empress appeared at the end of Stickleback: England's Glory. She may be Fu Manchu's daughter. I don't know who Mr Estabez's friend was that she was unkind to. Anyone?

Page 10. The air ship The Mistral is described in D'Israeli's blog.


Page 2, panel 4. The Notary Hardenbrooke was a character played by Michael Gough in the movie Sleepy Hollow

Page 3, panel 5. Mr Tickle's first name is Hargreave after Roger Hargreaves of Mr.Men fame. The first book in the series was Mr.Tickle

Page 4, panel 1. The Crais crime family is a reference to infamous East End gansters the Kray Twins.

Page 4, panel 5. A LeMat revolver.

Page 5, panel 2. D'Israeli comments that he based the Countess's boudoir on German expressionist films such as Metropolis and the Skull shaped mask stand is a tribute to the art of Kevin O'Neill.

Page 5, panel 4. Likewise the mask is based on the Medusa Rondanini.

Page 5, panel 5. Mr Estabez still reminds me of Mr Stabbs.


Page 1, panel 1. The alley is taken from the opening sequence of Gerry Anderson's Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons

Page 1, panel 3. The Silver Ring club is based on a similar club shown in the TV adaptation of Tipping the Violet. The image on the stage backing is from the painting Gabrielle d'Estrees et une de ses Soeurs, which was famously lampooned in one of Terry Gilliam's cartoons for Month Python's Flying Circus. In North America the Silver Ring movement encourages young adults to sign celibacy pledges, pretty much the precise opposite of what Edginton and D'Israeli's club represents.

Page 2, panel 1. Rache is the word written in blood on the wall above the murder victim in A Study in Scarlet. Rache is German for revenge.

Page 3, panel 3. Ronnie and Reggie were the first names of the aforementioned Kray Twins.

Page 4, panel 4. This panel is a tribute to the legendary Gene Colan

Page 5, panel 1. There is a statue of a priapic Pan in the background.

Page 5, panel 4. Robots in Disguise.


Page 1, panel 2. The Centurion is based on Transformers and on ED-209 from Robocop

Page 3, panel 4. Professor Philo Thynne created mechanical monsters in Stickleback: Mother London

Page 5, panel 3. Stickleback's reference to Pearls before Swine seems a little unfair on his loyal compatriots.


Cover. Stickleback sits on the grave of comic book artist Steve Whitaker.

Page 1, panel 1. Carfax abbey is a fictional ruin from Dracula. It also appeared in Scarlet Traces. Purfleet is a real area in Essex where Carfax was located in the novel. Hawkins & Thompkins are the law firm that Jonathan Harker that works for in Dracula.

Page 1, panel 2. Cushty is a bit of Cockney slang that normally means good. Stickleback uses it to mean quiet?
The tomb effigy at the bottom panel is of Steve Whitaker.

Page 2, panel 1. Harrods and Fortnum & Mason are obviously real London shops. I can't see any Fishpaste in this panel. Let me know if you spot it elsewhere.

Page 3, panel 4. "Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad" is a fairly well known bit of Latin which has been used as the title of several books and comic book stories.

Page 4, panel 2. Stickleback revisits Professor Thynne's house where the robotic version of Abdul Alhazred appeared in the very first Stickleback story.

Page 4, panel 4. Robot Archie can be seen in the wreckage 

Page 5, panel 1. Robot Archie again, along with the head of Togo the Wrestler from House of Dolmann.

Page 5, panel 3. D'Israeli describes the picture of the Futurists on his blog. From left to right are Phylo Thynne, Rotwang, Mors, Robur and the Countess.


Page 1, panel 1. The Rag, Bone, Hank of Hair phrase comes from a Rudyard Kipling poem called The Vampire.

Page 1, panel 3. Bethlem Royal Hospital is the origin of the word 'Bedlam'. In the Stickleback world it is the headquarters of the British Secret Service. The chap trying to escape is D'Israeli and Edginton's time traveller Herbert George Sewell.

Page 1, panel 4. Mr Scudder is based on the appearance of John Mills. He may be the same character who appears as a spy in John Buchan's novel The Thirty-Nine Steps.

Page 1, panel 5. Scudder's predecessor Ashenden was killed at the end of Stickleback: England's Glory. Ashenden is also a character from a well known spy novel.

Page 3, panel 2. Eugenics.

Page 4, panel 1. This panel is based on The Arnolfini Portrait. Ada Lovelace did indeed spend 9 months translating an Italian memoir for the father of computers, Charles Babbage.

Page 4, panel 2. The name Bernoulli is taken from the mathematician Daniel Bernoulli.

Page 4, panel 3. It would appear that the mysterious Countess Bernoulli was behind an earlier version of The Italian Job.
 

Page 1, Panel 1. It's worth checking out D'Israeli's blog above for details of the fictional landmarks shown here.

Page 2, panel 1. Caractacus Potts is the inventor who creates the magical car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Page 2, panel 2. Vulgharia is the fictional country that Potts and his family visit in the film version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Page 2, panel 4. In the film Potts' father was played by the late, great Lionel Jeffries. The name of Potts' airship the Mimsie may be a reference to Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky.

Page 4, panel 3. Stickleback uses Arthur Askey's catchphrase.

Page 5, panel 2. The Countess's robots have the same speech pattern as Bug from Micronauts. Maybe they have a bug in their programming?

Prog 1672 - D'Israeli's blog post - I couldn't find anything in this chapter that is not covered by D'Israeli. Email me if you did.


Page 2, panel 4. The Shape of Things to Come is the title of a novel, and subsequent film, by H.G.Wells.

Page 4, panel 1. Thomas Henry Huxley, aka "Darwin's Bulldog", published his paper "On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind" in 1870.


Page 1, panel 2. The mysterious head of British Intelligence is known as Professor. Does his surname begin with an M?
His Latin refers to Stickleback putting the Cat amongst the Pigeons.

Page 1, panel 3. Sandersons department store and, in the next panel, the Burleigh theatre are both from Things to Come the film based on Wells' novel.

Page 3, panel 3. Penny Dreadfuls were 19th century British pulp publications.


Page 1, panel 3. Stickleback's line comes straight from the English theatre tradition of Pantomime.

Page 5, panel 3. And then he switches from Pantomime to Shakespeare. This is Horatio's speech after the death of Hamlet and Laertes.

If you can identify his lines from the next two panels then please let me know.


Page 2, panel 4. Stickleback speaks the opening lines from the poem Casabianca.

Page 5, panel 4. And here he quotes from the Gospel of Mark, chapter nine.

Page 8, panel 4. The boatman Ned Penney appeared in Scarlet Traces.

Page 9, panel 4. Miss Scarlet survived.

Page 10, panel 1. The White Lotus Emperor reappears and sets us up for a sequel, perhaps? Let us hope so.

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