Creators add details no one need notice.

I was just reading Graphic Classics 4: H. P. Lovecraft, and in the forward, among all the praise, Gahan Wilson mentions that in a certain New Yorker cartoon, his ghastly flasher was a specific literary character. Wait, let me back up a second. One of his cartoons feather a man, in a trench coat, flashing “a little ol lady and her small dog by opening his (its) raincoat to reveal (it)self as none other then the monster Wilber Whateley!”

So, and reader of the magazine would recognize the scene as being weird and strange, and would enjoy the comic. However, some who has read Lovecraft’s story “The Dunwhich Horror” would recognize Mr. Whateley. So, I ask you, the reader’s to tell me, what details do (filmmakers/authors/painters/architech) add to works which are not necessary to enjoy the work, but can be notice by one who knows. Examples would include people seen in reflection in the eyes of the subjects of paintings, minor back-ground characters in novels, which actual turn out to be cameos from other novels, and misc. throwaway lines.


Well, speaking of Lovecraft & comic books, the infamous Arkham Asylum of Gotham City (the lunatic asylum that supervillains are committed to after being defeated by Batman) which (as I’ve read in reviews, so this is not a spoiler) plays a prominent part in the new Batman flick, is actually a reference to Arkham University from Lovecraft’s own stories. Arkham U owns one of the few existing copies of that tome of evil “the Necronomicon.”

In an issue of Transmetropolitan there’s a young woman with bright red hair running past. It’s Lola, of Run, Lola, Run fame on her errand. Made me start for a second.

Oh, and back in college I showed a copy of Bill Sienkiewicz’s Stray Toasters to one of the ‘Artists in Residence’ at my school. He spent 30 minutes with my friends and I going over it panel for panel pointing out where Sienkiewicz took the images from works of art. It was an astonishing thing.

The university is Miskatonic U, named for the river that flows through the town of Arkham, Massechusettes.

Any panel in an Alex Ross comic.

I’m trying to make my way through “The Call of Cthulu”, but keep falling asleep. Do you reccommend any more E.A. Poe-esqe stories in this book to help me get into it? I really want to like this book.

3 Alan Moore ABC/Wildstorm series that have tons of references to other works in their genre…

-League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Victorian and Edwardian-era fiction.
-Top Ten: Superhero comic books.
-Smax: Fantasy.

Annotations for these series and others can be found here.

I don’t know why I remembered this, but The Flinstones movie has a ton of them. When you watch it there are a ton of obvious stone or rock or other puns that are either spoken or easily seen, but I remember reading that there were a whole lot of props and other things that there would be no way for a viewer to catch, but were puns. I don’t know why they filmmakers would be that detailed on a movie remake of a cartoon series, but that is supposedly what they did.

Take that with a grain of salt, since it’s a random fact I think I remember about a movie from 10 years ago, but I felt compelled to share.

More Transmetropolitan

The grey-haired pusher/bar owner/bookie’s thug looks an awful lot like Charlie Brown. I thought that was just co-incidence until I noticed a girl who looks exactly like Peppermint Patty in the issue Business.

Michigan J. Frog also makes a cameo in a later issue. Can’t remember the specific one, but Spider is wearing a wetsuit and is throwing frogs at the TV.

Rosemary’s Baby mentions other actors doing Drat! The Cat. It doesn’t mention that’s a real Broadway show with book & songs by Ira Levin.

Ed McBain mentions the movie “The Birds” (adapted for screen by Evan Hunter, for whom McBain is an alter ego) in so many of his books that it’s getting old.

Edwin Lester Arnold’s novel “Lt. Gulliver Jones,” which along with his other novel “Phra, the Phoenecian,” may well have been the inspiration for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Barsoom” series and the character John Carter, respectively. “Jones” had been out of print for half a century, and basically forgotten, although “Phra” had been in and out of print at various times.

In the early 1970s, Marvel Comics serialized the novel in their “Creatures on the Loose” series. They actually did a very good job of fleshing out a short novel in which very little actually happens, and, IMO, the comic series was a much more fun *read. In the novel, basically all that happens is a) man from Mars riding a flying carpet crash lands on earth, dying in the process, b) Gulliver Jones hops on the flying carpet, which takes him back to Mars, c) some rather uneventful adventures, d) flying carpet reappears to rescue him from certain death and takes him back to Earth.

In the novel, the unnamed Martian dies at the scene. In the comic, he is changed to a dying, wise, old man, named “Lu-Pov.” He has specifically sought out the bravest warrior of all time [somewhat similar to Abin Sur/Hal Jordan], to help fight the evil Ar-Hap on Mars. That person is Gulliver Jones. The novel “Phra” had no connection to “Jones,” but the comic writers did write in a character named “Phra.”

And the connection to the thread title? “Jones” had been out of print for over half a century before it was rediscovered by a sci-fi writer, who was instrumental in getting the story republished. As a tip of the hat to the discoverer, the writers named the dying Martian “Lu-Pov.” The writer? Richard Lupoff.

*I also wonder if J. Michael Straczynski was a comic book reader back then. I can see two interesting parallels in the “Gulliver Jones” serialization (but to say more would be spoiling), and the “Soul Hunters” were practically modeled after Adam Warlock.

Straczyncki named one of his characters in Babylon 5 “Alfred Bester,” after the science fiction author.

In my story “Pest Control,” the main character and his wife were Barnaby and Jane of the Barnaby comic strip, grown up. I don’t think anyone ever noticed. People did notice, however, that the magic words in the story were “Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts,” written backwards.

In the old JLA comic of the 70s, “The Dangerous Dearms of Harlequin Ellis,” it was not necessary to realize the “Harlequin Ellis” was really Harlan Ellison, and that the dreams were taken from some of his stories.

In fact, there is a term for putting a real person into science fiction books – tuckerization. A friend of mine was tuckerized as a character in one of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders books, for instance.

A character in Seinfeld, Alec Berg, was named after someone on the production crew, Alec Berg.

A few years ago I did my own instrumental arrangements of some Christmas songs, and released them to friends and family on CD. Woven into the cracks of the songs are snippets of songs from The Wizard of Oz.

There are so many in-jokes and non-obvious references that you could probably devote a website and message board only to them.

As I’ve noted before, in his contribution to Twilight Zone: The Movie, John landis has one of the soldiers walking through the swamp in Vietnam say “I told you guys we shouldn’t have fragged Niedermeyer”, a reference to the end of Animal House, where it’s stated that ROTC Niedermeyer was “shot in Vietnam by his own troops.” Landis directed Animal House, too.

Robert E. Howard made reference to “Klarkash-Ton” in one story, a reference to writer Clark Ashton Smith.
In Airplane II the hero stows away o a truck to get to the airport, and as he gets out we see that the truck is filled with the giant deed pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

In a recent “CSI: Miami” rerun, a little girl is seen reading a book about “Abner and Gladys.” Don’t know if their last name was “Kravitz,” though.

Neil Gaimen’s Sandman series had all sorts of little things popping up. A lot of it was self referential to the series itself, but gobs and gobs of little details.

I saw a messageboard once that broke the stories down panel by panel making notes of what was being alluded to what.

The 1980s medical drama “St. Elsewhere” was famous for its’ constant use of in-joke references.

For example, one of the orderlies was actually a character from the late 1970s high school drama “the White Shadow” (played by the same actor, natch) only older.

Also, in one episode, a doctor asks a nurse to administer an insulin booster shot to Dr. Levine’s wife. This reference is to Mary Tyler Moore, who has juvenile diabetes IRL, and is married to a Dr. Levine.

In the final episode of the series, an orderly has to chase a disruptive, one-armed patient through the hospital corridors (an homage to “the Fugitive”). When he finally catches the one-armed patient, the orderly quotes Dr. Jack Kimble’s own dialogue from the finale episode of the Fugitive.

And on the series “Angel”: During the S.4 episode in which Lilah rises to power at Wolfram & Hart by going “a little under” her superiors’ head: Just before being beheaded, her boss makes a comment about the office being “my corner of the sky.” The boss was played by John Rubinstein, who originated the title role of the broadway musical “Pippin”, in which he sang that immortal bit of 70s schmaltz - “Gotta Find My Corner of the Sky.”

Alan Moore’s The Watchmen is even more infamous for this. Historical references, like Pres. Ford tripping as he steps out of Air Force One, and pseudo-historical references, too. The letters “RR” keep showing up, sometimes back-to-back as a reference to the character Rorschach – but then later on, someone is reading a paper that says “Cowboy Actor In The White House: RR for Prez?” above the fold… on the next page the character has turned over the paper, and the subheading says “Redford persuaded to run by Dems” or somesuch.

A character named The Comedian has a throwaway scene where someone asks if he heard what happened to those two Post reporters – “Woodward and some Jewish name” – who were found murdered in a parking garage. He says something to the effect of “There’s a Berkeley paper claims they were killed because they had dirt on Nixon… just don’t ask me where I was that night… ha ha ha!”

There’s even a chapter which is panel-for-panel symmetrical from front to back, to mirror the symmetry of Rorschach’s mask. The attention to detail is amazing, and throwing in all the minutiae must have taken a ton of work!

Great stuff, guys. :smiley:

Personally, I had a hard time getting through it, but I loved the ending. I only got that far because I loved his other works.

What is your conceptions of a Poe-like story? He wrote humor, horror, non-fiction, and sci-fi. However, if you could tell me what elements you expect to see in a poe-like work, that would help. Personally, I liked Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Pickman’s Model

You wrote a story? Whaaa?

Oh, I see, your homepage is in your profile. What more, my saying your story is out of print, so I can’t read it, kinda loses its believability when I realized it can be bought for $0.49 :slight_smile: