Notes to Top Ten #2

by Jess Nevins

Revised 24 March 2002

Updates in blue.

Page 1.

Panel 2. Ronald Byrd made out what I couldn't and identified the Nixon's Plumbers comic book, which is a joke based on Watergate. Nathan Alderman points out that another of the comics is entitled "The Gov," and seems to have a picture of Governor Jesse Ventura on its cover.

Panel 3. Ronald Byrd pointed out that when Ron kisses Irma we can see the heart floating between them.

Page 2.

Panel 2. A number of people pointed out the Superman air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror.

Panel 3. Argh. As I should have gotten the first time through--but didn't--and as CleV notes, the three construction workers are DC's sentient plant hero the Swamp Thing, Marvel's The Thing (a hero from the Fantastic Four), and...well, CleV wonders if that's the Hulk, but given the minds behind Top Ten I think the third figure is someone who has the word "Thing" in their title. Astrocitizen says

With the blue skin and blonde (albeit cropped) hair, I think the third character may  be Loose Cannon, a Hulk-esque character who first appeared in a Superman annual during DC’s Bloodlines crossover in the early ‘90s.  A crippled SCU cop who can become “the mood ring of super-heroes” thanks to aliens, LS is an obscure enough character to have wound up a construction worker in Neopolis.
Paul wonders if
the "Swamp Thing" construction worker...resembles a vegetable version of Mr. Moore himself? With the beard and the long hair? (So maybe the blue "Loose Cannon" construction worker is meant to resemble Zander Cannon.)
Page 7.

Panel 1. The "V for Ventura" grafitti is a spoof on Moore's V for Vendetta.

Nick Ford adds, "Well super-powered kids will be kids - they are burning insects but without the aid of magnifying glasses. There appears to be an arrow with a boxing glove on the end in the foreground - a comic staple!"

Panel 2. CleV notes that "RXMNN" is a play on Marvel's mutant X-Men, and that a down-and-out Starman is slumped outside the pharmacy. Nathan Alderman notes that "The boarded-up doorway of the pharmacy has X-Men and JLA graffiti on it."

Page 8.

Panel 1.Nathan Alderman notes Smax's use of the phrase "petrol bomb" and wonders at it, as here in the States the more common term is "Molotov Cocktail."

Panel 2. The "Power Kosmik" advertised on the storefront at $5/kWr is a riff on the "power cosmic" that Marvel's Silver Surfer possesses.

CleV points out that the "Fabulous Five" (a play on the Fantastic Four), are "all (children of?) 50's genre movie types - a werewolf, an alien, a robot, a lizard, a rock monster."

Ronald Byrd points out the Red K poster, a reference to red kryptonite; here it is merged with the Japanese rising sun symbol.

The grafitti to the left of the storefront, if fully visible, would read, "Monsieur Mallah Gives Good Head," combining the sexual meaning of the phrase with the history of Monsieur Mallah, DC's ape assistant to The Brain, a brain-in-the-jar character.

Panel 3. As we'll see in issue #4, Gograh's father is a Godzilla-like creature. It would therefore be fitting for him to have nearly flattened the city in the 1950s, the best time for rubber suited monster movies.

Page 9.

Panel 4. Astrocitizen says, "At the very bottom, we can see the front end of what looks like the 'submarines' from DisneyWorld’s late, lamented “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” ride."

Page 10.

Panel 1. Brian Robison says, "Forgive me for pointing this out, but: Immune Girl is raising herself up from a kneeling position, and her closed right hand beside her jaw suggests that she's just wiped her lips. The implication is that she's just performed oral sex on Mr. Soames--that is, she's given 'Airbag' a 'blow job.'"

Page 12.

Panel 2.Nathan Alderman says, "Signs for the strip clubs include 'Exotic Robots, Topless Goddesses,' 'Two-Way Alien Combos,' and 'See Invisible Girls live on the big stage.' The last is a pun on Marvel's Invisible Woman (formerly Girl) and the idea that an invisible woman at a strip club goes against the very idea of the enterprise."

Page 13.

Panel 1. The "Replacement God" billboard is a reference to Top Ten inker Zander Cannon's reportedly excellent comic book The Replacement God. Nice, that DC allows him free advertisement, eh? :-)

I don't know what the Church of the Great Hole in the Ground might be referring to, unless it's the Concavity/Convexity of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. (In that novel northern New England has been rendered into a toxic crater, into which the rest of the U.S. catapults waste)

CleV notes that the stretching character fighting over the car accident is Mr. Incredible, last seen in issue #1. The car itself has a big I on it; it's probably the "Incredi-Car," or something similar. Jason Adams notes that the character fighting him "was first seen in #1/page 2/panel 2 talking on a mobile phone." Astrocitizen follows up on this by pointing out that the character is Reynard, also seen in issue #9, page 14, panel 2.

As Marcelo de Castro Bastos and Ronald Byrd point out, those two creatures on the right resemble Marvel's MODOK and MODAM. Ronald wonders if the rabbit character walking in the background is either Super Rabbit or Thunder Bunny, although as he says the costume is wrong for both.

Page 14.

Panel 1. As a few people pointed out, the stethoscope-wielding octopus in the bubble on the ceiling is a punning reference to the Marvel villain Dr. Octopus.

Nathan Alderman says, "The cyborg in the cell to the left has a shirt that reads 'I  Killz 4 Kix.'v The 'i's in the phrase resemble the Image Comics logo, while the 'x's resemble the X-Men's logo. Possibly a commentary on the mindlessly tough and violent characters created by Image comics artists--many of them veterans of Marvel's X-books--in the early  '90s."

Page 15.

Panel 1.Nathan Alderman says, "The chairs in the lunch room, like the desks that will be seen later in the series throughout the precinct, are based upon an actual design by Frank Lloyd Wright, products of which are on display in the Art Institute of Chicago."

Panel 4. The words on Irma Geddon's armor, "But I fear my government," is the last half of the slogan/motto/cliche "I love my country, but I fear my government." Although these remarks state that the motto is popular with "First Amendment absolutists," it's more often encountered in the writings of far-right-wing believers, gun fanatics, and militia types. Naturally, Irma, with her substantial personal armory, would probably fall into the "gun fanatic" category.

Page 17.

Panel 4. The plane on Captain Traynor's desk, the Beauty, is the one he flew when he was Jetlad.

Page 18.

Panel 3. The homeless hero's sign is a reference to the comic implosion of the early 1990s, when the market for comics collapsed and several publishers were forced to fold.

Panel 5. Brian Robison notes that "The flying boy ('Fly Boy') sports Astro Boy's three-lobed hairstyle."

Page 20.

Panel 4. Brian Robison says, "Blindshot Bob's belt buckle is a wheel with eight spokes, representing the Buddhist eightfold path to enlightenment."

Page 21.

Panel 3. This is the first of a couple of panels in which Moore is apparently having some fun with Buddhism. "Buddha nature" is...well, I'm not too clear on it, to be honest, but this essay will explain it to you, if you have the patience to wade through the verbiage.

Panel 4. Bob is referring to the zen koan, "If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it fall, does it make a noise?" That this question may not originally have been a koan is beside the point. It certainly fits my definition of a koan.

Panel 5. As far as I know "The monk who has any satori goes straight to hell like a flying arrow" is not a real koan, but is instead Moore's creation. Bob's second koan, "If you meet Buddha on the road..." is a real koan, however; the full statement is "If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him."

Steven McDonald adds that "Overall, Moore is having a good old time with the concept of Zen Buddhism as defined by such things as Zen Archery -- if you can have Zen Archers, why not Zen taxi drivers?  As for those accidents, those are not accidents, that is serendipity."

Page 22.

Panel 1. The chronological progression on the Museum--Pre-Columbian, Exploration, Industrial, Super-Heroic--is usually seen, here on Earth-Prime museum walls, as something like Pre-Columbian, Exploration, Industrial, Atomic. This may be a hint about how Neopolis' history progressed.

The "Who Watches the Simpsons" grafitti is a spoof on the "Who Watches the Watchmen" grafitti from Moore's Watchmen.

Panel 4.Nathan Alderman says, "'The sound of one leg-iron clapping' refers to the Zen koan, 'What is the sound of one hand clapping?'"

Thanks to Jason Adams, Nathan Alderman, Astrocitizen, Marcelo de Castro Bastos, Ronald Byrd, Clev, Nick Ford, Steven E. McDonald, Paul, Brian Robison.

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Notes to Issue #2
Notes to Issue #3
Notes to Issue #4
Notes to Issue #5
Notes to Issue #6
Notes to Issue #7
Notes to Issue #8
Notes to Issue #9
Notes to Issue #10
Notes to Issue #11
Notes to Issue #12
Notes to Deadfellas
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