Top 10, Deadfellas: The Annotations
From America's Best Comics 64 Page Giant issue
(May contain spoilers)
For the uninitiated, these are annotations to the Alan Moore
and Zander Cannon
short story Deadfellas, which is set in the Top 10
universe published by America's Best Comics
. It's an imaginative look at the criminal underworld in a city populated entirely by superheroes. Although short, this story is full of references to comic books and popular culture and this set of annotations hopes to capture them all.
Given the level of detail that the authors put into this comic, these annotations will probably be continually updated. If you spot anything I've missed, let me know! You'll get credit.
This page may not display properly in Opera, as some of the annotations come unstuck from the page titles. It work okay in IE though. If anyone knows a way around this please tell me.
- As well as showing some of the other ABC stars, the cover of the 64-Page Giant features a full roll-call of Top 10's main characters, with the exception of Synaesthesia Jackson. Oddly, only four of these will actually make an appearance in the comic. More on them later.
- As will be revealed next panel, the narrator is Nichola "Mnemonic Nicky" Pearson. She has the power to remember everything in perfect clarity. Nicky takes her name from the William Gibson story (and subsequent dreadful Keanu Reeves film) Johnny Mnemonic, in which "mnemonic couriers" sell space in their brains to transport information. A mnemonic is a phrase or rhyme used to remember something, such as ROYGBIV.
- Note that Nicky's mouse, monitor et al are non-functional. Also that the post-its and photos are blank. Aside from being a cute visual gag, it implies that Nicky is sick of her own superpowers and just wants to be normal - something which is implied again at the end.
- The Gobi desert straddles the borders of China and Mongolia. Just so you know.
- Nicki has circuitry on her neck, in suitably Gibson-esque cyberpunk stylee. Also note that the silver symbols (buttons?) on her forehead are the sort of thing you'd find on DAT cassette players. To the left she has fast rewind and standard rewmind (right-to-left arrows). In the middle there's stop (a square) and above it, pause (two vertical lines). On the right-hand side, which is not visible here, she has play and fast-forward (left-to-right arrows).
- We can see from the monitor that she's "using" one of the fancy coloured Apple Mac computers - also note the one button on the mouse in the first panel.
- Metavac, Fischmann and Goebbels - that's Denzil Metavac, Larry "Frenzy" Fischmann and Eddie Goebbels. Of the three, only Frenzy appeared in the original Top 10 series. More on the other two later.
- The cowboy Nicky refers to is Duane "Dust Devil" Bodine, one of Top 10's recurring characters.
- "Deals on wheels" is a reference to the Meals on Wheels service provided to those who are unable to cook for themselves.
- The shark-headed guy is Frenzy.
- That there is Denzil Metavac. He's not the first comic book character to be nothing more than a brain - one of his most famous predecessors being the Brain himself. Not sure where the name Metavac comes from.
- The title is a reference to Martin Scorsese movie Goodfellas.
- The chap in the background is Eddie Goebbels, whose power is to hypnotise and influence people using his voice - rather like Top 10 officer Harry "The Word" Lovelace. He shares his surname with Joeseph Goebbels, Adolph Hitler's chief propagandist.
- Irinescu's diminutive stature reminds me of a terrible movie about midget vampires, werewolves etc. terrorising a town. Can anyone tell me the title? It's killing me here.
- Roy Rogers was a famous TV cowboy. Nicky's referring to Duane again.
- Cosa Nosferatu is a double-pun; la Cosa Nostra is the term used by the mafia to refer to themselves. Nosferatu is the splendid 1920 German expressionist film starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok.
- Nicky's remark about insulting "Hungarian-Americans" sounds like the kind of ultra-PC complaints The Sopranos would occasionally make fun of.
- Bela Lugosi, possibly the most famous vampire actor after Christopher Lee, was born in Hungary, possibly influencing Moore's decision to make the vampires American-Hungarian.
- Note that the vampires aren't casting a reflection in the mirrors behind them.
- Isn't it unnerving that the lawyers should have blood on tap to offer to their clients?
- Bela "Thickshake" Woytek is named after the aforementioned Bela Lugosi. His title presumably comes from the portable blender he carries with him to liquidise people - making them thicker and harder to drink than if he'd just taken their blood. Eurgh.
- Morgia - a combination of morgue and Mafia.
- The vampires pretend that they're in medical waste disposal; it's something of a cliche for fictional gangsters to claim that they are in "waste management". If they're being semi-literal then medical waste might include blood, which would be a handy source of nutrition.
- A sit-down is Mafia terminology for a meeting; it remains open until one party stands - then it's officially closed.
- Is Alexandru wearing a Batman watch or is that just supposed to be some kind of reflection?
- The view in Nicky's mirror - note that the vampires are invisible again.
- Popov - as in the slang term "pop off" (to kill)?
- The widow's peak line is a reference to Gary Oldman's unusual haircut in the movie Bram Stoker's Dracula.
- Vlad Tepes was the psychopath upon whom Dracula was based. Not sure why it's a derogatory term, though.
- Irinescu calls Micky "Red" - possibly a reference to the character of Becky Burdock from Jack Staff, which was released around the same time as the special. In the first storyline, Becky - whom Jack refers to as "Red" - was transformed into a vampire.
- Rhesus negative is a type of blood.
- Uncle Creepy was the host of horror comic Creepy.
- In our world, the direct market is the technical term for the system of selling through comic book shops.
- Three Top 10 regulars can be seen here - the guy with the broom is Duane, the blue fella is Jaafs "Smax" Macksun and the person in front of the Direct Market is Cathy "Peregrine" Colby. They're all out of their usual costumes.
- Here we can see the same scene from another angle - also note John "King Peacock" Corbeau on the far right, pressed up against the wall.
- Duane is dressed up as the Filler Brush Man. The Fuller Brush men were salesmen for the Fuller Brush company ans were infamous in the 40s and 50s for being especially pushy. They made frequence appearances in Tijuana bibles, being the equivalent of plumbers in cheap 1970s porn films. An "Acme Brush" man makes a Tijuana bible appearance in issue two of Alan Moore's Watchmen.
- Cathy's t-shirt makes reference to The Powerpuff Girls, a popular TV cartoon. It's spelled "Powterpuff" here as a reference to Susan Powter, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Cathy.
- Cathy is holding a flaming carrot, a reference to, er, The Flaming Carrot.
- The "Day-Old Dairy" section contains Milk and Cheese.
- The sign above Milk and Cheese offers psychadelic tubers - a reference to the tubers Swampy grows in Moore's Swamp Thing.
- It's ironic that vampires should be such fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- "That Gellar morsel" is Sarah Michelle Gellar, the actress who plays Buffy. "Impaling her on wood" has a pretty obvious sexual connotation.
- The woman in the background is wearing a costume similar to that of Vampirella.
- The sign behind her says "today's special: Bloody Marys.
- Lazlo looks exactly like Count Orlok from Nosferatu.
- Popov has the same "widow's peak" hair as Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula.
- The guy on the far right is Cassidy, the vampire from Preacher.
- The six clans sounds like the five Mafia families that are supposed to run New York. It may also be a reference to the RPG Vampire: The Masquerade which had several warring vampire bloodlines. The sheet he's holding up could be some kind of RPG-style character sheet or something - any RPGers want to confirm or deny?
- Suck movie obviously being vampire pornography.
- Count Yorga is a fictional vampire from the movie Count Yorga, Vampire.
- Alex is referring to three actors famous for playing Dracula: Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman. The answer to the question, of course, is Christopher Lee.
- Note Cassidy in the background again (the guy with the shades).
- The black guy to the left is (a rather fat-looking) Blade.
- Renfield was Dracula's insect-chomping slave in the original novel.
- Thickshake's blender looks more like some kind of electric feather duster.
- Since vampires are traditionally harmed by holy objects such as holy water and crucifixes, it would make a kind of sense for them to be repelled by Jesus' name.
- Note that the map of the clans has burnt away over to the left.
- The rest of the people in the bar appear to have transformed into bats, possibly to get away.
- Lucky stiff has a special meaning when you're talking to the undead...
- I'm not sure about the timeline of this story - during the original Top 10 series, the firm was still just Metavac, Fischmann and Goebbels - no Peterson in sight. Maybe they hadn't printed up new business cards yet or something.
- Whoops, some miscolouring here - the woman in the foreground is Synaesthesia Jackson, but she's supposed to be black.
- The rest of the people in the bar appear to have transformed into bats, possibly to get away.
- I find it hard to believe that anyone in Top 10 would fall for that line, given that she's already admitted having a photographic - or is that filmographic? - memory.
- A giant flying Aladdin's lamp in the background, there. What?
- The toesuckers line is a reference to certain vampire traditions in Eastern Europe, which have the vampires drinking blood out of their own toes.
http://www.retrocrush.com/archive2004/powter/ - An interview with Susan Powter
http://www.bookrags.com/history/popculture/fuller-brush-company-bbbb-01/ - The Fuller Brush Company