R: The Pulse #9 (July 2005), art by Mike Mayhew and Andy Troy
(Click picture to Piotr Rasputin-size)
Friendship can be a rather sticky wicket now and then, as when one's anxious to assure one's chums that one does not regard them as a hideous embarrassment, when one actually does. Old hands amongst you will have no doubt guessed ahead that the source of my discomfort was that same Augustus, he of the Fink-Nottles, whom I've previously lamented in these pages.He even throws in running Bertie jokes and references:
'...That man has been a font of knowledge when it comes to folk traditions from rural America, which I believe that I may write a piece on for Milady's Boudoir.'Trouble is, Moore has the style down, but not the patterns. Take a quick peek at this first two-page spreaddon't pay attention to the words itself, but look at the length of the paragraphs:
This was a weekly periodical, intended for the sensitively reared. Of which my Aunt was proprietor. I looked her in the eye and said 'Tish-tosh,' which I am not afraid to state that I had intended as a cut.
They were a dashing crew, I must say, even if they did appear to have a girl in charge of them, a pretty little thing called Min, with steely eels and a thick muffler around her neck despite it being then the stifling height of summer. With her was a wiry gentleman around her age, whom she called Allan, and another person, called Orlando Something, who despite his deep voice and deportment looked to me the very spit of Gussie's fatuous fiancée, the appalling Madeline Bassett o the limpid eyes and weeping-spasms.Despite departing snappy dialogue for eldritch description, Moore's got a pretty good handle on Bertie's narrative voice, and there's some spot-on bits that not only had me nodding my head in their approximation of authentic Wodehouse, they made me giggle:
My aunt and all her pals were twitching and convulsing on the clipped grass, foaming at their mouths and jabbering in tongues, with not a stitch of clothing on between the lot of them. I'd feared that Morris dancing might result from all this folk tradition lark. But naturism really was the limit.Of course, poor Gussie Fink-Nottle gets the worst of it, as usual:
'...If what I have heard of this abominable creatures is correct, Mr. Fink-Nottle's most essential self is at this moment being carried to the place called Yuggoth that they mentioned, possibly some other planet or dimension, in the confines of a copper cylinder. Put simply, sir, I fear they have removed his brain and left him here like a boiled egg that's had its top sliced off.'That last bit, by the way, is the only piece of "What Ho, Gods of the Abyss" that rang truly false with me. Sure, one might suppose that faced with the ultimate evil incarnate, even Jeeves might be shaken enough to drop his usual unflappable decorum. But you know, I'd prefer Jeeves to be the unshakeable, the unsinkable, the non-plussed supermind he is in the Wodehouse books. Here's a counterargument to a shaken and stirred Jeeves from a real Wodehouse (Aunts Aren't Gentlemen):
'Oh bother, have they really? Do you know, I thought that I was feeling muzzy.'
Gussie sat up slowly in the armchair, lifting one hand gingerly to feel around inside his open and demonstratably deserted cranium. His goldfish eyes gazed up imploringly towards my manservant. 'I say, you couldn't fix my lid back so that it wouldn't show, Jeeves, could you? If Miss Basset saw me like this I should never heard an end to it.'
Wearing a look of incredulity that bordered on the insolent, and muttering about a tube of glue he thought he might have, Jeeves led the pair of us back to the house past what survived of Auntie's soiree.
'Jeeves,' I said, when I had returned to the Wooster G.H.Q., 'I'm afraid I have bad news.'Now that's the real Jeeves. But Alan Moore's version ain't bad, and the general conceptalthough done previously by P. H. Cannonmakes a spiffing excursion into Moore and O'Neill's heavily-celebrity-populated world. I've always thought Jeeves was among history's most Extraordinary Gentlemen...now we have proof.
'Indeed, sir? I am sorry to hear that.'
One of his eyebrows had risen about an eighth of an inch, and I know he was deeply stirred, because I had rarely seen him raise an eyebrow more than a sixteenth of an inch.