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George Harkness & Phoebe

George and Phoebe appeared as supporting characters in Grant Morrison’s “Sebastian O” mini series from 1993. They are members of a steampunk England’s social elite, a world where computers and modern technology are part of Victorian England. George is a woman who dresses in dapper, upper crust male attire and sports a pipe. Phoebe wears appropriate women’s dress: a billowing, pink hoop skirt and matching jacket, and uses a pink umbrella to shade her delicate skin from the sun. George is a writer, having written at least one novel titled “Daughters of Amberley” which was transcribed by Phoebe in her role as George’s “amanuensis.”

The pair are first met in the Sebastian O story when the title character runs from the Abbe’s estate with the police on his heels. George is hunting birds and Phoebe is simply Victorian eye candy when Sebastian comes across them in the woods near George’s estate.

As a tribad (lesbian), George was implicated in the scandal following the police raid on the Club de Paradis Artificiel. She might have suffered similar fates as Sebastian and Arthur Truro, who were imprisoned, had she not given in to Theo Lavender’s threats and ultimatums. Lavender coerced George in to creating a mathematical model of human group interactions, something she’d done in plotting her “Amberley” novel, for Theo to use as a basis for his plan with magic lantern technology.

George and Phoebe greet the police holding hands when they arrive in their search for Sebastian. George admits to knowing the escaped convict, and tricks the officers not to search the residence by admitting they suffer from the “contagion” of tribadism, and expressing concern that the men might transmit it to their wives and loved ones. Thus, they buy Sebastian the time to confront Lavender and to put an end to his schemes. This is the last we see of the pair.

George and Phoebe may have been an allusion on Morrison’s part to the Ladies of Llangollen.

Additional note – Amanuensis comes from Latin, from the phrase (servus) a manu, “slave with handwriting duties,” from a, ab, “by” plus manu, from manus, “hand.”

Created by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell. George and Phoebe appear in Sebastian O #3. Art by Steve Yeowell and Tatjana Woods. Read the related bios for Sebastian O and Abbe.

Out of print copies of the first trade are inexpensive on Amazon. A new Vertigo trade that also collects Morrison’s The Mystery Play is available too.

All rights reserved Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell. Originally published by DC Comics.

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