V for Vendetta and Guy Fawkes Night


Today is the 5th of November, so it’s the perfect day for a post about the graphic novel V for Vendetta.

The novel was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd it was published by Vertigo comics.

The 5th of November is celebrated every year in the UK as the day in 1605 when a man named Guy Fawkes was planning to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  He was captured before he could carry out the plan and executed.  That day has been celebrated in the UK for over 400 years by the burning of Guy Fawkes effigies on bonfires and the setting off of fireworks.

The graphic novel, V for Vendetta, begins on November 5th 1997 and the character V, a mysterious anarchist/terrorist wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, detonates explosives at the Houses of Parliament as a protest against a fascist, white supremacist government.

I don’t want to post too much detail about the book as I would encourage people to read it for themselves and not have me spoil it.  But its doesn’t give much away to say that the central theme of the novel is Facism vs Anarchism. Who is right?  V is fighting against a fascist government, does that make him a hero or do his methods make him a villain?  Does it matter who V is or is he just a symbol for the cause?

The Guy Fawkes mask that V wears has become a real life symbol for protest against government injustice. The artist, David Lloyd, who created the mask has said about its use “The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.”

The masks rise in recognition and popularity has largely come from the 2006 movie staring Natalie Portman.  This brought the story to a wider audience.

The graphic novel and the movie are both available for purchase at Amazon.