Early morning graphic novel reading: V for Vendetta


After 4 days of having to wake up at 0530 to make the train up to the city my internal clock finally adapted and this morning I found myself fully awake at that dreadful hour. To be fair, I had turned in at 10 due to “It’s friday and I’m out of training but I still have a bus ride and a long train ride and i just want to go home”, but that was no consolation when I couldn’t go back to sleep.

Fortunately I had ordered some books from Amazon earlier this week. The Japanese House (because I like to look at nice plates of houses using a lot of negative space) and Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta.

My attention was originally drawn to this graphic novel due to the question of: “How is the rest of the world viewing America’s move to the right, embracing of non-scientific pseudoscience as policy, and proto-Fascist sloganeering.”

The backstory is this. A modern-day Guy Fawkes exists in the UK in a totalitarian right-ist 1984 world. A classic anti-hero, V (his sole name), visits (and dispatches) those in the establishment that made him who he is, and who prop up the tyrannical machine. No mere blood-score this: V is on a war of liberation of those desperate souls living desperate lives in the wake of this horrific social machinery.

Let’s just say this, Alan Moore, is God’s Gift to comics writing. His works were critical in moving comics from Ka-Pow and the superhero conceits into something powerful, dramatic, philosophical, and moving.

V’s first act is to model himself after Guy Fawkes and succeeds where Mr Fawkes failed some 300 years ago. Fawkes’ effigy is burnt on thee 5th of November in the UK (and elsewhere in the Commonwealth).

{ If you get a bit worried when you see masses of citizens burning any effigy, then this book might well be for you on that principle alone. }

The Fawkes pedigree in V’s nature was another strong attracting factor for me. Fawkes is a character similar to the USA’s own John Dillinger. While there is no doubt that he was a criminal, the question his life lessons taught the middle class to act have not faded from memory. Namely: Is the government we know and love and its judicial system really right? Or do we give up questioning it out of convenience? And what is the line that you cross before you pick up a gun and say no?

The fact that our fathers took up arms in open revolt to their government burns in the medulla oblongata of the American mind:

_ That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government_

We can see a parallel to this thought in Revenge of the Sith

AMIDALA: This is how liberty dies – to thunderous applause

AMIDALA: Did you ever think we may be on the wrong side? [i.e. the force of peace, order, and supression of terrorists - The Galactic Empire ]

I guess what I’m trying to say is “Say Guy Fawkes, and I’ll read it.”

V sports the garb of the 17th century Parliment member, the conical cap, the cape, and a permanently-smiling pap?er-m?ch? mask that, much like the mug of the Joker, is too serene to not be menacing. All said, it’s a pretty cool visual.

Between the Fawkes backstory and these amazing visuals. It was enough to pull me in - so much that I read it straight through.

They’re also making it into a movie based off of a script created by the Matrix auteur brothers Wachowski. Moore, probably bitten once too many by Hollywood butchering the subtleties of his craft has broken all association (after League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, can you blame him?). Filming is underway in Berlin with Huge “Agent Smith” Weaving portraying “V” and Natalie Portman portraying his charge, Eve. I really hope it doesn’t suck.

_Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot. We see no reason Why Gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot. _