'Good evening, London. I thought it time we had a little talk...'
I first got seriously into comics (or 'graphic novels' if they're pretentious) when I was at university. I had always been turned off them as a child as the glossy, beautifully rendered covers raised my expectations to a level where the interior artwork unceasingly disappointed. Also, I find the super hero genre baffling and that renders most of the American and British output incomprehensible to me. My uni friends recommended The Greats of the genre, and so I unploughed through the cartoon canon. Alan Moore's work was, predictably, on the list. Thus I encounter V, the verbose and poetic anti-hero with his vendetta. I was struck by the iconography of the tale - the graphic graffiti he would leave, his calling-card roses and, most of all, his impassive, sneering mask.
I was indifferent to the V for Vendetta film when it was released. All of my 'Christ - why did they have to fuck it up so badly?' bile had been consumed by the god-awful From Hell and League films. What annoyed me most, though, was that Time Warner produced a cheap V mask, which sold rather well. While at uni I spent a lot of my (ample) spare time making masks. There was a vacform machine in the architecture workshops and I put it to use on molds I had sculpted. I produced a rather good V mask and for about six years I was the proud (and slightly smug) owner of the only V mask I knew of. And then along came Time Warner. I was pissed off. Not only had they messed up a story which had a lot of meaning for me, they were now churning out masks which meant I wasn't the only person with one.
The reason for this rant is that the Guardian as just published a fascinating piece on Alan Moore's reaction to the phenomena of the V masks being used by anti-capitalist protesters. I would highly recommend reading the full article rather than just relying on my ramblings, but in short he has mixed emotions about the situation. However, he has a lot more reason to be pissed off about than I do and he's clearly more contemplative and measured in his approach than I am. Consequently, I feel I ought to stop whining and dust off my V mask and give it some air-time.
'Everybody is special. Everybody.'
My V mask. This is actually a really bad shot taken with an old digital camera about six years ago. It looks a bit better in real life. The lens aberration distorts it somewhat here.