Tuesday, 29 November 2011

V for Vendetta, Alan Moore and me

'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.


  1. We live in interesting times...

  2. just as an aside to this - we nearly launched a warhammer comic and alan moore came up to the studio to discuss the possibility of joining in - great chap all round - i remeber working with brett ewings on chainsaw warrior - and we still have bolton, mcneil, and bisley covers and strips in our archives ...... never did get launched tho ......

  3. WHAT!!!??? Far out! Oh, what could have been. But why? I feel tragically excited.

  4. thats a great mask bi the way ....