By Alan Moore & David Lloyd
Review by Stephanie Mendoza
Be ready to fight me to the death if you disagree that Alan Moore is the king of graphic novels. His writing career didn’t come till later in life because of drug use, but once he was picked up by 2000AD, a comic magazine in Britain, the world was gifted with years of the most amazing graphic novels that should be on everyone’s bookshelves. Moore has won nearly every award there is in the graphic novel world. Over the past 40 years, he has rebelliously transformed the comic book world. With publications like From Hell, Lost Girls, A Small Killing, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and Swamp Thing has earned every bit of literary merit one person can achieve. V for Vendetta was published from September 1988 till May 1989 and has been reprinted six times.
A dominant feature of contemporary literature is that it pertains to current events. The discussion of politics is simultaneously present and timeless. V for Vendetta inspires the reader to think about what kind of society they live in and what kind of society they want to live in. This topic isn’t new; Moore didn’t invent it. Most of us have read dystopian novels like Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury published in 1953, and Orwell’s 1984 both present ideas about what the world looks like when the government has too much power and choices are limited. But V for Vendetta isn’t as dystopian; there are no robot dogs. That’s why it’s so befitting of contemporary merit. It’s so real, plausible, heck, even historical. Throughout V for Vendetta, Moore references many past events: The Cold War, homophobia during the AIDS epidemic, and of course, the Guy Fawkes Gunpowder plot. During the time that Moore wrote V for Vendetta, the Cold War was still a reality, and the premise for the novel is that both Russia, America, and Africa were destroyed. A fascist government called Norsefire, inspired by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher conservatism, is now in control of England, and most of its citizens aren’t questioning it. The generation knows it doesn’t remember life before the war. Norsefire uses propaganda to make people fearful that if they don’t follow the rules, the war will repeat itself. Except for V, he is very aware of what happened and is still not willing to let the government control through fear. One of many quotes from this novel is when V says, “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” V starts by blowing up Parliament and then proceeds to kill individual members of the government. As the story progresses, V’s motive becomes morally ambiguous. Moore said that the aim was not to “tell people what to think; I just wanted to tell people to think.” *Fangirl sigh*. Society today is still struggling to understand that they have a voice and the right to think for themselves. This novel has become a symbol of activism with several protestors for several occasions sporting the Guy Fawkes masks.
A personal reaction every time I read this graphic novel is a vegetable medley of emotional soup. I cheer on V and his vigilantly-ness. I bite my fingernails while waiting for Evey Hammond to rise and fight alongside him. I get angry when I think about how very real this situation could be one day, or about the destruction caused by fascist governments throughout history. There are so many layers to this graphic novel that every time you read it, you’ll find yourself lying awake at night thinking about it.