V for Vendetta
Alan Moore & David Lloyd
Another comic, though this one would definitely fit well within the hazy definition of a graphic novel. And this is what I was hoping to get when I started reading comics. On the surface, it’s a fairly straightforward tale of a downtrodden society inspired to rise up and throw off their oppressors by an enigmatic leader. But, it’s just told so well, and being a comic adds something quite different to the story. There are also enough new angles, and the refusal to go with the obvious pay-off adds interest.
Compared to The Sandman, V for Vendetta is a much more traditionally drawn comic; the panels are all regular shapes, with a regular left-to-right/top-to-bottom flow. And it just ain’t anywhere near as purty: the colouring and graphic detail just don’t match the amazing art of Sandman. It does have a very nice dark, brooding atmosphere, however.
V was first conceived back in 1981, and then written and published over the remainder of the decade, finally finishing up in 1989. My edition includes a short introduction by Alan Moore, written in 1988. And this is an interesting comment on those times and these. The 80’s were a decade of conservative dominance, particularly in the UK and US. Moore writes about the Thatcher government doing everything it could to outlaw homosexuality. Moore was feeling deeply disaffected with his home country: he wanted to take his family and leave.
Now, (hopefully) coming to the end of another decade of worldwide conservative dominance, there is some hope to be had here. Sure, rights have been eroded and the world in general is now a less trusting and friendly place. You may look at leaders and policies and see just a bleak descent into a well of fear and anger.
But, we haven’t gone that far backwards. Australia now has an openly gay senator: Bob Brown. Try though the conservatives and neocons might, the world will move forwards, and inevitably open up. The conservative decade is coming to a close, and just maybe the next decade will be a world better fit for everyone to live in.