After reading the amazing Promethea—another of Moore’s works—and some darker books earlier this month, I’d opted to read 4 Kids Walk into a Bank yesterday. I had needed something a bit more lighthearted to keep things interesting. But seeing as the 5th of November was upon us yesterday, I back-peddled into the darkness and read a favorite of mine—V for Vendetta.
Remember, remember, the 5th of November…
Title: V for Vendetta
Storytellers: Alan Moore & David Lloyd
Year of Publication: 1988
Page Count: 296
In a world without political freedom, personal freedom and precious little faith in anything comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It's a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil. A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V FOR VENDETTA takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet.
SPOILERS FOR V FOR VENDETTA BELOW
What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Writing
This book is one of Moore’s masterpieces, so I read it regularly. This time around the competing symbolisms stood out to me—the symbolism of freedom and the symbolism of oppression, One of the ways comics differ from novels is that they are visual, and Moore writes his symbols for the visual. A revolutionary in a Guy Fawkes mask blows up Parliament, one of the most iconic government buildings in England. Having come up with a creative writing Master’s degree with a focus in prose, my instinct is to try and make symbols part of the writing rather than the visuals. But in a medium like comics, where the main vehicle for information is visual, it’s important (and more subtle) to evoke symbols and meaning via the art.
What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Art
The most impressive part of V for Vendetta’s art, for me, is how expressive Lloyd is able to make V in spite of the character almost always wearing a mask. Lloyd uses postures choreographs movements to express V’s emotions. Never once while reading this book did I feel like I didn’t get what V was feeling, even though I never saw his face. I’d love to write a some Big Two superhero stories one day, and thinking about how Lloyd was able to achieve so much without showing his character’s face will be helpful for characters like, say, Iron Man, whose face is hidden when in costume.
Recommendation: A (Must Read)
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