La voie, la vie, la verite

The pretentious-and-educated-sounding title of today’s post is lifted from the end of Book 3, Chapter IV of Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s graphic novel “V For Vendetta”.

I am currently rereading this gem, now that I finally own a copy, courtesy the Friends of the Champaign Public Library.  Calling it a “graphic novel” is a bit of a misnomer, as it was orginally published as a series of 7-page stories in various British magazines.  (People get away with calling Great Expectations a novel, though, so what the hey).  It concerns the dystopian London of 1998 (the near future at the time it was written, beginning in 1981), and a mischievous, anarchist, Guy-Fawkes-masked rebel known only as Codename V.  Post-apocalyptic Britain is ruled with an iron fist by the Big Brotherish Leader.  Codename V fights the overly authoritarian government by killing crooked government leaders and bombing government buildings with dramatic flair.

Moore and Lloyd explore a lot of old territory here, but with style.  Interesting points are made vis-a-vis anarchy vs. authoritarianism (and anarchy vs. chaos, for the unintiated).  Moore indulges his love for repeated use of symbols here, as the letter and Roman numeral V recurs over and over, almost becoming a secondary character to the story.  Almost no character is sympathetic, and even the titular hero is an insane vigilante, almost a bizarre conflation of Batman and the Joker.  Even as we hope the Leader is toppled, we aren’t sure who’s going to make it out alive.  (Don’t spoil it for me, I don’t remember how it ends).

If you enjoyed Moore’s Watchmen and From Hell, a lot of the same intelligence, wit, and style is on display here.  If you are new to Alan Moore’s comic book work, well, this would be a fine place to start.

V For Vendetta.  Read it now!!

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About Rory Grennan

Rory Grennan is Manuscript and Instruction Archivist at Florida State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives.
This entry was posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to La voie, la vie, la verite

  1. finn949 says:

    I love the way you made a post into a mini book talk. I may need to borrow (read: copy) your idea when I get the blog for my library up and running. Nice work.

  2. Thanks for all the cool background and analysis. The movie kinda ruined the V story, but the way you described here makes me want to read it. good job.

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