"Remember, remember the fifth of November..."
I remember it was about five years ago when I drove to the opening midnight showing of the film. My sister and I were both laughing, throwing pop corn at one another, acting a lot like kids waiting for the movie to start. It was still cold, around March of 2005, and the perfect night to go to the theater. It's funny how a film can be so thought provoking and so moving that it alters your mood almost completely, which is exactly what happened to me upon seeing 'V For Vendetta' for the first time. I will admit, before that night if you had asked me who Alan Moore was, I probably could not tell you. I can not lie and say that I was familiar with the graphic novel, I wasn't. Five years ago I was not reading comic books. After watching 'V For Vendetta' I remember crying, a lot. My make-up was smudged and my sister and I were silent on our drive back home. If I had to guess, I would say that my reaction was directly related to the powerful message that was speaking through 'V' to me, or so I thought. The character moved me. Perhaps when you're young, you think that you have the power to influence change in people, which is exactly what 'V' did; and is essentially the definition of what being a superhero is, at least in my opinion. To me, 'V' personifies the ultimate hero. He is a martyr who so desperately wanted to alter the political landscape for future generations, that he sacrificed his own life for the sake of a cause. That in itself, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful concepts for any character or story ever to exist in comic books, and is exactly the reason why 'V For Vendetta' remains, to this day, one of my favorite comic book stories of all time.
The story, inherently, is about a man who wanted to evoke political reform. It is the idea that one person, man or woman, has the capability to influence and make real change; and that to me was a beautiful thing. 'V For Vendetta' took about ten years to complete, and was first started by Moore back in the summer of 1981. The first issue was published almost ten years later in the Spring of 1988. No doubt, Moore drew on the political atmosphere of the time, which in the span of those eight years, altered considerably. As did his own personal understanding of politics in general.
"There is a certain amount of political inexperience upon my part evident in these early episodes. Back in 1981 the term "nuclear winter" had not passed into common currency, and although my guess about climatic upheaval came pretty close to the eventual truth of the situation, the fact remains that the story at hand suggests that a nuclear war, even a limited one, might be survivable. To the best of my knowledge, this is not the case...Naivete can also be detected in my supposition that it would take something as melodramatic as a near-miss nuclear conflict to nudge England towards fascism."
-Moore, Alan. "I began V for Vendetta..." DC Comics, September 1988. Vol I of X
While his opinions and understanding of politics in general changed over the course of the years in which he wrote 'V For Vendetta,' what remains true and solidified is the overall message that 'V' himself represents. Change, faith, hope and heroism are all elements which exist in Moore's story. Nevermind the details which no doubt change from one political administration to the next; the overall message and the idea will forever remain "bulletproof," and will therefore forever remain timeless.
I call on you this November the fifth to celebrate Alan Moore's masterpiece, 'V For Vendetta' by going to your local library and re-reading the graphic novel, or heading to your local bookstore and picking up your own copy. I promise you will not be disappointed. Also, if you have not yet done so, you should definitely watch the film. If my words have not provoked you, then I hope you at least enjoyed the movie trailer!
"How purposeful was your vendetta. How benign, almost like surgery...your foes assumed you sought revenge upon their flesh alone, but you did not stop there...you gored their ideology as well. The people stand within the ruins of society, a jail intended to out-live them all. The choice is theirs, as ever it must be. I will not lead them, but I will help them build, help them create where I'll not help them kill. The age of killers is no more."
- Moore, Alan. "V For Vendetta." DC Comics, 1988. Vol. X of X (p. 26)
"Remember, remember the fifth of November..." and have a happy Guy Fawkes Day!