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November 26, 2011 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Alan Moore discusses current use of the V for Vendetta mask as a symbol of protest. After Frank Miller attacks the Occupy movement (previously), another giant of the comic book world gives his own, rather more nuanced, view of the protests.
posted by howfar (121 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
You know what I learned from Alan Moore? That superhero fascists are way cooler than corporate fascists.
posted by jwhite1979 at 4:26 PM on November 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Alan Moore knows the score.
posted by Catblack at 4:29 PM on November 26, 2011 [22 favorites]


A major media outlet where Moore is presented as intelligent, cogent, deprecating, and reasonable? Jeez interviewer, you didn't even mention that he worships a lizard or something. Are you even trying to get page hits?
posted by Think_Long at 4:33 PM on November 26, 2011 [23 favorites]


I think it would be far more spectacular if people started wearing Alan Moore masks as a sign of protest solidarity. And by 'spectacular' I mean 'terrifyingly awesome'.
posted by FatherDagon at 4:33 PM on November 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


This is a good article. They don't even mention his beard.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:34 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. I hadn't seen Moore's response to the "Occupy" movement prior to this post. I used to think he was a talented git. Now I'm afraid he comes across (Moore) like a privileged asshole.
posted by New England Cultist at 4:37 PM on November 26, 2011


From the article: It all comes back to Moore – a private man with knotty greying hair and a magnificent beard...
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:37 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Two greats of comic books have recently given their opinions of the OWS protests.

One is a "ceremonial magician" who worships the snake god Glycon and is a known political extremist.

The other one is crazy and out of touch with reality.

COMICS, EVERYBODY!

God, I love 'em.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 4:40 PM on November 26, 2011 [45 favorites]


Alan Moore knows the score.

and Miller, Frank is just a crank.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:40 PM on November 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Dammit, that didn't come out right...meant to be a "Moore worships a snake god and practices ritual magic and is an anarchist...and Miller's the crazy one." Dadgum lack of proofreading...
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 4:42 PM on November 26, 2011


It was funnier the way your wrote it the first time.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:45 PM on November 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Crap. Indeed, my post should read, I hadn't seen Miller's response to the "Occupy" movement prior to this post.

Clearly, I was subconsciously lashing out, because I have always liked Miller more than Moore. Now Miller's comments make me pretty much think he is a privileged asshole.

Thanks, furiousxgeorge
posted by New England Cultist at 4:52 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thank you for clarifying, New England Cultist. I was about to ask if we'd read the same article...
posted by IAmBroom at 4:54 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is a good article. They don't even mention his beard.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:34 PM on November 26 [+] [!]


AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE AT GRUMPYS RIGHT NOW?

We're in a world that has decided Frank Miller is crazy and Alan Moore is sane. We've passed through the looking glass, people.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:55 PM on November 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


The thing I liked better in the movie than the comic was the underlining of the idea of group action. The comic (although brilliant enough) still was using the idea of a superhero fighting fascism, and, while I like seeing fascists get punched as much as the next person (assuming the next person isn't Frank Miller, but, hey), it's not like a superman can save us from fascism. So the image of the people taking their power back at the end of the movie was pretty strong for me. I suspect that's what OWS is responding to.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:59 PM on November 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Did they really invent the mask or just popularize it? Was the guy fawkes mask around before the comic?
posted by empath at 5:03 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's not like a superman can save us from fascism

yeah, personally I think it's far more likely going to be a fun-loving defence contractor in a weaponized iron suit, or possibly a team of mutants with extraordinary powers that save us. Whatever happens, it's going to involve form-fitting costumes.
posted by Hoopo at 5:04 PM on November 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Did they really invent the mask or just popularize it? Was the guy fawkes mask around before the comic?

my impression is that Guy masks were typically paper cut outs you'd get from the newspaper or something and stick to the Guy before throwing him on the bonfire. I would imagine the particular design of the mask is from Moore.
posted by Hoopo at 5:06 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alan Moore rocks. Vox populi indeed.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:13 PM on November 26, 2011


Did they really invent the mask or just popularize it? Was the guy fawkes mask around before the comic?
The big breakthrough was all Dave's, much as it sickens me to admit it. More remarkable still, it was all contained in one single letter that he'd dashed off the top of his head and which, like most of Dave's handwriting, needed the equivalent of a Rosetta Stone to actually interpret. I transcribe the relevant portions beneath:

"Re. The script; While I was writing this, I had this idea about the hero, which is a bit redundant now we've got [can't read the next bit] but nonetheless... I was thinking, why don't we portray him as a resurrected Guy Fawkes, complete with one of those papier mache masks in a cape and conical hat? He'd look really bizarre and it would give Guy Fawkes the image he's deserved all these years. We shouldn't burn the chap every Nov. 5th but celebrate his attempt to blow up Parliament!"

The moment I read these words, two things occurred to me. Firstly, Dave was obviously a lot less sane than I'd hitherto believed him to be, and secondly, this was the best idea I'd ever heard in my entire life. All of the various fragments in my head suddenly fell into place, united behind the single image of a Guy Fawkes mask. -- Behind The Painted Smile
Here's one of the cardboard masks from 1965.
posted by hades at 5:20 PM on November 26, 2011 [36 favorites]


But more than 100,000 of the £4-£7 masks sell every year, according to the manufacturers, with a cut always going to Time Warner. Does that irk Moore?

"I find it comical, watching Time Warner try to walk this precarious tightrope." Through contacts in the comics industry, he explains, he has heard that boosted sales of the masks have become a troubling issue for the company.


This surprises me. I wouldn't think Time Warner would be troubled at all as long as they're making money. If anything, I'd expect them to be amused.
posted by homunculus at 5:25 PM on November 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


And by 'spectacular' I mean 'terrifyingly awesome'.
posted by FatherDagon


Eponyst… yeah. Anyway, now I want an Alan Moore mask.
posted by hattifattener at 5:26 PM on November 26, 2011


You know what I learned from Alan Moore? That superhero fascists are way cooler than corporate fascists.

Really? I've always thought that Moore's distrust of the fascistic potential of superheroes is scarcely veiled. Watchmen, for example, is pretty much nothing but an exploration of the profoundly uncomfortable consequences of strong men bending the world to their will. V for Vendetta goes out of its way (especially in the V as hidden torturer segment) to show that the line between righteous anarchy and the absolutism it opposes is blurred, perhaps to meaninglessness.

Oddly, the character closest to a classic superhero in Moore's work is probably Swamp Thing. Even he's not uncompromised though, during the Parliament of Trees storyline in particular.
posted by howfar at 5:33 PM on November 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


A mass-marketed, licensed product made in third world working conditions, inspired by a comic book written by a man who also produced a work of almost-kiddie porn, a comic book having nothing to say about modern economic woes, which contained the image in question, which was itself inspired by the popular historic image of an attempted mass murderer.

This must be like what Jesus will feel when He comes back and takes a look at the Christmas decoration aisle in Wal-Mart. "WTF? I wasn't born in winter! What's up with the pine tree? Who the fuck is this guy in the red suit?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:44 PM on November 26, 2011 [17 favorites]


Btw, Moore's best "true" superhero work is the Superman annual, "For the Man Who Has Everything."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:47 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder what Moore would think if he knew the path the mask took from his book to the OWS movement involved Epic Fail Guy.
posted by charred husk at 5:49 PM on November 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


A mass-marketed, licensed product made in third world working conditions,

Yeah, I think OWS needs to move past the movie memorabilia and come up with some clever mask that can be DIYed rather than a movie tie-in.

...

[dramatic sting]

IN A WORLD WHERE CORPORATE POWER IS UNCHECKED
ONLY ONE GROUP OF PROTESTERS
CAN LIBERATE THE COUNTRY
[zucotti park]
FROM THE PRODUCERS OF THE MATRIX AND SPEED RACER
[shakeycam riot police punching hippies]
OCCUPY WALL STREET
A BEST BUY EXCLUSIVE
ORDER NOW AND GET THE OFFICIAL LIMITED EDITION MASK*

*while supplies last. Void where prohibited
[struggles to put sunglasses on over mask]
posted by fuq at 5:56 PM on November 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Also, bullet-time pepperspraying.
posted by fuq at 5:58 PM on November 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Are there any iconic symbols that haven't taken at least a 90-degree turn, if not three or four 180-degree turns from their original intent on their way to our current Doofus Culture? And don't let Jesus see the Easter Bunny displays!
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:58 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


And don't let Jesus see the Easter Bunny displays!

"And kids eat chocolate eggs, because of the color of the chocolate, and the color of the... wood on the cross."
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:04 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


OWS needs to move past the movie memorabilia and come up with some clever mask that can be DIYed rather than a movie tie-in.

Dang, I was gonna suggest the "Scream" mask. All the other good movie-based masks belong to characters worse than V-guy, anyway.

Of course, standard Army Surplus gas masks would be extra symbolic AND extra practical. But do the original manufacturers get a full profit on them?

I'd suggest some traditional Dia de los Muertos skull masks, but I'm afraid anybody arrested while wearing one of them would just be automatically deported.

And how many people would fail to pick up the obvious irony of Mardi Gras or Carnivale masks? (with feathers, of course)

Guess we'll have to go with cheap sunglasses (or do the producers of "They Live" get a royalty from them?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:17 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Easter is in the Bible. It's when the apostles rolled back the rock, saw the body was missing, and someone said, "Did you look under the couch? Sometimes there's eggs under there."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:18 PM on November 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


From the article: "It would be probably be better if the authorities accepted this is a new situation, that this is history happening. History is a thing that happens in waves. Generally it is best to go with these waves, not try to make them turn back – the Canute option. I'm hoping that the world's leaders will realise this."

What is "the Canute option"?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:21 PM on November 26, 2011


What is "the Canute option"?
posted by howfar at 6:22 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


OWS needs to...

Everyone who's not in the Occupy movement knows what OWS needs to do. They need to stop using licensed character masks, be more visible, define themselves, choose a leader, have demands, not erect tents in the part, kick out the homeless, and stop being so visible.
posted by JHarris at 6:24 PM on November 26, 2011 [43 favorites]


I nominate the Gimp mask.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 6:31 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the ambivalence at the end of Moore's (excellent) run on (Marvel|Miracle)Man indicate that he holds no particular affinity for superhero fascism.
posted by theclaw at 6:33 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think OWS needs to move past the movie memorabilia and come up with some clever mask that can be DIYed

I think at least 1/3 of the Guy Fawkes masks I've seen have been these.
posted by queen zixi at 6:41 PM on November 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I always felt there was a serious irony, and lack of thought into the reading of V for Vendetta, about wearing the Guy Fawkes masks while protesting for freedom and rights when V's major plot is to kidnap someone, imprison, torture, manipulate and brainwash them until they break, in order to "awaken" her to his philosophy.

But then again, because it really started as a 4Chan thing mostly to troll Scientologists, maybe it was intentional trolling?
posted by yeloson at 6:53 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Case for Krampus as an Occupy Mascot
posted by homunculus at 7:01 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


But since Guy Fawkes wanted to blow up Parliament in order to replace it with a powerful Catholic monarchy, he was a crappy model for true freedom fighters anyway, which Moore indirectly acknowledges with his reaction to his co-author David Lloyd's idea to use the Fawkes mask symbolism: "Dave was obviously a lot less sane than I'd hitherto believed him to be, and secondly, this was the best idea I'd ever heard in my entire life."

Because the best ideas are NEVER sane, logical or reasonable.

Which is why my greatest worry about the Occupy movement is that it may be TOO sane, logical and reasonable.

I still would rather go with the sunglasses. Then whenever somebody makes a cogent observation, we could all take them off in unison and scream "YYEEEAAAAAAHHHHH!!!"
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:03 PM on November 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Check out the interview with David Lloyd on CBC's As It Happens from Thursday.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 7:06 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


our current Doofus Culture

how intriguing. do tell
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:35 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alan Moore is a delight. He's (rightfully) a bit of an old crank, but he's also incredibly insightful and surprisingly funny and self-deprecating (see his recent, hilarious guest shot on The Simpsons).

This interview struck me as pretty thoughtful and contemplative, though I must admit I was a bit surprised (I shouldn't have been, of course) that he doesn't own a copy of V for Vendetta. One thinks a fan should send him one; but then again, considering his awkward relationship with DC and the fact they'd profit from it, perhaps a photocopy would be better?
posted by HostBryan at 8:15 PM on November 26, 2011


Or even an unused color ebook reader preloaded with that Alan Moore Collection torrent from thepiratebay.org (2.7gig).
posted by jeffburdges at 8:25 PM on November 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


That superhero fascists are way cooler than corporate fascists.

Disagree. I'll take The Watchmen over The Seven any day of the week.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:31 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


inspired by a comic book written by a man who also produced a work of almost-kiddie porn

You're going to have to clarify a bit. Moore has used the "sexual awakening" theme in more than one of his comics, and sex plays out in some way in a lot of the others.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:41 PM on November 26, 2011


Serious mindfuck, would OWS even exist without V for Vendetta.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:00 PM on November 26, 2011


AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE AT GRUMPYS RIGHT NOW?

That's it, I'm getting the tequila, the sombrero, and Girl Bowie.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:01 PM on November 26, 2011


That's it, I'm getting the tequila, the sombrero, and Girl Bowie.

Ah, minimeetups. The tequila was especially good.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:04 PM on November 26, 2011


We probably had the highest per-capita hat wearingship of any meetup.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:06 PM on November 26, 2011


You're going to have to clarify a bit. Moore has used the "sexual awakening" theme in more than one of his comics, and sex plays out in some way in a lot of the others

This is probably a ref to Lost Girls.

Personally I have mixed feelings about Moore - I respect his work through the first vol of League and all of Promethea, then I start noticing the flaws, and by the time we get to League 1969 and once again sexual assault is used as a cheap way of setting up some conflict, I want to object but feel I ca'n't rightly explain my problem without facing "oh yeah well everything else in comics is even worse so quit whining" rebuffs. But this thread isn't about that, sorry.

I will add, however, that I hooted gaily at the image of him used in the Grauniad article. It appears he is both surprised and terrified by the photog.
posted by subbes at 9:20 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Serious mindfuck, would OWS even exist without V for Vendetta.

Yeah, the anonymous faction is a pretty minor part of it of OWS, and it was convenient symbolism for them more than anything else. They could have used anything as symbol, though. If it weren't Guy Fawkes, they'd probably be wearing Rick Astley masks.
posted by empath at 9:21 PM on November 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here's one of the cardboard masks from 1965.

A friend of mine pointed out to me recently that this image has a common heritage with conventional images of Satan stemming from the 1500s, what with the beard and mustache and all. The underlying stereotype is based on that of the dreaded (by the English) Spaniard, known (by the English) to be bearded as a rule.

The Wikipedia article points out that the fellow's name was actually Guido (Guy), and that: 'he fought in the Eighty Years' War on the side of Catholic Spain'.

This same friend explained that in his part of England, they would burn the pope in effigy, rather than Fawkes.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 9:21 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


inspired by a comic book written by a man who also produced a work of almost-kiddie porn

You're going to have to clarify a bit.


I think he's referring uncharitably to a scene in Lost Girls. Moore is about as much a child porn author as Nabokov. Not to mention that saying "almost kiddie porn" is sort of like saying "almost late". The correct phrase is "on time", or in thIs case, " not kiddie porn".

On preview, subbes beat me to it.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:23 PM on November 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


I might have beaten you to it, but you didn't mis-close an italics tag.
posted by subbes at 9:26 PM on November 26, 2011


You know, if you read Frank Miller's screed in the whiskey-soaked voice of his lunkiest characters, the battleship-sized ones covered in bar-fight bandages with an ex-wife's head back home in the freezer...

...well, it all makes more sense.
posted by rokusan at 9:28 PM on November 26, 2011


TIL that the word 'guy' as in 'you guys' actually derived from Guy Fawkes effigies.
posted by empath at 9:30 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Every time I read something new by Frank Miller it just confirms that I wasn't crazy when I decided that Sin City was a product of a deranged mind and wrote him off completely. He was a great stylist, and Dark Knight Returns was amazing, but I've never read anything else of his that didn't turn my stomach.
posted by empath at 9:35 PM on November 26, 2011


Btw, Moore's best "true" superhero work is the Superman annual, "For the Man Who Has Everything."

Alan Moore's Supreme and his Tom Strong series are both even better.
posted by straight at 9:35 PM on November 26, 2011


I just reread Tom Strong, during which time this discussion of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds was going on here. I found a lot of similarities of both means and ends between the two.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 9:44 PM on November 26, 2011


Yeah, the anonymous faction is a pretty minor part of it of OWS, and it was convenient symbolism for them more than anything else. They could have used anything as symbol, though. If it weren't Guy Fawkes, they'd probably be wearing Rick Astley masks.

I'm not so sure it is so clear cut.

From first appearance of OWS on the blue

Participation numbers have been dwindling, but anonymous is now promoting the occupation as well re-broadcasting the live feed coverage

Perhaps Anon is a small part but was a core for others to coalesce around?

I would also argue that without V for Vendetta there would be no 4chan people protesting anything at all. Something sparked an interest in protest and dissatisfaction with the status quo on the chans. If they were just in it for the lulz and Rick rolling people why even bother? Would they really show up anywhere with Rick Astley masks? I personally doubt it.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:52 PM on November 26, 2011


Internet culture has fought scientology since before the web existed. Project Chanology was a response to Scientology's attacks on popular websites, mostly YTMND and Wikipedia.

Anonymous' original messages to Scientology had no V for Vendetta imagery, although the computer voice was a mask itself. There is however good reason for wearing a mask when protesting Scientology though, as Alan Moore noted, and the V mask looks pretty bad ass.

Anonymous influenced activist organizations around the world, both organizationally and artistically. We've kinda dropped the masked computer voice, maybe the human mic trumped it, but the V for Vendetta remains relevant.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:42 PM on November 26, 2011


The extent of Moore's own activism has been "a good moan in the local pub"

Greatest living Englishman!
posted by Abiezer at 10:51 PM on November 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


Right, I remember seeing pics of IRL chanonlogy protests both here and other sites in 2008

The V for Vendetta mask was already associated with anon at that time.

Quoting from here

On February 10, 2008, the first protest by Project Chanology occurred at Churches of Scientology around the world. An estimated 7000 people appeared with “V for Vendetta” masks or scarves on to hide their identity (Project Chanology, 2008

This suggests a certain level of coordination, how did they arrive at the Guy Fawkes mask. The movie V for Vendetta had come out years earlier so it wasn't simply a matter of timing.

I would suggest that the mask was chosen because V for Vendetta was the guiding influence. Scientology was simply the first target. Why did a random assortment of people choose to be "guardians of the internet" and take on scientology? A sense of dissatisfaction simply looking for an outlet?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:06 PM on November 26, 2011


This suggests a certain level of coordination

Almost as if they had some sort of … communications channel …
posted by hattifattener at 11:20 PM on November 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sure, but they coordinated on the Guy Fawkes mask, not Rick Astley mask, or any random mask you feel like. A notoriously anarchic group of strangers managed to settle on the mask from a comic and a marginal nerd-bait movie.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:28 PM on November 26, 2011


Well a marginal nerd-bait movie which did $132million in box office...
posted by hippybear at 11:44 PM on November 26, 2011


Anonymous exists because the internet fights Scientology, period. Anonymous preserves their anonymity because Scientology attacks critics viciously.

Anonymous' first mask was their computer voice. Face masks were found for meatspace protests. Yes, anons discussed their protest plans online, including mask choices, but none attended simply to wear the V mask.

Those protests were two decades in the making with the tipping point being Scientology's attacks on websites, like YTMND and Wikipedia. Anons would've happily worn other masks though, like maybe medical masks in reference to Lisa McPherson, but the V mask looks cooler
posted by jeffburdges at 11:44 PM on November 26, 2011


(And that's just box office. DVD and movie channel showings have surely only increased its audience since then.)
posted by hippybear at 11:45 PM on November 26, 2011


I became an Alan Moore fan when I read V for Vendetta 15 years ago.

Moore has always been terribly sane - and so right about bad politics could go, too.
posted by jb at 11:49 PM on November 26, 2011


the mask from a comic and a marginal nerd-bait movie.

So... why are you confused about this?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:49 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Something sparked an interest in protest and dissatisfaction with the status quo on the chans

It was anger at Scientology. They had to wear a mask for safety reasons and they were easily purchased online. They weren't sitting around with V for Vendetta masks waiting for something to protest.

That's kind of putting the cart before the horse.
posted by empath at 11:49 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Moore is about as much a child porn author as Nabokov.

You conveniently forgot the schoolgirl rape scene in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which sexual assault was played for laughs.

But that still doesn't make him a child pornographer. He's merely a fanfic writer with delusions of quality.
posted by happyroach at 12:11 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


So... why are you confused about this?

I'm not confused. I think some of you have not thought this through.

They weren't sitting around with V for Vendetta masks waiting for something to protest.

This is what I think happened.

Many of them had read V for Vendetta. Maybe some get caught up in the marketing for the movie. It becomes a minor meme along with "the 5th of November".

There is a raid on Habbo hotel on Nov 5th 2006 notice one of the names is "remember remember". This raid in Habbo is inspired by V for Vendetta.

According the the link I posted before one of he original chanology call to arms said this:

Gentlemen, This is what I have been waiting for. Habbo, Fox, The G4 Newfag Flood crisis. Those were all training scenarios. This is what we have been waiting for.

Clearly referencing various raids against habbo hotel.

So now we have V for Vendetta as a meme. Raids on habbo on the 5th. Now a call to arms. Raids on Scientology were an extension of shit that they had already been doing.

There is no way you are going to convince me they picked the Guy Fawkes mask just because it looked cool. And there were clearly people who really were waiting for something to protest and felt that the experiences gained during their previous attempts at online harassment could be put to good use.

Guy Fawkes and 5th of November became Menes because they resonated with people on the chans. Would they have started chanology without V for Vendetta? Maybe, but the fact remains that V for Vendetta gave them a shared symbol, something to focus on.

You guys think what you want, but it is no coincidence.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:16 AM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interestingly, there are 1.2 million google hits for 'cosplay protest', none related afaik, but amusing nonetheless.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:30 AM on November 27, 2011


From the article: "Well, I don't own the baby any more," said Moore. "During a drunken night it turned out that I'd sold it to the Gypsies and they had turned my baby to a life of prostitution. Occasionally they would send me glossy pictures of my child as she now was, and they would very, very kindly send me a cut of the earnings…"

That's what this situation called for, Alan: a Gypsy analogy! It's not like Dale Farm was a month ago or something.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:34 AM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


But that still doesn't make him a child pornographer.

I think one of the topics in SMAX is child pornography, but I think he still gets a pass.

He's merely a fanfic writer with delusions of quality.

I think you meant: He's a quality fanfic writer with merely delusions.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:09 AM on November 27, 2011


You guys think what you want, but it is no coincidence.

There is no coincidence, only the illusion of coincidence.
posted by homunculus at 1:10 AM on November 27, 2011


Next time there's a Scientology protest, I'm showing up in one of these.
posted by hades at 2:21 AM on November 27, 2011


Frank Miller and Alan Moore are two sides of the same coin of political nuttery and dreary comic book deconstructionism. Fortunately we have Kurt Busiek to put all of the pieces back together with a dose of sunny-sided optimism in both the spirit of (super)humanity and mainstream civic cooperation.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:24 AM on November 27, 2011


Serious mindfuck, would OWS even exist without V for Vendetta.
Well, OWS got started by Adbusters and some other groups. Would people have joined if not for the V masks? well, who knows. Would OWS exist if Hillary hadn't picked Mark Penn to run her campaign into the ground? Would OWS exist if Bush had chosen someone besides Dick Cheney to be VP?

It's all butterfly's flapping their wings, man...
posted by delmoi at 3:59 AM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, delmoi's right. You can point to one thing saying, if Item A didn't happen, then Item B wouldn't have, and you might be correct. But who's to say a different Item A wouldn't have occurred?

On the other hand, frustration with the financial sector and the jobless recovery has raised the political temperature of the U.S. for a while, and sometimes needed effects find their own causes.
posted by JHarris at 4:04 AM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very true, who knows.All just speculation on the Internet.

I've never even read V for Vendetta all the way through, I always had issues with the muddy blotchy art, I couldn't tell one character from another. Someone explained to me it was shunk down and colorized when it was printed by DC for the American market. I'd like an edition like they did for The Ballad of Halo Jones, black and white in the original format. Is there one available at a reasonable price? The Warrior Magzine issues it was originally printed in are like $15 a pop.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:34 AM on November 27, 2011


That's what this situation called for, Alan: a Gypsy analogy! It's not like Dale Farm was a month ago or something.

You're right, it's not like that at all. As is clear from the article, that's a quote from the past. 2005, specifically. It's still not a sensitive choice of words, but a major problem with anti Romani racism is that it is bound up with a whole tranche of as yet undifferentiated linguistic and cultural baggage. I'd much rather Moore had avoided the reference to "gypsies" here, but to frame this as a case of specific insensitivity, rather than an example of a endemic cultural problem, is probably misleading.
posted by howfar at 4:37 AM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


But...but...I thought it was common knowledge that Alan Moore invented the internet!* And political activism! And cheese toast!

(OK, I know the cheese toast was pushing it-Stan Lee invented that)

seriously- haven't you heard of Moore's law? Thank Alan Moore for continually making computers smaller.
posted by happyroach at 7:10 AM on November 27, 2011


One thing I'll say about Frank Miller is that he is trying his hardest to make Rob Liefield look respectable.
posted by fuq at 7:20 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


yeloson: I always felt there was a serious irony, and lack of thought into the reading of V for Vendetta, about wearing the Guy Fawkes masks while protesting for freedom and rights when V's major plot is to kidnap someone, imprison, torture, manipulate and brainwash them until they break, in order to "awaken" her to his philosophy.

Except that that's a completely incorrect reading of the text. The whole point of V taking Evey up to the point of breaking, letting her read Valerie's letter, and giving her a choice to either "collaborate" with the Norsefire officer that he was pretending to be or to be taken out behind the sheds and shot, was completely contrary to the point of brainwashing, which is to give the subject no choice but to submit.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:47 AM on November 27, 2011


You said "I would suggest that the mask was chosen because V for Vendetta was the guiding influence. Scientology was simply the first target.", Ad hominem. I'm sorry but that's simply wrong.

Internet denizens redistributed anti-Scientology documents with Scientology's crazy secret texts decades earlier, which included meatspace annoyance of Scientology recruitment projects. Scientology escalated their online censorship efforts once they saw the web growing more polished and respectable than Usenet, ala YTMND and Wikipedia. Ain't no way that escalation would have gone unanswered, man. Anonymous was simple the name everybody posted under on 4chan as well as the vehicle for teaching protest safety when dealing with Scientology.

I'd agree the V imagery helped motivate protestors of course, especially the second round, but anonymous computer voice mask had more motivating effects initially. And the 'guiding influence' was this sense of justice that online anonymity and collaboration amplifies.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:56 AM on November 27, 2011


howfar: consider the second part of my comment directed at the newspaper, then, for digging it back up. A horrible remark to make at any time.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:24 AM on November 27, 2011


Anonymous had nothing to do with this because I don't like them.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:35 AM on November 27, 2011


One thing I'll say about Frank Miller is that he is trying his hardest to make Rob Liefield look respectable.

Liefeld is a talentless hack and a dimwit, but I wouldn't call him insane. Miller, on the other hand, has gone completely Sim.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:38 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did they really invent the mask or just popularize it? Was the guy fawkes mask around before the comic?

As I kid I definitely remember plastic Guy Fawkes masks in shops that we used to wear on bonfire night. For the guy you burnt on the bonfire it was traditional to make/draw your own mask out of card/paper (probably safer).

Though plastic masks and fireworks were probably none too safe either, come to think of it.

Of course now it's all Halloween tat... bloody Americans.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:33 AM on November 27, 2011


What would it take to get all the commuters on public transit in, say, the US to wear the Guy Fawkes mask to work on Dec 15? Because I'd like to see that.
posted by sneebler at 11:41 AM on November 27, 2011


Frank Miller and Alan Moore are two sides of the same coin of political nuttery and dreary comic book deconstructionism.

Yes! A magical coin! That you have just invented!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:08 PM on November 27, 2011


When I think of anti-corporate protests seeking to remove the money and cronyism from politics, my first thought is, of course, a 17th century Catholic terrorist.
posted by weirdoactor at 12:16 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know, if you read Frank Miller's screed in the whiskey-soaked voice of his lunkiest characters, the battleship-sized ones covered in bar-fight bandages with an ex-wife's head back home in the freezer...

You're reading it in the voice that Frank Miller imagines he has. This is precisely what makes Miller ridiculous. He genuinely seems to have confused telling stories about tough-guys struggling at the sharp end with being one. If JK Rowling challenged her critics to trial by quidditch, while running about with a plastic broom between her legs, whacking a Swingball and shouting "Expelliarmus", she couldn't be any more pathetic and laughable than Miller is now.
posted by howfar at 12:39 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think what they like about V is the style (anonymous, chaotic, showmanlike) and not so much the political goals or violent methods.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:40 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Surely Jack Kirby invented cheese toast, with Stan Lee taking credit.
posted by X-Himy at 12:46 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And Evey (everybody?) dons the mask after his death. </spoiler>
V does fit our (r)evolution perfectly.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:31 PM on November 27, 2011


if i debunk alan moore, i'll get the kind of reputation capital you get from bagging on both internet nerds and highly regarded comic book people. that is no chump change.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:13 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You conveniently forgot the schoolgirl rape scene in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which sexual assault was played for laughs.

I haven't forgotten anything, really. Confession: I haven't read LXG yet.

Assuming your characterization is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, I feel you there. This is the same guy who, as we've noted to death, crippled Barbara Gordon to give her dad and Batman something to react to. He's also the guy who created Miraclewoman, which entailed a conversation about the use of women in superhero stories that the industry is only now having, over two decades later.

You're absolutely correct that, while some of his stuff seems very pro-feminist, there's the odd misogynistic moment that's hard to stomach.

But as you say, that's not child pornography. Misogyny is very, very bad. Child porn, even drawn child porn in which no actual children are raped, is at least an order of magnitude more evil, IMO.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:04 PM on November 27, 2011


Guy Fawkes and 5th of November became Menes because they resonated with people on the chans.

The mask was a meme before Chanology took off. And while the character was somewhat beloved, he was still fail. If I remember that time and my ill begotten time in the Chans, the mask was used as an in-joke to connect participants. The /b/... people (won't use their own term) were obsessed with sneaking their memes into public space, preferably under unsuspecting noses. People may have latched onto other meanings or reasons for the Guy Fawkes mask but only because they don't know (or care) about where it came from.
posted by charred husk at 8:45 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


We humbly bow to your knowledge of the way of /b/, charred husk.
(I'd heard of Epic Fail Guy, but never understood him, thanks)
posted by jeffburdges at 10:30 PM on November 27, 2011


The interviewer has put up the full uncut interview.
posted by Zed at 11:19 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're absolutely correct that, while some of his stuff seems very pro-feminist, there's the odd misogynistic moment that's hard to stomach.

Yeah. I just reread Spawn/WildCATs in Wild Worlds. I had forgotten the part about how in the grim and gritty future most of the world's women superheroes had been de-powered and were sexual slaves for the bad guys. They wore lingerie and reclined on pillows, not plotting escape or otherwise acting as human beings with agency.

Neonomicon really drove home how men sexually assaulting and degrading women is a recurring trope.
posted by Zed at 11:50 PM on November 27, 2011


This just in: New Fastcompany interview with / article about Alan Moore!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:41 AM on November 28, 2011


This just in: Mainstream science has finally caught up with Alan Moore's groundbreaking work in Tom Strong #5.
posted by Zed at 9:57 AM on November 28, 2011


Thanks for the link, ZenMasterThis.
The Everyman Superhero

What Pekar represented to Moore were the small heroics of making one's way in life, of stealing quiet victories against a backdrop of disappointment and disadvantage. "Harvey came from Cleveland, where the creators of Superman came from," says Moore. "But Harvey represented a very different kind of hero that exists in real life.

"What I really admired about Harvey was, he was a resolutely blue collar artist, and one of only working class voices that I'd come across in comics with a level of political commitment, especially a left-wing one," he adds. "I mean, this man had a spectacular meltdown on the Letterman show about a strike going on at the network that it was not publicizing. He never tried to rise above that class."

Hence Moore's recoil at Frank Miller's recent diatribe against the Occupy protesters. "I've not really had any taste for Frank Miller's work for a couple of decades. I'm not surprised by his reaction to the Occupy movement," he says. "The superhero as an assertion of one strong man's idea, can, if not careful, be a kind of fascist approach, and excludes the complexities and nuances of modern life. It's opposite of what I believe and why I wanted to distance myself from those types of comics. I'm gratified by the wave of condemnation, because it's an affirmation his views not shared by a majority."
posted by homunculus at 10:06 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


happyroach:You conveniently forgot the schoolgirl rape scene in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which sexual assault was played for laughs.

You mean the scene in which Mina makes her discomfort clear from the moment that she steps into the girls' school (which is pretty accurately based on Victorian pornography tropes) and makes her disgust explicit at the end? "Played for laughs" isn't how I'd characterize it.

He's merely a fanfic writer with delusions of quality.

There are a lot of pros that deserve that line, but Moore isn't one of them.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:53 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Played for laughs" isn't how I'd characterize it.

Pollyanna's pollyannaism regarding it was clearly a joke.
posted by Zed at 11:01 AM on November 28, 2011


Miley Cyrus Rock Mafia - IT'S A LIBERTY WALK!
posted by finite at 2:55 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the link, ZenMasterThis.

Indeed, it was particularly great because it linked to this, particularly the second comic on that page, which, despite the shoddy proofreading, was hi-damn-larious.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:29 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes! A magical coin! That you have just invented!

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that comic book reconstructionism > deconstructionism, and I prefer Kurt Busiek to both of the two men who made superheroes downers in the '80s. Grant Morrison has his place too, I guess.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:20 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you tried Supreme, or Top Ten, or Tom Strong? Moore did a lot of reconstructionist penance.
posted by Zed at 1:35 PM on November 29, 2011


What Moore, Vietch, and Miller did with superheroes was really important, and needed to happen for the medium to move on. The first two of those three authors did not want or expect it to be taken as far as it has and I think their output to this point has shown that they did not become wrapped up in those ideas as much as others have.
I can't help but think Astro City would not exist if the previous groundwork had not been laid. Would we really get the depth to those characters if Moore et al. had not already shown it could be done?
posted by P.o.B. at 2:08 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course not. But just because the Middle Ages was necessary for the Renaissance to happen doesn't mean I like the former more than the latter.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:03 PM on November 29, 2011


Sure, but I think you're calling apple's and oranges when it's closer to a difference in Valencia and Navels. I'm not saying you have to like both works, just that there is not that big of a difference between them.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:23 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


What Moore, Vietch, and Miller did with superheroes...The first two of those three authors did not want or expect it to be taken as far as it has.

Indeed, to quote from Moore's interview with the Onion:

"The apocalyptic bleakness of comics over the past 15 years sometimes seems odd to me, because it's like that was a bad mood that I was in 15 years ago. It was the 1980s, we'd got this insane right-wing voter fear running the country, and I was in a bad mood, politically and socially and in most other ways. So that tended to reflect in my work. But it was a genuine bad mood, and it was mine. I tend to think that I've seen a lot of things over the past 15 years that have been a bizarre echo of somebody else's bad mood. It's not even their bad mood, it's mine, but they're still working out the ramifications of me being a bit grumpy 15 years ago."

Exemplary Moore quote that, really. Smugness and self-deprecation, thoughtfulness and pettiness in constant playful tumble.
posted by howfar at 9:39 AM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's another recent Alan Moore interview:

http://www.honestpublishing.com/news/honest-alan-moore-interview-part-1-publishing-and-kindle/, part 1.

http://www.honestpublishing.com/news/the-honest-alan-moore-interview-part-2-the-occupy-movement-frank-miller-and-politics/, part 2.

He talks about the British publishing industry, books he likes, the Occupy movement and Frank Miller, and economics. Continues tomorrow with comics and how to break in to the industry.
posted by codacorolla at 8:46 AM on December 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


From a comment about JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE RISE OF ARSENAL #3 which their reviewer called "The worst comic I have ever read":

I didn’t really have a very interesting reaction to it, though, other than it really made me feel for Alan Moore. He must think books like this are his “legacy”… They’re not but he probably feels that way– I think I would feel that way if I were him. I stopped halfway through this book, and just thought, “that poor man.” People get angry when Alan Moore complains about the state of comics– “But: has he ever heard of Hellen Jo?!?” But put yourself in his place– how much would you like comics if you felt responsible for things like this? The shame would be overwhelming.
posted by straight at 1:31 AM on December 5, 2011


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