The historical figure of Guy Fawkes has certainly transformed over the years. On this Nov. 5, people are remembering not only the radical conspirator but the film and comic that was inspired by his likeness, Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta.
Nov. 5 is a notable holiday in the U.K., traditionally celebrated with bonfires, fireworks, and burning effigies in celebration of Fawkes’ thwarted attempt to assassinate King James I on Nov. 5, 1605. Fawkes attempted to blow up the House of Lords by planting explosives underneath it, and the holiday is in part to celebrate James’ survival as king after Fawkes and other conspirators were executed following their failed Gunpowder Plot.
However, Fawkes’ likeness has since been adopted as a symbol of protest against tyranny, especially among anarchist groups, such as the decentralized hacktivist collective known as Anonymous.
That is due in large part to the V for Vendetta DC Comic by Moore and David Lloyd, which was adapted into a popular movie penned by the Wachowskis and directed by James McTeigue in 2006.
The film centers around a dystopian near future in which the U.K. is ruled by a fascist totalitarian regime. An anarchist named V, played by Hugo Weaving, donning a Fawkes mask, sets out to ignite a revolution through elaborate acts of terror, recruiting Natalie Portman’s Evey Hammond along the way.
The film is one of the best projects the Wachowskis have their names attached to and represents one of the very best — if not the best — adaptation of one of Moore’s comics, though the film deviates somewhat from its source material and has been disowned by its original author, who never watched it.
Despite Moore’s distaste for the cinematic adaption, the film has clearly resonated with audiences.
Many point to the story as being analogous to our own time.
The film has some of the most memorable lines in comic book movie history.
And plenty of fans are loyal to both the comic and the movie.
Are you planning to watch or read V for Vendetta on Nov. 5? Leave it in the comments below.