V for Vendetta post.

Since I have seen the movie based off the comic book, I pretty much knew what to expect. The beginning did surprise me however, I was not expecting V to show up until possibly the fourth or fifth chapter. I was prepared for a detail explanation about the state of the country (or world) and major leaders within the government. I was also surprised to see a sixteen year old Evey become involved in V’s revenge/revolution when in the movie she was much older and had a career. It does make sense though. Evey is a great symbol for the story. A teenager is often associated with rebellion and disregard for the rules; something parents or authority figures frown upon. However, an abused teen is different from the everyday rebelling teen. If an abused teen lashes out or rebels against the authority figure who is abusing them, they will not be looked down on. Seeing them fight back makes us want to encourage them or even assist them in their rebellion.

We are supposed to see V as the hero of this story, but I often find myself feeling that Evey is the hero. I’m used to seeing similar characters as heroes of their tales: a struggling teen (from themselves or because of someone else) finding themselves in a situation outside the norm and going on a wild adventure. Along the way, they meet new people, grow and change, find love, and find their purpose. Despite the dark story, I see Evey following this teen hero chain.

I can only compare these two to Merlin and Arthur of the King Arthur tales. V is Merlin teaching Evey, who is Arthur, the tools and mentality to become king. However, V’s method of teaching is much darker and torturous than Merlin’s. Evey finds V’s method of freeing the country horrific, and in the end is broken down mentally and reborn. V may have wanted anarchy, but he seems to have made a king out of Evey, leading the people to a new era. Sending the train down the tracks in the underground railroad was the same as pulling the sword from the stone.  

 

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To be graded Medium

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V for Vendetta: A Comic of Confusion

Another late post.

I would like to talk about a different aspect of the V for Vendetta comic book, one that calls into question the effect of the drawings on the reader’s understanding of action and plot. I am not an avid comic book reader, nor do I desire to become one, but I think it is a necessity for most everyone to be able to pick up a comic book and be able to somewhat enjoy it. After all, it is simply made up of pictures and some words here and there… doesn’t sound too complicated, right? I thought so until I read the comic of V for Vendetta.

After doing some research on comics, I’ve found that I am not alone in wondering how simple pictures can be so confusing. There is article after article about where to begin your journey of comic book reading. Most of these articles focus on DC or Marvel comics, where there are so many versions of each comic and so many main characters with different plotlines that make them incredibly hard to delve into. Thankfully, V for Vendetta does not have any of these issues relating to those of a series comic, but I was surprised at the ability it took to comprehend what exactly was happening in the images. Many of the characters were similar looking, which made it hard for me to distinguish who was who without going back to the original pages where the character first appeared. I don’t believe that is the way a comic should have to be read. Like a book, readers expect to be able to lose themselves in the plot, and there is something about flipping pages back and forth that really ruins the ability to dive into a storyline.  Some of the images were also unclear as to what exactly was happening. I had to stare at it for a while to figure out the character’s emotions (understandable) and actions (Is that an arm? The side of his face?). Although I very much enjoyed the plot of the comic, I left it feeling only moderately satisfied.

According to the Visual Teaching Alliance, 65 percent of the population are visual learners and for those that aren’t, it is interesting to note that the brain processes visual information about 60,000 times faster than text. That is a lot of the population that is statistically better at retaining information from comics than other ways of hearing stories, so you would think that comics would use this to their advantage. I also know many people who are not exactly fans of reading plain novels (it saddens me how many times I have heard the words “I hate reading”), and I think comics are important for these kinds of people. In order for these people (and of course, just plain comic-book-lovers) to keep reading comics, I believe the visual part of the comic should be the easiest part to understand. I ask that comic book authors leave the complicated parts to the character development or plot lines, things that should be realistically complicated.

 

lilithGrade Medium please:)

V for Vendetta: Film ending vs. the book

I don’t think the book ending got enough credit in class on Friday. While the ending of the movie was more satisfying I don’t think it was necessarily more successful. The opposite can be said as well, the ending of the book wasn’t necessarily more successful than the ending of the movie. Each achieved their own purpose for the story they told.

So first you have the ending of the book. V understands that his work isn’t going to instantaneously change society. He cleared away the current government structure to make way for something new, and presumably better, but he did little to change the minds of the civilians. He understood that their reactions to his work were going to create chaos, not an anarchy. Chaos breeds a desire for structure though and if you’re not careful you may end up right back where you started. Knowing this he trained/transformed Evey to guide society into an anarchy. Even still, at the end of the day the people have to accept the new society and not fall victim to the type of people who create dictatorships. Just being introduced to anarchy is not enough, they need to understand the mindset behind it.

The end of the book indicates this change as a gradual process. Nurturing the growth of the new society will be far more successful than an immediate change of regime. So in time, by transforming how the people think, V’s vision can come true. So like in the movie, everyone is V.

On the other hand you have the movie, which understood the goal of the book but needed a visual punch. In this case the movie chose to show the change in society as immediate. But it fits within the context of the movie. While in both mediums the peoples were being oppressed, in the movie the oppression was more of an instantaneous process than in the book. To exit from the oppression required an equally instantaneous shift. This meant getting to V’s desired state of society much quicker than in the book. And it is a more satisfying ending. You feel like things have actually changed, while in the book you get the sense  change is going to take a much longer time.

Going back to the book, I think Finch was the desired product of V’s vendetta. He was a symbol for the people and he was the first one of them to transform and accept anarchy. He just walks away in the end and I feel that was kind of the point. The people just need to be able to walk away. To understand they don’t have to live any particular way, they don’t have to listen to any particular person. At the same time Finch wasn’t going to cause trouble for anyone else. This is the second part of that. The people  need to be able to walk away and not feel the need to hurt or control or oppress.

So in my mind, the book conclusion is far more realistic. If you want to change society, really change society, that doesn’t happen in one generation. The movie however has a far more satisfying ending. Alan Moore’s graphic novel was getting to the ending of the movie, not in all of it’s grandeur but in the idea presented, just at a far slower pace. The movie needed a grand finale plus it made sense with the story.

To me neither was more successful, they were both great. The book would’ve taken on a completely different tone had it ended like the movie. Also, if you’ve read any of Alan Moore’s other graphic novels, actually I’ve only read watchmen but, in that we get the same sort of unsatisfying yet very appropriate ending. Speaking of Watchmen, the movie was more faithful to its source material but, in my opinion, V for Vendetta was a better movie.

To be graded hard:

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The sum of parts- V for Vendetta comparison

It seems to me that neither the graphic novel nor the film are precisely best at portraying the ideals they represent.  However, I think that taking both one can begin to see some of the more universal threads that tie the two stories together- and in turn tie them to our lives.

The graphic novel I believe has much stronger visual imagery.  This might be expected, as the medium is so focused on the power of the image, but it is surprising in that this statement is made in comparison to the supremely visual medium of the film.  In particular, the arrangement of the key transformational scenes for V, Evey, and Finch were much clearer- and after some thought it all seems to hold together better as a narrative of the individual split into different persona.

In V we have the primal force of chaos embodied.  I think in the graphic novel that he is quite insane, beyond eccentric.  While he does seem to stand upon an ideal of anarchic society as the basis for his behavior, there are also many instances where he betrays this belief as a product of his insanity.  He willfully murders and destroys, exacting his personal vengeance throughout his attempt to break down the government.  Additionally, rather than returning power to the people in truth, he orchestrates every aspect of the governments destruction and then hands the keys of his (and by extension the government’s) power through fate to Evey (whom he has essentially had free reign to mold as he saw fit).  He does not actually make any effort to seek the will of the people, but merely works to destroy those in power who he sees as “unfaithful” with his “justice.”  Without regard for his environment (he doesn’t care who he hurts or tortures as long as it serves his ends), he acts to change it in the way he deems appropriate.  Through all this, V demonstrates himself as insane, and indeed an agent of the destructive chaos which he purports to be.

In Evey we have the appeal to higher morality mixed with a respect for order.  While at the beginning of the graphic novel she was seen to be prostituting herself, it is obvious that she is far from comfortable in that place.  Further, when confronted by the old priest she reacts negatively, rather than committing to the action for which she was ostensibly there.  She consistently binds her own behavior patterns to her environment, allowing it to shape her rather than imposing her will upon it (as V does).  Even after her transformation, while she remains strong in her morals (refusing to kill, caring for others) she continues in the paths and patterns established by V himself initially.  She is the creative force, the one that will build from V’s destruction, and she demonstrates this by her adherence to order and morality.

Finally, we have Finch- the central and most real character.  He begins as any individual would, surrounded by the system and immersed in it.  As chaos breaks down that system, he begins to use the tools familiar to him to understand that chaos and begins to question that system.  Finally, after fully understanding those mad and chaotic impulses he no longer desires to be a part of the old system and moves on to (supposedly) better and brighter things.  In doing so, he leaves the creative force to build a new system- and allow it to prosper.

By focusing on these three characters and their transitions/tranformations, I think the graphic novel paints an elegant analogy of the individual human psyche and their development around and through established ideas.

However (and this may be biased from an American perspective), the implicit theory of anarchy is not well sold through this story.

The film tells this story more powerfully.  It begins by establishing V as something greater than human, with Evey only an ordinary person.  In time, V (a much more reasonable and logical V) awakens Evey’s power by revealing knowledge to her through the treasures of film, music, literature, culture, and all the other things which the restrictive government has hidden from her (the ordinary people).  Finally, the human of V completes his part- only a small part of the purpose of the more-than-human V- before giving power to Evey (again analogous to the people) saying that she must decide whether or not to bomb Parliament.  Here is a much more poignant representation of an ordinary person being empowered to change the world.

We see the old V dying, his own humanity revealed.  The new V is not only Evey- representative of the people- but Finch and the rest of those who march on Parliament- the actual people themselves- and thus adequately demonstrates that it is not only one individual or one sequence/pattern of thought that empowers.  In the film adaption it is much clearer that action and freedom are all that need to be fought for, and that every person can equally achieve success in changing the world.

V’s own words, that an idea cannot be killed by bullets, is emphasized here because while the single human V may have perished, the idea of an anarchic persona lives on.  When contrasted with the graphic novel V it is clear that only the original V could in fact cause the same events again- his “replacement” is unwilling to kill or destroy- both of which were essential to breaking the cycle that the novel implies will be continued through the actions of Mrs. Heyer trying to “restore order” and Dominic being saved/captured and brought to the shadow gallery by Evey-turned-V.

Thus I think each tell a powerful story, but neither apart tell the whole story or perfectly sell the ideas they wish to portray.

Hard Mode Grading

v for vendetta, (scattered thoughts)

Screen shot 2013-09-12 at 12.48.15 AMSince i’m not really sure what else to say about V for vendetta after so much was said last class, ill just bring up some main points again and state my opinion of which medium was better. Overall, I think the movie was better. The main reason for preferring the movie  is the changes to Evey, and the way the ending took place. Firstly, Evey in the movie is  more dependent and less helpless. She isn’t a 16 year old girl having trouble making it by and resorting to selling herself(which fewer people can relate to). It bugged me in the graphic novel how easily Evey was able to fall for V. In the movie she left V instead of being “released” by him. She returned to her actual job where she was useful. The Man she began to live with wasn’t a random guy that picked her up and decided to help her out. It wasn’t her being “saved” again.

Its hard to articulate for some reason the difference, aside from saying that in the movie Evey is just a more interesting and developed character. she has more “power”, which makes her transformation that much more significant. she wasn’t at the bottom of the barrel just to be shown a new way by V. she was at least somebody, that was a part of “society”. She actually had to go down before she could come up. She actually had a self to lose before realizing all that was left was her principles.

The ending of the movie vs. the end of the novel; the movie provides a more satisfying conclusion. where both show the citizens change in their behavior and thoughts towards the government. Personally, i felt like the the graphic novel left an unsure feeling of how things would unfold, and if the social order would really change for the better. In the movie, the rally of citizens, with V masks, made it seem more promising that change would occur. The spell was broken. They were actually taking charge. The end of the novel shows eVey take a new person under her wing to continue the Ideas of V, as if they would still be needed. The movie made me fell that the seed of anarchy had been planted and had grown sufficiently to be independent of V, and his/her nurturing.

this isn’t a great or clear description of my thoughts, but thats what i have to say fo this blog.  since im so late in posting i will be using my “easy” avatar.

Everybody, their transformations, and perception….

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“Everybody is special. EVERYBODY. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain; everybody. Everybody has their story to tell” (26).

V makes this statement to Evey early on in the story. This statement shows many things about the story’s definition of an individual and also makes a reference to the division of main character roles in the story. Although I only count 3 main characters, each of which can be stereo-typically labeled by one of these types, this statement really says that all four roles are within EACH PERSON with their own story to fuel the role.

V is undoubtedly viewed as a villain, for he even proclaims it himself; He tells Evey, I am the “King of the 20th century. I’m the boogey man. The villain. The black sheep of the family” (13). Yet, his destructive character saves special memorabilia, teaches his way personal liberation to help Evey, admits to his vulnerabilities, and selfishly survives with the hope of being loved.  His leader role has a loving obsession with fate, while his counterpart has the same for justice.  While the two are closely related, I’d say fate is an inevitable solution where as justice usually requires participation and is explicitly targeted. “Fate, massive fate, remote fate, uncaring fate? … Tell me this then, Am I loved? Not feared, not respected. LOVED…. Please, Please give me a sign” (184). The opposite aspect of his “love” in the two different roles, shows just how opposing one’s character can become. You say “that’s the ONE THING I HATE,” and usually that’s one thing the individual can find themselves guilty of. But, for his destructive character the way to settle and accept happiness in his situation is clearly stated by himself: “All I can do is pack away all the things I remember, put them in a drawer with all the other useless souvenirs.. and just carry on. You’ve got to carry on. We’ve all got to just carry on. That’s how we survive. That’s our purpose. Our purpose is to survive” (105-6).

Evey Hammond and Eric Finch are the other main characters.

Evey’s struggles and emotions through the story kept reminding me of all woman in today’s society. It is very commonly assumed that women are insecure, self-doubting, emotional thought bubbles with more questions than answers, generally speaking. And although she plays a role with minimal similarities in the physical aspects of her life to ours – the internal similarities are still evident. After her transformation, V reasons with her that he only tortured her “Because I love you. Because I wanted to set you free” (176). Evey does not understand his actions at first. She is angered and confused. And, this happens all the time in our society. Parents these days always think that THEY KNOW THE BEST WAY to raise their children. Well, the small percentage that have FUNNY ways of TRYING to educate and help their children – beat them, drop them off instead of watching after them, tell them every little detail about bad things in life, or kick them out of the house – the lessons might be there, but the method for trying to communicate them doesn’t always work. I think if Evey’s character wasn’t so passive, she definitely could have NEVER understood why he did what he did. A couple of pages later, he tells Evey “All the blind folds are gone… I simply provided the backdrop. The drama was all your own” (171, 174). His intentions were to provide the force that helped her see reality. He wanted her to make the right choices when she was ready, which is what most parents want for their kids. But when you are sitting in the student seat, you can’t always see the reasoning through the madness. This dramatized story of a woman’s transformation within the chaotic environment could serve as a symbolic replica of the transformation all women should seek.

Eric Finch provides a main role in the form of a very clever and involved character who is usually very aware or involved yet avoids major contributions. Dr. Mandell offered up the idea of Finch serving as a symbolic version of everyday citizens, normal people. Early on, he states “we’re up against someone who isnt normal people… Either physically or mentally” (23). Well, the quick assumption for someone to be NOT NORMAL because they have physical or mental differences than you do, is the first similarity between his character and the general population. Most of the time, it gets assumed that living on the same planet, our one common factor to every soul alive, makes us all the same. Or that there is “normal” which results from us sharing the same planet. Finch goes on “It’s the ‘mentally’ bit that bothers me” (23). Dramatized example from a dramatized graphic novel, however the presence of an assumed state of normalcy is more detrimental to those accused of differences than is to those who blamed. He goes from “I’ll see him dead for this” to “I’m sick of facts and dates and dead bodies. I’m too old. I’m too tired,” in the same page!!  (78). This is a very popular way of behaving these days. People are there on the scene, talking and spreading their thoughts endlessly yet the amount of conversations that actually provoke any kind of activities or committed cooperation are minimal. People like to be involved – just to be part of something instead of nothing.

I’d like to close with the beginning lines to the rhythmic opening of Book II:

“They say that there’s a broken light for every heart on broad way. They say that life’s a game and then they take the board away. They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story, then leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret.” (89).

There’s also a broken story behind every villain, no matter how different they seem. The hypocrisy in how we raise, then educate, and entertain ourselves with the larger hypocrisy in our perception vs. actual reputation should clearly have symbolic comparisons with the act of wearing a mask and costume. But if everything is provided, why does it seem like this vicious cabaret harms (takes more away) us more than pleasures us?

Also, I now see why it was said that “it is impossible to create any science fiction which will not become reality.” Both good and bad, humans copy behavior. The more ideas you put out there, the more people that are going to attempt to make it reality. You may not understand, you may not for see it. But….

IDEAS ARE BULLETPROOF 

This post was based on many different ideas that were kind of hard to pull all together. I think there is a hero in us all, even though you are also a fool a villian and a lover within yourself at the same time. It is your choice, and your actions, and your perception that create your being. I think this book shows more than anything SPECIFIC, it shows how culture can inevitable persuade your senses and shape your being. You must be pushed into a realization or forced to feel something different, as it is the negative emotions which bring out the best in us. Transformations are not regular growth or progress; transformations come when a monumental event changes your course of action, in terms of character, of course.

V for Vendetta – Behind the Painted Smile

When reading V for Vendetta, I had several questions in mind. I then realized those questions all came down to just …Why? For the sake of clarity, I found it useful to first discuss the questions that I had in relation to the creation of V for Vendetta. In a later blog, I will discuss further questions that relate to the actual plot and mechanics of the strip.

I found a useful article at the back of the book, but I am unaware of its inclusion in all printed versions of the book. The article is titled “Behind the Painted Smile” and was written by Alan Moore in 1983. Since “Behind the Painted Smile” provided an answer to all of my initial questions on the creation of V for Vendetta, I thought I’d share those answers and perhaps spur up some discussion.

Questions & Answers:

  • Why is the story set in the near future? Why not the past or the present?

Creating a story that is interesting and exotic, begins with setting the time period of the story. Moore reasoned that what made many popular stories work, was what he called “the magic of a vanished age”. However, setting stories in the past requires some research which David Lloyd was not at all eager to do. Moore then realized that the “magic” that makes stories popular does not require a story to be set in the past. He writes, “It struck me that it might be possible to get the same effect by placing the story in the near future as opposed to the near past…we could create the same sense of mingled exoticism and familiarity without…the reference library.”

  • Why is the story set in England? Why not a different country?

Creating a story that stands out and that is truly interesting often requires a change in what is currently already available. More writes that David and him “wanted to do something that would be uniquely British rather than emulate the vast amount of American material on the market”

  • Why choose a totalitarian government as the antagonist of the story?

Making the antagonist of your story something you see as an antagonist in real life, can make it easier to write.  Moore somewhat confirms this when he writes, “since both Dave and myself share a similar brand of political pessimist, the future would be pretty grim, bleak and totalitarian, thus giving us a convenient antagonist to play our hero off against.”

  • Why is the main character being portrayed as Guy Fawkes?

The main character, or hero of a story, should hold a clear opposition against the antagonist. If the antagonist is a totalitarian government, what better hero than one than one who revolts against the government. Lloyd wrote to Moore saying, “  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!”

 

 

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