People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” – V For Vendetta, the movie
Today is November the fifth, the day Britain celebrates the foiling of a plot by Catholic terrorists in the seventeenth century to blow up the Houses of Parliament with Dynamite. Guy Fawkes was tried, found guilty and hung, drawn and quartered before his body was burnt. This is celebrated across the country with bonfires and fireworks, some with a Guy Fawkes effigy, some with whatever figure or group of people the crowd would like to see burnt today.
So what comics celebrate this attitude towards government, the state and society as a whole?
Well, obviously. Originally serialised in Warrior Magazine, this political thriller by Alan Moore and David Lloyd sees one man bring down the state through a series of small actions that, combined, create one massive change – a very fractal terrorist. Pitting the extremes of Anarchy and Fascism against each other, the book believes that everyone must make that choice between the two and knows exactly what side it stands on, encouraging the people to rise up and overthrow their masters. The film dumbed much of the political rhetoric down, seeing more of an argument between security and liberty, but has inspired a number of protest movements and given them plenty of visual ammunition to use, especialkly the anti-Scientology movement, Anonymous.
One half covers the lawsuit from the Christie Institute against the US Government over Contragate. But the other half sees Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz run through the crimes of the CIA up to the mid eighties, through a drunken American Eagle at a bar earned him attention from the actual CIA, who set up opposite his house to spy on the man. The occupants of the house then told Alan because that’s what neighbours do.
Starting with the song “Say You Want A Revolution”, this series charts a rebellion movement that initially seems to be against authority, whether that be parental, school or government but becomes a rebellion against reality itself, with Grant Morrison inserting his avatar King Mob into the story and reaping his own rewards as result, as well as urging readers to follow the lead. The Invisibles is a textbook for a number of anarchist and protest groups worldwide.
A debate between the principles of security and freedom that, despite months spent painting the security proponents as the bad guys and the freedom protagonists as the heroes, twists towards the end, presenting security as a pragmatic choice in extreme circumstances. Such a conservative stance from a socialist creator, it’s Mark Millar-as-George Orwell.
Without any political target, this is a rage against the machine, one man trying and failing to break free of the system that has trapped and maintains him within its mass. A surreal reinterpretation of the job culture, as a graphic designer fids hismelf surrounded by faceless individuals, hamster tubes and takes to immersing his head in alcohol. Get the second version for author Jeff Nicholson’s non-happy Dave-Sim-esque ending.
A cry against the UK’s homophobic legislation self published by Alan Moore, with a credit list beyond belief, from Frank Miller to Brian Bolland to Neil Gaiman to Dave Sim to Jamie Hernandez to Bryan Talbot, and including Moore, Bissette and Veitch’s Mirror Of Love essay of gay history and culture.
It beings with the death of George Bush at the hands of a rogue superhero, a clear revenge fantasy after the events of the Iraq War, that fuels an anti-superhero drive peeling back the layers of government. The Boys, Cla$$ War and No Hero cover similar territory but this has a proper Presidential asassination in the Oval Office.
A new anthology volume created as part of ComICA targeting corruption in worldwide government and how it fuels poverty and inequality. Of all the comics mentioned it’s possibly the one that can make you the most angry. And committed. And with a desire to do something, damn it. Maybe blow up Parliament. Maybe not, just saying.
Notable additions include Grant Morrison and Paul Grists’s St Swithin’s Day, Pat Mills’ World War Three, Judge Dredd in general, and if you like your politics syrupy West Wing style, then Ex Machina.