26th Mar2006

V For Vendetta: The Comic Book Movie As “Art”

by Will

“Are you like a crazy person or something?”

So, last night I saw “V for Vendetta” and I must say that I wanted to cry. I know there are people who panned it, but there are also those who thought it was quite good. I thought it was beautiful. When it was over, I was shaken, but in a profound way. I wanted to cry.

Now, before you go all off on me, as internet trolls are prone to do, allow me to explain myself. You see, I am a comic book afficienado. I’m not a “fanboy”, per se. I’m not obnoxious like the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. I am one of those people who would like comics to be elevated and accepted as an artform. To me, the term “funnybooks” is a slur a few notches below “nigger”. Yeah, I’m sure that might seem outlandish to many of you, but that is simply how I feel. Comics have meant a lot to me over my life, and they have been some of my best friends at times. As sad as that may be, it pains me when people fail to take them seriously. There ARE more to comics than Batman and X-Men. Sure these are what people think about, but there are entertaining, yet moving tales to be found, such as Art Speigelman’s “Maus” or even Terry Moore’s “Strangers in Paradise”. In the world of comics, just as with music, there is truly something for everyone. But so few people are willing to give them a chance.

I never had any interest in seeing “V”. I’ve never been a big Alan Moore fan, and while I loved “From Hell” since I have a Jack the Ripper fetish, I could never bring myself to watch the trainwreck that was “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. As Jenn has pointed out, the main gist of the movie was “It’s that flick where Natalie Portman had to cut her hair.” But as the release date neared, people began talking about its political message. The next thing I knew, people were worried about the message this movie might be sending. Would it spawn copycats? Was it antipatriotic? I mean, this was a MOVIE based on a COMIC BOOK. Have you ever heard anything like this? Spider-Man didn’t cause journalists to fear that people would try to swing from buildings. Batman never inspired the fear that rich guys might take the law into their own hands. Most of those concepts were deemed too farfetched to matter. But here was a tale which, people felt, hit close to home. Was V a hero or a terrorist? For whom were we to root? This movie got people to thinking. And as I sat there watching it, it got me to thinking, too. I mean, REALLY thinking. And it wasn’t “Could V kick Batman’s ass?” kinds of thoughts. Instead, I thought about politics, about ethics, about religion, about truth. SO\ome might say that it’s sad it took a MOVIE to make me think, but there are others out there like me. And to think, this is nothing new. This story is over a decade old, but is poignant today.

So, when the movie ended, I wanted to cry. In fact, I wanted to weep. Not because it was a sad story. It had its sad parts. Not because it was a happy story, although it had those parts as well. I wanted to cry because I was proud. I was proud that this artform, this literature, was ascending to new heights. I was proud that the medium had the capacity to inspire such thought and emotion. I was proud that the medium had succeeded in hitting “close to home”. And I was proud that this might result in comics finally getting their due in modern society.