In 1982, British publisher Quality Publications began a comic anthology called “Warrior”, which would mark the debut of a black-and-white serialized strip called V For Vendetta. Written by Alan Moore and drawn by David Lloyd, the story was set in a future London that has become a fascist state ruled by oppression and terror, but an eccentric vigilante fought against the system accompanied by a victim of the state named Evie. By the time the story was reprinted and completed at DC Comics, Moore had become a household name among American comic book fans, becoming one of the most influential comic book writers of the last two decades.
15 years later, V For Vendetta is finally being turned into a feature film by the Wachowski Brothers, the masterminds behind “The Matrix,” and last July, Superhero Hype! had a chance to sit down and talk with series co-creator David Lloyd about his classic collaboration with Moore at the Comic-Con in San Diego.
CS: Last year, this movie seemed to come out of nowhere. How involved have you been with producers Joel Silver and the Wachowskis in getting this movie made?
David Lloyd: I haven’t been involved with it at all. They’ve just been going off and doing it. The first time I actually knew that they were putting it into production was when I saw the big promo poster thing that was on the ‘net. Somebody sent it to me and said, “Hey, have you seen this?” And it was that very first one with the big metallic V. And I said, “Oh, they’ve done it” and that was the first time I knew and then I was coerced. John called me and had a chat and they sent me the script, and I made some suggestions of what I thought might be useful. But I haven’t helped in any other way. The help I’ve given is basically through the work I’ve done on the art. From the trailer it looks like they’ve followed that pretty closely.
CS: It’s been over 15 years since you worked on this series, so is it strange to suddenly be reliving this thing from your past?
Lloyd: No, because it’s always selling. There’s “Watchmen” and “V” and they sell constantly. Luckily, it’s one of those graphic novels that bookstores always recommend, especially the people who don’t know comics, because it has that ability to reach people who don’t usually read them. I remember in the early days of “Warrior”, especially, women reading it who said, “Oh, I don’t read.” It was easy, because Alan writes great female characters. It had that effect, so it’s always recommended, and I’m always getting royalty checks for it, so you know, I’m constantly reminded of it. To be honest, it’s a foundation of my career. I mean everyone who knows me, knows me from “V”, and they buy me, often on the strengths of “V”, knowing what I do. That always gives me a kind of an introduction to people.
CS: Although this series was created in the early 80s, the story was actually set in 1997. How do you feel about where it stands in our current time in terms of things you predicted?
Lloyd: Well it’s a bit like George Orwell writing “1984”, isn’t it really? But he sort of died before he could actually see what happened to that. But yeah, 1997 was quite a distance in the future and the way things were going, at the time, you know, we had the Margaret Thatcher period, and she was doing some really terrible things there. There was kind of an ultra-conservative agenda the government was putting into practice. And you know, it was the time to do something like that.
[At this point, “V” producer Grant Hill, who was sitting with us, jumped into the conversation.]
Grant Hill: One of the interesting things you mentioned before was going to London now, and predicting the evidence of the CTV cameras. London had the most CTV cameras per capita like ten or twenty times. On every street in London, they sort of covered every corner. It’s pretty remarkable.
CS: Last year, there were some serious bombings in the England tube system. How do you think that might affect how people view this movie?
Lloyd: Well, I think it will when it comes out, but let’s face it, if there are no more terrorist attacks between now and November [note: “V for Vendetta” was initially to come out last Fall], I think people will see it in a different light. But if it was coming out next week, say, then it would have quite an impact. I think it is important that it is about terrorists and it is about a suicide bomber, and even though that’s fictional, I think it’s something we need to think about. I mean, we really should. I think we ought to see more movies about terrorists and stuff.
CS: On the panel earlier, you made a comment about there being a thin line between terrorist and a freedom fighter. Could you elaborate on that?
Lloyd: Yeah, that’s it. In a democracy, we look at a terrorist as a terrorist, and in a tyranny, we look at them as a freedom fighter. I mean, how do you judge? It’s like that term they used in Iraq. They talk about insurgents in Iraq, but actually what they’re doing is fighting and inviting force. I mean, suppose we had a gunman in England that did have a dirty foreign policy and was plotting something against France, we don’t know. Maybe the French government would have gotten very upset and invited us. You would have had a lot of English partisans going around bombing up French insulations, wouldn’t you?
CS: Considering what’s been going on in America, do you think there’s a time where we might need someone like V to step in?
Lloyd: In America, I don’t know. In a democratic system like this, I don’t think you’d get too much support, but I don’t know. No I don’t think so, not in America.
CS: Who actually owns the rights to the series at this point?
Lloyd: DC made the offer to buy it, but they would only continue it, serialize it, if they bought the rights to it. And Alan was doing very successful work for them at the time. And we both agreed to sell it, and they bought the rights, and consequently the movie rights, and that’s how we are where we are. There was never any problem with it. So we sold the rights to DC, who owe us various percentages, etc.
CS: Do you get a percentage of the movie, too?
Lloyd: Oh yeah, we get a percentage of what DC gets.
CS: Great, that’s good to hear.
Lloyd: Yeah, we’re not stupid
CS: Have you kept in touch with Alan Moore at all?
Lloyd: No, I haven’t spoken to Alan in quite a few years. I haven’t worked with him since V. He’s a nice guy, but there’s just no reason for us to chat. I actually kind of miss seeing him. In the early days he used to go to conventions, but he became so popular that whenever he went to a convention he was mobbed, so he stopped going. For me, basically that’s where I see all the guys I know in the business, at conventions. Everyone working in comics, everyone’s a freelancer, and the only chance you get seeing them is when they all come together. Here especially because you get a lot of British guys, and American guys, and in England.
CS: What are you doing now as far as comic book work?
Lloyd: I must tell you! I’m doing a book for France, which is going to be published in English by Dark Horse in early spring of next year. This is in 2 volumes. Written and drawn, I did the whole thing. It’s the first of 2 parts and the second album is out in France in November, but it’s going to be published in its entirety in hard book in comic book size. I don’t know how well it’s going to do [in France], because they like a particular style. I’m also a bit of an intruder in the market, since I’m English, and they know me from “V for Vendetta” because it’s very popular in France, too.
V For Vendetta opens in regular theatres and in IMAX on March 17.
Source: Edward Douglas