The Guy Fawkes mask depicted in Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s comic series V for Vendetta and the film based on it has become a symbol of protest around the world, with sightings on the group Anonymous, at Occupy protests, on Julian Assange of Wikileaks, and at G20 and G8 conferences. Its use is growing rapidly, with the Occupy protests the latest vector of proliferation. The Guardian in the UK asked Moore about the phenomenon. “It turns protests into performances,” Moore said. “The mask is very operatic; it creates a sense of romance and drama.”
Moore took the opportunity to tweak DC parent Time Warner for its role in the masks (which are licensed movie merchandise). “I find it comical, watching Time Warner try to walk this precarious tightrope,” he said. “It’s a bit embarrassing to be a corporation that seems to be profiting from an anti-corporate protest… And yet they really don’t like turning down money—it goes against all of their instincts.”
Over 100,000 masks a year have been sold in the UK, according to The Guardian, which means that worldwide sales are probably some multiple of that. The graphic novel collecting the 1982 series is still a consistent seller, regularly charting between #150 and #200 in the Top 300 Graphic Novels charts of sales to comic stores (see “Top 300 Graphic Novels—October 2011”).