Remember those stylized “Guy Fawkes” masks that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators wore – the mustachioed face with a mocking smile that became a familiar symbol of the protests in New York’s Zuccotti Park and other cities a year ago? Ever wonder where those came from?
Answer: The mind and pen of David Lloyd, a British comic-book artist who designed the mask for “V for Vendetta,” the classic graphic novel that he and writer Alan Moore created in the 1980s, centering on a masked rebel fighting a fascist British government. The story later gained wider exposure when it was adapted into the 2006 film starring Natalie Portman.
And Lloyd says he was “quite pleased” to see his symbol of defiance taken up by the Occupy protesters years later.
“I have the greatest sympathy for the Occupy movement … they do represent in a true sense the 99 percent versus the 1%,” Lloyd said Thursday in an interview at New York Comic Con, where he is a guest this weekend. “People got away with murder, financial murder, and no one seems to pay the penalty.”
The mask was created almost by accident, Lloyd said. Originally he planned to use a generic Guy Fawkes mask of the sort available in England around Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes Day in the U.K., which commemorates the demise of the English rebel who unsuccessfully tried to blow up Parliament in 1605. But when Lloyd designed his mask, it was summertime, and the generic masks weren’t readily available.
“I couldn’t get one, so I had to create my own,” Lloyd said.
While the demonstrations are gone, Lloyd thinks the Occupy movement still has a future. “It doesn’t mean the spirit doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t mean the intention to come back does not exist.”
Lloyd’s current project is Aces Weekly, an online comic available by subscription featuring original comics by a wide variety of artists from around the world, including Lloyd himself. “It’s a way of getting fantastic comic art and stories to the public in the easiest and most economic way, which is straight from the creator to the buyer through the Internet,” he said.