OCCUPY GUY FAWKES: What does the man behind the mask think of the movement?


A demonstrator wearing a Guy Fawkes mask on the back of her head, calls for the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline during a rally in front of the White House on Nov. 6, 2011 — during Guy Fawkes Day weekend. (JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS)

FROM HIS PEN sprung the most recognizable face in the crowd.

Wherever you see Occupiers chanting, ranting and decamping, you are likely to see his brainchild — a mustachioed symbol of protest inspired by failed revolutionary Guy Fawkes before it was disseminated by the mighty corporation that is the profiting Warner Bros.


(Alan Moore & David Lloyd / DC Entertainment / Vertigo)

The 2006 film starring Natalie Portman — and Hugo Weaving beneath V’s Guy Fawkes costuming — spawned mask giveaways for publicity. In a mere five years — thanks to such activist groups as Anonymous, which reportedly donned the look to shield its members’ identities — the mask has become both a universally recognized image and a wildly popular sales item.

And now, from Wall Street to London, it seems you can’t scan a protesting throng without seeing a Fawkes mask.

Over the Guy Fawkes Day weekend — “Remember, remember, the Fifth of November: the gunpowder treason and plot” — Comic Riffs asked Lloyd for his thoughts on the mass appropriation of his mask:

”As far as that mask is concerned, well, I'm happy it's being used as a multi-purpose banner of protest,” Lloyd tells Comic Riffs. “It's like [Alberto Korda’s] Che Guevara image on T-shirts and such that was used so often in the past as a symbol of revolutionary spirit — the difference being that while Che represented a specific political movement, the mask of V does not: It's neutral.

“It just represents opposition to any perceived tyranny,” continues Lloyd, “which is why it fits easily into being Everyman's tool of protest against oppression rather than being a calling card for a particular group.”

As for the Occupy Movement, the man behind the mask tells Comic Riffs: “I must say, the mass protests against the titanic unfairness of the way things are these days reminds me very much of [Paddy Chayevsky’s 1976 satire] ‘Network,’ that movie where the disillusioned newsman cries out: ‘I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!’ — and causes a ripple that spreads out into the whole city.

“This time it's across the globe.”

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Protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks gather outside St Paul Cathedral in the city of London on October 16, 2011 as part of a global day of protests inspired by the "Occupy Wall Street" and "Indignant" movements. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.

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