The Cartoon Museum re-opens (no advance booking required) with an exciting new exhibition which celebrates the cultural impact of V for Vendetta from the classic graphic novel to the cult film classic
The exhibition is now open and will be running until 31st October 2021
V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask will chart the rise from graphic novel, to hit film and now global phenomenon as a symbol of protest.
Securing rare loans from the art department of Warner Bros, The Cartoon Museum will present a history of this modern classic with original artwork and covers,
as well as costumes and designs that have never been seen in the UK before.
“Stunningly executed and movingly relevant”
Radio Times – Film Review
The exhibition comes at an appropriate time when interest in V for Vendetta continues to rise. Original pages of David Lloyd’s work have been sold at auction for over £20,000, while the graphic novel continues to top bestseller lists four decades after its original release. As well as the high-profile loans from Warner Bros, The Cartoon Museum will also display three original V for Vendetta covers from the initial run in Warrior magazine.
Illustrated by David Lloyd and written by Alan Moore, the central character of the masked and mysterious ‘V’ became an iconic symbol of comics, cinema and the hacker group, Anonymous. Its cultural impact, spanning nearly 40 years, is explored through 36 original artworks by David Lloyd, including black and white pages and colour paintings. These will be displayed alongside the original mask worn by Hugo Weaving in Warner Bros.’ blockbuster 2005 movie adaptation, one of only three that were used during production, as well as costume designs and storyboards. V for Vendetta first ran as a black-and-white strip between 1982 and 1985, in Warrior, a British anthology comic published by Quality Communications. It was one of the comic’s most popular strips, but Warrior was soon cancelled after only 26 issues due to low sales. Three years later, DC Comics – famously the publishers of Batman and Superman titles – persuaded Moore and Lloyd to let them give V a new home.
From then, Lloyd’s illustrations and Moore’s storylines – portraying a moody and bleak futuristic vision of Britain, suffering from an almost apocalyptic nuclear destruction and the ravages of a neo-fascist state – became one of the most celebrated graphic novels of all time. It is in this setting where V wages a seemingly solo war against the totalitarian government and is eventually aided by Evey, a young woman who is victimised by the regime and decides to take action.
The exhibition launches at a time when, perhaps inspired by the fears and anxieties of the time in the UK, audiences may see V for Vendetta in a new light, following a pandemic year that recharged debates over rights, Government control and citizenship. Visitors will also be able to get up close to the real mask that Hugo Weaving wore in his role as V in the 2005 film. The mask is one of only three that were made for the film and perhaps was the turning point which transformed the Guy Fawkes-inspired disguise from recognizable pop culture to global phenomenon, seen around the world in all manner of protests from across the political spectrum.
V for Vendetta, adapted by the Wachowskis fresh from the completion of The Matrix trilogy, became a box office smash and led a new generation to the comic. Original costume designs by Sammy Sheldon Differ, who subsequently worked on Marvel’s Ant-Man and the upcoming Eternals, will also be on display, showing how David Lloyd’s creations were interpreted for the screen. These will also be accompanied by the original storyboards for a scene in which V plans a daring raid on a TV station, designed by long-time Wachowski collaborator Axel Eichhorst. The iconography and themes of V for Vendetta, and how they have spread from the page and screen into people’s lives, will also be a major focus of Behind the Mask. In the movie, the mantle of the mask passes from V to Evey but in the finale we see thousands of ‘ordinary people’ don their own masks. This prompts the exhibition to explore the idea of self-expression through protest – anyone can be V, so where does the line between anarchism and protest sit for the individual? The exhibition explores the voices of protesters in the real world, all under the looming presence of the 21st century’s most recognizable protest art – the mask of V.
Joe Sullivan, Director of The Cartoon Museum says: “We’re delighted to re-open following the lockdown and to do so by inviting people to look behind the mask and explore how a British comic strip became a global phenomenon. The Cartoon Museum’s mission is to celebrate and conserve our British comic tradition and this exhibition will take visitors on a journey beginning with the original 1980s artwork of the masterful David Lloyd, to the early 21st century interpretations of Hollywood, and finally with the effect the comic still has on global culture today. V for Vendetta shows us a near-future world, that is borne out of fear and anger following a potential catastrophic event. That’s why it still speaks to us today and I look forward to welcoming the public back as we continue to celebrate the art, culture and comics that try and make sense of the world we live in.”
· Tickets for V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask are available online from The Cartoon Museum Box Office Ticket Prices: £8.50 adults, £5 concessions, £3 students
· V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask merchandise: can purchased from The Cartoon Museum Shop
· The Cartoon Museum opening times: Mon | Closed, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun 10.30am – 5.30pm Thu | 10.30am – 8pm
· No advance booking is required to visit the Museum or the Exhibition
· The Cartoon Museum address: 63 Wells Street, Fitzovia, London, W1A 3AE- Tel: 020 7580 8155
The Cartoon Museum Mission Statement:
The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its value to culture and society. Through our programme of exhibitions, events and workshops, we aim to:
· Conserve & provide access to Britain’s cartoon and comic art heritage
· Encourage participation in and raise awareness of a popular art form
· Support new work by cartoonists and comics artists
We are a registered charity, run by a small team of staff and a Board of Trustees.
About The Cartoon Museum:
The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its importance to culture and society. Since 2006 it has received 420k visitors, and built a nationally important collection of 4,300 cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18k items. It runs a well-attended school programme and sell-out school holiday workshops, and over 50k children and adults have attended cartooning, comics and animation workshops at the museum.
The museum has faced a difficult 12 months, with the doors closed for 10 months and the loss of a beloved, long-term staff member, Alison Brown, to COVID-19 in January 2021. Facing the threat of permanent closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Museum started a fundraising appeal, which saw an outpouring of support from Friends, cartoon and comics fans, and the cartooning and comic artist community, raising £127, 000 towards the Museum’s survival. The museum also saw significant funding support, including £98,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, £96,000
from Arts Council England and DCMS. Reopening on 18 May, with two fantastic new exhibitions, the Museum is looking forwards to a brighter 2021 and is excited to welcome visitors back.
About Warner Bros. Consumer Products:
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, part of Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences, extends the Studio’s powerful portfolio of entertainment brands and franchises into the lives of fans around the world. WBCP partners with best-in-class licensees globally on an award-winning range of toys, fashion, home décor, and publishing inspired by franchises and properties such as DC, Wizarding World, Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, HBO, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. The division’s successful global themed entertainment business includes ground-breaking experiences such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. With innovative global licensing and merchandising programs, retail initiatives, promotional partnerships and themed experiences, WBCP is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.
characters and elements © & ™ DC
For more information visit www.cartoonmuseum.org
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