On Tuesday, February 23, Mrs. Ewing’s senior English Honors class had a virtual Q&A with David Lloyd, an English writer and illustrator.
Lloyd is best known for working with Alan Moore on the 1980s dystopian graphic novel, V for Vendetta. The graphic novel follows the story’s title character and protagonist, V, an anarchist revolutionary dressed in a Guy Fawkes mask, as he begins an elaborate and theatrical revolutionist campaign to kill his former captors, bring down the fascist state, and convince the people to abandon fascism in favour of anarchy, while inspiring a young woman, Evey Hammond, to be his protégée. The graphic novel was adapted into a film by Warner Brothers in 2005.
Lloyd was contacted by an unlikely source: Justin Vacher, a student in Mrs. Ewing’s class.
“It started as a joke,” Justin said. “We heard that the AP class did a call with one of Mrs. Ewing’s favorite writers (bestselling author Edwidge Danticat), and I said ‘hey, what if we had one with Alan Moore?”
Alan Moore is famously reclusive, as Mrs. Ewing told Justin, but he would not be deterred.
“I kinda took it as a challenge,” he said. “I tried to reach out to Alan Moore, but I couldn’t find any contact information for him. Then I thought, what about David Lloyd? It’s a comic, it’s centered around the illustrations, and I thought it would be cool to talk to him about the illustrations and why he drew certain things the way he did.”
Mrs. Ewing liked this idea, so Justin started digging. He found Lloyd’s twitter first, and through that was a link to Lloyd’s website. Through that was another website that claimed would allow the viewer to contact him, and on that website was an eBay link. Justin messaged the owner of the eBay account, asking if the account owner could forward a message to Lloyd.
“A day later, I got an email from David Lloyd,” Justin said. “I asked permission to give his email to Mrs. Ewing, which he gave, and then they set it up from there.”
Lloyd, who lives in England, met with the class through Google Meet. Each student had a question prepared to ask him, topics ranging from the illustrations of the novel to Lloyd’s experience as an illustrator.
One question had to do with the Guy Fawkes mask that has become symbolic of not only V for Vendetta, but since the book’s publishing has become a ubiquitous sight at various protests around the world. Lloyd had this to say about the mask, as well as about the idea of art being open to interpretation that may not match the artist’s intent.
When asked for recommendations of other graphic novels, Lloyd recommended a few in print and online, but he had a general piece of advice as well.
“The main thing I can say is to read comics that say something,” Lloyd said.
“Comics like Spider-Man are great,” he continued, “but they don’t do anything or go anywhere. They’re just great adventures with an occasional social element in them. People didn’t know the power that comics had to say something until stories like Maus (a 1980 graphic novel by Art Spiegelman), and I would definitely recommend seeking stories like those out.”“I think we all have a better understanding of V for Vendetta,”
Justin said. “We all really enjoyed the book, and it was cool to ask questions and get his insight on things that we took from the book when we were reading it on our own. I was really appreciative of him giving his time to talk to us about V for Vendetta. It was a really good learning experience.”