V for Vendetta is a British dystopian graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd.
It was published by DC Comics in 1988, during the authoritarian reign of right wing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and it speaks out against fascism and censorship, two prevalent themes in UK during Thatcher’s reign. The novel represents a post-nuclear war United Kingdom that is being led by a cruel fascist regime ‘”Norsefire”‘, which has taken away the freedom of expression from its citizens. Talking about the story, illustrator David Lloyd said, “Our attitude toward Margaret Thatcher’s ultra-conservative government was one of the driving forces behind the fascist British police state we created in Vendetta…The destruction of this system was V’s primary reason for existence”. (Medley).
Thatcher’s government was also widely condemned for their actions against homosexuality, passing the infamous Section 28 of the Local Government Act, 1988 which forbade schools from teaching “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. (Carpentieri). In the novel too, the government is shown to hunt down homosexuals and torture them in camps similar to Hitler’s concentration camps during WWII. Le Transperceneige (The Snowpiercer) is a science fiction post-apocalyptic French graphic novel created by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette and published by Casterman in 1982. An English translation, titled The Snowpiercer was released in 2014 by Titan Comics. It revolves around a world that has been destroyed by a climate-altering weapon after a war between ‘two great powers.’ Le Transperceneige was published towards the latter part of the Cold War. The 2 powers and the climate-altering weapon could be a representation of USA, Russia, and the stocking up of nuclear weapons by the two countries.
The Cold War was also a period of rising social inequality and widening income gaps all around the world due to the rise of capitalism. The graphic novel could be interpreted as a social commentary on a possible post-Cold War world. These comics were written six years apart in a similar context of a post-world war Europe and were written during the Cold War when conservatism was rising throughout Europe. France saw the rise of a xenophobic far right party, National Front in 1981 and Thatcher became Prime Minister of The United Kingdom in 1979. Another common factor between these two comics is that they are both post war dystopias. The war threatening the world in the 1980’s had already happened in both these comics.
Thus, the novels Le Transperceinage and V for Vendetta portray social inequality using plot development, symbolism and imagery to make readers question the role of governments and make them realize the value of their freedom