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Evolving From A Vendetta: An Interview With David Lloyd

Written by  Published September 11, 2016 03:05
One of the most prolific graphic novels of all time is definitely V For Vendetta. Written in 1982 by Alan Moore as a comic strip in the British compilation comic, Warrior, it was a dark cautionary commentary on politics and anarchism. Later in 1988, it was published under DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint in the U.S. as a miniseries and gained even more notoriety. Most of you are most familiar with the 2006 film starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman (which was not endorsed by Moore) and the Guy Fawkes mask worn by the anti-hero of the story, V, which has become an iconic symbol for many protest groups including the hacktivist group, Anonymous.

But most of you may not know much about the artist of V For Vendetta, a guy named David Lloyd. Lloyd is a very accomplished artist that, Along with VFV, has worked on such comics as Hellblazer, Hulk, Dr. Who Comics and Global Frequency for Wildstorm. Most recently, Dave has worked primarily on his online anthology series, Aces Weekly, which features work by a plethora of famous creators from all over the world.

At this year’s Montreal Comic Con, I was thrilled to sit down with David and chat with him about Aces Weekly, V For Vendetta and how it is still relevant in the current state of the world and a bunch of other stuff!

Enjoy!

 

FPB: So first off, I’d like to go straight to Aces Weekly! Most people know you for V For Vendetta, what’s this project all about?

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DL: Aces Weekly is an exclusively digital comic magazine. And when I say digital I mean digital delivery, not digital comic art, per se. It comes out every week, you can subscribe to it or buy back volumes of it. Any way you get 20 pages a week, every 7 weeks it makes a volume, and we’re at our 23rd volume!

Every volume is about 200 pages plus extras. It’s a big, big collection. I’m not sure what it is in Canadian currency, but it’s about a pound a week in England. It’s fantastic stuff coming directly to you every week. It goes right onto your computer, tablet or smart TV. It looks great, and it’s a mix of serial stories and short stories and it’s something I want everyone to check out!

 

FPB: So, it’s obviously you contributing and I’m seeing so many famous names of artists and creators from around the world, it seems.

DL: That’s one of the things I’m proud of actually, we have a global cast. Artists from Ireland, Argentina, Brazil, Spain and of course the U.K. and the U.S. There’s some nice names, John McCrea, Mark Wheatley...some real greats. And even Herb Trimpe was kind enough to give us some stories.

 

FPB: Wow, that’s awesome, did you know him well?

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DL: I met him a couple of times at conventions, he was a friend of mine. I asked him if he wanted to contribute and he said yeah. He was a great guy and he gave us a couple of stories which are old fashioned but REALLY charming. Really, really beautiful stuff. Both were war stories and you know, he was a flying enthusiast and loved planes. Both stories are about his favorite planes. He was great.

We have a great mix of what I describe as “industry greats” and “great newcomers”. It’s an incredible cast, like I said.

 

FPB: There seems to be such a great variety of stories, fantasy, science fiction...

DL: Yeah, that’s what I wanted to do. I believe in the diversity of comic book art, and what it can do. I’m not interested in one form of it, y’know? We’re not just superheroes, we’re not just this or that. And we cover a lot of areas. I give freedom to everyone involved, to do what they want to. As long as I know they’re good, I say “do what you want”.

So, we often get a some unconventional stuff, AND conventional stuff. It’s a mix of all kinds of material. But in terms of an anthology, it works well. It all sort of supports each other. The idea was to have something for everybody. And when you’re doing something with a subscription, I think it’s important to do that. It widens your subscription base.

And I like the idea of entertainment that’s for everybody. I guess I’m old fashioned in how I look at things. Once upon a time, whole families went to see movies. There aren’t a lot of movies like that anymore. That’s what I really wanted to do. In a sense, it’s a bit like the Sunday papers used to be, y’know? You get something every week that’s a bit of a mix and it would be for everybody. I think we’re successful at bringing that back.

 

FPB: Do you keep up with American comics at all?

DL: Yeah, I see what’s happening. There’s not much changes, really, is there?

 

FPB: Sort of? Well, what I do see what HAS changed is that there is a lot of variety...WITHIN the comic book shops, if you go in and explore. There IS different stuff for different people...but it’s not as promoted, I find.

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DL: That’s always been the problem, hasn’t it? When you go two or three decades ago, there was still lots of indies, but they weren’t promoted. It’s understandable from a comic store’s point of view, because the comic store has a limited budget. It has to invest its stock in the things it knows it’s going to sell. It’s a risk if you put something on the shelf that’s great but nobody knows about it. That’s the problem.

 

FPB: Yeah, you have to use Spider-Man to draw people into the store and then introduce them to the good stuff. Not that Spider-Man’s not good stuff, I love it, but you know what I mean.

DL: Yeah, but the people that read Spider-Man don’t usually like the other stuff. It’s a conundrum for a lot of store owners. Especially when you go back to the 90’s, with the “collecting frenzy”. A lot of stores went out of business. That’s one of the good things about digital. You can reach out and you’re offering a product and you don’t have to invest in it, and hope it sells. You offer it and hope people like it. So, that’s one of the values in doing it this way.

 

FPB: What are some of the fan reactions to Aces Weekly? What have you been hearing from people?

DL: Everyone who’s seen it, likes it. Everyone I’ve talked to likes it, and enjoys the concept. We’ve got a solid number of subscribers. But the big problem is, that comic readers like to collect them. They like getting the “thing”. Even though they like the concept, they are unlikely to make the transition from paper to digital.

Even though we are giving it at an extremely good price!  If I was selling it at store price, I’d understand the reluctance, but at ONE pound a week it’s a steal! It’s a lot of great work and I just hope that a lot of people will get over the, what I describe as, a “paper addiction”, and try it.

 

FPB: Environmentally, it’s sound too, right? What you’re doing is very Eco-friendly. There’s a message in that as well, right?

the damned mutineers promo

DL: Well, yes. if you don’t have to chop down trees, there’s no reason to, right? So there’s always that.

And from an economical standpoint, it’s kind of insanity. When you think about all the money Marvel and DC spend in printing. They know their customers have habits, and they know they could go 100% digital and won’t lose any customers, to be honest. But the reality is that print is going to go out and it’s only a matter of when it’s going to go out. But when you put it up there in cyberspace, there’s no cost at all really. You’ve got to maintain your site and there’s just a few expenses.

The reason we can do 20 pages a week for an English pound is because we don’t have those ridiculous printing costs. The reader gets the benefit of good work at a good price and the creator gets more money from it because the money comes back from subscriptions and individual sales get flipped between everyone on the product. So that’s it.

 

FPB: Now I know my readers would definitely like to hear you talk about V For Vendetta. Were you surprised at the reaction the movie got and how popular the story became after the film came out?

DL: No, not at all. I think the basic story is something that reaches out to everybody in one way or another. It talks about a situation that keeps happening.

 

FPB: It never goes away! Great stories are like that, right?

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DL: Exactly. I wish circumstances were different. I wish it would go away.

 

FPB: With the situation, particularly in the U.S. right now, it’s pretty scary if you compare it.

DL: We have our own problem with the right wing in England as well. And I think that’s what’s really sad about right now. The right wing is becoming popular across Europe too. It’s quite dangerous.

 

FPB: Do you mind me asking why you think that is?

DL: Well, it makes sense, doesn’t it? There’s many reasons. For a start you have a migration crisis with Syria. It affected Europe massively. It’s people escaping from appalling situations, and there’s economic migration as well. That’s also affected Europe greatly. And that pushes people to vote for the right wing, some who might not normally vote that way. It’s just one of those situations that I hope doesn’t get worse.

What you have in the U.S., for instance with Trump, he uses that same weapon to gain power as those people in Europe are. I don’t know what your situation is here in Canada...

 

FPB: We have a liberal government, at the moment. We have a great guy in office right now, in my opinion.

DL: Yeah, so I hear! Thank God for that. I hope nothing changes, because a country has to look after its citizens and make sure they don’t go down the right path. That’s what leadership’s about, y’know. Because it’s very easy for people to go down the wrong path.

 

FPB: Now, we all know Alan Moore’s stance on things. How do you feel about the whole comic book movie genre?

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DL: I have not overall view about movies generated from comics. It’s just the way Marvel and DC can make franchises out of their work, and that’s fair enough. But I think individual authors are obviously going to be concerned about their work. I mean, Alan is not appreciative of the V For Vendetta movie. I took a much more considerate perspective. Because I know Hollywood and my whole viewpoint of it was, “if they made a GOOD movie about V, it would be fine”. I expected the WORST, and what we ended up with was THE BEST, I think.

 

FPB: I really love the movie. I go back and watch it often and I think it was just a great film.

DL:  Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s because The Wachowskis were big fans of the original comic. And they weren’t in the position to neccessarily do exactly what they wanted to, since they were just producing and not directing. But even with that, not being able to put as much creative input into it, they still came up with something quite powerful and very good.

 

FPB: Did they consult you at all on the movie?

DL: No. They sent me the script when they wrote it. I knew it was a done deal then. But when I read the script I knew it was gonna be a good movie! They did ask me for feedback on it, which I did give them. In fact, there was a few storytelling problems in there that I had to fix for them, but it had nothing to do with the structure, or the script itself. It was clear that they knew what they wanted to do, and I was very happy that it would make a good movie.

The only thing I did ask them, was that there was this trend for some studios to run the ending past some town in middle America or something. Y’know, test the ending to that audience to see if they like it. And they would change the ending if it didn’t test well. So I asked for their assurance that that wouldn’t happen. And they told me, “no, that won’t happen”.

So, that was the only thing I was concerned about. They had a good movie, and I just wanted to make sure it stayed the way it was.

 

FPB: I feel they did a great job in getting Hugo Weaving, who is a phenomenal actor. Because he couldn’t use his face to be expressive as V because of the mask, and yet, he found a way to portray this character and make him VERY expressive...without ever using his face. Obviously in the comic you still have a way to show some expression in his masked face ever so slightly, but they couldn’t and they found a way around that. It’s one of the most interesting things about the movie for me.

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DL: Yes, Hugo Weaving has some experience in Japanese theater, that’s how he knew how to portray V in that way. He definitely used that experience. He did a great job. Natalie Portman as well. I like the whole thing.

 

FPB: Thank you so much for the talk, we can get in touch with Aces Weekly via the website?

DL: Yup, it’s www.acesweekly.co.uk, if you go to it, there’s free samples and you can buy packages, and it’ll tell you all about it on the website. See what we have to offer and check it out!

 

 FPB: Thanks again! I always love to talk to those who I consider legends in the industry. So I really appreciate this.

DL: Oh, well, thank you so much for that compliment!

I have to say, this is my 3rd or 4th time speaking to the “British Invasion” era creators in comics and every single one of those guys are AWESOME to speak to. Mr. Lloyd is no exception! They are always outspoken and very comfortable talking about all sorts of things. Be sure to check out Aces Weekly and any other past pieces of his work of his you can find!

That is all for this time! Bleed out!

 

Dave Michaels

With his unique brand of humour mixed with die-hard passion and knowledge for all things comic books, Dave Michaels puts his weekly spin on the pop culture like only he can. Each “episode” of Full Page Bleed provides fun, wacky commentary, interviews, recommendations of Dave’s favourite comics, and whatever else his “evil genius” can conjure up. What are you reading THIS for?! Read some FPB RIGHT NOW and PREPARE to BLEED COMICS! FPB is Here...

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