Cartoon Museum calls for protest placards to be shared to accompany V for Vendetta exhibition

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Cartoon Museum calls for protest placards to be shared to accompany V for Vendetta exhibition
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. © Paul Quezada-Neiman.

LONDON.- The Cartoon Museum’s latest exhibition V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask (until 31 October 2021) examines the cultural impact of the seminal graphic novel and hit film. Now, as a new feature of the show, the Museum is inviting members of the public to share their own protest paraphernalia for an online exhibition.

From the Peasants’ Revolt to Peterloo, Greenham Common to ‘Rhodes Must Fall’, there is a long history and tradition of civil protest in Britain. One that very much continues to this day.

As part of its exciting, major new exhibition that steps inside the story and characters of one of the world’s most iconic graphic novels, The Cartoon Museum in London’s Fitzrovia is creating an accompanying digital display of banners, placards, flags and other expressions of rebellion in the real world. The online exhibition can be seen at

“Protest and free expression of our opinions are fundamental human rights and at its heart, V for Vendetta is a story of standing up for what you believe in,” says Joe Sullivan, Director of The Cartoon Museum, adding: “However, the main character V’s methods are harmful, totally illegal and, thankfully, fictional. So, in the real world, people protest peacefully in many different ways, from making pamphlets and occupying space to creating cartoons and going on marches. For our display we want to collaborate with people who have taken part in non-violent forms of protest to find out: what does protest mean to them?”

In recent years, mass demonstrations have taken place in response to a number of key issues, including the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – AKA ‘Kill the Bill – the Extinction Rebellion-led climate change protests, government lockdowns and the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Decades before, the country has witnessed huge levels of protest against diverse matters such as the closure of coal mines, the Clause 28 Law and the Poll Tax.

“We would like people who are interested in supporting the exhibition to take a photograph of their chosen object of protest and email it, along with a short bio of up to 100 words introducing themselves and their experience of peaceful protest and activism, along with an up to 100-word quote answering the prompt: “what does protest mean to you?”,” Joe explains.

The photo and words can be sent to Submissions will be curated into an online display throughout the duration of the V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask exhibition.

The online exhibition is being launched by Peter Tatchell, who has campaigned for human rights and LGBT+ freedom for 54 years. He’s participated in over 3,000 protests, been arrested 100 times and suffered more than 300 violent assaults by homophobes and far right extremists. He says “Protest is the lifeblood of democracy. Without it, we’d have tyranny. It’s the way we hold in check the rich and powerful – a safeguard against unbridled state and corporate power. Democracy is about more than voting in a general election once every five years. Protest is how we challenge policies that violate human rights, cause public harm or are opposed by the majority. All the rights and freedoms we now enjoy began with protests, such as those by the Chartists and Suffragettes. Without protest we’d still be living in the Dark Ages.”

Meantime, there is still plenty of time to enjoy this remarkable show that inspired the signature look of the hacker group, Anonymous.

Spanning nearly 40 years since V first hit bookshelves, the exhibition explores the huge cultural impact of Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s creation through 36 original artworks, including black and white pages and colour paintings. These are displayed alongside one of just four original prototype masks created in the costume development for Warner Bros.’ blockbuster 2005 movie adaption, as well as costume designs and storyboards.

The exhibition launched in May, at a time when - perhaps inspired by the fears and anxieties of the time in the UK - audiences may have regarded V for Vendetta in a new light, following a pandemic year that recharged debates over rights, Government control and citizenship.

The exhibition also opened when interest in V for Vendetta continued 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 is displaying three original V for Vendetta covers from the initial run in Warrior magazine.

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