Enter the Dystopian Avenger: Genre Blurring and Détournement in Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s "V for Vendetta"

Daniele Croci


My work here considers Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s graphic novel V for Vendetta ([1990] 2005, hereinafter VfV) to investigate the hybridization between the formulaic patterns of Anglo-American superhero comics and dystopian science fiction. The theoretical framework stems from Darko Suvin’s study of sci-fi as “literature of cognitive estrangement” (1979: 4) characterized by the presence of a novum, i.e. a “totalizing phenomenon or relationship deviating from the author’s and implied reader’s norm of reality” (64). Drawing on these analytical categories, I argue that the cross-contamination between superhero comics and dystopian fiction formulas leads to significant problematization of VfV’s formal structure. This radical reconfiguration is characterised by both a diegetic and metatextual strategy of creative appropriation, in which intertextual allusions and quotations are repurposed as means of political and cultural resistance.

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