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Image source: Cabezas Cortadas

5 Books like V for Vendetta: Ingenious Literary Graphics

Kedar Prasana itcherAlan Moore is the biggest name in the world of graphic novels. Over the last four decades, his contribution to this usually unappreciated literary form with books like ‘V for Vendetta’ and ‘Watchmen’ has been nothing short of phenomenal. If you are a connoisseur of this modern art of words and images, you would surely like this selection of books similar to ‘V for Vendetta’: ‘Username: Evie’, ‘Tokyo Ghoul’, ‘Hellblazer’, ‘Maus’ and ‘American Splendor’. ~ Kedar Prasana

Think Deep, Think Dark!

Knowledge, like air, is vital to life. Like air, no one should be denied it.

A book like ‘V for Vendetta’ is easier to be disregarded as a pessimistic idea-orgy. It’s even easier to not read it at all and completely ignore its existence. But be sure, it’s a book that’s bound to disturb your very soul if you read it through – much like Orwell does in ‘1984’ or Atwood does in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

Like many others, I only discovered the book after having watched the hugely acclaimed eponymous movie starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving. At its core, the storyline of the book revolves around a police state formed in near future dystopian London. The stigma for this state is not authority – it is knowledge.

The significance of ‘V for Vendetta’ stretches far beyond the literary world. For better or for worse – only time could tell – the idea of revolution has given rise to Anonymous, a self-proclaimed internet judiciary that is notorious for following the code set up by Alan Moore while writing this book.

The art of writing graphic novels is on the wane, and for those of our readers who cherish this art, the following list of similar books can be a good way of patronizing their favourite literary form.


Books Similar to ‘V for Vendetta’…

‘Username: Evie’ (Joe Sugg, 2015)

Image Source: Celebmix

Deep, devious and delirious – my world is. Down, out and dead – I am.

This is the newest entry on this list, published just about three months ago. It is also, arguably, the most obscure one. Many might want to decry its presence on this list, but it is still justified in that it is a book that challenges your ideas of the world.

The book is about Evie, a young girl who lives her dreamy life through an app that lets her create her world. Throughout the story, you will come across a range of characters – sane and insane, young and old, real and imaginary.

The confusion gets more and more treacherous and it wouldn’t be too long before you find yourself looking frantically for that line separating fact and fiction.  

Similarity Match: 90%
The most striking similarity between ‘Username: Evie’ and ‘V for Vendetta’ is the scramble that lead characters find themselves in, in their bids to try and change their worlds. However, ‘Username: Evie’, is arguably limited in outlook while ‘V for Vendetta’ aims for nothing short of a whole new world.

‘Tokyo Ghoul’ (Sui Ishida, 2013)

Image Source: Amazon

The moment of truth is the moment of suffering. I prefer deception to truth.

Japanese Manga has done more for graphic novels than any other entity. Hugely famous around the world, the art form has single-handedly fought the idea that graphic novels are only meant for children.

‘Tokyo Ghoul’, published in 2013, is a masterpiece by Sui Ishida – a manga veteran. The plot is a circuitous journey through Tokyo’s lanes and streets, as the young lead of Ken Kaneki tries to find his long-lost date who revealed herself to be a deadly ghoul.

What follows is a journey of truth, deception, deceit, guile and quite notoriously – bloodshed.

Similarity Match: 85%
Even though ‘V for Vendetta’ and ‘Tokyo Ghoul’ may not appear to be quite similar superficially because of their entirely different settings and motives, readers can easily sense that the feeling of oppression in Ken Kaneki and the Anarchist is just the same.

‘Hellblazer’ (Peter Milligan and Others, 1997)

Image Source: Quatorze Noites

You don’t realize it, sir, but you have lived your life. It’s time to go now.

This entry particularly concerns the book ‘Hellblazer: The Original Sins’ in the ‘Hellblazer’ series published by DC Comics. I have always thought that the character of Josh Constantine is among the most underrated of DC characters.

He is not a superhero. He is far from being a supervillain. He is just a regular guy who wants to shine with his innate luck, penchant for magic and sheer audacity. If you want to get a glimpse of the dark side of a working class hero’s mind, this one’s for you.

Similarity Match: 75%
The first and the most prominent similarity between ‘Hellblazer’ and ‘V for Vendetta’ is the darkness of illustrations. David Lloyd, a famed British artist, is to be credited for ably handling these jobs for both of these books. ‘Hellblazer’, however, is an out-and-out entertainer, while ‘V for Vendetta’ manages to be philosophical, too.


If You Like ‘V for Vendetta’, You Will Like…

The entries so far have been thoroughly action-packed and fast-moving thrillers. But graphic novels don’t always have to be high on adrenaline.

Let’s take a look at two very likeable, but slow-paced graphic novels that ‘V for Vendetta’ fans will find worth reading.  

‘Maus’ (Art Spiegelman, 1991)

Image Source: Book Critics

To see that he still cared for life even after practically living death, it moved me. It moved me to tears. It still does.

Art Spiegelman is one of the most revered of American graphic artists. ‘Maus’, also dubbed as ‘Maus: A Survivor’s Tale’ is his most accomplished work, and quite deservedly so.

Much has been said, written, filmed and talked about being a Jew in Nazi Germany and the horrors of the holocaust. Spiegelman still manages to stand out by presenting to us an intimate look at how those years affected his father. It’s very moving to see the father-son relationship unfold in ‘Maus’.     

‘V for Vendetta’ feeds on confrontation and sarcasm, while ‘Maus’ takes pleasure in being subtle and hesitant. At the heart of it all, however, lies the same attempt at standing up to injustice, saying enough is enough.

‘American Splendor’ (Harvey Pekar, 1976-2008)

Image Source: Amazon

That record, man, is a good one. It’s a good record, man. I’m telling you in advance it’s a good record. Buy it please, man, I gotta eat tonight.

Published sporadically for over 25 years, the true value of ‘American Splendor’ dawned upon art lovers and literary snobs after its creator, Harvey Pekar, finally succumbed to his illness, having spent a lifetime in obscurity, often funding his own publications, trying to be the sole documenter of Cleveland.

‘American Splendor’ is as real as it gets. It’s a look at how real, working class people of Cleveland, Ohio live. The author never shies away from being himself, from cussing or from making Mark Twain-esque observations.

On a trivial note: A handful of Harvey Pekar appearances on the Late Night Show by David Letterman have forever been etched into the history of awkward and erratic.

Harvey Pekar tried to stick to the streets, while Alan Moore tried to transcend to greatness. Alan Moore himself collaborated a few times with Pekar on ‘American Splendor’, calling him an ‘Einstein in a mental ward’.


The World is What It Is

Making sense of anarchy is not a simple task. If you love ‘V for Vendetta’ for its harsh reality, you might find the following selections – they are all not necessarily graphic novels – quite amusing: ‘Animal Farm’, ‘Sandman’, ‘Watchmen’ and ‘Preacher’.  

Just like always, it is needless to mention that all of your remarks, comments and suggestions are dearly looked forward to.

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