In the early 1980's David Lloyd was offered a chance to do a serial in the upcoming UK comics anthology magazine, Warrior. Warrior was helmed by Dez Skinn, a longtime writer and editor in the UK comics scene. Lloyd suggested Alan Moore could write the serial, originally conceived by Skinn as mystery set in the 1930's. As Lloyd had no desire to do a period piece, Moore suggested they set the story in the (then) near-future instead. The creation of the story was very much a collaborative effort. Dez Skinn came up with the title "V for Vendetta", and it was Lloyd who first suggested dressing V up as Guy Fawkes. Moore began writing the story in 1981.
Warrior magazine was published in March of 1982. It came out more or less monthly through 1985 when the magazine was cancelled with issue #26. Each issue contained one chapter of Vendetta, roughly 5 - 7 pages long, and published in a magazine-sized format with black and white art.
Some interesting Vendetta-related trivia about the Warrior issues: V was featured on its covers three times: issues #5, #11 and #16. (You can view many of the Warrior covers here). The aforementioned article, "Behind the Painted Smile" appeared in issue #17. Though Lloyd was the artist, Tony Weare drew the interlude chapter, "Vincent," and provided additional art for chapters "Valerie" and "The Vacation". Warrior also featured the exploits of the superhero Marvelman (published in the U.S. as "Miracleman" due to copyright issues), also written by Alan Moore. Warrior ceased publication in 1985, with issue 26, due to legal problems over the use off Marvelman. This final issue featured Chapter 12 of Book two, "The Verdict". It would be the last time V for Vendetta would appear in print for three years.
There has also been a long-standing theory--since the letter pages in Warrior, in fact--that there was a connection between Marvelman and V; that V was, in fact, Marvelman's alter ego, Mike Moran. The theory has often been cited as true by various industry insiders, but according to this archived interview with Alan Moore, the theory is just speculation.
By the time Warrior was cancelled, Moore was gaining both critical and popular acclaim through his work on the DC Comics comicbook, Swamp Thing. Moore's popularity skyrocketed with his collaboration with Dave Gibbons on the classic Watchmen. These factors no doubt contributed to DC acquiring the rights to republish Vendetta, in color, and give Moore and Lloyd the opportunity to finish the story they began six years earlier.
DC Comic's released Vendetta in ten monthly issues from 1988 - 1989 in standard comicbook-sized form. Each issue was 32 pages and contained several chapters of the story. Alan Moore wrote a one-page introduction for the first issue, reflecting on the creation of the story and its thematic and personal relevance. Steve Whitaker, Siobhan Dodds, and David Lloyd provided the colors. Each issue featured original cover artwork by Lloyd and the back cover featured photography by Mitch Jenkins. The first seven issues saw the colorized reprints of what appeared in Warrior; the remaining issues were all-new material, marking this the first time the complete V for Vendetta was published.
The ten issues were then collected into a trade paperback (also known by the misleading nomenclature, "graphic novel") in 1990. The original printings featured the same wrap-around cover as the first issue of the DC series. This edition presented the complete story as well as Alan Moore's introduction to the DC series, his article "Behind the Painted Smile", an introduction by David Lloyd, and reduced versions of Llyod's cover art for the DC series without the trade dress. Subsequent printings of the collected edition featured an up-close portrait of V's Guy Fawkes mask for the cover, with a story synopsis and creator bios on the back.
How you want to read the story depends on how adventurous you are. The easiest way is to purchase the collected edition, still in print and available at your local comicbook store or in the comicbook section of most large bookstores. It's easily available at online booksellers like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or online comicbook shops like Midtown Comics.
The individual issues of the DC series can be found in the back-issue bins of comicbook stores or at comicbook conventions, and probably online through auction sites like E-Bay. (In fact, as of this writing, there were several auctions selling the complete run relatively inexpensively.)
I have never found an issue of Warrior for sale in the U.S. at stores or conventions. These issues are rare, though I have seen them for sale on internet auction sites, and sometimes through UK comicbook stores that sell online. In fact, I have recently purchased the complete run of Warrior on E-bay, although this was the first time I recall seeing a complte set for sale. Due to their high collectability these issues often sell at high prices so obtaining the complete run will not be cheap.
As always, if you know of any additional information that I have accidentally left out, or if anything I've written here is in error, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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