Mike Gold: The Fifth of November

v for vendettaThis is a special day at La Casa del Oro. It’s my daughter’s birthday. Adriane Nash, also a ComicMixer (if you wonder how she got that job, I strongly suspect years and years of working at and managing comic book stores played a significant part), turns… ah, it’s not my place to say. But she’s one year older than she was yesterday.

Adriane was born on November 5th due, in no small part, to her mother Linda’s fantastic sense of humor. In case you didn’t know, November 5th is also Guy Fawkes Day.

If you’re not an anarchist you might not know about Guy Fawkes. According to Wiki (as well as a couple dozen books in my library, just in case you’re uncertain of my politics) he was a member of a group of English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. This was a somewhat complicated plan to assassinate King James I on November 5 1605, blow up the House of Lords, and put a Catholic monarch on the throne. Make no little plans, as Daniel Burnham liked to say. Guy was in charge of the gunpowder they stockpiled in Westminster Palace. Somebody ratted him out and the government did what they did in those days: they spent several days questioning and torturing the malcontent, and ultimately he fessed up.

On January 31, the day of his execution, Fawkes jumped from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, a far, far, far less painful death than being drawn and quartered and semi-hanged and disemboweled and all that stuff you saw Mel Gibson go through in Braveheart. Brits just can’t let go of this one: on this date, Guy Fawkes Day, he is routinely hanged in effigy or tossed on a bonfire (his effigy, not his bones). Fireworks and frivolity ensue.

   Remember, remember!

   The fifth of November,

   The Gunpowder treason and plot;

   I know of no reason

   Why the Gunpowder treason

   Should ever be forgot!

   Guy Fawkes and his companions

   Did the scheme contrive,

   To blow the King and Parliament

   All up alive.

   Threescore barrels, laid below,

   To prove old England’s overthrow.

   But, by God’s providence, him they catch,

   With a dark lantern, lighting a match!

   A stick and a stake

   For King James’s sake!

   If you won’t give me one,

   I’ll take two,

   The better for me,

   And the worse for you.

   A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,

   A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,

   A pint of beer to wash it down,

   And a jolly good fire to burn him.

   Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!

   Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!

   Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

Oh, yes. Guy Fawkes and his story served as the inspiration for the truly classic Alan Moore / David Lloyd graphic novel V For Vendetta, which also happens to be my all-time favorite graphic novel. The likeness David employed became synonymous with the contemporary anarchist movement, the anti-World Trade Organization movement, and was also adopted by many in the Occupy movement three years ago.

Last Friday, I had one trick-or-treater wearing a V mask. Then again, I had another trick-or-treater dressed up as Ebola.

Both received extra candy.