The mask, seen here on a protester in Boston in September 2011, is based on the story of Guy Fawkes, who tried and failed to blow up Parliament in 1605. The 1980s graphic novel V for Vendetta follows a masked vigilante named "V" who hopes to carry out the same plot against a dystopic British government. Unlike Fawkes, “V” succeeds. When the book was made into a movie in 2005, the mask became a pop culture icon.
On Sept. 17, 2011, members of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) started camping out in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan’s financial district, and since then the movement has spread to 1,500 cities. One of its most enduring icons has been the Guy Fawkes mask, popularized by the graphic novel and film V for Vendetta anda constant presence at protests worldwide.