HiLobrow tracks the history of the Guy Fawkes mask from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, to Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, to Epic Fail Guy, and to it’s recent popularity in the Occupy movements.
The mask as an object began its migration into modern popular-political culture on the /b/ board of 4chan, the online image board that gave rise to the group Anonymous. A character known as Epic Fail Guy, a stick figure who failed at everything, became popular on /b/ in 2006. In a collaborative cartooning style popular on the boards, threads would be posted (with single frame images contributed by many people) showing Epic Fail Guy trying to achieve some action or status and failing again and again. In late September 2006, one such thread appeared wherein Epic Fail Guy discovered what appeared to be a V for Vendetta film-type Guy Fawkes in a garbage can. Subsequently, Epic Fail Guy was often depicted wearing the mask.