Important Vegan Discussions: Who should zombies eat? »
Vegansaurus Zombie by Toe Tag Riot artist Sean Von Gorman! AMAZING!
In his new comic series, Matt Miner, a vegan of 11 years, takes a look at ethics from a zombie perspective. Toe Tag Riot centers on an early 2000s streetpunk band that suffers from a serious curse—sometimes they become zombies and have to eat human flesh to stay alive! However, they are “ethical zombies” and decide to only eat racists, misogynists, and homophobes. But…
Finding that the transformation back into regular, filthy, punk rockers is taking longer and longer each time, the band goes on one last cross-country tour, chasing the cure to what ails ‘em and hilariously/brutally slaughtering the worst of humanity along the way to an explosive showdown with The Westboro Baptist Church.
Since Matt Miner is one of Vegansaurus’ favorite vegan comic book creators, I caught up with him to hear more about Toe Tag Riot. The series is still in the works and Matt is currently holding a Kickstarter to produce the comic. You can get a lot of awesome perks from the fundraiser, like an amazing commissioned watercolor by Sean Von Gorman! I just contributed so I can get one of Figaro and I’m drop dead ecstatic.
Toe Tag Riot standard cover by Tristan Jones, colors by Doug Garbark.
I asked Matt a few questions about the project (and other very important things like puppies and food trucks), here’s what he had to say:
Vegansaurus: What’s an “ethical zombie”? Is it the zombie equivalent to an ethical vegan?
Matt Miner: Hey Megan! I’m so glad you asked. Seeing as how I think zombies literally can’t survive on a plant based diet, the only “ethical” choice, once zombified, would be to eat bad guys like misogynists, racists, and homophobes.
Make the world a better place by slaughtering and devouring jerks and hate groups! Why not? Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!
How does your veganism influence your work?
There’s a bit of me in any project I do and a lot of my creator-owned work has a hidden message of compassion or tolerance in it. With my comic series Liberator, the whole premise was about young vigilantes who break the law to protect abused animals. With Toe Tag Riot, I started thinking about “what/who would I eat if I was a zombie? What’s the most-ethical choice of human to consume?” and it kinda snowballed from there.
What’s your favorite vegan/vegan-friendly eatery I’m NYC?
Do food trucks count as eateries? Because the Cinnamon Snail food truck is my favorite vegan food in NYC, possibly the world. Follow them on Twitter at @VeganLunchTruck and ask them to NEVER EVER AGAIN take the 5-spice seitan sandwich off their menu EVER again. :)
Are you fostering any cutie pie animals now? Pictures or I don’t believe you.
Aside from our personal “zoo” of rescues, we are indeed fostering a fantastic 7-year-old tiny little pit bull mix named Reeses! She kinda looks like a Corgi/Pit and she just beat breast cancer like a true champion. All she wants to do is cuddle and play, so NYC area, if you have room in your heart and your home, hit me up for more info on Reeses. Find me on Twitter at mattminerxvx or email MattMinerXVX@gmail.com.
Reeses. Oh em geeee.
Why are you Kickstarting this comic series? Why do you need to raise money to make the book?
We’re making the book to tell a super fun story of punk rock zombies but also to put an inclusive, and LGBT-positive message out into comic shops and into the hands of a fandom that can still be an intolerant, sexist and homophobic place at times.
The Kickstarter pays for the art team’s rates and for all the rewards and shipping—making comics isn’t a cheap undertaking, so that’s why we headed to Kickstarter. Kickstarter is all-or-nothing funding, so if we don’t raise the full amount then we won’t collect any of it and the book will be scrapped.
If we succeed on the funding, though, we’re going to put this amazing story into the hands of people worldwide who might not normally think twice about calling someone a “fag” or a “slut”.
So, please pledge—and share the project on your social networks. We have some incredible rewards for those people awesome enough to throw their support behind this great project.
Thanks, Matt! And thanks, Sean! I can’t wait for my Figgy picture!
BONUS! Another drawing from Sean Von Gorman: Rock and roll Vegansaurus!
OMG guys. Click on the image to see it larger. I’m totally not crying. OMG. I have to go now.
Help this three legged superhero dog and his kitty save the world! »
It’s the latest in vegan kickstarters! Tod Emko, Sea Shepherd crew member and proud companion of Piggy the three-legged dog, is trying to get this funny comic book off the ground: A Piggy’s Tale!
The story begins with Piggy’s rescue. After he is nursed back to health, he emerges as Super Piggy! He has some sort of actual pig guardian angel which is pretty great. I wish I had a pig guardian angel! Maybe I do have one. Who can say.
He also has a sidekick rescue cat named Simon! Who is likewise is based on Tod’s companion animal. And there are pigeons in the story! They are kind of like Dumbo’s crows. Who are the best.
Here is a picture of the real Piggy and Tod:
Piggy is the cutest! And what a great comic. If you want to donate or just spread the campaign, check it out on Kickstarter.
Liberator: the vegan activist comic book series! »
Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!
There are many a vegan Kickstarter out there but I’m particularly interested in this cool sounding project from Matt Miner. At the nexus of animal activism and comic book fandom, he’s creating a comic mini-series where animal liberators are coming to wreak havoc on an abusive world.
A note about the project:
Do you love gritty anti-heroes like Dexter or Batman? Check out Liberator, featuring a new type of superhero who avenges the torture of animals. For anybody who ever thought comics could be punk and subversive and maybe even glorify some good old fashioned direct action, this is something unique and worth supporting.
Matt is a big vegan and has done tons of work directly rescuing animals (sometimes he tweets pics of his fosters! Those are great times). He even plans on using proceeds from the comic to help with his pit bull rescue efforts. He also just hopes the comic book will bring new people into the animal rights fold. And while I’m not a huge comic book person, I totes went to NYC ComicCon this year so I’m basically an expert. And in my expert opinion, this comic looks dope! There even seems to be a strong female lead? That’s what I like to see.
I know we hear about Kickstarters a lot, but it is a great way to support the good work vegans do PLUS I love all the limited edition stuff you can get when you pledge. So, check it out!
A panel from the first issue I really like! It’s one of our heros “sharing a moment” with a rescued fighting dog. Those puppy eyes!
ONE DAY Left to Get in on Awesome Vegan Comics Anthology »
You guys. I am legitimately pretty excited about this book.
The original idea behind this anthology was going to be half vegan cartoonists, half omnis. But it got bigger and started including vegetarians and otherwise. So now it’s just a big, huge, food-themed anthology full of awesome.
The vegans contributing include:
- Berkeley Breathed
- Neil Brideau
- J.T. Dockery
- Nicole J. Georges
- Adam Hines
- Jonas Madden-Connor
- Hazel Newlevant
- Dan Piraro
- Aron Nels Steinke
- James Turek
- J.T. Yost
J.T. Yost, who we have interviewed here before, has been doing the good work of editing, organizing, and general wrassling-of-folks to make this whole thing happen.
Yeah, the funding goal has already been met, but this is your chance to get extra goodies like minicomics, t-shirts, signed prints, and good feelings. Also: what if you tell yourself you’ll get it later but then you just forget, like you always do?
The disclaimer here is that I also have a comic in it myself. I think it’s pretty good, though, and my drawings look nice. It’s based in part on this rad Quasi song. Last night I had a dream where I met Sam Coomes and told him about it and he seemed pretty cool with the whole thing.
You can read more and fund the project on the Kickstarter page.
Have you seen this ad, called “Shemp,” from The Shelter Pet Project? It has characters from Patrick McDonnell’s strip Mutts. We love Mutts! We also love adopted animals, and super-chill older dogs, and lonely people finding happiness and companionship with animal friends. What I’m saying is, this 32-second ad pushes all of my cry-buttons and I LOVE IT.
Backyard chickens: resourceful or evil? (comic included below!) »
I don’t eat eggs, but I’ve always said that if I did eat eggs, I’d want them to be from chickens that I had the chance to get know. You know, the kind of chickens that live in your backyard. That way, I’d be sure they weren’t suffering and creating an environmental apocalypse like those poor factory-farmed chickens. Once, before I was vegan, I even lived in a house with chickens in the yard, and they seemed to be all zen about their lives.
But maybe that’s not good enough.
I started thinking about this whole issue this week because of a listener-submitted Perspective on KQED radio. I was minding my morning business, falling over trying to put on pantyhose, when this lady comes on the radio all sad about how her neighbor didn’t like the noise her chickens made. In order to keep the peace, she gave them to a good home. She says she’s now buying her eggs from Trader Joe’s.
How’s a vegan girl to feel about this? Not all bads are created equal, and eggs from your yard seem to have a lot going for them that eggs from Trader Joe’s don’t. I respect omnivores who are making conscious choices about their food and trying to do better than the shudder-inducing status quo. These people should be our allies, right?
Then again, backyard chickens aren’t exactly zero-impact. But as an April Treehugger post by Sami Grover points out, no-impact is not an option for any of us. Tofurky, Daiya and even cashews and kale aren’t zero-impact either.
While I was mulling it over, an awesome comic on the subject by former UC Berkeley student Alfred Twu showed up in the Vegansaurus inbox. He makes some really good points I didn’t know about, like that chickens stop producing many eggs after a few years and then what do you do with them?
I’m going to present the comic in its entirety below, so just a few more thoughts before I do.
Obviously based on my life choices I think it’s best to abstain from chicken products of any kind. But I’m also really loathe to foist my choices on others, and as I said, I admire the thought and can-do spirit that often accompanies the decision to raise chickens.
So what do you think, readers? Deluded bourgeois cruel slavery? Well-intentioned but misguided? Better than the alternative, just like vegetarian is better than not? Let’s talk this shit out!
Also read the comic because it’s AWESOME. Alfred made it
in response to at a time when an ordinance being considered in Oakland, and his a group has a petition against the ordinance you can sign if you want.
Ok, without further ado, the COMIC! Don’t forget to discuss in the comments section. It’s like homework but awesomer.
Chicken image at the top used under CC license via Lost Albatross on Flickr.com
Our Jonas (creator of the pink dino!) made this comic about our trials and tribulations with getting food and other (literal) crap out of Hazel's mouth on walks. It's part of the genius The Comic Book Guide to the Mission, that you all need to buy, because it is awesome and will make you a better person. Purchase it and have your very own Laura (that’s my fancy new website, you like?!) and Jonas and Hazel to keep you company. SO FUN. I have nothing more to say because I woke up hella late today and bitch be scrambling HELP ME.
Interview: Alexis Barrera! »
Alexis Barrera is a photographer and cartoonist living in New York and he’s totally vegetarian! You can check out his comics at Oaktowncrack.com. He’s my new pal and was kind enough to do an interview for vegansaurus!
Where were you born?
I was born in Mexico City and lived there for 11 years before moving to America. I hear that’s like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 11 years.
When/why did you move to SF? How long did you live there?
My parents moved to San Francisco in ‘88, and I stayed with them until ‘94 when I moved away to college.
When did you move to Oakland?
I moved back to San Francisco in ‘99 and then over to Oakland in 2000. I stayed put there for 9 years.
When/why did you move to New York?
After 20 years in the Bay Area, I was starting to feel like a townie. I wasn’t ready to settle down, so it became time to make the obligatory pilgrimage to New York.
I moved to the Greenpoint YMCA on April Fool’s day of 2009 and moved to Manhattan 10 days later. The residents of the YMCA could really use some advice on nutrition, let me tell you.
How long have you been vegetarian?
I hated most meat as a kid, and would only eat hamburgers and hotdogs as a teenager. I stopped eating meat altogether in the fall of ‘96.
Are you vegetarian for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
Initially I quit for health reason, but nowadays when I guilt-trip carnivores I also bring up animal cruelty and the environment.
Do you ever include a vegetarian message in your comics?
Definitely. Here’s an example [“Munchy” left; drawn after watching Super Size Me].
Do you have a day job, or do you draw comics full-time?
I’m a programmer by day; the rest of the time I think of myself as a sequential artist.
I’m better known for my photography than my drawings, but it’s all the same to me.
Who are some of your favorite cartoonists, vegan/vegetarian or not?
The best vegan cartoonist I can think of is Dan Piraro. I’m not sure what R. Crumb, Keiji Nakazawa, or Art Spiegelman eat…but it probably had a nervous system at some point.
Can you draw animals really well? Can you draw me as an animal? Will you do a portrait of Figaro for free? Yes?
Here’s a daguerreotype of Figaro on his way to the opera, circa 1877:
[Megan Rascal note: AWESOME!!! Exclamation point!!!]
My two tabbies live in California with their kitty mama. They were abducted from a feral colony when they were kittens, and are inseparable, as you can tell from this photograph:
What is your favorite animal?
Besides my tabbies, I’ve grown quite fond of French Bulldogs, the official pet of the city of New York.
Favorite vegan food to make?
I’m a terrible cook, but my housemate makes delicious ratatouille.We don’t eat it with cheese.
How does New York compare to the Bay Area, in terms of vegan and vegetarian food?
I haven’t lived in New York long enough to make a fair comparison, restaurant-wise. So far I haven’t had trouble finding meatless meals.
Based on food options alone, which is your favorite comics show to travel to?
Wondercon in San Francisco is within walking distance of a trillion good eateries.
Any tips for traveling cartoonists?
Find a place to stay on couchsurfing.com…and don’t walk around with headphones at night, that’s always a terrible idea.
Do you have one drawing tip to share?
I put together a cross-hatching tutorial here.
What’s the deal with Oaktown Crack Comics?
Society marginalizes drug addicts while encouraging all other forms of over-consumption. Crackheads, tweakers, and junkies aren’t any more evil than investment bankers and obese couch potatoes [Ed.: That’s half of our writers. Watch your back, bro!], so we should all be more tolerant and focus on harm reduction instead of arbitrary law enforcement. Oaktown Crack Comics attempt to depict drug addicts more accurately and with a little compassion.
Life in SF seemed to play a big role in your comics, do you think New York will have a similar influence?
I like to think that my comics aren’t particularly SF-centric, but rather slum-centric. New York’s fringe scene is less overt and the authorities here are disgustingly oppressive, so I’m sure I’ll be drawing comics about that soon.
What exciting upcoming projects can we look forward to?
I’m writing an instructional booklet on using 3D software to create 2D comics and animations that look hand-drawn.
Further down the road, I’m trying to combine Naked Lunch and a modern physics textbook into some sort of sci-fi graphic novel. I’ve got a bunch of scripts about what happens in between Big Bangs.
Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
Know where I can get good vegan winter boots? I don’t want my toes to fall off.
A: Check Steve’s men’s winter boot round-up!
Protest animal testing at UCSF on Sunday for National Primate Liberation Week »
Animal experimentation is the fucking grossest. When did you first learn about it? When did you first connect actual animals with that torture? My little brother and I, after we bought up all the Calvin and Hobbes books, began spending our allowance on Berkeley Breathed’s collections, so it must have been sometime in the early ’90s that we read The Night of the Mary Kay Commandos, which featured the story of Opus’ quest to rescue his mother from a Mary Kay animal testing lab. The image of those bunnies in those cages with their eyelids pried open—I couldn’t believe it, except I did, you know? I was 10, he was maybe seven, and we were both very sad. He’s been a vegetarian for eight years now.
This week is National Primate Liberation Week, and across the country groups have held demonstrations all week at labs that misuse animals. San Francisco’s demonstration will happen at noon on Sunday, Oct. 24 at UCSF, at 513 Parnassus Ave.
According to Stop Animal Exploitation Now, UCSF holds over 900 animals in its laboratories, and that “at least three research projects at UCSF deprive primates of water for as much as 22 hours per day, five days per week.” That seems quite necessary, yes. Here’s something grosser: Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals are excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act, so laboratories/research facilities don’t even have to mention their presence on official reports. Rats and mice! The most common “test subjects” treated like office supplies. It’s sickening.
Demonstration organizer Shani Campbell reminds us that animal testing is government-funded as well, meaning that our tax dollars pay for torturing bunnies and rats and monkeys and pigs and guinea pigs and cats and sheep and squirrels and mice and voles. We pay our elected leaders not to pass legislation, and we pay the National Institutes of Health to fund medical testing on chimpanzees. Chimpanzees, for heaven’s sake.
If this bothers you at all, you should come to the protest. You don’t have to say anything, or hold a sign. Just being there shows how you feel about these atrocities, and that can be enough sometimes. Lab animal never have a choice to participate in the tests they undergo; they don’t get any warning, or reward; they don’t get to return to their life and freedom after the experiment is over. No living creature deserves that treatment. Come out to UCSF on Sunday and stand against it.
Please RSVP to Shani by phone at 925/819-6725 or by email. Contact her with further questions as well.