Last month, comic writer Matt Miner (Liberator, Liberator: Final Crisis, and Occupy Comics) kicked off his second Kickstarter project: Toe Tag Riot alongside fellow collaborator and artist, Sean Von Gorman (Pawn Shop, Liberator, and The Secret Adventures of Houdini). Both Miner and Von Gorman have been making a name for themselves through tackling pro-social themes in their comics such as addressing animal cruelty and Occupy Wall Street movement. In their most recent collaboration, however, the pair is looking to take on bigotry… to the tune of a zombie-led punk band and a little help from Andrew Hurley, the drummer from the chart-topping "pop punk" band, Fall Out Boy.
If successfully funded, Miner and Von Gorman will be able to produce four fully colored issues of Toe Tag Riot, which is described as "a progressive and inclusive story that's wrapped up in a super fun, lighthearted story and a pile of disemboweled bigots." Yet, the decision to target the Westboro Baptist Church seems to indicate a desire to move the book's message into less-than-lighthearted territory.
To find out what this Kickstarter is all about, Newsarama had the opportunity to sit down and get the exclusive rundown from Miner about his Kickstarter in terms of what fans can expect from Von Gorman and himself this time around along with Hurley's involvement in the project.
Newsarama Note: Some images shown are for mature readers
Newsarama:Matt, let's get down to business: What's Toe Tag Riot about?
Matt Miner: Toe Tag Riot is a progressive and inclusive story that's wrapped up in a super fun, lighthearted story and a pile of disemboweled bigots.
The story follows a mid-2000s street punk band that's cursed with temporary zombification that transforms them whenever they perform. They go on a cross-country tour, chasing a cure to their affliction, but being the ethical sometimes-zombies that they are, they only slaughter and consume the worst of humanity: racists, misogynists, and homophobes - culminating in a crazy showdown with the lunatics of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Nrama: Were you at all concerned about WBC's reaction? Has there been one?
Miner: About an hour after launch, Westboro Baptist tweeted their support of the project since their signs show in one single image. A couple days later, they learned that the two women in Toe Tag Riot are a lesbian couple and they got a little pissed about having accidentally promoted an LGBT-positive book and called Sean and me "Insincere Pervs." I'm still wondering what I'm insincere about?
All in all, the book is satire and the only thing Westboro can do is call us names or tell us we're going to Hell. Big deal. We didn't make this book to stick it to WBC and we really don't care what they think because they're inconsequential clowns and zombie food at best. We did the book to put a super fun, punk, zombie book out there with a positive message and tons of ridiculously over-the-top violence, all told in a tongue-in-cheek way.
Nrama: So who do you have working on this project with you?
Miner: Working on this book is me, Sean Von Gorman (Pawn Shop) on interior art, John Rauch (Invincible) on colors, and Tristan Jones (Silent Hill, TMNT) and Doug Garbark (In the Dark) on covers. Aside from those fine folks, we have variants and pinups from a slew of uber-talented artists.
Nrama: And you have someone from outside of the comics world joining you in this comic Kickstarter from the rock band, Fall Out Boy. How did Andrew Hurley get involved in the project? In what capacity is he participating in Toe Tag Riot?
Miner: Andrew and I are friends through the internets - he was a fan of my Liberator books and we both share a lot of the same ethics and interests. I have a crazy amount of respect for him as a person and for his musical talents and, because he's such a comic fan, I just asked if he wanted to join the crew and kick some homophobe ass.
So incredibly enough, Andrew Hurley will be joining our band of misfit justice-seeking zombies and I can't wait to start writing him as a zombie character. Andrew's a vegan, so I see a lot of fun potential as we figure out how we'll work around that.
For the Kickstarter we just unveiled super-rare variants: a limited watercolor-painted Zombie-Andrew-Hurley cover with art by Sean and it's friggin' signed by Andrew himself, so we're expecting those to go FAST.
Nrama: What was your motivation in pitching this project via Kickstarter? Was there something specific that prompted you to take on WBC, or was it something germinating over a period of time?
Miner: Sean Von Gorman and I had been playing around with the idea of punk rock zombies ever since I commissioned a piece from him of a zombie Joey Ramone and Sid Vicious. Sean's really amazing with bringing the physical comedy to comics, so I knew if I ever did a silly punk zombie book he'd be the artist I wanted to partner with to really make this thing shine.
I always wondered what (or who) I'd eat if I became a zombie. I don't eat meat, but I'm pretty sure all bets are off if you're zombified, right? I don't think they can survive on a plant based diet, so I started wondering about the most-ethical choice of, um, nutrition, for zombies and decided that they could always make the world a better place by consuming bigots and hate groups.
Nrama: So why take Toe Tag Riot to Kickstarter?
Miner: Kickstarter is a matter of necessity: Sean and I have this amazing, positive book where we deal with bad guys in a fun "sic zombies on 'em" kind of way, but the fact is that artists, colorists, and letterers - they all come with a page rate because these people have bills to pay, too. Without hitting funding, this awesome book is going to be dead in the water.
Nrama: What sort of sweet rewards can backers expect from supporting Toe Tag Riot?
Miner: The Kickstarter rewards range anywhere from digital copies of the first issue to physical copies, to a digital subscription and a physical trade paperback, to T-shirts and all the way up to appearances in the book. For a reasonable contribution, you can make a cameo in the book and get the original art, or at the high end, you can actually join the crew and go on the road, appearing in the bulk of the series!
Nrama: Let's assume your Kickstarter secures the funding it needs -what's next? Your Liberator series started as a Kickstarter and has begun branching off into additional series, correct? Do you expect the same for Toe Tag Riot?
Miner: Yup, Liberator has seen additional series and there's more to come from those characters, so stay tuned! I'd love to do a volume 2, 3, and 4 for Toe Tag Riot. I already have ideas jotted down for new story arcs where we raise the stakes even higher for our punk zombie heroes! It's gonna be a blast!
Toe Tag Riot will be running until June 21, 2014, so there is still time for fans of Miner, Von Gorman, zombies and Fall Out Boy to get on board and show their support. Additional information can also be found at toetagriot.com and godhateszombies.com.