Another great review for Digestate!

Cameron Kunzelman reviews the Digestate anthology on This Cage Is Worms. Read it here!

I've gotta say that these reviews are making me really happy. Granted, there's only been three so far, but they've all been so overwhelmingly positive. It makes the hours and hours of work and the fact that I literally cashed in my change jar to help pay for shipping worth it.

Also, on a personal level, the response to my own comic has been better than I could've hoped. I really tried to learn from the criticism I received for the animal-welfare themed stories in my first book (on sale, btw!), and it looks like my current attempt has been very well received (so far all three reviewers have picked it out as their favorite of the 60 comics included!).

The criticism of my earlier work mostly centered on it being too didactic. This was an easy trap for me to fall into when discussing something that I'm so passionate about. I can attest that making your audience feel attacked is not usually an effective tool in bringing about a change of mind. In fact, one of my friends who credits me as the catalyst for becoming vegan (happy to report that he and his wife are raising two vegan kids) told me that it wasn't anything I told him verbally that caused him to change his diet but rather my cooking. It made him realize that vegan food was anything but tasteless or boring.

On this piece ("Slaughterhouse Stories") I tried to focus more on the human toll that is a result of high demand for inexpensive meat. My dad once asked me why I focus so much on animal suffering when there are so many humans suffering, and that has always stuck in my mind. I don't have an easy answer for his question, but I can say that I feel we have a responsibility to protect animals just as much as we do our fellow humans.

I should point out that the text in my comic is verbatim (although edited down into a more manageable length) from an actual slaughterhouse worker. At one time I was hoping to adapt Gail Eisnitz's excellent book "Slaughterhouse" into a graphic novel. I abandoned that project when I couldn't get a clear answer as to whether her publisher would allow me to publish my adaptation, but her story stuck in my mind. When putting together this food & eating themed anthology, I realized that I could make a shorter comic based on some of Gail's interviews with slaughterhouse workers.

She was kind enough to send me a (huge) stack of affidavits used to write her own book. There were so many horrific and compelling stories told in these interviews, that it was extremely difficult to pick just one (in fact, I hope to someday develop more of these transcripts, thus the pluralization of "Slaughterhouse Stories" in the title of my comic). Many of the interviews dealt with the cruelty animals suffered in multiple meat processing plants, but I sought out one that focused more on how the workers in these abattoirs suffered.

As one reviewer pointed out, I did try to avoid showing gore spattered hogs whenever possible (an impossible task, but I kept it to a minimum) in favor of being less explicit. My cartoony style of drawing is not ideal for horrific imagery anyway, but I also feel that the readers' imaginations would probably do a better job. We've all seen the undercover footage taken inside slaughterhouses by now, and there's no way I could compete with that.

Anyhow, I didn't intend to ramble on like that. I was just going to post the review link.

Oh, one last thing I should mention: Gail Eisnitz is the Chief Investigator at the Humane Farming Association. They try to affect change in the slaughterhouse industry through Congress and other means. Please support them in any way that you can!

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