Zombies, punk rock, and tons of middle fingers. Those are just some of the many cool things you'll find in TOE TAG RIOT by Matt Miner (LIBERATOR) and Sean Von Gorman (PAWN SHOP). Currently, there is a Kickstarter running to help fund this project and get it off the ground. Von Gorman and Miner answered a few of our questions about their Kickstarter and upcoming project.
COMIC VINE: What is Toe Tag Riot about?
SEAN VON GORMAN: Toe Tag Riot is about a struggling punk rock band who are cursed by being Zombies every time they perform their music. This was done as a means of ending their career but only made them waaay more popular. Being Zombies, they do have the needs of any Zombie and decide to use their powers for good. And by good I mean snack on the scum bags of the Earth.
MATT MINER: They go on a cross-country tour in search of the cure to their affliction, but because they have ethics, they only feast on the flesh of real degenerates and scumbags like racist skinheads and Westboro Baptist Church.
CV: Where did the idea for this book come from?
SVG: Matt had been toying with the idea of a Zombie Punk Rock Band while he was working on Liberator. He approached me to a commission of a Joey Ramone and Sid Vicious as Zombies. a few months later, surprise surprise, Matt starts talking to me about this concept he wanted to pitch around and so we get to talking about what this book would be and a few months later Toe Tag Riot is born, or raised, whichever.
MM: I asked Sean to do a commission of zombie versions of Joey Ramone and Sid Vicious, and we had so much fun with it that I decided I had to do something with zombie punks. I'd also wanted to do something that speaks to my hatred of racists and homophobes, so here we are.
The whole "zombie outbreak" thing is a tad overdone, though, so we took a new stab at the trope, making it a temporary curse, and giving them some real-life cartoonish bad-guys to tear to shreds.
CV: This book seems to take on a very controversial group in America. What makes them the perfect victim for this series?
SVG: We do put a great deal of focus on an ultimate showdown with the Westboro Baptist Church. We knew that they are so vain and warped that they would actually support the project and spread the word about the Kickstarter. We will make them pay for their Hubris. They check off every box on the over the top Comic Book Villain 1- They are Evil 2- EVERYONE hates them #3 They firmly believe they are the good guys! I'm surprised they haven't already been featured as a Zombie Food Before.
MM: Hah, no doubt, Westboro Baptist Church is definitely one of the more hated groups in America - they're the personification of exactly how I don't feel about gay people, so they seemed the perfect group of clowns to feed to our zombies.
CV: The Kickstarter page says this is a "gay-friendly" book. What about this book makes it gay friendly?
SVG: I would say that it's gay-friendly only in that 2 of the main characters are in a committed lesbian relationship and another is bi-sexual. It's something we decided not to be the focus on the book because it isn't. It's about 4 zombie punks who happen to be anti-heroes of sorts. And that's all that really matters. I mean when there's a bus hanging off the bridge and Superman shows up to save them, you aren't asking yourself oh I wonder he's sleeping with on the side? No, your focussed on him saving the bus of school children. It wouldn't matter if Superman was gay or not he's still Superman.
MM: Aside from all the "rah rah zombies eat the awful homophobes" stuff, our two leading women, Evie and Annie, are a gay couple, and Paulie, the guitar player for Toe Tag Riot, is bisexual - this is information we held back because we anticipated Westboro's arrogant knee-jerk reactions of "we love all this attention," so we wanted to see if they'd basically endorse a comic book full of gay zombie punks.
And, they did. In their haste to champion the fact that their stupid signs are shown in ONE image, Westboro Baptist Church got on their Twitter soapbox 'o crazy and spouted off how much they loved anything that would share (their twisted version of) God's word or some such nonsense.
We gave Westboro Baptist Church a big ole black eye, as planned - they endorsed a comic series starring gay people. And they're just realizing this now, which is hilarious. And they can seriously suck it.
The storyline doesn't focus on the sexuality of any of our characters, but it's there, it's part of who the characters are, and I'm confident it's handled well. I feel there need to be more positive representations of LGBT people in comics - I mean, some people are gay and some people like boys AND girls and that's just how some folks are. These people ought to have decent representation in comics, too.
CV: Sean, how did you get involved in this project?
SVG: Matt and I had worked previously on Occupy Comics, and then I did the lil' Liberator Back-Ups for his book Liberator. We work well together, and wanted to expand on that to a full series. And its a collaboration in the truest form. Neither of us are going into this with any sort of ego we're just trying to make the best book we possibly can and can. And having a blast doing it!
CV: You're also known for doing some pretty outlandish things in order to promote your books. Any plans for TOE TAG RIOT?
SVG: Yes actually because of the numerous uses of the middle finger in the book I have submitted to Guinness Worlds Records for submission for a new category "Most Middle Fingers Graphically Depicted in a Single Comic" The first issue in my opinion literally has the most bird flips of any comic in existence. It will take a few weeks to hear back from GWC but hopefully we can get this done before we go to print.
CV: You've both had Kickstarters successfully funded in the past. What's the key to getting a Kickstarter funded?
SVG: Give you my secrets!? How dare you! This interview is OVER! (Walks out of the room, cools off returns to the interview.) Aside from putting together the best looking campaign you possibly can, be sure to get the message to everyone in your circles. Press Releases and write ups are great and important, but the thing that really tips the balance is taking the time to reach out to all of you friends to say hey can you take a minutes to check this out?
MM: There's no one key, there's a million pieces that have to fit together - or that had to fit together for my LIBERATOR Kickstarter, at least. I guess it all boils down to making sure you have a battle plan and you're willing to work nonstop on creative promotion. Not just spamming on Twitter, but actually working for articles and interviews and getting the word out there about your project. Think of who your audience is, aside from comic readers, and approach media that those people read and listen to. Work super duper hard.
CV: Why should folks fund TOE TAG RIOT?
SVG: Not only because of the rad rewards we're offering like of Zombie Fred Phelps: "God Hates Zombies" T and the option to be drawn into the book as a recurring character. Because its a great opportunity to send a message the the s***ty people of the Earth AND to support a completely original type of comic. Matt and I are having so much fun putting this together and bringing a small army of super talented artists all bringing their A game. Everyone is going to want to get on the ground floor of this one.
MM: Because it's a progressive comic with punks, zombies, and a growing pile of dead homophobes and racists. Because you want to see what Shirley Phelps' guts look like. Because you want to help support independent comics with new ideas and get them in to stores. Because every pledge makes Westboro's black eye a little bigger.
Make sure to check out their Kickstarter page and check out some of the pledge rewards like digital copies of the book, physical copies, a cool t-shirt or even get drawn into the comic!