Updated: Jul 17, 2020
Matt Loisel, writer of the Murder graphic novel series, was kind enough to allow me to interview him for the article I wrote for my journalism class (which I shared in my previous post). I didn't get to cover everything in the article, so I wanted to share the full interview as well. If you haven't read Murder, you should definitely do so!
1- You and your wife created the Murder comics together, correct? How did this concept first occur to you?
Yes, this was a collaborative effort with my wife. Originally we had the idea to use comics as a medium to introduce our customers to our employees when we were farming. My wife and I started Lazy Millennial Farms, California's first and only certified veganic commercial farm. After we sold the farm we had some fun ideas left over from the farm comic book, one about animals becoming telepathic. That was basically where it all started from.
2- How would you describe the series to someone who knows nothing about it?
Murder is a graphic novel that follows the telepathic linkage of domesticated animals. One species at a time they begin communicating directly with one another and only one man can hear what they're plotting: our hero, The Butcher's Butcher.
3- How long have you been vegan?
I've been a vegan for probably close to 5 years but I'm honestly not keeping track. I'm never going back to eating animal products so who cares.
4- What initially inspired you to go vegan?
Initially what inspired me (and my wife, in tandem with me) to go vegan was watching the documentary Cowspiracy. I would say that about half way through I was thinking to myself "Oh geez, I'm going to have to go vegan." That dread was shortlived, though, and I have not looked back since.
5- How did you first become interested in making comics?
I grew up loving comics and super heroes. I collected super hero trading cards my entire childhood, some of which I still have. But I went a long spell from High School through my adult life where I stopped reading comics. Then a few years ago my wife and I booked a vacation while we were farming and I desperately needed to turn my brain off. I thought I'd buy some comics to read and my love was re-kindled. That was where I got the idea for a "farm comic" for our customers.
6- Have you written any others besides Murder?
I have written a story called Cracking Up that is being published by Paranoid American Comics. It tells the true story of Freeway Rick Ross and the United States government's participation in the introduction of crack cocaine to Black communities in Los Angeles and around the country. It will be released early September as part of the ongoing Paranoid American History Anthology series.
7- When you first came up with the idea for Murder, were you torn at all about whether or not to depict the violence inherent in animal industries, or did you know that this was necessary to get the point across?
I went in with the idea that we would use the horror genre to at very least guilt people about the violence animals suffer in our agricultural system. So I knew I'd be treading a fine line of tastefulness but I felt it was necessary to really expose the ferocity and callousness of our food system.
8- You also talk about racial issues in the series. Do you feel that there is an inherent link between veganism, animal rights, and social justice movements?
I absolutely do. In fact in our next issue of Murder I interviewed Christopher Sebastian on the intersection of veganism and race. I think a lot of vegan activism is generated by white people, from a white perspective. Despite Black people being the fastest growing demographic to go vegan you wouldn't know it by the representation of the movement. But it's changing, and that change will accelerate as the BLM movement gains steam. Vegan activism can take on an "All Lives Matter" sort of "colorblindness" that does little to persuade or attract BIPOCs.
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