Last month, Matt Miner’s comic about animal rights activists, Liberator, caught my eye. Turns out, Matt saw my review, and was kind enough to get in touch and thank us – and he even gave us an interview!
One thing about Matt – he is the real thing. He’s bringing Liberator’s message to readers because he believes in what he does – he rescues animals and gives time and money to animal causes – Liberator’s profit are doing exactly that. He wants people to know what they can do, and gets his message across in every page of every issue of Liberator. But enough of me – get it straight from Matt.
Whatcha Reading: Congratulations on the success of Liberator! Have you been excited about the response to both the Kickstarter and the comic’s launch?
Matt Miner: The response has been better than I ever imagined it would be. I’m so super stoked that this story with these types of heroes are finding an audience with comic nerds like us. It’s just so cool to see that I was right when I thought that folks who liked to read about masked vigilantes like Batman might also like to read about masked vigilantes taking action on behalf of abused animals.
Whatcha Reading: It seems like Liberator is a real fit with the comics being published by Black Mask Studios; there seem to be real, gritty stories coming out of the studio that fits with Liberator’s “everyday superheroes”. Was that part of your decision to go with Black Mask?
MM: Definitely. When I was getting ready to start pitching Liberator, I had an acquaintance point me to the Occupy Comics Kickstarter project. As soon as I saw that project (which I’m very proud to have now contributed to) and who was behind this new publisher I was 100% onboard. Their punk rock DIY sensibilities and their willingness to put out ballsy politically charged comics made this a no brainer – perfect fit for Liberator and perfect fit for me.
Whatcha Reading: What was your inspiration to create Liberator?
MM: About 10 years ago, I learned of the real-life animal liberation underground movement. This movement consists of men and women who pull on masks in the middle of the night, save animals from abuse, and mess up the lives of abusers. I saw videos of these people working in the night, pulling dogs out of laboratories, smashing down doors and destroying equipment used to torture animals and I was like “Holy shit, these guys are like superheroes for animals!”
Whatcha Reading: I have to ask – I know that you and your wife work to educate people about pit bulls and have rescued some of them. Did this factor into the opening story in Liberator, when Damon liberates the dogs from the dog fighting operation? Is Justice, the dog that Damon rescues and adopts in the first issue, based on one of your pit bulls?
MM: Oh for sure, my passion for pit bull rescue and my hatred of dog fighters played heavily into that opening scene. Damon and I agree on this subject – we hate those scumbags and aren’t sad at all to see a monkey wrench in their operations.
Whatcha Reading: The two issues of Liberator I’ve read so far have a real call to action – not necessarily to become a vigilante and burn down fur farms, but to get educated about what happens to animals in the name of science and vanity. I appreciate the content at the end of every issue. Will you be including animal education in every issue?
MM: That’s the plan – I figured I wanted to keep the stories about the story, the characters and the action – and not be preachy because preachy stories suck. Sure, Jeanette and Damon operate in this world of animal liberation vigilantism but the story is about them and what makes them tick, what’s driving them and what their motivations are. If people want to learn more about the real world issues then THAT’s why I included the articles in the backmatter – so there’s an opportunity for the reader to learn more, but it’s not forced down anyone’s throat.
Whatcha Reading: Any plans for Liberator beyond the miniseries?
MM: Yep! As long as people keep enjoying reading Liberator stories I’m going to keep making them!
Whatcha Reading: I’ve read that a portion of your Liberator profits go to animal rescue organizations. Can you talk about that? Are they fosters and private rescuers?
MM: 100% of my profit share goes into the rescue work that my wife and I do here in the Rockaways, Queens. That includes costs fostering dogs, vet bills, food, bedding, you name it. Most of the work we do is paid for out of pocket and we want to be able to do MORE for animals, so if Liberator sells a ton of copies well then that helps us help more dogs.
Whatcha Reading: If anyone reading this wants to do more, what would you suggest?
MM: Well since you asked I’m gonna tell you because I truly feel it’s the best thing you can do for animals. Go to earthlings.com and watch the movie. The whole thing – don’t wimp out. It’s beautifully done, it’s narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and it will change your life for the better.
Thanks so much to Matt Miner for taking the time to talk to Whatcha Reading. Issue #2 of Liberator hits shelves on July 24th. Be sure to check it out and add it to your pull list!
Written by Matt Miner
Art by Javier Aranda
Cover Artist: Yildiray Cinar, colors by Rod Reis
Colorist: Joaquin Pereyra
Letterer/Editor: Vito Delsante
On Sale: 07/24/13
Diamond ID: MAY130920