We at What’cha Reading have been looking forward to Toe Tag Riot becoming a reality since the Kickstarter campaign was launched. The campaign describes the series as “A hilariously gory mash up of rad stuff like Night of the Living Dead, a GWAR live show, and hardcore punk rock, TOE TAG RIOT is a tongue-in-cheek, lighthearted torrential downpour of blood and guts sure to please anyone who LOVES FUN and HATES JERKS like Million Moms, Nazi Skinheads, Dudebros and the Westboro Baptist Church! Toe Tag Riot is LGBTQ-positive, and inclusive to everyone except bigots. Bigots are zombie food. Toe Tag Riot is a fun book with a positive message and a diverse cast of wacky characters.” I mean, really, zombies playing punk rock and taking on the Westboro Baptist Church and other assorted bigots while they’re at it? Add to that Matt Miner (friend of What’cha Reading and all around nice guy) as writer and Sean Von Gorman as artist and we were practically chomping at the bit for this one. Well, kids, I’ve had a sneak peek of Toe Tag Riot #1 (coming out on November 26) and I can tell you it was worth the wait!
I honestly had no idea what to expect from this book. Would it be an origin story, or would be just be immersed into the world of the zombie band? Without giving away too much, I can safely tell you that we get just enough of both to piqué your curiosity and keep you coming back for issue #2. The band itself, Dickie, Paulie, Evie, and Annie, are a group of punks with a bit of a problem (one that I assume will be part of the main arc for the story) and absolutely zero tolerance for bigots of any kind. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Issue #1 also includes an appearance by Fall Out Boy’s Andy Hurley, who is a part of the entire storyline.
In case you couldn’t tell from the fangirling above, I’m a huge fan of Toe Tag Riot already. I like that the story is told from the zombies’ point of view instead of relying on the anti-zombie stance I’ve seen in practically every movie and TV show ever (with the exception of Warm Bodies). The members of the band are already well-rounded characters, which is no mean feat for a 26 page comic, and I like all of them (even Dickie, who is sometimes an ass but seems like a good guy underneath it all). I love that we have LGTBQ main characters, and I love even more that the guys and the chicks in the band work together to irritate the bigots. The writing is smart and funny and the art, done in muted shades that remind me of cult classic zombie flicks, manages to capture the humor and grossness of the band’s situation perfectly (without spoilers, I just have to say that Sean Von Gorman has irreparably altered my view of safety pins. Bravo, Sean, there’s no coming back from that.)
I have to give Toe Tag Riot #1 5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts. I don’t care if you don’t normally like zombies, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 until you’ve picked up a copy of this book. It’s a fun ride with heart and soul, and you’re going to like it.
TOE TAG RIOT #1
Writer: Matt Miner
Artist: Sean Von Gorman
Colorist: John Rauch
Cover Art: Tristan Jones, Vincent Kukua
Cover Colors: Doug Garbark, John Rauch
Publisher: Black Mask
Release Date: November 26, 2014