Return of the Toe Tag Riot! A chat with series creators Matt Miner and Sean Von Gorman
Toe Tag Riot, the comic book series that the infamous hate group Westboro Baptist Church claimed would “split Hell wide open” is back for round 2 and on Kickstarter, with the Return of the Toe Tag Riot.
ADAM CADMON: So, where did the concept for a zombie punk rock band originate?
MATT MINER: I grew up in the punk scene, and never really left, so all my work has a punk rock vibe to it because that’s the world I know and love – some books, like this one, are just a pure love letter to punk rock and the accepting and cool people I’ve known through my life.
SEAN VON GORMAN: I remember at some point at a convention we started talking about what if Matt was a vegan zombie, and what he would eat? Obviously he would have to eat people because zombies can’t survive on grains. And being an ethical punk if he HAD to eat people he would pick the worst people to eat. I think there is a sketch somewhere of a zombie Matt eating a little tofu person.
MM: Oh, yeah! I think I have that sketch around here somewhere, actually.
AC: Why did you go with the “thinking” zombie angle opposed to the mindless eater?
MM: The undead-zombie comic has been done to death, pun intended. With Toe Tag Riot it was kind of like “What if you weren’t always a zombie? If you knew what you were doing, who would you choose to eat?” I mean, everyone’s gotta eat, but they can choose a more ethical course.
SVG: I feel no epic kill is ever complete without a snarky comment like an ’80s action movie star. For example, right before a zombie punk bites into a bad dude he says something like “It was nice to EAT you!” Wait, that was pretty good. Matt, write that one down.
AC: Let me springboard a little; the choice to have the band cursed instead of turned always interested me…where’d that idea come from?
MM: I don’t remember how that came about, really, but what really appealed to me about the idea was this way you see both sides of the character – the ravenous zombie and the human toll it takes on them when they eat the wrong skinhead and have diarrhea for hours.
SVG: I remember part of the initial conversation on this was that the group’s bodies would start to physically breakdown as they rotted. A punk band in a tour bus smells bad enough when they aren’t zombies.
AC: You’ve had several guest stars in the past, can you give us anything–anything at all–in terms of who we should expect as either allies or foes in volume 2?
MM: Sean and I have some rock star pals, and we like to drop them in here and there. Andy Hurley, from Fall Out Boy, is a returning regular and the band’s number one roadie, and I sure would like to sneak GWAR into the pages at some point since they’re such a huge inspiration for this book.
AC: Are there any plans to expand the Toe Tag universe, i.e., web series, movies, etc.?
MM: Sure, why not? Would love to see a B-movie a’la Troma Films, but, you know, money and all.
SVG: I would love to see a big screen Toe Tag Riot! I want toys of Toe Tag Riot! We had considered the idea of doing a series of comic shorts. There are so many horrible people out there that it’s hard to keep up with in print.
AC: Are there any upcoming projects that you’d like to talk about?
MM: I have Lab Raider out currently from Black Mask Studios – it’s the story of these 2 women who take on dog fighters and animal abusers. These are characters I’ve written in a few series now, and this particular volume gets really weird. Also, the new GWAR graphic novel is in production and you can pre-order that at gwarcomic.com right now!
SVG: I have School Lab Raider, basically Lab Raider but for they are kids. Which may possibly come out as a back up in an upcoming issue of Lab Raider. I also have a story in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force from Devils Due that is going into its 2nd printing.
MM: I think that Lab Raider backup is scheduled for issue 3, as long as we get it in time. Issue 1 is on stands now – get it! HEY! The Kickstarter for Return of the Toe Tag Riot is live! Click the link to learn more!
Adam is a writer, an explorer of consciousness, a dog owner (times 2) and a decent fellow if you ask him. He currently lives in a suburb about 20 minutes from downtown Atlanta.