The Vegan Artbook is a comic book written by Priya Kishna, also known as Pupavegan. The comic displays arguments by anti-vegans and meat eaters and snide rebuttals by vegan characters. I started reading this comic a long time ago due to the fact that the snippets I have seen are cringey as hell. Let me explain my issues with it, and what I liked.
What I liked
The comic itself is fairly well drawn, the colors correspond well, and the comic itself keeps up a well-made consistency. The coloring is still in the lines, and the character designs are pretty nice and different, even if they look like they are taken from Final Fantasy.
The main issues are that it panders more to vegans than non-vegans. It’s a self-insert fantasy of evil, rude, stupid, and gluttonous uncaring and apathetic meat-eaters, being fought against by the angelic, lovely, nice, well-designed, kind, thoughtful, and passionate vegans. She shows a typical strawman meat-eater saying something dumb, and then proceeds to be a rational and caring rebuttal, only to have the strawman look dumb, or stick their head so far under the ground that it comes out and inserts itself into their butt. I wish I was joking.
They also seem to lump all meat-eaters into a single category, not making any room for people who don’t eat the Standard American Diet. For instance, I can assure you that someone that eats mostly plant-based but also eats some animal products produces FAR less suffering, far less environmental impacts, and has far fewer negative health outcomes than someone who eats meat and/or dairy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and finishes off the day with ice-cream, pudding, or cheesecake.
Veganism is by far the most rational choice when it comes to animal ethics (aside from maybe freeganism) but eating the occasional burger or an omelet a couple times a week but plant-based the rest won’t cause the Earth to rot beneath our feet or cause us to become diabetic and obese. You need all three arguments of ethics, environment, and health to help cement them together, but alone, there is no environmental or health-based argument that MOSTLY vegan is much worse than STRICTLY vegan.
I feel this comic will not help people go vegan, as it basically just attacks people and mocks them if they are not vegan for whatever reason, and lumps them all together. I know the comic artist says herself in a later comic:
However, what she says goes against what she claims multiple times in earlier comic pages.
It’s not portrayed as “This is what some non-vegans use as arguments” it is drawn and written as “Meat-eaters literally enslave animals and don’t use their brain ever”. I know many highly intelligent people who eat meat and a lot of really stupid people who are vegans. I know meat-eaters who donate to charities and are currently helping Houston flood victims and combating white supremacy and I know many vegans who do nothing more than just live vegan, I even heard about a vegan who was also a Nazi. So I guess not all vegans use their brains for moral decisions.
Who is going to read this comic and not feel like they are being personally attacked as a meat eater? The protagonists are either sexy, or adorable with nice features and a moral compass, and the antagonist meat-eaters are a loud and stupid boy, a ditzy girl, and a fat guy(?) with pimples wearing a wolf skin as a shirt.
Who is going to read this and go “Hey, I think veganism is a smart and rational decision and I will want to do it” when this is how non-vegans are portrayed? I feel this comic only strokes the egos of already established ethical vegans and will push away most meat-eaters. No teenager is going to read this book and go vegan because this comic is basically just Strawman: The Comic.
This should be a primer on how NOT to convert someone into veganism. If you want more information on more effective vegan advocacy, I’d try Melanie Joy’s videos on the topic.