Sophomore’s comic sends up meat industry

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Noah Grigni

Grigni’s comic, Shambles, can be read online at shambles.smackjeeves.com.

Sophomore Noah Grigni has been passionate about comics and animal rights for most of his life, so it follows that he would find some way to combine the two.

Grigni’s personal project, a graphic novel called Shambles, allegorizes the history of the meat industry by switching the role of humans and animals – in the story’s universe, humans are prey to the cantadinos, a race of creatures with skeletal faces and abundant fur.

“It starts out with the cantadinos simply hunting for survival, which is a natural part of the food chain, and there’s nothing wrong with it at all,” Grigni said, “but as their species evolves to be stronger than ours, they start domesticating and farming the humans – which isn’t that bad, because old-fashioned farmers take good care of their animals. The conflict rises when they move past rural farming and take it into the cities.”

This, Grigni said, parallels the way factory farming is done today. “The whole process has become very industrial, and the more I research it for my personal project, the more I’m convinced that it’s disgusting and it needs to stop.”

Grigni decided to create a graphic novel because of his long-standing love for comics. “I think the combination of art and writing creates something that has more potential than either of those two media alone, even though most people think of comics as childish or inane,” Grigni said. “I really believe that comics can change the world if they’re written and drawn well enough. It’s a very universal medium, and I’m excited about creating something like that myself.”

Grigni said that he’d most likely be writing this story even if it wasn’t his personal project, but he’d probably tone down the politics. “If this wasn’t being graded for school, I probably would have chosen a story that required less research and more imagination. I’m actually really glad that we’re doing the personal project, because it’s motivated me to find out more about a topic I’ve always been interested in and make sure I have all my facts right.”