1991: Born to Be Wild

Born to Be Wild (1991) edited by Valerie Jones, Fred Schiller and Steve Donnelly.

This is the final current events/politics book Eclipse released before going extinct. It’s a benefit book for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) by “CETA”, which is the same only with “Creators”. I’m not sure that’s really a real organisation; the only mention I can find of it is in conjunction with this anthology. Editor Valerie Jones is allegedly the director of CETA.

Anyway, it’s an 80 page squarebound anthology with a huge number of contributors: Most of them only do a single page. They’ve helpfully listed the contributors in somewhat alphabetical fashion, and most of the pieces themselves don’t say who the creators are, so to determine who did a thing, you have to scan the page numbers here and them find the creators that way.

Whyyyy?! I think the editors just hate people.

And speaking of editors: The editor in chief at Eclipse, catherine yronwode, inserts herself into the anthology and writes an introduction. It’s an exercise in whataboutism, where yronwode chastises people for caring about silly things like torturing animals in labs when there are more serious things out there. And, of course, labelling people as hypocrites when they care about the welfare of cats but still use pesticides to kill insects.

I’ve always had quite a bit of respect for yronwode, but this page is tone-deaf and insulting, and is a big “fuck you” to the contributors, basically, even if the concedes at the end that perhaps if this is “all you can do” then you should by all means do it.

Thanks!

Editor Fred Schiller, on the other hand, writes another introduction that explains the dilemmas clearly (and funnier).

Ooo! That’s a very contented Moebius cat…

I wonder how the contributions were collected. Most of them seem made specially for this book, but perhaps a third seems like they may just have been stuff the artist had in a cupboard somewhere.

And this Neil Gaiman/Michael Zulli/Steve Bissette horror story (one of the many that posits using humans instead of animals as lab subjects) I’m pretty sure was originally published in an issue of Taboo. It’s pretty stomach-churning.

As in response to yronwode’s introduction, some of the artists ridicule her stance. Here’s Mark Martin…

… and here’s Evan Dorkin.

Exactly!

Heh. Todd McFarlane!? I didn’t expect him to pop up here, and certainly not with a drawing like that. As you can see from the credits page, a lot of the people you expect to show up here does, like Peter Kuper and Bill Sienkiewicz, but there’s some surprising ones, too.

And the weirdest thing (I mean, not content wise; several others basically do the same thing) is this piece by Grant Morrison and Daniel Vallely. Because a few pages later…

… the same story shows up again, but now drawn by Tony Akins and Paul Mounts. A production snafu, perhaps? The editors sent out the same script to two different illustrators by mistake and then printed both versions anyway?

And as a final send-off from Eclipse, you get “PEOPLE SUFFER TOO”. *sigh* yronwode really hated this book, didn’t she? I mean, it makes sense to push the other Eclipse political books here, but perhaps not under that headline.

I’d say that it’s a pretty successful anthology. They’ve got some good creators in there agitating pretty effectively. Perhaps the editors should have ensured more diversity in approaches and subject matters, but I guess it’s pretty limited what you can do as an editor for a project where everybody contributes their work free of charge.

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