Vegan Artbook is a webcomic that was created by a Dutch artist named Priya Cynthia Kishna, who also goes under a number of other names like "Yerdian" and "PupaVegan". Starting out as a comic intended to educate people about the supposed benefits of veganism, over the years the comic has shifted to mostly just being a vehicle to attack Kishna's critics. The comic's content can basically be summarized as "PETA: the comic", as the comic consists of attacking anyone who eats meat (and even vegans who don't agree with everything Kishna says) while promoting any form of pseudoscience that can make veganism look better. The comic is frequently considered to be the vegan equivalent of Chick tracts, with even most vegans not liking it, although Kishna does maintain a small, cultlike fanbase.
Warning: Despite Vegan Artbook looking like a cute anime-influenced comic on the surface, Kishna will often use extreme imagery in an attempt to shock readers into agreeing with her ideology. Some of these links are NSFW and may even be NSFL. You have been warned.
The war on straw
“”Straw character: I would go vegan, but I am disabled, so my carer decides what I eat, since she's the one cooking. I have nothing to say about it.
|—According to this comic, this is a completely unreasonable excuse to not be vegan.|
Vegan Artbook doesn't really have an overarching story, and most strips can be summarized thusly:
- Straw character makes argument that Kishna disagrees with.
- Vegan character makes "witty" comeback, beats up the straw character, or if all else fails, just tells them to shut up.
- Either way, the straw character is stunned into silence, and the moral superiority of vegans is proved for the day.
It has a large cast of characters, but most of them fall into four groups:
- Author self-inserts: The closest thing to "main" characters that the strip has, these are the ones who always push Kishna's viewpoints in the comics. The most prominent one is Plausibell (formerly ironically named Brie), with others including Legua and Dolly. Character-wise, they are all pretty much identical.
- Tokens: Other vegan characters that were created by Kishna to try to appeal to various demographics, such as Mike (a "plus size" vegan), Azusa (a gay vegan), Dazz Ling (an East Asian vegan), and Lulu (a black vegan). They may have one or two stereotypical character traits, such as Mike's love of food, but otherwise just exist to back up the points made by the author self-inserts.
- Edgy characters: Distressingly popular among Kishna's small fandom, these characters are used when Kishna requires them to do something that would contradict the supposedly "peaceful" main vegan characters and have only become more prominent in the recent years of the comic. These characters are very violent towards the non-vegans, up to and including outright murder.
- Strawmen: Basically applies to every non-vegan in the comic (or, as Kishna calls them, "carnists"), though later has expanded to include vegans that Kishna disagrees with. The two main ones are Shawn, whom the narrative portrays as a stupid, selfish, loser, and Diva (subtle name there) who is portrayed, as a diva. However, these characters tend to be so ganged up upon by the narrative and the vegan characters that most people root for them. There are a bunch of others, including caricatures of some of Priya's real-life critics.
The comic has a very black-and-white view towards veganism, portraying any reason why people avoid veganism as nothing more than a lame excuse, whether it be poverty, difficulty processing nonheme iron, allergies to vegan staples, or even disabilities that require specialized diets. Her caricatures of disabled people and denial of their disabilities can get quite ableist. Kishna's also one of those people who compares non-vegans to Adolf Hitler. She also frequently compares eating meat to the Holocaust and even mocks people who are offended by such comparisons. And that's not even getting into numerous allegations of tracing and art theft. So yeah, she's overall a pretty unpleasant person.
Pseudoscience and misinformation
If that wasn't bad enough, Kishna will frequently promote pseudoscientific claims in order to make a vegan diet look as good as possible. She seems to believe that a vegan diet is a miracle panacea, capable of curing anything from allergies to autism (yes, seriously). She also promotes the humans are herbivores myth, basically arguing that because humans use tools to hunt meat, that means we didn't eat meat before the invention of tools. This is ridiculous for many reasons, first, there is a lot of meat such as carrion and smaller animals like insects that can be eaten without having to be able to tear apart a large prey animal, so her premise immediately falls apart. Secondly, she tries to claim that meat wasn't responsible for the evolution of human brain growth, but starch was instead. Needless to say, pretty much no mainstream anthropologist agrees with that assessment. She also thinks that it's a good idea to feed meat-eating pets like fennec foxes vegan diets, which is something that can kill them. Any studies that disagree with her are handwaved away as the work of the dairy industry. She is also not above using misleading gory images to shock her audience, for example trying to pass off a stillborn malformed fetus as something killed in a slaughterhouse. At the very least, she does have one stopped clock moment when she made fun of the myth that soy feminizes men, but it doesn't nearly make up for all the dangerous medical misinformation she has promoted to her followers.
Flirting with extremism
“”To all hunters: If you think that overpopulated animals should be shot, you should start by shooting yourselves first, because humans are the most overpopulated and destructive species OF ALL.
Although most of the comic's focus is on militant vegan advocacy, Kishna does occasionally leave hints of her radical sympathies. In one comic, she endorses Gary Yourofsky, someone who has advocated for violence and even rape against non-vegans. Her comics often depict non-vegans being killed, with the narrative not doing anything to call out the murderers, and if anything, this problem has gotten even worse as the comic has gone on. This, combined with the comic's overall misanthropic tone and bashing of vegans and animal rights activists that aren't as extreme as Kishna, paints a pretty scary picture.
- Vegan Gains — Another vegan that gives other vegans a bad name.
- ↑ Has anyone ever heard of “Vegan Artbook”?, SkeeterYosh, Reddit
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Disabled, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The poor people's excuse, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Humane slaughter oxymoron, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Where do you draw the line?, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Farmers love their animals 3, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Apologists summarized, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Vegan pets, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ I tried being vegan, but…, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Vegan iron deficiency myth, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Can I still be vegan if…?, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Vegans are like Hitler, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Comparing animals to humans, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ For instance
- ↑ So you think you're a predator who is "made to eat meat?", Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Meat made the brain bigger, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Fat, Not Meat, May Have Led to Bigger Hominin Brains, Richard Kemeny, Scientific American 31 March 2019
- ↑ What Happens If A Vegan Puts Her Fennec Fox On A Vegan Diet?, The Mind Circle
- ↑ Slaughterhouse workers, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook (WARNING: Gore)
- ↑ Where she actually got the image from (warning: gore). Ctrl+F "schistosoma reflexus calf" to find it.
- ↑ Soy estrogen myth, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Hunting hypocrisy, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Wrong victim, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook
- ↑ Empathy, Education, and Violence: A Time for Everything, Gary Yourofsky, ADAPTT
- ↑ Bad hunter, Priya Cynthia Kishna, Vegan Artbook