Friday, December 25, 2009

Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit

Panda Dog Press -- as it says at the top of this blog -- is the home of the comic book project Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit (AC:SCU).

AC:SCU is a concept that has been rattling around in my head for about a decade, at least since the year 2000, when artist Eduardo Kac convinced a French geneticist to create a "transgenic" rabbit by injecting a rabbit egg with jellyfish proteins. The resulting white rabbit, named Alba, glowed green when exposed to blue light. This is a true story, and things have gotten quite a bit weirder since that time. But even back in 2000, the artist, Kac, was trying to make a point -- perhaps many points -- and he created a lot of controversy amongst everyone from ethicists to animal-rights activists.

It seemed pretty clear to me that this transgenic thing -- whether for art or commerce -- could pretty quickly get out of hand. And that got me wondering: once the sound and fury die down, and designer pets become common, who would be cleaning up the mess?

The idea sharpened in my mind due to my other passion: animal welfare. I've spent a number of years volunteering here in Virginia at the local open access "No Kill" animal shelter. I mainly walk dogs at the shelter and especially love working with shy dogs and pit bulls. But my interest in animal welfare in general has led to a lot of reading -- and study -- of the state of sheltering in the United States. And that got me thinking a bit more...

So, AC:SCU is about the Animal Control Officers (ACO's) who are trying to do their job -- and survive -- a number of years after a boom in the business of transgenic pets has swept the country.

What's it like being an ACO when you're as likely to be dealing with a Panda-Dog hybrid as a Rottweiler? And what if the "urban legend" down in the sewers is now a transgenic 'Gator-Snake?

Read AC:SCU to find out.

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