Red Meat (comic strip)

Red Meat is a comic strip by Max Cannon. First published in 1989, it has appeared in over 80 newspapers, mainly alternative weeklies and college papers in the United States and in other countries.[1] It has been available online since 1996.[citation needed]

Red Meat
Red Meat (comic strip).jpg
Bug-Eyed Earl in an installment from 2014
Author(s)Max Cannon
Current status/scheduleWeekly
Launch date1989
Genre(s)Black comedy, Surreal comedy


The strip features a cast of characters with abnormal personalities. A visual hallmark of the strip is the almost total lack of movement of the characters from panel to panel and a "featureless void" of no background.[original research?] Cannon has said that he wanted Red Meat "to have a look that was somewhere between clip art and arresting minimalism, so that the text was more important than the art itself".[2]

Lambiek's Comiclopedia describes Red Meat as "a collection of absurd and sometimes cruel comics".[3]

Red Meat features "slug lines" at the top of each comic. In a 2005 interview Cannon said his favorite slug lines included "Plastic fruit for a starving nation" and "Official pace car of the apocalypse."[1]


Red Meat's characters include Stubbo, Milkman Dan, Bug-Eyed Earl, and Ted Johnson and his wife.[3] Many of the strip's human characters are 1950s caricatures.[citation needed]

  • Bug-Eyed Earl – A demented person, slightly resembling Edgar Allan Poe or Charles Pierre Baudelaire but a lot more like Steve Buscemi.[original research?] Earl's appearances generally involve him telling a surreal, strange, and usually disgusting anecdote.[citation needed]
  • Milkman Dan – The local milkman; he is eccentric and hostile towards people and animals, especially Karen, a neighborhood child. Constantly battling against sobriety. Dan also dresses as a cow in the part of McMoo, the anti-drug cow.[4][5][better source needed] Cannon said that "Milkmen seem so wholesome, and there’s no way anybody can be that wholesome… I grew up in a military family, and there’s something about that military-style uniform, all cleaned up, a brutal control effort the military necessarily breeds."[1]
  • Ted Johnson – Cannon has stated that Ted is based on his own father, and said that despite some readers thinking so he is not based on Bob Dobbs.[1] He has a taste for gruesome sexual fetishes and cruel hobbies.[citation needed]


Red Meat was started by Cannon in the Arizona Daily Wildcat in 1989, the student newspaper of the University of Arizona, though Cannon was not a student of the university.[1] It was later picked up by the Tucson Weekly.[1] Since then it has appeared over 80 publications,[1] including The Onion.[6] Red Meat is also available online, and has been published online since 1996,[citation needed] making it one of the oldest still-running webcomics.

Red Meat has been published in several other languages, including French, Italian, Spanish, Danish, and Finnish. Localisers have changed some details, such as the Finnish translation making Milkman Dan into a mailman.[1]

In 2009, Max Cannon urged his readers to contact the editors of their local alternative weekly papers in an effort to save the comics printed within.[7]

At least three collections of the strips have been released:

  • Red Meat (1997) ISBN 0-312-18302-X
  • More Red Meat (1998) ISBN 0-312-19514-1
  • Red Meat Gold (2005) ISBN 0-312-33014-6[1]


Red Meat is created by Max Cannon. Lambiek's Comiclopedia states that Cannon was born in England,[3] but the Tucson Weekly described him as a "native Tucsonan".[8]

Cannon is also creator of the Comedy Central animated web show Shadow Rock,[6] which was based on the Red Meat strip.[9][dead link] He also contributed to Marvel's Strange Tales #2, writing stories with the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.[10] In a 2009 interview, Cannon said that he taught college animation and was working on two screenplays and doing some preliminary writing on a graphic novel.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "More meat amassed". Reno News & Review. 19 May 2005. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  2. ^ "Max Cannon: You 'Have To Be a Little Crazy' to Draw Alt Comics | Association of Alternative Newsweeklies". 2006-04-28. Archived from the original on 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  3. ^ a b c Lambiek (2007-09-21). "Comic creator: Max Cannon". Lambiek Comiclopedia. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  4. ^ "Tramp Steamer in Your Soup Kitchen". Red Meat. 2003-08-26. Archived from the original on 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  5. ^ "The Antidote for Pleasant Moments". Red Meat. 1997-11-24. Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  6. ^ a b Ball, Ryan (2007-02-27). "Comedy Central Debuts Web Shows". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  7. ^ "An URGENT Message from Max Cannon to All RED MEAT Readers: The Alternative Comics Apocalypse Has Begun". Archived from the original on 2009-08-25. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  8. ^ "Best of Tucson 1997: Max Cannon". Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  9. ^ "Shadow Rock". Atom. 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  10. ^ a b Collins, Sean T. (October 7, 2009). "Strange Tales Spotlight: Max Cannon". Marvel Comics. Check |archive-url= value (help)

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