After four years in development, vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian is planning to release Earthraiser: Voice of the Voiceless, a comic book illustrated by artist David Padilla with a unique animal-rights theme. He first thought of developing the concept into a movie but chose this direction because the comic book format, “tell[s] the stories of the struggle and fight of powerful heroes against forces who represent the darker aspects of the world.” The strongman explained that he wanted a hero—an anti-hero of sorts—that was not just defined by his plant-based diet but had a complex message to relay to readers, both vegan and non-vegan alike. “After all, the animals deserve a hero powerful enough to create real change.”

During a sleepless night in a hotel room, Baboumian developed the concept for the superhero named Wolf Winter. “Instead of putting the emphasis on veganism, I would put the emphasis on the problem that has to be solved: suffering,” Baboumian said. “What if there was a hero whose superpower, or rather his curse, was that he would feel the suffering of others as if it was his own? This would force our hero to fight against that which creates unnecessary suffering in the world.” To make a compelling story, Baboumian inserted many autobiographical references in the comic book, including losing his father at a young age and catastrophic life events that have shaped him into the vegan activist he is today. 

In the story, Winter is a high-level EU military agent who undergoes an near-fatal government experiment aimed to give him the ability to read and influence sentient life forms. His superpower eventually evolves into a mechanism that registers the pain of all complex sentient life forms within a five mile radius, giving him the power (or curse) of feeling animal suffering first hand and setting him on a path to stop it. The antagonist in the story is Agent D, a female government agent supported by four biologically enhanced special operations soldiers. Other characters include exobiologist Dr. Z. Geist (who developed the experiment that led to Winter’s superpowers); 12-year-old girl Gaia (who has been speechless since birth but processes extraordinary cognitive abilities); and Aether (an ominous, mysterious being).

Currently, the comic book has surpassed its first crowdfunding goal of €12,000 ($13,457) on Kickstarer and Baboumian will use the funds to pay Padilla fairly and produce a 50-page limited edition version of Earthraiser. Should the campaign reach €20,000 ($22,380), the comic book will be extended to 60 pages, If it reaches €35,000 ($39,160), the book will be printed as a hardcover—with all additional funds raised beyond that going toward marketing and the development of new Earthraiser projects such as the film Baboumian initially intended to produce.

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