How Comic Book 'World of Animosity' Is Giving Readers a Way to Catch Up (Exclusive)

World of Animosity Cover - Publicity - P 2017
Courtesy of Rafael De Latorre/AfterShock
A September one-shot spins out of the critically acclaimed indie series, which is a dystopia, a black comedy and a coming-of-age story all in one.

Ahead of the series' first anniversary, AfterShock Comics' Animosity is stepping back to let newcomers and longtime fans alike celebrate the World of Animosity in a special one-off issue to be released this September.

In the words of the publisher, the issue, written by series creator Marguerite Bennett with art by Rafael De Latorre and Juan Doe, offers "an exclusive look at the characters, creatures, maps, mysteries, enemies, histories, and the road-so-far in a world where the Animals have risen up to take revenge." With character designs, a cover gallery and all-new material created especially for the $3.99 issue, World expands the Animosity franchise beyond the main series and recent Animosity: The Rise.

World of Animosity will be released to comic book stores and digitally Sept. 20. Heat Vision spoke to Bennett about the new one-shot, her collaborators and Animosity as a whole.

We've covered Animosity before, but refresh everyone's memory: how would you describe it to newcomers?

Bennett: Animosity begins when one day, for reasons unknown, the animals start thinking, start talking and start taking revenge. Cows plead in slaughterhouses, hens murder their rooster, the orca in SeaWorld splashes from the tank and begs of his trainer, “Jessica, I can’t deny my feelings any longer! WILL YOU MARRY ME?” The world descends into over-the-top chaos. 

In New York City, in the midst of these insane, bombastic, blackly comedic backdrops, a young girl’s dog “wakes,” turns to her — the person who has cared for him, saved him, raised him, protected him — and tells her, with utter purity and sincerity, that he loves her. Smiling, uncomprehending, she tells him she loves him, too. 

The dog who was her child must now become her father and sets out to guide her on the journey to her estranged brother, who lives on the West Coast. His life expectancy is far less than hers, and he knows he has to get the girl to her brother before he himself dies and leaves her stranded in this vicious new world. Now they must navigate clashes between the United States government and the rise of the Animilitary, the devastating food crisis, population explosions and every other peril on this mad road trip.

Animosity is a dystopia, a black comedy and a coming-of-age story all in one. 

World of Animosity builds on both the main Animosity series, and The Rise mini, in building out the larger world of the storyline beyond Jesse and Sandor's adventures. How much of this material was in your head, or a series bible, for that matter, before working on the World one-shot?

I’ve been developing Animosity on and off for a few years, actually. I’ve kept a massive document where every so often, I’d go on a kick of scribbling down all kinds of bizarre and inventive images — cats going in through doggie doors in the post-apocalypse, stealing drugs to sell on the emerging black market; the lives of humans through the lens of animals as long-lived as whales and tortoises or as short-lived as mayflies — ideas of what might happen elsewhere in the world during the events of the Wake and after. It’s been hugely fun to reassemble a world map not only from the stories seen in the series but from the unseen events I never thought I’d have a chance to share.

World acts as a primer for new readers, and a way to not only introduce them to the series but catch them up on what's happened so far. Did you use this as a chance to look back yourself — and if so, what did you discover about Animosity that you hadn't been aware of before this?

World will be an ideal place to jump on for new readers, but a huge portion of the issue is devoted to information and events we haven’t yet explored in the series. Really, it was a moment of tremendous encouragement to realize how much story there was, how vast the world, how much we could explore without ever doubling back. I’m so phenomenally grateful to the readers for their kindness and generosity — I hope to always, always have stories to tell them.?

The World one-shot allows Rafael De Latorre and Juan Doe's art a chance to shine — what have they brought to the series for you, in terms of collaboration and bringing your world to life?

They are so incredible and I am so blessed to work with them and with all of our team, including Rob Schwager and Marshall Dillon, and Mike Marts, who brought me on at AfterShock. Rafael and Juan are especially grand for the distinct tones they bring.

In Animosity, Rafael gives so much humanity to animals and so much beastliness to humans. In our all-American road trip, the Bloodhound and his human daughter are facing the dangers of the wilderness, the elements, and the threats of a wide-open terrain as they trek from New York City to distant California.

In The Rise, Juan has the most striking, inventive styles, immersing us in the fascinating waking nightmare that our protagonist finds himself in up in San Francisco — a city where, during the Wake, the animals seized power, and where they are now struggling to create a new society.

Both of them complement one another so beautifully, and in their clear styles and tones, they create a complete, brutal, beautiful, outrageous world I hope to share with readers for a long time to come.