Clockwise from top left: Stephanie Johnson, Manon de Reeper, Michelle Wilens,  L.C. Cruell, Natasha M. Hall, Joël René Scoville, and Diandra Pendleton-Thompson  

Aftershock Comics has teamed up with social action organization Women of Color Unite (WOCU) for ANIMUS, a new graphic novel created by women of color with diverse voices and unique writing styles. It’s a shared world SF tale set in a world where only women possess psychic powers.

WOCU’s mission statement is to focus on fair access, fair treatment and fair pay for women of color in the entertainment and media industries, and was founded by Cheryl L. Bedford.

The ANIMUS project was developed by WOCU’s #StartWith8 Hollywood Edition program, and collaborators include L.C. Cruell, Manon de Reeper, Natasha M. Hall, Stephanie Johnson, Diandra Pendleton-Thompson, Joël René Scoville and Michelle Wilens all under the mentorship of comic and TV/writer producer Aron Eli Coleite (LOCKE & KEY, STAR TREK: DISCOVERY).

“One of the core principles of our mission at AfterShock Comics is to cultivate a broad and diverse spectrum of creative talent – which is why ANIMUS is the perfect project for us to develop,” said Mike Marts, AfterShock Comics Editor-in-Chief in a statement. “When Aron Eli Coleite presented us with the idea and the chance to work with Women of Color Unite, we jumped at the opportunity.”

“At WOCU we have a saying…. You aren’t an ally; you have to practice your allyship every day to be a co-conspirator,” said Bedford. “Thankful for our co-conspirators: Aron Eli Coleite, his team, and AfterShock. I am so excited for these mentees and hope that #StartWith8 Hollywood Edition serves as a blueprint for what is truly possible in the entertainment industry as a whole.”

More info below:

The world of ANIMUS is similar to our own, with similar problems: the economy, the environment, conflicts between nations, and countries leaning more and more to the political far right. In this world, there is one big difference: psychic abilities exist. Though rare, these gifts come in many forms including telepathy, telekinesis, healing and teleportation. But only women can possess them. These women are heroes, villains and vigilantes, CEOs, doctors, politicians, artists, soldiers, activists and even petty thieves. In ANIMUS, each has their own story and place in the world.

“We’re proud at AfterShock to have partnered with Women of Color Unite to work with talented writers to create a world unlike any other,” said Christina Harrington, AfterShock Comics Managing Editor. “Developing a story with a writer I haven’t worked with before is the best part of my job as a comic book editor, so to be able to work with so many talented women is a joy. I can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for this comic!”

“Almost two years ago I was inspired to join WOCU’S #StartWith8Hollywood because they challenged their mentors to do more than just offer advice, but make an impact,” said Aron Eli Coleite. “With the help of AfterShock Comics, Animus offered an opportunity to go beyond mentorship and give these writers an outlet to tell their unique stories.”

“AfterShock is thrilled to partner with Women of Color Unite to showcase the brilliance and creativity of these up-and-coming creators. This is a remarkable graphic novel presenting the works of incredible writers and we’re proud to publish it,” said Lee Kramer, AfterShock Comics President. “We feel honored that Aron Eli Coleite chose to bring this project to us and look forward to this collaboration – one that has so much potential to break new ground in comics and beyond.”