AfterShock Comics announced that Women of Color Unite (WOCU) will be partnering with Star Trek: Discovery producer Aron Eli Coleite to publish Animus, a first-ever graphic novel created by women of color.
WOCU’s #StartWith8 Hollywood Edition program sees L.C. Cruell, Manon de Reeper, Natasha M. Hall, Stephanie Johnson, Diandra Pendleton-Thompson, Joël René Scoville and Michelle Wilens all team up with Aron Eli Coleite, who has produced TV shows such as Netflix’s Locke & Key and Paramount+’s Star Trek: Discovery, to create Animus. “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,” Coleite said in an announcement. “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.”
Animus is set in a world dealing with similar problems to earth — the economy, environment, conflicts between nations, extremist politics, etc. The main difference between this world and ours, however, is that some women in Animus have psychic abilities such as telepathy, telekinesis, healing and teleportation. Whether they be heroes, villains, vigilantes, CEOs, doctors, politicians, artists, soldiers, activists or petty thieves, each of these women have their own story that Animus will dive into.
AfterShock Comics Editor-in-Chief Mike Marts said that the company is proud to partner with WOCU on this project. “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,” he said. “When Aron Eli Coleite presented us with the idea and the chance to work with Women of Color Unite, we jumped at the opportunity.”
WOCU Founder Cheryl L. Bedford said she was also thankful for the collaboration and to be a part of bringing Animus to life. “At WOCU we have a saying….. You aren’t an ally; you have to practice your allyship every day to be a co-conspirator,” she said. “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.”
Beginning as a social media campaign, WOCU’s #StartWith8 is a program promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility by connecting professionals with eight women and non-binary people of color working in the entertainment business. Together, they come up with a plan of action to create tangible success in the eight mentee’s careers.
In addition to working in television, Coleite wrote for Marvel when working on Ultimate X-Men in 2008 and 2009. “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,” Coleite said. “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.”