Proper introductions are long overdue. Audience—meet Animus!--Animus—meet the Audience! It's certainly been long enough since Animus itself has been given a proper introduction on this blog (if that's happened at all!)
This Storytelling Sunday let's delve into what Animus is and how its story is told from a creative, worldbuilding and personal standpoint.
Animus is a creative storytelling and worldbuilding project which I created as an expression of my personal journey, my artistic vision, and even my childhood play fantasies. (Read more about me personally, here, in this article about Joe Kawano: Animus Creator.)
what is the story of animus?
If you were to approach me at a comic convention or tradeshow, my pitch for Animus would run something like: "It's a bit like Game of Thrones meets Ninja Turtles, with deep worldbuilding and a persistent planned story arc."
The animal-human characters of the story are locked in struggle with the ancient dinosaur forces of darkness that seek to overwhelm their civilization; if they do not unite, they will perish!"
what is the world of animus?
The world of Animus aims to mix accessible characters with highly detailed worldbuilding. In this world, dogs are not just "dogs because dogs are cute," but each of the animal civilization has its own thought origins, calendar, religious systems, governments, languages, laws and cultures.
Races you'll meet include Reesk (rats), Här-Bownans (rabbits), Doth (dogs), Kolain (koalas), Vash-Vek (foxes), among many others.
how did i come up with the world and story of animus?
Like many children, I heard a number of "animal tales" growing up; These ranged from the adventures of Squirrel Nutkin and Peter Rabbit, to the indubitable detective and adventure Freddy the Pig, to comic stories with the sidekicks like the tiger Hobbes and Charlie Brown's beagle Snoopy.
In addition to these story experiences, I made many of my own, playing with my toys: legos, action figures and the like—creating drama and adventure.
I had many stuffed animals who became the vehicle, through long periods of sickness, for my imagination to roam. I'd make the animals actors in non-animal stories—books I'd read, or have read to me, movies I'd see, or television shows I'd watch. All the while, these stories would form in and around me.
Soon, the time came to formulate a coherent world, with an origin story that made sense. I began to form races (and not just individual members) of animal species each with their own overarching cultural values. As an adolescent, these races became a lense for my own view of politics and the divergent opinions in the world around me.
As time passed, it became clear that the Animus story needed meat on its bones—needed to be made manifest. By the end of November of 2014, after 25 years of planning and sitting on the idea, I, with the help of a noble investor, finished the very first Animus comic: Rites of Passage issue #1 which premiered at the Grand Rapids Comic-Con in West Michigan.
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