As 2017 begins to unfold, Nothing But Comics draws its coverage of 2016 to an end with my list of Best Single Issues. All entries are listed alphabetically by title.
Two issues in, Animosity is proving to be one of the most original debuts of the year. The AfterShock series takes place on an Earth where animals suddenly gain sentience. Naturally, confusion leads to violence which only ratchets up the narrative’s tension. However, there is more to the title than a tale of animal resentment run amok. Writer Marguerite Bennett, along with artist Rafael De Latorre, are crafting a nuanced portrait of humans’ relationship with the rest of the animal kingdom. At New York Comic Con, I had the chance to speak with Bennett about the series.
By Marguerite Bennett, Rafael De Latorre & Rob Schwager
There are many memorable moments within Werner Herzog’s documentary Grizzly Man, a mesmerizing portrait of fanatical, out of touch nature lover, Timothy Treadwell. The most haunting image is a close-up of a grizzly’s face, as Herzog’s narration calmly observes that there is no “secret life” of the bear, no deeper truth to be learned from its existence beyond the simple, single-minded pursuit of food. One of Treadwell’s many flaws was his inability to acknowledge the brutal side of nature, believing instead in a Disneyfied world of good-natured creatures who would never harm each other, even for sustenance. At one point in Grizzly Man, Treadwell bemoans the death of a small fox, literary unable to process that it probably served as food for those bears Treadwell was trying so hard to “protect.” In the end, such naiveté would cost Treadwell his life. However, while Herzog’s somber reality-check is essential for anyone who was raised with funny animal cartoons and comics, it is only half the story. Like human nature itself, animals are more complex than any straightforward categorization. This willingness to see shades of grey is essential to the success of Marguerite Bennett’s new AfterShock series. Animosity. By choosing to focus on diversity, instead of uniformity, she creates an engaging, strong debut issue.