NOTE: I’ve had a few requests for a general summary of the world in which The Outbreak (and specifically “Monster at the Institute”) takes place. Hopefully, all this comes through clearly in the comic, but if you want a little more information or to read ahead, this is what you’re looking for!
While still recovering from the trauma of World War II, England endures an outbreak of ravenous, wolf-like carnivores called lupanoids. The beasts take over the countryside, dramatically altering the landscape and culture. No one seems to understand where they came from or why. All that is known for sure is that the lupanoids aren’t wolves and aren’t humans, and they appear to never have been either. Popular opinion is divided on whether they should (or can) be exterminated or whether humankind should learn to live alongside the lupanoids.
Two main groups make up either side of this debate. The Institute for Co-Existence, which is just a refurbished version of the war-time Institute for Peace, is a government-funded research institute that employs chemists, biologists, mathematicians, sociologists, and other scientists all working toward a common goal: to establish a new normal society in which humans and the lupanoids co-exist without fear. On the other hand, The Confrontation is a military-style group that eliminates lupanoids wherever the soliders find them. The Confrontation is careful, though, to tranquilize the beasts before burning them at a cremation facility offsite, since the fresh blood of a slain lupanoid would just attract more.
Although they seem to be at odds, the Institute and Confrontation work together frequently. The Confrontation regularly provides a small number of live lupanoids to the Institute for testing, and the Institute developed and supplies the tranquilizer used by the Confrontation. In addition, the Confrontation runs the transports that are required to get around, which are Army jeeps enhanced to protect against lupanoid attacks.
After surviving the Blitz and other stresses of the war, many English citizens found the lupanoid Outbreak too much to bear. Many have left the country, fleeing to America and other countries where they believe they’ll be free of the lupanoid threat. Those who remain live mostly barricaded in rooms with bricked-over windows, dependent on The Confrontation for transportation, and with little opportunity to venture outside without fear of attack.
But they make do, those who remain in England. Because that’s their duty to their country and families: to make do.
Beginning tomorrow, you can read excerpts from the journal of Dr. Patrick Sullivan, a chemist at the Institute for Co-Existence, in “Monster at the Institute.” Patrick flew in the Royal Air Force during the war, but now lives on the outskirts of London with his wife Susan and their young son, Marcus. Patrick is convinced that he can help find a way to control the Outbreak and to live in peace with the lupanoids, the way humans co-exist with other animals, but neither he nor his fellow scientists have come up with any solutions yet.
Learn more tomorrow…
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