Open Season

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See Open Season (film) for the article about the 2006 film with the same title.
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"Open Season", subtitled "Beginning the stories of Herman Orca" (the protagonist, an anthropomorphic rat), is one short chapter in a dystopian graphic novel by Kjartan Arnorsson, which appeared in The American Journal of Anthropomorphics issue #3 (March 1995).

Told in nine pages of black ink illustrations with occasional halftone shading, Open Season begins with Herman's journal entry: "They'll be coming soon. I'm going to keep a diary of all that happens - if only to show that all rats aren't illiterate." It is the first chronological chapter in Arnorsson's saga of Herman's life, but was not the first time Arnorsson drew Herman, as his earliest comic-book work featuring the character dates from the 1980s.

Herman's diary details his civilization, which consists of sapient, bipedal animals who evolved millennia ago. Humans are long extinct, their existence officially denied, but Herman suspects such beings once lived. (It is suggested that the animals' rapid evolution might have been caused by human biotechnology.) The anthropomorphic species include both carnivores and herbivores, with political and moral issues and abuses stemming from the carnivores' continual need for meat. This culminates in the goverment holding a rigged lottery which designates all rats as food, to be rounded up, sent to 'meat camps', and butchered. Open Season ends with the principled young Herman, an orphaned streetfighter and gang member, choosing to resist. Skilled in combat, rhetoric and tactics, he launches a terrorist campaign of resistance and is quickly joined by other rats.

In subsequent stories (though actually drawn earlier), Herman and his comrades evade the authorities by traveling to a remote, forbidden region of jungle. There, much to their surprise, they encounter 'unevolved' (non-sapient, quadrupedal) animals, as well as an ancient concrete bunker. Deep inside, they discover a rocket from the age of humanity. Using it as a bargaining chip, Herman forces the government (which does not wish humans' past existence to publicly revealed) to close the camps, and the rats are freed. He receives a presidential pardon, but this is far from the end of his struggles, or those of ratkind.

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