CANCELED, ISSUE #1
Writer: David A. Byrne
Artists: Pabliku Man, Renan Balmonte, MedManga & Nick Justus
Publisher: Black Caravan (Scout Comics)
WHAT IS IT?
A TV-centric horror story featuring clowns and child protagonists.
Think Saw meets The Twilight Zone.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Learnin’ Larry, the famed host of a popular children’s program, has been abruptly fired from his coveted position due to poor ratings. Infuriated by the news, he swears on live camera that those parents who have stopped their kids from watching will pay dearly. In a drunken rage, he strikes a power plant during a storm and gets electrocuted.
The next day, Larry’s replacement, Cruncho the Clown, encourages his young fans to commit violent acts against their parents.
Little does anyone know; it’s not just this world where Cruncho will wreak havoc... his havoc and mayhem has gone multiversal.
Byrne excellently navigates multiple styles and genres by using different art styles to signal transitions.
Man’s distorted faces and tasteful shading make the first pages of this book truly unsettling. Readers can feel the vitriol oozing from the antagonist.
The light line work and colorful pages from Renan Belmonte give a good reprieve from the first section which makes the story’s twist more unexpected in a truly beautiful way.
MedManga excellently uses screen tones to craft a chilling atmosphere for their section of the book. The textures add an extra layer of horror to each scene.
Justus’ clean and bold linework offers an excellent change of scenery while also feeling like a part of the book as a whole.
Rubin makes creative use of lighting to display excellently display the mood of the section he worked on. The washed-out colors provide a dreamlike atmosphere.
Rodriguez’s lettering excellently matches the art style of each section while avoiding any distracting, drastic changes in style.
Excellent pacing between style shifts keeps the repetitive story beats from becoming boring.
The lettering placement is particularly noteworthy as the many dialogue-heavy panels flow well and the reading order is never confusing.
The book switches between black and white and colorful art styles which resets the reader’s palette with ease.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Content Warning: There are depictions of graphic violence in this book for those who are sensitive to that.
While the concept depended on repetitive beats, the story didn’t have as much direction as it could. There's no clear protagonist and none of the characters who could potentially be it don't seem to have an interest in solving the mystery of the story.
This book could have benefitted from a more definitive conclusion. It felt more like an abrupt stop than satisfactory.
Some of the opening panels have large, white swaths without much shading or contrasting elements and lose a bit of focus because of it.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Canceled is an inspired concept and masterfully executed. The use of multiple artists with varying styles creates some excellent tension and release in a way that only a comic could. The story’s repetitive nature only works because each stylistic shift acts as a reset for the reader’s expectations, keeping everything fresh and flowing. It is clear that a lot of thought went into the creation of this book.
The art excellently displays the talents of multiple up-and-coming artists and the many ways a horror comic can be presented. Whether it be the uncanny and unsettling black-and-white style of Man, the Japanese-inspired work of MedManga, or the more colorful art by Belmonte or of Justus and Rubin, there’s something for everyone. It is largely because of the art that this concept works and is paced so well.
This book is perfect for any fan of mind-bending horror and creative comics craft.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Stake by David Byrne & Francesca Fantini
Shady Place by David Byrne
Batman: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
If you like the art:
Superfreaks by various creators (features Nick Justus)
Breaking Point by Sam Eastop & Renan Belmonte
Ice Cream Man by W. Maxwell Prince & Martin Morazzo
ABOUT THE CREATORS
David A Byrne (@dab282) – Writer
A multifaceted writer, Byrne has penned multiple independent comics as well as the novel Shady Place.
He is the owner of the independent publisher W.i.N. Pictures.
Byrne is the Co-Publisher of Scout Comics.
Pabliku Man (@PablikuM) – Artist
Man hails from Chile.
Renan Belmonte (@renanbelmonte) – Artist/Colorist
Belmonte hails from Brazil.
MedManga (@MedManga_artist) – Artist
He also creates manga drawing tutorials on YouTube
MedManga hails from Algeria.
Nick Justus (@NickJustusArt) - Artist
Primarily working in the indie sphere, Justus has also drawn comics for Image, Scout, and Bluewater Comics.
He has also done sketch cards for Topps and Upper Deck.
Justus is a graduate of the Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art.
Trevor Rubin – Colorist
Rubin has also colored Scout Comics’ Gods of Brutality and The Shepherd: The Valentine.
Joel Rodriguez (@J_Rod_Comics) – Letterer
A rising talent, Rodriguez has lettered books for multiple independent publishers as well as Scout, Antarctic Press, and Caliber comics.
He is the founder of the independent comic book production company Metal Ninja Studios.
Rodriguez is the Head of Design for Scout Comics.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Cancelled characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of Scout Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.