Vince Morley is a dangerously sick man. Within the monstrous alternate world of Cancertown, a creature of horrific violence and limitless rage has burst from the nightmare landscape. The foundations are shaking and the old powers are falling. In response, the deadliest of Cancertown’s inhabitants seeks Morley out to claim a favor that could cost him more than just his life.
Cancertown 2 is the eagerly awaited sequel to the original horror graphic novel “Cancertown” written and co-created by Cy Dethan. I first heard about this book from the book artist Graeme Howard and the publisher Markosia when they featured in a British Showcase column and were both very excited about the book. With this kind of endorsement, I wanted to get stuck in and review it.
The first volume of Cancertown concentrates on the lead character Vince Morley, a man suffering from Cotard’s Syndrome. This ailment convinces the person that they are dead, rotting away or has missing organs. Vince however has a tumour the size of a fist in his brain that lets him experience visions from a diseased world co-existing with our own that quite frankly, we are lucky not to know about. In this second book, Vince is really on the edge of reality and takes the readers down into the rabbit hole with him. The book opens up into the realms of Cancertown. A nightmare plain of pain and suffering filled to the brim of creatures and beings that seem to have spawned from the depths of hell itself. One thing to learn from this opening is that no matter how big a deal you think you are, there’s always a bigger fish! Our leading man Vince awakes in a fluster and receives a phone call requesting that he come to the hospital to see an extremely sick girl, who would appear to be the source of the origins of Cancertown. After some heated exchange and disturbing revelations, Vince is forced to enter the inner sanctum of Cancertown to find answers. What ensues is a rollercoaster of twisted brilliance that will have you either turning pages to find out what’s coming next, or closing the book before it gets dark to ward off the nightmares.
The writing by Cy Dethan is bold, daring and interesting. The book and writing style really reminds me of the early Sandman books by Neil Gaiman, but pushing the boundaries that those books never could in a mainstream world. The dialogue has not been diluted down and is some of the most extreme I have seen in a graphic novel. This is a testament to both Dethan for being brave enough to write it and publisher Markosia for having the guts to print it. The characters are also really original and like nothing I have ever seen before. The main character is so realistic, you won’t know whether to love or hate him. He reminds me somewhat as a cynical John Constantine character, but one you would be even less likely to want to piss off!
The artwork by Graeme Howard is fantastic. The creatures and monsters that have been created for this book are original and disturbing. The panels and angle choices all work really well and add greatly to the experience of reading the book. The story telling works and flows effortlessly. The colors by Peter Mason compliment the artwork and really add the tone to the book. Everything is full of grime and grit, which add to the nightmarish nature. Letters by Nic Wilkinson are worth a mention too. There are some interesting fonts on offer and many characters have a unique style which distinguished them from one another. The layouts are good and well placed, so the artwork is allowed to shine. The sound effects are kept to a minimum which works well within the context of the story. Too much would have added a cartoony style that would have looked weird, so I am happy with the way this was handled.
Overall I would say this is one of the sickest, most disturbing and harrowing books I have read, needless to say that I loved it! This novel is one for adult readers only and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Anyone that loves a good original horror would be more than happy to read this. So if you are in the market for something engaging, different and scary for this Halloween, you can’t go far wrong with this. You can order this title by clicking on this link Order Cancertown 2.
Reviewed by Adam Cheal on
Outstanding British horror book, a must read!
Bold, Brave and Beautiful