Black Caravan’s Cancelled
I’ll freely admit I struggle to give two shits about Clowns. In fact, I can count the amount of Clown stories I can dig into with fervent anticipation on one hand. They’re just not scary in any way, shape, or form. In fact, the scariest moment of clowns was when, just prior to the pandemic there was a phenomenon of clown sightings all around the world. Specifically, America.
Now that was truly frightening. Maybe it’s me? Maybe it’s the Australian in me and that Clown boogeymen have never been part of our urban legend pantheon. It could be the outright fear that Americans have grown up with after the serial killer, John Wayne Gacy, dressed up as Pogo the Clown. Who knows?
Point is, Clowns aren’t as part of our pop cultural makeup as much as it is in America. Still, I appreciate the sub-genre that clown horror occupies and it’s contribution to horror as a whole.
Cancelled takes Clowns to a New Level
Enter: Black Caravan. For those unfamiliar with Black Caravan, they’re a comic book imprint of Scout Comics which focuses on the darker elements of horror and terror. Cancelled #1, a recent release from Black Caravan, takes that horror to bone chilling levels with one very pissed off clown at the center of it all.
Written by David A. Byrne, Cancelled depicts a children’s TV clown who has his show cancelled resulting in him getting extremely shitful and being electrocuted to the extent that he’s reduced down to literal electric waves and currents. Sounds a bit like Spider-Man villain Electro’s origin story, doesn’t it?
That’s because it is. With the notable exception that this clown now exists in the netherealm of the television set and communicates to children who watch his brand new and non-cancelled TV show in which he leaves a set off instructions: kill your parents. The interesting dynamic that’s thrown to the reader is a set of four stories, all featuring the Cruncho the Clown, which are each drawn by a different artist (Pabliku Man, Renan Balmonte, MedManga and Nick Justus).
This gives us the reader a sense that not only can Cruncho systematically tap into millions of TV sets across America all at once, he can also communicate his set of maniacal homicidal instructions for deaths of parents to start piling in.
Four Artists, Four Stories, 1 Sinister Clown
With each artist tackling a different story, we get a sense of different worlds and a sense that Cruncho isn’t just the antagonist – he’s also the storyteller. That’s the genius behind this creative spin of Byrne’s set of stories. He’s like the Crypt Keeper, if the Crypt Keeper got off his spiny skeletal arse and actually did a murder or two.
Technically, this may be an anthology of sorts but calling it just that almost cheapens what this book achieves. Not only is Cancelled a fun new comic book, it serves up the grim slayings of parents in satisfying quantities. This is the grandchild of fantastically gruesome retro titles like Tales From the Crypt, Eerie and many other horror magazines.
Available now in comic book stores, Cancelled has enough gumption to one day be that book to be passed down from father to son over and over again. It’s almost a shame that a copy of Cancelled #1 comes all clean and well presented. Take it from me, throw some dust at it and run it through cobwebs. It’ll add to your street cred!