Cancer Town is an elegant story about a man. A man with a brain tumor who can slip in and out of what may or may not be an imaginary world that he names after this eponymous little gem. Written by Cy Dethan of White Knuckle fame, with line art by Stephen Downey and colours (it’s from Europe) by Melanie Cook and lettered by Nic Wilkinson. This was Cy’s first graphic novel. Not mention he’s made a franchise from this book. I will be reviewing volume 2 coming up soon. This is story of Vince, who, from what I can make out is a bounty hunter of sorts. He slips into Cancer Town to track down others who have some how found a way into his own personal Hell.
The story starts out like any story where the protagonist suffers from brain cancer, being held outside the window of his second story flat by some mysterious giant monster, then being dropped onto the landing, probably on his head. Vince races back up the stairs to his plot, where he’s reasoning with himself the entire way. And by the time he kicks in the door, you’re pretty sure he’s fully gone. Especially when he picks up a gynormous tooth. You know, like the one Stimpy gave to Ren that took up his entire Chihuahua mouth.
Bare with me folks, it takes a bit to get the hamster back on the wheel when I haven’t written regularly in a while. For some reason he writes down the name Daniel Grey, picks up a novel and heads back out. Down the way some he sees a homeless bloke who has apparently taken his good friend’s blanket. Vince kicks the hell out of the poor bastard before taking the blanket back and coming across the girl he took the novel for. While knocking the man about, he asks, “Where’s Blister Girl?” From there, Vince plunges head first into Cancer Town, where he is forced to find this Daniel Grey. Rescue him and the man who stole Bug Fuck’s (see Blister Girl) blanket, from the clutches of Cancer Town and Crosshair in particular, as he is harvesting humans for his own sick devious plot.
The story is compelling and has what I can say is somewhat of a happy ending that only comic books could possibly deliver. It seems Daniel Grey is a missing husband and father who suffers from some sort of dementia. Anyone who has ever known or loved someone with this affliction, knows how terrible it can be. But there’s something else beneath Daniel’s exterior that allows him to move in and out of Cancer Town. And Vince Marley (I think, as Bug F*** is pretty hard to understand) is determined to find out what.
This book reminded me of Hellblazer with a serious twist of Dylan Dog and the part in Hellboy The Golden Army where the BPRD visits the Troll Market. Which may or may not be a fair comparison since I’ve only ever owned one issue of Hellblazer. And I was like ten at the time and I’m sure I didn’t read it. But the way Vince talks and works with the denizens of Cancer Town is reminiscent of of Dylan Dog. There were pacts and agreements to be had. And there were weaknesses in the creatures for Vince to exploit. Man is, as they say the most dangerous game. There were parts where the art was not honestly my cup of tea, although I’m currently working on correcting all the EEF Ups I’ve got in my current yarn, so who am I to talk. That, and art is subjective. And unless it’s Rob Liefeld, I’m willing to give it a chance. But the writing is really solid. You feel a connection to the characters. Especially for Bug F***. You just know she holds a key to this whole scenario that Vince is going through. I figured out the ending about halfway through the book. But it’s a seriously fun ride. Watching things get all bollocks’d up is quite great. Especially while drinking. I know Vince Marley could use a pint after all that.
Cy Dethan’s blog is available at this website, www.raggedman.com, and you should check it out. Cause anyone capable of coming up with both White Knuckle and TWO volumes of Cancer Town probably needs your love and support, and may just be a threat to national security. Thankfully he’s from Europe so we won’t have to worry about that for at least a few months after his initial assault on humanity. This book and it’s sequel were sent to me by the letterer, Nic Wilkinson. I had reviewed White Knuckle earlier this year and, both her and Cy were happy with the outcome. Especially that the grade involved Christopher Daniels, The Fallen Angel. He’s a personal favorite of both Cy and Nic. So I hope they like this one as well. From across the pond, there came a tag team. Two Brits who traveled with a dog. A Bulldog. An English Bulldog to be exact. Her name was Matilda. The team, was the venerable British Bulldogs. And although, Davey may be gone and The Dynamite Kid may be in a wheelchair, the memories of these two are forever. Although he didn’t innovate it, Dynamite’s Flying Headbutt from the top rope has been copied by so many and only mastered by a few. Two of these men are Davey Richards, former Ring of Honor World Champion and the late Chris Benoit, a former WWE World Heavyweight Champion also. The flying headbut was also used by the likes of Bam Bam Bigelow, possibly the biggest wrestler to use the maneuver. But I still remember seeing the British Bulldogs at the Tucson Convention Center back in the 1980′s when they used to team with Koko B Ware for 6 Man Tags. Koko would come out with Frankie and the Bulldogs would appear with Matilda. Classic memories of 1980′s WWF wrestlers who could actually wrestle and not just pose.