Written by Jennifer Young & Brian Buccellato
Art by Matias Bergara
Publisher- Image Comics
Summary from Comixology: “A BRAND NEW SERIES! From New York Times bestselling writer BRIAN BUCCELLATO & JENNIFER YOUNG, CANNIBAL is about the denizens of a small Everglades town desperately trying to hold onto their everyday lives at the dawn of a cannibal pandemic. With no cure in sight, the region has become split over what to do with the victims, though for Cash and Grady Hansen the answer is simple: Kill them. But all of that changes when the virus begins to infect people they love.”
Brian Buccellato is probably most well known for his amazing color work in comics (which he graces the pages of Cannibal with as well), but he’s also a brilliant writer & storyteller as well, tackling series’ like The Flash and Detective Comics. Probably… no, DEFINITELY, my favorite thing he’s ever done is Sons of the Devil, which is also published by Image. There’s a really gritty vibe to it, and the 70’s era flashbacks give it this The Omen/The Exorcist feel which I just can’t get enough of. Cannibal is a different beast altogether. It maintains a similar family-at-the-center vibe, but it’s much more expanded in its overall tone. Where the urgency in SOTD mostly only effects a focused-on group of individuals, Cannibal’s setting is one where everyone has been affected by an urgency, but as the readers we’re only seeing the story that revolves around a focused-on group of individuals.
I have family all strewn about in small Florida towns, so there’s a lot for me to relate to in Cannibal’s setting. The ornery southern attitudes and alcohol soaked temperaments of the characters is almost comforting. Not that comparison’s are always an effective way to describe something, but… if I *were* to compare Cannibal to other comics, I would probably say that it feels like Southern Bastards meets The Walking Dead. Down-home country folk, stubborn as a pack of mules, trying to navigate through the new way the world is but mostly refusing to accept reality.
Sharing in the writing duties, with Brian, is Jennifer Young. She was an editor on SOTD, but, as far as I can, tell this seems to be her first time out as a creator. The two share a creative dynamic that melds seamlessly, because there’s nothing, at least not in this first issue, that makes you feel like the book is torn in different directions.
As I mentioned above, Brian does the color work on Cannibal, but all the pencils and inks are done by Matias Bergara, whose previously comic experience includes series’ such as Sons of Anarchy, and American Vampire. His style seems to blend cartoon-ish expressionism with more modern comic layering structure. You can tell he puts a lot of work into creating depth in his panels. My favorite page in the entire issue is page 7, which is also the title page I guess, and it’s just after the cannibalistic-burdened gentlemen you see in these preview pages devours the poor bus boy. The look on his face is guilt-stricken, and he’s covered in blood that is also dripping off of the deck and into the swap water below. It’s both gruesome and beautiful.
The most ingenuous element of Cannibal is that the Cannibals don’t want to be. They’re affected by a virus that forces them to crave eating human flesh. Not only is that the most original take on apocalyptic horror you’re ever going to hear, but it almost feels like a metaphor for addiction. I’m not saying that’s what this creative team intended, but having seen my own family impacted by addiction in the past, I see similarities in what this sickness does to the host. It makes you do things you don’t want to do. You try to stop but you can’t. And, even when you beg people to get out of the way so that they don’t get hurt, they sometimes still do, and the addicted is left carrying the weight of what they’ve done. Maybe I’m over-analyzing it, but why not pick up a copy for yourself and see what you think.
Cannibal is on comic shelves right now, so head down to your local shop and grab one! You can also get it digitally by clicking on the Comixology link at the top of the page!
Music Pairing –
I decided to make you guys a mix of “Cannibal” themed songs for this music pairing because it was just too perfect and easy…