Who is Mary Cagnin? Art and career of Black Silence comic artist amid 1899 claims

Bruno Cooke November 22, 2022
Who is Mary Cagnin? Art and career of Black Silence comic artist amid 1899 claims


Mary Cagnin is a Brazilian comic artist whose claims that the Netflix series 1899 is “identical” to her own earlier work (called Black Silence) have gone viral on Twitter this week. 

1899 is a multilingual epic period mystery-science fiction TV series. 

Its creators are Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar. It’s about a group of European migrants travelling from London to New York on a ship called Kerberos. 

Cagnin tweeted that she is “in shock,” following its release. GRV Media/The Focus has reached out to a representative of the show’s creators for a response to her viral Twitter thread.


Who is Black Silence comic artist Mary Cagnin?

Mariana Cagnin – she mostly goes by Mary professionally and on social media – is an illustrator and comic artist.

At the time of writing, she has 326K subscribers on YouTube. She makes content on the platform which, collectively, has accrued nearly 15 million views.

Her most popular videos are tutorials: how to draw faces, how to get light and shadow effects right, that sort of thing. They’re mostly in Portuguese.

She has also taught face-to-face and produces content for online art courses, on which more below. Cagnin has won and received nominations for, several awards including a Globo Award for Best Matter Design (2017), an Angelo Agostini Trophy for Best Designer for Black Silence (2017), and another Angelo Agostini Trophy for Best Colorist for Bittersweet (2021). 

Mary Cagnin has various tutorials and online courses available in analog and digital art

Over the course of her professional life, Cagnin has developed what she calls the Mary Cagnin Method.

It combines “accessible teaching with high-quality content,” and allows students to “learn without leaving home” and with “objective and dynamic classes.”

Course subjects include analog, portrait, digital and botanical watercolour; pencil drawing;  using markers; and digital illustration. There are others, too.

Cagnin’s artwork has appeared in numerous magazines and books by several publishers. These include Abril, Globo, Mol and FTD. Find an exhaustive list here.

Desbloqueie sua CRIATIVIDADE com estes passos simples | YouTube channel Mariana Cagnin

What is Black Silence about? 

Its synopsis reads: “In the future, Earth’s days are almost over. A team of astronauts is summoned to recognize a planet that may be the only chance of survival of human kind.”

“Lucas is a renowned exobiologist who finds himself in a difficult situation and his career is on the line. Destiny brings him to Nee, a military woman with quite a reputation, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse. What he doesn’t know is that this mission will change everything he once believed to be true.”

It was Mary Cagnin’s first science fiction project. Its setting is a “post-apocalyptic, dystopian future,” per her own introduction to it.

The story focuses on its characters’ psychological drama. Its aim was to offer “the feeling that [Cagnin has] towards the universe: the despair and terror against the unknown, the measureless.”

You can find the whole comic digitally via Issuu here.

1899 | Official Teaser | Netflix

1899 | Official Teaser | Netflix

What has Mary Cagnin said about her comic Black Silence and the Netflix series 1899?

“I’m in shock,” Cagnin tweeted on Sunday, November 20, 2022. “Today I found out that the 1899 series is just IDENTICAL to my comic Black Silence, published in 2016.”

Her Twitter thread has picked up nearly 320K likes, at the time of writing. It contains visual comparisons of her work with 1899, references to plot details, and an invitation for those stumbling across her tweet to “draw their own conclusions” by reading the comic themselves.

Reddit users have been discussing the similarities and differences between the two works of art. Read their discussion here. Be aware that it naturally contains heavy spoilers for both.

GRV Media/The Focus has reached out to Mary Cagnin for any further comment, and separately regarding what she is currently working on.

We have also contacted representatives for 1899’s showrunners Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese for a response to Mary Cagnin’s claims. 

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.