Winner of the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz Awards
The setting: suburban Seattle, the mid-1970s. We learn from the outset that a strange plague has descended upon the areas teenagers, transmitted by sexual contact. The disease is manifested in any number of ways from the hideously grotesque to the subtle (and concealable) but once youve got it, thats it. Theres no turning back.
As we inhabit the heads of several key characters some kids who have it, some who dont, some who are about to get it what unfolds isnt the expected battle to fight the plague, or bring heightened awareness to it , or even to treat it. What we become witness to instead is a fascinating and eerie portrait of the nature of high school alienation itself the savagery, the cruelty, the relentless anxiety and ennui, the longing for escape.
And then the murders start.
As hypnotically beautiful as it is horrifying, Black Hole transcends its genre by deftly exploring a specific American cultural moment in flux and the kids who are caught in it- back when it wasnt exactly cool to be a hippie anymore, but Bowie was still just a little too weird.
To say nothing of sprouting horns and molting your skin
Charles Burns grew up in Seattle in the 1970s. His work rose to prominence in Art Spiegelmans Raw magazine in the mid-1980s and took off from there, in an extraordinary range of comics and projects, from Iggy Pop album covers to the latest ad campaign for Altoids. In 1992 he designed the set for Mark Morriss delightful restaging of The Nutcracker (renamed The Hard Nut) at BAM. Hes illustrated covers for Time, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Magazine. He was also tapped as the official cover artist for The Believer magazine at its inception in 2003. Burns lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two daughters.
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