Black Hole

Black Hole

by Charles Burns
4.0 10


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Black Hole by Charles Burns

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 area’s 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 you’ve got it, that’s it. There’s no turning back.

As we inhabit the heads of several key characters — some kids who have it, some who don’t, some who are about to get it — what unfolds isn’t 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 wasn’t 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…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375714726
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/08/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 106,107
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 17 - 18 Years

About the Author

Charles Burns grew up in Seattle in the 1970s. His work rose to prominence in Art Spiegelman’s 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 Morris’s delightful restaging of The Nutcracker (renamed The Hard Nut) at BAM. He’s 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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Black Hole 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
hpfan28 More than 1 year ago
Going into this book, I had my reservations about it. This is one of the first true graphic novels I have read and I was not let down. Charles Burns leaves a lot for the reader to try and decipher the true meaning of his writing.The book likes to jump around when it comes to the timeline, and the reader really has to pay attention to that when they read. Also two of the main characters Rob and Keith look similar. The idea of the virus and having it transmitted through STDs like conditions, reminded me a lot of the AIDS epidemic. There also seems to be a reoccurring theme of water and those who have been mutated finding comfort in it. Overall this story was a fast read and diffidently worked in the horror genre.
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Thorne2112 More than 1 year ago
Full of anxiety and horror--the perfect allegory for surviving (or not surviving) high school.
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Rocko_Jerome More than 1 year ago
Two words you don't normally find in reviews of "alternative comics," but Burns did it here. Best known for his freaky disturbing portraits of serial killers, monsters, Devils, and one particularly close to my heart of Elvis sweating in Hades, you might not expect that the guy would have a cohesive story in him. He certainly does, and it's the kind of thing that burns into your memory and will never leave. These characters will not leave you alone until you finish the book, every short chapter at a time, until you see who pays for their sins and who makes it out. And it certainly delivers. You should buy it, read it, and study it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago