“Black Hole” by Charles Burns (2005) comic review – graphic novel recommendations

[Book cover of graphic novel “Black Hole” by Charles Burns (2005) – comic review from comics recommendation list]OK, now let’s talk aboutBlack Holeby Charles Burns. This is a book set in the suburbs of Seattle in the 1970s, and it features a bunch of teenagers who one-by-one contract a sexually transmitted disease. Now, in the world ofBlack Hole, the people who catch this disease become mutated. They get some sort of mutant deformity, such as growing a tail, or getting strange lumps on their head. Or, in one kid’s case, growing a small mouth on the base of his neck. Generally, the kids who catch the disease – or “the bug”, as it’s called – turn into social outcasts. And many of them actually live in a forest encampment on the edges of town. So, the story ofBlack Holedeals with normal teenage stuff – changing bodies, changing skin, social alienations – except, of course, Charles Burns has really amped it up with the mutations that these particular teenagers are going through. Now, I know everyone else says this, but I’ve got to say it too: Charles Burns’ artwork is fantastic. He’s got such distinctive style. I mean: if you’re ever flipping through a magazine, and you see an image that looks like THIS or THIS or THIS or THIS or THIS or THIS or THIS, It’s got to be Charles Burns. He’s got such distinctive brushwork. Such distinctive use of black as a solid element within his designs. There are no shades of grey here – it’s either blackorwhite. And I love how meticulous he is with the way that he feathers the edges of his black sections, or draws faint little shadings on people’s faces. It’s almost hard to imagine that this was drawn by someone at all – it just seems to exist without having being created by any mere mortal. And I particularly like the scenes that are set in the forest at night time. There’s something about the way that Charles draws the white outlines of the trees and the white blades of grass that really appeals to me against the blackness of the background. So the artwork is a feast for the eyes, the story is unique, and I really recommend that you check outBlack Holeby Charles Burns.[title music: “Bunny” by Screamfeeder]

3 thoughts on ““Black Hole” by Charles Burns (2005) comic review – graphic novel recommendations

  1. Thats a great description something that a human didn't do that it is just there. He uses a lot of research in his comics. His father used to clip things out of comics. Litchenstein did this also. reordering the world is all we do a artists in a way.

  2. Sent this to a friend so that they check it out, your review was nice and thanks for making me discover Screamfeeder!

  3. Great summary for an important book! I remember asking my friend in high school to, "get me into comic books" and he gave me Black Hole by Charles Burns. In a way, I feel as if I have been chasing the dragon ever since.

    Mouth was at the base of the front of his neck*

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