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And you thought your adolescence was scary. 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 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 of 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 (and, believe it or not, autobiographical), 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 any more, but Bowie was still just a little too weird. To say nothing of sprouting horns and moulting your skin...
Product Details

Promotional Information

It's here: Charles Burns' epic story of existential horror, over ten years in the making.

About the Author

Charles Burns lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two daughters. As well as writing comics Burns has designed the set for a New York production of The Nutcracker, illustrated covers for Time magazine and produced an album cover for Iggy Pop.

Reviews

He's done New Yorker covers, sets for Mark Morris, and album design for Iggy Pop, so why not a graphic novel about a sinister plague attacking teenagers in 1970s Seattle? This one has been long awaited by GN fans. With a five-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Many regard Black Hole as one of the greatest graphic novels, and it's not hard to see why. Burns's black-and-white strips are so cool, and his story - sex, drugs and teenage mutants - grips like a vice." -- Rachel Cooke * Observer * "Black Hole just might be the most perfect book going, if not the sexiest... As startling and evocative a work as the medium has ever produced." -- Matt Fraction * Art Bomb * "Make no mistake: this is a bleak book that tries desperately in its final frames to introduce a note of optimism in resignation. It's also brilliant." -- Peter Millar * The Times *

The prodigiously talented Burns hit the comics scene in the '80s via Raw magazine, wielding razor-sharp, ironic-retro graphics. Over the years his work has developed a horrific subtext perpetually lurking beneath the mundane suburban surface. In the dense, unnerving Black Hole, Burns combines realism-never a concern for him before-and an almost convulsive surrealism. The setting is Seattle during the early '70s. A sexually transmitted disease, the "bug," is spreading among teenagers. Those who get it develop bizarre mutations-sometimes subtle, like a tiny mouth at the base of one boy's neck, and sometimes obvious and grotesque. The most visibly deformed victims end up living as homeless campers in the woods, venturing into the streets only when they have to, shunned by normal society. The story follows two teens, Keith and Chris, as they get the bug. Their dreams and hallucinations-made of deeply disturbing symbolism merging sexuality and sickness-are a key part of the tale. The AIDS metaphor is obvious, but the bug also amplifies already existing teen emotions and the wrenching changes of puberty. Burns's art is inhumanly precise, and he makes ordinary scenes as creepy as his nightmare visions of a world where intimacy means a life worse than death. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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