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Black Hole
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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.

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.

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.

Winner of the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz Awards

"Smoldering brilliant... What Burns does so memorably here is blend the erotic and the frightening to create a black hole the reader will want to visit again and again."
--The Boston Globe

"The best graphic novel of the year... One of the most stunning graphic novels yet published."
--Time

"Black Hole is Burns's masterwork."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Surreal and unnerving... A remarkable work."
--Chicago Sun-Times

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